Adventures in Living

Sunday, March 07, 2010

how Bing travel search lies

So, I was just trying to buy airplane tickets to fly to England for spring break, and thought to use, having read an article about how they are trying to beat Google in certain types of searches as a way to get a toehold on greater market share. Really, they are competing with Kayak and other meta-flight search websites. And Bing's functionality seemed to be better, easily filterable and a pretty good interface. But, the first time I used it, the flight I wanted to buy was unavailable - and I had to search for it all over again once Bing referred me to Orbitz or wherever to make the purchase. How stupid is that? Bing has all the flight details, date, number of passengers, etc, but they refer me to the beginning of the search so I can put all that in again by hand? And then, when I do that, the flight doesn't exist? Crappy user experience, but something I can let slide if it happens once.

So, when I went back to look at flights again today, I gave Bing another shot. I should have thought: "fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, .... won't get fooled again" like our most recent former president. Same problems with flights not existing, after getting great prices for them from Bing. And they still aren't referring me to the actual location on websites where I can find that info, I have to put it all in again. So, I will be avoiding Bing like I do most Microsoft products, and for pretty much the same reasons - inferior quality with too much marketing shine.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I guess you could be mad about this

So, the economy is cratering. And banks seem to be mostly to blame. This piece helped me understand a little more about credit default swaps, and why we keep sinking money into AIG. Also, Planet Money is a good, ongoing resource - and I found the above link here. I figure it's better to understand some of this, that way we can know if things ever start to look less bleak.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Colin Powell is still an American Statesman

Listening to Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama for president reminded me of why I felt so badly about how the Bush administration abused this national hero, and how I hope there will be a chance for him to redeem his record on the world stage.

In my opinion the most important part of what he said was about the suggestions that Obama is a Muslim:

"He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America," Powell said. "Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?"

How did our country, founded on the idea of religious freedom, come so far down this path of hatred and xenophobia? I had never thought the word Islamophobia before this weekend, but that's a symptom of our current sickness. Our country has big, serious problems, and we have allowed ourselves to be distracted from them with fear and selfishness. I could write about it for hours, but really I just wanted to express some small joy about what Colin Powell said, and hope that it doesn't slip past our collective attention as just another part of this far too long election process.

For a much better written essay on the same point, .

Friday, September 05, 2008


I know I haven't posted in a long time, and no one checks here anymore, but I found this essay valuable, and thought that I'd link to it. It talks about a part of the American democratic process that I also find disturbing.

The empire is at an end, may we please shift to being a good citizen without collapse and chaos?

Also, this is hilarious.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm a geek and I find this funny

Just found this xkcd website, and it's great

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back again

So I've been away from the blogging thing for a long while. Since coming back to the U.S, it hasn't really been on my "list of things to do". It's occasionally been on the "list of things I should do", but mostly on the "list of things to ignore". That list gets very long here at times.

To catch up with everything I've been doing, check out Sarah. She's been good, maybe because she's the one away from her home and I'm the one back in familiar places, feeling like everything I do is familiar to the point of contempt for anyone reading. But, I still feel like I should write about stuff.

This is the stuff I find interesting about my life now: issues in America. Our country has so many problems, so many things that make me abuse all around me with rants - and I think it's almost entirely because we could be doing so much better. I almost went all caps there for a moment.

I love the U.S. of A. I love the potential of this country. But I am enraged by so much of what goes on here, what passes for "normal".

Until next time,

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This is just cool

Very good water filter bottle for cleaning any water. The British military already bought all of them.

Buscando España

Somehow the visiting of foreign places makes the here and now a little more dull when I return, even if the "here and now" is itself foreign to me. I guess every place is less foreign when you return to it, perhaps by definition. In any case, I loved the food, the language, the lifestyle, the weather and most of all the people of Spain. Even packed into six days of zooming around.

We arrived in Santiago de Compostela a week ago today, less hard working than most of the pilgrims who visit this purported burial place of Saint James. I could never quite work out the name Santiago until Miguel broke it down for me - and gave a bit of a push to connect Iago with James. In any case, a stunning town/city full of history and beautiful architecture to go along with all the pilgrims. I would love to do one of the journeys - ideally from the Pyrenees, by bicycle - at some point. English people don't seem to visit the north of Spain nearly so much as the south, but I found it
wonderful, not so hot and full-to-bursting with great food. I'm not the first to "discover" it, but it was almost perfect enough to believe I was.

After that first day, we spent a couple of days exploring the Galician coastline both north and south of A Coruña, swimming at great beaches, eating ridiculously good food (my friend Polly would have called it repulsive, disgusting, or nauseating, it was so good), and generally enjoying ourselves too much. Over the weekend we went down to the area where Miguel's wife Rosa grew up, where her family still lives. It's beautiful seaside fishing and farming villages, framed by small but spectacular hills and filled with lovely Spanish people. I'm gushing so much I've used the hated expression "lovely" to describe someone. Thank heaven I'm returning to the US next week, my American vocabulary is nearly dead.

We spent a last day in town, seeing the sights and, one last time, eating an incapacitating amount of food, this time with Miguel's family at a little place they have in the hills above town. Some obscene amount of grilled meat(>3kg for seven people), all locally raised and organic so that the colon cancer will be slower. I love Spain.

p.s. Does anybody know of a way to link from the web to Google Earth? I wanted to give locations of the beaches and whatnot, but can't be bothered to play with it more than superficially. If not, can you contact Google and have them get on this? I mean, I figure they already have a ridiculous amount about me in those databases...