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Copyright: Lance Robinson
 



How Expedia Made My New Bride Cry

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 14:00:02 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2011/06/19/how-expedia-make-my-new-bride-cry.aspxIf you would like to help me out, you can Tweet this story OR email Expedia and ask them to make things right for me and my wife. This is the story of how Expedia made my new bride cry. When Expedia followed up their failure with our honeymoon trip with a complete and total lack of acknowledgement of any responsibility for the problem and endless loops of explaining the issue over and over again - I swore that they would make it right. When they brought my new bride to tears, I got an immediate and endless supply of motivation. I hope you will help me make them make it right by posting our story on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, on Expedia itself, and when talking to your friends in person about their own travel plans.   If you are considering using them now for an important trip - reconsider. Short summary: We arrived early for our honeymoon flight - but Expedia had made a mistake with the data they supplied to JetBlue and Emirates, which resulted in us not being able to check in (one leg of our trip was missing)!  At the time of this post, three people (myself, my wife, and an exceptionally patient JetBlue employee named Mary) each spent hours on the phone with Expedia.  I myself spent right at 3 hours (according to iPhone records), Lauren spent an hour and a half or so, and poor Mary was probably on the phone for a good 3.5 hours.  This is after 5 hours total at the airport.  If you add up our phone time, that is nearly 8 hours of phone time over a 5 hour period with little or no help, stall tactics (?), run-around, denial, shifting of blame, and holding. Details below (times are approximate): First, my wife and I were married on June 18th, the 3 year anniversary of our first date. She is awesome. She is the nicest person I have ever known, a ton of fun, absolutely beautiful in every way. Ok enough mushy - here are the dirty details. June 19th, 2:30 AM - Early Check-in Attempt - we attempted to check-in for our flight online. Some sort of technology error on website, instructed to checkin at desk. 4:30 AM - Arrive at airport. Try to check-in at kiosk, get the same error. We got to the JetBlue desk at RDU International Airport, where Mary helped us. Mary discovered that the Expedia provided itinerary does not match the Expedia provided tickets. We are informed that when that happens American, JetBlue, and others that use the same software cannot check you in for the flight because. Why? Because the itinerary was missing a leg of our flight! Basically we were not shown in the system as definitely being able to make it home. Mary called Expedia and was put on hold by their automated system. 4:55 AM - Mary, myself, and my brand new bride all waited for about 25 minutes when finally I decided I would make a call myself on my iPhone while Mary was on the airport phone. In their automated system, I chose "make a new reservation", thinking they might answer a little more quickly than "customer service". Not surprisingly I was connected to an Expedia person within 1 minute. They informed me that they would have to forward me to a customer service specialist. I explained to them that we were already on hold for that and had been for nearly half an hour, that we were going on our honeymoon and that our flight would be leaving soon - could they please help us. "Yes, I will help you". I hand the phone to JetBlue Mary who explains the situation 3 or 4 times. Obviously I couldn't hear both ends of the conversation at this point, but the Expedia person explained what the problem was by stating exactly what Mary had just spent 15 minutes explaining. Mary calmly confirms that this is the problem, and asks Expedia to re-issue the itinerary. Expedia tells Mary that they'll have to transfer her to customer service. Mary asks for someone specific so that we get an answer this time, and goes on hold. Mary get's connected, explains the situation, and then Mary's connection gets terminated. 5:10 AM [...]



Large Hosts Files

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:39:21 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2010/09/27/large-hosts-files.aspx

Its hard to find much technical information on the Windows Hosts file, beyond what is pretty much common knowledge.  Some questions I had recently that were hard to find the answers to:

 

Q.  How big can the hosts file be?
A.  I still haven’t found an answer to this one, but apparently pretty darn big.  The MVPs.org Hosts file is over 600Kb and still growing (it is designed to block certain malware related sites).

Q.  How long can a single line in a hosts file be?
A.  It seems the answer to this question is 256 bytes!

Q.  Can I list an ip address more than once in the hosts file and will that cause any problems?
A.  You can list the same ip address as many times as you like in the hosts file without any problems.  In fact, I’d recommend this technique over long lists in the same line for readability purposes too.

