Trajan

TrajansColumn

  • End of the road for Travis

    It was a sad to hear about Travis Kalanick’s mom passing away in an accident but we thought Uber’s statement was that he was taking a leave of absence a cop out. We nevertheless gave an Emperor thumbs up when they later upgraded that to a full firing along with a few others of his cronies. […]
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  • Things that go bump in the night

    Normally we give a “Feed them to the Lions” verdict after we have carefully weighed up the evidence of a situation brought to our attention but in this case, we are declaring it upfront with United and their involuntary bumping policy or as they call it, “involuntary boarding denial”. ‘Involuntary boarding’, my imperial arse. This Sunday […]
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  • France industrial unrest: Henri the Strike Engine

    If you can, avoid France. In addition to oil refiners which has led to gasoline shortages, the rail workers have now gone on strike nine days before the Euro soccer tournament starts. Air Traffic controllers are also threatening and so are Air France pilots. According to SNCF, the state rail company about 60% of high-speed […]
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  • Washing and rinsing at Camp Clinton

    We at Roam love camping, so was surprised to see American Camping Association (ACA) on the list of organizations that paid  to hear speeches from Hilary Clinton. In fact, theirs was the last one before she declared as a Presidential candidate. Now curious,  I decided to take a deeper look into the ACA. From their website: […]
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  • The TSA (Thousands Standing Around) is You and Me

    I’ve got admit I didn’t pay attention too much to the headlines about why we should expect long lines at airports this summer. Then I saw this youtube video taken at O’Hare airport. The videographer started his video at the beginning of the security line and filmed himself walking to the start of it. The […]
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  • Two Texas Cities give Uber and Lyft the finger

    Latest news from Texas is that two most liberal cities of Texas – Houston and Austin – have demanded that Uber / Lyft, conduct more stringent security  background checks above what the companies are currently willing to do. May 7th Austin: Prop 1 was voted DOWN so that potential drivers MUST do finger print based criminal checks. Both Uber and Lyft […]
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  • An Indian take away

    Uber is in court again. This time they are not the defender where in this World War on Taxis (WW T), they are taking their rival Ola to court in India. From Reuters: A flurry of complaints from Uber drivers about an unusually high number of canceled bookings was the spark that ignited a bitter […]
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  • French air strike strands Easter get aways

    And what a week it has been. The Brussels bombing was awful news but we will talk about this elsewhere. However, some things are European business as usual such as air traffic control in France going on strike around a holiday. AGAIN. For those new to Roads-2-Roam, this is all too familiar pattern and covered our […]
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  • France strikes. Again

    The workers of France are at it again : yep, they are on strike where millions of teachers, health workers and air traffic controllers are protesting against reforms. This taxi drivers are also joining in and protesting against Uber. This sucks if you are traveling where not only are roads blocked but a fifth of flights at Paris airports were cancelled. […]
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  • Seattle gives the needle to Uber and Lyft

    Uber and Lyft are like good friends and black sheep family members, just because we are not talking about them directly, doesn’t mean we are not thinking about them. Their business model is one where you call a ride from an app on your phone. The app matches you with one of their drivers and they […]
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  • The Sun : Sharm on you

    Private Eye, a British satirical magazine, has a story which paints The Sun (the infamous UK tabloid) in an even worse light. “NICK PARKER, chief foreign correspondent of the Sun, had shocking news on last Friday’s front page: “Security at Sharm el-Sheikh airport has been exposed as a shambles after guards let Brits jump queues for […]
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  • Now is the Winterkorn of our discontent

    The repercussions of the Volkswagen emissions gets worse by the day. For those not following it:- The CEO, Martin Winterkorn, has resigned just as he was about  to renew his contract for 2 years. He was known as “Mr Quality”. More executives are likely to resign or be fired. The big question remaining is who knew […]
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  • Whose Exhaustive research determined VW were blowing smoke?

    In a follow on to “He who smelt it, dealt it“, we found out a bit more on who it was that grassed up Volkswagon cheating in their emission testing on Diesal cars. It was an organization called “ICCT: The International Council of Clean Transportation”. From their website, the mission  statement is: The International Council on […]
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  • He who smelt it, dealt it.

