Wednesday, April 17

Being forgetful

Morning. In the kitchen. Two slices of bread were in the toaster, and a cup of milk was in the microwave.

I looked at the counter. There are a bag of bread, a bottle of peanut butter, a banana, a plate and a knife. Since I didn't have too many things to do while waiting for the toaster and microwave, I could clean the counter a little bit.

I already took out two slices of bread from the bag, so the bag of bread was not needed any more. I put the bag of bread to the cabinet.

Wait a minute. The bread should go to the fridge. The cabinet was where I got the bottle of peanut butter from. So I took out the bread, and put the peanut butter inside.

Now in the counter there are a bag of bread, a banana, a plate and a knife. Something is wrong.
... I should put that bag of bread into fridge... done.
... I would need the knife and plate for the toasted bread to apply peanut butter... Why did I put the bottle of peanut butter into cabinet already?

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Will Windows Start Menu be back?

I got sources telling me that Microsoft is seriously considering taking the Start Menu back. I welcome this move.

Microsoft made a bold move to remove the Start Menu from Windows 8, because it wanted to push people from desktop to "Metro style". It insisted that even after getting a lot of complaints from internal/external testing users. I understand that thought and admire that insist. But the reality is, this move is getting negative feedback from most users. I've never heard of anybody liking this change.

Microsoft guys told me that when the mouse is moved to the lower left corner, there is a little icon shows up. When that is clicked, the Metro panel shows up to list common used items. "It acts like the Start Menu". No, that is very different from Start Menu, because when that icon is clicked, I can't see my current windows, and that makes me nervous.

At least, give us costumers the options to vote for Start Menu please.

Windows Blue was rumored as "Windows 9" in March; now it is likely to become "Windows 8.1" as an update of Windows 8, which was released less than 6 months ago. It is good that Microsoft lower the ambitious plan and face the reality.

People keep saying "PC is dead". It is true that the smartphones and tablets (Kindle, iPad...) are very convenient, but PC is still a very productive tools in a lot of scenarios. At least, I don't want to type this blog in a smartphone. Staring at the soft keyboard of iPhone, moving out the thumbs to locate the small keys, that aren't the correct way to type.

Sunday, April 14

昨天行程


昨天行程

前几天订机票的时候,查了到三藩市或者圣荷西的飞机,只有两个经盐湖城转机的便宜;其它的都双倍、三倍的价格。这两个选择中,一个是早上6点,另一个早上8点。因为我还要在机场海关办手续需要时间,选6点的航班的话,我就没时间睡觉了。

早上5点起床,6点到了机场。海关有规定:只有起飞前两小时的乘客才可以过海关,所以我这个时间正好。

一进机场,傻眼了,排队checkin的人很多!我已经把登记卡打印好了,所以一般到这里都忽略这个队伍,可是今天我有行李要托运,就必须过这一关!我估计一下,基本上要20到30分钟。嗯,生命很宝贵,时间很重要。我找了一个维持秩序的大妈,告诉她我进去后还要在海关办手续,时间比较紧;她把我带到vip通道马上把我的托运行李票打出来,问题解决了。

第一关:通过。

然后到海关门口,守门的确认一下我的机票是两小时内起飞的航班,让我进去了。里面按例是很长的海关的排队,这个跟我无关,我有Global Entry的卡,又是VIP通道:到Kiosk里扫描一下护照,印一下指纹,1分钟就到海关官员前了。

