Archive for November, 2014

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Dealing with food allergies and sensitivities

November 26, 2014

It must be hard for restaurants to deal with various food allergies, sensitivities, and preferences. Some add ‘GF’ for gluten-free or ‘V’ for vegetarian to their menu listings to indicate the items that suit those categories, but what about the rest?

One Chinese restaurant I ate at in Utah tackled it this way — they had an entire submenu for many of the main food allergies/sensitivities/preferences. I thought it was a good way to tackle the issue — it had to be easier than someone with one of those intolerances trying to scan every menu item looking for a particular code letter.

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Codeshare check in at airports

November 25, 2014

I had two quite different experiences with codeshare flights on my recent trip to NZ and the US.

First experience

My flight from Sydney to Christchurch was listed on the ticket as a Qantas 4-digit flight number, but ‘operated by Emirates’ (I booked the ticket direct through Qantas, so I don’t know why the standard Qantas flight number wasn’t used and why they put me via Emirates). I arrived at Sydney International Airport in plenty of time (just as well). Because I’m a particular status of frequent flyer, I was able to use a premium check in counter, which meant that there was only one other person in front of me (also just as well). I got to the counter and was told by the Qantas agent that I had to check in at the Emirates counter as I was ticketed for Emirates! Nowhere on the Qantas-issued, Qantas-branded e-ticket did it say that I had to check in at another counter, which happened to be at the other end of the terminal. So I took myself to the Emirates counter, and again, because of my frequent flyer status, I was able to check in easily.

But so much of this scenario could have gone horribly wrong. Had I not been so early for my flight, had I waited in the general check-in line at Qantas for 30 minutes or more (not unusual) only to then be told to go to Emirates, and had I then waited in the Emirates line for another 30 minutes, I could well have missed my flight. All because a critical piece of information (i.e. ‘check in at the Emirates counter’) was NOT stated on the ticket.

I sent feedback to Qantas via their website suggesting that they add this critical piece of information to their codeshare tickets. I fly internationally more than many people, but I’d never encountered this before. And for those who fly infrequently, such critical information could mean the difference between catching the plane and not. And could lead to a lot of confusion and frustration both for the passengers and the check-in counter staff. It only requires a few words to be added to the ticket to eliminate this confusion and frustration.

Second experience

My next codeshare flights were in the US. I’d booked American Airline flights via the American Airlines website. However, some of my flights were ‘puddle jumpers’ and American Airlines uses differently branded aircraft for these (e.g. American Eagle). But they make it very clear on the ticket where you are to check in. There is NO confusion. And it’s there in black and white, so passengers can’t complain they weren’t told.

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It’s not often I’d praise a US airline over Qantas, but in this case Qantas have made it harder for their passengers and staff by omitting such vital information from their e-tickets.

That’s just bad usability, Qantas.

 

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Plural vs possessive – it’s not hard

November 24, 2014

<sigh> Another example of a professionally created sign that gets it wrong. PLURALS DON’T HAVE APOSTROPHES (in the main). It’s not hard.

There were at least three levels of human error here — the person who commissioned the sign and/or sent the copy to the signwriter, the signwriter, and the person who OK’d the finished sign as suitable for going up in the Albuquerque Airport. ATMs… not ATM’s.

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Uploading photos from Android tablet to Flickr

November 21, 2014

This post is for me in case I don’t remember how to do this in the future!

While I was in the US, I uploaded hundreds of photos to my Flickr account from my Sony Xperia (Android) tablet (after first uploading them to the tablet from my Panasonic Lumix camera), but it took some trial and error (and a few expletives!) to find a solution that allowed me to do what I wanted as simply as possible. So these instructions are for me. Yes, there’s an extra step of transferring the photos to the SD card, but I wanted to make sure I had the photos in a couple of places as I’ve lost photos before…

Prerequisites:

  • A decent internet connection and speed.
  • Log in to your Flickr account on the Flickr app.

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Transfer the photos from the camera to the SD card on the tablet

  1. Connect the camera to the tablet using the USB cable and USB adaptor.
  2. Turn on the camera and select the option to connect to the PC.
  3. On the tablet, open the File Commander app.
  4. Tap External USB Storage.
  5. Find the photos under the relevant folder.
  6. Long hold the first photo you want to select until it gets a lighter grey background.
  7. Tap on all other photos one by one that you want to transfer from the camera to the tablet.
  8. Once you’ve selected the photos, click Copy.
  9. Tap SD Card in the File Commander app.
  10. Navigate to the folder on the SD card where you want to store the photos.
  11. Tap Paste.
  12. Unmount and disconnect the USB storage medium (the camera), then turn the camera off.

Check the quality of the copied photos

  1. Open the Album app on the tablet and check the photos you’ve just copied.
  2. Delete any that are poor quality.
  3. Close the Album app.

Upload the photos to Flickr

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  1. Go back to the File Commander app.
  2. Find the photos under the relevant folder on the SD card.
  3. Long hold the first photo you want to select until it gets a lighter grey background.
  4. Tap on all other photos one by one that you want to transfer from the tablet to your Flickr account.
  5. Once you’ve selected the photos, turn the tablet into landscape orientation, then tap the More menu option.
  6. Tap Send Files.
  7. Select Flickr from the list.
  8. When you get the ‘Write a caption…’ window, decide if you want these photos to be private — if so, tap the padlock icon and set the permissions.
  9. Tap the file icon (lower left on this window), then select an existing Flickr album or create a new one, as required.
  10. Tap Done.
  11. Optional: If all the photos are from the same location/event etc., add a caption.
  12. Tap Share on the ‘Write a caption’ window.
  13. The photos will upload to Flickr. You can check the progress in the information bar at the top of the Android screen — the Flickr icon will be there while the photos are uploading; pull the information bar down to see how many have uploaded. Once the upload is finished, the Flickr icon disappears.

While this seems a lot of steps, once you’ve done it a couple of times, it’s quite simple. As it may be some months (or even years) before I’m reliant only on my tablet to do this (I usually use my PC to upload photos), I needed to write it down while it was still fresh in my memory ;-)

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Proofread before publishing #2

November 16, 2014

Maybe this candidate for election might have had more success if she or someone else had proofread her advertisement…

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How could they have NOT seen that the twist on her first name and initial letter of her surname spelled the word ‘debt’??

And what does ‘please contact … for the issues that need to be addressed’ mean?