Recently, I've given Alaska Airlines another look and earlier this morning I got a very interesting e-mail that was completely unexpected: Alaska Air has ended a long time tradition of providing prayer cards to passengers. While some will disagree with this move, I think this was the right move to make and a good example of how a company ought to handle a thoughtful and considerate change. These cards were passed out during meal service in first class (and once upon a time in economy), and featured Biblical quotes. Nothing about them was mean spirited, but I applaud their move to ensure that all passengers feel equally welcome on Alaska flights.
The story so far is simple: Last year, I created a simple Kindle oriented Google Translate interface called Kindlefish. Last December, Google moved Google Translate to a paid service model and Kindlefish was broken. Two days ago, I started redeveloping the website and it's now up and running over at kindlefish.com.
The big news with this update is that it's completely new. From the ground up, this is a whole different approach and completely re-coded from the ground up. I'm still working on making the code more elegant, but for now it works on the Kindle Keyboard 3G. I will be rolling out fixes as we move forward and as K2/DX users help me debug the code for their particular browsers.
Everything has been redesigned, including the interface. You now get nice CSS based dropdown menus on the top and an even cleaner interface overall. If Kindlefish v2 was minimalistic, this new version is mnimlistc. Interface options, such as input and output languages are now hidden when you're not using them and the "quick select" three languages has been jettisoned in favor of easier to use selector. I've reduced the amount of scrolling in this version, based on feedback from the older version.
Welcome back Kindlefish! After the break, a quick walkthrough of the new interface and website!
The other day I mentioned that there were some transit cufflinks that looked really interesting, but that they were going for a whopping $160 a pair. Fortunately, someone else has stepped in to provide them for less and now these are mine!
If you're interested in these or know a transit geek (like me) who would be, you can check out her eBay shop here.
A bit of good news for those of who have been loyal United mileage members: The impending downgrade of benefits for the 2012 year, especially for Premier Silver members, has been delayed for a little bit. As a result, you will continue to enjoy the same benefits that you enjoyed last year and at the same level as last year for at least another month or two, until "late in the first quarter of 2012". You can read the announcement over here.
It's a little reprieve from the onslaught of bad news coming from the merger, but it's not enough to prevent me from looking at all of the programs with fresh eyes. The good news is that here on the blog I'll be sharing my analysis of the current programs with you when it's done.
I flew a total of 61,097 miles, traveled 3,111 miles by train, 311 by bus, and 284 miles on a boat for a grand total of 64,802 miles of total travel. 20,207 of those miles were on Continental and 14,131 were on United, but overall, I flew Lufthansa most frequently with 10 total flights passing through FRA each time.
This year, I drop from Premier Executive back to Premier, but I also status matched to Alaska Air and am MVP Gold there.
I visited three new countries: Greece, Russia, and Mongolia!
What is going to happen next year:
Kindlefish will be coming back at some point for a test to see how much it will cost me to keep it up.
I am planning to write more guest articles for travel websites around the web.
The blog may get a major revamp to make the articles, tips, and tricks more accessible overall.