Alaboutnothing Official Blog

December 24, 2016

My Uber Journey Journal Entry – Christmas 2016

Filed under: UBER Journey — alaboutnothing @ 8:44 pm
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uber_chopperIt’s finally here, Christmas 2016 and we would like to send out holiday greetings and many blessings to all of our friends and we are happy to include all the Uber riders we have had the honor to serve in the last few months.  It sure has been a journey and we are enjoying every moment and we hope they are also enjoying.

It’s been busy the last few weeks with the holiday parties and travel to places all over the world.

UBER News Flash —  A Toyota Prius was seen and tracked doing 67 MPH in a 65 MPH speed zone!  Yes, I could hardly believe my eyes when I look at me odometer and saw the Prius was 2 MPH faster than the speed limit.  I then checked the plates and found them to be from Canada.  Aha!  I waved as I passed them and thought “Maybe 60 liters per kilometer is doable by Canadians.”

We are still surprised by the riders we pick up and how up-beat everyone is.  The conversations are always a learning experience and no matter what age, it’s always an exchange of ideas and culture.  One common subject of conversation lately has been the “Driver-less” cars.  Since California is demanding Uber get the proper permits and such, Uber has decided to go elsewhere for testing.  We still see the Google cars on the roadways, so they must have complied.  So far the common agreement by many passengers is that they would not want to ride in one yet, even with a driver along just in case.  Most do agree that using “Driverless” semi-trucks across the countries roadways is a great ides, but cars not yet.  The conflict is mainly that mixing driverless cars and cars with drivers is like mixing oil and water.

Uber Newbie Alert — Recently we have heard rumors that there are actually people who don’t understand how the Uber experience works.  Yes, I was shocked too, and then I experienced a call for a ride by an Uber “Newbie”.  Here is what happened – I received a pick up alert and when I accepted I saw that the pick was at Rosewood Hotel a place we pick up riders often.  So I was about 5 miles away at the Stanford Mall and we headed toward Sand Hill road on my way for the pickup, when my phone rang.  I pulled over to answer and when I said “Hello”, I immediately heard “Where are you?” No identification, but the voice sounded like a friend of mine so I said, “At the Stanford Mall on my way to a pick up”.  Then I heard, “How come you are not here and when will you be here?”  I was now confused so I said, “Who is this?”.  The answer was, “Ms Chou and I am waiting at the Rosewood Hotel and you should have been here by now!”  Then she asked “How long until you get here?” I said, “About 10 to 15 minutes depending on the traffic.”  I added that I just received the pickup notice about 20 seconds ago and I was now on my way.  Then she said again, “You should be here now and I don’t want to wait that long so I am going to cancel and call someone else.”  I said, “Okay, that is your choice and the only way I can get there now is to call Scottie from Star-Trek” and have him beam over, but that is an extra fee.” (DUH).  15 minutes later I get another pickup alert for Ms Chou and accept it, knowing that a phone call was imminent and sure enough here she was again.  She said, “Why did you accept this ride request?”  I said, because if I did not it would go on my Uber record as a cancellation and I did not want that to happen.”  She then said, “Just turn off your phone.”  I said, “You should know that you are not the only person in the universe using Uber and I was waiting for the next trip.” She then hung up.  (Probably called Lyft or a cab)

** Uber-Up  — So to Ms Chou (And any other Uber newbie) I dedicate how to Use the Uber APP instructions once you send the request.  Just know that an Uber driver will be receiving the request for pick up and you can see at the lower right of your screen how  many minutes away the driver is and this will update as the driver get closer.  Also when the drive arrives you will be notified that he/she/it has arrived and is waiting.  You have 2 minutes to confirm, and if you don’t the driver has the option to cancel.  That’s it!  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist and 99.9999% of the population has figured this out, and now you know also.

