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November 30, 2007

The Dreaded Car Shopping

Shopping for a car is one of those things you hate to do.

It occurred to me that everyone I know has gone to a dealer looking to buy a car, only to get turned off and walk out and end up buying the car at another location. There has to be something wrong if at absolutely every occasion I can remember, the company has turned away a sale, thats just horrible business practice.

The big sticking point always seems to be price. No sales person ever wants to tip their hand too early and actually tell you their price. Give it up already, pick a reasonable money to earn, add it to the invoice and tell people thats the price you'll sell the car for. People are much better informed about the actual prices of the vehicles and what they are selling for these days. Even if they aren't, giving them a good price is likely to do much more to ensure loyalty and bring them and their friends and family back than eeking out a few extra bucks up front.

I know I specifically bought my last vehicle where I did because the salesman was up front with a reasonable price when I asked. I wouldn't have even stuck around if he wasn't.

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November 28, 2007

Austin Trip

In October I took a trip down to Austin, Texas to visit the distributed.net gang. I left on Friday from Winnipeg on a small Bombardier regional jet, a little different flight than I've had in the past. I made a quick dash out to find a geocache on my layover in Denver and made it back in time to catch the connecting flight. My luggage had an interesting trip from Denver, I watched it get loaded and after we landed in Austin, I watched it get unloaded. I made my way to the baggage claim I saw my bag walk out the door. As I chased the guy outside I waved a quick hello to Bovine, who had come to pick me up. Luckily after a few panicky seconds I spotted my bag and was able to retrieve it and we headed off to Cowhouse where I stayed.

Saturday we headed out to the Maker Faire, some interesting, some wacky and some weird. Caught a live full scale mouse trap game and an eepybird Diet Coke and Mentos display out in the hot Texas sun.

Sunday morning we dragged ourselves out to watch Nugget, Equiraptor and Petrdoubt in autocross. In the afternoon stopped to do a bit of geocaching. I broke my rules and ended up with a bit of poison ivy. The ivy down there must be different, because I didn't spot any of it.

Nerf and Moike arrived by Monday for a special Nuclear Taco Night, which was a blast.

During the week, we worked on some of the distributed.net Todo items, and got quite a few started and a good number finished. I think I might have scored the highest number of check-ins for the week.

Thursday we took in a Linkedin meet and greet. Austin has a much larger tech community than Winnipeg, and its cool to see all the tech related activities that are generated by that. It felt kinda odd going to a tech event and you actually recognized the companies people worked at.

Saturday we headed to Houston and met up with dbaker at his new house and to round out the meet map. The main purpose of the trip to Houston was to attend the Porcupine Tree concert and that we did with a long late nite return trip in the party bus.

The tail end of the weekend we finalized the notarization of everybody to bring them into the Thawte Web of Trust. Which means that I now am a Thawte Notary and can extend trust to other people. I also managed to become an Assurer for Cacert. Contact me for notarization or assurance on either.

Over the visit we ate at some good, interesting and unique spots. From BBQ to Tex-Mex to beer centric locales, a burger shack dock lakeside where we spotted some turtles sunning themselves, to a huge sprawling series of decks on a cliff side overlooking the lake , to an awesome multi-course fondue restaurant. The customer service was very good at most of the spots. I found it rather nice that there was a good variety of places we visited and all were reasonably priced, with good food and service, each well worth a return.

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November 13, 2007

Please listen carefully as our options have changed

It seems every time I call a company I hear "please listen carefully as our options have changed". I don't have the menus memorized, nor do I care that they changed. It's annoying enough to get through the menus without added crap to listen to. If I had to be calling frequently enough that I had memorized the options I would be looking for another company to do business with anyway.

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