September 30, 2010

I Need a New Head

Have had a low level headache for the past several days after an initial migraine day.  This means no real ambition to think of anything.  Here's hoping it decides to finally move along.  It's been a while since I've had to deal with a continuous headache I'm a bit out of practice. 

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 09:25 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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September 28, 2010

Send It To Everyone You Know!

I keep waiting for people to catch on.  Silly of me isn't it. Yet, years and years have passed and I still receive hoax emails about "a dangerous virus".

Taking 5 seconds to google "email virus hoax" along with whatever sentence they say is contained in the destructo email itself and you will immediately find lists of links to tell you not only is it a hoax, but it's been around since the late 1990's or early 2000's (aka the beginning of real email usage). 

"If you open the email it will destroy your entire computer!!!!! Send this warning to everyone you know!!!!!"

Oddly enough, back in the days of slower systems and slower internet pipes, this kind of message was used to cause Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.  Send a few of these out to "kind hearted souls" with large address books and they send to everyone... who send to everyone... who... and you get the point.  Email traffic increases exponentially bringing down the system.

At the very least, any email containing the words "Send this to everyone you know!"  Should cause an immediate move to the delete key (and the reply button where you tell the person who sent it to you to cut it out).

"It was confirmed by snopes!!! Confirmed I say!!!  The email itself said so!!!" 

It takes you all of another few seconds to go to snopes and check it out yourself... where you will find that they already know the hoax includes their website.

Of course no one will bother using google or  bing or even snopes.  Why bother when they can just send it out to everyone they know.  It's so much easier.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 10:29 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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September 27, 2010

I Think I'll Just Sit Here Looking at Myself in the Mirror

I am not a Netflix subscriber. I have considered it, but never quite managed to get my act together and set up an account. My problem has always been that I find so few movies lately that are worth my time to watch, not the service itself.

With all the online access that has lately popped up (things like Roku boxes) that allow instant online streaming of movies, I had once again started to think about it. After all, they are making it so easy, maybe it's worth it.

Then I read this

What Netflix CEO hopes U.S. won't notice

A misleading title for the article which annoys me greatly. Nowhere in the article does it say the Netflix CEO is hoping we won't notice the pricing difference. Nowhere. Go read it and see.

The gist of the article is that Netflix is going to charge Canadian users less for streaming video than American users. What is not said is that there is no "streaming only" option available in the US. So already we have a misleading article and a headline with a demonstrably false premise. The reporter is not grabbing me and gaining my sympathy or indignation here.

I don't give two hoots in hell what the company charges its customers. That is their call based on what they think the market will bear. In this case, the Canadians get a lower price because they are offered a little bit less than what an American subscription will give you. (as I noted above, this is not mentioned in the article)

For my part, I can look at a fee, the services received, and then decide whether or not I want the service. I can look at other similar services and see if they give me a better value for that same money. After gathering the information, I can make a decision on where to spend my money.

It's called "comparison shopping" - you may have heard of it.

The problem is, the CEO of Netflix, when questioned by the reporter about the price difference, opened his big mouth and had this to say:

THR: Are you concerned that American Netflix subscribers will look north and ask for the same discount Canadians get at $7.99?

Hastings: How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world? It's something we'll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed.


Why not just say - there's a sucker born every minute and we aim to make as much money from them as possible. It would be less of a slap in the face to those who do spend their money with this company.

To be fair Hastings has apologized. Of course he tries to pass it off as an "awkward joke". Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. All we have is the end printed product. Since no one reading this was present at the interview, it's hard to say what was said and the tone of voice. Hastings is not claiming he was misquoted and that is something to keep in mind.

Go read the apology. I don't know whether to believe him or not.  Astute business people do not deride their customers, even jokingly.  To express such "joking" sentiments to a reporter, when you have no control over the end product, is astoundingly stupid on his part.   

For now, I'll just sit here and gaze in my mirror. If I can manage to tear my gaze away from my awesome self, I'll have a look at my options and decide whether I need to spend any money on this new technology and where I should spend it. Right this minute, Mr. Hastings will have to excuse me, while I gaze.

Posted by: Teresa in Idiocies at 12:12 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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September 22, 2010

Let's Try a Case

Cell phones.  The bane of my life.  Like printers I have yet to have one that works the way I think it should for longer than a year.  Very frustrating. 

In the last month my cell phone has been acting as if it's possessed.  I lock the keyboard, put it in my purse, just as I've been doing since I bought it. I pull it out when I get home and at random intervals it is in the process of doing odd things.  I believe I've noted these before. 

-- Sent an empty text message to someone I work with
-- played one of the default tunes at random
-- tried to add new Contacts several times
-- opened the Contact folder several times to a random person. 

So far it hasn't done a random dial, but the year is still young.  I can not reproduce any of this no matter what buttons I push while the keyboard is locked. 

Again this morning I pull my phone out of my purse and the keyboard is locked, but the contacts are open.  I decided I have had it - time to head to the Verizon store.

