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‘transportation’ Category

  1. how to carry luggage with a bike

    September 15, 2007 by Saar Drimer

    Recently, I needed to carry a small suitcase with my bike. I always have a some bungee cords attached to my bike for when I do grocery shopping. So instead of walking with both suitcase and bike in each hand, I did the following:


    carry luggage with bike

    carry luggage with bike

    You’ll need the suitcase’s wheels to be robust, so I would expect that this only work with quality brands; I went quite fast with mine without a problem. Another issue to be aware of is that the cords should be a bit loose in order for the rigid handle poles not to break; this also helps while turning.


  2. courtesy booking

    August 23, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    I’ve been wanting to write about this for quite a while and got reminded of it because it became useful once again. Nearly all the people I mention this to aren’t aware of it, and for people obsessed with getting the cheapest flight ticket possible, like me, it is incredibly useful.

    It’s called “courtesy booking” and you can only get it directly from the airline. What it means is that the airline books the seat for you, as a courtesy, without you paying for it just yet. They will give you a deadline–usually up to a few days prior to the departure date–by when you’ll need to call back and pay for the ticket at the price set when the booking was made. Some airlines offer this to you, but in most cases you’ll have to know about it and ask. It only happened to me once that the agent told me that she can not do courtesy booking for one particular flight I was interested in. If you don’t call back, the reservation is simply cancelled, no hard feelings.

    What this means is that you can book a seat to ensure that you have something to fall back on, still being able to look for a cheaper fare.

    Try it, works both in Europe and the US.

    PS. Needless to say, this only applies to the non “value” airlines.


  3. man demands car from Palestinian Authority and gets it back

    December 25, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    It was all over the radio news last night in Israel but I couldn’t find a single web article about it.

    A frustrated man drove to the Palestinian town of Qalqilya to find his mother’s car. It is illegal (and very dangerous) for Israelis to enter Palestinian towns so he was “asked” to leave. He refused to do so until the car is returned. Upon this, the Palestinian Authority promised him to find and return the car and within a few hours did!

    Car theft is all too common in Israel and pretty much everyone (including the Palestinian and Israeli authorities) know where it is going. As you can see in this map, Qalqilya sits on the west bank border and is the nearest Palestinian town to the greater Tel-Aviv metropolitan area so there is little wonder why all the chop-shops are there.

    I wonder how many people will follow this guy’s lead and try to get their car back this way.


  4. bicycling damages #3 – this time it’s for real!

    November 15, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    anatomy of the handAfter the long ride on Sunday, something felt odd. My fingers were not functioning correctly; nothing hurt, but I couldn’t get my palm straight and close the gap between my fingers. My pinkies took an angle and just wouldn’t come back no matter how much concentration I put into it. Also, the amount of force I can apply with my fingers diminished. Very odd feeling. I showed this to people and they wouldn’t believe me.

    I couldn’t unlock the doors unless I used both hands, clip my fingernails, eat with chopsticks (that was embarrassing) and even using utensils was somewhat difficult. It’s been two days and it just got slightly better. I’m starting to be concerned.

    I searched online and read that it is somewhat common for this to happen to avid (not me) bike riders (some say it went away only after 3 months!) I also noticed that I was gripping the handle bars wrong and putting a lot of pressure on the bottom left corner of my palm where the relevant tendons go through.

    So riders, pay attention to the handle grip and make sure your arms and wrists are straight without exerting pressure on the palms and change grips as you ride. Some say gloves help too.

    I hope this goes away soon.


  5. bicycling damages #1 – the seat

    November 7, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    My current mode of transportation is a used mountain bike I got for 50GBP. It’s a no-frill ride but it does the job. For two weekends now I’ve taken long bike rides and it’s not falling apart (side FYI: we found out that “The National Trust” sites give a discount to people arriving on cycles.) One reason for going cheap is that nearly every new bike in Cambridge gets stolen. They even sell stickers to make the bike look old and used.

    I want to discuss some sensitive bike-seat issues. Here’s a quote to get us started (from “bicycle seats explained“:

    Pity the poor bicycle seat. Few products in the history of sports have taken such a bum rap. Prostate problems. Numbness. Boils. Infections. Chafing. Even impotency! You name the malady and it’s likely been blamed on the pedaler’s perch.

    A certain someone diligently notified me of studies that show that, for men, nose-seats reduce the flow of blood to, well, the equipment and may cause some permanent dysfunction to the, well, performance. This happens to 5-10% of men and it may be a problem if one rides more than 10 hours a week. This got me concerned, of course. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it, but for now, every time I get reminded of this issue while I ride, I either stand on the pedals or shift to one side or the other.

    Next I’ll write about helmets.


  6. industry first: car recall due to software bug

    October 14, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    The Toyota Prius has a software bug that causes the car to stall (more specifically, the gas portion stalls, so you can still pull over with the electrical bit.) Hence, 160,000 vehicles are being recalled for a patch. Industry first.