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How to Clear the Squid Proxy Cache in Windows

Wed, 01 Sep 2010 14:52:16 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2010/09/01/how-to-clear-the-squid-proxy-cache-in-windows.aspx

For some reason directions for clearing the Squid proxy cache (in Windows) seemed hard to come by on the web, so I thought I’d post them here. Hope this helps someone:
  1. Run MMC and load the services snap-in, kill the running squid process.
  2. Empty Squid’s cache folder (e.g. C:\squid\vars\cache\).
  3. Run Squid with the –z parameter to rebuild the cache folder structure (e.g. C:\squid\sbin\squid.exe –z).
  4. From the services snap-in of MMC, restart the squid service.
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Automatically Wake Your PC Before Your Arrival

Wed, 01 Sep 2010 13:11:50 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2010/09/01/automatically-wake-your-pc-before-your-arrival.aspx

Just a quickie convenience tip.

Some mornings it seems to take my computer a little too long to “wake up” after being hibernated overnight.  This annoyed me, but as of today it annoys me no longer.  This morning my computer was fresh and ready to go as soon as I sat down at my desk.

These instructions are for Windows 7, however the same basic idea will work fine in Vista and XP.

  1. From Control Panel, choose Administrative Tools, and then Task Scheduler.
  2. Create a basic task.  This task can be for anything – maybe you actually have an app you’d like to run or a message you like to display – whatever.  Just pick something.  Schedule it so that it runs a few minutes before your usual arrival.  When you get to the last dialog in the task wizard, check the checkbox that says “Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish”.
  3. In the properties dialog, on the Conditions tab, check the checkbox that says “Wake the computer to run this task”.  Click OK and you’re done.

When the task runs, it will wake up your computer.

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Remote Desktop Copy and Paste Clipboard Stopped Working

Mon, 16 Aug 2010 18:41:44 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2010/08/16/remote-desktop-copy-and-paste-clipboard.aspx

Seemingly out of the blue, copy and paste from my local desktop to Remote Desktop stopped working.  I had to resort to *gasp* FTP (ok, so it wasn’t that big a deal but it was still annoying to me).  Anyway, the solution turned out to be very simple:  On the remote machine, just bring up the task manager and kill and restart rdpclip.exe.  Voila, problem solved.

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Leaving /n software, headed to new startup

Thu, 18 Mar 2010 13:56:49 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2010/03/18/goodbye-n-software.aspx

I've been extremely fortunate to work at /n software, but after more than 9 years, the time has come for me to say "goodbye".  This Friday will be my last day.  The people behind the amazing machine that is /n software are great, hard working people, and I'll be a fan for life.  Most importantly though, I'm looking forward to new experiences and new challenges.  I'll be joining an exciting new online marketing startup in Chapel Hill (more about them later!).  My new work will be as a C# developer, but I'll continue to be a presence on Twitter, still talking about the technologies I love and the process of building techie goodness, and I'll continue to blog away about PowerShell, software development, and more!

 Update soon!

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Apex explosions

Fri, 06 Oct 2006 10:37:00 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2006/10/06/93364.aspx

The town of Apex, where I live, is on the front page of cnn.com this morning because of a series of explosions last night and early this morning at a hazardous waste plant. Everyone has been evacuated for a 1 mile radius, and my home sits about 3 miles west of the explosions.

I was at a tavern which got evacuated. You could smell the chemicals in the air, people were walking around with cloth over their faces trying not to breathe.

The last word is that the fire is still going, but there is no positive confirmation of this because nobody is there except the HazMat teams. Now the concern is the rain that we got this morning, and how that might effect ground water.

Update: Apparently air quality tests have turned up nothing horrible.  Water quality tests forthcoming.  I went ahead and bought a few gallons of water just in case.