I looked.  And looked. I don't like anything. Yes, I looked a them all and nothing appeals to me. I went around the store about 4 times thinking maybe I missed something.  Nothing says "buy me and I'll make you happy for the next year at least!" 

You all know I love new toys - it's very disheartening to go shopping and not find anything I like.  It's as bad as trying to buy clothes!

So I talked to the guy at the store.  My contract isn't up until May and maybe something new and shiny will come along in the meantime.  The guy at the store tried reproducing the random crap - also without results.  Then he suggested buying a case... 

Well, it might work.  Far less hassle than changing out the phone.  We shall see.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 10:07 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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September 20, 2010

Irritation

So last month a charge showed up on my credit card statement.  Which is not an unusual event you might say... except it was a charge for a recurring web site subscription that I had canceled years ago. 

I did use the site back then and I liked it, but when I realized I didn't have time to use it anymore, I canceled and didn't think about it again. 

This was well before we moved here to Massachusetts 5 years ago.  The email address I used is also defunct, so they had no way to get in touch with me even if they wanted to offer me services again.

Then this month a charge showed up for the site on my credit card!!! What?  How can that be?  Surely I haven't been paying them every year and forgetting it have I?  (no I haven't I checked my last 3 years of statements just tonight to make sure - no charges from them in that time).

I called the credit card company.  They said, you need to call them and cancel it.  Recurring charges continue until you tell them to stop.  Even if the credit card they originally used expires!!!! Even if the address on the billing statement is so old even the post office won't forward the mail!!!  I didn't know that.  That does not sound right to me and I will be sending my credit card company a snail mail letter of complaint. 

So first I try email - there is no contact phone number on their site. We exchange several emails before they decide I need to call instead.  Since they can't find me in the system with my current address (email or street - there's a surprise),  they sent me a phone number so I could call and talk to an account person.  She assures me it will be taken care of and the charge removed. 

Right.

I go to pay the bill at the end of the month - the charge is still there.  Of course,  I dispute the charge and file a claim.  I tell the chick at the credit card company, "I called and told them I did NOT want to continue with the service and to remove the charge. They said they would do that, but the charge is still on my card and I am not going to pay it!"  The credit card company chick says, "No problem we'll get it fixed."

Today I get a letter from the credit card company.... The idiots.  They said they contacted the company and they were told the charge was valid and lookee here, they sent us a statement too.  See, you need to pay them.

Can you see my head about to explode.

So I called the credit card company again.  Got hold of another chick.  She sent it into the dispute queue again with a different code.  We'll see. 

Tomorrow I get to waste even more time calling the company and blasting them for not taking me off their list.  I will get names and I will get cancellation codes. 

If that doesn't work - I will cancel that credit card.  Yes, I will cancel a card I've had since the 1980's for wasting my time.  Up to now I have never had a problem with them, but if I have to keep calling people over and over just to get an invalid charge removed, it's not worth it to me. 

I had an issue with this company years ago when I first started using them.  I ordered a book.  One book.  That got me on the "let's send her a book every time we publish" list.  I had to send them a letter and tell them to stop and not send me any more books or I would keep them at their expense. 

So what is this lovely company?  Cooks Illustrated.   Deal with them at your own risk.

Seriously.

***
PS - I knew there was a great reason to never do automatic renews on stuff. 

Posted by: Teresa in Idiocies at 09:35 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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September 19, 2010

The Great Vehicle Hunt And Possessed Phone (more in the continuing series)

We start with the no test drive perusal. 

The very first vehicle we looked at when our search began was a Jeep Wrangler (4 door).  It's such a fun thing, but after all the searching we knew there were things we missed when we first looked at it. Especially as we looked at it on a whim.  Oddly enough I could swear we checked out head room the first time through.  But we were a bit fuzzy on the interior roll bar position.

Today we went to yet another Jeep dealer and had another look.  The seats are great both front and rear.  The roll bar - not so much.  If they had raised the stupid thing by 1 inch and allowed the seat to go lower by 1 inch - no problem...

Sadly, the bar is placed in such a way that my husband would most certainly hit his head on it in the event of a collusion.  (we want stats on vehicle safety for people over 6 feet tall!) For that matter, although the back seats are excellent and certainly tall enough - I was able to lean forward and rest my forehead on the speaker that is embedded in the roll bar... it's hard, not padded. Even so, an immovable object right in that spot is not something I'd want to encounter in an accident.  Padded or not, it would not be pretty.

Seriously... if you are tall, apparently your safety is a non-starter in 99.99% of vehicles on the road.  It's ridiculous!  I'm incredibly annoyed.  I don't want my husband to be at risk of a head injury because he is crammed into something too small for him. (and it seems nearly everything is too small for him!) Especially as this vehicle is something we would be using under winter weather conditions when notoriously bad drivers do even more inventively stupid things while on the road. 

This leaves us with the Mercedes ML the only one with all the features we want and that has the best seating.  Who knew.  Since we're going with a used car,  we will very likely have to look a bit to find what we want.  I suppose having something particular in mind has advantages - at least it narrows the search considerably. 

