February 2011 Archives


February 20, 2011

Below is a picture of my flight this morning from Tallinn Ulemiste to Helsinki. The sum total of people on the ATR 72, which seats 78:
  • The flight crew.
  • A deadheading flight crew member on their way back to Helsinki.
  • Two flight attendants.
  • Me.

Mitigating my guilt over the environmental profligacy of my transport is that they need to get the aircraft back to HEL anyway, so apparently they would have flown it even if nobody had shown up.


February 6, 2011

Well, CBP responded to my message, at least for some value of responded:
Thank you for contacting the CBP INFO Center Complaints Team online.

Thank you for taking the time to inform us of your experience at the SFO port of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection does monitor processing times and wait times at our ports of entry and use feedback like yours in reporting to our Port Directors where the staffing and/or management need improvement. We appreciate your suggestion and will take it into consideration if possible.

Allow me to suggest that if, for any reason in the future, you are again dissatisfied with your border processing, you should ask to speak to a supervisor or Passenger Service Representative at the time of your inspection. A supervisor is always available to address the concerns of travelers.

There's also this huge list of fields categorizing my message, most of which haven't been filled out. Here are some.

Product Level 1: Bad/Inefficient Service
Product Level 2: Inefficient Process
Category Level 1: California
Category Level 2: San Francisco Intl Airport
Date Created: 01/23/2011 10:56 PM
Last Updated: 01/24/2011 10:27 AM
Status: Solved

I'll be back at SFO customs towards the end of the month so we'll see if (a) "solved" means "fixed" or "solved" means "will not fix" and if the latter (b) I can find a supervisor and get them to pay some attention.


February 5, 2011

I recently installed a brand-new Windows 7 machine (no fear, readers, it was in a VM for extra safety...) and captured the following screen shots. On the left is the screen you see when Chrome starts up, asking you which search engine you want to use. On the right is IE's search engine selection screen:

This contrast is sort of revealing. First, Chrome offers you choices up front. By contrast, IE just assumes you want to use Bing; to access this menu you need to pull down a dialog next to the search box, which isn't exactly obvious. Second, Chrome features Google's main competitors: Yahoo and Bing (anyone know if it offers Baidu in China?), whereas Bing seems to think you're more likely to want New York Times visual search than Google. If you look at the scroll bar, you'll see that I had to scroll down to even reveal Google. Outstanding!