Category Archives: Memphis

TSA Pre-Check – Pretty Cool

TSA Pre-Check Ticket

The new TSA Pre-Check expedited screening thing seems to be in service.  The TSA website indicates that passengers desiring the Pre-Check service must pay $85 and “verify identity and provide fingerprints at a TSA Pre✓™ enrollment center.”

Strangely, the symbol appeared on our boarding passes for a recent trip to San Francisco.  To be honest, I had never heard of the program.  Being an infrequent flyer, I had never applied.  As we were departing MEM, the TSA greeter asked us if we were familiar with the Pre-Check procedures.  He said we could leave shoes, jackets, belts, watches, on and not empty pockets, and that we only needed to take out our laptops.  That was it – they didn’t even want to see our one-quart bags of gels and toothpaste.

Departing SFO, we were only asked to remove metal (keys, coins, cellphones) from our pockets, and were whisked through a special “for Pre-Check Only” line.

I have no idea how or why we received what seemed to be this special treatment.  Maybe the government has Katy and I on a “good guys” list somewhere.  It definitely made that part of the flying experience a little more pleasant.

 

Breaking the “rules” of blogging

If you are doing something online that is against the law, you should be concerned about the police. There is really no reason, whatsoever, to worry about breaking blogging “rules” or dealing with  the blogging police.  I am amazed at how many blogs there are about blogging.  Google returns over 18,000 results for the term “blogs about blogging”.  Narcissistic?  Well isn’t that what blogging is all about anyway?

If you are burned out with your blogging efforts, or if you have been reading the blogs about blogging, considering starting a blog of your own, keep one thing in mind:  If you have good content, the word will get around, and the readers will come.  The “rules” exist to get more views for mediocre content  that probably didn’t deserve any views in the first place.  That’s why you see more blogging instruction on SEO (search engine optimization), formatting, keywords, meta tags, image optimization, lists, and links, rather than on producing quality  content.

If anyone in the world of business could  honestly be labeled a guru, it would be Seth Godin. I admire Godin’s blog. He runs it as a sub domain on  typepad.com, not a self-hosted platform.  There are no well placed, keyword and context heavy pictures, and his posts are not open for comments.  The pundits would probably label this blasphemy.  Seth doesn’t have to worry about SEO, meta tags, and that H1-H2 stuff, because his 600,000+ monthly visitors (343,000 of them unique visitors) probably share his posts across the media, and he probably sells a lot of books and books a lot of big dollar speaking engagements because of his blog.

If you are going to blog, then blog.  Blog about something you are passionate about; blog about something you are an expert at; make it a picture blog if you are into photography.  Don’t get all hung up on self-hosting, custom URLs, plugins, and widgets until you get a feel for producing good content.  Get started with a free platform like Blogger or WordPress.com.  But if it doesn’t feel right after a reasonable trial period, it’s OK to quit.  If you get in the groove with your content then it might be time to hone your skills by reading some of the “blogs on blogging.”

Sunset on Arkansas Delta


Sunset on Arkansas Delta, a photo by joespake on Flickr.

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