Category Archives: Uncategorized

Photobooth rental? Check the privacy policy fine print

I was a bit taken back a few months ago when I realized a photo booth service at a wedding I had attended had publicly posted all the images from that night to a professional photo-sharing website.

I had been accustomed to thinking that when you hop into one of those photo booths and walk away with a print out or two from the session, those images die forever. Maybe I was naive, but turns out that’s not always the case.

Sure you’re at an event – a somewhat public setting. But most photo “booths” are private by their very nature, with the curtains and all that. So people going inside them expect some modicum of privacy, or at least that only them and the operator will know what silly, funny, goofy poses went down inside.

I recently polled the top 10 local photo booth purveyors to get a better sense of their image retention and image sharing policies. Five provided informative answers. The big issue that clients are in charge of setting the privacy rules. But they might not even know what rules or limits to consider, and there is not usually a mechanism deployed to communicate the chosen policies to the guests at an event.

  • The photo booth operators said it is up to clients to decide how images are protected. Some will maintain the images for clients in online storage for up to six months; others will maintain them online in perpetuity. They offer the option to have those links password-gated. Some give the option of making the links “unlisted.”
  • However, none provide disclosure to the guests at the event about what the clients have chosen….and that’s where I think there could be much improvement. I get that guests are likely to be drunk and may not fully comprehend the situation. But a little insight would go a long into knowing what you are getting yourself into. One purveyor said that some corporate clients in Silicon Valley will have their own warning notice/disclosure posted at events.
  • Before posting online, the photo booth operators generally scan through looking for nudity or extraordinarily embarrassing shots. One gives the option for phototakers to ask for images deleted on the spot at the event.
  • One operator said they do upload photos to their social media accounts in some situations when they have approval to do so. Again how guests know that approval has been given by clients is unclear.
  • On the plus side, all the purveyors said they do not sell images to external parties. Whether those guarantees are made in the contracts, worth double checking. Not all the operators actually have a “privacy policy.”

If Enterprise looked at its data…

I was just clearing out marketing emails from my inbox when I stopped on a message from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. I realized now that I’m 25, I don’t need to only use Enterprise for my rental car needs. You see, Enterprise has a special page — aimed for university students and alumni — to rent a car without being at least 25 years old. Sure, you can do that other rental car firms too. But Enterprise, through this special link, doesn’t charge an extra underage driver fee in most cases. So countless times, it was my most affordable and reliable option.

I have a loyalty account with Enterprise, but I’m guessing that’s unlikely to keep me coming back now that I’m 25. There’s likely to be other options that are cheaper.

But there’s a chance Enterprise could have gripped me with a promotion or two in recent weeks. When I turned 25, some big data robot analyzing my purchases might have realized a pattern to my behavior and warned an agent that I was risk of not returning. An offer could have come my way for a free weekend getaway maybe? Not sure, but anything to get me on their good side. Or at least, a smarter reminder about why the loyalty program could pay off for me.

An Open Letter To ‘The Mentalist’

Dear Chris Long and David Nutter,

I was disappointed to see Special Agent Kimball Cho flush pain medication pills down the toilet on a recent episode of The Mentalist (Season 4, Episode 18).

Government agencies nationwide have been stepping up efforts to educate people that extra or unwanted pills should be disposed of properly. This keeps them out of the hands of drug abusers and protects the environment. The accumulation of pills in our wastewater system inject unnecessary chemicals into our water systems.

Government agencies, law enforcement, retailers and other partners have made it really easy for people to throw away pills at all kinds of locations. The fictional CBI office could have easily included a prescription medicine disposal bin. For a law enforcement officer to do something incorrectly is one thing, but for an agent as upstanding and by the book as Cho to not follow proper procedures is even more egregious. If this was an attempt to show the continuing degradation of his character which began with his relationship with his confidential informant, then I would say that subtlety is lost on most viewers.

I hope in future episodes you take into account what’s happening in this world and that you recognize the importance of characters such as Cho as role models.

Thanks for the terrific show.


Open Letters To City Of Alameda and BART

Dear Mayor Gilmore,

Last month, I freaked out when I realized I was biking straight into oncoming traffic near the Posey Tunnel one Saturday afternoon. Luckily, I was able to navigate to safety.

While the sharrows and “Bike Route” signage is great in the heart of Alameda, the directional cues for bikers seems to disappear on the edge of the city.

When money becomes available for the next round of bike program improvements, I hope the council puts a serious emphasis on signage to help direct riders in and around the Posey and Webster Street tunnels.

Google Maps tells me its safe to bike through the Posey Tunnel, but I’m still skeptical. Are the skinny raised pathways on the sides of the tunnel meant for bikers? I have no idea because there’s no information at that location that I could see. If they are, I hope an emphasis also is placed on smoothing out those pathways, widening them and/or bending parts of the fence.

Again, I ask that you pay more attention to bikers operating on the edges of the city.

Thanks for your service to the city.

Got a nice reply from city officials in response to that.


Dear BART,

In my month in San Francisco, it’s become a common sight to see tourists fumbling around with cash, tickets, cards and luggage at the ticket vending machines at Powell Street Station. The downtown station is obviously near many major hotels. These tourists just want to get to the airport. But the seem unable to easily comprehend the machines or fare schedule posted on them.

I would suggest creating a poster dedicated to explaining how to buy a ticket for the airport. Or even better, how about installing a new machine dedicated to only issuing SFO or Oakland Coliseum tickets. Such a booth could enhance the experience of tourists and speed up queues for existing machines.

You could even recoup costs through a small surcharge for using that machine. I’m sure airport-bound folks can spare a nickel or two.

2012 MLB Predictions

AL East



Blue Jays*

Red Sox


AL Central





White Sox

AL West





— Rays beat Angels to go to World Series —

NL East






NL Central







NL West






—Braves beat Giants to go to World Series—

Chipper Jones and the Braves win the World Series over the Rays