Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jerry O'Connell is a RIOT!!!!

Oh man, this is soooooooooo funny!!!!

Stupid Alaska Airlines!

Each year I fly to Boston for a meeting at Progress Software (in Bedford). It's a 5 hour flight. On the flight back I fly from Boston to Seattle to Portland. I usually have enough frequent flyer miles to upgrade to 1st class, which is the only way to go on that long of a flight.

Well, last year (around August) Alaska decided to change their policy. Now you have to purchase a Value ticket (or higher) in order to upgrade using miles! There are two other ticket options that are less expensive, about $100 less and $150 less. Oh and let's not forget that I have to hope 1st class is available (which it usually is).

So for $100-$150 more, I get the chance to maybe upgrade to 1st class. What a ripoff!!

Sure, it's a nicer seat, more leg room, free drinks, better food (WAY better food), and a free digiplayer to watch movies, tv shows, and other things on. But is it worth that much extra? And if 1st class is full I just spent $100-$150 for nothing!

I have loved Alaska ever since I started flying for work many many years ago. I've always found them to be friendly, good seats, a good price (not great, but not the worst), generally just the most enjoyable way to fly. Plus being able to upgrade was great. Now in order to upgrade I have to pay $100! I've got plenty of miles but I can't use them. Oh, one more thing I learned. It's now 15,000 miles to upgrade instead of 10,000.

I know airlines are hurting and need money, but this just ticks me off! Alaska, you just went down a couple notches in my customer service book. Yes, I'll probably fly them again, I just won't be upgrading to 1st class anymore. sigh....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Joost is way cool!

I saw a blog that Joost now has classic Star Trek on it. I went to their website, looked at what they had and decided to try it - after all, it's free.


I watched a very high quality version of "The Trouble with Tribbles." It was awesome! I don't know how they are doing this free, but I'm VERY excited about it. I looked at their cartoons and saw they have several Rocky & Bullwinkle's, some Ren & Stimpy's, and lots of others.

This is a neat service, you should try it!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Not a slimy car salesperson

A few months ago I contacted a few internet sales people at various Honda dealerships in our area. I wanted to let them know we are interested in a 2009 Honda Fit when they come out (probably around June). These are popular and the new models will be even more popular, so I wanted to get on the top of their list.

Most of the sales people emailed back with something like, "Ok, you're on my list." Nothing rude, but nothing extra either. One lady emailed back what looked like a form email saying stuff like, "I can get you in one NOW! Is this the right car for you? Have you looked at others? I can help!!" It was a rather pushy sounding email especially since I had just said we are NOT interested in a 2008 but a 2009.

I sent her a rather firm email back stating I thought that email was a bit pushy and reiterating we did NOT want a 2008, only a 2009. She sent back a really nice email apologizing for the standard response email. We exchanged emails many times and I discovered that first email was just a reflex response and she is definitely not pushy, actually quite the opposite.

Last week she sent me an email (actually everyone in her contact list) that everyone who test drives a car will be entered in a contest for a Wii. I emailed her back saying that'd be cool but we already have one, we definitely wouldn't be buying if we did test drive and we didn't want to waste her time. After talking with Marci we decided to drive the Fit - after all, sitting in it at the autoshow and driving it are two very different things. So we went out this last Sunday to test drive it.

She was really nice, friendly, not slimy or pushy at all. Marci took the car out first as I waited with the kids. Marci said she LOVED the car and it was tons of fun to drive. Cool! She also wanted to look at the CR-V's and Pattie (the cool sales lady) was going to get someone else to ride with me for the test drive. I decided if Marci likes it that's good enough for me and decided not to try it, I'll just wait until the 2009's arrive.

Marci drove a CR-V and really liked it a lot. Pattie told us she had a 2007 model fully loaded (navigation, the works) she could sell us for $200 over invoice. Well, for a moment we got caught up in the excitement of new cars and asked to see it. About that time Pattie had another customer show up who also just wanted to test drive a car for the contest. Pattie asked if this other sales guy could show us the CR-V while she took this lady out and she'd be right back. No problems.