    Volkswagen appears to be in big trouble where it is being reported that they have installed ECU software on their diesel cars which apply full pollution controls only when they are running emissions testing. When actually running in real life, they are bypassed. The result is a car that has much more efficient gas mileage […]
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  • Faultly convictions due to GM ignition failure get overturned

    Imagine you are driving when your car unexpectedly goes out of control and the resulting wreck kills people. You say the car became unresponsive where power steering and the brakes do not work. While crashing, the airbags fail to deploy. The police do not believe you and you get charged and convicted of manslaughter. You […]
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  • HailItalia airline: Another hail damaged jet has emergency landing

    I thought that the smashed up Delta flight 1899 due to hail the size of baseballs, was an anomaly. See Hail to the Chief. I was therefore, surprised to see the picture of an Alitalia plane on it’s way from Rome to Milan that had to make an emergency landing in Naples. It looked very similar – […]
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  • Hail to the Chief (pilot)

    Wow. This was the damage to a Delta flight 1899 caused by hail the size of baseballs. The flight was going from Boston to Salt Lake City and had to divert to Denver. Due to the cracks in the windshield, the pilot had to make a ‘blind’ emergency landing relying on the plane’s automatic guidance system. […]
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  • T5 outage causes checked bag outrage

    Right on cue for the peak August vacation time, poor old British Airways passengers are again experiencing baggage problems at Terminal 5 due to a power outage. While the passengers will make the flights, their luggage will not. A similar event had happened a week ago and just over a year ago an IT problem shut […]
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  • Land of Gyro says Oh No to Euro

    The result is in and the Greek people voted 61% No or ‘Oxi’. If you think understanding the result is difficult, look at the question: The term “Oxi” has historical reference in Greece where they actually have “Oxi day” on October 28th. It commemorates the formal response Greek Prime minister Metaxis gave to Mussolini who […]
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  • Flood money – it all comes out in the wash

    So the rains in Texas are over for now. In Houston, many of my friends are dealing with the after effects of flooding. Though none of my close friends lost their cars, a few had water damage. One Houston radio program – Car Pro on KPRH- I happened to catch was talking about the downside of […]
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  • Skiplagged 1 : Utd 0 (Own goal)

    Roam got an email update recently from Skiplagged regarding their lawsuit where United was suing them. The update is a bit meek in saying it was a ‘technical’ dismissal but CNN gives more beef. Basically the judge looked at it and said he had no jurisdiction over the case since the defendant neither lives in not […]
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  • Let there be flight… Preferably a G650

    Today’s reading is from from the Book of Genesis. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkeness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be flight: […]
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  • France : A Land of Striking Beauty. A Land of Striking Workers.

    Il est avril en France, Le soleil brille / It is April in France and the sun shines brightly. The flowers are blooming, lovers are walking hand in hand. What a better way to take in Paris, than go up in the Eiffel Tower. Except you can’t. Why you ask, because the workers of the Eiffel […]
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  • Coroner declares first case of aerotoxic syndrome

    An update to a prior story “Flying on fumes : Are aircraft leaks poisoning cabin crew?“. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Dorset Coroner declared “aerotoxic syndrome” as the cause of death for pilot Richard Westgate. From the article: Toxic fumes in cabin air pose a health risk to frequent fliers and aircrew, a coroner has said […]
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  • It’s snow joke: the historic storm that wasn’t.

    So the historic winter storm that was to cover New York City in a few feet of snow, didn’t happen. While it blanketed New England further up North, the storm changed course only dusting NYC instead. However, only in New York would people moan about missing such a weather event and they cast scorn on the […]
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  • Sicky Mouse : Disneyland measles update

    January 27th, City of Roam and a follow up Galen’s post on the outbreak of measles centered around Disneyland. The updated number of people infected by the Disneyland Measles is at least 87 in 7 states plus Mexico. Right wing talk radio is going nuts blaming it on the illegals coming into this country un-vaccinated. Left […]
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  • Would you like Ice with that delay? Flying in the winter

    Weather.com's forecast for Storm Juno Weather.com January 26: Last time I  looked 5740 flights were cancelled due to the 'Historic' winter storm Juno that is hitting the North East today. There are all sorts of advisories about not going out where three feet of snow are expected. I am not sure if three feet of snow [...]
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  • Orbitzuary : Orbitz is having a sale – itself !