    Jim Hossack, a consultant at the research firm AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, agreed that the problem wouldn’t curb enthusiasm for the Prius. One reason: Toyota has a long record of building reliable vehicles, he said.

    It is a new technology and they will be forgiven,” Hossack said.

    emphasis mine

    This is what bothers me. I couldn’t care less about the reputation or the hippie hype revolving around the Prius when it comes to safety. It’s a software bug for crying out loud! In a car! TEST IT! We’re not talking here about an inconsequential windows PC, TiVo or an X-box. It’s a damn CAR! (ok, i’m done with the capitals and exclamation points.)

    so, toyota, hire some good sw qa people and test the software adequately and thoroughly; you shouldn’t take microsoft as an example on how to do it right. it’s not like you need to wreck a car to find out if it works; it’s software, it’s been done. i realize people are lining up to buy your precious prius, but don’t skimp on safety, ok?


  7. DMV finaly got with the program

    May 29, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    The California DMV used to charge an additional $4 for on-line vehicle registration renewal. It was astonishingly ridiculous.
    As I was writing the check today, I thought it might be a topic for a good old fashion rant. I went to the DMV webpage and was delighted to find out they got with the 90’s and there is no longer an additional fee. Wow, progress in government offices.

    And that’s how I lost a good rant…


  8. driving ad

    May 25, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    i advertise for freeCan someone explain to me why people feel compelled to advertise the car lot they bought their car on their license-plate frame? It makes no sense to me. I might do it of I got the car for free. People don’t put a big sign on their house with the contractor’s name on it, right? Why do it with cars? I think it was in some movie where a car salesman said that the greatest feeling for him is screwing somebody over the price of a car and then having them bring their friends to be screwed as well.

    I think people are so oblivious to advertisements that they don’t even think about it anymore. Ads are all around us and it might seem natural to keep the frame on the car and never think about that fact that IT IS free advertising. After all, people pay $44.99 for a sweatshirt wholly consumed by a GAP logo; it is no surprise that some people are now selling ad space on their body parts.


  9. riding with Mr. Cell Phone

    May 21, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    As much as it might hurt my image of a great multitasker, I have to admit I can not drive while talking on the cell. I mean, I can physically do it, but when I hang up I get freaked out that I can not remember exactly what happened during the call. I made it my own rule not to talk on the cell while driving. I believe that banning cell phone use in cars is the easiest and simplest way to reduce the amount of accidents (technology can help here.) While it is not the major contributor to total accidents, any percentage counts.

    Nearly all countries and only four US states already ban cell phone talk without a handset. That is a step in the right direction but I think all and any cell phone use in cars should be illegal. In fact, drivers should not be allowed to do anything but drive*. While talking, the mind is focused on something other than driving, and that’s what causes accidents. Period. Most times I see a car behaving oddly I also see a cell plastered to the driver’s ear.

    Hands free sets may have the unintended consequence of making people feel as if it is safer and putting their guard down. Studies have shown this to be true.

    Why aren’t cell phones banned while driving? My guess is that it is because the cell industry has a very strong lobby. It is also more convenient to legislators to go after the usual and un-debated suspects: speed and drunk driving.

    * Music is fine because there is no interaction, but adjusting the radio’s setting should be easier (like steering-wheel controls and windshield displays.)
    ** This post was motivated by John Rinck‘s “IHateBayAreaTraffic.com


  10. basic social reponsibility

    May 2, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    A friend discovered his car was deformed by another car while parking at a convenience store’s lot. Luckily, some nice lady managed to take the license number of the fleeing offender’s vehicle. Turns out the offender was a 19 year old teenage girl that apparently panicked after the crash and decided to flee the scene to the protective wings of her parents. My friend did not press charges and the car was fixed on the expence of the girl’s father’s insurance. Although this had a “happy” ending it was only because of the proper conduct of the woman who jotted down the number and left it on my friend’s windshield. It could have been a total disaster due to that social misfit of a soon-not-to-be-a-teenager who could not take some responsibility for her actions and leave the note herself. If this was a 14 year old, I would understand that at that age there is no full comprehension of minimal social conduct, but at 19? Give me a break. If they can’t leave a note, they should not have a driver’s license.

    I was reminded of this event when I heard about the woman who could not face her future husband and tell him she was having second thoughts. She decided to vanish (premeditated) for 3 days, initiate a massive womanhunt and lie about being kidnaped. I am not privy to the fine details, but I got the gist of it. My first reaction was to say that this woman needs to go to jail. There is no excuse for a grown woman to be so disconnected from reality to not comprehend the consequences of her actions. She should go to jail and pay every single dime that was spent on the search for her. They estimated that the search cost up to $60,000; I don’t buy that. A 3 day search must have cost a lot more, especially if they put a chopper in the air. She will then need to live with the agony she caused her family. Her husband-to-be said “haven’t we all made mistakes?” Sure, but we all PAY for them!