27 May 2012

United Airlines and the opposite of sense

on a recent trip to nyc, i elected to pay $25 to check my first bag, for each leg. i rightly guessed that by the time i boarded, there would be no overhead space left.

on the return, United announced at the gate that the flight was full, and rollerboards would be gate-checked for free. naturally, i do not expect to be refunded my $25. why should i, when my pre-planning helps them to load the plane more quickly and have a better chance at on-time takeoff.

does it not make more sense to charge people for carry-ons, and grant free checking of the first 2 bags? am i correct in thinking that incenting people to reduce what they carry on, rather than incenting them to increase it, will save money? am i correct in thinking that granting passengers that much extra space, and doing away with at least some of the fighting for shared space, will improve the experience for everyone involved?

is the cost of baggage handling really so prohibitive?

what am i missing?

05 May 2012

a little credential standardization, please

just a small rant about sites, especially financial ones, enforcing silly rules for usernames and passwords that vary wildly from one site to the next.

some require special characters in passwords, some can't handle them! is my letters and numbers-only password really secure enough to protect my money?

i had a standard 6-character username, which in the past couple years became insufficient for banks. several financial sites required 8-character usernames.

great, now i have to remember which sites are the username exceptions, along with whatever peculiarities the password rules may have.

this week, i made logins for two more sites where i have some investments. one required a 10-character username, but couldn't handle special characters in the password. what security purpose is served with unwieldy usernames? and what kinds of backends do these sites have that the policy is to exclude special chars? injection-prone php servers? doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.