    ORBIT noun the curved path, usually elliptical, described by a planet, satellite,spaceship, etc., around a celestial body, as the sun. the sphere of power or influence, as of a nation or person: a small nation in the Russian orbit. verb (used with object) to move or travel around in an orbital or elliptical path: The earth orbits […]
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  • Franc’enstein: Swiss currency jumps 17% after central bank stops pegging to Euro

    For those of you traveling to Switzerland, you just woke up and found your money will buy you 17% less. In an announcement that completely surprised the financial markets and business community, the Swiss National Bank announced a “decision to abandon the franc’s cap against the euro, two days after an official reaffirmed it would remain […]
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  • I haven’t the foggiest: why an Etihade airplane was kept on runaway for 12 hours

    Due to Abu Dhabu airport being fogbound – apparently a rare event – Etihad Airlines Flight 183 was stuck on the tarmac for 12 hours. Since all other flights were delayed or cancelled, it meant there was no space for the plane to return to the terminal. When the passengers arrived in SFA, many complained to […]
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  • Giving their regards to Broadway : Hotel fines guests for leaving ‘stinking hovel’ review on Yelp

    Across the Atlantic to Blackpool in North England, where the Broadway Hotel has apparently charged £100 to the credit card of a  couple who left a terrible review on Yelp. [Telegraph]. What a way to get PR where they called it a ‘stinking hovel. Alas there are other reviewers on Yelp that are not to positive […]
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  • Lyft leaves Houston / Uber stays for now

    It’s been a while since I looked at taxi revolution / war of backseat independence but in Houston, there have been some changes recently. The first being that Houston council announced rules about regulating drivers that involve potential drivers presenting their vehicle for inspection and submitting a warrant check and personal information to the city and undergo […]
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  • Tickets to Ride : Police of a Notorious Speed trap city gets disbanded

    In a follow up to our post  “Ghosts of Waldo” where the Waldo Police Department was disbanded, AAA is reconsidering the need for a billboard to warn motorists about Waldo being a speed trap. [Source Daily Mail though the Mail does mess up the road. It is 301 not 310]. However, one commentator “grneyedmnstr, Tampa, United […]
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  • Hope you like Jamming too: Marriott gets fined for blocking public WiFi

    Not content with the emotional blackmailing to get you to tip you room cleaner, Marriott have been fined $600,000 by the FAA for jamming user's WiFi in order to get you to use their WiFi network at highly inflated prices. The villain is this case is Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, who blocked users [...]
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  • The Ghost of Waldo

    “Glad tidings we bring, to you and your Kin”. No, it’s not Christmas time but an early present: Waldo City Council, Florida has voted 4-1 to dissolve it’s police force. To recap, Waldo is one of the two cities in America labelled by “AAA” as  “traffic traps”. These are cities that go out of their way to raise revenues from […]
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  • Where’s Waldo? In jail hopefully. : Waldo Police ticket racket is busted

    Highway 301  runs through Florida just South East of Jacksonville. From Baldwin to Hawthorne, it is notorious for it’s issuing of speeding tickets. Two towns in particular – Lawtey and Waldo – are infamous for their overzealous ticketing, so much so that AAA officially declared them “Traffic Traps” : The only two cities in the United […]
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  • Pigs will fly : The Case against flag flying airlines

    Malaysia Airlines is cutting 30% of it’s staff in an attempt to be viable business. It is getting a $2B bailout from the Malaysian Government and will de-list itself from the stock exchange. It will focus on becoming a regional routes which sounds like a smart business move: There is no need to fly everywhere […]
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  • Affirmative Distraction: Police need to watch the road just like the rest of us

    Roads-2-Roam is appalled at the literal ‘get out of jail’ laws that allow US police officers to kill civilians by distracted driving and face no prosecution to the same laws of the road that apply to the rest of us. We advocate Police need a clear policy to ‘Protect and Serve’ instead of ‘Text and Swerve’ The recent case which […]
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  • Flying on fumes : Are aircraft leaks poisoning cabin crew?

