Archive for March, 2008

Pretty Florida Pics (Floridiana Gloriana)

Here’s a nice relaxing way to spend Monday morning…

Via the Flatland Almanack blog comes Floridiana Gloriana, a page devoted to pretty pictures of Florida, minus the tourist stuff.

Some beautiful shots of flowers in Mount Dora, plus a nice cityscape of the City Beautiful itself taken from around Lake Eola. Worth a look, especially if like me, you’re just not ready to get to work yet.

Up From the Depths: Club Paris

A blogger wonders aloud: “What Happened To Club Paris?”

I remember it well. I was in town for the holidays, back before I moved here, and we were watching the NYEve coverage. Every half-hour or so, they’d cut in with a local report from Club Paris, where Paris Hilton herself was allegedly supposed to appear.

Some mid-level functionary of Orlando’s city government was standing outside with a key to the city, looking more excited than any middle-aged woman should ever look when faced with the prospect of meeting Paris Hilton.

She stood all evening, until even the news crews didn’t bother with her, and it was clear there would be no Paris in Club Paris.

That about sums up the whole project to me, right there.

I still think the Club Paris brand is a good idea–they just need to put one in Vegas to start. Preferably in the trashiest hotel on the strip.

Rat stench a persistent problem at Orlando airport, top customs official says — OrlandoSentinel.com

I’m having a hard time getting my head around the Orlando International Airport rat thing.

This is going to make me sound like some random crank sitting on his front porch with a shotgun yelling at kids to stay away from his goldarned unmowed lawn, but seriously, dudes and dudettes: How freaking hard is it to keep a major public area used by millions of people on a regular basis free of RATS?!

Isn’t that, like, a basic, fundamental necessity? Table steaks? The place can be kinda dirty, or unorganized, and you may wait in line for two hours to get on a flight, but at least there aren’t RATS rotting in the ductwork. Right?!

I really just don’t get it. It’s like finding out you bought a car and they forgot to put tires on it. How does this happen?!

Universal’s Rockit Brings the Cutting Edge to the Tourist Trap

From an unlikely source comes a tech geek perspective on one of Orlando’s upcoming theme park extravaganzas…

Rockit coaster tapes your ride, produces best YouTube vid ever – Engadget

Reportedly, designers are crafting the so-called Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit to cater to those obsessed with technology (that’s us) by enabling patrons to personalize their ride by choosing their own tunes and creating a music video that can be uploaded for all your envious friends to see as soon as you can whip out that 3G card and mash “upload.”

Is it just me, or does it seem like Universal’s winning the theme park wars? Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Rockit–a couple years from now, a day at Universal is gonna sound a whole lot more fun than a day at Disney.

Orlando Sentinel: Softball, or the softest ball?

Our air conditioning is out over in College Park, so we spent the night with family in Longwood. Our morning conversation today centered around the newsiness–or lack thereof–in the Orlando Sentinel these days.

My mother-in-law’s chief argument in favor of the Sentinel as feature-heavy, news-lite fluff publication was this article:

Glamour and glitter are elevated to an art in philanthropist Harriett Lake’s fashion collection — OrlandoSentinel.com

Now, Harriett Lake sure seems like a nice old lady. But how does she get the front page of the Local & State section when there are at least two developing stories (the Democratic primary controversy, the upcoming tax changes) that would seem to merit front-page space more than an elderly woman and her flamboyant hats?

I’ve noticed the same trend–feature stories earning spots on front pages throughout the paper, while what you might call “real” news is buried in the ghetto of page three, five, seven, nine, etc. And it’s not even so much that the feature stories are BAD, just that in putting them on Page One of the main section or Local & State, you send a subliminal message: There are important things happening in our region, and we would rather tell you about flamboyant hats.

What say you, oh Metblog Orlando readership? Is the Sentinel well on its way to USA Today status, or is there life in the old girl yet?

Gubment Make Website Good!

Maybe it’s just one of those “let’s knock the man” kind of days but I was kicking around the OC Clerk of Court site to find info about traffic ticketing and came across this gem that I will have to systematically tear to pieces:

Everything is off to a great start! Smiling face of Lydia Gardner assuring you that “paying your traffic ticket is FAST and EASY!” Super, if there is one thing the internet is good at, it’s making things that usually require standing in line for, much more fast and easy! Super! But wait, there’s more! Just a few things you need to know before you get started, probably things that help you to make things even more FAST and EASY, I’m sure!

Great, we can use the system to do several things, excellent! Gotta have my citation number ready, sure thing! And they accept Visa and Mastercard, no Discover, though… hmm, well that happens. It’s handled through Link2Gov, um, okay… not sure who that is or if I should know… wait… what? Service fee of $3.99?!? Well that’s usual, I mean everytime I shop online they charge me even more than usual… oh, wait… that’s backwards, it’s usually cheaper to shop online… the whole less overhead thing…. Maybe I should send Lydia some info about Google Payments or PayPal or something. Apparently Link2Gov is so grossly expensive in their transaction fees that the city has to try and recoup that by passing off $4 to us! Seeing as how this fee does not appear at the windows, it’s not related to actual credit card processing, but purely from taking the order via the internet. Good job choosing an online payment service Lydia!

Okay, well, maybe Link2Gov’s premium cost is due to their superior service, I mean I’m sure I can securely and quickly make online paymnts with it… between the hours of 2am… and 10pm… WTF?!?! I’m sorry, does someone have to wind the computer back up from 10-2 in the middle of the night? Maybe the hamster in the wheel gets tired, needs a little sip from that plastic water bottle with the metal straw hanging out the bottom. Maybe Lydia is superstitious and doesn’t trust the internet’s series of tubes to handle credit cards during the “witching hours”.

So, maybe I’m thinking the system has downtime so that the day’s citiation can be put into the system. That might make sense, given that the database servers are running from Microsoft Access off of Ms. Gardner’s desktop. But if that downtime helps us to get to pay our tickets as quickly as good citizens should, it’s worth the sacrifice! What’s this… may take 15 days for your citation to appear… you mean the citations that we have to pay within 30 days or you issue a bench warrant? That’s kinda, I don’t know, incompetent.

And the final cherry on top of this primo example of government ineptitude? “Select Pay a Ticket at left to Continue”! Um… why not just make the word “Pay a Ticket” a link? I promise it won’t make the left side nav jealous.

And in the words of Columbo… oh, just one more thing… Why would I call the number at the bottom for information in English… if the page of information you just provided was… in English?

Make sure you get a big raise Lydia, and have the deputies deliver it to you in their tights and tutus.

Orange County Deputies Dress Like Silly Pansies

Hey Look at Me! I'm a Dofus!You keep doing it, and I’ll keep saying it. Dressing officers of the law in silly costumes while they pull over citizens during commuter hours only illustrates the point that you are spending more creative thought and effort in targeting people who actually have jobs and contribute to society than you are the murders and thugs that have driven our crime rates to the point that we are rated consistently one of the most dangerous cities in the damned country. If you’re going to be a joke of a police force, well, I guess you better dress the part then, don’t you? Bunch of keystone coppers on our our hands, I swear.

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