Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Friday 31 October 2014

Well, the travel ambiguity resolved just a couple of minutes ago, and I'm now booked to Oslo, Norway next week. We're doing a site visit and writing the technical diligence report before we land back in Chicago about a week from right now.

This is unusual, but not unprecedented. We do technical diligences all over the world. And it's not really a problem for me personally, because I'd already planned to be in Los Angeles next week anyway. It's just rather farther than California.

Oh, and our site visit Wednesday starts at 8:30 am local time—which is 1:30 am in Chicago. I'm going to start banking my sleep in just a few minutes...

Friday 31 October 2014 15:48:50 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Travel | Work#

I mentioned yesterday that I may travel next week for a technical diligence. We've got our team ready to travel Monday, we've got our flights picked out (but not bought), we've got our agenda and our hotel, but we haven't got a signed work order. If that doesn't come by noon today, it's going to be very difficult to do this work.

I don't actually mind last-minute travel orders. But hearing a week out "be ready to travel" and then not knowing for certain makes it hard to schedule anything else.

Updates as the situation warrants.

Friday 31 October 2014 09:40:54 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Travel | Work#
Thursday 30 October 2014

For the record, I hate Hartsfield-Jackson airport. More specifically, I hate the people who are responsible for signage here.

Mostly, they forget to put up the last sign in a sequence, both inside and outside the airport. Say there's a turn, followed by a straight path, then a Y-shaped fork, then another straight path to the destination. At ATL, they'll have a sign telling you which way to make the first turn, a sign along the straight path, and then...nothing.

I know now what lies along every fork at the airport.

In other news, the diligence effort for next week looks extremely likely to take off. But yesterday at this time, I'd have said I was 95% certain of going to L.A. next week. So, you know, consulting.

Thursday 30 October 2014 08:39:00 EDT (UTC-04:00)  |  | Geography | Travel | Work#
Wednesday 29 October 2014

I did another technical diligence today. Obviously I can't comment on what company we looked at, why we looked at it, or even precisely where it is (though I can say I'm in Atlanta right now). I can say that this guy observed the whole process:

Also, I may have another diligence effort next week that is too cool to jinx by writing about. I'll find out in a couple of hours if it's going forward. Stay tuned.

Wednesday 29 October 2014 17:32:23 EDT (UTC-04:00)  |  | Travel | Work#
Tuesday 28 October 2014

American Airlines announced today the details of how it will absorb US Airways' Dividend Miles program into their A'Advantage program. Cranky Flyer calls it a smart hybrid:

American announced the details of the 2015 AAdvantage frequent flier program today, and I was given a sneak peek yesterday. The details of the new program are a big deal because it’s the first one that combines the old US Airways Dividend Miles and American AAdvantage programs. As expected all along, AAdvantage is the surviving program. While there are many things that will probably be addressed in future years, it’s the changes to the upgrade program that really caught my eye.

Earning and redeeming miles won’t change at this point, though I was told the usual “we’re always monitoring the market” line that means there could be future changes. The big changes here are around the elite program since US Airways and American had fairly different philosophies. Here’s a fairly useless chart I created to explain what’s happening.

The biggest actual change involves elite upgrades, and that is worth talking about.

US Airways today has a system like United’s and Delta’s. Elites all get unlimited domestic upgrades. That means the highest tier elites generally have good luck while the entry level elites struggle. This program will continue on US Airways until the airline joins American’s reservation system in late 2015. After that, we’ll see a hybrid approach.

The biggest non-change will be the passing of US Airway's 75,000-mile tier, which sucks for travelers like me. It's quite possible I'll hit about that level next year. On US Airways, that would bring new benefits. On American, nothing changes until you fly 100,000 miles. Since even with my appetite for aviation I'm still almost at my personal limit of traveling right now, I really don't want to fly enough to get to Executive Platinum.

In fact, I'm about to add another 1,200 miles to my account with a one-day trip to Atlanta, leaving...now.

Tuesday 28 October 2014 17:40:22 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Travel#

The New Republic yesterday declared the British men's suit to be the island's greatest invention:

We have to thank the members of the Romantic movement for the sober colors of suits. It was their love of the Gothic that put us in grey and black but the suit stuck. It said something and it meant something to men around the world; it said and meant so much that they would discard their local dress, the costumes of millennia, their culture and their link to their ancestors, to dress up like English insurance brokers. There is not a corner of the world where the suit is not the default clobber of power, authority, knowledge, judgement, trust and, most importantly, continuity. The curtained changing rooms of Savile Row welcome the naked knees of the most despotic and murderous, immoral and venal dictators and kleptocrats, who are turned out looking benignly conservative, their sins carefully and expertly hidden, like the little hangman’s loops under their lapels.