    As if we don’t have enough hassle with flying: Is Your Airline Poisoning You? asks Bloomberg. Richard Westgate. A former pilot with British Airways, Westgate died in December 2012 after more than a decade of illness that he believed had been caused by long-term exposure to jet-engine lubricants bleeding into cabin air. Samples of Westgate’s blood and […]
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  • That Giant Sucking Sound : Surge pricing on Uber

    As we said before on the ‘sharing’ economy, careful what you wish for. Houston is allowing the likes of Uber and Lyft into it’s market but it will also liberalize it’s standard fares to allow surge prices. To see what surge prices may look like, read the Marketwatch article titled “Uber car service twists sharing […]
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  • Something fishy with SEAS : Seaworld stock price plumets on Orca backlash

    Per Bloomberg “SeaWorld Drops as Killer Whale Controversy Hurts Sales” where the shares of “Seaworld Entertainment systems” (ticker symbol SEAS) dropped by 33% to $18.90 and all time low since it was floated as an IPO in 2013. “The company acknowledged for the first time that pressure from animal-rights groups is reducing attendance, said Barton Crockett, […]
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  • Now, Play nice and Share : Uber dirty tricks on it’s competitor, Lyft

    After reading a news article in CNN Money, it seems like the Uber and Lyft are not getting along where Lyft is accusing Uber of dirty tactics by calling in rides, then canceling them last minute. According to data provided by Lyft, 5560 rides were ordered by Uber affiliates then cancelled. The smoking gun is the telephone numbers […]
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  • Yelp me if you can, I’m feeling down : US guest house fines reviewers for negative reviews

    The internet outrage de jour is the story of  “Hotel fines $500 for every bad review posted online” started by NY Post. Except when you read it, you find out it wasn’t a hotel but a small guest house. The Union Street Guest House, near Catskills estates built by the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers, charges couples who book […]
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  • Russkies in a Flussky : Russian travel companies goes under and leaves thousands stranded

    The after shocks of economic sanctions on Russia following their involvement in Ukraine, are starting to bite. From the BBC news: As many as 27,000 Russian tourists are stranded abroad after a Russian tour firm, Labirint, suspended operations. A company statement (in Russian) blamed the move on a deterioration in the rouble exchange rate and the […]
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  • Dark clouds for the Black Cab: Projection for London’s iconic Taxis

    Business education classes teach a technique called “PEST analysis” to assess the market attractiveness or a health of a company. It looks at  the external factors beyond your control, that are either opportunities or threats to your business. In this context P.E.S.T is an acronym that refers to POLITICAL, ECONOMIC,  SOCIAL or  TECHNOLOGICAL trends coming in the near […]
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  • Swissport, Swisswhine: Baggage fiasco in Gatwick airport tied to low wage contractor

    Following on from Heathrow T5 fiasco where BA fliers had problems of no luggage for a few days, we now hear about luggage problems with passengers going through Gatwick. In the Heathrow example,the issue was equipment related. In Gatwick’s case, the problem is staffing. It seems that the contractor, Swissport, cannot get staff to want to work. From […]
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  • What the FAA..? Southwest fined $12m by FAA but good luck in understanding why

    Roads-2-Roam previously criticized the limitations of a ‘ rent an AP news story‘ model where a News outlet reports a base story such as “FAA seeks $12 million fine against Southwest“, but the details are provided by a centralized ‘news-lite’  AP release. The so called News outlet make tweak the AP release to make it appear as if it is theirs, […]
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  • Justice is not served : State Farms’s tortuous logic to deny paying out stinks

    Just when we thought we couldn’t be shocked any more by the shenanigans of big corporations, we read about State Farm Insurance denying a claim to a disabled man in a Motorized wheelchair who was hit by an SUV while crossing the road. The tortured argument that State Farm is using is that the wheelchair is a vehicle and as such needed, […]
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  • Viator : TripAdvisor’s mini-me

    Per Ablemediao “Viator” is Latin for traveler where the word is linked to the Latin word “via”, which means road. Viator is also the name of a company just acquired by TripAdvisor for $200m. From a piece by Forbes that reads like a cut and paste from a TripAdvisor Press release: Viator is a website operated […]
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  • Bag of Blues : JetBlue to charge for check in baggage

    Bloomberg Businessweek reports about JetBlue looking at charging for first check in bag. Today they charge for the second bag. Turns out that while they hold a price premium on many routes, in others they are not. Thus, they are looking at finding a way of to hide the charge in a confusing new ticket naming tactic. The talk is […]
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  • Licensed to Kill : NY Taxi and Limousine commission with a concession from Lyft.

