Get your Kids a PRE TSA # for free, Nexus Card for under 18 is free

***Warning this is a suggestion for those of you who live near a Nexus Enrollment Center which are places with US Customs and Canadian Customs staff.  Luckily there is one in Seattle so it is close.***

I’ve been able to bring my kids with me through pre TSA lines, but this applies for children 12 and under.  My daughter turns 13 in Sept so she will soon have to get in the regular passenger lines.  I’ve got my wife in the queue for her Nexus/Global Entry card so she’ll get pre TSA.

There are three options to enroll in Pre TSA.  I’ll start with the most expensive.

1)  Global Entry works for those of you travel International and want pre TSA.  It cost $100 and requires you to go to an interview center where Customs Official are.  Children pay the same $100 fee.

It's easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Apply Online: Fill out an online application and pay the $100 non-refundable application fee.
  2. Schedule an Interview: Once your application is reviewed, you will receive a message in you GOES account instructing you to schedule and interview at one of the Global Entry Enrollment Centers.

2)  Pre TSA enrollment centers of course get you enrolled in Pre TSA, but don’t help you with entrance into the US Customs process and cost $85/person including children.  Is it worth $85 to get in shorter lines with not taking your shoes, coat, laptop, and liquids out of your bag.  Maybe not if TSA keeps messing with the Pre TSA lines by adding newbies to sell them on the benefits which slows the process down.

  • Interested applicants must visit an enrollment center to provide biographic information that includes name, date of birth and address. An applicant will be fingerprinted and will be required to provide valid required identity and citizenship/immigration documentation. An applicant also has the option to pre-enroll online to provide basic information and make an appointment before visiting an enrollment center. There is a nonrefundable application processing fee of $85.00.

3)  Nexus enrollment centers gives you the benefits of Global Entry and Canada Border entry and pre TSA.  It cost $50/person, but kids under 18 are free.  Yes, kids under 18 can get Global Entry benefits, Pre TSA, and Canada Border expediting lines for free.  Yes!!!

The application-processing fee of US $50 or CAN $50 is non-refundable per applicant. The membership will be valid for another five years. Children under the age of 18 must also apply but, if eligible, are admitted to the program free of charge. For more information regarding the program requirements, please visit the NEXUS Program page.

I had been holding off on enrolling the kids in Nexus because I thought it cost another $50 person every 5 years which isn’t that bad.  Last night I started the enrollment process because we cross the Canada-US border at least once a year so it is worth it.  When I finished the registration I realized there was no charge for children.

Hope this helps those of you who travel with your kids and are close to the US Canada border.

Do you think Spatially? A neglected skill is becoming a hot talent

HBR has a post on Spatial Thinking.

The Importance of Spatial Thinking Now

In its 375 years, Harvard has only ever eliminated one entire academic program. If you had to guess, what program do you think that was and when was it killed off?

The answer: Harvard eradicated its Geography Department in the 1940s, and many universities followed suit.

The timing couldn’t have been worse, really. Shortly after the elimination of Geography here at Harvard, the discipline underwent a quantitative and computational revolution that eventually produced innovations like Google Maps and global positioning systems, to name just two. Seventy years later we are paying for a prolonged lack of spatial thinking at American universities. There are too few classes that enable learners to improve their spatial reasoning abilities, with maps and visualizations being of course the most central artifacts to such improvements. The problem is simple: not enough people know how to make maps or handle spatial data sets.

In 1999 when a couple of us at Microsoft wanted to leverage GPS data with images, people thought we were nuts.  Thanks to smartphones, GPS data is with images and all kinds of other data that comes from the phone.

I wrote about spatial intelligence a year ago, and it is nice to see that spatial is becoming a more popular topic

Part of being older, be more patience with yourself

It is easy to be in a competitive driving mode.  When I was program manager on products, I learned to drive from some of the best.  Keeping dates in your heads easily, action items tracked, when to push harder.  A tip I learned from a friend is when you want to ship really hard products you need to be an "ass" and piss off people.  One manager I had said if she is not getting regular complaints about her team, they aren't pushing hard enough.

I have long past stopped being a program manager.  No really desire to be an "ass" and ship.  Part of the problem being so driven is it easy to think patience is a waste of time.  "I want it now. If it doesn't work go get another one."

Here is an example.  I bought a Wacom Bamboo Stylus for my Galaxy Note 8 to make it easier to take notes than using the built in stylus.


I bought it from Costco so I knew I could return it if I had issues.  Got it tried on the Note 8. Didn't work.  What could be wrong.  Tried it on my Galaxy Note 1, worked fine.  Went back to Galaxy Note 8, didn't.  Built in stylus works of course.  What is wrong, doesn't make any sense.

Most likely the problem is pilot error, there is a mistake on my part.  What is wrong?  Pick up the stylus a few weeks later, let's try again.  Doesn't work.  Then another week or so later, I am using the Note 8 and see the UI for Battery Saving in S Pen.

  • Battery saving: disables the pen detection feature while the pen is attached to save battery power.

When "Battery Saving" is on, the galaxy note pen feature is turned off.  So, the stylus, any stylus doesn't work unless you remove the pen when you have battery saving on.  Turn "battery saving" off, and the Bamboo Stylus works.

I could have gotten mad, frustrated at the device, returning it to Costco.   I had the data though that the pen worked on one device. It is a simple device. There must be something I don't see.  It is my mistake.

When I was a driven program manager, I would have been mad, "stupid device" doesn't work.  Taking a bit more time, having patience, got the Bamboo Stylus working, I understand Battery Saving feature.

Taking your time, relaxing and having more patience allows you to figure out more things.  On the other hand, it can look like you are not a driven over-achiever. I don't know about you, but I feel more satisfied having patience with myself than being a competitive driven ass. :-)

Finding behavior over time in locations, Bank Thiefs caught with Cell Tower Dumps

Arstechnica has a post that will get you thinking.  How bank thieves were caught with cell tower dumps that provided the list of phones numbers in a location with specific times.

Fishing for phone numbers

To find the High Country Bandits, the FBI asked a federal magistrate judge to approve four of these cell tower dumps. Investigators picked the "four most rural [robbery] locations in order to minimize the amount of extraneous telephone data that would likely be obtained through such a court order," including the bank in Pinetop, said the FBI. The judge approved the request.

Tower dumps aren't like going after targeted cell phone data on a known suspect; they are more like casting a limited dragnet, pulling in the phone numbers and (rough) location of everyone in the vicinity of the event. And tower dumps are usually obtained without a warrant, instead utilizing a "court order" with judicial oversight but a lower burden than "probable cause." This could potentially mean the government getting warrantless location information for hundreds of people who are not being investigated for any crime.

The article goes on to describe the finding of a phone # that was in each location which happens to be at the time when there was a bank robbery.  You get the idea.  With the phone # they traced more, etc, etc.

The FBI then went back to the judge and obtained more particular court orders covering these specific phone numbers. The phone numbers came back with subscriber names attached: Joel Glore and Ronald Capito. And the location data returned showed that these two phones had been present at most of the 16 bank robberies under investigation. Further, the data showed that both phones tended to travel from Show Low, Arizona, to the location of each bank just before each robbery.