Random geekery since 2005.

Husband, father, programmer, speaker, writer, blogger, podcaster, collector, traveler, golfer.

#6: Flowers, Forgetfulness, and Freefalls

Written in


Flowers, Anyone?

At some point in this series of letters I’m writing, I was going to talk about Bing Rewards.  Now, before you scoff and run back to your beloved Google, hear me out.  Bing is actually REALLY good.  Don’t believe me?  Try this: http://www.bingiton.com

QUESTION: How much is Google paying you to use their search engine?

Using Bing as my regular search engine for over 4 years now, I can tell you that I’m easily making $5-10 a month just by switching my default search engine. Every single search earns you points that can be redeemed for gift cards from Starbucks, Home Depot, and dozens of others.  It’s definitely worth your while.

QUESTION:  What does this have to do with flowers?

This morning, I decided to see what I could spend some of my Bing Rewards points on.  Right at the top of the page, there was a $15 coupon for ProFlowers.  It costs 100 points, and I have well over 1,000.  Next, I headed over to ProFlowers‘ website, to see what kinds of things they offered as we lead up to Valentine’s Day.  This is usually the most expensive time of the year to buy flowers, so I wasn’t optimistic.  Then I discovered this:

A dozen roses, chocolates, and a vase for $30?  And I have a Bing Rewards code for $15 off?  That’s my kind of deal.  Then I discovered the delivery costs.  Normally $12.99, except that February 14th is on a Saturday this year, so an extra $5.  Then tax, $3, and a “care & handling” fee, $3 more.  In total, however, with all of that, I will still have a dozen roses, in a vase, with a small box of chocolates, delivered to my wife on Valentine’s Day, for under $40.  If you’ve purchased flowers for delivery before, I think you’ll agree that’s actually a pretty reasonable price.

Now I just have to hope she didn’t read this letter.

Proofreading Pays Off

In last week’s letter, I wrote a segment on a clever way to have your own email address, and how it helps create unique usernames and passwords.  Except that I didn’t do a good job of proofreading, and almost an entire two paragraphs went missing before I clicked “Send.”  So, due to my forgetfulness, here’s what that paragraph should have said:

Come up with a simple phrase, like “NotMyCircus24!”  At each website you register on, use this passphrase, plus the name of the site.  In this example, it might be “NotMyCircus24!amazon” or “NotMyCircus24!facebook.”  In each case, you’ve now created a situation where no matter which website you’re visiting, you don’t have to remember anything about your credentials, but you can know them by following your pattern.

One catch to this is the thing you’ve been thinking about as you read this:  what if someone knows my pattern?  What if someone sees my data and realizes what I’m doing?  This is definitely a risk to this solution.  The good news is that it’s very unlikely some hacker is trolling through a stolen database of usernames/passwords looking for a single record that has some kind of pattern like this.  They’re using software to test those stolen credentials that match up with other popular websites.  Manually going through a list of millions of records is a waste of their time when they can be exploiting those that use the same username and password on every site.  As for someone you know being able to do this, you should protect this information at all costs.  Don’t trust anyone with this information. Seriously.  My wife knows how to get into my accounts, but I wouldn’t share this info with my kids, no matter how much they ask.  (They know that when I’m entering a password to turn their backs to the screen.  I don’t even have to ask anymore. 🙂

I Love Falling

I’ve noticed that in my life’s history, I have a pattern of loving to fall.  More specifically, I love extended freefalls. I think it started with my love for the diving board in high school, which led to the diving team, which led to joining the diving team at Bowling Green, which ultimately led to meeting my wife, which resulted in my two children.  So I have diving to thank for much of what I am thankful for today.  But there’s more.

I’ve jumped off of cliffs ranging in height from 60-100 feet into deep rivers full of crystal clear Canadian water.

I’ll ride any roller coaster you can put in front of me.  (I’m going to find a way to get on this one this year.)

One of the biggest rushes I’ve experienced lately, however, was on a water slide.  It was last summer, at the Kalahari Waterpark in the Wisconsin Dells.  You enter a chamber that has feet printed on the floor, and it closes behind you.  You cross your legs and put your hands behind your head before the operator starts a timer that counts down




And then the floor opens beneath you, letting you fall about 40 feet before the slide starts to bend, which has you slide to the end.

There’s a great video here of what it looks like to take the ride (POV).

Here’s a video of what it looks like to watch your friend take the plunge.

It was absolutely amazing, and I must have ridden it 4 or 5 times in a row.  I only wish the drop was greater. 🙂

So you might be wondering, “Jeff, have you ever jumped out of an airplane?”  Nope.  I haven’t.  But I think that’s got to be next.  I’m 38 years old, and I’m going to do this before I turn 40.  I need to just pick a date, pay the money, and show up.  It’s going to happen.

In the meantime, I’ve also got my eye on the Ohio Dreams Sports and Music Fest.  One weekend a year, this extreme sports camp opens their doors for anyone to be able to use their giant waterslide ramp.  I can’t do this place justice with words, so make sure you watch this video:

Does anyone want to go with me?


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