I just realized I haven't shared one of my most indispensable "killer apps" with you. It's "Hz@hz.com" and it so flippin' awesome.
Hz is a free service (how it remains free or un-acquired is one of the 7 wonders of the world, if you ask me). It has many capabilities, but I really only use one of them. As you may know, I travel a lot and experience the dark underbelly of the travel lifestyle: flight delays, cancellations, missed flights, and re-routing. I also frequently end up in situations where I want to know if there is an earlier flight I can take to get me home sooner.
Hz is my hero. If, for example, I want to know what the next flights are from London's Heathrow to Portland, Oregon I simply send an email from my PDA to "email@example.com" with the subject line "nextflight lhr:pdx" -- a minute or so later, I'll get a return email with a list of all of the flights between Heathrow and Portland, sorted by the number of stops first, then the departure time. Way cool.
Here's how this helps:
- Last weekend, I was in London, trying to get back to Portland. I was going to take a flight to Frankfurt, then connect on a direct flight to Portland. However, the flight to Frankfurt was cancelled due to mechanical problems.
- After an hour's delay, they reunited me with my luggage and directed me to "the guy" at the ticket counter for re-routing.
- At the ticket counter, "the guy" wanted to re-route me through Seattle arriving in Portland at 9:something in the evening. I sent my email to Hz@hz.com.
- Me: "Hey - what about United flight 929? It'll get me there at 5:25pm..."
- The guy: "I don't see that."
- Me: "Can you see if you can look it up?"
- The guy: "Oh - there it is. I can get you on it. It connects through Chicago."
Thanks, killer app - I'm home 3 hours earlier and manage to make it to Girl Scout night at a Blazers game with my daughter at 6pm!
That's one example - and I was able to quickly retrieve better flight options for a couple of people next to me - one who was also going to Portland, and another to Caracas, Venezeuela.
Hz also has a number of other functions. For example:
- Finding the nearest...
- Wal-Mart based on your ZIP code
- Starbucks based on your ZIP code
- Post office
- ATM for your bank
- Tracking packages for UPS, DHL, FedEx, and others
- Finding area codes
- Finding weather reports for a city
- Stock information
- Gas prices in your ZIP code
- Much, much more!
To get a full list of the commands, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "commands" and you'll get an email back with all the amazing stuff it can tell you. (or, check out the web site at www.hz.com)