Info ~ travel musings for the masses

Posts from the Blogging Category

I was reading Stephen Hackett’s post on linked lists and it got me thinking. I have been exploring the possibility of mixing my normal, long(er) form posts with shorter linked list posts.

If you do not use RSS to read this site in a feed reader such as Google Reader then the rest of this post may not make much sense to you, but for power users of such tools, I am interested to know what your usage patterns and preferences are.

Let’s take an example from Shawn Blanc’s feed. The part circled in red is the title for the post as well as a link to the source of information. To reach Shawn’s actual post, you must click the “Permalink” link at the bottom of the post.

The other way of doing this is to have the link circled in red link directly back to Shawn’s post and have the outgoing link to the source inside of that post. I am partial to the latter option but a lot of sites are moving to the style that Shawn (and places like Daring Fireball) use. I agree with Stephen that the latter method, linking back to your own article, is not double-dipping, especially if a link to the source is within the article. Some writers go as far as to mark a link as outgoing.

What do you think? What makes more sense when reading posts? I am thinking I will stay with my current format, but maybe in the near future trying the linked list method.

Asphalt Paver

You may not have noticed but the site went down for around 20 minutes today as I did some much needed maintenance to the behind the scenes workings. Seven years of writing slowly starts piling up and a housecleaning needed to take place.

There was a tad bit of data loss due to me forgetting to back a particular folder up. It appears it was only a few pictures and I think I have a backup somewhere, so it may not be an issue anyway.

Over the next few weeks I am hoping to split out my blogging into more compartmentalized areas, with my photography having its own place. That’s not to say that no photography will be posted here, I just want a place where I can showcase it and have it easily referenced.

My other plan is to play with the visual styles a little and maybe incorporate “link” posts, or posts that simply contain a link to something I find interesting. I am still going through the details in my head and have yet to finalize anything. I would actually really appreciate any thoughts my readers have. A comment here or a simple e-mail through the contact form would be awesome.

Yep, you are reading that right, this year all four hosts of the SitePoint Podcast will be together in the same room for the first time. Patrick O’Keefe, Brad Williams, Kevin Yank, and myself are all headed to BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada where we’ll hang out with listeners (and non-listeners) and will also record and live broadcast a few shows. This is actually the first time we’ll meet in person since Kevin lives, works, and records the show from Melbourne, Australia.

There are also some other exciting things being planned for the conference which I can’t go into just yet. But be sure and check here and the SitePoint Podcast page for more details. If you are going to be at BlogWorld Expo this year, be sure and stop by, say hello, and stay for a chat.

After my recent post on boycotting BP I received a deluge of comments. Some were well thought out and others were typical troll style postings. The comments got me thinking about turning the feature off though, and oddly enough, there was a big discussion about comments starting at the same time.

It seems that Gruber’s thinking is along the lines of what I had in mind; If you are going to respond to something that someone writes, you should be able to do it in long form instead of short quips after a post. How many times do people go back to a comment they wrote on a blog to see if there has been a reply? Does commenting really generate discussion or allow trolls to interject themselves into worthwhile postings on the internet?

What say you? I am going to leave comments open for this post to see what people think, but in the future, they will probably be turned off.

Delta Airlines did something wrong before Andy Azula’s recent flight and he’s written about it (please see letter below). He’s right that Delta needs to apologize and offer some sort of compensation for the fact that they made him a day late to his meetings. The incident had nothing to do with weather and he should have been accommodated on the next available flight on another carrier.

My issue with what Azula wrote is in the tone he takes about himself, that working for UPS and being on television makes his claim more important. If anything, his status as a Delta Platinum Medallion has more weight behind it. I hear claims like his every time I am at the airport. Some guy is late getting to the airport, misses his flight and then proceeds to berate the agent that is trying her best to get him on the next plane, screaming, “Do you know who I am?!”.

In Azula’s case, he did receive poor customer service, but throwing around your place in society gains no sympathy from me. It is an alarming trend in fact. Maybe it’s blogging (I’ve been known to complain here about travel issues) or Twitter or something in the psyche, but people seem to really take complaints to the next level.

This complaint does not spell the end for the Delta, it simply means that there are people complaining in a new way. Delta should read it, respond to it, offer compensation and move on. That’s it. Mr. Azula should report the incident to the Department of Transportation (without mentioning who he is or how much his kids were crying).

[EDIT] Mr. Azula has since pulled the blog post down so I have posted a copy below.

Dear Delta:

I am a frequent-flyer with Platinum status on Delta. And one of your biggest fans.

I’m also the guy in those UPS Whiteboard commercials on TV. And I’m not just the actor. I’m also am the creative director at the ad agency who creates the advertising for UPS.

On June 18th I flew Delta for the last time. As of now, I cannot imagine ever stepping foot on another Delta airplane.

Because on June 18th, things went wrong. Very, very wrong.

