April 4th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

4thSarah Houghton tweeted the other day a mention of being regularly hassled by the TSA. I asked her for details and said it would make a great blog post. She has since obliged. If you think “but I’m just a librarian, why would they be interested in me?” you must read this post. In fact, just read it anyway.

And here begins our story.  I have flown a lot in my lifetime.  Between personal and professional trips, I average one or two dozen trips a year.  About three years ago, I was flying from the Rochester NY airport to Grand Rapids, Michigan – going from my step-son’s graduation to my grandmother’s funeral.  I was stopped by the TSA screeners for having “brass knuckles” in my purse — in reality a 1 1/2″ cat face cheap metal keychain that did not resemble brass knuckles in the slightest.  I was pulled aside, my wallet was taken, and my bags thoroughly searched within my view.  I got mouthy…probably not my best choice, but I was pissed.  This was some over-zealous, bored Rochester TSA flunkie messing with me for no legitimate reason.  I was live-Tweeting it as it was happening.  I was asked to stop.  I said no.  I was asked to hand over my phone.  I said no.  I was asked to hand over my laptop.  I said no.  Eventually they let me go, confiscating the keychain that had made it through security in a couple dozen other airports, and with a warning that I was now on “THE LIST.”  I let fly a few F-bombs and boarded my plane for my grandmother’s funeral shaking from adrenaline and anger.  I wrote complaint letters to the Rochester Airport administration and to the TSA and got no reply from either (surprise, surprise).

Read the full article @ LibrarianInBlack.net.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: , ,

January 28th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

One of the coolest things Mary and I got to do while in Bali this past August was spend a day at the Bali Elephant Safari Park. Watching the elephants play and riding one through the park was a great experience. Below are my photos from that part of the trip. You can also see live webcams of the park. (Just keep the time difference in mind.)


Posted in Photos Tagged with: , ,

January 16th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

I received this e-mail this morning and I figured it’s wasn’t a problem to share. Please only respond if you’re a resident of Lincoln, NE.

Dear Michael,

The Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization needs your help! We’re working to improve your transportations options in the Lincoln region. The purpose of this project is to develop strategies and programs to support individual travel choices, and encourage sustainable transportation – such as biking, walking, taking transit, and sharing rides. As a first step in this process, we’d like to better understand current interests, issues, and barriers to using sustainable modes of transportation.   

Please take a minute to complete the “community travel preference survey” by February 1st. Contact Mike Brienzo if you have any questions, mbrienzo@lincoln.ne.gov  (402) 441-6369. 

Your participation is greatly appreciated!

Community Travel Preference Survey Link for Distribution:


Posted in Nebraska Tagged with: , , ,

May 17th, 2012 by Michael Sauers

But not the way you think.

The last time I saw something on a trip that gave me an idea to blog about, I didn’t do it fast enough and David King beat me to it. Not this time! (Sort of.)

On my way to Massachusetts Library Association conference last week I flew Delta and they had a seat-back in-flight entertainment system. Here’s a few photos: (click to embiggen)

Delta In-flight Entertainment SystemDelta In-flight Entertainment System (1)Delta In-flight Entertainment System (2)

Here’s the question: what’s missing?

How about “Read” as a choice on that main menu? Or, on the second menu, how about “Books” to listen to?

Well, it does seem that Singapore Airlines and the National Library Board have already beat me to the audiobooks idea. (Thanks Dan.)

So, who wants to set something up with e-books and Delta?

P.S. Delta’s system runs on Linux! (Though all those “Invalid arguments” did make we wonder about the system’s stability.)


Posted in bigthink Tagged with: , ,

August 27th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

On one of the flights I took last weekend GoGo in-flight WiFi was available. I didn’t pay for it as I’d already promised myself that I wouldn’t check my e-mail on vacation, but I did want to see if it worked on my Droid. I was able to connect but since I wasn’t a paying customer all I could do was read about the service. Here’s a few of the items from the Terms of Service that I found interesting: (emphasis added)

Acceptable Use Policy.
You hereby agree to comply with Aircell’s acceptable use policy (“Acceptable Use Policy”), as described below. You will not use the Service to (or assist another person to):

  1. Harm or threaten harm to persons or property;
  2. Harass other persons;
  3. Violate any applicable law, including those related to export control, spam, gambling, obscenity, or computer access;
  4. Engage in any fraud or misrepresentation;
  5. Provide instructional information about illegal activities;
  6. Interfere with, disrupt, or create undue burden on the Service (or the networks or computers that provide same);
  7. Infringe or violate another person’s rights, including privacy and intellectual property rights;
  8. Allow another person who has not paid for the Service to access or use the Service on his computer or device through your computer or device;
  9. Access or display offensive content on your computer or device, in view of another person;
  10. Knowingly distribute any virus or other malware;
  11. Access any network or computer (including those providing the Service) in excess of the permission expressly granted to you;
  12. Monitor (through, for example, sniffers) any network traffic without express authorization of the owner of the network and the parties’ to the communications;
  13. Attempt to decrypt any encrypted or scrambled communications;
  14. Introduce software or automated agents into the Service; or
  15. Attempt to impersonate any other person, including any Aircell employees.

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March 29th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

4469926721_92b9ec1e07_m This past week Christa and I spent three days in South Dakota presenting a Technology Planning workshop in Sioux Falls and Rapid City on behalf of the South Dakota State Library. I just wanted to give a big thank you to all the attendees and our hosts. It was a wonderful trip and we met many lovely people. And we even hot to do some touristy things too.

Photo CC-BY-SA Christa Burns

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February 18th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

Because homicidal maniacs wouldn’t lie. Would they?

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.

Posted in video Tagged with: , , ,

July 22nd, 2009 by Michael Sauers

Last summer I got a new passport in preparation for my trip to Jamaica. Embedded in that new passport was an RFID chip containing an unspecified amount of data about me and my passport. I’m not a total paranoid freak but I’d read a bit about RFID and how easy it is for unauthorized people to read their contents. So, I’d purchased a passport jacket that contains mesh that will prevent just such a thing from happening. A few folks I know had looked at me with that “you’re a little off, aren’t you?” look when I explained the heavy-duty envelope for my passport.

Well, not the US State Department is recommending that folks purchase such a jacket since a recent report has pointed out how easily they are read. Don’t worry though. According to the State Department “hackers won’t find any practical use for data skimmed from RFID chips” but who am I to trust them now?

Of course, you could always disable the chip but that wouldn’t exactly be legal.

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March 25th, 2009 by Michael Sauers

Prague’s Franz Kafka International Named World’s Most Alienating Airport

Posted in video Tagged with: , , ,

January 21st, 2009 by Michael Sauers

I use the social Web site Dopplr to schedule and log my travels and follow the travels of my online friends. This year Dopplr supplied a year-in-review report for all of its members. Here’s mine:
2008 Travel Report

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