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Flex Orphan Finder Added to GitHub

Some people have had some good suggestions for improvements to my bash script that finds unused classes in Flex Projects.  So, I’ve added it to gitHub.  Collaborators welcome!


New Life in a Discontinued Macbook

Any programmer these days needs a lot of RAM when you have MySQL, MySQL Workbench, Tomcat, IntelliJ, Maven, Xcode, Photoshop, Firefox, Mail, iCal, Skype, Tweet Deck, and Pandora as your minimum set of things that are always running.  Ever since I read that Apple was going to discontinue the 17-inch MacBook pro, I was ok with shrinking down to the 15-inch when I was ready to buy my next model.  The biggest draw was that the new ones came with a memory option of 16gb.  I’m just not ready to give up the big screen!

Crucial to the rescue:

They have a tool on their main page to help you select exactly the right memory modules (up to 16GB for MacBook Pro).

About Macbook Pro

Florida to the Northeast. Driving vs. Amtrak Auto Train vs. Flying.

Downtown Orlando to Washington DC

The Amtrak Auto Train is a 2-stop, one-way trip between Sanford, FL and Lorton, VA.  You basically check your car in as luggage.  The stations are explicitly for AutoTrain customers.  I chose DC because if you’re going anywhere in the Northeast you likely have to drive through there on 95 anyway.


Drive to Amtrak Station33 min (23 miles)
Wait for boarding2 hours
Train Ride17 hours ($100/person, $125/car)
Drive to DC30 min (19 miles)

In my Jeep that would cost $7.14 in gas plus $225 for the train.  $232.14 total.


14 hours (851 miles)
That would mean about $145 in gas.  Taking into consideration that very few people can tolerate driving straight through, assume $100 for one night hotel.  Then there’s meals, which are included on the train for about $50.

In total about $295

This also does not take into account any rental car costs for the length of stay at your destination.  So if you flew for $200 one way this still sounds like a GREAT option, except for the fact that flying only takes about 6 hours total.  Also consider the amont of stuff you can pack into your car that you would never even try bringing onto a plane.

For long trips this is an amazing option I will continue to use! It’s cheaper than driving and you have your car and lots of luggage to your destination.  It saves a lot of miles and maintenance on your car as well.  That long of a trip would certainly necessitate at least an oil change.

Cost per mile for your car and current gas prices:


ATC Needs Software Upgrades: Lost Flight Plan

While doing practice approaches around Georgia and South Carolina, Columbia Approach informs me they lost my flight plan in the system.  So, while I’m right about to land at a busy airport they make me yank it from memory.  It’s a little funny, but I see an opportunity for some software upgrades to the flight plan system.

Cockpit Audio : The other gentleman is my safety pilot

The Overlooked Distinction in Aviation User Fees

Lately there’s been a lot of buzz in General Aviation about a fee on using the Air Traffic Control system in the US.  This fee is not a new idea. In the past it has been defeated as part of the federal budget.  This year it seems to be a real possibility.  The thing that gets overlooked is really who it applies to.  I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but the skeptic in me thinks the intention could be to cause a public uproar and force politicians into excluding it from legislation.  On the other side, maybe nobody is actually reading the president’s proposal.  Here is what it actually says:

The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction
September, 2011

Government Liabilities and Operations – More equitably share payments for air traffic services

To reduce the deficit and more equitably share the cost of air traffic services across the aviation user community, the Administration proposes to establish a new mandatory surcharge for air traffic services. This proposal would create a $100 per flight fee, payable to the FAA, by aviation operators who fly in controlled airspace. Military aircraft, public aircraft, recreational piston aircraft, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace, and Canada-to-Canada flights would be exempted. The revenues generated by the surcharge would be deposited into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. This fee would generate an estimated $11 billion over 10 years. Assuming the enactment of the fee, total charges collected from aviation users would finance roughly three fourths of airport investments and air traffic control system costs.

The overlooked distinction in this plan is that the fee does NOT apply to pilots flying for personal use (non-commercial).  So this really affects businesses like Flight Schools, Skydiving Operations, Air Tours, Aerial Photography, etc..  They would have to pay an additional $100 per flight.

