Thursday, May 7, 2015

Travel opinions as of May 2015

I travel but probably not as much as others. Just sharing some thoughts on travel vendor rankings.

Airlines internationally:
ANA (international)
Air Asia (yikes! But intra Asia)
I've only flown ANA on one round trip but I loved the seats, TVs and friendly staff. Food was survivable. I understand Korean air is good for Asia as well! I flew air Asia way before the accident. It offered great prices intra Asia.

Airlines domestically:
South West
US airways/American

JetBlue is the best due to their bigger seats, TVs and friendliest flight crew. I have mosaic status on JetBlue and due to it's lesser popularity? Mosaic status means something and you do board early. On US airways the seats are old and cramped. If you fly at a business flight time (early morning or after work), more than 60% of the plane has platinum, gold, silver, bronze, purple, green,  or super duper status.  By the time zone 1 boards the gate area is very empty. Also, some airlines just feel so transactional "hurry up and get off my plane."

Hotels domestically:

I'm biased, the SPG amex card  has been a popular recommended card. Redeeming SPG points is very easy and the value is incredible. Hilton may be more wide spread but their point system is diluted, there are black out dates, but when you get access to the diamond lounge it's a great feature.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Uber / taxi driver hustle

I ride Uber every day of the work week, to and from work or dinner. Occasionally I'll ride taxi's when surge is too high or is readily available.

One theme is for sure, taxi drivers hate Uber.

Why? Because the market speaks loudly that this generation of consumers wants convenience, mobility and on-demand service. The old ways of hailing or calling for a cab is no longer an accepted in our fast paced society.

You can argue that Uber has entered markets with out any permission and it's true. They fight litigation and lobby for an Uber presence world wide with much resistance. I can't say uber will be the market leader forever but their war chest is enormous.

What's the end game? Google is a big investor and are developing driverless cars. Will we see those on the roads responding to our uber requests in ten years? Time will tell.

For now we're silently voting with our pockets, I'm in for these services like Uber, Lyft and lesser known Side car.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Lunar New Year (yesterday)

Happy Lunar New Years. May the new year bring you happiness, strength and the will power to achieve the goals you set for yourself.

Speaking of which, I am only 3 months away from Graduating with my Masters. Yet, I am already considering a Ph.D. Why? I tell myself it's to achieve something that no one else in my family has done before so that they can be proud of who they have helped me become. For them, for me, for us. From an ROI standpoint I'm not sure if it'll help me with my career much as my Masters will. But even though my dad was 6 credits and a dissertation away from getting his Ph.D. Perhaps it's up to me to finish what he started. What kind of twisted sentiment do I have for a father that was largely never there yet I would like to supercede him in academia?

I look forward to graduating to them pursue my career with a renewed sense of ambition. To reward myself with an around the world trip that the Star Alliance offers for $5,000 for 25k flying miles and 8 destinations. To giving someone all the love I have to give. To be a better person, true to myself.

New Year. New Purpose.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

phones phones phones!!!


What is now an obsession started back when I was an intern. Little did I know that 4 years later I would not be able to live without a 'smartphone', data, and texting plan. Who in their right mind buys a $555(device, overnight shipping, tax) phone? who? A nerd, that's who.

I currently run a HTC Nexus One, AKA Google not-so 'super' phone. Don't get me wrong, it's a great phone and the greatest one I've used thus far, but it doesn't go with out some compromises. Being a gadget nerd, we'll always want more.

Let's travel through history of the phones that I've used.

My first phone ever! Nokia 3320 from AT&T in 2002 when I was in high school. Opinion? meh it was my first phone, how could i ever complain?? .... hmm yeh horrible battery life and heavy.

up next the Sony Ericsson t610 from T-Mobile. oooOOooo color screen! It was light, small and had a joystick. 2003-5ish?

getting a little bit courageous huh? Sony W550i with AT&T. 2005. Orange was the stock shell color although you could switch it out to navy blue. it was a swivel phone that would pivot out from the base to reveal the number pad. it was also color! I thought I'd use the music function, but i really didn't. Seems that would be a theme, never really using music capabilities of my phones.... why? battery life or poor user interfaces (UI).

 Internship... jumping into the smart phone rabbit hole. 2006.  HTC Wizard with AT&T AKA 8100. At first I was like wow this phone is nice but really it was so heavy/bulky that it was a turn off. Windows mobile 5, blahhhhh. stylus oooo cool, no not really, inconvenient.

by now I have become the 'cell phone guy' at work... here we gooooooo! 2007.  HTC TyTN AT&T AKA 8525. this was an upgrade from the Wizard but it was still bulky and slow. the form factor and sliding mechanism was improved to make a more solid feel. winMo stilll blah.

