Monday, January 11, 2010

An Entire Country Froze

By Jesus Diaz on Snow

I spent 48 hours stranded in London Heathrow's Terminal 5 last Thursday. Hell on Earth. I witnessed about 3000 passengers fighting for luggage, another 3000 waiting for hotel coupons. I left before the food riots started. This is why.

This is Britain covered under the snow, from top to bottom.

I was lucky. I got the last seat on flight BA177 on Thursday. It was the last flight that left to New York that day, after an extra six hour delay (apparently, there's only one defrosting machine in Heathrow) on top of the two days. The previous day, they canceled two of my flights. The next day, they cancelled all flights again.

While the weather was bad, there was no excuse to what happened at Terminal 5 those days. British Airways and the people at the airport were nowhere to be found after 6pm. Before that, there weren't helpful, offering no directions except "we don't know" and "they haven't told us anything." They were the most incompetent, most idiotic people I've ever found anywhere in the planet, leaving all their customers unattended on the evening, and treating everyone like cattle the rest of the time. There was a point in which passengers had to step in and organize the baggage belts, because the machines were overflowing and jamming. At another point, there were passengers fighting for food in the departures area. Sad.

When the guy at JFK's customs asked me if I had anything to declare, I quoted Dennis Farina in Snatch, from the very deep bottom of my heart and soul: "Don't go to England." And don't ever fly British Airways. [NASA]


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Google Maps and Google Street View Project Supported by Toyota

Do you know what this picture is about?
Yes … the car is a Prius Hybrid vehicle by Toyota. The camera on top is Google’s. Toyota provided a fleet of Prius cars for Google’s Street View Project now underway in South Africa in preparation for World Cup.
Toyota published the press release announcing the project in September.
“The Prius with its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology was chosen by Google as the vehicle of choice for this project. In the coming weeks the branded Google Prius vehicles will be driving around the country taking photographs of locations in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Street View, a hugely popular feature of Google Maps, is already available in more than 100 metropolitan areas around the world. It allows users to virtually explore and navigate a neighbourhood through panoramic street-level images. It is also available in Google Earth and on Google Maps for Mobile.”
This project will add considerable impetus to the use of Google Maps… and the move to Local Search.
Can you imagine the power that this application will provide and especially for mobile users?
It’s time I got myself a Smart Phone… don’t know about you?

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