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July 27th, 2011

~Wednesday~  I caught the Wolfline #9 Greek Village bus at the Gorman and Kaplan stop at 8:35, after waiting a mere 3 minutes—thanks to the wonders of GPS.

I just mentioned the availability of "Zipcars" on campus now on the ride back from lunch with Libby on Tuesday, as we were discussing the pros and cons of using public transportation to get to and from work, and lo and behold that was an ad for them on the bus today.

I've never really considered renting one before, as I only live 15 minutes from home, and if push came to shove, I could ride home and get my car if I need one; however, at the bottom of the ad it said, "get $45 in free driving. use promo code NVSUTTANSIT"

Not sure about the rhetorical purpose of not starting the sentences with a capital letter and the omission of the ultimate period. If I had to guess, I'd say an ethos play, albeit I might argue the effectiveness of it. But I digress...



I guess this is an affirmation of my writing, or possibly my commitment to not only complaining about bad customer service, but being sure to also recognize good customer service:

Congratulations on 17 helpful votes! Your TripAdvisor reviews have earned 17 helpful votes from other travelers. Well done!

I re-read that review and it made me smile. It was a review of the Mykonos Grand Hotel that Robert and I stayed in on our trip to Greece in October of 2004. I gave it the title of, "These folks GET customer service!" A few things made me smile about my review in retrospect:

  1. How detailed I was (Surprise, surprise!) in my feedback.

  2. How I gave very specific examples, which is critical in giving good feedback, to illustrate why i thought they "got" customer service.

  3. That I lost my glasses not once, but twice, during the short time we were there.



I had no meetings today at work. Glorious.

Long-time readers will remember my on-and-off lamenting and bitching over the past year about the imminent implementation of what I dubbed the "Fat as Fuck Plan" aspect of the State Health Plan, which essentially said if you are over a certain BMI, you would be forced to sign up for the 70/30 health plan (as opposed to the 80/20 one), with the idea being people who are contributing more to the cost of healthcare by not taking care of themselves would have to bear a bigger burden of the cost of healthcare.

Well, after all that drama, and the ridiculous yo-yoing going on in state government of lawmakers passing this, the governor vetoing that, and the lawmakers vetoing the veto, we got this email from HR today:

What are the major plan changes?

  1. No more CWI. The "Comprehensive Wellness Initiatives" (CWI), which required employees to attest to tobacco and weight (BMI) restrictions, have been repealed. Therefore, effective September 1, 2011, you can choose either the Basic (70/30) plan or the Standard (80/20) plan without regard to tobacco use or weight. So, if you dropped to the 70/30 level because of tobacco use or BMI level, or because you did not attest, you may now re-enroll at the higher 80/20 coverage level if you choose.

  2. Premium for 80/20 Individual Coverage. For the first time, the State Health Plan will impose a monthly premium ($21.62/mo) for employee-only coverage for the 80/20 standard plan.



I met Hugh at 6:45 at Helios to give him a couple of donations I received from people at work as a result of sharing his Wedding Bells blog post and request for donations, about which I said in a Facebook status update: "This is why my friend Hugh Hollowell is a Christian I admire. His ministry with the homeless is phenomenal, and he *does* more than he *preaches.* If your heart is touched by this man and what he's trying to do here, please consider a donation."

My plan after meeting Hugh was to stay at Helios until dancing started down the street at Flex at 9:00 and take care of a few things, but after about 15 minutes of trying to connect to their free wi-fi and being unsuccessful, I packed up and went to the Cameron Village Public Library.

One of the things I did there was to participate in day one of a 3-day online focus group of 15 people discussing their consideration of purchasing a laptop or notebook in the next couple of months, at the end of which I will receive $50. Some of today's questions included:

  • I’d like you to start by telling me what model(s) and brand(s) you are considering, and then explain, in your own words, why you are interested in these model(s) and brand(s), specifically.

  • To what extent is screen size a factor in your laptop/notebook purchase decision? Why?

  • If price was not an issue: what would be your optimal screen size?

  • How important is the laptop's/notebook’s portability (i.e., thickness and weight) in your purchase decision? Why?

  • To what extent do the ports the model has (e.g., USB, HDMI, Ethernet) play a role in your purchase decision?

  • To what extent does look and feel play a role in your purchase decision?

  • How about durability? How important, if at all, is this to you...and why?

  • What is the most influential source of information or recommendation you have received while considering your future laptop/notebook purchase, and what additional information sources do you plan to use to help you make your final decision?

  • To finish off today’s round of questions, I would like for all of you to think about and tell me what would be the ideal laptop/notebook computer...and please describe it to me in detail.



Dancing was fun enough tonight.

A "first" tonight was that the crossword puzzle in The Independent was so easy that Michael and Carl had already done it and replaced it with a fresh copy with a note to that effect at the top of the page, in case someone else wanted to do it. I did a vast majority of it myself, with a little input here and there from Bill, Phil, and  Bob.

The bar got a little busier than normal as the night went on, but I wouldn't call it crowded by any stretch of the imagination. I got some good exercise in.

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