Monday, June 26, 2006

adventures - part 1 (of probably 1)

To set the stage, I'm flying out west tomorrow to go to Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies. The flight is insanely early in the morning (6:45-ish). We want to save as much time as we can, so we're doing the online check-in.

Plus #1: United was kind enough to send me an e-mail to remind me to check-in this morning, so I went to their site to do it.

Issue #1: While the e-mail had a handy link to the check-in pages, the page needed my frequent flyer number, which, like everyone else, I don't have.

Plus #2: Knowing that United does let me log in using my e-mail address from the homepage, I went there to log in. E-mail address, password, done.

Issue #3: After clicking the button to submit my e-mail and password, I noticed a dropdown telling me where I wanted to be dropped off after I log in. I knew I wanted to check in, but I left the dropdown at my summary page. Partially because that's generally where I would like to be taken, and partially because I figured I can get to the check-in page from there. Apparently, I didn't have the patience for it. I checked "My Itineraries" to see if I could check in from there, and I couldn't. I was really hoping for something on my summary screen that would let me check in. Eventually, I ended up returning to the homepage to find the check-in feature since I knew that it was there.

Issue #4: Back on the homepage, the site asked me for my frequent flyer number and password again. Remember, I already logged in. Why should I need to do this again?

Plus #3: Thankfully, since I asked the site to remember me, it already had my frequent flyer number pre-filled. Whew!

Issue #5: When choosing seats, it tried to trick me into upgrading seats. I've seen this before and I know their tricks, but it's still damn annoying.

Plus #4: For the seat selection, it told me where the wing was. I like that... a lot.

Issue #5: Printing glitch #1: Checking in for 2 flights for 4 people means 8 boarding passes. I didn't want the boarding passes to be split across pages, so I tried printing one person at a time. So I selected the boarding passes for the first passenger and asked Firefox to print the selection.
...blank page
...blank page
...blank page
...blank page
...blank page

This clearly wasn't right. I raced over to my printer status to see if it would ever end. When the thing finally opened, I saw that it was trying to print over 5,000 pages... and it kept growing too. I canceled as fast as I could, but not before it killed 25-50 pages.

Issue #6: Printing glitch #2: OK. So printing the selection was no good. Next attempt I just tried to print like a normal person. Print the whole thing and see what happens. Instead of getting my boarding passes, I got a printout with an error message on it. At least it was one page...

Third time's the charm: So I finally decided to click on the United provided print button. After saying I was OK with printing 8 documents, I got my 8 boarding passes. Easy!

Monday, June 19, 2006

what's wrong with this picture?

Patriotic Cow

No cheating (I have a comment at the end of there).

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

random post of the day

Proof that George W Bush wasn't always a total idiot, plus an explanation of why he is today?

Originally I was going to go into something about the unique problems of really tall people, but I'll save that for a later day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

cents per mile

Looking back over the years (since May of 2001, to be exact), I've spent $18,752.42 on driving. In return, I've got a car worth about $3,000, plus 57167.3 miles on my odometer. What does this mean? It means that my car over time costs 27.6 cents per mile.

I remember the last time I did this calculation I was under 25 cents a mile. Why did it go up? A few reasons:
  1. I calculated it differently this time
    Last time I excluded things like parking, tolls, and traffic tickets. This time I didn't bother with sorting through that. I'm guessing that would add another $500 or 1 cent/mile. Whew! Feel even better now!

  2. Gas costs more
    Last time I calculated this, gas was something like $1.20 a gallon. It's over twice that now. You'd think this would make my costs skyrocket. Thankfully there's things like cheaper insurance and more highway miles that offset this. Imagine if gas was still that cheap!
Bottom line? My car is still reliable enough that I'm not spending too much on repairs. Granted, I can't really see when that would be the case, considering that labor is essentially free. It'll be time to stop when the cost to fix the car exceeds the replacement cost of the car. In other words, when the engine completely dies or something else terrible happens to the car. Eeek!

Now... for all you people who make car payments, here's a rough comparison. Let's get your run of the mill cheap-ass car with a car payment of $199 a month. Assuming that you drive 12,000 miles a year (typical), that would be 1,000 miles per month. Match that with the $199 monthly payment and you already have 20 cents per mile. Working backwards, if you want this car to be as cost efficient as mine, you'd only have 6.7 cents per mile for things like gas, tires, repairs, insurance, and depreciation. Sheesh! Even if it was just gas, good luck on finding a car that costs 6.7 cents per mile for gas. With gas costing $2.87 per gallon as it does today, you'd need a car that gets 43 mpg. Good luck with that one!

Now with the jerk example. Let's say I have a gas guzzling car that gets 15 mpg (think any big truck). With gas at $2.87 a gallon, gasoline alone would cost 19 cents a mile. Sweet!

Friday, June 09, 2006

first post in a while

So um.... I've been busy. Since the last time, I've went to a few baseball games, gone to Toronto, gone to Connecticut, gone to Las Vegas, and now I'm going back to CT. Something to do with my scheme of getting a new driver license to avoid having a ticket show up on my record. (-: Might as well give it a shot, right?