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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Traveling Internationally?

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Don’t forget your Cell Phone!

cell phone

Do you travel internationally a few days a month? Do you hate paying your cell phone company for a month-long plan that you only need for a few days? As the saying goes, “The times they are a changin’.” Cell phone companies are finally realizing that in order to make their customers happy they need to be more flexible and accommodating – without costing a fortune. Is really important to have a cellphone in case of an emergency, like when you call 911 if someone suffers an overdose, to prevent substance abuse and drug addiction remember to visit this article https://www.discoverynj.org/multiple-drugs-in-drivers-system-when-crashed-and-killed-his-passenger/. Most cell phone carriers are going to a pay-by-the day plan. So instead of paying for a whole month of international coverage you only have to pay for the few days you are actually going to be outside of the U.S. This is going to save some people a whole lot of money! If you are planning going on vacation or travel then Visit Blue Mountain Hotels!

If you travel outside of the U.S. this is a must read article regarding your cell phone and new plans that are becoming available. http://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-lets-you-pack-your-smartphone-plan-for-trips-abroad/#ftag=CAD590a51e

The Maintenance Summit and Travel Tips: There’s an App for That

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(Editor’s Note: As we close in on the beginning of the 6th Annual Oracle Maintenance Summit in Nashville, TN (March 26-29th), I thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to our own Tina Thames.  Besides being an outstanding PeopleSoft consultant, Tina is gained fame in MIPRO for knowing “there’s an app for that”.  While all MIPRO Consulting consultants are travel savvy, I asked Tina to share some of her travel favorite travel-related smartphone apps that might make your journey to Nashville a little easier. )

Have a smartphone? Your travel is about to get easier.

Does this sound familiar?

It’s Monday morning.  You’re running late for the airport and you’re sitting in your office going through emails trying to find and print various flight, car and hotel reservation confirmations.  You stick them in your briefcase and make a mad dash for the airport.  As you board your plane, you find out that your window seat – has no window, AND the seat doesn’t recline.  Fast forward to the end of the day and you find yourself standing outside the client office, in the pouring rain, without a cab in sight!

Well frazzled road warrior, there’s a better way!  Check out some of these mobile phone applications and websites to make your life on the road much easier:

TripIt! 

This mobile phone application allows you to consolidate all of your travel reservations/confirmation by trip for easy access.  All you do is forward your email confirmations to the TripIt application (to an email address it creates for you) and it builds them into itineraries based on dates — including maps and directions from the airport to your hotel!  Upgrade to the proversion and track all of your membership rewards in one place. This is a go-to app for me.

SeatGuru.com 

This isn’t an app, per se, but you should check out SeatGuru.com for a review of every seat, on every plane by airline.  Does a seat require frequent flyer status?  Is there a power outlet near your seat?  A quick stop on this website and you’ll easily find what you need to know to pick that optimum seat.

TaxiMagic 

This application takes the hassle out of finding a cab in a new city.  Simply select your city and a list of taxi companies appear.  In larger cities,  the app lets you directly integrate to the company’s dispatch system to book your cab, track the arrival of your taxi, charge the ride to your credit card  — and it even emails you a receipt.  In smaller cities it will connect you directly to the cab company to make a reservation over the phone. If you’re not renting a car or surrendering yourself to mass transit, this app is a lifesaver.

These are three on which I rely heavily when I’m about to hit the road. There are tons of travel apps, some more useful than others. What are your favorites?

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 10/21/11

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Stories from Italy, Vol. 2

I had a chance to spend a day in Cortona, which aside from being medieval and kinda scary at night, I found to be insanely awesome. I could write an entire travel guide (where by entire I mean ‘laughably incomplete’) about the city, but instead I will just riff on some stuff I found very cool.

Parking outside of Cortona is a must, because (a) it’s a walled city and entrance is precarious, and (b) the roads are narrow and on brutal grades, so you have to be crazy, very skilled or very Italian to attempt it. So, after I parked outside of this landmark city, I strolled up to the city gates only to see this black Ferrari F430 sitting there waiting for me.

Like a dumb American tourist, the first thing I did was not coolly walk by the car, realizing it was nothing horribly special in Italy, but instead drop to my knees, paw around for my iPhone, and sweatily take about a dozen pictures of the beast. People were staring at me. I’m pretty sure I was moments away from being arrested. I was surprised I wasn’t spit on. Regardless, look at this piece of art:

One thing I was told about Italy is, “Don’t be a dummy and spend a lot on wine. Their table wine is cheap and way better than many bottles. I am telling you this because you are a dummy.”

They weren’t lying. Whenever I got wine, I asked for their house table wine in either super-slow English or horribly slaughtered Italian. And every time, I was brought this, and it was absolutely fantastic.

Doesn’t look like much, does it? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. This is a jug of pure Italian awesome, which I believe they call Chianti or Montepulciano or Brunello or something, and it blows away nearly every fancy-pants bottle of wine you ever considered buying from SkyMall. So get that look off your face, mister.

Speaking of wine, the Italians have not only figured out how to incorporate wine into dessert, but they’ve also figured out a way to dip cookies into it and have it not taste like roofing tar. What you see below is a traditional Italian dessert called vinsanto al biscotti, which translates roughly into ‘holy wine with biscuits’. What’s floating around is what’s left of the biscuits after I devoured them like a wild dog, all the while proclaiming how this might be the best dessert I’ve ever had. The best part was watching an entire table watch me take a picture of a nearly-empty glass with crumbs floating around in it. You guys can thank me later for being such an obnoxious representative of American culture. I did our stereotype proud.

Finally, walking back to my car, I came across a used battery bucket in a nondescript Cortona street corner. Why? Don’t you mean WHY NOT? They have cookies you dip in sweet wine, for crying out loud! Why wouldn’t they have a used battery bucket?

I know you’re plowing through this post to get to the links, so here you go, you patient warrior, you:

Apple predicted Siri 24 years ago, showcasing a concept they then called Knowledge Navigator. The crazy thing? In 24-year-old, they predicted 2011 would be the year it became reality. Two weeks ago, Apple announced Siri. How’s that for vision?

Apple has created a page to share all of the stories and comments they received in the wake of Steve Jobs’ passing. You can view it here.

The world’s first malaria vaccine works in major trial.

Everything has been done, so give up now.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 10/14/11

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Stories from Italy, Vol. 1

The big difference between Italian and American drivers is that Italian drivers are competent and Americans decidedly less so which is why America has a higher need for auto lawyers. The second difference is that Italian roadways don’t suffer idiots.

Let me explain.

On the Italian superstrade and autostrade — Italy’s two major highway classifications — there’s a system. The speed limits are 90 KPH and 130 KPH respectively. Speed is monitored by stationary cameras, which anyone with a decent GPS will know are coming well before they can get you. These speed checkpoints only serve as quaint suggestions to slow Italian drivers down for mere seconds, after which they resume their meteoric and extremely competent driving.

What you never see in Italy is a driver totally spacing out in the left-hand lane, futzing with their cell phone and Starbucks 96 oz. extra-whip Frappucino in their Escalade while driving well under the speed limit and swerving across two lanes. Those drivers are killed and eaten by Italy’s subtle gene-pool enhancement strategy. More on that in a second.

Italy’s left-hand lane is the crux of its automotive organization. If you’re going too slow in the left lane — and let’s be clear, you are — Italian drivers in their turbodiesel BMWs and Audis and Mercedes and Alfa Romeos will race up to your tail, stop literally inches away, and wait for you to move over. If you don’t, I suspect they would just ram you out of the way, but I didn’t test this theory. I did get shoved aside by faster drivers about 330,000 times, however. Once you’re shoved aside, there’s no gesticulation or middle finger or even angry stare — they just fly past you with a practiced efficiency.

It’s awesome to behold. The entire driving culture is a meritocracy: if you’re slow, move over and let the faster drivers pass. Signs are minimal, but they make perfect sense once you understand them. Speed limits aren’t posted every 500 feet so an ADD-addled brain can remember how fast it should be going; they only post speed limit signs when it changes from one value to another. The rest of the time, they assume you know what you’re doing. They do not cater to those who don’t or might not. If you don’t, too bad, good luck, thanks for playing.

And the curvy roads in hillside towns and the mountains? Not for the faint of heart. More than once, I found myself driving tight ess-curves and even legit hairpins on mountain ledges, off of which one would plummet over 500 feet to the Italian gulch of genetically less-than-gifted drivers. The best part? Through these mountain curves, where most Americans (including yours truly) slow down to a ridiculous pace, Italian drivers whip around them, car leaning wildly, with utter calmness. Italians seem to be more in touch with their cars, whereas most Americans white-knuckle the doorhandle the second the car starts to lean heavily into a turn. To us, it’s an emergency; to them, it’s just another thing their car does.

