Archive for the ‘WiFi’ Category

I heartily endorse this event or product. (#8 in a series)

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Silvercar.

This endorsement may be of limited utility to most of you, since Silvercar currently only operates in DFW and Austin. But I am hopeful that they will expand to other cities.

What are they? Silvercar is a car rental firm, but they’re different from your normal car rental company.

First of all, they only rent one type of car: silver Audi A4s. That’s not so bad, for reasons I’ll get into in a bit.

Second of all, their prices are reasonable: right now, they’re charging $75/day on weekdays and $50/day on weekends. That’s actually about what you’d pay for anything from Enterprise at the airport. (I just checked the Enterprise site: cheapest is $66.99 for a full-size car, going up to $127.56 for a “luxury” car.) That is with unlimited milage.

Thirdly, the experience is nowhere near as annoying as your average car rental agency is:

  • They pick you up at the airport. You pick your car. You scan the QR code with the Silvercar app on your phone. You drive away with your rental. If you want, they’ll give you a briefing on how to use the navigation and audio systems. If you need help, they have some very pleasant people available to walk you through the process.
  • Unlimited mileage.
  • Fuel is charged based on what you actually use (at prevailing market rate) plus $5 if you don’t return the car with a full tank.
  • They don’t get pushy about the “collision damage waver”. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they have such a thing.
  • Those nice people they have on duty kept asking if we’d like a bottle of water or something while we picked up and dropped off the car. When’s the last time Hertz asked you if you wanted a bottle of water?

And the Audi A4s they rent are fun cars. Yes, they have Bluetooth. They also have WiFi. Seriously. You can use your rental car as a WiFi hotspot while driving. Most of this stuff is your basic Audi features, as far as I know, including the navigation and audio. But it is still really nice to have these features in a rental car, especially at this price.

I should note that I didn’t actually rent the car: Mike the Musicologist came up for a visit and handled the interaction with Silvercar. But I was along for the pickup and dropoff, and from what I saw it was the most friction-free car rental experience ever.

We drove the Audi down to New Braunfels Sunday night to have barbecue at the Cooper’s there (which I liked very much). Then we drove back through the city and stopped at the Buc-ees (yes, the one that won the “America’s Best Restroom” contest – and, yes, it is a darn nice men’s room). Monday, MtM and I drove down to Boerne and had lunch at a wonderful German restaurant called Little Gretel. I want to go back. Actually, what I want to do is take a long weekend, book a motel room in Boerne, and stay for a day or two, eating at Little Gretel, feeding the ducks in the creek across the street, and exploring the surrounding area.

We drove back to Austin by way of Fredericksburg (stopping briefly at the shop for the Nimitz Museum/Museum of the Pacific War) and the Audi never missed a beat. It felt like it was on rails even when I pushed it close to 100 MPH, and we got around 26 MPG for the entire Monday trip.

The one small issue I’d bring up with Silvercar, if they asked me, is that they only provide an iPod connector for the Audi MMI system. It’d be nice to have at least the Audi USB connectors as well. (I was unable to find a USB port in the car: the MMI system does have two SD card slots, though, as well as a SIM card slot.)

So, anyway, if you need a good rental car in Austin (or DFW), give Silvercar a try. And thanks to Mike for organizing this adventure.

Project updates.

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Project e update: I took the machine up to 2GB of memory earlier this week; it turned out to be much harder than I expected, mostly because getting the memory access door off the machine took more effort than I expected.

I just finished doing a clean install of Ubuntu 9.10 on Project e; I went the clean install route, instead of doing an upgrade in place, because there were some things I wanted to clean out, and I didn’t really have a whole lot invested in the current system. (However, I didn’t re-partition and blow away /home.) So far, wireless seems much more stable; no connection drops yet. Ethernet just works, straight out of the box (no loading of modules) and Bluetooth seems to work as well, modulo some flakiness in listing devices.

This install also took more effort, and more time, than I expected. However, much of that was my fault; the process for creating USB install disks changed from 9.04 to 9.10, and the instructions on the Ubuntu website are not clear on how to do that under OS X. I ended up having to move the 9.10 ISO over to the netbook and use the USB startup disk creator to make a bootable flash drive. I don’t see this as an Ubuntu problem as much as a “thought I knew what I was doing, should have read the docs first” problem.

Question: does anyone know of a good Karmic-compatible eeePC tray utility, now that eeepc-tray has been end of lifed?

6.00 update: I’ve been tied up dealing with some personal issues that I don’t want to go into here (for reasons of other people’s privacy) and haven’t had as much time as I would like to work on this. I’ve gone through all of lecture 2, and I’m hoping to knock out the assignment and move on to lecture 3 this week.

School: Registered for CSYS 4334, “Implementing Information Systems In Organizations” (in other words, more SQL Server 2005) and CSYS 4330, “Advanced Networking/Network Security” next semester. That second one should be fun.

Project e: Part 2: The Ubuntuing

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Before I begin, a couple of notes:

First, I’d like to publicly acknowledge D. D. Tannenbaum as the first person to actually leave a real substantive comment on Whipped Cream Difficulties. (There was one spam comment before his, which I guess makes some sort of pathetic statement about the state of the Internet.) Thank you, sir.

Second, another size comparison:

IMG_0334 (Modified)

That’s my (somewhat beat up, as I’ve been toting it for a while) copy of Learning Python, 3rd Edition. As you can see, the eee is only slightly larger than the book; you can’t see this in the photo, but it is substantially thinner. I wanted to get a weight comparison between the two as well, but I don’t have a scale that will work well for that purpose; manufacturer’s quoted weight for the eee is 2.9 pounds.

On to The Ubuntuing.

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