I recently had reason to connect from one Amtrak train to another at Chicago’s Union Station. The type of ticket that I was traveling on gave me access to Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge in that train station. My layover was about five hours so I was really looking forward to finding this lounge and taking it easy for a while. I disembarked from the first train (the California Zephyr from Denver) and found a helpful map (at right). And promptly got misdirected. Continue reading
In the early 1980s, “shoulder surfing” was practiced near public pay phones to steal calling card digits and make long distance calls. In those days, the wary traveler would cup his or her hand around the pay phone keypad so that others could not see the calling card number being keyed in.
How times have changed, as we are reminded by this nice airport amenity — a public telephone offering free calls to any telephone number in the US. What do you suppose it costs the airport to provide this amenity? Continue reading
Here is a box of chocolates from Classified, the sort-of-secret restaurant at Newark Airport for those who fly frequently on United Airlines.
If, like me, you often fly United Airlines to and from Washington, DC, then you have, like me, spent time in the C and D concourse of Dulles Airport. And you have some sense how decrepit and discouraging that concourse is. The main terminal was designed in 1958 by famed Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, and it is highly regarded for its graceful beauty, suggestive of flight. But passengers spend little time in the main terminal. For United passengers, most time is spent in the C-D concourse. Continue reading
I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but something about the previous blog post made me think of this card that I received today from United Airlines, showing that I have now reached “million mile” status.
This reminds me of that old joke about a pie-eating contest. “Second prize, you get to eat more pie. First prize, you don’t have to eat any more pie.”
There’s a change in airport security at Dulles that makes it ever so slightly faster and easier to get through airport security. I’ve searched around in Google News and have not found anywhere that anyone has talked about this change. Continue reading
(Update: see our new speed test here.)
When I check into a hotel or log in at a public wifi location, I sometimes do a “speed test”. The goal of course is partly just to make sure that I have successfully logged in or have successfully entered an access code. And to test to see how fast the Internet connection is.
I am tickled to be able to report that we at OPLF have set up a speed test which everyone can use. The speed test, unfortunately, requires that your system has “Flash”. Most smart phones and tablets do not have Flash. So the speed test is generally available only for laptop and desktop computers.
Who would like to receive a free super spiffy OPLF digital multimeter? Maybe you already have an OPLF digital multimeter? This one is new and more spiffy. In addition to the features of our original digital multimeter, this device measures current and has an audible continuity indicator. (It can be set to beep when there is continuity.) This new device does auto-ranging; with our original multimeter you had to select the range.
So if you’d like to receive one of our super spiffy new OPLF digital multimeters, just be one of the first three people to post a comment in which you report the results of at least two speed tests — a speed test result using your favorite speed test that you have used in the past (a speed test hosted by someone other than OPLF) and a speed test result using our new speed test. It would be interesting to see how the results compare.
With this blog posting I am launching a new article category “travel”. It’s prompted by a recent Wall Street Journal article that confirmed what I had been suspecting for quite some time. Yes, many modern hotel thermostats, the kind with a digital display, are rigged. Continue reading
Last April I blogged about the unreasonable delays due to backlogs for interview appointments at Global Entry interview centers. Back then, at San Francisco airport, the backlog was five months. Back then, at Portland (Oregon) airport, the backlog was four months. At Denver airport, there was simply no appointment available no matter how long you were willing to wait. The backlog was essentially infinite.
How are things now, in October of 2016? At San Francisco airport, the backlog has worsened to six months. At Portland airport, the backlog has worsened to seven months. And at Denver airport, the backlog is still infinite. No appointments are available there. I checked Los Angeles International airport – the backlog there is six months. Boston Logan Airport has a backlog of nine months.
The folks in charge of Global Entry need to staff their interview locations appropriately to reduce the backlog.
Today I will talk about Tiles. Tiles are a particular brand for a general product category namely device trackers. Other brands include TrackR, iTrack, Nut, SwiftyFinder and Mynt. I will tell you about this product generally, and then I will recount a couple of success stories. Continue reading