Delta Airlines: Gauging the Quality of Your Customer-Service Representatives, Done Right.

Wow, this is so fantastic....

I had occasion to call Delta Airlines customer service, and when the representative hung up, the call tripped over to customer-service survey kind of thing. but instead of the normal banal questions (Were we able to solve your problem?, etc.), they asked just one question:

Would you hire the person you just talked to
if you owned a customer-service business?

Wow, what a fantastic question. It concentrates on the person's competency and people skills, rather than the services and restrictions of the company behind them.

(In my case, I answered an unequivocal yes, as the person was personable and competent.)


Update: ouch, Delta gets a demerit for stupid programmers at their web site. )-:

They require proof when changing your address to a different country, which seems reasonable enough, so I tried to upload an iPhone photo of my driver's license, but it kept rejecting it with an admonishment that it should be in XLS, XLSX, DOC, DOCX, CSV, PDF, JPEG, PPT, PNG format. The photo was in JPG format, so should have been acceptable.

It eventually dawned on me that they just might be stupid enough to require that I upload a file with the name IMG_2311.JPG instead of IMG_2311.jpg, and it turned out to be true. Sigh.


Jason and Yukikaze at the Kyoto Cyclocross Race
GO FASTER! (my guess as to what was being yelled) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 86mm — 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
" GO FASTER! "
(my guess as to what was being yelled)

As I mentioned in a recent post, the local cyclocross circuit came to Kyoto last week. In the photo above, Jason Eisenmenger is yelling encouragement(?) to rider Yukikaze Ishiyama.

I'd met Yukikaze earlier in the week when Jason and Joey, during their visit to Kyoto, had paid him a visit at his work while we were out and about.

Canyon Japan -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — image data
Canyon Japan
Joey, Yukikaze, Jason -- Canyon Japan -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/1200 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — image data
Joey, Yukikaze, Jason
Always a Smile -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Always a Smile

This is the same race that I wrote about two years ago, in a series of posts starting with Watching My First Cyclocross Bike Race. I'd intended to blog about it right away, but got overwhelmed by the 1,400 photos I took. I hope to slog through enough for another post soon...


Jason and Joey in Kyoto
Joey and Jason visiting Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/2, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Joey and Jason
visiting Kyoto, Japan

Wow, what a weird bit of scheduling twists and turns...

Cycling friend and fellow computer geek Jason Eisenmenger, whom I met on this ride last year, had plans to visit me from Okinawa (southern Japan), to do some cycling together here in Kyoto. Then a week before he's to arrive, he asks whether it's okay to bring a friend, who had a sudden week off to visit him from The States. It was fine with me, except I had to tell him that I had my own sudden change of plans and wouldn't be here: Google had invited me to a conference in Jakarta whose schedule matched exactly with his trip here. Doh!

So, I thought that at best we'd pass each other in the airport, and maybe I could offer them some ideas for good areas to ride in.

But, plans changed again as I came down with a cold right before I was supposed to leave, so I had to cancel on Google. (Sorry Google, I still feel bad to cancel on you like that!)

I didn't get to ride at all, but I was very happy to visit with Jason, and to meet his super-nice friend Joey Bloodworth, who flies jumbo jets.

Yesterday I felt enough energy to venture out a bit to watch some cyclocross racing (like this, which I'll write about soon), and on the way out took a few quick photos of the pair before they rode off.

Too Cool for School -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/2, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Too Cool for School

Joey always has a smile, but Jason can do the I'm cool just by existing cyclist lean perfectly.

He Even Makes This Look Cool -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/1.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
He Even Makes This Look Cool

A Compliment or an Insult? One of the Costs of Apple Ownership….

I normally do all my computer work on a MacBook Pro; the convenience of being able take it anywhere with me is worth the cramped feeling of having just 1TB of disk and a small screen. Unfortunately, my MacBook Pro, which is about 3½ years old, went south yesterday, and now and it freezes up after a minute or three. I spent all day trying stuff to fix it, but it seems to be a hardware issue, So I called up Apple Support to arrange repair.

While creating my repair case, the guy asked whether it was covered by AppleCare, their extended warranty. I'd had the three years of AppleCare, but it expired a few months ago; I replied Apple products never break down while covered by AppleCare.

His reaction was priceless: I can't tell whether that's a compliment or an insult.

Hah. I guess it's both.

I'm writing this post on an Apple desktop machine from 2009, which is still humming along just fine. But Apple's cutting edge products like their phones and laptops squeeze just a bit more out of the space available than anyone thought possible until they actually demonstrate it's possible by releasing the product, and that kind of cutting edge stuff comes with this kind of cost of ownership... it breaks down a lost more than a sturdy old-tech product. In my experience, that's often right after the warranty expires.

Anyway, the delivery service just picked it up. Last time I did this (~8 years ago?) I had it back quickly... maybe three days. I hope it's the same this time....


