Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card

I typically have the discussion with friends on what credit card they use.  Years ago I swung a lot of people to get this Southwest card because it was so easy to get free flights with this card.  Ever since Southwest got rid of their old rewards program and switched to a points-based program, there wasn’t really an incentive for me to stick with Southwest or use their card for all of my purchases.  So I switched to the American Express Blue Sky card, but I still had to keep this Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa around because they don’t take American Express everywhere, especially Asian restaurants or food carts/stands.

What really bugged me was that I am paying an annual fee on this Rapid Rewards Visa and I wasn’t using the card as much.  So I considered possibly downgrading from the “Plus” card that I currently have or possibly finding another card without an annual fee.  However, I noticed that if I upgraded to the Premier card, there are no foreign transaction fees.  I was particularly interested in the premier card because I’m headed out of the country twice in the next year and I plan on using my card more instead of carrying cash.  I called to ask about the annual fees if I were to upgrade.  Turns out I’m currently paying $59/year for the Plus card w/ 3000 complimentary points and it’s $99/year for the Premier w/ 6000 complimentary points.  Turns out that these 6000 complimentary bonus points equates to $100 in flight credit so the card is technically free.  So if you’re in a situation like me where you need a Visa without fees because you don’t use it as much, and you plan on heading out of the country every once in a while, I can recommend this Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.

Javascript InfoVis Toolkit

I know it’s Saturday and I’m not at work, but I just found the most awesome javascript library ever… People have been asking me to pull off data visualization features that I just didn’t know how to implement.  Well, someone’s developed the tools I need and it looks amazing.    A lot of the data I have is tree-like but I didn’t have anything to visually display it like a tree.  I can’t wait to put this into my work.

Django – What’s the Big Whoop?

I’ve had a little bit of push from my group at work to start learning Python and the Django framework. I’ve been doing PHP for probably over 7 years now and it definitely got the job done for me. Over the past 2 years, I picked up Codeigniter and then the Kohana framework for PHP and it really taught me the point of the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture. But ever since I started working at AMD, there’s been a few co-workers who’d been raving about Django for a while and I’d never gotten around to really learning it until now when I’m actually being encouraged to do this next project in Django. It’s like 2:40 in the morning and I’ve been going through it and honestly, I’m not seeing any crazy awesome advantage to using this framework over what I used to be doing with Kohana. I don’t see yet how this is gonna be speeding up my application development at all. Okay, so I’ll give it one advantage: setting up the Models in a file and getting the database to create itself and being able to maintain the database and query it through the ORM is kinda cool. The ORM isn’t really gonna be Django’s selling point for me though because I’m probably gonna end up writing SQL queries myself because they just get too complicated to get an ORM to understand sometimes. One downside is the fact I have to maintain this URL routing file to point HTTP requests to a particular view’s function. It definitely allows for flexibility, but I wish there were some default URL routing that I could follow and only use this URL routing when I want to override the default URL routing. Anyway, I’m just gonna keep on trucking with this Python/Django stuff because I’ve heard good things about Python at least and that’s gonna keep me motivated to keep learning.

Austin City Limits 2010 Day 1

Day 1 is in the books and I have to say it was pretty decent.  Even though I think I’d already seen like 3 of the acts previously, it still turned out great.  Notable acts included:

Miike Snow – they’re really awesome live
Pat Green – I could watch him a million times and listen to his songs a million times and never get tired
Vampire Weekend – I really need to get their second album
The Strokes – “oh, they sing that song?!”  – I still think the lead singer is the worst vocalist in the world

So let me talk about prohibited items at ACL.  We had about a 25 minute trek from our car to the gate.  The lady who’s inspecting our bags tells me that I can’t bring my flag pole in because it’s over 8 feet.  GARBAGE.  EVERY FLAG POLE IN THE PARK IS WAY OVER 8 FEET.  We were on our way to return the damn thing and Rico calls just to tell me to try another gate.  So we did.  And I also turned the flag pole over inside my chair bag so that they couldn’t see that the pole could extend.  Alas, we got in.

Another prohibited item are cameras with removable lenses.  Everyone had a freaking DSLR.  I have a nice little pocket in my camelbak which they won’t even think to inspect where I can hide it tomorrow.  Awesome.

Lastly, I spent a good $50 bucks on the flag pole (which was partly why I was pissed after the first woman turned me away).  But it was money well spent.  You could see this flag from FAR away.  It also drew a lot of attention.  We seriously had like 6 or 7 people ask what flag this was.  We need signage saying that it’s the Filipino flag so that you can effectively tell your friend to meet under the Filipino and Texas Longhorn flag.  We also had random Filipinos come by and get all excited to see us to tell us that they were Filipino and it was just awkward after that.  Maybe we’ll just invite them to have a beer with us in our circle.

K, that’s all.  Maybe you will get lucky and get an update tomorrow.

HBO or Showtime?

The newest season of Dexter is coming this weekend and I can’t decide whether we should switch back to Showtime instead of HBO. Kristine and I are big fans of the shows on Showtime like Dexter, Weeds, The Tudors, Californication… but the movies on Showtime are absolutely horrible. We switched to HBO primarily because of the decent movies that come on every once in a while. Entourage is just about the only series we watched.. Haven’t really caught onto True Blood yet. Sigh, I dunno… I’m thinking we may just stay with HBO and get the Showtime shows through some other methods which I will not mention here 😛