Yearly Archives: 2009

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October is one of my favorite months with the Exceeding Expectations kids.  As you all know, our top priority for the kids is, and always will be, education. That said, every October we participate in two athletic events that I feel are significant in laying the groundwork necessary for them to be successful in the academic world and in their adult lives.  The first of these events is the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) triathlon, aptly called “The Best Day in Triathlon.” Here’s a brief overview from their website:  “In 1994, three friends started a triathlon fundraiser to help one man regain his independence after a tragic accident left him a quadriplegic. From one came many, and Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) took root in the belief that sports and an active lifestyle are a pathway to more in life. Since that fundraiser 25 years ago, CAF has been committed to breaking the financial barrier that individuals with physical challenges face to participate in sports and live a healthy and active lifestyle.”  Participating alongside challenged athletes in a very tough race gives our kids an additional perspective on their own lives. The racers on the course with them face obstacles that they

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Meet the World’s Worst Flight Attendant: A Travel Interview With Comedian Pam Ann


Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard the airplane. Your flight attendant today is the zany, the glitzy, and the outlandish Pam Ann. She may fail to give you the right safety instructions or bring you that Bloody Mary, but if you’re up for some laughs, sit back and enjoy the ride! Pam Ann, née Caroline Reid, is a well-loved comedian who poses as a fictitious flight attendant regaling her audience with the vulgarities and quirks of airline travel. Her subjects of parody include airline crews, travelers, and the laughably absurd shenanigans that arise within the confines of a plane’s cabin. Pam’s stand-up routines are in high demand anywhere airplanes fly, which means she pretty much travels around the globe. Below, she shares some of her travel tips. Is there a gadget you can’t live without? I can’t live without my Blackberry; it is very addictive. When you travel, what is the one item you always take with you? Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. Great for long haul flights. What are you listening to your on your iPod these days? Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” What is your favorite city in the world and why?

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Want a VIP Airport Lounge Pass? Give Us Some Feedback For a Chance to Win One!


I consider myself a frequent traveler (I average one trip per month). Unfortunately, the airlines I fly with seem to disagree because I have yet to receive an invitation to relax in one of those luxurious airport lounges reserved for frequent travelers. Often, I watch wistfully as seemingly more “deserving” folks breeze into the Admirals/Presidents/Sky/Red Carpet Club (to name a few) and kick back before their flights. Can you relate to this? The good news is that I have three one-day lounge passes to give away. At last, this could be your opportunity to travel like the VIP you are. To qualify for our random drawing this Thursday, December 17th, simply answer this question for us: Besides email, what is your #1 online activity/application on a smartphone? Provide your answer in a blog comment, via Twitter (@boingo), or on the Boingo Facebook page. One-word answers are absolutely allowed! (And if you win, be sure to fill me in on your experience so I can live vicariously through you.) The following is a list* of airline clubs and airports where winners can use their 1-day lounge passes: Alaska Airlines – Board Room: Anchorage, AK; Los Angeles, CA; Portland, OR; San Francisco,

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Up in the Air With Flight Attendant, Sara Keagle


You’d think seventeen years as a flight attendant would turn Sara Keagle into a blasé traveler. Fortunately for Sara and her charmed passengers, this is far from the case. In fact, Sara is so passionate about travel that she writes a blog, The Flying Pinto, in which she dispenses “advice on making your travels through the friendly skies….. well, more friendly!” Check out her insider tips below. When you travel, what is the one gadget you can’t live without? The gadget I can’t live without is my MacBook, which I use for blogging, keeping up with other blogs I enjoy, tweeting, bidding for my monthly schedule, and trip trading with other flight attendants. What is your favorite city in the world and why? My favorite city is my hometown, Boston, MA. I love all European cities, and Boston definitely has that flair. I was a tour guide in Boston for three years and know it like the back of my hand. Boston has the best of old and new, the architecture is amazing and it’s small enough to call quaint. With so many colleges and universities, it’s an extremely young and diverse city. If I had my way, I’d be

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On the Campaign Trail with Damon Dunn: Politician, Entrepreneur, All-Around Nice Guy


Damon Dunn is the poster child for overcoming adversity: he was raised by a 16 year-old single mother and grew up in poverty, but today he is a contender for California Secretary of State in 2010. How on earth did he get where he is today? According to Damon, it all comes down to hard work. His academic and athletic acumen landed him a scholarship at Stanford University, which ultimately led to a stint in the NFL. After retiring from the NFL, Damon attended Harvard Business School for the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program. Upon graduation, he co-founded a successful real estate firm. But Damon isn’t just about academics, athletics, business, and politics. True to his humble beginnings, he has also committed himself to civic services such as mentoring underprivileged and terminally ill children — even while on the campaign trail. Check out his travel tips below. Is there a gadget you can’t live without? I couldn’t live without my Blackberry. It’s astounding how mobile phones have become multifunctional tools for productivity, entertainment, retail and social networking. When you travel, what is the one item you always take with you? I take running shoes so that I can get

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Where Do You Boingo? Photo Contest


Three mornings a week, I have a special ritual: I eat breakfast and catch up on emails at the McDonald’s location pictured above. It’s very convenient since this McDonald’s is en route to Boingo headquarters in Los Angeles, CA and it’s a Boingo Wi-Fi hotspot. While I realize this ritual sounds mundane, it’s one that I look forward to as a relaxing way to start the work day. This morning, as I was devouring my Sausage McMuffin, I started wondering about the rituals of other Boingo users. Do you have a favorite hotspot where you hang out often or even occasionally? Is there a Boingo-supported hotel or airport that you prefer? Or are you a connect-by-the-seat-of-your-pants user, with no particular ritual or preference? Share your Boingo story and/or provide a photo of your favorite Boingo hotspot, and enter to win a one-year Wi-Fi subscription as a gift for that special traveler in your life. Submit entries to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/boingo. Contest ends at close of business this Friday, December 11th. Don’t just go. Boingo.

