Thursday, June 30, 2011

Joining loyalty programs nearly always pays off

I recently stayed at a resort that is a member of Leading Hotels of the World. (Yes I am lucky!).

While riffling through some of the in-room information, I discovered that they have loyalty program called the Leaders Club. I read through the benefits, and saw that besides getting the usual 'unique amenity on arrival', and late checkout (subject to availability), you also got a free room upgrade, so I looked up online ready to join - finding that there is a yearly membership fee of $100.  I have an aversion to membership fees, so I didn't join, and anyway we were half way through our stay.

Then I realised, that if I had joined before our stay, I would have got the equivalent of 5 nights worth of upgrades for $100. Doh!  So at this particular Banyan Tree, I would have got $650 worth of value for $100.

So the lesson is - always check the loyalty program before you book, and never make last minute accommodation decisions without proper research.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

V Australia - soon to be Virgin Australia - business class very good

Just got off my first flight ever on V Australia to LAX. I have to say it is one of the better flights, with better lie flat beds, better food, and very good service, and a very spacious cabin. Thanks to Cindy - our flight attendant for making it a very enjoyable trip, where I got an unheard of 6 hours sleep!

Why would you go Qantas at a higher price?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Darwinian Evolution of Design. Americans deny centuries of history

This is a cute graphic - but strangely, in completely overlooks a huge chunk of centuries between 105AD and 1917.

What about illuminated manuscripts? What about Egyptian ideographs. What about Guttenberg and lithographs?

Just like Americans to deny a large part of history, and concentrate on their own.

But anyway - still kinda cute:

Source: inspiredmag

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Facebook to sit on Sofa

The people who worked on the design of Firefox, and TomTom, not to mention design some Mac Software have been bought by Facebook.

The Sofa blog portrays it as a joining of forces.

I'm pleased - it has always amazed me how successful Facebook is, despite its crappy and for me - non-intuitive interface.

I look forward to seeing a big change.

Source: Mashable

Do we read quicker with books, or iPads, or Kindle's or PC's?

I just came across this little piece of research from Jacob Neilsen over at
The iPad measured at 6.2% lower reading speed than the printed book, whereas the Kindle measured at 10.7% slower than print. However, the difference between the two devices was not statistically significant because of the data's fairly high variability.
Even more interesting is people's reading satisfaction level  on different devices:
After using each device, we asked users to rate their satisfaction on a 1–7 scale, with 7 being the best score. iPad, Kindle, and the printed book all scored fairly high at 5.8, 5.7, and 5.6, respectively. The PC, however, scored an abysmal 3.6.
The report also details comments from participants. Its interesting because most of them are about associations - people don't like reading on PC's because it reminds them of work. Will be interesting how the newer generations of people feel about reading on their hand held devices.  I know an 18 month old, that knows how to find his preferred video of Maisy Mouse, what to swipe, and what to 'press'. More comfortable with an iPad than a book.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Baggage changes move Qantas closer to half-full service airline

I got an email today alerting me to changes in Qantas checked baggage rules.  Basically it means unless you are a platinum frequent flyer, you can only have one bag in the hold.

The weight changes depending on your status.  Economy = 23 kg, and Business = 32 kg - which is weird, as baggage handlers say they won't handle anything over 27kg.  So Qantas - how does that work with your baggage handler collegues.

I presume this is all to do with cost cutting - maybe Qantas get charge per item rather than by weight or something.

It all means less service for the same price.  Now in economy, that might be fine, but pissing off your business passengers when you are about to face competition on the business seats front from Virgin for the first time since Ansett folded, seems like an odd tactic.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New iPhone 4s or 5 soon?

As an iPhone user, who retains their original (damn those 24 month contracts!) iPhone, I'm hoping to get the next generation of iPhone as soon as it is released.

Originally the rumours were for an April 2011 release, now some sites are reporting a July release for an iPhone that will not look that different to and iPhone 4 - an iPhone 4S if you will -  that will have some added capacity and a northern Spring release date in 2012 for an even newer version - an iPhone 5.

The word is that the new iPhone will include an 8-megapixel rear camera and both CDMA and GSM radios, making it a world phone.

Appleinsider also reports:
As for the SIM-less design, last week the CEO of carrier Orange said that Apple will introduce a new, smaller and thinner SIM card in its next-generation iPhone. There were reports last year that Apple was working on an embedded SIM design that would allow users to select a carrier and service plan directly from their iPhone, but it was claimed that those plans upset carriers who felt they could be marginalized by such a move.
The most revealing thing in this, is that it is possible to design a phone that doesn't need one of those pesky miniture SIM's that are impossible to remove without damaging them or your manicure.

Scource: Appleinsider