Advanced travel Tip #65: How to survive the desk at the @Hampton Inn

Have you ever stayed at a Hampton Inn?  If so, chances are very good that you have run into their particularly perverse room floor plan.  Most of the Hampton properties I’ve visited have this floor plan so I assume it’s pretty standard.

The interesting aspect of this, to me at least, is that hotels in general have tried (half-heartedly) to embrace the business traveler.  Increasingly, they have desk-top power outlets, nightstand power outlets, audio-visual panels to hook the laptop into the TV, high-speed Internet access, comfortable desk chairs and so forth.  In fact, Hampton Inn has been adding these features lately, presumably to woo or simply retain business travelers.

But one gets the feeling that whoever laid out the floor plan has never actually lived and worked in the hotel.  If it were up to me, all hotel interior designers and management would be sentenced required to stay in the properties where they work.  Not just overnight, but for a week at a time.

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Stop the presses: @TWC admits incompetence

Today is a lucky day. Time to go buy a lottery ticket, I guess. Why, you ask? Because for the first time ever since I have been a Time Warner Cable customer, a Customer Support Rep was sorta, kinda honest. Yes, you heard that right. The CSR explained the crappy service in a way that made sense. He admitted it was their fault.

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Dear @Klout – A note about #security

Dear Klout,

Just because it’s on Schneier’s blog doesn’t mean it’s about security.  At least not directly.  You see, every Friday, Bruce links to something about squid.  The actual squishy kind that live in water.

The Schneier post to which you linked and suggested I share with my followers who are interested in security isn’t about securing squid, squid hacking into the network, government regulation of digital squid, anonymous squid, Schrodinger’s Squid, squid by obscurity, perfect-forward-secret squid, 2-factor authentication of squid, squid driving, dead-drop squid, Diffie and Hellman exchanging squid, proxy squid, TSA squid checkpoints, zero-knowledge proof of squid, the endian-ness of squid, algorithms for factoring large prime squid, the ethics of pirating Sponge Bob episodes featuring Squidly, hardware squid modules, whitelists of squid, BYOS, Fire Squid browser extensions, encryption of squid at rest, one-time squid, how to root your squid, squid-in-the-middle attacks, squid-based access control, 1st or 3rd party squid blocking, the Department of Homeland Squid, 4096 bits of squid, asymmetric pairs of squid, or even the nightmare of [shudder] advanced persistent squid.

It’s a post about cephalopods. Not Information Security.2014-02-16_11-34-45

If, as you say, “10% of your Twitter audience are interested in this topic,” which topic would that be?  Squid or security?  Because Bruce doesn’t actually provide any content in the post other than a link to a Ted Talk about giant squid.  If I thought my audience were interested in squid, I’d link directly to the Ted Talk rather than link to a security blog which links to the Ted Talk. Not everyone processes 2- and 3-order indirect references. Continue reading

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Small business frozen in Carbonite

Email from Carbonite. Again.

Email from Carbonite. Again.

Dear Carbonite,

I originally purchased the Carbonite Business service based on the strong recommendation of Leo LaPorte and the product’s ability to let me manage my own encryption keys.  Although this feature is advertised heavily on Leo’s various shows, it is not one that Carbonite recommends to its users.  In fact, although the install screen does not make it obvious at which point to save the user-managed key, it does walk the user through several dire warnings about using that particular feature. The installer GUI makes it very clear that if I manage my own key and lose it, Carbonite has no way to help me recover the key and I lose all my data.

But in a regulatory compliance environment, that’s not a bug. It’s a feature. It’s why I bought the service.

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The best book deal you’ve never heard of

Athena's Daughters

The folks over at Silence in the Library Publishing and a bunch of authors, including Gail Z. Martin who featured prominently in The Kindle Confiscation, have a little Kickstarter project going.  Having been blessed with way too much integrity and propriety, they describe the project as follows:

Athena’s Daughters is a collection of short speculative fiction by some of the industry’s best female authors.

This anthology features stories written by women about women.

I, on the other hand, have no such boundaries and am free to describe the project somewhat differently:  Holy crap, you won’t believe how many cool books, stories, art and music you get for a measly $5!

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La Cage Nut aux Folles

Cage nuts

Cage nuts

Apparently I’ve been in IT too long because it doesn’t sound at all weird to me when I say something like “I’m supposed to get cage nuts with this.”  My wife, on the other hand, thought it was some new fetish she’d never heard of.  Problem is, it took a while before we realized we were having two completely different conversations.

“What are cage nuts?”

At this point I’m thinking “Wow, she’s showing an interest in my work!  Maybe she relates better to hardware than to software.  I should have tried talking to her about this sooner.”

After 30 years I should know better but I keep thinking prolonged exposure to me will eventually pique her curiosity about something, anything, in my world.  She wants to know about server enclosures? Great!  I’ll happily explain.

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Jim’s Acts Of Random Kindness Day 2013

One of my favorite Facebook pages is Everyone Matters.  Their message is very much in keeping with my Big Us philosophy and I visit the page often to read and contribute stories about people coming together in large and small ways to help each other and make the world better.  It was on this page that I read a posting about Jim and his Acts Of Random Kindness Day.  He decided for his birthday that he would perform an act of random kindness for each year he’d been alive.  He created the Facebook page to celebrate and then friends and strangers began to pile on.

I decided to double-down on his strategy.  I posted a story a a recent act of kindness I performed for a stranger and decided to do another one in Jim’s honor.  This blog post is that second act of kindness which I’m performing for Jim, who is a total stranger but wants to make the world a better place and that’s good enough for me.  Please go to Jim’s Acts Of Random Kindness Day on Facebook and like the page or post your story.  Let’s blow Jim and the world away with the amount of response a simple good will gesture can generate.

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