Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Worst Giveaway Ever

JetBlue is "letting" its favored customers "test" its new terminal (T5) at JFK in a couple of weeks.

And what do you think the odds are:

- They'll lose your baggage.
- Your flight will be late.
- They'll run out of water.

And don't you think it's ominous they say "you will not...leave the building during the trial run." Even if you want to!

Clear Theft

I previously raved about the Clear service. Last week, they had a laptop stolen (subsequently recovered) and I am distressed over their handling of the situation, and am actively considering terminating the service. Here's the email I sent to Clear in response to their email to customers (belatedly) notifying us of the theft.


You'll forgive me for saying this but I find the attached letter offensive, ignorant and contradictory.

Let me first state I'm very relieved to hear that none of my information was implicated. I'd hate to think it had something to do with the theft. Perhaps you meant to say "compromised"?

Then, get your timeline right. You were going to tell me my data was potentially compromised but before you could notify me, you found the laptop. Of course, before the laptop was recovered, you found time to issue the press release about the loss. In other words, you were more concerned about the impression this might leave to non-customers before you addressed the issue with customers. I find this priority patently offensive.

Then you say none of my personal information was on the computer in any form. If none was there, why are we even having this discussion? Is it "none" or is it "limited"? If "limited," what information was it? Knowing this will enable me to take precautions if I choose not to rely on your assertion that the information wasn't accessed. How can you state this with certainty? Because Windows security is so fool-proof that if someone were to compromise your machine, you certainly would know? That is just a laughable premise. Are you so certain that rather than helping me to restore the integrity of my records, you'll instead indemnify me for any financial losses and compensate me for my time and loss of reputation and impaired function? I thought not.

Frankly your response has me more concerned than I was before I heard from you. I think an appropriate response to this situation would be to offer to those whose confidence in you has been shaken by this incident that you offer a full and complete refund of any and all fees paid to you or at the very least the outstanding portion of the contract. I'm not saying I want to avail myself of that but I am saying my confidence in you has been shaken not by the loss -- that happens -- but by your inadequate safeguards and your offensive response. I am certainly going to explore my options.


Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 13:27:05 -0400: clearsupport@flyclear.comSubject: Clear Privacy Update

About your clear account

Dear Jonathan Yarmis,

We take the protection of your privacy extremely seriously at Clear. That's why we announced on Tuesday that a laptop from our office at the San Francisco Airport containing a small part of some applicants' pre-enrollment information (but not Social Security numbers or credit card information) recently went missing. None of your information was in any way implicated. However, we were prepared to send those applicants and members who were affected the appropriate notice on Tuesday detailing that situation.

Before we could send out that notice, the laptop was recovered. And, we have determined from a preliminary investigation that no one logged into the computer from the time it went missing in the office until the time it was found. Therefore, no unauthorized person has obtained any personal information.

Again, none of your personal information was on the computer in any form, but we nonetheless wanted to give you details of the incident that could have affected others applying for Clear memberships because the incident involves Clear's privacy and security practices and policies.
We are sorry that this theft of a computer containing a limited amount of applicant information occurred, and we apologize for the concern that the publicity surrounding our public announcement might have caused. But in an abundance of caution, both we and the Transportation Security Administration treated this unaccounted-for laptop as a serious potential breach. We have learned from this incident, and we have suspended enrollment processes temporarily until all pre-enrollment information is encrypted for further protection. The personal information on the enrollment system was protected by two separate passwords, but Clear is in the process of completing a software fix - and other security enhancements - to encrypt the data, which is what we should have done all along, just the way we encrypt all of the other data submitted by applicants. Clear now expects that the fix will be in place within days. Meantime, all airport Clear lane operations continue as normal.

As you may know, our Privacy Policy states that we will notify you of any compromise of your personal information regardless of whether any state statute requires it. This letter is a good example of our policy: no law requires that we notify you of this incident because our investigation of the recovered laptop revealed no breach and because in any event none of your own information was affected. But we think it's good practice to err on the side of good communication with all Clear members, especially when, in this case, we did make a mistake by not making sure that limited portion of information was encrypted.

Please call us toll-free with any questions at (866) 848-2415. Again, we apologize for the confusion.

Sincerely, Steven BrillClear CEO

P.S. A reminder: One of Clears unique privacy features is that all members and applicants are given an identity theft protection warranty which provides that, in the unlikely event you become a victim of identity theft as a result of any unauthorized dissemination of your private information by - or theft from - Clear or its subcontractors, we will reimburse you for any otherwise unreimbursable monetary costs directly resulting from the identity theft. In addition, Clear will, at its own expense, offer you assistance in restoring the integrity of your financial or other accounts. So had there been any actual compromise of your personal information, you would have been additionally protected.

