Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
I am a traveler. Not your average traveler either. I am an inquisitive traveler – dare I say a “professional” traveler. A traveler always looking for new ways to enhance my journeys whether they are for business or pleasure, so at the beginning of my most recent trip when I went online at delta.com to check-in, I was surprised to see an advertisement about the ability use your PDA or Smartphone as your boarding pass.
When I saw this my thoughts immediately shifted to my Nokia E61i as I wondered if this new capability – nay opportunity – Delta was touting on their web site was real, would even work in the current travel environment and how the heck I would get through the TSA security screening process using my PDA. Naturally I decided to test out the system and attempt my first paperless trip.
First off I went to mobile.delta.com on my Smartphone and checked into my flight. The interface Delta provides is simple and familiar to those that travel with them often. Simply select “Check-in”, enter your SkyMiles number, pin, select the options such as bags to check and it is off to the races. The next thing you see is a boarding pass with a strange looking bar code and all the information you would need to find your flight. Now, let the fun begin!
When this maverick of travel entered the doors of the South Terminal there was a Mexican standoff with the agent standing in the door. She had no idea about paperless boarding passes. I decided to head problems off at the pass and got a paper ticket from the kiosk as backup. Afterwards I approached my endearing nemesis and bantered with her about “electronic boarding passes”. I decided to educate her by showing her my own and she was impressed. At the same time my expectations dropped down to about the same level I have for airplane food.
Now I was approaching the South Security Checkpoint at Hartsfield thinking in my mind I’d have a better chance of winning at Keno than having anyone even know what the heck I was trying to do with my new fangled technology – let alone a government employee. My confidence plunged to a new low. As I approached the first TSA agent I handed her my identification and my PDA, she immediately said, “I hate these things” – darn government employees I thought to myself, but wait – she quickly handed me back my Nokia and requested I scan the barcode over a black box with a red light just to her left. I did and nothing happened. She then directed me to hold it lower, which really meant closer.
My skepticism began to fade as I headed to the Crown Room ready to have a celebratory drink before my flight. Next thing I knew my flight was boarding and I moved like O.J. through the teaming crowds to my gate. I stepped to the boarding agent with my “pass” in hand. I showed it to her and she directed me to scan it. I did, but this time it didn’t work. Well technically it did work because I had been upgraded and it alerted the agent that they had already printed out a new paper ticket for me. Score one for Delta! I boarded the flight content and impressed that the system had worked, the processes to allow it work had been modified, and the people I encountered where it mattered knew in advance about the system and how to operate it.
With my skepticism abated I tried the system again, this time with mixed results in
Overall my experience with the new system was actually much better than I anticipated. I would give it a “C” only because of my experience in
Would I do it again? Absolutely – and I think within the next 3 years this innovative program that utilizes the technology most savvy travelers already consider common for personal and business communications will become so ubiquitous the paper ticket will become obsolete. So obsolete that airlines will expand their ala carte pricing models for things like baggage and fuel surcharges to include providing us a paper ticket. Okay, that is a joke – but tell me you couldn’t envision it?
In closing, kudos to Delta for having the chutzpah and foresight to transform the travel experience once again in a positive way – and for the upgrades. Now if we could just convince them to provide their new Wi-Fi service on all flights for free!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Today, the American Poker Invitational (API) family lost two people close to us. First we found out about the passing of Tammy Oliver's father, who I did not know, but feel badly for Tammy, Paul, her family and close friends. After losing my father as an adult I know the pain and wrenching anguish of losing one's parent. But wait, as if G-d had a bad sense of humor tonight when I arrived at The Tavern I learned that a person that inspired me to become a better poker player, a walking storybook, former player of the year, 2007 Team API Member that represented us at the WSOP and tournament director had passed away as well. We will miss you Jon Atkins. That sense of humor, the stories and the hijinks's now live within us as we mourn your passing.
G-d speed to you both. You are in our thoughts, prayers and your memories will live on in the hearts of all that knew you.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Here is a little something someone sent me that is indisputable mathematical logic. It also made me Laugh Out Loud.
This is a strictly mathematical viewpoint...it goes like this:
What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?
Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%
2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%
AND, look how far Ass Kissing will take you.
1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%
So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
"As many of you now know, Gerry McNamara was on US Airways Flight 1549 last week. We caught up with him to discuss the harrowing incident and present his stirring account:
Thursday was a difficult day for all of us at the firm and I left the Park Avenue office early afternoon to catch a cab bound for
Just prior to boarding I finished up a conference call with my associate, Jenn Sparks, and our placement, the CIO of United Airlines. When I told him that I was about to board a US Airways flight, we all had a little fun with it.
I remember walking on the plane and seeing a fellow with grey hair in the cockpit and thinking "that's a good thing... I like to see grey hair in the cockpit!"
