Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Deadliest Catch

Almost every episode of Discovery's Channel's "The Deadliest Catch" has the same formula. You take a high-pressure environment like the unforgiving Bering Sea, add a short fishing season, high stakes fishing, and unbelievable weather conditions, and you've got yourself a damn good show.

The show captures a whole range of personalities among the different vessels. I just can't get over how dangerous it is, and I am amazed and tense the entire time. Check out the show on Discovery Channel.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hibernate Your Notebook

I can’t tell you how many times I see students at the end of a class hitting “Start” → “Shut Down” only to sit through the entire boot procedure for WindowsXP. Others think they are saving time by entering “Standby” mode. But “Standby” mode keeps certain parts of your notebook on, so you’re still wasting battery life for no reason.

Enter “Hibernation.” When your notebook enters hibernation, it saves your notebook’s current state to your hard drive, then completely shuts down your notebook. Hibernation is a part of XP’s Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI), which allows the OS to control the system’s power and peripherals.

Entering hibernation is easy. Open “Control Panel” and double click on “Power Options.” One tab should be labeled “Hibernate,” which has one checkbox to enable hibernation. Check this box.

Next, click on the “Advanced” tab, which will allow you to set what your notebook does when you hit the power button. For “When I press the power button on my notebook,” select “Hibernate” from the pull down menu.

With this set up, whenever you want to hibernate your notebook, just tap the power button. You can be surfing the web, checking email, or doing anything. Hibernation takes about fifteen seconds. And once the power shuts off, you are not wasting any battery life. When you want to start your notebook up, just tap the power button and a dialog appears telling you that your notebook is being restored from hibernation. That process takes about 20 seconds, which is a welcome change from the standard 1:30 seconds it usually takes for a full boot up.

I use hibernate all of the time. I sometimes go weeks without shutting down my notebook. Don’t waste your time shutting down, starting up, or wasting battery life in Standby mode.

The Streak

I haven't gotten sick in a year and a half and that streak ends today. I feel a cold coming on, damnit. It sucks more when it is 100 degrees outside and you have allergies.
Well if it is anything like my previous colds, I'll be better tomorrow and over it the following day. Let's hope.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Roadtrip: Half Moon Bay

So I went to Half Moon Bay with a partner at my firm and a group of summer associates. The event was pretty decent and unlike most of the other events like go-karting and nice dinners, so it was a welcome change. I liked the drive up Highway 1 so much that I went back again this morning.

I stopped at various points on the way there. It's really the first time in my life I've ever went on a road trip by myself and just aimlessly drove around snapping pictures. It was a delightful change from my normal routine of not going anywhere.
I must say that I've been pretty good about going out and doing stuff lately. Apart from firm events that are plentiful and varied, I've started hanging out more with my friend Willie, who will be my roommate this upcoming school year. It's a great friendship because both of our lives revolve around watching sports and movies and eating Indian/Pakistani food.
Some more pictures to come soon.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006


So I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and try out Flickr. Granted I'm like three years late, I still think the small Flickr badge on the sidebar will add a little flavor to the site. Enjoy!

CitiRewards: A Glorious Revolution

So for those of you who have been under a rock the last five years, you may have noticed that everyone loves using their credit cards now because they can get 'points' for the things they buy. This is obviously a gimmick set up by credit card companies who know that spending a few million a year in free gifts is much more likely to entice customers into using their credit cards to purchase items they can only afford on high-interest monthly payments. Thus, a responsible consumer looking for free points is a loss for them, but that loss is more than made up for by the droves of Americans willing to pay for that iPod over a period of 9 years.

Well, Citi Rewards is part of the larger Thank You Network, which is basically where all Citi customers can go to redeem their points. Citi is a lot like Bank One or any other company, and offers a ton of different services and like fifty different types of credit cards, all of which fit different spending. There are cards for people who only buy gas, for frequent flyers, for general purchases, and so on.

