Marriott Gets Caught Blocking Mobile Hot Spots

My new toy

As a card carrying Gold level Marriott customer, the wifi situation has always been a source of confusion for me. When I travel for work or personal reasons, I generally stay in the lower end Marriott properties, the Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn and Suites, etc. Those rooms usually come with free wifi.

The more expensive properties, however, charge for wifi. That makes no sense to me, especially when the typical business traveler would have a mobile hot spot anyway. (I have one for my work travel).

On the other hand, if you block mobile hot spots, you can force customers into paying for your wifi, couldn’t you?

They can claim to be trying to protect their network and customers from rogue devices but at the end of the day isn’t that the point of the hot spot? When I just want to surf the web easily, I can connect to the hotel wifi, when I need to do some work, or access some more secured sites, I can connect to my mobile hot spot, use a VPN connection, and not be a target for the other people on the hotel’s wifi network. Best of both worlds, right?

I really don’t enjoy paying more for a room, and for wifi on top of that. Not very nice, Marriott.

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If You Manage Others You Are “Them”

I’ve written before about Manager Tools. Specifically I’ve written before about how you are the company to the people who report to you, and all that entails.

Over the last couple of weeks on the Manager Tools podcast they’ve released parts 1 and 2 of Welcome To They – Professional Subordination

In their own words:

You’re in your boss’s office, and he tells you that his budget has been cut and your team will have to give up 3 of its 10 members. Or, she says that there’s a new project that supersedes yours, and all of your team’s work won’t be needed or used, and they’ll transition to other work. Or, he says, sorry, but the pitch you and one of your teams made was denied.

Sure, you’re disappointed. Frustrated. But what really matters is what you’re going to tell your team. Because you have to support the decision without complaint, publicly and privately.

Welcome to They.

These two casts really brought home the idea of being the organization to the people who work for you, because the examples they gave were things that I’ve seen over and over again in the 25 or so years that I’ve worked in various industries and jobs. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve had bosses express frustration, bewilderment or simply ignorance about decisions being made by the management team that they are part of! Each time it has happened, I’ve never been able to put my finger on exactly why, but I’ve always left with a feeling that maybe I should do something else. After listening to the Manager Tools guys talk about it, I can suddenly put my finger on it.

If you are my boss and your message to me is that you’re unhappy with a decision, or that you don’t know what is going on or why, my first instinct is to not want to work for this organization any longer. After all, if the management of the company can’t even get on the same page, why should I invest my future here when I can go somewhere else? Your job is not to commiserate with me, it’s to convince me that this is the correct decision for the organization and what the plan is to move forward. Your reports can’t move forward if you don’t.


This Week’s Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Common, but Outdated, LinkedIn Advice?

It’s been true for years. Every single social media article that talks about how to “do LinkedIn right”, or lists all the things you are doing “wrong” with LinkedIn has an entry explaining how you should never just send a connection request, but that it should always be personalized.

I saw it again just the other day.

It reminded me of something that I discovered about the LinkedIn mobile app quite a while ago, namely that it didn’t have that ability. Once you hit the connect button on a profile as you viewed it, the default message went and you were done.

So I decided to check and see if they had changed that. Not that I could see. This also made me curious about how the website works. Lo and behold, I do not see any option to personalize the connection invitation. Again, looking at a profile of someone I am not connected with I am given two buttons, Connect and Send InMail. Since I have only a free account, inMail isn’t really an option, so I hit the connect button. Just like the app has done for a long time now, the next thing that I saw was not a chance to personalize my message, but an “Invitation Sent” notification.

So social media “experts”, the next time you decide to trot out that old advice, maybe you want to actually use the website that you’re professing to be expert about. Or prove that you really are an expert and explain exactly how a user is supposed to follow your advice? Because if there really is a way to personalize invitations and I’m just not seeing it anywhere on the site, I’ll be glad to chastise LinkedIn for making it so hard to find! (Not that they don’t deserve chastising if they removed it as well!)

