Avis Newark (EWR) Airport

I fly into Newark almost every week as I have a customer in Princeton, NJ. Each week, I have to rent a car to get there…Most of the time things go fairly smooth, but for my last 3 visits to Newark, I have encountered poor service at Avis.

Three weeks ago their systems were down (maintenance they said), so my name was not on the board. Luckily the line was not long, but they put me in a car that had not a single knob in it. I had to wait nearly 30 minutes for them to fill out paperwork and sign a statement that the car was in this condition when I got into it and then get a new car. Really? What?!?!?! Steaming mad

The next week, I get there and was greeted with a line of 20 ANGRY people in the Preferred Service line. Avis had had a power outage. So naturally, their systems crashed. One hour later, I get a car parked in a Galaxy Far Far Away, a Kia POS and after driving off the lot I noticed it had a huge scratch down the passenger side. Ugh!

When I returned to Avis later in the week “the damage is not on file,” so therefore it was MY FAULT. Again with  the signing of papers. And a lady with a snippy attitude. What?!?!?!?! Steaming mad 

And for the trifecta, I arrived last night again to the same location after midnight (due to a much delayed flight). There were 5 ANGRY people in front of me in the PREFERRED LINE. Their computers had crashed. Are you seeing a pattern here? Or, is it just me?

Anyway, twenty minutes later, I get a car with scratches all over it and no e-Toll for the Jersey Turnpike and I had expressly asked for one. I had to wait for a manager to express my discontent. Not to mention I still had an hour to drive in order to get to Princeton.  UGH!!!!! Steaming mad 

Next week I am flying into Philly and driving up to Princeton. Hopefully, that Avis will treat me better. Here’s hoping!

Travelling Light

As I have stated before, I do a lot of travelling. I am usually in one, sometimes two different places each week. I spend a lot of time on planes. And one thing I will not suffer is baggage claim or anyone ever telling me there is not enough overhead space. Angry smile My bag is the biggest part of the secret. (See my previous travel post, I discussed my bag).

But with a small bag comes new rules for travelling light. One way to live out of a small bag is to pack everything efficiently, carry only what you need and use small stuff:


What you see in this picture is:

  1. My fairly large 17” laptop in the top compartment zipped open (furthest from the camera).
  2. A roll and squeeze space bag – compressed with 5 days of clothes. 2 pans, 5 shirts, underwear, socks, gym clothes, and an extra T-shirt.
    NOTE: I wear one pair of dress pants on the plane with me. This gives me 3 for the week – over 5 days. Hot smile
  3. Adidas Martial Arts shoes that look just like sneakers, but a smaller sole, fitting tighter and more neatly in my bag.
  4. My, uh.. ahem, uh… iPad Disappointed smile  (yes, I know who I work for).
  5. A pouch that came with my bag that I keep my cables in (I had already removed most of them by the time I took the photo.


Here is what it looks like all ready to go (minus the cable bag, but it fits right on top of all this):


Some folks then ask me:

  • Don’t your clothes get wrinkled? Yes – but they are dry wrinkles, unlike wet wrinkles from washed clothes. Simply spray a little water on them and they straighten up. Plus ironing is not all that hard or time consuming. Smile

Just for ease, I carry a little water bottle:


  • What about toiletries? I keep them in a little pouch and place them in the front zipper pouch of my bag. I carry a 7 day dispense vitamin container, small round folding brush, mini-toothpaste, toothbrush and mini-deodorant. I also carry a tiny first aid kit with ibuprofen, band-aids, q-tips, aspirin, alcohol swaps, and antibacterial. Already discussed my micro shaver Norelco HQ40, but I also carry a mini-beard trimmer the Remington MPT3500:


  • What about batteries for your shaver, mouse and beard trimmer? I use a travel charger that came with an old camera. It is just a little wider and taller than a credit card and less than an inch thick:


  • You  carry workout shoes? In your tiny bag? Really? Surprised smile Well, Tai Kwon Do shoes to be exact, but yes. A co-worker turned me on to the product. Here is where I got them:



They compress real tight. One down side it that they have almost no arch support. However, they do nicely for using the cross-trainer, stationary bike and lifting weights. It beats not working out because you do not have the shoes or having to carry around a set of clunky huge tennis shoes that fill up half your bag.