第二关:通过。

跟海关官员说了我今天要办的手续,他就把我带到“黑房子”里。这也是惯例,我去年办过。把行李放在外面,机票、护照交给海关官员,就进去等着吧。
黑房子里只有一个官员和一个年轻人。我低头填表听见官员问:你有没有被逮捕过?年轻人犹疑了一阵,我就想:有情况!竖起耳朵,果然听见年轻人说:以前因为开快车被逮捕过。
年轻人应该是6点的飞机(这时候已经6点了),和兄弟一起飞到休斯敦,转机到costa rica度假一星期的。这一次也并非他第一次去美国,怎么就被拦下来了呢?只能说是luck了。一个多小时之后,他终于被放了,官员还帮他调到8点半到休斯敦的飞机,所以他可以在那里赶上兄弟,然后一起度假。Have fun!
在此期间,进来一个西装革履的地球物理博士生,是那种在茫茫人海中一看就知道可以用普通话交流的那种。他是第一次办这个手续,公司请了律师,所以海关官员居然在办理我之前先办理他了。在等待时我告诉他没有什么好担心的,上次我办理的时候,第一个问题是到哪个城市,第二个问题就是我打算如何交申请费用,是用现金还是信用卡。果然,在年轻人离开之后,官员用了半小时,把他的事情也解决了。他也是到休斯敦,和那个年轻人同一个航班。好吧,留下我一个人,你们远走高飞吧,祝你们,春梦了无痕啊!

读者你要是keep track of time,你会发现时钟已经将近8点了。我的航班已经开始登机,才终于轮到审查我的案例。申请材料甚至还在我手上呢。
到办理的时候,其实没有什么好说的。去年我已经办过一次,是公司请律师办好了文件,我拿到这个黑房子里办的;今年我换了一个雇主,所有材料都是我自己按照去年的文件收拾的。官员翻着材料,在一些关键点上打钩,表明这些都满足他的要求。看完之后,还是相同的问题:你打算如何交申请费?接着顺便更新了Global Entry卡的资料,甚至主动告诉我,我拿到了3年的批准;我的护照只有两年半的有效期;他已经做了批注,到我换新护照的时候跟海关提一下就可以继续用到3年整了。这么好的服务,我还能说什么呢?

第三关总算通过了。

半个小时后,办妥出门。不用说,飞机已经起飞,连我放在外面的行李上面帖着的的单子都被已经撕走:也就是说,航空公司已经意识到这件行李(和它倒霉的主人)不可能赶上这趟飞机。官员说:抱歉让你误了飞机。然后把我送到Global Entry的门口,让我出去找航空公司去。
我自然知道今天两趟经盐湖城转机的都已经飞了,跟航空公司小姐一说,她查证之后果然说今天不再有到圣荷西的航班,可以帮我调到明天同一航班中。这样就完全打乱我的计划了。明天我还有安排呢。我想了想,镇静下来,跟她说:1,我明天早上还有一趟航班从三藩市出发;2,今天如果没有到圣荷西的,有没有到三藩市的?我愿意补上差价。她对换目的地比较踌躇,就打电话给总部请示一下,结果成功了!
最后,我不需要补差价,就坐上了原来我所看到的三倍费用的直飞三藩市的航班,三小时后出发,比我原计划转机的航班提前10分钟到达


最后一关也成功了!Mission Accomplished!

我把行李拉到旁边椅子旁,给已经定好的接机的机场巴士打电话,改一下机场;然后放下电话,感觉少了什么东西,站起来摸摸兜里;航空公司小姐过来问我:你是不是丢了什么?我还没想好怎么回答,她把手上的东西亮给了我:我刚才放在柜台上的护照和钱包居然忘记拿了!
OK,这是我今天犯的唯一的错误。

在机场闲等着的时候,又见到了早上那个机场大妈。我主动跟她解释了海关误了我的点,所以我现在还在这里。她说,那以后你要提前3小时来才行。我指着"less than 2 hours of your depart time"的横幅说,可是提前来,海关也不让进啊。好吧,以她的丰富的生活经验,她也表示这个问题无解。
(当然,下一次,我一定会提前三小时来,泡一泡守门口的,告诉她我要进去办手续,应该能搞定。)

三小时后,因为已经办好了行李单,直接用Global Entry进海关,然后也用它加塞过安检,10分钟后我已经到登机口等着了。


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