I was seated in 8F, on the starboard side window and next to a young business man. The
I had started to point out items of interest to the gentleman next to me when we heard a terrible crash - a sound no one ever wants to hear while flying - and then the engines wound down to a screeching halt.
10 seconds later, there was a strong smell of jet fuel. I knew we would be landing and thought the pilot would take us down no doubt to
Next thing we heard was "Brace for impact!" - a phrase I had heard many years before as an active duty Marine Officer but never before on a commercial air flight. Everyone looked at each other in shock. It all happened so fast we were astonished!
We began to descend rapidly and it started to sink in. This is the last flight. I'm going to die today. This is it. I recited my favorite bible verse, the Lord's Prayer, and asked God to take care of my wife, children, family and friends.
When I raised my head I noticed people texting their friends and family.... getting off a last message. My blackberry was turned off and in my trouser pocket, no time to get at it. Our descent continued and I prayed for courage to control my fear and help if able.
I quickly realized that one of two things was going to happen, neither of them good. We could hit by the nose, flip and break up, leaving few if any survivors, bodies, cold water, fuel. Or we could hit one of the wings and roll and flip with the same result. I tightened my seat belt as tight as I could possibly get it so I would remain intact.
As we came in for the landing, I looked out the windows and remember seeing the buildings in
It was a violent hit - the water flew up over my window - but we bobbed up and were all amazed that we remained intact.
There was some panic - people jumping over seats and running towards the doors, but we soon got everyone straightened out and calmed down. There were a lot of people that took leadership roles in little ways. Those sitting at the doors over the wing did a fantastic job, they were opened in a
I exited on the starboard side of the plane, 3 or 4 rows behind my seat through a door over the wing and was, I believe, the 10th or 12th person out. I took my seat cushion as a flotation device and once outside saw I was the only one who did.. none of us remembered to take the yellow inflatable life vests from under the seat.
We were standing in 6-8 inches of water and it was freezing. There were two women on the wing, one of whom slipped off into the water. Another passenger and I pulled her back on and had her kneel down to keep from falling off again. By that point we were totally soaked and absolutely frozen from the icy wind.
The ferries were the first to arrive, and although they're not made for rescue, they did an incredible job. I know this river, having swum in it as a boy. The
The first ferry boat pulled its bow up to the tip of the wing, and the first mate lowered the Jacobs ladder down to us. We got a couple of people up the ladder to safety, but the current was strong pushing the stern of the boat into the inflatable slide and we were afraid it would puncture it. There must have been 25 passengers in it by now. Only two or three were able to board the first ferry before it moved away.
Another ferry came up, and we were able to get the woman that had fallen into the water on the ladder, but she just couldn't move her legs and fell off. Back onto the ladder she went; however, the ferry had to back away because of the swift current. A helicopter arrived on station (nearly blowing us all off the wing) and followed the ferry with the woman on the ladder. We lost view of the situation but I believe the helicopter lowered its basket to rescue her.
As more ferries arrived, we were able to get people up on the boats a few at a time. The fellow in front of me fell off the ladder and into the water. When we got him back on the ladder he could not move his legs to climb. I couldn't help him from my position so I climbed up the ladder to the ferry deck where the first mate and I hoisted the Jacobs ladder with him on it. When he got close enough we grabbed his trouser belt and hauled him on deck. We were all safely off the wing.
We could not stop shaking. Uncontrollable shaking. The only thing I had with me was my blackberry, which had gotten wet and was not working. (It started working again a few hours later).
The ferry took us to the Weehawken Terminal in NJ where I borrowed a phone and called my wife to let her know I was okay. The second call I made was to Jenn. I knew she would be worried about me and could communicate to the rest of the firm that I was fine. At the terminal, first responders assessed everyone's condition and sent people to the hospital as needed. As we pulled out of
I am struck by what was truly a miracle. Had this happened a few hours later, it would have been pitch dark and much harder to land. Ferries would no longer have been running after rush hour and it would not have been the same uplifting story. Surely there would have been fatalities, hypothermia, an absolute disaster!
I witnessed the best of humanity that day. I and everyone on that plane survived and have been given a second chance. It struck me that in our work we continuously seek excellence to solve our client's leadership problems. We talk to clients all the time about the importance of experience and the ability to execute.
Experience showed up big time on Flight 1549 as our pilot was a dedicated, trained, experienced professional who executed flawlessly when he had to.
I have received scores of emails from across the firm and I am so grateful for the outpouring of interest and concern. We all fly a great deal or work with someone who does and so I wanted to share this story - the story of a miracle. I am thankful to be here to tell the tale.
There is a great deal to be learned including: Why has this happened to me? Why have I survived and what am I supposed to do with this gift? For me, the answers to these questions and more will come over time, but already I find myself being more patient and forgiving, less critical and judgmental.
