My mobile toolbox

Thanks to the nature of my job, I have to deal with a lot of logistics, a lot of scheduling, a lot of unfamiliar cities and a lot of having to adapt on the fly. To help deal with this, I’ve built up a nice little suite of apps for my phones. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but I wanted to share some of the more valuable tools I’ve discovered. While some of these apps mirror the functionality of other apps, each one proves useful in its own way. Most of these are available for both iOS and Android

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Ruminations on the United Incident

It’s been a rough few weeks for United Airlines. First, they got a bunch of flak for refusing to allow passengers wearing leggings to fly on an employee/family pass. Then, just this past weekend, a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight in order to make room for flight crew who absolutely had to make it to their destination on that flight. The latter situation was filmed by other passengers and posted to various social media sites – and unlike many forcible passenger removals from flights, in this case the other passengers were quite displeased by the airline’s act. United initially defended its actions, citing its contract of carriage and specifically the clause allowing them to bump passengers for pretty much any reason. As can be expected, public commentary was swift, loud and divided.

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Planning for failure

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Part of the reason is that I’ve been crazy busy, and part of the reason is that one can only write so many words about in-and-out business trips where things basically go according to expectation. But it occurs to me that this “successful routine” is not some sort of passive thing that happens to go right: it’s the result of a combination of the management of expectations, the hope for success, and the planning for failure. In this context, “failure” can have a wide range of meanings: a missed flight, a delayed flight, missing luggage, landing at the wrong airport, getting bumped, having to pay extra money you didn’t plan on… any of these things can – and often do – happen.

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In Which I Get Thrown into the Deep End of the Pool

I took a new job at the beginning of the year. The nature of the job isn’t particularly important, nor is the name of my employer (those who know me know the relevant info.) What matters is that this was a rather significant career change: I went from a 40-hour, Mon-Fri office job to a job that involves a lot of travel, meeting a lot of people and a lot of generally being “on”. It’s been a dramatic transition in terms of what I do, how I do it, the hours I keep, and so forth. (The previous sentence contains an Oxford comma. Deal with it.) One of the quirks of the industry I’m in is that there are certain Major Industry Events that happen on a set schedule, and one of these events coincided with the beginning of my job. To wit, on Monday I was filling out new employee paperwork and just barely beginning to learn how to navigate the company’s systems and infrastructure. On Thursday, I was on a plane for my first big trade show. Talk about learning on the job!

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