Absurdity

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Sadly all too common airline crap

Great video on youtube from a guy detailing 7 hours stuck on the tarmac at JFK waiting to take off for Dallas. All big corporates (not just airlines) must hate the ease with which you can now record/document in real time your experiences and shove them up for the world to see.

On the whole I have been very lucky with airport/airline experiences – no real disasters just a lot of aggravations. But, there was one time when I was stuck on the tarmac at Washington Dulles on my way to Miami when they rolled us off from the gate and then just held us on the tarmac for a couple of hours. The reason was because of thunder and the edge of a hurricane coming up from the south – presumably something they well knew about way before we set foot on the plane – anyway there was some problem that meant they had to switch off the air conditioning and although it was spanking down with rain the humidity was just incredible. Not great with screaming kids and a packed plane.

Later, I learnt it was something to do with their take off stats that they have to push off from the gates. But the thing that got to us was the same as the guy in this video – simply the degree to which the airline was prepared to so obviously bullshit us. Nobody likes to be treated like an idiot especially when they are paying for the privilege.

Anyway, this guy was far more patient than I would have been. Especially, like the bit where they say the captain is the terminal when he was clearly still in Newark. Oh, and its alright for the crew to leave the plane but fuck the passengers stuck with no food etc for 7 hours. And, I don’t even want to know what the bathrooms were like on a static plane full of kids after 7 hours.

Filed under: Absurdity, Airports, Daily Life

You do have to wonder about just how dumb people are

Like this post at the ever amusing Broken TV describing some ‘we’ll text baby names to you’ at quid fifty a go for six months deal advertised on UK TV. You might say ‘who on earth would do that?’ but apparently the answer would be ‘loads!’. Think Broken TV guy has a point about questioning evolution after reading this piece.

Filed under: Absurdity, TV etc.

iPhone queue service for $1,000

My friend Justin just sent me this link to an advert on CraigsList from someone offering to wait in line for the iPhone from Thursday afternoon for $1,000 in cash (phone not included!!!). Think they may have to start a little earlier than that!. According to the Apple staff I spoke to this morning it seems there are some very crazy and obsessed people out there.

Filed under: Absurdity, Apple

The Apple ultra portable

As much as I would like an iphone the Apple product I am most hanging out for is the rumoured 10 to 12″ Mac Book Pro.

I travel with a 12″ Powerbook and will do until Apple replace it. I had a 15″ Powerbook for a while and it was very nice and everything but when it came to the things that matter when traveling the 12″ version had it beat. It has the best form factor; weighs appreciably less; you can use it on even the most cramped plane and I get passing 4 hours or so from each of my two batteries.

And, I am not alone I meet people in airport bars; by the gate etc who say they will keep theirs going with sticking tape if they have to. This is evidenced by the very strong second hand prices for the 12″ Powerbook – in some cases you could walk into the Apple Store and buy a new Macbook for much the same money.

It is a long way from the fastest machine in the world but for me that is not so important. I have brand new beast of a mac for all the heavy lifting. On the road my machine needs to download email; browse the web; serve as music/film provider on long journeys and run presentations. All of which it still does more than adequately.

Anyway, in the midst of all the hoopla about the iphone the story that I actually picked out as of most interest was Samsung starting to produce 1.8 inch 64 gb flash drives. Hopefully bringing a flash based; led screen ultra portable Mac Book Pro just that little bit nearer.

In the meantime my constant companion will just have to press on for a little longer.

My Powerbook

Filed under: Apple

Crazy for that iphone

Had to go to the 5th Avenue Apple Store this morning at 5.30 am. Now, I would like an iphone the same as the next person. Not because I’m thinking its going to change the world or anything but simply because a phone that has features you can actually use beyond the two day period when you kid yourself that your new phone will work with your email would be very handy indeed. And proper syncing with my mac wouldn’t go amiss either.

Anyway, at 5.30am on the Tuesday morning before the 6pm Friday launch these two guys are already in line. I don’t even want to think about the personal hygiene issues come Friday. But anyway they are doing it. Crazy.

iphone queue

iphone coming

Filed under: Absurdity, Apple

Incompetence of airports (and Heathrow especially)

Just read this article in USA Today about how much stress is caused to people who simply need to change planes at Heathrow. It is a common complaint that you hear all the time. It beggars belief the sheer incompetence you see at Heathrow. And the excuses they come out with are just incredible. They have had literally years to get this sorted and yet still you go through and sometimes half the machines are not even in use. Any new requirement causes chaos as their system breaks every single time.