***

On a more interesting note, my cell phone is still possessed.  I thought it might be the magnets on the side pockets of my purse causing it to start up random activities.  So I have been putting it in the purse middle pocket nowhere near the magnets.  For the past week all had been well.  Then today I took the phone out of my purse and it had pulled up the recent call menu.  Of course the screen was locked.  I fully expect it to begin making random calls soon.  Maybe even soliciting new owners before I throw it out.

Now I have to see if I can find a phone.  I don't like any of those available at the moment so it's not going to be a happy search.  I just want one that makes good quality voice calls and I can use to text.  I don't think it's possible.  We'll see.

On the whole the weekend was not great but not terrible.  It would be kinda nice if just once in a while something would work out easily. But maybe that's asking too much.  Heh.  

Hope everyone else had a good weekend.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 10:23 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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Widgety Malware?

Well, not really.  But everyone with malware detectors is getting warnings.  Blogrolling talks about it in this post.

Suffice it to say, if you have a blogrolling widget on your blog - it will give off false positives.  Also they will soon be shutting down the system, so you'll need to figure out some other blog roll system.

I'm not really sure what I want to do. I am very bad at taking care of my blog roll.  I almost never use it as I have my links in a reader.  I have removed the blogrolling code, but I can't decide whether to move the rest of my blog roll to a separate page or just leave it alone.

So does anyone actually hit up other blogs off blogrolls?  Just wondering.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 09:22 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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September 16, 2010

This Made Me Laugh

Which only goes to show I'm way too geeky for words.

A tweet by sintixerr

"their firewall ruleset is 21 pgs long;includes a 'PERMIT Any Any' in it so none of it matters"<-difference btween plans & implementations


I think I shall have to follow him.  (twitter has the creepiest language I must say).

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 02:28 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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September 14, 2010

If You're Gonna Be a Real Estate Mogul

I saw this story on ZDNet today and found it very creepy. (Australia)

Crims use hacked email to steal house

State, federal and overseas police agencies will investigate the complex scam, which is considered the first of its kind in Australia. It is alleged scammers had stolen Mildenhall's email account and personal and property documents to sell the houses and funnel cash into Chinese bank accounts.
...
Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) spokesperson Brian Greig said that the transactions were made via email, telephone and fax, without "interpersonal connections" with the legitimate owner.


We often complain about the security roadblocks thrown in our way by computer security people.  This would be one reason why.  Machines can not differentiate between the real person and a scam artist.  It's the electronic equivalent of someone going to a closing and pretending to be you. 

I doubt this will get much attention other than people feeling sorry for this guy.  He isn't in political power.  If he had been - you know they'd be considering an immediate law passed saying something like "Everyone must attend the closing and bring 3 forms of ID + 3 people who have known you 10 years and are known to the bank officials too"... or something like that.



Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 09:19 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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September 13, 2010

This and That then more That

Saw some headline about Oprah and her final season... is she still around?  Good grief I thought she was done already!

****

Saw another headline for some Lady Gaga chick. I have heard of her before but have no idea who she is or why she's famous.  Apparently millions watch her every move.  Guess I'm not one of them.  And I'm not sufficiently interested to look her up or even read the story that goes with the headline I saw.

****

Some people who are called "Computer Professionals" should not be allowed anywhere near a computer.  'nuff said.

****

Sounds like Microsoft has done an about face on human rights in Russia.  Google may want to take note - sane people like it when you don't support totalitarian governments.

****
Did another test drive over the weekend... Subaru Forester.  Results:

- what the hell is up with all this "moon roof" crap?  My husband sits in a car with one of those idiotic devices and his head hits the ceiling.  Then we are told that ONLY the base model is available without that ridiculous contraption.  It's not optional in better models - you will take it and you will like it! Sheesh.

- base level Forester... it's already got squeaks and rattles and it's brand new.  Don't know if there is less insulation or if all Subarus are like that.  Our 1998 Dodge Caravan makes almost no interior noise when driving down the road - it was not the top of the line when we bought it.   Hells bells, even the Jeep Wrangler which is pretty much a bare bones type of vehicle with removable doors makes less noise than this thing does. 

- they have a styrofoam tray over the spare tire (under the floor in the back) supposedly to "hold small stuff" like jumper cables.  I guess it was too much to spring for plastic and charge an extra $50.

- technically it will work. Without the "moon roof", all the seats are a good fit, and it drives well.  We have to decide if we can tolerate a brand new vehicle that sounds cheaply built and will only get worse as time goes on.

The noise thing is a really big issue for us.  Especially as we feel compelled to find  where a noise is coming from and try to make it stop.  Some of the noises were so high pitched it set my teeth on edge.  Should not have to worry about that kind of thing on a brand new vehicle. 

****
I still love my Kindle.  Although I don't really recommend it if you need to flip around in books to find certain things. I would not have liked it for school books.  But for straight reading it's terrific.  Also, I haven't had to recharge it since I charged it the first day I bought it.  Not bad at all.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 08:59 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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