Tag Archives: technology

Up, please

Have you ever noticed that a hotel may have anywhere from  three to six elevators, but only one or two appears to be working?

It drives me crazy…especially at check-out when foot traffic is at its peak (and you stand there waiting).

My stay this weekend at the Swissotel in Chicago was completely different.

elevator padTheir elevator keypads do not have up or down arrows; instead, you input your room number.

A computer quickly determines which elevator car you will ride in (in this case, A through F) and indicates it in the blue field.

When that elevator’s door opens, you see your floor — and that of  other passengers — listed on the side panel.

And off you go.

During my overnight stay in Chicago, I rode the elevator several times between my room, the conference center and the lobby…and I was in at least four of the six available elevator cars.

No waiting.




Lost in translation

First of all, I want to clarify —

This is not a rant. Think of it more as a ‘huh.’

lost parcelYesterday a package arrived at my door.  It was addressed to a man who hasn’t lived here in almost six years.

I quickly deduced he had selected his old address by accident while shopping online, so I called the company to see if I could help correct his error.

(How nice am I?)

Turns out the company’s customer service just isn’t set up for this type of communication.  All their scripts are for customers, not people like me trying to assist another customer.  The representative I spoke with understood the situation and was definitely working with me to help correct it, but she refused — or maybe wasn’t allowed to? — say anything that was not in her script.

So nothing she said to me made any sense.

Even after we figured out how to resolve the shipment error, she thanked me for my order and hoped I would return again.

You know?  Probably not.



Stop and go

Now that the Oscars are behind us, we can turn our attention to movies that we’d never expect to see in contention…

But in some cases, might enjoy more.

liam non-stopThis week’s entry?

Non-Stop, starring Liam Neeson as a washed up air marshal on an international flight that is taken hostage via text message moments after take-off .

(Apparently the writers are fans of Pretty Little Liars.)

Not surprisingly, the conceit works here as well, as Liam battles blindly — every passenger and crew member a potential ally and/or enemy.  And if you’re a frequent flier like me, the scenes of airline passengers in peril — well, they’ll have you twisting in your seat a bit.

While this movie may not be Oscar bait, the script certainly drew its fair share of award-winning actors.

corey stoll non-stopWatch House of Cards on Netflix?  Why look, there’s Representative Peter Russo, who did you-know-what in Season 1 with a little help from Francis Underwood.

Wonder what is he plotting with those two gentleman?  Gonna have to see the movie and find out.

Julieanne non-stop And look who decided to sit next to Liam in business class — Oscar-nominated actress Julianne Moore.

She’s wearing heavy, horn-rimmed glasses and a scary-looking scar, but she’s not fooling anybody.

Or is she?
michelle non-stopAnd is that Michelle Dockery — Lady Mary from Downton Abbey — playing the part of a working class flight attendant? You know it.

Watch her serve drinks! Follow orders! Be manhandled!

lupita-nyongo- non-stopEven Lupita Nyonga, who is probably still grasping her brand-spanking new Best Supporting Actress Oscar, pops up from time to time on-screen.

This, my friends, is entertainment at its best.

Sliding doors

klemens torggler evolution doorI want this door.

Now, there’s sentence I never thought I’d say.

But once you watch the video below, I’m pretty sure you’ll want this door, too.

Currently only a prototype, the Evolution Door by Austrian designer Klemens Torggler is sleek, modern and requires no floor track to make its way cool transition from side to side.  It also has rounded edges so you or anyone in your house don’t lose any fingers walking into a room.

Seriously, watch the video.  Then join the ranks of people, like me, who —


Water, water everywhere

It is a frequent (and very sad) Facebook status:

“I’ve dropped my cellphone in water. Email me until I get it replaced.”

watery phoneThis hasn’t happened to me yet. But as recently as last month, I heard similar tales from family and friends. And I am always sympathetic (to keep karma on my side).

Today I offer a possible solution.

It’s called DryBox Rescue, a service offered by authorized dealers around the country.  Your soggy cellphone is placed in a patent-pending drying chamber.  The moisture is then removed —  at the molecular level — in less than 30 minutes.

It also works on other small electronic devices that are drawn to the toilet and sink —  mp3 players, cameras, GPS units, etc.

Full disclosure:  I’ve never used this service; I’ve just read about it in an airline magazine.  But it sounds like a much better option than 1) rice or 2) throwing away your pricey smart phone.

So, give it a look.  Other than the rather unfortunate name, I think it shows promise.

Boycott GTA

I’m no gamer, but even I’ve heard of Grand Theft Auto.

Candy Crush Saga, it’s not.

grand theft autoIt’s criminals or criminal-wannabes in the big city, trying to rise through the ranks in organized crime. Underworld kingpins give you different missions to complete, and violence ensues.

It wouldn’t be my cup of tea, and I’m sure a lot of parents wouldn’t want their kids playing it either.

But Grand Theft Auto V has another problem — it allows players to ‘run over, behead and kill animals’ as part of the game.

Jack Carone of In Defense of Animals, an animal rights organization, is calling for a boycott of GTA because of this senseless inclusion of animal violence.

If you agree that there should be a GTA boycott — as I do — vote “YES” in the poll at the end of the TMZ article.

Speak up for those without a voice!

Conquering fears (with lots of help)

Today I survived a closed MRI.

For someone who is intensely claustrophobic, this is a red-letter event.

ClaustrophobiaI did my homework on the procedure, so I knew what to expect.  That’s why I opted for an open MRI when I needed imaging on my left shoulder a couple of years ago.

But an closed MRI was the only option today, which meant I had to face my fears.

I began by taking a light sedative, at my doctor’s advice — to take the edge off.  And the technicians were great, walking me through the device and the actual procedure step-by-step.  But the greatest help during what would have been 30 minutes of hell?

A series of mirrors that bounce images in the exam room back to me, so I always felt like I could see the outside world clearly…regardless of my position within the tube.

Hey — mind games are welcome here.