And the bloody attitude you get from the staff! I can’t begin to tell you some of the stuff that has been said to me. They seem to have the idea that they are doing you some kind of massive favour instead of having the faintest idea that you are in fact a customer who is paying through the nose for the shambles.

Maybe, they will come to understand that we do have a choice as more and more of the people I speak to say they make a conscious decision to change in Amsterdam; Frankfurt or Paris. If Heathrow can’t sort itself out and treat those who have to use its services with some kind of understanding and respect then all that transit business; all the money spent in the shops and bars; all those hotel bills for layovers will move elsewhere – permanently.

Personally, the most shambolic example I have come across in the UK is Luton airport. Partly, I think because you have a lot of people using it who don’t travel regularly and don’t understand how it works these days so they never leave enough time. So, the queue for the gates etc is always full of people who have to push in in order to catch their plane. The queues at peak times to go through security are just a nightmare and to add salt into the wound there are always many of the x-ray machines just laying idle.

Anyway, none of this is to say that it is only the UK airports that are having problems. It is just they are especially bad and bloody rude with it! And, I wonder about the need for some of the security. If I have passed security in one airport why do I have to go through passport control again whilst still in transit. I can’t go anywhere in the meantime? Few days ago, en route to the US I had to go through full security to get to the gate at Stockholm airport. I then land in Amsterdam and to get to my gate for my Minneapolis flight I then have to go through passport control again. This was chaos with lots of people screaming they were going to miss their flight. You get some idea of the chaos in the shot below. This is all with only 50 minutes to change  planes and the gates being at almost opposite ends of the airport.

Passport control

Then when I eventually get to the gate. You have to present your passport; itinerary and boarding card and queue to be interviewed by representatives of US homeland security about what you’re doing/why you’re going/what you have in your bag etc etc.

All this crap that is part of air travel in 2007 must be having such an effect on business. I know people who now will only travel to some places when they absolutely have no choice. And, just simply on a straight time basis it has got really out of hand as you have to get to the airports earlier and earlier just to be sure you will get on your plane. You then spend large portions of your time simply queuing  instead of working. The collective cost of all this must be horrendous. Surely, there must be a better way?

Filed under: Absurdity, Airports

Publishing in Ireland

As a company based in Ireland we obviously have an interest in the Irish publishing industry. This post by the ever excellent Eoin Purcell makes a lot of interesting points.

Will be at Eoin’s company Mercier Press in Cork in the middle of this month. So, if you are an Irish publisher and would like to meet and review the most comprehensive and by some margin the most affordable publishing software available anywhere then just drop me a line and I will organise.

Filed under: Publishing

Nielsen updates Onix guidelines

Nielsen Onix Guidelines

Click the link above to download the latest Nielsen Bookdata Onix guidelines. I haven’t had the opportunity to go through in any detail as yet but will comment on the differences in the next day or so.

Filed under: Onix, Publishing

The same Onix issues

 Industrial Press

Spent part of the day yesterday at Industrial Press here in Manhattan. They have been a client for a good few years and are getting to grips with their title information as they now have a requirement to send Onix to their trading partners. A lot of the same issues came up about how difficult it is to (in a matter of a few weeks) deal with decades of title information and just how confusing the advice is from the trading partners such as Barnes & Noble et al.

Surely, it is in the interests of the recipients of Onix files to try and make their requirements as clear and consistent as possible. A relatively simple task you would have thought ?

Also, and this is a fairly consistent complaint that I hear – it would great if some of these trading partners could reply to queries in a more timely manner with many of the emails that get forwarded to me having taken anything up to a couple of months to recieve a reply.

Filed under: Onix, Publishing

5th July e4books London

Will be in London exhibiting at the e4books event at RIBA in London on the 5th of July. If you would like to book some time then please do not hesitate to drop me a line and we can organise for you.

More details from the BIC/e4books website.

Filed under: Publishing, Technology

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