Something I have on order is a dash-cam.  I want to capture the “I own that real-estate lane changers” on video and then post on here.  I have also seen a few close call accidents and figured that if I had one on video it might help the police is solving the case.  Once I was stopped at a red light and a car from behind me swerved around me and sped away through a busy intersection.  I was amazed no one hit him/her/it as they went through and down the street.  So when I get it installed I will be posting some test videos.

We have nothing at add except “Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!”

** Update – Our new catch phrase will be “Uber-Up” for people who have not used Uber.

December 13, 2016

My Uber Journey Journal Entry 1 (MUJJ for short)

Filed under: UBER Journey — alaboutnothing @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

uber_logo  If you are considering becoming an Uber driver once you are approved all you need is a smart phone and a car phone holder.  The car phone holder we first stared using was a cheap one that just suctioned cupped to the window.  It worked at first, but because there wasn’t any support, it would vibrate and that made it hard to read.  After a few weeks of bending it to where we wanted to see the phone screen better, it became unmanageable, so we tossed it.  The next one was much better because it has a support leg that rested on the dashboard.  No more messing around because once we set it up, it stayed in place.

Something else is to be sure to get a phone charger and keep the phone charging the entire time.  If you don’t and you are on a trip and the phone goes dead you go in to “Uber-Land”, which in not someplace you want to go.  Even though you don’t see it, the trip continues and Uber knows where you are going and how long the ride is.  Once the time exceeds the ride length it starts to deduct from the total ride amount and when it gets down to zero, it starts billing you for the ride.  Not somewhere you want to go because it will continue billing you until you can complete the ride, and that may take hours.  One of the Uber drivers this happen to, told me it cost him $1,000.00, and hours of working it out with Uber get the charges removed.  (This entire explanation is bogus, but we wanted to make sure you were paying attention).  Keep the phone changed and no worry.

It would also be a big help to you to meet some local Uber drivers so you can get the “feel” of where you will be driving.  Some locals require a license to operate on their premises.  My friend filled me in on some tricks like on a drop off in San Francisco when leaving the city, always use I-280 south because you can almost guarantee that US 101 will be a parking lot.  (Of course it depends on the time of day).  When in the city if you get lost, just find Van Ness and it will take you to US 1010 / I-280.  (I ask Siri).

Road Rule — When driving we have never seen a Toyota Prius going the speed limit or exceeding the speed limit.  They are always going 5 MPH or lower than the speed limit and sometimes even in the high speed left lane.  Yes folks, I have discussed this with numerous passengers and they all agree the Prius folks have their own agenda.  We did some research and found a study from the University of Aguilera (Fake name) that showed that if a Prious owner filled up the car three times and all three times the average miles per gallon came up less than 60 miles per gallon as advertised the owner went into a severe depression with low self esteem disorder.  Yes folks, they could be in therapy for years or until they get rid of the Prius or consistently get 60 miles per gallon.  (Unknown to them the kid next door is siphoning their gas into his car so they will never get the 60 MPG).   The only other explanation is back when gas went to $5.00 + per gallon these people all ran out and bought Prius’s and paid more than the going price.  Now that gas is less than $3.00 they are all pissed and are making the other drivers (us) miserable, even though it was on them for being in the panic mode.

Road Rule — They are some drivers that think just because they turn on their blinkers they have the right to change lanes even though there is only a foot between you and the car in front of you.  Yes, they think they own that foot and they are going to take it now.  We think the state of California should pass a proposition that allows us to shoot the illegal lane changer with a paint ball gun numerous times.  (Red, White, & Blue preferred) This will mark the car and alert the other legal drivers to be warned, this guy is out to score real-estate on the road.  (We will make this part of “calexit”).

Road Rule – When the City Taxi Cab Service drives bye and the driver is waving his hand with the “Uber is number 1 middle finger salute” we always return the wave with a peace sign and a really big smile.  Those guys are just a bunch of jokers and even though their mouth is moving, we assume they are sending their blessings.

