Category Archives: the internets

Get Good Prices on Holiday Travel

Buy Now Travel on FarecastWith jet fuel prices as high as they are, shopping for airplane tickets to visit the Melancon family this winter has been frustrating.  Since we started looking in October the prices have been out of reach and I was wondering if I could ever afford the trip.  Finally, this weekend the prices dropped and we made a purchase today.   I was tracking prices with Farecast and as you can see from the fare history chart, now is a perfect time to buy!

We’re looking forward to seeing family and friends in December! 

Reason #425 to be Married: Improved Customer Service

Tonight I called Social Security and found out that I needed additional facts before I could get the information requested.  The phone rep told me they are open until 7 PM Pacific time and that I could call back before then.  It was only through the bounty of being married and our phone from a different time zone that I was able to trick the phone system into providing customer service.

I compiled the requested info and called back at 7:20 PM Eastern Time (4:20 PM Pacific time) only to hear an automated message saying that the office is closed for the day.  What?!  While it was after 7 on the east coast it was not 7 PM yet on the west coast.

Not to be deterred, I tried to beat the system.  My wife Amanda has a phone number from Colorado so I dialed with her phone and got right into the phone system and through to a representative.  Apparently the office wasn’t closed if you live in Colorado but it is closed if you live in DC.

Next time you need to reach an office with a fancy automated system shielding you from real people, keep this trick in mind.

Chopin Announces Your Call But I Had No Idea

I have a custom ring tone setup on my cell phone when my bride Amanda calls (all the rest of you get the sound of an old phone ringing). Yesterday at work I heard her calling but the phone was in the cabinet so I turned down the radio and got up to grab the phone. And suddenly she hung up on me. I sat down and turned up the speakers again and there was her ring again. What was going on? The computer can’t receive calls so it had to be that the music playing was same song as the ring tone.

The song that was playing at the time was Chopin’s Étude No. 5 in G-Flat Major “Black Keys. All I knew about the ring tone was that it was the only pleasing music that would suit a call from Amanda and that it was named melody07.mid.

Think I am going crazy and hearing things? You be the judge. Continue reading Chopin Announces Your Call But I Had No Idea

The Daily Show Full Episodes Available Free on

I don’t subscribe to cable television so I haven’t been able to watch The Daily Show in a long time at 11 pm. This all changed today … now I can watch full length high resolution episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on at any time I want. This is great news partly because freeing television from the broadcast schedule will make it easier for fans to watch the shows on their schedule and also because I just ordered a cable that will connect my computer to the television.  This cable will bring whatever is showing on my notebook computer to the television and therefore bring the internet shows out of the office and into the living room.

Here’s last night’s Daily Show.


Wake Up On Time with Wakerupper

Today is the first day of the 19 day Fast in the Baha’i calendar. Baha’is abstain from food and drink when the sun is up so it is important that I wake up earlier than usual to have a good meal. Waking up is rarely easy since I’m such a happy sleeper so I need all of the help I can get. Enter: a free web based telephone calling service called Wakerupper to help me stop slumbering.

wake up logo

Wired magazine wrote about Wakerupper back in November and I immediately tried it but it was not fully available then except for beta testers. Without an account all you can do is schedule a single call. My single reminder calls worked well but the real beauty of a service to call a phone number is to schedule multiple calls on a schedule.

Wakerupper is basically a service that calls a telephone exactly when you want with the message of your choosing. According to the company:

“Wakerupper is an experimental service that aims to make telephone alerting as easy and inexpensive as possible. In one easy step, on one simple web page, Wakerupper enables users in the United States and Canada to schedule telephone reminder calls.”

Today I got an email inviting me to be a beta tester for the servce (yay, right on time!) and it is working great. Details on how it works are below. Continue reading Wake Up On Time with Wakerupper

Wedding Location Search: The Lodge at Seneca Creek (with interactive photo)

An interactive 360 degree photographic experience makes a huge difference when you’re trying to find a wedding location. I wish more venues had this kind of feature on web sites. Since they do not, I am happy to share with you this interactive 360+ degree image of the Lodge at Seneca Creek.

Update: this is not where we decided to have the wedding but it is one of many places we investigated. Continue reading Wedding Location Search: The Lodge at Seneca Creek (with interactive photo)

The Engagement Heard ‘Round the World

Did you know that when you surf the web that the sites you visit can tell where you are located?

I sent out an engagement announcement email in December that directed readers to a web page. is able to tell where site visitors are physically located and this map shows that in detail.  The map above shows the location of the last 100 visitors to Typically the people who view the site are from the USA but after the engagement email went out Amanda and I could tell which friends living overseas and who among our friends and family had checked out the web page.