/*this is where it all gets a little bit crazy i dont know exactly when i had them but it was definitely in the 2007-2008 timeframe....

Samsung blackjack AT&T. winMo candy bar with optional extended battery for a full day's worth of work. solid business phone. it 'got the job done' one of my favorite phones.

 Pantech Duo AT&T great concept, slide out qwerty and a slide UP key pad. it was just that... conceptually it was great but the sliding felt cheap and though the phone was light.. i would have given up some more weight to have more solid feel and more battery life.

Samsung Blackjack 2 AT&T. one of my favorite phone just got better. better screen, sleek form factor and winMo 6. good job winMo we're getting there but just quite there yet. solid phone, still business-y.

Samsung ACE Sprint AKA CDMA version of the Samsung blackjack (1). it was like i was going back in time. Luckily i was just testing this phone. it didnt impress me like when I first had the Samsung blackjack 1. boring...

Apple iphone ( 2g ) AT&T. what can i say? it's the iphone. the game changer. the first really thought out touch screen only phone.  The elements of the UI and the ability for it to respond to touch with tolerances for error are absolutely amazing. it's a capacitive multi-touch screen, something that will be a standard for years to come.

HTC Touch Pro Sprint (and I had the AT&T version, Fuze). SenseUI!!!!!  senseUI is a great concept to turn a not-so-good-mobileOS ( winMo) into something better, almost a totally different experience. form factor was like a mini brick that looked sleek. problem was the hardware was slow and could not keep up with smooth animation or interaction. bleh. it got old really quick.

*/  ... now the memory isnt as fuzzy... so right after the touch pro Sprint... i had the....

Palm Treo Pro Sprint 2009.... for about a week or so to hold me over for what? stay tuned. winMo 6.1. absolutely solid phone. it impressed me like the blackjack1 did. it was fast enough , battery life was good and sleek. just don't ask too much from it and it will work hard for you. business recommended. too bad palm is moving to a different direction for mobile OS's

Palm Pre Sprint Sept 2009. great phone, okay execution, form factor great concept but poor sliding, hardware definitely under powered/sized. This is by far the best mobile OS i've used so far, it's still growing but it's potential is much better than current winMo 6.5 ( more on winMo later), and Andriod 2.1 ( more later). it can do true multi tasking and how it handles notifications is great. The use of the "cards" UI is great but to truly grow they'll need to able to find a way to manage the 'cards'. while you can zoom out to view all the cards better i'll assume there is a better way ( perhaps HTC SenseUI's "helicopter view" in the Android Desire). Also palm is the under dog, i'm rooting for them. everyone wants to see success but not a monopoly ( nudge nudge android and iphoneOS)

*** current phone as of March 2010 ***
 HTC Nexus One ( Google phone) T-mobile . 3.7 AMOLED capacitive multi touch screen with 1ghz snap dragon processor. dual mics for noise canceling. 5mp cam with auto focus. AndroidOS 2.1. it's a great phone, fast decent battery life considering all that it can do. but push it hard and u'd be lucky to get 5 hours worth. it can last all day( work day) with just 3 push mail accounts, reading with minimal responding. be sure to charge at the end of the day or have your car charger ready... as you should with any high end smart phone.

My ideal phone? palm's webOS on either the nexusOne's hardware or the HTC HD2 hardware.


but for now i'll wait for the next best thing andriodOS on the HD2 hardware.... HTC EVO 4g.. i'm waiting for the GSM version although i'll admit 4.3 inch screen would be a bit big in your pocket. perhaps a 4inch screen would be perfect.... for now.

HTC EVO 4g Sprint

iphone 4g where are u ?( coming in june?) windows phone series 7 needs to come out, now.. to stay relevant. ( coming this 2010 holidays?) i'd like some zune integration with my phone...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today is my Bday- another milestone in my life.

Today, I turn 25, a quarter century. This past year was a year of rising and falling. I learned a lot about myself and about the people around me. I am proud to say that I am able to celebrate my birthday by reaching a huge milestone, health-wise. My morning weight was 175.8 , exactly 30 pounds less than I was on my 24th birthday. It was not an easy journey but I believe without being so low in my life I would not be able to climb out and become a better person. I understand that some people who fall may never get back up, but I was lucky enough to have the right people around me to help me get back up.

To them, I owe my sincerest gratitude.