So, are you excited about getting out there and Ubering?  We keep track of the countries our passengers come from and now we can add Bulgaria, Sweden, Russia, and Taiwan to our list.  All the trips were great conversations with the last one late night with Fred from Google.  He was going from Palo Alto to north San Francisco so we had time to chat.  He also said that he had called an Uber driver before me and when the guy showed up he refused to take Fred home.  Unreal!  We said we would report the driver to Uber, but it was his choice.  I had a few questions and how we were first introduced to Google way back in 1999 when they were on University Avenue where my friend and I went upstairs because we saw the light on and we met all the Google folks.  Then we talked about mindfulness medication and that Google actually has a Manager of Mindfulness on staff along with meditation rooms.  I said I wanted that job and I could start immediately.  We pointed out to Fred about the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City and that we took a course every Wednesday for 6 weeks and that the audio for the course along with all teachings at the center are available on line for free at the “Insight Meditation Center Web Site”.

Finally, if we called Uber for a ride and the guy showed up and refused to take us where we wanted to go we would not only report the driver, we would whip out our paint gun and paint the driver and his car in patriotic RED, WHITE, and BLUE.  Then wave Uber is #1 as we dial another Uber dude.

We have nothing to add at this time except we are heading out because it’s “Uber Time”.

December 5, 2016

My Uber Journey — The Start

uber_logoWe are back and loaded with about a thousand pounds (hash tags) of notes starting a new phase of AAN posts.

About three months ago we started driving for Uber.  At first we were a bit fearful about it because throughout entire career (50+ years) we were software developers and manual labor was not part of the job description, so we researched it until we found everything we needed.  One of our limitations was we did not own car that could be used, but then we found a way to lease a car from Uber, and overall it’s a great deal.  (Limitation eliminated).  We won’t go into details because we don’t know if this option is in all the cities across the US.  You need to check in your area.

Once we decided to go ahead everything simply fell in place in just a few days.  When it came time to go get the car, we did an Uber ride and the guy (Old friend) who picked me up had been doing Uber for 3 years so we chatted the entire way and he gave me some great tips.  We used his driver id as a referral so when I hit me 100 ride we both got a great bonus.  It was funny, because just when I completed my 100th passenger ride within a few minutes he called me.  We weren’t keeping count so it was a surprise.  The 1st words we heard were “I am dancing around my chair because you just completed 100 rides!”  I laughed and said “Wow, already!” Sure enough my bonus had been deposited.  I said, “We need to meet and celebrate at Starbuck’s in a few days.” (We did).

Once we picked the car and signed the paperwork we were on our way to an awesome experience.  We call it a journey because this feels like a new part of our life, a life extension so to say.  One of the parts of being a software developer the last 10 years was that we mainly worked from home over the web.  It is convenient, but the part of doing software for me is the people contact not only solving issues by coding.  (The phone is not the same a face to face).

So this was the main reason that got us past our fear, and when we completed the 1st pick-up and drop-off, the fear disappeared in a heart beat.  We knew this is exactly what I will be doing for a long time to come.

Here we are in the San Francisco Bay area where Facebook HQ, Google HQ, Apple HQ, Uber HQ, and about a zillion other “.com” companies reside and of course Stanford University.  Then there is the diversity of people from all over the world coming to visit and to live or go to school.  Yes folks, this is an awesome journey.  I can only quote Emma from New Zealand who was visiting her daughter on her way back home.  She said “This is an exchange in cultures and a sharing of ideas between people of the world.”  (She nailed it)  It’s a matter of talking directly to another human, not via text, but with eye contact and feeling and sharing our energy.  Of course many things we share are common, but the uniqueness is the icing on the cake.

We plan to document my Uber journey with observations I make along the way.  For example Uber does not push for rider’s tips on a completed ride, but we once picked up a Stanford Student at Trader Joe’s and when we dropped her off she gave me a banana as a tip.  Know what?  We were hungry so we peeled it right there and started eating it as we thanked her.