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Lazy Spammer – Today’s Chuckle

You know you’re dealing with a lazy blog comment spammer when they don’t even bother to choose which message to use from the list they got somewhere, or which word variations to include in the message. Found in the spam filter today (And this is only a portion of the comment):

{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours
today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
{It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content
as you did, the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.|
I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.

{Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|
{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch} your {rss|rss feed} as I {can not|can’t} {in finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink} or {newsletter|e-newsletter} service.
Do {you have|you’ve} any? {Please|Kindly} {allow|permit|let} me {realize|recognize|understand|recognise|know}
{so that|in order that} I {may just|may|could} subscribe.
{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make some plans for
the future and {it is|it’s} time to be happy. {I have|I’ve}
read this post and if I could I {want to|wish to|desire to} suggest you
{few|some} interesting things or {advice|suggestions|tips}.
{Perhaps|Maybe} you {could|can} write next articles referring to this article.
I {want to|wish to|desire to} read {more|even more} things
about it!|
{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make {a few|some} plans
for {the future|the longer term|the long run} and {it is|it’s} time to be happy.
{I have|I’ve} {read|learn} this {post|submit|publish|put up} and if I {may just|may|could} I {want to|wish to|desire
to} {suggest|recommend|counsel} you {few|some} {interesting|fascinating|attention-grabbing}
{things|issues} or {advice|suggestions|tips}. {Perhaps|Maybe}
you {could|can} write {next|subsequent} articles {relating to|referring to|regarding} this article.

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This Week’s Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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U2 and Apple Combine to Give Away New Album

So, as part of Apple’s product announcements today, they also teamed up with the band U2 to give away their new album to 500 million iTunes users.

In terms of marketing, it’s an interesting ploy. Why charge for the music at all, why not give it away and make your money as a musician from playing live? That might work for a band as huge as U2, I’m not sure every artist would agree with the premise.

On the Technology front, however, I do find this interesting. How do you feel about Apple pushing out an album to your iCloud storage without your consent? For non iCloud users, how do you feel about the fact that this album is no listed as a purchased item in your iTunes library, potentially affecting the genius recommendations in the future, even if you choose not to download it. (It shows as a purchased item regardless of whether you go to the Purchases link and download it or not.

How do you feel about Apple pushing an album out to all iTunes users whether they want it or not?

Update: Ars Technica has some tips for getting rid of it if you really don’t want it.


Driving Across the Country

So this is just a stupid beautiful drive along the Columbia River this morning!


A few thoughts after driving all the way from South Carolina to our new home in Oregon last week.

  • This is such a big country. It’s impossible to imagine that anyone living on a coast has any idea about what it’s like to live in Idaho, or Wyoming. There are huge implications for that in regards to Federal laws IMHO.
  • I did the whole trip sans a GPS device. I used my iPhone when I needed directions but mostly just planned out my route the day before using major highways.
  • I also made good use of AroundMe and iExit on the iPhone.
  • Laws in most places prohibit picking up your phone while driving, thus I had to stop to use those apps. One place where a passenger might come in handy!
  • While I understand the reason for the laws, I still resent the fact that looking at my phone for a second to see if the next right is the one on the map is illegal, spending 30 seconds fumbling around for a CD or to connect an iPod to the radio isn’t. They are all distracted driving, why can’t we just have a law that says you have to control your vehicle? Oh wait, we already do!
  • The iPhone should send it’s audio directions to the bluetooth headset when it is connected. Why it doesn’t is beyond me.
  • Using Instagram with IFTTT to post to my photo blog was a great way to update people on the progress of the trip. Now that it’s over, I can use the blog to share photos I actually took with my DSLR instead of my iPhone.
  • Photos on the iPhone 5s were pretty good regardless. See above, for example.
  • Did I mention it’s a really big country? I drove over 3000 miles in 6 days. Oregon is also a much bigger state than any other I’ve lived in during my driving years.
  • I’m not as young as I used to be. After 6 days of driving and one day of setting up and wiring up the new office, I spent Friday night with ice on my knees. lol
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