Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Road Warriors line at Airport Security - TSA has a blog .Wow!


I am thrilled to see that TSA has a blog - I think that's a great step. When I visited Chicago a few weeks ago for SOBCon08 I saw that Midway airport has a new queue system in place. The line moved fast and the expert line was full of people who looked like they take day trips. I think this is a great step and TSA is doing the right thing.

Here is how the TSA blog describes the process:

"Black/Blue/Green, First Class, Premier, Red Carpet-it seems like there are 18 different types of lines leading to a TSA checkpoint and only one for the "regular" traveler. What's the deal?"

"we wanted to build a new environment that would make our behavioral observation programs more effective by helping to reduce the overall stress in the queue and the checkpoint. Second, we wanted to find a way to increase our efficiency and reduce x-ray alarm rates by allowing the fast passengers to move fast, and the slow passengers to take their time. End result - the "Black Diamond" pilot in Salt Lake City that joined the queue to the checkpoint and allowed passengers to pick a security line designed to meet their needs and let them move at their own pace (keeping Road-Warriors and the Families separate for the whole screening experience). For those new to the blog, "Black Diamond" was named after the ski logos that help snow skiers choose ski trails based on their level of difficulty.
The results were tremendously positive-especially with passengers who wanted an experience where they could take their time going through security. The queue and the security experience were much calmer for passengers, and our initial results show that the new multi-queue "Black Diamond" checkpoints are more efficient than regular checkpoints. We're now 20 airports later, and we're still seeing the same results. As a matter of fact, peak wait times at Salt Lake City this past Memorial Day weekend were about half as along as they were last year, even though the number of passengers going through the checkpoint actually went up by about 5 percent.

Check out their blog at The writing is conversational and they also have this cartoon about themselves on the blog.


At Network Solutions we  have also expanded the scope of our blog to talk about events and news where we can provide some views so take a look and give me your comments.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I heart you SouthWest Airlines but please fix this

Had another lovely flight to Chicago and back on the same day flying Southwest from Dulles airport. The fare was good and both times flight took off on time, Pilots were very social. Peanuts and drinks arrived on time. I love Southwest airlines. Now as airlines set expectations here are some things that I want them to fix.

  • The number printed on the boarding card specifying your line position is confusing.
    • I have known people confuse it for Gate numbers - who would not - if you had B24 printed on your boarding card.
    • Some passengers confused it for seat numbers on the plane
    • Commentary: When you can assign seats in the line it may be better and easier to continue that and make that your seat assignment and allot seats randomly.
  • Water service
    • I like the idea of the crew taking your drink order and bringing it to you on  a tray. i think the tray works better because unlike a drink trolley there is place for any passenger to pass the crew in the aisle.
      • My idea is already implemented in airlines in India. get small bottles that the crew can just hand over to people asking for water. Saves the time and labor of pouring into glasses. of course the water has to be cold.

I enjoy the scriptless way the crew makes the announcements on board- This comment had the whole plane laughing ""Contrary to popular belief, the button with a stewardess on it does not actually turn us on". ( tweet from TheregoesDave of theregoesdave,com) This particular flight had a crew member who had everyone in stitches all the time she made the announcement. People actually listened to the announcements instead of tuning out. How else could you have a cheerful plane load of passengers laughing and smiling getting down at 11.40 p.m at Dulles airport.

Thanks SouthWest for making it a pleasure but we need even more.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Going to Court to celebrate - Montgomery County Teen Court

The Montgomery County Teens Court celebrated the 11th anniversary on 21st May and invited all the parents of the Teen volunteers to come and watch the proceedings and celebrate the occasion. In an earlier post on this blog I had mentioned this program briefly.Now I got a chance to see this first hand how the tten court works.

After a brief celebration ceremony where the "Betty Ann Kranke" award was presented to the best Teen volunteer. The whole process where the Teen jurors register for their assignments, get thier assignments was conducted so professionally. The always energetic Georgine Debord the Teen Court Coodinator in the State's Attorney for Montgomery county did a good job in taking care of the whole proceedings.

The Teen court is serious business. The Judges are actual County judges who volunteer their time. One quote from the Judge Bill Neal was memorable- " Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking ". In this system the teem volunteers learn about the judicial system. The offenders I think learn the impact even more when their sentences are recommended by their peers.