Jets (the Football Variety)

OK, so this isn't really a travel post but I just had to vent somewhere about Brett Favre coming to the Jets. I'm a long-suffering fan of the New York Jets. Really long suffering. I've split season tickets with a friend since the early 1980's. We laugh every game when they show historical highlights of the team because there really is only one highlight in the team's entire history: Joe Namath running off the field raising #1 after Super Bowl III. That's one highlight in about 46 years.

If forced, I could name a few more. The Monday Night Miracle against Miami. I was there for that game and it was indeed memorable. There were probably only about 10,000 of us left in the stands because the Jets were so out of it through three quarters that everyone had left. Keep in mind, this was during an off day in the Mets/Yankees World Series so everyone was distracted to begin with. I was only there because my friend and I go to the games as much to socialize as to watch the Jets and it was nice and quiet and roomy, great for conversation. And then the Jets started coming back. We kept calculating "can they really do this?" And they kept coming back. The funniest thing about it is that my friend was then the radio announcer of the Mets (he's now on TV) and so he couldn't yell as he had to preserve his voice for the next day's broadcast. So as the Jets are making this totally improbable comeback and as the 10,000 of us are screaming as loud as 76,000 normally do, all he could do was bang chairs, stamp his feet, clap...and restrain himself.

The other memorable game perhaps was the 51-45 overtime win against Miami. (The Monday Night Miracle was also against Miami; somehow those two always put on a show, no matter how miserable the teams are. The fake spike, the uncovered field and on and on and on.) Anyhow, I had a choice. I had a business trip to Phoenix. I could either go to the Jets game, fly out of Newark and get into Phoenix very late, or I could fly early in the morning and spend a lovely October day in Phoenix. I opted for the day in the sun. Of course, the day in the sun was in New Jersey, a lovely Indian summer day. Meanwhile, I land in a torrential downpour. My only option is to sit in my hotel room. I turn on the local game -- real compelling, Phoenix/Washington -- and they cut in with the incredible ending of the Jets game. The Jets tie the game on the final play of regulation with about a 65 yard hail mary to Wesley Walker and win in overtime on a similar play. Good choice, missing one of your team's top three ever moments.

So, that brings me to Favre. Shouldn't I be excited? The Jets get a Hall of Fame quarterback. No more legacy of Kenny O'Brien, Richard Todd and oh the list gets depressing. The Jets apparently have had 15 different starting quarterbacks since Favre came into the league. So why aren't I excited?
  1. Remember Joe Namath wearing a Rams' uniform? It's just wrong and more importantly...well, he didn't tarnish his legacy, but he came close.
  2. How excited is Favre to be here? This isn't his first choice. This isn't his second choice. It's probably not in his top 10. And once the small town boy -- Mississippi, Green Bay -- gets introduced to the New York media, it won't be in his top 40. And once his gunslinging interceptions get the Jets fans booing -- honeymoon period = three quarters -- he'll really appreciate what he had in Green Bay.
  3. Is he the short-term solution? I suppose he's better than what we've got now, though not compellingly. And there's a real down side. If his heart and mind aren't in to it, he could start flinging interceptions all over the field.
  4. Is he the long-term solution? Not only is that clearly not the case, it also sets the Jets back years in their efforts to find a long-term solution. Maybe he'll mentor Kellen Clemens the way he mentored and supported Aaron Rodgers. Oops. Is Clemens the guy? We still don't know. If he is, this slows his development. If he isn't, not only does this slow us down knowing, it costs us draft picks that could have been used to draft the guy. And you know Favre is going to take just enough snaps to cost the Jets the maximum draft choice under the agreement. It wouldn't even surprise me that the Jets at some point try to execute a three way trade that has Favre end up in Minnesota with the Jets claiming "we didn't actually trade him to Minnesota"...only to have the commissioner rule that the Jets violated the intent of the deal and not only do they owe Green Bay the three first round draft choices, that he adds something on letting Bill Belichick film their practices (or is he already doing that?).

So why are the Jets doing this? Asides from it being a preditably bad Jet move -- sorry, the Internet doesn't have enough capacity to capture the depths of their stupidity -- it can be all captured in one single thing. PSL. Personal seat licenses. The Jets are getting ready to ask their season ticket holders to spend stupid amounts of money ($40,000-$80,000) to maintain the rights to purchase what they already have. Will enough Jet fans get excited about the trade so that when they get hit with this bill, they think "at least the team is committed to do whatever it takes to win"? That's totally what this trade is all about. Style over substance. Money over competitiveness. Excitement over excellence.

So no, I'm not happy about this trade at all.

Monday, August 04, 2008

What's the difference...

...between Mars and USAir? You can find free water on Mars.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Whither the Fuel

A post from someone I know on Twitter ( ; a micro-blogging platform for those of you not familiar with it):

"Decline of airline industry, part 243,865: One working fuel truck at SFO, and it just ran out of fuel itself. Can only laugh.."