    From Bloomberg Businessweek After a few weeks of setbacks and standoffs, Lyft has found a way to bring its car service to New York City: just abandon the core of its business model. The ride-sharing startup, which lets ordinary people with privately-owned cars  use its service to sell rides to one another, will launch Friday as […]
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  • Your Judge keeps Lyfting me higher : Ruling goes against the Uber and Lyft operating in NYC

    So the legal situation of Lyft, Uber et al, evolves.  The New York Post reports that Lyft has agreed to submit to TLC regulations. The ride-sharing app Lyft caved to demands by the city to submit to TLC regulations after a Manhattan judge threatened to bar the company from launching in the outer boroughs. “Lyft agreed […]
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  • A name in a crowd. Faces in the tragedy.

    17th July 2014: By now you all should know about the awful story of Malaysian Airline MH17 being shot down over the Ukraine. It is day=0 and there is much speculative information about the events. We are sure more details will emerge in the next few days. We worry about the repercussions. The people impacted appear to […]
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  • Thunderbolt and Lightning, Very Very frightening me : Lightening strikes and outdoor travel

    Sunday 13th July:  Roads-2-Roam read about a second death in only 2 days from lightning strike in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Both had occurred on Trail Ridge road near or at Ute Crossing Trail. The one on Saturday impacted 13 people whereas 7 people were injured on Friday. Per the usatoday article: Park […]
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  • Guilty as not charged : TSA may require phones to be powered on as a part of screening.

    Hitting the news channels was the story that the TSA announced that on certain US bound flight, customers will have to power on their mobile devices to prove they are not a security risk. From the Washington post: The Transportation Security Administration announced Sunday that on certain overseas flights to the United States, it will not permit “powerless […]
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  • Baggage excesses : Problems with baggage system at Heathrow’s Terminal 5

    From the UK Telegraph 7/4/14 : Heathrow Terminal 5 baggage: no bags for a week Passengers whose luggage was delayed by IT glitches at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 are still waiting to be reunited with their bags a week later Problems with the baggage system at Terminal 5 between Thursday and Sunday meant that thousands of […]
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  • In the event of a water landing: Mom cleaning up seat after ‘todler accident’ causes JetBlue flight to return to gate

    Trajan was initially a bit perplexed on the story hitting the interweb about JetBlue and how a Flight attendent treated a mother whose 3 year old daughter needed to go potty while it was queued up on the Tarmac before taking off. The story was that a Mom was refused permission to take her 3 […]
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  • A job for the Ubermensch

    While walking his 2 Roam’n war dogs, Trajan listened into the local NPR station where Marketplace was playing. Generally we consider Marketplace to be rather lightweight when it comes to economic news but there was an section on there about “Uber”. It apparently has been valued at $18 Billion. The latest venture-capital investment in Uber, a mobile app that […]
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  • Falling for the story hook, (air)line, and sinker : Problem in finding the story behind the headlines

    According to ABC headline “Airline Hiring Taking Off as Travel Zooms“. “It’s getaway day for millions of Americans with the start of the Memorial Day weekend. The travel industry is set to enjoy its best summer since 2007, just before the recession hit. The airline industry is slowly adding jobs after shedding workers in recent years. And […]
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  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly : False reviews on TripAdvisor

    Travel-rating service Trip Advisor is being investigated in Italy over concerns the site is not doing enough to prevent fake reviews. The Italian competition authority said it had had complaints from consumers and businesses about the website. Source BBC news. Trajan had this on his creative backlog, to investigate TripAdvisor in more depth to gauge the objectivity of their […]
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  • Fool me twice, Shaman you.

    This was going to be a slam dunk “Feed them to the Lions” piece about theworst customer service EVER. Except, there were things niggling Trajan when he read the piece.
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