And, yes, all this stuff fits nicely in my bag. I do not over stuff the bag or have to sit on top of it to zip it up. For me it comes down to simply packing EXACTLY what you need and nothing more. And also trying to find the most efficient, smallest form factor of anything I use. Winking smile

Some folks are shocked I can live like this out of a tiny bag, week after week. Well, I can say you get used to it, but another thing that helps is the consistency you get the your favorite hotel chains. Mine is Hilton. But more on that in another post…

My Travel Bag

I get a lot of questions about my travel bag. Being a frequently traveller (somewhere different every week), I got tired of carrying two (2) bags onto the plane.

The rules in the airlines are, put one (1) in the overhead and the other under your seat. Well, then you have the crappy old American Airlines MD-80 configurations where the A-B side of the plane has smaller overheads than the D-E-F side. So you cannot stick MOST roller-bags wheels first on that side (only sideways). See:


These planes ALWAYS run out of overhead space once they get to about 75% capacity. Confused smile Being Executive Platinum, I usually get to board before this happens. But sometimes, I get stand-by on an earlier flight or end up running late and get on the plane and its already packed. And sometimes Surprised smile, I fly a different airline and don’t get priority seating. Crying face

So, I needed something that could carry at least a weeks worth of clothes, my laptop and extra equipment. But it also had to be small enough to fit on the A-B side of the plane (and even under the seat). So I looked and looked and found the Samsonite X-Space Spinner:


I love this bag. Open-mouthed smile Here are the features:

  • Multi-directional wheels allow 360 degree upright rolling in multiple directions with no weight on your arm.
  • Large main opening provides easy access to contents
  • Shock absorbing padded computer compartment accommodates up to a 15.4 laptop
  • Removable organizer keeps smaller items securely contained
  • Multiple organization compartments provide storage for small items and other incidentals.
  • Upright locking handle for easy maneuverability
  • Top carry handle
  • Size 17.0000 x 14.0000 x 7.5000
  • Linear Inches 38.5000
  • Warranty 10 Years

Now, I did have to get used to packing lighter and more efficiently. For example, I no longer carry a large 3 head shaver. I got the Norelco HQ40:


But with this bag, I am usually able to get 5 days worth of clothes, a pair of gym clothes, my laptop, power cord, a few USB cables, my GPS, toiletries and… uh… my iPad. Yes, I know who I work for…Winking smile

I have found ways to fold my clothes (or not fold, as in socks) to get everything into the bag. It is amazing what you can fit into this bag.

Efficiency is the name of the game. Hot smile

Vacation Week Is Over

Well, I just got back from San Diego. It was a blast. My wife, son and I went to Legoland, the San Diego Zoo and Disneyland. I might post a pick or two once my wife gets them all organized – she is in charge of camera duties. My son (turning 5 next month) had the biggest blast of all because so many things were larger than life, yet so tangible now that he could see and touch them all.

Back to Gadgetland…

Anyway, that is why it has been a bit quiet here on my blog over the last week. I have a pending update for The Magic Folder, but I need some help first. Has anyone seen the comment on the gadget page from ctshiner. The post is titled "wierd glitch." Here is the text of it:
It’d be nice if you didn’t have to have ‘display file extensions’ enabled under folder options for it to work. When it’s disabled, it always just says file has no extension : \
Has anyone seen this issue? I cannot reproduce it. If I turn off the extensions and then drag a file it always prompts me where to move the file. I am wondering if there is someone else who has seen this or know how to reproduce it.It may be something system specific, or a set of specific steps. Please contact me if you encounter this issue.