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Comment Re:Lowest price - shittiest room (Score 1) 140

Aye, mine is a 100+ room three-star (enclosed keyed entry to the building but no valet staff beyond one House Person), with a final price around $100-150 per night. We try to get their loyalty, but many people are passing through, often using those third-party services. Lately they seem to be only a few bucks below our normal rates until sales come up and I start seeing -$20 rooms in the "Restaurant Roof Vent View" rooms. :-

The funny thing to me is the formal-ish atmosphere. I have a convenience store background and had to get used to calling people "guests" instead of "customers," but I always treated them as if they were visiting my living room, and passed that along to people I've trained over the years.

I don't know how much loyalty I create, except for the few fellow metalheads that stay every now and then. \m/-_-\m/

Comment Re:Lowest price - shittiest room (Score 1) 140

Address, license plate number, co-guests occasionally, and the rate they had in the past (which doesn't apply to third-parties, but makes it easier to set up our regular guests.) At least their phone number comes through from Expedia, though half the time there is a leading zero or one that has to be edited before our system recognizes it as a phone number. It doesn't sound like much, but it slows things down when people are lined up on a busy night. We normally get that info when they call us to make a reservation so it's ready to go when they check in, and regulars in our local history take almost no time to set up.

Comment Re:Lowest price - shittiest room (Score 1) 140

Oh yes! My hotel used to price all rooms the same by the number of beds, and the worst rooms (on the wings not facing the river or the few odd rooms that don't have balconies) were saved for last when we had to use them. Now, they are offered at a lower price, and are usually taken by people using third-party billing sites like Expedia who blindly click on the lowest price then become upset when they realize what they got, and we can't change the deal because they didn't pay us in the first place.

The thing about these third-party sites is they generate much less revenue, so it was decided that we wouldn't give daily breakfast discount coupons for our restaurant to those who don't book directly with us. This has caused some problems, but it's also caused some of our guests to become happy regulars that book directly even if we have to match their rates.

There is also the fact that Internet prepaid rooms are extra work to prepare, and since they started allowing same-day bookings, often with "I just made the reservation five minutes ago, isn't it here yet?" it must be said that these services are disliked by us front desk staffers who would prefer people just call or walk in. We can't simply check repeat guests in from history—we (and they) have to enter their personal info from scratch every single time. There is also the chance of making mistakes like charging their personal card the full amount of the room since they were already charged by the third party before coming in, and as the night auditor, it gives me more types of mistakes to be aware of and hunt for.

Needless to say, it wouldn't surprise me if Expedia and Priceline users are unintentionally treated like second-class citizens because of all the extra work they create. I try to treat everyone the same, but I still feel that twinge when someone comes in saying they have a reservation, and I had already checked in the last arrival of the night.

Comment Re:Non-removable battery (Score 1) 111

Same here—the speaker on my 2007 Samsung u740 (before they called it "Alias") died and I made the transition to a smart phone last April. My #1 requirement was a removable battery, and I found the G4 to be what I needed. (The G5 was nice, but too big for my Carhartt slacks' phone pocket, and I didn't feel like I needed the modular features.)

I don't really know if I'll ever need to replace the battery as I rarely go outside the 30-80% charge range (using the Ampere app as a charge alarm,) but I want my phone to last and have the option to replace or upgrade it to an 8500mAh ZeroLemon if size ever becomes unimportant to me. I also like the fact that the G4's fuel gauge chip (MAX17048) means there's no need to "calibrate" the battery and shorten it's life even further.

Comment Oscar the Grouch! (Score 1) 283

I read years ago that children were asked which character on Sesame Street was the most honest. Yep, it was Oscar the Grouch. He had no filter and while he was irritable, kids sensed no BS coming from him. It's like a couple friends I have: rude sometimes, but they occasionally said things that needed to be heard, even though I didn't like hearing it at the time.

