About Adam

Adam Stout works in the technology field and is currently located in San Diego, CA.

Topics

Search

Connect

Recent Entries

ATOM Feed

If you have traveled through any airports lately you may have noticed that several airports have free WiFi (through January 15th) thanks to Google (via what appears to be a partnership with Boingo).  It is interesting to me that included on the list of airports Google is providing WiFi for is San Diego and Pittsburgh both of which already had free WiFi.  I've only traveled through a few of the airports on the list where I've tried to use the internet, and although I know Dulles (Washington, D.C.) and Austin do not normally have free WiFi, my sampling shows 50% of the airports already had free WiFi.  It is also interesting that while Google is getting a lot of press for this "benevolent" action, there are others (like E-Bay) that are sponsoring free internet in other places but not getting much press.

A few weeks ago, I was traveling through Austin and when I connected to Google's sponsored connection and got a clue as to why they are really doing this.  Here is a screen shot of what I saw:


While at first this looks like a normal Terms of Service agreement that you have to click on to get onto a public network, it really is a way to grab some more market share for Chrome.  While people are just trying to get on-line in a hurry, they are going to download Chrome because they think they need it to continue onto the internet.  I almost clicked on it and I'm a pretty technical person, I would love to see how many people Google tricked into downloading Chrome and having it automatically become the default browser.

If GMail didn't make Google Evil, Chrome certainly did.

On a side note, while trying to find the list of airports that Google is providing the WiFi for, I searched for "google free internet" and came across Google's free at home internet, TiSP.  If you search either Google or Bing you'll see this comes up first.  So while Google is Evil, at least they have a sense of humor.

Budget FastBreaks Take Too Long

Posted: Oct 04, 2009
I travel a lot for work.  for the last few months, I have been flying to the same place every week.  I stay in the same hotel (a Residence Inn, which I really like), flying the same flight (which is tolerable) and renting my car from Budget (which is progressively gotten worse).  The past two weeks have taken forever to get my car.  Here is the complain letter I just sent to Budget.  We'll see how they handle this:

Why do I have a FastBreak account? 

1) I have for the last 10 weeks or so using my Fast Break and although Avis has a sign up where people can see what car they have and can go straight there, I have to go to the booth, wait in line and find out what car I have.  This is amazing since i have to go to the Avis booth to get my car.

2) Last week I rented a car (with FastBreak) and it was a horrible experience.  Once I waited in line to find out what car I had, I went to the space (lugging my baggage) and there was no contract in it.  Then I went back to the booth and although I just asked for them to print a new contract, someone went to look then looked at ALL the cars to find my contract.  After about 20 minutes they came back and printed a new contract (for a different car).  What a waste of time.

3) When I returned the car, I looked at the contract and the bill was twice what it is normally (each of the past ten weeks or so).  It took about 20 minutes after I returned my car to get it straightened out.  Once again, I'm glad I had the FastBreak to help me out.

4) I rented a car tonight and after waiting in line to get the contract (and waiting for about 10 minutes while they looked it up and printed it) and going to my car, I looked at the contract and found yet another rate on it (not as high as last week, but still way too much).  I went back to the booth and after about another 10 minutes, I got the correct rate.  Good thing I had Fast Break.

Please explain to me what FastBreak gets me and why I should ever rent from Budget again?  This seems to become more and more of a problem and take more and more of my time.  Since I fly in at 10pm or so on Sunday nights, I would really hope to save any time I can getting to my hotel.  This concept seems to be missed by your company.

Visit to the Magnolia Bakery

Posted: Sep 20, 2009
This weekend Jenny and I went up to New York partly to attend a lecture given by one of Jenny's friends at Columbia and partly to go sight seeing.  One item we finally did after a couple of years of missing it was visit the Magnolia Bakery made famous in SNL's Lazy Sunday:


Although there was a lot of hype about the cupcakes, it was all worth it.  These cupcakes were amazing.  The icing was near perfection.  Here is a picture to give you a visual taste (I had the one on the right, the Vanilla on Vanilla).

Plane Lavatory for Two?

Posted: Aug 30, 2009
While flying down to Austin this evening, I was listening to the flight attendant give the safety announcements and I thought I heard a very interesting comment.  While describing how to put on the oxygen mask, she talked about how it is different in the plane lavatory.  Instead of just falling out, in the lavatory, the oxygen mask is in in cradle that you have to pull it from.  That is boring, but I swear she said that there were two masks in the lavatory. 

I hope to never find out if this is really the case, but it is interesting that the lavatory would be designed for two people.