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10 iPhone Apps to Ease the Holiday Stress And Maintain Good Cheer


With over 100,000 apps in the iTunes App Store, it’s no wonder there are so many “Best of” lists out there. Not all are interesting or helpful. But Megan Berry, a contributor for Mashable, recently shared a fantastic iPhone app list that you may find helpful for easing holiday stress and maintaining good cheer. I’m personally a big fan of GasBag, Movies, and Pandora. Flightcaster ($7.99): Gives you current flight status and predicts the likelihood that your flight will be delayed. GasBag (free): Helps you find the cheapest gas station. ShopSavvy (free): Allows you to scan the barcode of store items and compare prices online from nearby retailers. Yowza Mobile Coupons (free): Lists coupon deals for stores within a specified mile radius from your location. Grocery IQ ($0.99): Allows you to create a grocery list organized by aisle or store. Epicurious (free): Provides 25,000 holiday recipes with step-by-step mode. Movies (free): Lists movies currently playing near you. Includes reviews and show times. Goofy Mad Libs (free/$3.99): Keep the kids entertained with this classic game. Mixology (free): Provides 8,000 drink recipes categorized by liquor type or name. Includes bartending tips and techniques. Pandora (free): Select a song or genre and leave

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Boingo 2009 Holiday Gift Guide


I’m good with holiday gift ideas — except that they come to me at inopportune times, like smack in the middle of summer. By the time December rolls around, I’ve completely forgotten all my ideas (yes, I’ve tried writing them down; I just can’t locate the list). So frankly, I’m not the best person to be writing a holiday gift guide. However, my Boingo colleagues, when I polled them, had no trouble contributing some fantastic ideas: Fueltank UNO charger, $39.95: “Charge just about any device without having to search around for an outlet.” Dave Hagan, CEO. Panasonic Pet Cam, $250: “Watch what your pets (or thieves) are doing to your house. It’s accessible best over a broadband connection like Wi-Fi so you can watch from a Boingo location anywhere in the world. And, and! You can move the camera around remotely—up, down and side to side.” Colby Goff, SVP Strategy. Lensbaby SLR Camera Lens, $100-$350: “Lensbaby camera lens are a great way to add a unique flavor (e.g., texture or color-wise) to photos. Great for both professional and amateur photographers.” Brian Shields, Interactive Designer & Architect. Funky, Chic and Cool Laptop Backpacks, $59-$145: “I’m a frequent traveler and have really

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Interview With Globetrotting Photographer, Mark Leibowitz


Photographer Mark Leibowitz leads quite a cosmopolitan life: he travels all over the globe photographing fashion models and exotic cities. Open up an issue of Glamour or Conde Nast Traveler, and you’ll likely find Mark’s photographs. His signature prints — praised by the likes of Vanity Fair and New York Magazine — are a lovely fusion of documentary, travel, and fashion. Check out his portfolio here and prepare to be wowed. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview the gifted Mark Leibowitz about his travels: Is there a gadget you can’t live without? A camera. Whether it’s one of my professional cameras, a small point and shoot, or my iPhone, I always have one with me. Recently I’ve been shooting more with film cameras such as the Contax T2 and Toyo field cameras. They feel very retro even though digital cameras have really only come of age in the last five years. What are you listening to your on your iPod these days? Brett Dennen is my current favorite. I also just saw him in concert at the House of Blues which was a great show. It’s not often enough that I get to stand in front of the stage

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Frank Eliason: the Pioneer Behind Customer Support on Twitter


I have to admit, I was at first a little star struck by Frank Eliason. After all, as the person who established a new customer support paradigm on Twitter for Comcast, he’s a celebrity among the Twitterati. But when I met Frank at BlogWorld last month, he was just as nice as can be. The next time I saw him, he was leading a conference panel about customer support via social media. I’ve been a fan ever since. A lot has changed since Frank first introduced the concept of customer service on Twitter in April of 2008. Now, many companies (including Boingo) view Twitter, Facebook, etc. as important channels for interacting with valued customers. See what you started, Frank? 😉 Unsurprisingly, Frank travels a good deal. Below are a few of this travel tips: When you travel, what is the one item you always take with you? I can’t narrow it down to just one item! I always pack the same things: iPhone, Netbook, laptop, wireless cards, toiletries and clothes. With all my electronics, you may not want to stand behind me in the security line, but rest assured I tend to be fast. What are you listening to your

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Personal Assistants: No Longer Just For the Rich and Famous


Even the best optimists have to admit that life can be hard. Work and family obligations leave us little time to take care of the necessary details in life – bills, appointments, birthday presents, phone calls, etc. If only personal assistants weren’t just for the rich and famous… Well, I’ve got news for you: it is possible to have a personal assistant without being a glamorous movie star. Recently, I learned about a company, AskSunday, that offers various online personal assistant packages starting as low as $37 per month. What can a virtual secretary accomplish for you? Turns out, plenty! Tasks include: Booking appointments (doctors, salons) and reservations (restaurants, hotels) Coordinating travel plans Making calls (clients, vendors, your mama ;)) Doing online research and reading emails Entering and analyzing data Ordering flowers, books, and gifts With the 24/7 Service, you can have an assistant at your beck and call, day and night (hmmm, wonder if it’s possible to request a lullaby over the phone during those nights of insomnia). Another service, Dedicated Assistants, allows you email or phone access to an assistant from 10:30AM EST to 7:30PM EST, Monday thru Friday. With this kind of help, you might actually have