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EdTech Update





Silence or insincerity? Your preference

On a recent trip to Mexico, a car I reserved with Hertz was not available. My letter to Hertz on my return:

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I am writing to express my disappointment with your services in Cancun, Mexico in regard to the reservation below. [email with original reservation and confirmation number was attached] Despite having a reservation and calling to confirm it prior to arriving in Cancun, I was told on arrival that there were no cars available. I was not allowed to speak to a supervisor. No time or day was given for when a car would be available. I was forced to rent from National at a rate five times higher than the rate quoted by you. My $118 rental wound up costing me $425 - at that for 5 days instead of 7.

I don't expect to hear back from you but know this - I will NEVER rent from Hertz again and I will tell everyone I can find of this service. As a professional speaker, presenter and writer, I rent cars between 15 and 25 times a year.

Doug Johnson

So after 15 days this is the Hertz response:

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Thank you for letting us know about the difficulties you recently encountered in Cancun. We appreciate the opportunity to review your concerns.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you experienced when we were unable to honor your reservation. Although our reservation system is designed to provide a vehicle at the time and place requested, situations can sometimes develop that prevent us from honoring a reservation. Normally our inventory of vehicles is more than sufficient to meet confirmed reservations; however, on occasion, customers do not return vehicles as expected, and the resulting shortages cannot be overcome immediately.

As a service oriented company, we rely on customer feedback to help us maintain and improve our service performance standards. The information you have provided is very important to us, since it tells us how our various locations are doing and where improvements are needed.

Please be assured the appropriate Hertz Area Manager has been notified of your experience. In addition, your comments have been entered into a special report that is reviewed very closely by Hertz Management.

Thank you again for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to the opportunity to serve your future rental needs.


Shonda Walkup
Customer Relations Administrator
OKC Customer Relations
The Hertz Corporation
P.O. Box 26120
14501 Hertz Quail Springs Parkway
Oklahoma City, OK 73134
U.S. A.

Telephone: 888-777-6095, Ext.4027
FAX: 405-290-2899

For all correspondence sent USPS, please use the address below.

The Hertz Corporation
Attn: Customer Relations Department
P.O. Box 26120
Oklahoma City, OK 73126
This message (including attachments) may contain information that is privileged, confidential or protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that dissemination, disclosure, copying, distribution or use of this message or any information contained in it is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please immediately notify the sender by reply e-mail and delete this message from your computer. Although we have taken steps to ensure that this e-mail and attachments are free from any virus, we advise that in keeping with good computing practice the recipient should ensure they are actually virus free.

Somehow not hearing from Hertz at all would have been better than this letter oozing with insincerity. Why don't I think Hertz will do one damn thing to change how they operate?

So I am doing what I can. Telling you of my experience. And never renting from Hertz again.

O.K. On with life...

Remember Seinfeld???

Some Twits are more interesting than others

I have been trying to get in the spirit of Twitter again. Really. As readers know, I am slow in finding the value in this "tool."

It does seem that some people post more interesting Twits Tweets than others. These posts are from one of the candidates for the new office of CTO of the United States of American, Padmasree Warrior,* currently the CTO of Cisco:

Did Governor Palin just wink at me ?? I feel insulted.

Sitting next to Martha Stewart at dinner.

She says she loves my last name and wants to have it :)

Said no to Bridge w/ Warren Buffet.

Back in my room doing email.

My dad, a national Bridge champ in India, would be unhappy with my judgment.

My decorator & I talk at x-purposes;

He says "chartreuse" I say *green*,

he says "antique" I say "fake",

he says "shantung", I say "pardon?"

Maybe success in Twitter is all about following a higher class of Twits. No offense to any one I now follow.

I appreciated David Pogue's recent column about Twitter. In the post he talks about some "rules" he's found about the program. This is the most interesting:

I found one rule, though, that answered a long-standing question I had about Twitter: “Don’t tweet about what you’re doing right now.” Which is weird, since that’s precisely how the typing box at is labeled: “What are you doing?”

Think how much more valuable this resource may have been had the question in front of the box been:

  • What are you reading?
  • What are you thinking about?
  • What has you stumped?
  • What are you excited about?
  • What do you know that others might find valuable?

Oh, I'd agree with Pogue's final assessment of Twitter:

I’m still dubious about Twitter’s prospects for becoming a tool for ordinary people (rather than early-adopter techie types).

Twittter's not something I think I could ever have convinced my dad to use. Or many teachers who are already time-starved.

*Coincidentally, this happens to be John Pederson's elf name in World of Warcraft. The image above probably bears no resemblance to either Ms Warrier or any of John's avatars. (Image from>

Education is wasted on the young

My friend John Dyer sent me the link to this interesting site: The Spirit of the New Humanities: A Brief Introduction by Richard E. Miller, <>. This take on the "humanities" is in contrast to what I remember taking in high school and college. Miller's book/course uses contemporary non-fiction narratives to help student think about modern problems and their complexity. It seems "practical."

In humanities classes I remember, we chronologically studied "art" - literature, fine art, music and architecture - to more or less delve into the really big themes like man's relationship to God and stuff like that. Puzzling over "the human condition" as portried in classical art forms was the goal, not solving less abstract issues like global warming and poverty.

Roman ruins at Jerash, Jordan, November 2008. Doric, Corinthian or Ionic?

Personally, I like Miller's contemporary approach to humanities for one simple reason. Based solely on my own experience, traditional humanities instruction is wasted on the young.

From the humanities classes I've taken, I think I can still remember the difference between Ionic, Corinthian and Doric columns and that's about it. In fact most of what I remember from all my high school and college classes would probably take me less than a couple hours to write down. Now I am awfully glad I was taught to read, write and solve math problems (through geometry anyway). I appreciate that I was taught some basics of science and government and public speaking. But way too much information simply went way over my head. I didn't have any life experiences to which I could relate artists' commentary.

Now I am all in favor of using Shakespeare and Brugel and Dvorak and Chartres Cathedral to explore "the human condition." But let's wait until the learner is, say, 45 or so. A few life experiences - like having a bad boss - might help one understand what Dante was getting at when designing the Inferno. At a younger age, practiality ought to be rule.

I hate to see education wasted on the young.