Citi also gives you points for having an account with Citibank, although it is only a nominal sum of points. 1 point is usually earned by spending 1 dollar, and 5,000 points usually gets you 50 bucks in rewards (so about a 1% return). Doesn't sound like a lot, but if you know how to make your way through the system, you can find great deals.

I first got a Citibank account a few years back and then decided I wanted a points card so that I could put all of my monthly bills on my card and earn points for doing nothing out of the ordinary. I chose the Citi PremierPass Card, which has no annual fee and gives you basically one point for every dollar you spend. More importantly, it gives you 1 point for every 3 miles you travel on ANY airline. Granted other airline-specific cards give you better deals on miles, but those cards tie you to one airline and often their awards are redeemable only as other flights. On the other hand, Citi lets you redeem your points for gift certificates and a lot of other rewards.

The best part was that I got 15,000 points just for signing up, which is a $150.00 value right there. I've probably amassed another 60,000 points since and have cashed all of them in for either Best Buy gift certificates or gas cards. I make note here that people often make the wrong decision when cashing in rewards and buy an iPod or some other electronic device directly from the rewards site. Those kinds of items are terribly overpriced, so you're always better off getting a certificate at a retail outlet and buying it yourself at the store so you can get better deals and more choices.

The other great feature about the PremierPass is that you can get points for flights you purchase for anybody. For example, I bought my parents roundtrips from New York recently. I got about 650 points just for paying for the ticket. A flight from NY to CA is about 2600 miles or so, so that's about 10400 miles flown, of which I will get 1/3 back in points. So I'm getting roughly 3500 points + 650 points just for putting the flight on my card.

So about a few weeks ago, Citi ran a promotion for their Diamond Preferred Card, which offers another type of gimmick in terms of how they calculate points. The card has no annual fee, so there's no risk on my part, and they offer you 10,000 points for signing up. Granted you need to just make one purchase on the card -- in my case $6.90 in gas -- in order to be awarded the points. So I just got another $100.00 for using a card once, and then I can just leave it in my drawer and not use it again.

Citi recently ran another promotion, where you can tell your friends and family about the Citi PremierPass card. If someone signs up because of me, I get 5,000 points for each person. I signed up three people and got another $150.00 for nothing.

And last week, I looked on the site and they were running a promotion for the Citi PremierPass Elite, which is similar to the PremierPass. I warn you that the card does have an annual fee of $75.00, but they give you 15,000 points just to sign up, which is a $150.00 value. Also, this card gives you 1 point for every 1 mile flown on ANY airline.

I plan on using this card for an upcoming trip to NY, possibly for the July 4th weekend. But there is an interesting wrinkle. I usually fly JetBlue, and I have, through their rewards program, earned a free round trip to anywhere in the country. Of course, nothing is totally "free," so you still have to pay a small fee for federal taxes and an airport security charge, which is nominal. But the best part is that I can pay that sum with my credit card, and Citibank will still reward me for all of my flight points even though JetBlue is giving me the flight for free. Thus, I'll get about 5,000 points for taking a free trip to NY.

I think if you are a person that flies even once or twice a year, flights are what makes this card much better than standard cards like Discover that give you a flat percentage as cash back. While people will say that the reward from Citi is only a measly 1%, they are overlooking the fact that flights give you far more points than just 1 point per dollar spent. That's where you can really make this lucrative.

One other thing I have noticed. I booked a flight for my mom on Jetblue last summer and I had to cancel the flight at the last minute. Jetblue charged like $30.00 to cancel the flight, which is a standard fee. However, Citi still processed the charge as a flight and awarded me points for the flight. My guess is that they still do this.

Damn I'm good.

By the way, Citi lets you merge all of your Citi accounts into one Thank You account, which means all of your points, no matter what account they originate from, all get funneled into the same pot. This is invaluable because otherwise you might be stuck choosing measly gifts for each account.

Get yourself in gear, people. If you know you are responsible with your credit, then why give up a chance to get at least a hundred dollars for nothing at all?

For more information about enrollment and available cards, visit