The volunteers are allotted courtrooms and they perform the functions of Clerk, Bailiff and Jury. Cases are heard as in a real court and the judges educate the volunteers while giving them guidance. I was sworn to secrecy not to reveal any specifics of any of the case heard which is reasonable.

From the enthusiasm of the Coordinator Gerogine Debord and the judges I am happy to say that I am impressed by the way the Montgomery County court systems works. My previous experiences with Government departments previouly has been lack lustre ceremonies without any employee enthusiasm.

Here is how the Montgomery county website describes the proceedings:


The respondent and the volunteers appear in a Circuit courtroom in front of a real judge. The judges, including Circuit, District, and Special Appeals judges volunteer their time. The volunteer judges are present to answer legal questions and set the tone for the courtroom, but it is the teens that decide sanctions after listening to mitigating and aggravating factors. Community service hours and jury duty are mandatory sanctions.

The jury duty, in which the respondents return on another teen court evening and sit on the jury themselves, gives them an interesting perspective that is very useful. The community service is also very effective. Teen Court respondents have completed over 65,000 hours of community service. They participated at various community locations including shelters, nursing homes, schools, etc. In addition to the community service and the jury duty, the teens are often asked to write apology letters or essays. They are often referred to educational classes, as well as Shoplifting Prevention Programs.

Most of the referrals come directly from the police department. The teens, generally first time offenders, are offered an opportunity to complete their sanctions within 60 days from their Teen Court hearing. When they complete, a notice is sent to the police department informing them and recommending

Monday, May 12, 2008

Urgent please act :No More Free Parking at the Rockville Library?

Friends of the Library, Rockville Chapter and Members of the Rockville Library Advisory Committee

On Tuesday, May 13th the County Council plans to consider a hastily proposed resolution to eliminate the library parking subsidy.  This means that the policy adopted in April 2006, enabling Montgomery county library patrons to park for free near all of the county's libraries could be rescinded.

Please support free parking at all county libraries.

f you support free parking at the county’s libraries, please take the time to send an email, or contact your Council member to let them know of your support for this policy. (Council members’ emails are listed below)

Following are some important points:

· The policy was established after significant input and deliberation – and should not be rescinded without allowing enough time to adequately inform the public, provide opportunities for sufficient input and understand the impacts of such a change.

· Requiring paid parking at only two of the 22 branches will deprive some county residents of equal access to their libraries. 

· Imposing a parking fee would discourage library use for many patrons for whom driving is their only viable option for getting to the library.

· Many daytime library users, senior citizens on fixed incomes, the poor or the disabled, simply cannot afford to pay for parking

Phil Andrews:

Roger Berliner:

Marc Elrich:

Valerie Ervin:

Nancy Floreen:

Mike Knapp:

George Leventhal:

Duchy Trachtenberg:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

2 Minute Primer on Blogging for Small Business

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

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Windy City - Here I come for SObCon 2008

SOBCon08 I’m There!

I am looking forward to being in Chicago tomorrow May 2nd. This will be my first time at Midway airport .For a change I am flying in from Dulles instead of BWI  so McClean, Reston and Herndon peeps i will wave as I pass by.

I will be meeting old friends and making new friends. I heard there is a open mic night and if I sing I hope the coast guard is ready to rescue the people who prefer to jump over the side than listen to me sing. :)

Program for SOBCon 08 is exciting

DAY 1 — Welcome to Chicago!

Friday May 2, 2008
noon to 6:30pm

Liz will be available and many of the speakers will be around at
Hotel 71 — 71 East Wacker Dr. –Chicago, IL — 312 462 7080

Many attendees are staying next door at
Club Quarters — 75 East Wacker Dr — Chicago, IL — 312 357-6400

Check the SOBConWiki to find out more. Add your information so that folks can find you.

Music, Mics, and City Lights on the Water

6:30pm to 10pm
Christine Kane and Open Mic on the Lake and the River
As we leave the dock on the “Summer of George,” we’ll transition away from the travel, information, and noise to begin the weekend. Christine Kane start us off with a musical conversation. Then Open Comment Night will be a question or two. How is a blogger like a musician? Got a question you want ask? Got an observation? Bring them along. The breathtaking views from the river and lake will ensure that you’ll never forget that you’ve been to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. No worries. We’ll make sure you get a chance to enjoy them.

