Off-Topic: Santa Maria Customer Service Done Right

Santa Maria Rio Grande Salsa BottleSanta Maria Rio Grande Salsa is currently my favorite TexMex salsa available in Sweden. It’s far superior to other TexMex reddish sauces you can buy here. And we have been buying it since we first found it a couple of years ago. But to my horror (relatively speaking), a few weeks back when I went shopping I could not find it in any of the stores where I usually go. I even asked shop attendants about it, and nobody knew.

So I finally sent an email to Santa Maria customer services asking about what happened, if the product was out of production. Turned out it was not. The nice person I was in contact with actually checked with their sales team for Uppsala to see what was going on. Impressive. Even more impressive was that she actually phoned me up to tell me where I could buy it — turned out that the cheapskates at Ica Kvantum did not carry it anymore since it was not selling well enough. But Coop Forum still does. Thanks! And thanks to Santa Maria for an unusually efficient and good customer service.

By the way, Santa Maria is (absurdly enough for a company from nowhere near Mexico or Texas) the world’s biggest exporter of TexMex foods. Or so I heard in some report a while ago, cannot find concrete confirmation of this right now.

Cancelled Flights…

I am sitting at the Hyatt close to SFO writing this, hoping that my flight home will work today. I was booked on a Lufthansa flight to München yesterday which was cancelled. And the next available flight was the very same flight today. It is the late evening flight out of SFO to München, which I used since it gives a full day of work over here in the Silicon Valley without an extra hotel night. The obvious disadvantage is the lack of later backup flights in case something goes wrong. So here I am, at least 24 hours delayed. At least they put me up in a nice hotel, but only 30 USD as food compensation does go overly far here in airport land. Visited the Burlingame area, small bonus. Well, at least it is not as bad as the story Simon tells on his blog. Yet. It is not over until I am actually home.

The irony of their logo: … “there is no better way to fly”. Yes there is, and it is called actually flying and not canceling.

Travel Tip: Tokyo Trains

I am just back from my first ever trip to Tokyo, and it was a very interesting experience. I am very impressed by the Tokyo train system, and I cannot understand why some foreigners seem to avoid it and use taxis instead. All stations have signs in English (at least all that I visited in Tokyo), and the system is mostly very reliable and predictable. There are some things that I would have like to know before I came there, however, which were not entirely obvious.
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Book review: “Fruits of War”

A review of the book “Fruits of War” by Michael White. The book discusses how war has accelerated technological progress and provided unexpected benefits to society. The author is a bit defensive about not professing that war is good in any way, which is pretty obvious and does not really need to be an issue in reading the book. It is a fairly straight reporting of facts, rather than any attempt to editorialize or present radical opinions.
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Off-Topic: Studying Malware Analysis at

The F-Secure weblog is one of my regular reads, and today they presented one of the coolest industry-academia items for a long time: F-Secure are teaching an entire course at the Helsinki University of Technology, called “Malware Analysis and Antivirus Technologies”. Kudos to F-Secure for the time and money that must have gone into doing that!

Brilliant Virtualization Comic

I’ve never seen the comics at before, but they are really quite brilliant nerdy comics. Liking virtualization and simulation, I found number 350 at especially fun. And note that that is what some serious researchers are doing, using virtual machines as active honey pots (“honey monkeys“) to go out and contract infections by actively searching the web with machines in various stages of patching.

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Off-Topic: Car Sizes and Prizes

The car market is pretty fascinating in many ways. Going out actually buying a car quite recently, I was given cause to reflect on prize vs actual size. The non-linear prize increase you have to pay to get to a slightly bigger car from whatever point you are at is interesting. And the fact that a “very small” car is just above four meters long, while a “pretty large” car is at around five meters. How can a few centimeters actually matter that much?

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