Air Fare Taxes – you think YOU have it bad?

My mother lives in Canada and recently purchased a plane ticket to fly from Toronto to Orlando, Florida.

Check out the price of the ticket and then how she gets positively hosed on the taxes and additional junk fees.

Airfare Price (Canadian Dollars): $119.00
Taxes and surcharges: $233.54
Total(Canadian Dollars): $352.54

By contrast, a single fare ticket from Atlanta, Georgia to Orlando costs this much.

1 adult:                      $178.00
Taxes & fees:               $28.39
Total:                         $206.39

1 adult:                      $178.00

Taxes & fees:                                                         $28.39


Total:                               $206.39

I don’t know if the airlines build extra charges into the fees but those Canucks are getting screwed every which way from Sunday on them.

Have I mentioned lately how much I *love* living in America? If only we can solve the horror that is our medical system.

Posted under Opinions, Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on January 9, 2010 at 8:55 am

Verizon Pushes BING to Certain BlackBerry Devices

In a shady deal that alters settings on end user devices without their permission or knowledge, Microsoft and Verizon have agreed to make BING the default search engine on certain BlackBerry devices. Those I know of for certain are the 8830, the Tour and the Storm 2.

I am told that you can select other search engines but only BING can be the default.

Also, apparently a new BING icon also appears on the devices after a hard reset (pull the battery).

This may be OK for new devices where end users expect a lot of extra stuff that they do not require and will clean up. What is NOT expected is for new stuff to show up suddenly unannounced. It is confusing and it is invasive.

I expected better of Verizon.

Posted under Blackberry

This post was written by Marc
on January 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Insulating my house with Wilson Insulation Pt 2

Following up on my original post regarding Wilson Insulation, I spoke with Jack – the fellow responsible for the work crew – and he arranged to have them come out with instructions to “do whatever is needed to make the customer happy”.

That’s pretty damn impressive.

They came over on the scheduled day (last Tuesday – January 5) and spent a couple of hours addressing the lighting fixture (turns out an obsolete pipe left over from my hot water heater relocation was resting against the newly installed protector around one of my recessed lighting cans), installed the missing baffles that protect the soffit vents and evened out the blown insulation. The only omission was that the need for the attic hatch access dam was not communicated so they did not have it with them to install.

Yesterday – January 7 – I received a message from the installers, they were actually at my house to do that dam install (I was working in the office that day) so we had to reschedule. It’s too bad but I didn’t know they were coming.

Next Tuesday should see the installation of that final piece.

Based on the weather these past few days (especially today with the frozen roads!) I’m really happy to have that insulation up there.

Final chapter to be written shortly! 🙂

Posted under Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on January 8, 2010 at 8:25 am

Mad Guitar skillz (Canon)

Apparently I’m about the only one on the planet who hasn’t seen this video, but I’m putting it up here so I don’t lose it and for anybody else who shares my tastes to appreciate. I found it on this page along with several others that I was surprised to see I had never heard of.

Normally I’m not a super fan of electric guitar – often solos remind me of so much masturbation on stage that appeal mostly to the performer rather than the audience.

This South Korean Guitarist, Jeong-Hyun Lim, has taken a wonderful classic and put a modern and positive twist on it IMHO.

Posted under Very Cool

This post was written by Marc
on January 2, 2010 at 10:15 am

Insulating my house with Wilson Insulation

A few months ago I solicited some estimates to get my attic insulated. My house was built in the early ’70’s and I doubt if anything has ever been added to the original fiberglass that was up there when the place was built.

I chose Wilson Insulation because the Better Business Bureau offered an A+ rating for them and because the estimate they provided was in line with what I felt the job should cost given the options that I had decided upon.

My expectation was that the job involved placing caps over all of my recessed lighting fixtures (about 24 in total), that there would be baffles extended along the soffit edges of the roof, there would be dams around the attic access hatch and that the insulation in the attic would be brought to R49. Which, at an R-value of around 2.7 – 4 for blown fiberglass insulation should result in a total of about 12 – 18 inches total including the existing fiberglass.

The workers showed up a week ago last Tuesday (December 22) at around 9:30 or so to do the work and were finished a little before 1 pm. When they were done the access hatch had not been attended to. So they added some batts to the hatch cover and put some weatherstripping around it but told me that they did not have a dam that would be small enough for the hatch.

Dan (the rep from Wilson Insulation) came over later that day to inspect the hatch and the work generally and indicated that he was surprised that they did not have the dam but that he was waiting for a call back from their boss to figure out what could be done.

He also indicated that they were pretty skeletonized due to the season. I’m not a particularly impatient person so I allowed that this could be deferred until Monday (December 28) and we can finally sort it out.

Interestingly one of my recessed fixtures in the living room is now pushing out of the ceiling on one side by about an inch. I can’t push it back from inside the house so it will have to be addressed from within the attic.

I did popped up into the attic check to see if the baffles had been installed – and found that there were exactly none present. I also see that there appears to be between about 11 and 15 total inches of insulation up there. It’s kind of rolling so it’s hard to determine a good average. Does anybody know what a reasonable R-value is to use for blown fiberglass? The range above is a bit broad.

I spoke with Dan on Monday. He told me they’d be calling later to set up an appointment to come by and correct anything that was not done correctly.

When I hadn’t heard from Wilson Insulation by Wednesday, I gave them a call and spoke with Jack. He seemed congenial and we set up an appointment for Tuesday at 10 am. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Posted under Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on January 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm