Everything’s 20% Off

I liked this coupon found on a particular restaurant’s Foodler page:

20% vs. 20%

20% vs. 20%

Although completely illogical and irrational, this made me postpone placing my first order with this restaurant since I see that I can get 20% off any order.

Paris: Up Close and Personal

Paris 26 Gigapixels took 2,346 pictures of Paris from atop the tower of Saint Sulpice and stitched them together into a 354,159 x 75,570 pixel panorama of the city.  Pan and zoom at your leisure.

Like in Google Earth, the zoom feature is blurry at first.  Give it a second to crisp up and you’ll be absolutely astonished at how much detail is there.  Zoom to the absolute far reaches of the image and you’ll still be able to see individual people walking around.

Special challenge: find the bright green “3:14π” sign and identify what the adjacent shop most likely sells.

(via Kottke)

Emergency Foodler

I used my new JetBlue American Express card for the first time last weekend to get dinner delivered through Foodler — Cheesecake Factory dinner, to be specific.

Here’s how the charge appears on my statement online:


This man is dying!  Somebody bring him four-cheese pasta and a slice of Linda’s fudge cake, stat!

Backslash Circumflex: Coerced Into Bing™

Typically, when joining public Wi-Fi networks, whether free or paid, users are locked in “wireless jail” until they’ve agreed to the terms and conditions of the service and, when applicable, paid for the session.

Bing's Wireless Jail

Bing's Wireless Jail

On most free networks, this just requires clicking an “I Agree” button after pretending to read the legal contract, and perhaps watching an advertisement.  I did find an amusing wireless jail page at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport last year, but at Denver International Airport this morning I got this ad (at right) for Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

The line at the top reads, “The free wi-fi session starts when a search begins.” And it’s not just marketing fluff; I really couldn’t start using the network until I’d conducted a search on Bing.

Wondering if anyone else had already commented on this mildly obnoxious tactic, I decided to search for the text that appears above the ad: “Wi-Fi access sponsored by Bing™” (with quotes).

Instead, Microsoft chose to run a search for \”Wi-Fi access sponsored by Bingâ¢\” which naturally found no results.

Bing Search Results

Bing Search Results

And thus, after just one (coerced) search, Microsoft has convinced me not to bother trying again.  Bing doesn’t even understand quote marks or special characters!  Good job, Microsoft.  Good job.

They might have exercised a little more caution in this particular advertisement if they’d analyzed what pages I was trying to get to in the first place: GMail, Google Calendar, Google Wave, Google Voice, and Google Reader — the five pages that open automatically whenever I launch (wait for it…) Google Chrome.

It’s like a little clue.