November 4th, 2016


Naming and shaming the spammers: Quest

Continuing my policy of calling out Major Companies That Ought to Know Better: I just got half-a-dozen copies of a spam in my accidental honeypot. They're all from "Quest", which is apparently the company that used to be Dell Software, now purchased and renamed.

So -- let's hear it for Quest, the software company so incompetent that they are doing their marketing via the same full-of-fake-email spam lists that the script kiddies use...

And let's actually hear it for the Mass Pike

On a more positive note, I'd like to compliment the folks with the state highway department -- the transition of the Mass Pike is going better than I would have believed possible.

As it happens, I was actually *on* the Pike during "D-Day" last Friday evening, as they were shutting down the toll booths. (Just happened that I was coming home from Low Company at that hour.) They clearly hit the ground running -- by the time I took the Pike again a couple of days ago, a bunch of the booths were already gone, some key traffic patterns had been rerouted, and despite the dire warnings of, "It's likely to be like a snow storm", traffic was flowing pretty well. The acid test will be Thanksgiving, of course: I'm really curious whether the traditional hour-long backup at Exit 9 finally goes away.

I'm amused by the new fare model. Folks from out of town, be warned that driving into MA is going to hit you with a fair-sized bill in the mail -- the rates aren't crazy, but designed to cost a good deal extra if they have to bill you. And I'm curious: has anybody seen any actual algorithm for the way they've designed the new rates? I've actually been reading the eensy-weensy "this is how much money we just charged you" signs by the side of the road, and the ratios between the various fare classes appear to be *wildly* inconsistent. Like, it was 25/30/60 at one of them, and 30/60/100 at another. I can't find any rhyme or reason to it.

But all that said, it's looking good. It's tricky to compare the new fare model to the old one, since they think completely differently about it, but it *feels* like it's slightly cheaper for those of us with an in-state EZPass, and it's certainly easier and faster. It's a bit squicky from a privacy POV (surely somebody needs to write a murder mystery that involves one spouse tracking another through their highway bills), but it does seem likely to work well...