Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Finally! "Twiqbal"!

Hat tip to my hubby, for showing me this post from PrawfsBlawg.

R.I.P. Nora Ephron.

Not only did she make the front page of the New York Times with her obituary (which she deserved), but she touched so many of us with her poignant and funny work.  Thank you, Nora Ephron.  We'll miss you.

"Call Me, Pay Fee" -- I wish I'd written it.

See here for a great column about the ├╝ber-annoying robo-calls we're all getting on our landlines and cell phones. I'm none too thrilled about all of the political calls we're getting as well.

Jeff and I are at the point of changing our outgoing message to "if you're calling us about a political campaign, a get-rich-quick scheme, or anything else that someone's paying you to convey to us, rest assured that whatever you're selling, we will not be buying."

An opinion piece that everyone should read.

This one, about Vincent Chin, by Frank Wu.

Friday, June 15, 2012

How bad is Boingo Wireless's customer support? Very, very bad.

I have been sitting in LaGuardia trying to add a third device to Boingo for 45 minutes. The good news is that ALL FIVE times that I called customer service, I spoke with nice people. The bad news is that, no matter how many times I try, I can't add a third device to my account. All that I've managed to do is get the other two deauthorized. (If you're keeping track, that leaves me with zero authorized devices.) Here's what Boingo says to do: 1. Login with the new device. 2. Go to the next screen to add a third device. Ah, but that's where Boingo's system breaks down. I never get to the next screen. I just get placed in infinite login loop hell. Can Boingo add the third device on its end? Nope. What can Boingo do? Well, its people are polite, which is good, but they can't help me, which is bad. Um, Boingo? Can't you figure out a way to get me to the screen where I promise to pay you more money? UPDATE NUMBER 1: I've sent this post to Boingo Customer Service. UPDATE NUMBER 2: the sixth guy at Boingo said to try the Boingo app. Now I can get connected, but I still can't add a third device.

UPDATE (6/20/12):  Boingo asked for my login and my email address.  I provided those.  Boingo responded by saying that my account didn't exist.  I provided a screen shot of my account.  Let's see what happens next.

UPDATE #2:  I've gotten a comment on this post (see comments) offering to help me with my problem.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Which women do you know, Mr. Kilcullen?

"Made my blood boil."  I'd heard that phrase, but I had yet to experience it fully.  Thank goodness for Stephen Kilcullen, who was able to provide that experience by writing this column about why women shouldn't serve in the Army Rangers (here).

He trotted out these hoary old saws:  "it's not about the individual, it's about the military" (as a reason why women shouldn't bother asking to serve in the Rangers as a way of increasing their experience and raising their odds of promotion); "women get to do almost everything else" (so they shouldn't be presumptuous enough to ask to do what their male colleagues do); "it's all about morale" (yep, that worked equally well when folks in the military said that it would wreck morale to have (a) minorities in the military, (b) gays in the military, and (c) women in the military); and "it's an all-volunteer force" (which means, I guess, that people who serve shouldn't feel bad if there's an unbreakable ceiling on their careers).

I don't know which women you know, Mr. Kilcullen.  The ones I know who choose a military career are perfectly capable of planning and executing missions.  They're not any more squeamish than their male counterparts are, and they understand that military careers include a lot of bloodshed, risk, and sacrifice. 

My sister-in-law, for example, was just as capable as any of her colleagues were in the Air Force and would (in fact, did) happily volunteer for some pretty scary missions during her military career.  My guess is that she's still working for the military, albeit now as a civilian, because the military recognizes her value.  With a Van Niel, pretty much all of them can be equally dedicated and aggressive against enemies, both foreign and domestic.

So, Mr. Kilcullen, look around you.  I'll bet that there are a lot of women out there who would do a better job as a Ranger than you would.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's actually not that much fun saying, "we told you so."

In 2009, Eric Van Horn and I suggested (here) that bankruptcy lawyers might want to pay some attention to the public perception that their fees might be unreasonable.  (I admit that I'm a little fee-obsessed these days:  see here,* here, here, here, and here.)

This morning, the New York Times weighed in on the issue of bankruptcy lawyers' fees (here).  The go-to quote?
By opposing these guidelines, the lawyers handling big bankruptcy cases show they are out of touch with economic realities. Worse, in resisting improvements in accountability, they undermine public confidence in the integrity of the bankruptcy process. 
Yep.  The right approach--demonstrated with particular skill by Cravath's Rich Levin and the National Bankruptcy Conference--is to work with the Office of the U.S. Trustee to reach a workable compromise.  Ultimately, it's the job of the bankruptcy court to determine whether an estate-paid professional's fees and expenses are reasonable.  The Office of the U.S. Trustee is trying to help bankruptcy courts do their job by giving estate-paid professionals a heads-up as to what the U.S. Trustee Program will consider presumptively unreasonable.  Those professionals who are willing to meet the government halfway by saying, "we are very uncomfortable giving you this information, and we don't think the information will help you, but we are comfortable giving you this other information instead, which will help you" are handling this issue the right way.


*  The way that this first link is set up will count this very post as the first in the list.  You'll want to skip that one, unless your brain likes infinite loops, to move to the others in the list.