Hertz Presidents Circle – Only Good for Points

If my recent experienes with Hertz is any example of how Presidents Circle members are treated, then the only good thing about having that high status are the points.  The points bonuses aren’t even that good most of the time.  I would say more than 50% of the time, I don’t get to walk to the Presidents Circle area to get a car.  Two weeks in a row I was supposed to rent a car that had over 50K miles.  This week I asked to get another car and that one smelled a little like cigarettes.

The overall quality of what cars I’m assigned has been steadily going down.  That might be attributed to me renting from La Guardia.  NY cars tend to get the shit kicked out of them but thats really not a good excuse since the cars are supposed to be washed and serviced before they’re given out.  Chicago was much better at giving good cars out but I also took a lot of cars from Gold Choice because my assigned car was garbage.

Avis seems to have better cars overall and a better experience, the only thing that brings me back all the time is the points and the fact I can use them during the week instead of just on the weekends.  Either way I have to stay with Hertz, I’ve accumulated too many points already to stop now.  I’ve used my points successfully to get a 2 week rental this year and I can see when I would need another rental soon while on vacation or something.  Come on Hertz, time to step up your game and give your most frequent renters some awesome cars!

I Bought an HP Stream

This past weekend I bought an HP Stream laptop for my daughter.   I waited most of the summer to get it because I was really waiting for Windows 10 which by the way is totally awesome and super easy to upgrade to.  The HP Stream I got was the 13″ laptop in blue and I went ahead and got the Microsoft Signature Editon so it wouldn’t have any crap-ware on it like the ones I saw at Best Buy.  I only received the comptuer yeterday and I didn’t even get a chance to use it all that long untl I had to give it up to my daughter to play with.

I spent most of the time with the computer to upgrade it from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 mainly because the experience would be better for me for configuring the thing.  I was able to get on 2 account with minor difficulty.  I had to use my Hotmail account which I haven’t used in eons it seems like but I still use it occasionally when I need it for all things Microsoft.  The computer itself is really sleek looking and the screen really isn’t all that bad for such a cheap computer.  Being a Signature Edition laptop, there really was just Windows on it and nothing else.  I have a gift card for the Microsoft App store but I don’t know if I want to load it with a ton of junk that will just make it slow.  I also have Office 365 for a year but like the apps that are offered on the MS App store, its not something that I need nor does my daughter at this point in time.  I think when the time comes Google Docs should work just fine as a replacement unless there are weird macro’s in her homework.

I didn’t try any of the web cam stuff that is embedded on the top of the screen but the computer plays videos from the internet just fine as well as games from nickjr.com and other kids sites that my wife showed to my daughter.  I think it might be one of the better cheap laptops out there but I think the trick is to get Microsoft versions of everything rather than going to Best Buy or some other place for it.  If I could do clean installs on those computers, that would be another discussion entirely but you can’t so any future Windows computers will be purchased directly from MS.

I’ll try and do more testing when I get back this weekend.  The computer is really only meant to play stuff on MS Edge and nothing else at this time and for that purpose, I think its a fine machine.  I’d probably get anther one if I could just so I have a personal computer besides my iPad to bring with me when I travel on the road.  Although I think a new MacBook would be a nicer choice but at almost 10 times the price the HP is a good compromise.

Apple TV wins over Chromecast for hotel rooms

I’ve been traveling with both a Chromecast and an Apple TV for a while now and I have to say that in my opinion the Apple TV is winning over the Chromecast.  I don’t have a fancy setup like having a Plex Server at home to stream stuff but I do have Netflix and I can airplay from different websites which is a big plus in my opinion.  Hotel networks are notoriously slow so while most of the time the Chromecast works ok, it sometimes stutters or doesn’t engage at all when trying to use Netflix.

I actually ha that problem 3 weeks ago when I was trying to use my Chromecast at the HIlton Garden Inn.  I finally was able to find a way to get my travel router working and I was trying to get Netflix to work.  It would just constantly say “Casting” on my Netflix app but nothing woould ever happen on the TV.  I tried using YouTube which was just fine but it doesn’t have the stuff I want to play which is on Netlfix.  The following week I brought my Apple TV and I’ve been bringing it ever since.

I think it all comes down to personal preference and even though there is more stuff to bring for the Apple TV it just works better.  I use my iPad or my iPhone as the remote but I have a regular remote as a backup whih helps things along if I can’t get the other devices to work.  The fact that I can Airplay my local content is a huge plus, I have lots of movies that I’ve bought or otherwise gotten that I want to play while I’m away from home.  In that way the Chromecast is limited that I have to stream everything from another service and it has to be a supported service by Chromecast.  It might be different if I had a Plex Server where I could stream from my house or something but I have a 128GB iPad so I can carry locally a lot of content.

This will be one of my new requirements when I travel, I need to have a hotel room that has a TV that can support my Apple TV and my travel router.  This way when there is nothing to wath on TV (which happens a lot), at least I can be entertained by things that I want to watch.