For now I have 4 lessons I would like to share:
1. Cherish your families as never before and go to great lengths to keep your promises.
2. Be thankful and grateful for everything you have and don't worry about the things you don't have.
3. Keep in shape. You never know when you'll be called upon to save our own life, or help someone else save theirs.
4. When you fly, wear practical clothing. You never know when you'll end up in an emergency or on an icy wing in flip flops and pajamas and of absolutely no use to yourself or anyone else."
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Much has been made of the "hero" of US Airways Flight 1549 that crash landed into the Hudson River after departing New Yorks La Guardia Airport. Let me first say that I agree Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III did a fine job with all the things a commercial pilot should do when his aircraft is in trouble, but with so many people labeling him alone the "hero" it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Why? Because as a pilot and a frequent traveler on commercial aircraft I recognize that the entire crew - and not just one person - are the heroes of this episode. It is assumed Captain Sullenberger was flying, but he has not confirmed that nor has the NTSB investigation proved it out yet and flying is only one aspect of aircraft operation. What about his Second in Command? What was his role? Most people don't even seem to realize that are two pilots in the cockpit - so yes, there were actually two pilots of US Airways 1549. Want to bet you cannot name the the other one?
Also, what about the flight attendants that apparently did such a splendid job of getting the passengers ready for the crash landing, out of the aircraft onto rafts and wings so that they could be rescued? In typical media fashion there has been a sensationalizing of the Captains role and a diminishing of the rest of the crew and it is a shame.
Here is a list of all the heroes. The crew members of US Airways Flight 1549 were:
Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, III - Age 58, joined US Airways (PSA Airlines) in 1980. He has a total of 19,663 flights hours.
First officer Jeffrey B. Skiles - Age 49, joined US Airways (USAir) in 1986. He has a total of 15,643 flight hours.
Flight attendant, Shelia Dail - Age 57, joined US Airways (Piedmont Airlines) in 1980 and has more than 28 years experience with the airline.
Flight attendant, Doreen Welsh - Age 58, joined US Airways (Allegheny Airlines) in 1970 and has more than 38 years experience with the airline.
Flight attendant, Donna Dent - Age 51, joined US Airways (Piedmont Airlines) in 1982 and has more than 26 years experience with the airline.
Our safety when flying a commercial airliner is a group effort, so in my opinion labeling one person a "hero" before all the facts are in does a major disservice to the entire crew and the publics understanding of each crew members role in their safety. Think about that next time you fly.
Friday, January 23, 2009
As the President of APPA I play various API venues to get to know the players and support the venues, but I will at times also go outside of API to sample other leagues games 3 or 4 times a year so I am informed when making recommendations about the future of APPA.
Last Monday after my weekly tennis drills I headed up to Canton to check out another leagues game at Jocks and Jill's and came in 3rd, winning $10 house cash. It is funny how I always seem to do well when I play in other tournaments outside API since I have no preconceived notions about how the players will act and revert back to my core solid / aggressive with switch ups as needed.
Today I received a blast email from the other league (into my alias email account) telling me that Jocks and Jills in Canton is no longer in business* (oh well - so much for my $10 house cash and their game), but this reminds me that in the current economic environment how important it is for us as players to support (read spend money with) the venues that we frequent.
As the old saying goes, nothing in life is free and the same goes for free poker. There is a cost to the venue, the league and you to keep our games viable and active at each of the venues API brings to the table. Venues will change from time to time due to the competitiveness of league poker in the Atlanta Area, the needs and desires of venues, and the support from the players, but for my money you can't find any better league to get you ready for the "big tournament" than API.
*NOTE: I could not contact anyone at Jocks and Jill's Canton location to confirm it was closed and when I contacted their corporate office I was told they were unaware of the closing and to contact the owner Michael Holiday directly at 770-704-5455 for confirmation. I was unable to reach Mr. Holiday. If it turns out they are still open I will follow up with another blog on ethics of poker leagues.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I spent a fair part of my career with Nortel Networks so today's news that they company has filed for bankruptcy protection is met with mixed emotions. First, now that I work for one of their competitors I am glad since this may just open up more opportunity with my customers. On the other hand, I have a fond spot for this company and hate that poor management of this once great technology powerhouse has driven it into the ground.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
1. Farecast - Predicting airfares is tough. This site makes it easier by giving you advice based on historic data if the price is likely to go up, down, or stay the same based on your travel dates.
2. Happy Median - Ever have multiple friends getting together and you cannot decide where to meet that would be fair to everyone, well Happy Median takes care of this by allowing you to enter multiple addresses, selecting the type of place you want to meet and providing recommendations of locations as central as possible to everyone.
3. Inside Trip - InsideTrip takes flight search to another level by letting you add comfort level as a search parameter. Is legroom important to you? Aircraft type? Lost-bag or on-time percentages? InsideTrip is the sight for you.
4. Trip It - TripIt takes the hassle out of travel itineraries. Simply forward your travel confirmation e-mails to its email address and TripIt will build you a master itinerary, complete with flight/hotel info, maps, driving directions, weather reports, and much more. This site is a real time saver!