Every man imagines that he will turn his suit like a double agent, that it can be twisted to his will with irony or comedy, that the man can undermine its origins. Every chap thinks he’s a match for his suit and, every year, clever and witty designers offer a twist, a take, a rejig; but for over 200 years, the suit has remained impervious, maintained its bland menace, kept its implacable secrets uncreased. You think you wear the suit: the suit wears you. It is woven magic, necromancy, the black art that hides in plain sight. No one knows or can say what the spell of the suit is, or how it works, but still it exudes its inoffensive writ.

Sure, but hey, I look good in a suit.

Tuesday 28 October 2014 17:20:04 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Monday 27 October 2014

John Judis explains:

In 2014, about 46 percent of Hispanics are eligible to vote. The rest are not citizens or are under 18. By contrast, voter eligibility among whites is in the high seventy percent and among African Americans is in the low seventy percent range. The other factor is turnout. In 2012, only about 39 percent of eligible Hispanics voted compared to a little over sixty percent of Anglos and African-Americans. So in the 2012 election, and most likely in the 2014 election, in spite of Battleground’s considerable efforts, Anglo voters, who are likely to favor Republican candidates, will outnumber minority voters.

In 2020, a presidential election year, the numbers should look different. Minorities’ population edge should have increased, and eligibility among Hispanic voters, which has been growing, should be around 50 percent. I have tallied four scenarios for 2020. They show the conditions that would finally lead to a Democratic victory in 2020.

Finally, success in increasing Hispanic support for Democrats will depend on what Republicans in Texas and nationally do. In Texas, Republican governors have steered clear of the harsh rhetoric about “illegal aliens” that proliferates among many other Republicans. Abbott boasts a Latina wife. As a result, Texas Republican candidates for state office have gotten about 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, which has virtually assured their victory. This year, the Hispanic Bush, George P. Bush, is currently running for Land Commissioner, and if he becomes a leader of party, could keep many Hispanics voting for Republicans in state races.

That's not much consolation for Wendy Davis, who will probably not get elected governor next week. But maybe, in a few more years, she might.

Monday 27 October 2014 13:28:22 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#

The final score from my FitBit challenge over the weekend was: friend, 33,800; me, 37,800. Yesterday I gave Parker 3 hours of walks and also walked home from dinner instead of taking public transit or a Divvy, which got me almost to 23,800 steps (and 17.7 km) for the day.

There was a cost. My feet hurt, Parker was lethargic this morning, and I ate too much. And this week it's not likely I'll get 10,000 steps in every day this week because I've got an all-day meeting Wednesday. Which is probably a good thing, according to my feet and my dog.

Monday 27 October 2014 11:51:24 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Sunday 26 October 2014

A couple weeks ago I updated SourceTree and discovered I could no longer connect to my Bitbucket repositories through SSL. This is because of the Poodle defect in SSL 3.0. (I'll skip the explanation.) The failure looked like this:

In any event, the only Atlassian forum entry on the subject gave me only partial guidance.

The problem, which took me some time to uncover, turned out to be that I had Mercurial 2.7 lurking on my machine. Uninstalling it and SourceTree, then installing Mercurial 3.0 and re-installing SourceTree, fixed the bug.

This has been a public service blog post.

Sunday 26 October 2014 16:45:47 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Software#

Following a friend's example, I got a FitBit this week. The same friend has challenged me for the weekend, getting 15,300 steps to my 14,000 yesterday, and going hiking this afternoon. Ah, but I have a dog, you see. And the weather is perfect. So far today I've walked 15,400 steps (11.6 km), almost all of it with Parker, and we're about to go out for another walk.

Here's walk #1, this morning, in Lincoln Park:

And walk #2, at lunchtime, down the Lakefront Path:

I got my 15,000-step badge on Friday, my first full day with the thing. Today I'm aiming for 20,000. My friend is too. This will be close, I'm guessing...

Sunday 26 October 2014 15:36:07 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Parker#
Saturday 25 October 2014

The Nag's Head, Angel:

Coincidentally, this pub has the same name as my go-to pub when I lived in Hoboken, N.J., 15 years ago.

Saturday 25 October 2014 12:11:05 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Best Bars | London | Photography#
Friday 24 October 2014

I'm a little busy today, preparing for three different projects even though I can only actually do 1.5 of them. So as is common on days like this, I have a list of things I don't have time to read:

I really would have liked another week in London...

Friday 24 October 2014 12:59:53 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Geography | Kitchen Sink | US#
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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