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Kayaking on the Deep River

Mon, 09 Nov 2009 15:42:21 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2009/11/09/kayaking-on-the-deep-river.aspxIf you know of a better place to take-out of the Deep River at US1, I’d appreciate a note here.  :) Yesterday, my buddy Blake and I went out on a kayak adventure on the Deep River.  “Kayak”, because we took kayaks with us.  “Adventure” because it was very loosely planned and we figured if we ran into any trouble we’d just figure it out and deal with it.  Turned out we did run into some trouble and we did deal with it!  It was a ton of fun! We knew there was a take-out spot somewhere near the US1 bridge over the Deep River in Chatham County, and we knew there was a put-in spot somewhere near the 15-501 bridge (roughly 7 miles up river).  Unfortunately we couldn’t find an obvious take-out spot…there was one place, but it was below a spillway, and neither of us thought it would be fun to kayak over the spillway.  :)  We ended up driving around searching, but never found a place.  Finally we just decided we’d take-out before the spillway and drag the kayaks out the rest of the way (adventure #1).  Problem was…we’d spend so much time searching that now it was late enough in the day to worry about darkness.  We decided that we could make our way through the woods down the river in the dark with a mini-maglight that Blake had in his car (adventure #2).  :) With a plan in mind, we put in and headed down the river.  This section of the Deep River is wide, shallow (hah), slow, and rocky.  The river was beautiful, we saw ducks, cool birds, and a river otter that barely escaped our cameras.  It was a slow and steady paddle, with a few minor fast parts that were unfortunately slowed by running into underwater rocks we couldn’t see. Thankfully we got through one really slow-going rocky part just before dark.  Because it would have taken us forever to get through there in the complete dark.  Whew.  Now its complete dark.  We got to the spillway and couldn’t find a place to get out, but we’d met a stranger along the way who mentioned that he thought there was a way to paddle around the spillway.  We poked around and saw something, but by this point it was so dark we couldn’t really tell what anything was.  The mini-maglight was no good from more than a few feet away.  Then we saw someone elses flashlight beam ahead – it was the stranger.  They’d found a place to take-out off to the side, but couldn’t paddle around the spillway, unfortunately. The stranger dragged his kayak out through the woods to a nearby road where he was to be picked up.  We decided to walk around the spillway area and get back in the water somehow.  We may or may not have gotten into some sort of canal that ran alongside the river.  I don’t think we were supposed to be in it, but our options were limited.  We made it down to the US1 bridge, but now we needed to cross the river in order to get out!  In the dark, we managed to somehow climb out of our kayaks onto the steep bank of the canal, walk through the grass and woods to the river, and drop back into the river.  Visibility was about 6 or 7 feet I’d say, which made for a very interesting and spooky paddle adventure.   I said I felt like a native American on a night-time war raid, and he said he felt like a marine.  We decided we were native American marines, or something like that. Related links:  Deep River Trail – State Trail! http://www.triangleland.org/news/articles/2007/Powell%20tract.shtml, http://www.ncparks.gov/News/releases/release.php?id=20   Technorati Tags: Kayaking,Deep River,Chatham County [...]



No, &Registry.find_name;, we don't install anything else on your machine.

Wed, 10 Sep 2008 17:11:59 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2008/09/10/free-as2-connector---frequently-asked-questions.aspx

The FAQ at freeas2.com is funny.  :)  I love it when software companies put on this sort of laid back front.

Q: Spyware! You have some sort of spyware that accompanies your install. You're harvesting information about me, aren't you?

No, &Registry.find_name;, we don't install anything else on your machine.

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TwitterMinder and Flickr->Twitter scripts

Thu, 28 Aug 2008 17:58:30 GMT

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Lance/archive/2008/08/28/twitterminder-and-flickr-gttwitter-scripts.aspx

If you’re an RSSBus user who is using my Google Calendar –> Twitter or Flickr –> Twitter services, you might notice a minor change to both.  I changed Twitterminder so that tweets resulting from Google Calendar entries are prepended with “GCal: “.  I did the same thing with the Flickr->Twitter script, it will now prepend “Flickr: “.

Related: How to call these services from your own applications.
Related:  How I converted TwitterMinder into Flickr->Twitter by changing 4 lines of code.

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