So now when we start my day we get in the car and take a few deep breaths and think. “Who are we going to meet today and what new places will we be discovering?”  It is always a surprise we must say.

We would suggest to you all out there in cyberland that if you enjoy people, have some rime on your hands, that instead of becoming a couch potato try out Uber or at least research it and see if it fits you.  If you decide to do it please use my driver Id. as a reference (5ZZEQH3UUE) when you fill out the online application.  We will both share a nice bonus when you complete your 100 trips.

We have read some “bad” things about Uber, but in my opinion it’s great.  Not perfect, but they always updating the driver application, and their support has been very good.  What they do need is some formal online training.  There are some U-Tube video’s that are okay, but we would suggest maybe in the major cities a one day seminar covering how the “ap” works and answering questions.  We am still finding new stuff.

We have nothing to ad at this time but maybe someday you will visit the Bay are and when you do an Uber ride we will pick you up.  If any of you have a question please leaves a comment and we will get back to you.

 

July 7, 2016

Happy Birthday Sydney !

Filed under: Back in the Day — alaboutnothing @ 10:30 am
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 We here at the AAN Team Headquarters wish to extend a very Happy Birthday to Sydney and we hope Sydney has the greatest birthday ever.  Also wishing Sydney a Happy Birthday is Gabrielle, Pup- Pup, Pandie, Jenna, Sheepishly, Stripes, Joann, Ray, Pearl Swirl, Bun Bun, Reggie, Nola, Blueberry, Stitch, Teddy, Deery, Red Panda, Peanut, Rocko, Wishful, Daisy, Ice Cude, Sting, Fetch, Halo, Nibble, Pepper, Shelby, Slush, Cancun, Legs, Penny, Swoops, Waddle, Zig-Zag, Safari, Speckles, Leona, Glamour, Bamboo, Babs, Spells, Lucy, Smurf, Hip, Ellie,  Spots, Hello Kitty’s, Candy, Penguino, and Freddie, all of which are doing the Happy Birthday Dance in the middle of the room.

 

We have nothing else to report except to repeat “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SYDNEY!!!

June 15, 2016

Happy Birthday Joann 2016

Filed under: Back in the Day — alaboutnothing @ 11:00 am
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On your birthday,
We are thinking about how much light and sparkle
you freely dispense wherever you go,
how your sunny smile lights up any gathering.
Every birthday marks another year
of you radiating positive, happy energy,
contagious happiness
that infects all who come in contact with you.
May your next birthday find you the same–
glowing from within,
beaming bright joy on everyone you meet.
We feel blessed to know and love you.

Nothing compares to love you radiate and the dreams you inspire.

March 2, 2016

American Idol and The Voice 2016

AI 2011 logoThis is the last year for American Idol and since we have been watching since day 1, it will be like losing a friend.  I am guessing it’s due to falling ratings, but we are just guessing.  The sad part is that American Idol was the 1st to start the reality talent show format and when they leave there won’t be another show to replace their format.  The loss of a format for new talent like American Idol uses is not duplicated on any other show that we can think of.  The Voice pre-picks, America’s Got Talent is not a format for singers, and the X Factor currently is only in England.  Maybe Fox will come up with some kind of replacement for pure singing contestants similar to American Idol.  One thing for sure is that up until this season the viewing audience never know who stayed and who went home before the telecast was completed, but this year there have been several “leaks” about results already.  Guess some of the soon to be unemployed employees don’t give a hoot.

voiceThe Voice 2016 started this past Monday with the “Blind Auditions” and once again it is looking like an awesome season.  We say this every year, but it’s true every time.  With Adam, Pharrell, Blake, and Christina as the judges it for sure will be entertaining watching the judge banter.  Tuesday was the 2nd “Blind Audition” and so far we have picked three of four possible winners. Have you picked anyone?  We wonder if the N. Michigan “car-poolies” will be following The Voice this season.  (We won’t know because our source evaporated).  (We think yes).

