bookmark_borderThe Economist

Economist letters
Originally uploaded by viralbus

I’m a content subscriber to The Economist.

However, every three years I have to renew my subscription, which can be very entertaining.

Three years ago, I renewed fairly early, only to receive an offer of an increased rebate the day after I sent back my renewal letter. I wrote back to complain, and they refunded me the difference.

This time, I’ve been postponing renewing just in case they’d improve their offer again.

After receiving two letters, I thought at first it had worked, since it looked like the rebate had increased from 59% to 62%, or from £328.50 to £374.85.

However, the actual price is still £225. Given that the normal cover price for one year according to both letters is £194.95, I really don’t see how they can explain the difference.

I guess economists just can’t do their sums.

bookmark_borderOpen Skies

The Open Skies agreement that the EU negotiated with the US to replace the old agreements that individual EU states had with the US came into force today.

The effects at the moment is basically that lots of US airlines will start flying into London Heathrow (which they weren’t allowed to before), while Air France will fly across the Atlantic from Heathrow and British Airlines will do the same from Paris and Brussels.

However, many more changes are possible. For instance, Ryanair are planning to open an Atlantic operation, presumably flying from small European airports to small American ones.

I do wonder whether this long-term will be the demise of the big hub airports, given that we’re likely to get many more point-to-point connexions.

bookmark_borderTerminal 5

It’s been quite amusing reading about the disastrous opening of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, in a Schadenfreude kind of way.

Fundamentally, I don’t understand why they started out with so many flights on the first day if they hadn’t performed extensive testing. I mean, you either test and test and test till you’re certain everything will work out perfectly, or you start out with very few flights and then gradually add more. Just jumping into the deep end without finding out first whether you can swim is just unprofessional. Check out this blog posting, too.

Apart from the shambolic opening, I also don’t understand why they didn’t separate domestic and international travel into two terminals. The recent stories about fingerprinting all passengers are all due to the fact that they’re mixing up the two groups after check-in and need to be able to separate them later. That’s just bad design. Heathrow has several terminals – why not use one for domestic flights and the others for international ones, rather than dividing them by airlines?

bookmark_borderInternet Archive

I haven’t used the Internet Archive for a while, but today I tried it again.

For instance, here is a link to what this blog address pointed to in October of 2003.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to contain my earliest home pages any more – all the links on this page seem to point to the same (fairly recent) page.

It’s a shame I didn’t keep all the old versions myself – after all, I had a home page years before most people had even heard about the Internet.

bookmark_borderA disappointing griddle

Phyllis gave me a griddle for my birthday, and it was beautiful.

Unfortunately, it needed to be seasoned in an oven before the first use, and given that we don’t have an oven here, it got delayed for a while.

Yesterday we were invited for lunch at Derek and Amanda’s place, and we brought it. Unfortunately, the seasoning covered their kitchen in smoke – I hope it’s not the last time they invite us round! 🙁

Today I then finally got round to trying it out. I decided to make American pancakes for breakfast – finally I’d be able to make enough for all of us quickly, I thought.

But no, it was a pain: It got too hot over the burners, and not hot enough elsewhere. I guess it’s not thick enough to distribute the heat evenly. How annoying!