Growing up I was always overshadowed by by the holidays and as I grew older, I grew to understand that a birthday doesn't need to be perfect. It's really just another day in your life, but this day you stand and reflect back on how far you've traveled. In my never ending effort to grow up, I am celebrating my birthday 2 weeks from now... AFTER my actual birthday. To accommodate peoples' schedules, budgets, or what ever. So far, I am really liking this idea and may continue it for years to come.

To myself, don't forget how far you've come. Don't forget the hardships you've endured and are enduring. Don't forget that there are people who have it way harder than you do, be grateful for what and most importantly who you have in your life. Not uber religious but remember what Christmas Eve's Mass's message was, "togetherness" ... together with God, family and people who you care about. Focus on the people who mean the most to you.... and those who have stood by you regardless of your neglect. Make it up to them. It shouldn't take a new year to make yourself better but, for 2010, it's all about family.... and somehow career, health, love, happiness, sadness, strength and people who you care about will just.. fall into place.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

weight, it's all relative.

Weight it's just a metric in order to measure our attraction for our the lovely planet. But really what is it? it's just a number to let us know how much ... stuff we carry around in our bodies. now.. usually the less we have the "better" and this is not quite right. it's the composition of our 'weight' that is most important. They say an athlete can have about 7% body fat and that's about 4% more that the bare essential fat % for a male at least.

I myself have been trying to fight this gravity problem as well. In January of 2009, i was approximately 205pounds @ 30? % body fat. disgusting... I was drinking a lot, going out and eating what ever i wanted with no regards to my health. Now I'm at ~180 @ 14% and dropping, almost a year later. now it this progress could have taken a much shorter time but now that I look back. a year seemed just about right.

all those years of eating and drinking what ever i wanted... there was no way for my body to adjust to a new lifestyle over night. I say lifestyle because "diets" carry their own weight as well and seem temporary. A new lifestyle had to be implemented for my health current and future to improve.

how you ask? I'm glad you asked. I, like many others, went to the gym did my weight lifting and a bit of running... when ever i felt like it. But for the first 5 months of 2009 i saw little improvement. In May i met a guy that was 'jacked' and he said the best way to lose weight was to Run. DUH i knew this but i really didn't want to do it. RUN FOR FUN? hell no. i was 195 @ 25%? But it's one thing to be told and another to see actual results. So I began running, with a hoodie on and some say this is not going to help and only make you lose water weight. TRUE. but i felt keeping the heat inside would allow me to maintain a high heart beat. i ran for 30 minutes and worked out for 1 hour, 2-3 times a week. So i was building muscles, doing cardio and finally 'dieting'.

I changed my 'diet' AKA food intake to mostly veggies and meat/protein. I tried to cut out 90% of my carbs and made sure i ate breakfast. In addition i began to count my calorie intake. it wasn't an exact count but enough to know that i was hitting 1500 calories a day and no more than 2000. Don't get me wrong, there were times when i went out and ate and I'd easily hit 3000 for that day but i knew that with what i was doing, i still maintained a over all calorie deficit for that week. Approximately 3500 calories = 1 pound.

In August i was 186 @ 16% with a pinch test that my gym administered. During this time i felt like i was hitting a wall, a plateau so i decided to take up interval running. Like a WIMP i got a foot sprain and did not run or work out for about 1 month and even though i was able to maintain my weight I was falling behind. After working my foot's strength back up I took a slower integration of interval running.

It's now December I now always start with running. I walk until 3@ 2.5mph minutes then run @ 5.5, @10min run at 6.5mph, @12min change to 6.0mph, @ 14min 7.0mph, @16min 6.5mph, @18min 7.5 mph, @20min 7.0mph, @22min 8.0mph, @23 5.0mph and then 24min walk @ 2mph for 3 minutes. all in all you've interval-ed for 20minutes and warm up and cool down under 30 minutes. Then I go lift for about 30-45 minutes, sometimes an hour if i lose track of time. The workouts depend on the days that i go, Mondays are usually push, Tuesdays pull, Wednesdays are core and Thursdays are legs. What do i mean by push, pull and core? Push days use your chest, triceps and shoulders all in a pushing motion. Pull days are biceps, shoulders and back a bit in a pulling motion. Now the core is extra workouts for the abs, obliques, lower and upper back. Everyday i try to do sit ups on the decline bench with a 10 pound weight and sitting knee raises to my chest on the flat bench.

my work out is ever evolving and now I'm about 180@14% and still making progress. I'd like to be around 165-170 @ 7-10% by April. We'll see how it goes. Like i said, a year seems about right and now I'm on course for about 1.5 years to do a true lifestyle change.

getting there is easy, maintaining it is hard.

What is this place?

i have no idea what i'm doing or why i'm doing this. let's see how far this ride goes.