We have nothing else to report except that even though we never get involved with political news, we can’t resist whats going on this year in the U.S.A.  After all we guess these guys and gals running for the presidency  also are chasing a dream.  (We are not sure what the dream is but maybe we will know by next November).

December 31, 2015

The 25th Annual Remote Developer Ugly Sweater Competition Final

Filed under: Back in the Day — alaboutnothing @ 9:07 pm
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Finally we have a winner after several recounts since Christmas Eve Day

HAPPY_2016jpg
Congratulations to Roberto who is this year’s winner and will get a 1st prize check of $7.25 (Thomas has your check). Normally he would have received a trophy, but since the trophy was an ice sculpture it melted on Christmas day. It was one of the best “CDS095” images ever made from ice and because CDS095 freezes up once in a while, the material fit the subject matter. The good news is before the melt-down a small cube was saved and placed in the refrigerator in the cafeteria. The bad news is, there was a small Christmas celebration and the cube was used to cool a drink. (Next year we need a freezer on hand just in case).

Plans are already in progress for next year and because Joe S. had the drink that used the small trophy cube, he is in charge. Voting for the trophy image will begin on January 5th.

We have nothing else to report except to wish everyone we know a Happy New Year and the same to everyone we don’t yet know.

Just too clear up any questions on the amount of the 1st prize check which is normally $10,000.00. This year’s check is a net amount with the following expenses deducted: The daily fees for renting the voting machine, which was on hand for five days of recounts, the sculpting of the trophy, and operating fee (Don’t ask) all came out to $9,992.75.

December 16, 2015

The Voice Final 2015 — Jordan Smith wins it!!!!

Filed under: The Voice — alaboutnothing @ 2:44 pm
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Jordan Smith
Jordan Mackenzie Smith is an American singer and musician. In December 2015 he won season nine of the singing competition The Voice, which brought him to wide national attention. Wikipedia
Born: November 4, 1993 (age 22), Whitley County, Kentucky, KY
Parents: Geri Smith, Kelley Smith
Another GREAT season for The Voice and way to go Jordon!!!  This guy was way above all the other contestants.
We have nothing else except to wait for Jordon to be in concert soon.  See you soon Aaron.

 

November 9, 2015

The Voice Fall Season 2015

voiceIt’s official Blake and Gwen are dating even though a few weeks ago when rumors were flying they said they were just friends.  That goes to prove you can’t trust what two single people seen sneaking around say.  Will this tip the scales when it comes to judging?  They are now on the same team so to speak.  It will be interesting to see if Adam or Pharrell will even mention it.

At least the talent is awesome this year and it’s really getting intense as the “live” shows get near.

We also have been following X-Factor except it’s tough to follow their scheduling on Sunday and Monday at the start to Saturday and Sunday now from what we understand.  Simon Cowell is a judge there and will be coming to the US to be a judge on the next season of America’s Got Talent.  Kind of a long commute from London to New York,  but he probably has his own private jet to cruise around in.

We have nothing else to report except to give a shout out to the Northern Michigan folks.  Because I spent so much time in the Upper Peninsula I been following a sight that posts various sightseeing photos of places like Copper Harbor, the end of US 41, the copper mines, etc.  and now I want to go back and visit.  Maybe next summer.

To all the veterans out there in cyberland we say THANK YOU!

October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween 2015

Filed under: Consumer — alaboutnothing @ 1:00 am
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Wishing all of our friends a very Happy Halloween.  My costume this year is Sponge Bob Square Pants so if you see a sponge walking down the street, please deposit 10 Reese’s  Peanut-butter Cups in the bag.  We will be a happy camper.

We have nothing else to report except too say to everyone to have a safe Halloween. For those folks out there doing any driving, please watch out for the children out there trick or treating.

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