WOW! What a difference! We went from feeling like we were chatting with a friend to someone who made us want to run away and never come back. He was pushy, slimy, kept asking about what we were looking for, wanted to run numbers for us, etc. When we told him we were here just to test drive the Fit and were waiting for the 2009 model, he said something like, "People are always waiting for the next thing because they think it'll be better. You gotta grab it now because there's always a next thing and you'll be waiting forever. Let me go run some numbers for you on the Fit and CR-V." That's when I said, a little more firmly, that we KNEW what the 2009 model's were going to be because we had seen the previews on the web. After seeing what they will have in them we would NOT be happy with a 2008 model. He then said, "Oh yeah, we were just looking at them online. Aren't they sweet?"

Just looking at them? Really? Then why the push to buy a 2008??

Finally after he got us a CR-V brochure, we thanked him and said we were just going to wait for Pattie to get back. While waiting we had time to realize we planned on one new car payment this year, not two, and while the CR-V is a great deal, we just need to pass, other great deals will come along. We thanked her a lot for her time and said we'll be in touch.

After we got home and had time to laugh at what a jerk that other guy was and how nice she was, I sent her an email again thanking her and letting her know how much we appreciated her. Marci said when they were test driving the Fit that Pattie said she'd take the job ONLY if she could be 100% honest and not slimy/pushy/the usual car salesman stuff. Her boss didn't think she'd have what it took but decided to give her a chance. She's now the top salesperson there! Guess she showed him.

What a world of difference! Pattie made us feel comfortable, right at home, and definitely want to come back to her. The other guy (I honestly forgot his name right after we drove off the lot) made us want to run away and never come back to that dealership. Why can't other's learn from Pattie and be cool? Oh, and when we got there, we weren't even out of the car before some guy was on us asking how we were doing and what he could help us with. No offense, but let us get out before you start trying to feed!

Here's to Pattie at Larry Miller Honda of Hillsboro! A different kind of salesperson, one that actually makes you want to buy a car and leave knowing you got the best deal possible. Looking forward to dealing with her for a 2009 Fit!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I need these printed...

There needs to be some kind of digital photo orientation everyone has to take because I get this all the time:
Here are some photos. Could you please print them as 8 x 10's?
Sure, no problem. Except the photos are small, 640 x 480 at 72 dpi, which is about 8.9" x 6.7". This means the chance of printing it as an 8 x 10 and have it look any good is slim to none. To print it 8 x 10 at 150 dpi means it needs to be 1600 x 1200 at least. Printing the 640 x 480 72 dpi photo at 150 dpi means it will print at 4.3" x 3.2".

Fortunately I have Photoshop, Genuine Fractals and Noise Ninja. With all of these tools I can get pretty close. 8 x 10 is still really tough and not looking that great, but 6 x 8 looks pretty ok at 150 dpi, thanks to Genuine Fractals which saves my butt and makes me look good.

I just wish I could do some Vulcan mind-meld so people would know what size the photo they send me needs to start out as so I can print it for them.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ah, Christmas vacation

Christmas is such a wonderful time, especially with little kids who really enjoy the season. Of course little ones also want you to play with them and all their new toys - all the time. While I don't mind, it certainly made for a busy vacation rather than relaxing. Part of me is a little happy to be back at work where I can just sit here quietly at my desk and write code. But part of me misses being at home, having our son or daughter come over asking me to play with them, where my biggest thinking problem is how to put something together and which pair of sweat pants to wear.

Usually Christmas seems to take forever to get here then it's gone too quick. This year seemed different. It seemed to get her fast and stick around a little longer. That was nice. Staying up late, sleeping in, playing games, eating cookies and other bad things, a time not to care about stuff like diets, rather to just enjoy.

It was a good Christmas, I'm already looking forward to the next one. :)