See a description of the proposal on the White House blog here
See the full document here

AOPA Article Describing the Debate

White House response to a petition to eliminate the fees from the budget proposal

Addendum 1/20/2012 18:06:

Maybe I’m wrong.  I thought I didn’t fall under this rule paying fees because of the “public aircraft” or “recreational piston aircraft” exemptions.  On second thought, they may mean a “Recreational Pilot” which I am not.  I am a private pilot and I don’t carry the more restrictive and easier-to-obtain recreational license defined in FAR 61 Subpart D.  Even more deceiving is the public aircraft statement which I do not fall under according to this:

Excerpt from the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

Title 14: Aeronautics and Space
§ 1.1 General definitions (see full text here)

Public aircraft means any of the following aircraft when not being used for a commercial purpose or to carry an individual other than a crewmember or qualified non-crewmenber:

(1) An aircraft used only for the United States Government; an aircraft owned by the Government and operated by any person for purposes related to crew training, equipment development, or demonstration; an aircraft owned and operated by the government of a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States or a political subdivision of one of these governments; or an aircraft exclusively leased for at least 90 continuous days by the government of a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States or a political subdivision of one of these governments…
(2) An aircraft owned or operated by the armed forces or chartered to provide transportation to the armed forces…
(3) An aircraft owned or operated by the National Guard of a State, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States, and that meets the criteria of paragraph (2) of this definition, qualifies as a public aircraft only to the extent that it is operated under the direct control of the Department of Defense.


NYC Subway Expert in an Instant

New Yorkers pride themselves on knowing how to get from point A to B anywhere by Subway. Though I’ll bet you even the most seasoned Subway Mavens don’t know every single station layout, with every one of their entrances and exits. Subway stations span several blocks sometimes and they all have their own configuration of entrances and exits. So if you want to save yourself up to a few blocks walk, make sure you use that time waiting for the train to get into exactly the right car.

One way to gamble on this is to assume there are exits at your destination on both ends. So if I’m going downtown to 22nd St. and the map says my station is 23rd, stand on the forward end of the train. That doesn’t always work though since a lot of stations have center exits.

There’s an app for that!

Find out exactly which car to stand in at your destination station! It’s worked every time for me.

Tips on Flying a DME Arc

  • Make sure you lead your turn sufficiently from the IAF.  Getting off the DME right away is not a good start.
  • Using the “Turn 10/Twist 10″ method, TURN first, then twist the DG bug, THEN the OBS.  You’ll get to your heading way before the radial indication matters.
  • If you end up too close DME, just wait a few seconds before doing “turn 10/twist 10″
  • If you end up too far DME turn in 10 more before your next desired radial
Whatever you do.. keep it simple.  Remember that your just flying a simple curve.  This method is just used to give you constant updates as to your position instead of turning some shallow bank and trying to play with the DME constantly.

Example DME ARC shown using X-Plane 141 approved simulator.  IAP here:

No Runway Lights at KPDK

So, landing at Peachtree last night on a practice approach, at night, with the foggles on, the wind had shifted to change runways from 2L/2R to be 27. I guess the controller had forgotten that I needed to SEE the runway.

Kinda funny audio:
No Lights at KPDK


Save Money, Upgrade to First Class!

Standing in line to check baggage at the airport I frequently hear people complain about the baggage fees.  For the moment I’ll put my rant aside about how it’s actually a better system to charge passengers individually by how much weight they carry (uses more fuel).  Instead, here’s a little trick you can play on the system.  Get your money’s worth and upgrade to first class!

Almost all airlines give their first class passengers baggage benefits.  For example my recent flight from New Orleans (MSY) to Miami (MIA) on American Airlines:  Here’s an airline that I don’t fly often enough to be one of their elite frequent flyers.  So, I don’t get any automatic baggage benefits.  However there were upgrade options at check-in.

American Airlines Baggage Fees (policy):
1st Bag  $25
2nd Bag  $35

Upgrade: $54

So, for a dollar less I got to sit in first class!  Nice.  Then if you factor in the couple cocktails I had included in the upgrade, what a deal!

Hotel Loyalty FTW

One thing I see a lot of less frequent travelers doing is using search engines like bing/google/ to find the absolute best price on every trip they take.  Saving $10 just because one chain, on that particular day, won the price war and got to the top of the list, isn’t worth losing program benefits.  If you stick with one chain more often you will get rewards like upgrades and free nights decently quick.  That will offset any loss in small savings by always choosing the lowest bidder.

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