Comment Thirty years too late for me... (Score 1) 420

This story made me happy. My parents pressured me into enrolling when I was fresh eighteen, and I was burned out after one year and dropped out. I liked the education and was all about electronics, but I had never held a job before then, and should have gone that direction instead. What followed was mostly twenty years of working in different places and moving on when the Department of Education would catch up to me. I should have bankrupted myself out of it before they created that lovely exemption for student loans when I had the chance.

Oh well, I lived, learned, and found work that paid well enough to let them siphon my hard-earned money for almost a decade while barely getting by. Three years ago it finally ended and I no longer had to be creative with my taxes so I was always paying $10-$50 at the end of the year so they had nothing to garnish beyond my paycheck. At that point, I bought a van. The cost of payments, insurance, and gas was equal to the price of a monthly bus pass and what they were taking out of my paychecks. My last van payment will be next March, and I plan to celebrate and start building my bank account faster than ever with an eye towards using my electronics and programming knowledge to become self-employed.

While much of this was my own fault, ITT still robbed me of a good portion of my life. I'm glad to see them go, and maybe more stories like mine will make the next generation think twice before getting trapped in a student loan. Looking back, working and paying for college is a smart thing to do, but going in the direction of Entrepreneurship is even better. There will always be a limit to how much money you can make if you're working for someone else. There are no guarantees, but there is always the possibility of raking it in with the right product or service, and the education needed to run a business doesn't have to be expensive. What good is being a lawyer if you're paying thousands every month for your education until you're in your sixties?

Comment Split setup (Score 1) 278

I learned to divide between two keychains: one has the regular keys, the other has the van's remote, gas cap key, bottle opener, and a AAA Arc-UV LED light.

That way, I can't lock the keys in the van, and when we're on the road, the drummer can use the remote to get in and pass out in the passenger seat!

Submission + - Led by Zuck, Billionaires Pony Up $100M to Fund Private Elementary Schools 1

theodp writes: AltSchool, a 2-year-old software-fueled private elementary school initiative started by an ex-Googler, announced Monday a $100 million Series B round led by established VC firms and high-profile tech investors including Mark Zuckerberg, Laurene Powell Jobs, John Doerr, and Pierre Omidyar. AltSchool uses proprietary software that provides students with a personalized playlist lesson that teachers can keep close tabs on. Currently, a few hundred students in four Bay Area classrooms use AltSchool tech. Three more California classrooms, plus one in Brooklyn, are expected to come online this fall, plus one in Brooklyn. "We believe that every child should have access to an exceptional, personalized education that enables them to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world," reads AltSchool's mission statement. For $28,750-a-year, your kid can be one of them right now. Eventually, the plan is for the billionaire-bankrolled education magic to trickle down. AltSchool's pitch to investors, according to NPR, is that one day, charter schools or even regular public schools could outsource many basic functions to its software platform.

Comment Re:Tell me I'm lyin' (Score 1) 480

I saw some of it and recognized the artists and actors, but it didn't grab my interest. If only they could have seen into the future and the Internet, they'd realize fish occupy a very small corner of the furry pantheon.

"What? No, I don't think we're going to get many viewers excited by 'Sharktara' or whatever..."

Comment Re:Tell me I'm lyin' (Score 1) 480

Ugh. Here in Portland, Oregon they showed the first ThunderCats season twice, then showed the new characters coming on board in movie form (The five-part "Thundercats Ho!" series.) Then as it was getting interesting, they suddenly switched to SilverHawks. I didn't find out about the second ThunderCats season until I was in my thirties on the Internet.

It was KPTV's move to SilverHawks that made me hate the series at the time, but I came to appreciate it. Still, I'd much rather see Mumm-Ra wreaking havok on the 'cats, heh heh. (I was happy to find they removed his reflection weakness!)

Comment The Original Lament Configuration (Score 1) 266

From Clive Barker's "The Hellbound Heart" novella: a highly-polished black cube with no discernible markings that was extremely difficult to open; the inner parts had a bright mirror finish. Hell only wants the truly obsessed, and only the most obsessed could figure how to completely disassemble it. Once the Cenobites came and had their way with the puzzle solver, the parts of the cube reassembled and the gate to hell closed again.

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