Dulles’s C and D concourse

By Joe Ravi, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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 “Dulles’s C and D concourse”

Speaking of dinosaurs …

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.”

A speed test for you to try

(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.

Worsening backlogs at some Global Entry interview centers

geLast 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.


Now a second media stick option for the road warrior

Back in April of 2015 I wrote that picking a streaming media stick for road warrior use had just gotten easier.  As of April of 2015, the only media stick that was well suited to hotel wifi (where you have to log in on a web page to connect to the Internet) was the Amazon Fire TV Stick.  But now there is one more streaming media stick option for the road warrior. Continue reading “Now a second media stick option for the road warrior”

Long backlogs at Global Entry interview offices

(See update here.)

I guess I should not be surprised that the USPTO is not the only US government agency with long backlogs.ge

Someone I know recently applied for Global Entry — the very handy program that speeds up immigrations entry into the US and gets you into TSA’s Precheck security screening.  He then received the “conditional approval” and an invitation letter to attend an interview at a Global Entry interview office.

That’s great!  All he has to do now is make an appointment at one of the interview offices, and show up for the appointment, and he will be a member of Global Entry.

Except that interviews are not easy to get.

  • At San Francisco airport, the earliest available appointment is October 23.  Five months from now.
  • At Portland (Oregon) airport, the earliest available appointment is September 26.  Four months from now.
  • At Denver airport, there is simply no appointment available no matter how long you are willing to wait.

This is quite a surprise to me.  It seems to me that the Global Entry folks need to staff up the interview offices appropriately so that there are enough people to do the interviews without delays of four and five months (or forever in the case of Denver).