Thursday, September 27, 2007

Delivery services

I ordered quite a few things from Amazon and its sellers, so I gained some experience in how the thing are being delivered. First, I bought a headset and books to quality for Free Shipping. It should have come in one package, but instead, it was delivered in two (both for free). The headset came first and very fast - it was basically next day. Books took more time - about 3 days. Then I bought bags for my bike. This took one week to deliver, because it was sent from the East Coast to the West Coast, while the previous packages were sent from Nevada to California - not a big distance, really. All three shipments were done by UPS. You can track UPS packages online in basically real time - you can see where it is, when it was picked-up etc.
Finally, I ordered watches. There were in stock, so I expected them to be shipped quite fast. The first information was that it will take a week just to ship them (give to the carrier). That was bit of a shock - I was really hopping to get them earlier. Fortunately, they have been shipped in two days.Instead of UPS, the USPS is used and the Amazon shows expected arrival on October 15th! I guess it will arrive earlier.
Overall, it seems that the Amazon is slightly overestimating the time it takes to deliver a package. I guess they use the least optimistic estimates in order not to make the customers disappointed. But I'm also wondering whether the use of carrier depends on the amount you spend and how long you are a customer of Amazon.I prefer the Free Shipping, but first few packages arrive very promptly. Now, it is getting worse. I'm wondering whether this could be intentional - make you used to good service, then deliver the bad service for free, hoping you will prefer to buy the better service next time.
It makes sense, especially because I know that when I finally decide to buy something, I want it as fast as possible! The decision itself can take couple of weeks or months (or a year), but I want the delivery itself to be fast. Well, I don't want it badly enough to pay for, though.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Red light and driving

California is one of the states in the US where you can make a right turn against red light. Before you do that, you have to stop and yield to pedestrians and other vehicles. It sounds like an incredibly dangerous idea, but in fact, it smooths the traffic and is probably safer at the end.From the perspective of a bicyclist. When there is a car on my left when I go straight ahead, the car can pass me (turn right in front of my) and thus I don't have to be afraid of the car crossing my path when I have green light.
I guess it works because drivers are more careful and tolerant in comparison to what we can see in CR. Also, roads are wider, so I feel safe driving to school on bike, when I have to go a few kilometers along three line road (three lines are not enough for the name "highway" here).
P.S. I read the Driver's Handbook and I could not believe what I saw. First, I'm not sure that such thing even exists in CR. Second, it is not a list of rules, but list of thing you should do for your own safety, safety of other etc. Instead of looking like a list of threats, it reads like a list of recommendations that mostly make very good sense.


I love good olives. I was surprised to find that black olives are typical in the US, while I was used to green olives in the Czech Republic (for the description of the difference, check Wikipedia). The cheapest olives I found (Safeway) were probably the best black olives I have ever had. Moreover, they were not salty, which is the thing I hate the most about the green olives you can often buy in CR (try to find green olives that are not salty and let me know).


Since everything is bigger in America, also stoves are larger than I'm used to. But the one we have has other advantage, probably much more useful than its size. It is a system that generates sparks automatically, when needed.So you do not need matches or lighter and if the fire stops (whatever the reason) but gas continues to flow, it automatically restarts. WOW.