Update:

Well, that was quick. It was picked up by the courier service on Wednesday night, and at 8am this morning (Friday) I got an email from Apple that said they have received my computer. I expected to eventually get a message offering an estimate for the repair and asking whether I wanted to proceed, but less than seven hours later, at 2:45pm, I got a message informing me that my repair request is complete and that it was already shipped back.

There's no information as to whether they actually did anything, and if so, how much they'll charge me, but I suspect that either they did nothing and are returning my broken computer, or it'll cost the maximum fixed fee of about 80,000 yen (~$730), which had already been reserved on my credit card.

In any case, I'll find out tomorrow... it's schedule to arrive before noon.


Kafe Kosen: Quite the Unique (and Delicious) Coffee Experience in Kyoto
Unassuming, but Delicious Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) Kyoto, Japan -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/17 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Unassuming, but Delicious
Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船)
Kyoto, Japan

In the 12 years I've been blogging, I don't think I've ever gone two weeks without posting something new, but today's post is the first in almost a month, the first this year. The break wasn't intentional... I just haven't felt like writing, I guess. But today I visited a cafe with coffee so unique — I'd never had anything like it — that it deserved to roust me from my blogging lethargy.

I've been feeling lethargic about cycling as well, not having done many rides since autumn. For months I'd been planning to ride an hour south to visit Eric Findlay (seen on this ride-report blog post a couple of years ago), but I finally met him today when he came up to Kyoto and suggested we try this cafe.

Simple Menu -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Simple Menu

Let me say up front that I'm not a coffee aficionado, nor a coffee snob. I do drink my coffee black (no cream nor sugar, thank you), and while I appreciate a good cup of coffee, I never find coffee to be really good. Time and again I'm introduced to a place that has amazing coffee, and invariably find that it's fine, but nothing special.

So it was with surprised that this place gave me a coffee experience like I'd never had.

Yellow to Red: Light to Deep choose your level -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/20 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Yellow to Red: Light to Deep
choose your level

I ordered red, their deepest roast, which surprised me a bit because I don't like espresso at all. It's just hot bitterness that is gone in two sips. But the thought of light coffee just isn't appealing, so I gave their deep roast a try.

It came in a little glass a bit larger than a Dixie Cup, which made me think espresso, but wow, it was anything but.

Unappealing Presentation -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/15 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Unappealing Presentation

It was indeed deeply rich, but without the slightest hint of bitterness. At all. It was almost sweet. It must be what God had in mind when He created coffee.

It also wasn't scalding hot... it was just pleasantly warm. In this regard it felt odd, since gingerly sipping from a piping hot cup is part of The Coffee Experience. But the taste was so very nice.

Normally I get a big cup of coffee, because I like volume. I like the act of drinking. So the tiny portion was part of my initial pre-taste dismay, but I found myself content to just sip slowly as I chatted with Eric. It was quite nice.

Along with your glass of coffee you get a small pot of weak watered-down coffee (perhaps the second pour from the grounds used to make your glass) that you can use to temper your coffee it proves to be too strong.

Trying the Weak Coffee -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/15 sec, f/1.8, ISO 80 — map & image datanearby photos
Trying the Weak Coffee

I wanted no part of that watering-down stuff — the coffee as they brought it was perfect as is — but after I was done I tried the weak coffee as its own drink.

It tasted, unsurprisingly, like watered down coffee, all the worse on the heels of the fantastically-rich cup that preceded it. Next time I'll try the watered-down stuff first, then the real coffee.

The place is invisible from the road, so you have to know to look for it. (Google Map; Cafe home page)

Entrance the white door in the center -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance
the white door in the center
What Passes for a Sign -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
What Passes for a Sign
Still Doesn't Look Like a Cafe -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Still Doesn't Look Like a Cafe

It's one tenant in a very old building that had originally, 100+ years ago I'd guess, been a hospital.

Doesn't Look Promising -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/15 sec, f/1.8, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos
Doesn't Look Promising
Found It on the second floor -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Found It
on the second floor
Not Too Exciting -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Too Exciting

My first impression of the place was that it was really hard to find, and even when I was there I wasn't sure that I was there, because there's no sign on the actual entrance. There's the sign at the street door, and one on the wall at the base of the stairs, but nothing on the door that actually lets you into the cafe. Odd.

My impression went down further as I walked in, because they clearly allowed smoking. Luckily for me, the lady that had been smoking all morning (as apparent by the full ashtray in front of her) was just leaving, and they had a good enough air system that I was able to actually enjoy my time there.

Such a Grind -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/15 sec, f/1.8, ISO 80 — map & image datanearby photos
Such a Grind
Raw Coffee Beans waiting their turn to roast -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/15 sec, f/1.8, ISO 64 — map & image datanearby photos
Raw Coffee Beans
waiting their turn to roast
The Roaster -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/15 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
The Roaster
Hot -- Kafe Kosen (KAFE工船) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/15 sec, f/1.8, ISO 64 — map & image datanearby photos
Hot

I'll have to go back another time with a good camera, and document how they actually make it. I gathered that it's all done by hand (pouring hot water through the grounds using some kind of filter), but not knowing how good it would be, I hadn't paid that much attention.