Finally: there are no shoulders on the highways in Italy. NONE. If you zone out on the autostrade at 130+ KPH, you have what I’m guessing is six inches max before you nail the steel girder road boundary and grind your rental Panda into a lawn statue. No margin for error whatsoever, and that’s probably why the Italian drivers are so good — the bad ones don’t last.

So, yeah.  Some links for you:

The iPhone 4S has been announced. There’s a lot of whining that it’s not an ‘iPhone 5’, but the internals are 100% new. Would there be this much chagrin if the new 4S was called the 5?  Or if it had a new housing? Phones are all about the internals, and the 4S is cutting-edge. I don’t get it.

How to get a decent meal at a bad restaurant.

Whatever happened to the iPad rivals of 2010?  Here’s a (mostly) sad retrospective.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

‘It’s not about getting somewhere. It’s about getting to someone.’

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“Are you Mark? We held the plane for you and we’re so sorry about the loss of your grandson,” the pilot reportedly said. “They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”

This is what an unnamed Southwest Airlines pilot told a grieving grandpa whose grandson had just been murdered by his daughter’s live-in boyfriend.  The grandpa was flying to see the child one last time before the boy was taken off life support and his organs donated.

The pilot knew of the grandpa’s plight and decided to hold an entire plane full of angry customers so the grandfather would make the flight.  The grandpa was delayed at the airport due to security and baggage checks, despite arriving two hours before his flight.

It’s easy in this age of scanners, security pat-downs and monolithic, uncaring airline companies to forget that sometimes, the employees get frustrated too.  They’re human, doing a job just like the rest of us.

The pilot who decided to hold his plane for the grandpa did so on his own volition, against company policy, knowing full well Southwest would receive complaint calls about what he did.

He didn’t care.

Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t the prescription in the policy handbook.  Sometimes the right thing is, well…the right thing.

In our business, we deal a lot with folks traveling all over the world to and from clients, and we certainly have our share of frustrating travel stories.  We also have stories of people stepping above and beyond to help ease someone’s particular situation.

As a company, we pride ourselves on always ‘doing the right thing’, even if it means we leave money on the table or having to have the difficult conversation.  It’s been part of our management culture since we started it back in 2005.

It’s only January, but already this Southwest Pilot is a frontrunner for the most inspiring hero of 2011.

I just wanted to get the word out about him, because he did what a good human would do, not what his guidelines told him.

Oh, and the kicker to it all?  When Southwest Airlines was approached about the pilot’s decision, they said they are ‘proud’ of their pilot.

Imagine that.  A company with a backbone who respects someone doing the right thing.

Kudos, Southwest.

(Thx Larry)

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management) and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More news posts.

Red Eye

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Christoph Niemann presents a wonderful sketch diary documenting a red eye flight from New York to Berlin (with a snazzy layover in London).

takeoff

See it all here.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More posts about various oddities.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 2/19/10

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Before we get to the links, one reminder: if you use PeopleSoft Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) or are considering it, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to attend the Oracle Maintenance Summit. This event is being held on March 9-10 in Redwood Shores, CA, and has 117 companies and nearly 300 attendees so far. If EAM is in your plans this year, you simply won’t find a better community-driven networking and discussion event than this. Full stop. I know travel budgets might still be tight, but this will be worth it if EAM is on your radar.

That said, here’s the best the Internet had to offer this week. I doubt you’ll disagree.

Speaking of tight travel, The NYTimes Frugal Traveler blog has a detailed piece on how to find the cheapest flights online amidst the myriad travel sites, plans and choices. EAM tire-kickers, take heed!

A conversation I have every month or so. Fellow iPhone users, this is our pickle.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Marianas Trench, the deepest recorded part of the ocean just off the coast of Japan. I think of this 36,000 ft. deep trench as a sort of inverted, underwater Mount Everest, and I remember watching a PBS special when I was a kid in which a giant white ‘sea spider’ was found in the trench, and it was 8′ tall and ghostly and grotesque and otherworldly. The potential for horrifying sea monsters and undiscovered species aside, the vast, crushing depth of it is actually mind boggling. How mind boggling? This much. Note the infinitesimal dot sitting atop the water. That’d be you.

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