For what it worth, I believe I was on a Bombardier Regional Jet CRJ900.

[Photo Credit: James Likeness]

The Texas Donut

Posted: Aug 21, 2009
As you may know, I have been spending a lot of time in the Austin area the past few months and based on a conversation with a friend of mine who was talking about Austin with a guy at a Happy Hour, I decided to visit Round Rock Donuts in Round Rock, Texas, just north of Austin.  (Yes, I do have a lot of time on my hands when I'm out there).

Round Rock Donuts reminded my of Krispy Kreme, but the real deal.  While you don't get to see them make the donuts at RRD, it is easy to tell they are free.

When I went, I asked what i should order and they offered me a free sample of their normal donut.  After waiting a few minutes for it to cool and I could eat it, it was amazing.  Hot and tasty.  Not quite as light as a Krispy Kreme, but I prefer this cakier consistency to KK's.

I wasn't smart enough to take a picture of the normal donut but I did grab one of Round Rock's "Texas Donuts".  This thing was huge.  It must have been at least 12 inches in diameter.

This is a nice option to make you feel good about yourself.  After all, if you only have 1/2 a donut, it can't be that bad for you right?

If you are in the Austin area, I recommend stopping by and try one of Round Rock Donuts.  I have a few more pictures in my photo gallery if you still need some convincing.

The New Matrix SUV?

Posted: Aug 03, 2009
Last night I flew into Texas and I had a pretty funny experience at the airport when I went to rent my car. Last week, as I was going out to get my car, I saw that Budget had a few Toyota Matrix-es. Since I'm considering buying a compact car in the next few months, I figured I'd request one. Imagine my shock when I was told that a Matrix isn't an economy car, not a compact, not a mid-size but that Budget considers the Matrix an "SUV".

If I were renting an SUV and I got a Matrix, I would be rather upset. For those who don't know what a Matrix is, think of it as a sporty version of a Corolla.

This is an SUV? The guy behind the counter had a hard time keeping a straight face when he told me. I just had to laugh, after all, he wasn't the idiot that came up with this classification.

So instead of a Matrix, I got a POS Chevy Cobalt. I would really like to be able to not call it a POS, but it is. For instance, the seat belt gets stuck behind the seat when the car is parked making it difficult to put on when you get in. I'm not sure what is wrong exactly, but the steering wheel it awkward to hold on to when you're driving (I think the bars from the center to the wheel are in weird locations). At least I know not to even waste my time test driving a Cobalt.

I Hate US Air

Posted: Jul 30, 2009
I flew US Air last year and was very caught off guard when they charged me $2 for a soda. The bag charge for a bag is one thing but for a soda? It only took them six months to come to their senses and reverse their position and reinstate free beverages (although they still charge $7 for a beer or wine). I should have realized with this idiotic action that they have no idea what customer service really is. This week I was unable to get on my normal flight to my client's site so I book a flight on US Air (after all at least I could get a free soda now).

BIG MISTAKE!!!

US Airways really doesn't understand what customers want (or at least what I want). Why am I so disappointed you ask? Good question...

1) The seats are super uncomfortable. I was on a flight for a little over two hours and my butt was killing me. It was like sitting on metal the whole time.

2) My flight was late. To be correct 3 out of 4 of my flights were late, but thanks to US Air I had twice as long in the air port as I expected waiting for a flight.

3) Not responsive to requests. When I saw my last flight was an hour late, I went up to the customer service desk to see if they could put me on an on time flight they had to Reagan National (instead of Dulles where I was scheduled to go to). They told me they couldn't move me (even though I didn't have any checked luggage) until my flight was canceled. They took a great opportunity to create a amazingly satisfied customer and instead to make one who won't return for a long, long time. If there was room (which they didn't even check) what is the harm on putting me on a flight that was on time?

4) Unfriendly Flight Attendants. I've been flying United again (after a long absence from them) and I'm impressed by the flight attendants friendliness (and the pilot's too). On at least two of my flights this week, I've been impressed by how grump the US Air Attendants are. They look like we are inconveniencing them.

5) Soda. OK, it is free now, but where as on United they give me a can and a cup with ice, US Air pours the cup for me and does not leave the can. This is great for diet coke (my poison of choice) since when you pour it, it is half foam. They end up giving me (maybe) 6 ounces of soda. I would be pretty upset if I paid for $2 for that, instead I'm just very unhappy. I'm a heavily caffeinated person and without it, I get grumpy.

Next time I can't get my United flight (the only non-stop where I'm going), I'll try American but US Air is off my list for the next few years. This has been horrible.
Previous
Next