Joe Ganley
Writing code since 1979
I have been a professional software engineer for over 10 years. I have written many kinds of software, but my particular strengths are interactive graphics applications, compilers and interpreters, and algorithms.

I also enjoy writing, woodworking, and home improvement. Also this.


Email Me

Atom Feed

not from a security camera



Thursday, April 26, 2001

I flew United last December, and they messed up in all the usual ways (e.g. we took off 1.5 hours late), plus a few new ones (e.g. we ran out of water halfway across the country, so no-one could have anything to drink or use the bathroom). For our inconvenience, they gave us each a $25 United discount coupon. I wrote them a nasty letter, and sent back the coupon, explaining that they could keep it because (a) I didn't plan to fly United again if I could help it, and (b) Even if I did, my work buys my tickets, and I always buy my personal tickets with miles, so the coupon is useless to me. Their response was to send me back two more discount coupons. So, for my next two roundtrips, I managed to avoid United altogether except for D.C. to Raleigh and back. The other flights, on American and Midway, went flawlessly. The United outbound was cancelled, and the return took off 3 hours late. So, I continue my attempt to boycott United. Toward this end, I would like to get rid of my United Visa and replace it with a different travel card. The
Travelocity MasterCard caught my eye. With it, you earn a "point" for each dollar you spend. However, nowhere on the entire site can I find an explanation of what a point is worth. It mentions that the 4,000 points you get as a signup bonus are worth a $100 discount, but it isn't clear if that is the normal rate, or if it is some sort of signup special or a sliding scale. Sigh. But in any event, I suspect that Orbitz is going to seriously cramp Travelocity's style anyway, so I don't want a big collection of "points" locking me into using Travelocity. Update 5/5/01: The rate is 8,000 points gets you $100 off at Travelocity, i.e. the payoff on purchases is 1.25% (the payoff on interest is higher). Pretty weak payoff for a premium card that charges an annual fee; Discover pays 1% with no annual fee, and my United card pays about 2% (assuming the conventional wisdom that frequent flier miles are worth about 2 cents each) with an annual fee.

comments (0) | permalink

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

A public service announcement: If your car has a passenger-side airbag, and you put your small children in that seat, and the airbag goes off, there is a very good chance that they will be seriously injured or killed. I'm guessing, from the number of kids I see in the front seats of such cars, that people don't realize this. As an aside, please write your congressperson: The reason that airbags hurt children (and small adults) is that federal standards mandate that an airbag be able to stop a 200-pound person who isn't wearing their seat belt. I find it sickening that even one responsible person should be injured to save someone who isn't wearing their seat belt. Thinning the herd, as far as I'm concerned.

comments (0) | permalink

Friday, April 20, 2001

After watching The Weakest Link the other night (aside: That show is doomed. It's too complicated, and the payouts are too low), a variation occurred to me, loosely based on the prisoner's dilemma. You would play in pairs, of your choosing. You would be asked questions, as on Link, such that you could both hear the questions but couldn't see or hear each other. You can answer, or pass. If one of you answers wrong, or you both pass, you lose. If one answers right and the other passes, or both answer right, you win. If you are sure you know the answer, the strategy is easy: you answer. The trick is when you're not sure; then, you have to figure out whether your partner is more likely to know (and to be sure enough to answer) than you. If you think they'll know, then you don't want to sabotage them with your guess; however, you want to make sure you don't both pass.

comments (0) | permalink

Wednesday, April 04, 2001

On my flight last Friday from San Jose to Raleigh, the row across the aisle from me was occupied by two women, ages (I'm guessing) 23 and 26, who spent the entire flight -- five hours -- discussing, in great and technical-sounding detail, synchronized dancing of the sort that 'N-Sync does. I couldn't help listening, as they were quite loud, and it was even mildly interesting. For the first half-hour or so.

comments (0) | permalink

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

The Long Now Foundation
The Long Now Foundation

Man-Bag Buying Guide
Man-Bag Buying Guide

Copyright (c) 1988-2004 by Joseph L. Ganley. All rights reserved except where otherwise noted.