Details of the Cruise
6:30pm to 6:40pm Meet in lobby of Hotel 71 to walk together to the boat.
Name of the boat: Chicago Cruises, “Summer of George”
Directions: Chicago Cruises
The stairs down to the boat are located on northwest side of the Wabash St. bridge.
(North of the Chicago River between State and Wabash.)
If you walk north on State, turn right after you cross the river. It will be at the end of the block.
As you leave Hotel 71/CQ on Wacker, head left away from the lake, and go to the corner. Cross the street (Wabash). Cross the bridge. The entrance will be at the end of the bridge. A sign over the stairway reads Chicago Cruises.
6:45pm — Boat boards.
7:00pm — Boat launches.
10:00pm — Boat docks.

Dress: blogger casual (You might bring a jacket or sweater.)
Fuel: Libations — alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, hefty and healthful boat foods, and surprises. Thank you to our sponsors, Beam Global and Buzz Logic, who helped make this event happen. Be sure to make them a part of your evening conversation.
Parking: $5 validation for parking at 441 N. Wabash, Chicago IL — 312 819 5050 (2 blocks north)
After Cruise: Meet at the Emerald Loop 216 N Wabash, just south of the Wacker Bridge on the right



Saturday May 3, 2008

Location: The Summit Executive Center — 205 N Michigan, 10th Floor, Chicago, IL, — 312 938 2000
Directions: As you leave Hotel 71/CQ on Wacker, head right toward the lake to the corner, turn right on Michigan. It’s
2 blocks south of the Chicago River on the east/left side of the street.
Facility: a fully-functional business environment with executive chairs and conference tables, wi-fi is included.
Dress: Blogger Casual
Parking: Parking is available at 233 N. Michigan Avenue for $22.00 weekday/$14.00 weekend (2-12 hours). New charge each time you move your car. Rates may change without notice. Parking is also available at area hotels.

8:00 - 8:30 Registration/Breakfast – continental breakfast of delicious and healthful choices

8:30 - 8:35 Welcome, Introduction of Founders & Sponsors – Terry Starbucker
8:35 - 9:10 Managing Your Online Reputation – Anita Bruzzese

9:10 - 9:20 How the Sessions Work: - Liz Strauss

9:20 - 9:40 Online Business Models that Work - Brian Clark
9:40 - 10:10 Online Business Models -Mastermind Teams

10:10 - 10:20 Morning Break and Snacks

10:20 - 10:40 What’s Your Promise? - Lorelle VanFossen
10:40 - 11:10 What’s Your Promise? - Mastermind Teams

11:10 - 11:30 More Bang from Your Blog - Chris Garrett
11:30 - noon More Bang from Your Blog - Mastermind Teams

noon -12:40 Catered Delicious and Healthful Buffet Lunch

12:40 -1:00 START Selling - Dave Bullock
1:00 -1:30 START Selling - Mastermind Teams

1:30 - 2:00 New Media Communities - Chris Brogan
2:00 - 2:30 New Media Communities - Mastermind Teams

2:30 - 2:40 Afternoon Break

2:40 - 3:00 The Irresistible Offer - Liz Strauss
3:00 - 3:20 The Irresistible Offer - Mastermind Teams

3:20 - 4:00 When Your Business Takes Off - Wendy Piersall

4:00 - 4:30 Feedback, Sunday Schedule Update, & Closing Terry and Liz

4:30 - 5:45 Sponsor Reception. Meet the sponsors in casual conversation. Have a chance to talk to the people who made this event possible
4:30 - 6:00
Network Solutions SEO and design consults by appointment.

Dinner and night on the town on your own.
Anyone want to meet up?



Sunday May 4, 2008
Location: Summit Executive Center

8:30 - 9:00 Breakfast – continental breakfast of delicious and healthful choices

9:00 - 9:20 Debrief from Saturday
9:20 -10:00 SpeedSpeaking Challenge
Attendees will be invited to give “20-slides in five minutes” presentations. Topics and speakers will be approved before the conference. Each speaker will have 5 minutes to present in the context of 20 slides and have 5 minutes for Q&A. All slide sets will be shared with the participants.

10:00 -10:10 Morning Break

10:10 -11:40 Teams choose finalists in the “Get My Message” Contest More information on how the judging will work at the event.

11:40 - Farewells and Thank yous — Terry Starbucker

9:00 - noon
Network Solutions SEO and design consults by appointment.

Smart people I am going to meet

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