Friday, January 29, 2016

Fail: "Off" should mean off! Most hotels wall mounted heater & coolers are noise and come on even when you turn them off!

"Off" should mean "off" on any machine, especially if that machine is in a hotel that claims to be interested in human beings having positive experiences.

On my last business trip I stayed in three different hotel chains, and two independant hotels, and "off" on these infernal machines turned out to mean, "turn on every 10 minutes and wake me up all night." It's not just the noise that is bothersome, it's the TERRIBLE USER EXPERIENCE and ENGINEERING. 

These noisy machines violet the simple premise that we need quiet sleep, and that if we humans see an "Off" button, we humans take it literally. And we should! Instead these heaters are a clear a message about short-term profit thinking focused not on humans, but on profit margins and the air in the room. They come on when off to keep the air fresh in the room I assume. But instead of engineering a heater with a variable speed fan, enabling almost silent air freshening, these bastards go with the cheap, industrial fans with one speed - loud. This is as crude as most of their carpets!
Hotel Wall Heater

It's a simple technical challenge that has been solved long ago with variable speed blowers and quiet fans like in a Renni wall heater.  I have a Renni in our tiny house. It only comes on high when it really needs to, mostly it is almost silent as it maintains the air temperature. 

Three of these heaters on a recent trip still went on every 10 or so minutes during a recent trip to a Sheraton in South Burlington, VT. Capitol Plaza in Montpelier, VT. Sonesta ES in Burlington, MA.
I also stayed in the independent old school Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, VT. That had a very old steam radiator that was loud once at night and once in the morning, and I preferred to the crappy electric heaters. And the Coolidge had a SILENT little electric oil radiator heater if I needed it. And... the Coolidge also just gave me a $4.50 credit at the great cafe next door and was charming with seemingly 12' ceilings.

Thank god the Sharaton's had an exposed plug, so I could unplug it. I plugged it back in when I left because I understand the rooms need ventilation, but ventilation when occupied more important then me getting a good nights sleep? That's the clear message the hotel is sending to me. Fuckers.

On this subject, when is someone going to make a simple hotel for the likes of me. One that prioritizes a quiet, rejuvenating, and luxurious stay? while not making me pay for amenities I don't want?

My Hotel Wishlist for Solo Business Trips

Generally, on business, I'm looking for a break from my normal life, and quiet.

  • Quiet. No noisy machines, including refrigerators, fans, heaters, water drains, and large gaps in front doors for hall noise. Rooms all face away from any really noisy traffic. 
  • Double thick windows that still open. 
  • Thick walls.
  • Comfortable beds
  • Really good free, no limit, wifi. 
  • TV with STREAMING services like Netflix, so I can watch what I want, when I want to. I  can watch a full movie when I arrive, without waiting for one on soon-to-be-dead Cable. 
  • Drinking water included.
  • Gym, or Pool, or large tub to soak in. 
  • Small rooms. I don't need a large room mostly. I need small economy rooms mostly. If want a large room to have visitors, maybe a few on site are good as an option. 
  • Bar if one isn't walking distance. Snacks are okay if simple and done well. 
  • No food on site. I'd rather not pay for food if it's near by to hotel, since that is usually done better then a hotel can. 
  • Info for ordering in from delivery places nearby

Monday, January 18, 2016

Marting Luther King full speech. Great tradition to listen once a year with the entire family!

My wife is an elementary school teacher by traid. This MLK day she asked us all to watch the full 17-minute Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech (PDF transcript) on MLK today. It's often hard for me to slow down and prepare for something like this on a busy day off of personal projects (concrete pour in basement, etc).

It was great though! What a teachable moment MLK day is. We got the full speech on a big TV and got the kids and relatives in the same room. The kids were quickly distracted, but they stayed with us and whispered and kept looking up at the video. Simply by being the room, and see us experience this world-class speech, is educational.

It's a great speech says Captain Obvious, full of lessons about society, writing, communication, truths, and with such moving poetry, delivery, and imagery. In the video, one can see one way to protest effectively (hint: wear suits, be serious, disciplined, nonviolent, and have one single main message). If you're interested in more on protesting tactics, watch Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin. I grew up with protesting parents, and have been to many, and this documentary BLEW MY MIND with how much power can be harnessed by professionalism and clarity of communication.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New favorite quote

Optimism is the faith that leads us to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence - Helen Keller