On that morning, my wife and two children (7 year old twins), got up at 4 am in order to catch the first flight from our home in Richmond, VA to Atlanta. It was a business trip mixed in with a family vacation. You see, my parents live in Atlanta and my children hadn’t seen their grandparents for quite some time. As you can imagine, we were all very excited.

The sequence of events that occurred for the next 13 hours, and then resumed again the next day, is almost too hard to explain.

In fact, as type this, my heart is racing once again.

You see, our flight was delayed due to a mechanical problem on our plane. Over the course of the next 13 hours we sat in the terminal at Richmond as flight after flight after flight all departed on time to Atlanta. Except, of course, ours. An entire airplane full of people – all of whom had gotten up early to catch the first flight of the day – watched helplessly as every other plane departed incident-free.

And since our bags were on the plane (we had all already been seated, before we were asked to de-board) we couldn’t even get our luggage off the plane and go home. Also, we kept being told our plane was almost fixed.

I took the initiative at noon to book us on the 5pm flight to Atlanta. I called Delta (five times in fact – you can check) to confirm and re-reconfirm again. I was continually reassured that my family had guaranteed seats on that 5pm flight. I was, in fact, on the phone with you as the Delta employees at the gate refused to give us our seats – on a flight we had already been confirmed on. And I never even heard an “I’m sorry.”

Consequently, I missed a few things in Atlanta: The Direct Marketing Association’s conference – of which I was the guest speaker. It was a paid event and the DMA was understandably shocked, mortified and embarrassed by the situation. They had to offer refunds to all their attendees.

I also missed my Wall Street Journal interview.

I also missed my meeting.

But much worse than all that, was what happened to my family.

I really wish some one could hear the crying and see the stress on my children’s face, as they ask why we couldn’t go see grandma and grandpa. And why we couldn’t just go home. I wish you could have heard the phone calls as all of us cried as we spoke with my parents. As my parents, who were also crying, tried to console their grandchildren. My children kept on asking why the airline was doing this to them. They kept asking what is was they did wrong.

We finally got our bags back after our 7am flight was officially and blessedly canceled.

At 6pm.

We were NEVER even offered as much as food vouchers for breakfast, lunch or dinner – all of which were purchased at the airport, as our flight continued to be pushed back and back. And we were not alone. But at least we could spend the evening in our home.

Again, we never even heard an apology.

The flight the next morning, was of course, delayed. Those passengers, who hadn’t been through what the rest of us had, could not understand our collective stress and tears when our gate was changed and then we were delayed. It was a short delay, one that until now, I wouldn’t have even given a second thought about. But the stress lasted much longer. I had to promise my children that I would not make them fly on an airplane anytime soon. They used to LOVE to fly. They simply cannot understand why things are so unfair.

Since returning on June 21st, I have flown 5 round trip flights to Las Vegas, Atlanta and New York. None of those flights have been on Delta.

I am now prepping my travels for the next three months, which include multiple flights to Los Angeles, St Louis, New York, Orlando, London, Berlin, Singapore and Shanghai.

In fact, I am literally flying MORE than I ever have in my life!

But until I receive some sort of apology, I will continue to adjust my schedule to avoid Delta. My coordinator and travel agent know not to book me on any Delta flights for the time being.

This is a fixable problem. This is about principle? Yes. It’s about my belief in customer service. It’s about working with business partners who respect each other. I really believe that. Which is why, until June 18th, I had been one of your biggest cheerleaders.

In the end, it wasn’t the actual circumstance that has caused me to avoid your airline. It is the complete and utter lack of compassion.


Andy Azula
UPS Whiteboard Actor
SVP/ Creative Director – The Martin Agency

If you read the posts here via a feed reader, you may have noticed some technical difficulties yesterday. There are some issues with FeedBurner that I am getting worked out and trying to correct. I have temporarily redirected the feed to here

I am hoping this issue is corrected some time today.

As you can see, has received a facelift. The change has been long overdue and I am sure many people will welcome it. Some of the things I am looking forward to are:

  • Comments
  • A better looking page
  • A real blog script sitting behind the scenes, allowing me to focus on the writing

For everyone reading through a feed reader, you will want to reference the new feed, which is now live.

Over the next few days I will be editing certain parts of the site to add back content that is missing from the old design. Please feel free to send me an e-mail in the meantime and let me know what you think.

Well as you can see I am working on a new design. I just get bored with my designs real quick and feel I have to change it. I am pretty pleased with this one though. I will try to get it up on all the pages as soon as possible.

I will finally get initiated into ATO tonight. The reason it took so long was because ATO had a soccer game on Sunday night when we were supposed to originally get initiated and then last night we had chapter, so we had to wait. But tonight, I will finally become an active ATO.

The weather seems to be getting colder and colder everyday. Supposedly it will be down in the 10’s when we come back from Thanksgiving, we’ll see……