· Technology
 · · Travel

Late-2020 EV Charging in Canada · I haven’t seen my 90-year-old mother since January. I guess by mid-year both she and I are likely to be vaccinated so maybe I could go visit. I’d rather drive than fly. What with Covid I’ve been cooped up so long I could scream, so there are few things I’d rather do than get out on the highway. As a displacement activity I’ve been working out how I could get the electric Jaguar 1734 kilometres from Vancouver to Saskatchewan to see her. Thus this quick survey of the state of the infrastructure in Western Canada, and also trip-planning tools. Some of this info might be useful elsewhere than in Western Canada ...
Bags · The combo rollie/backpack laptop case I bought two years back is starting to wear out, and I’ve decided that the rollie feature is not cost-effective; there are lots of times I can’t use it, and the mechanism adds weight and bulk while robbing me of space. So I’ve been poking around looking for good laptop packs (has to be a pack so I can put a change of clothes in for my frequent overnighters). David Weinberger told me that Crumpler was a hot name, and in looking at them I ran across some other interesting candidates via reviews that said “and the competition is...” The candidates are the Crumpler King Single (that website is totally trying too hard), the Tom Bihn Brain Bag, and the RoadWired Digital Daypack. Anyone out there got one of these, or want to weigh on on the subject of the ideal laptop pack? [Update: GAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I’m buried, even more people care about laptop bags than about carbonara sauce, even. I must must MUST do that comments system.] [Dear Tom Bihn: you owe the LazyWeb a couple hundred bucks worth of thanks. I just ordered a Brain Bag with all the fixings. Dear Crumpler: please fix that egregious website. What part of “don’t offend every computer professional on the planet” don’t you understand? Dear world: please stop sending me laptop-bag email.] ...
Enplaned · That’s the name of a blog subtitled “Airlines and commercial aerospace”, an insider’s take on the airline business. They recently had a piece in which they were kind of complaining about how few comments they got; my suspicion is that these guys know their stuff so well that there’s little left to add to their pieces. I’m not in the business at all, but as a heavy customer, I find an almost sick fascination in their pieces about Boeing/Airbus competition (summary: Boeing is winning just now), old vs. new airline models (summary: new is winning), and airlines vs. the “GDS” ticket-selling systems (summary: too close to call). Here’s today’s example, Delta’s Unsecured Creditors, which dives deep on the negotiations between bankrupt airlines (quite a few of those these days) and the people who finance the planes they fly; this is a big-bucks high-stakes game and one that you’d never hear about, normally. Great stuff.
A380 Fear and Loathing · Today, the Airbus A380 flew. Oddly, this seems to be treated as a good thing. On this page there is a frightful lie, namely that the plane will seat 555 passengers with lots of room for lounges and shopping and so on. This claim is oblivious to the facts that most airlines are losing money and most travelers are highly price-sensitive; ergo, this turkey will carry 800-plus suffering souls packed in like sardines, which means that after you roll up to the gate, you can count on the best part of an hour filing off the plane so you can make the transition from unpleasant airplane to unpleasant airport.
PT Oozer · On last week’s trip to the Colorado Software Summit I had the misfortune, for the second time in the last year, to receive a PT Cruiser from Avis. This automobile is a misbegotten failure, despite its admirably idiosyncratic shape and ample headroom. Its ride is unstable and jittery on high-speed turns, its cargo space absurdly limited. Worst of all, it is the single most underpowered car I’ve driven in many years; taking it from five to nine thousand feet of altitude up US Interstate 70 was alternately maddening and terrifying. Clearly they repurposed a sewing-machine factory somewhere to build the engines. Steer clear, I’d say.
Luggage Tech · Coming home from the Valley last week, I experienced a wardrobe malfunction; my knapsack (a tech-conference freebie) fell apart in the airport. So I hit the Wilsons Leather store in SFO, and discovered that business travel gear has really been getting better. I can’t find the product I bought on their website, but it’s a nice-looking black leather knapsack that doubles as a rollie, and is just way slick. It’s got a laptop sleeve that fits my 15-inch PowerBook, plus two more compartments; one for papers, one for electronics, lots of little pouches and pockets and sleeves, and an accessible-yet-secure place for the travel documents. Hmm, looking at Wilsons’ financials, they’re not doing that great, it might be a good time to snap something up now while they’ve got a clearance on. But I imagine that if they’ve got good stuff, so does the competition. Bottom-line, if you’re getting tired of whatever beat-up old thing you’re hauling around on road trips, it’s an attractive time to upgrade.
Aussie Cluefulness · We’re taking a vacation to Australia in February. You can’t just hop on a plane, you have to get a visa. This used to mean, if you were in a big city with a consulate, going down there with a picture and spending time waiting, or if you were away from such a city, mailing them your passport. So last night, Lauren suggested checking their online presence, and what do you know, it’s excellent. You can get a year’s visa for A$20 by giving them your passport number and a few basic vital statistics, and the whole thing takes maybe five minutes. Good on ya, Aussies!
Winning Business With a Good Web Site · I just now this morning had to book a short little trip within the Pacific Northwest. There's this regional carrier called WestJet, and they got my business, among other reasons because their website is done right while the competition's are lame and irritating ...
DFW WiFi · Sitting in DFW waiting for the plan, pull up the AirPort and it turns out there are two different WiFi networks up, Wayport and T-online, I point the laptop at Wayport and it conveniently lets me buy a day's access for US$6.95, I only use a couple hours but think I got my money's worth ...
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