Saturday, October 30, 2004

Random Kindness

Hey, big thank you to the guy driving through the parking lot at Home Depot and saw Lori and I about to lift a 4x8' piece of sheetrock onto the roof of the Santa Fe and turned down our row and stopped his truck, left it running with the door open to jump out and take Lori's end from her and help me maneuver the heavy sucker onto the roof before offering some polite wisdom reminding me about tieing down the front end and then driving away.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Another nail in Blockbuster's coffin...

Whenever we watch Comedy Central, we see ads for those self-standing machines that you walk up to and rent DVD's from. My wife wondered aloud "Would people actually use those things?"

Apparently McDonalds thinks so, it's planning to put them in 13,000 locations over the next few years.

Bye, bye, money

CNNfn announces its upcoming demise. ( When AOL and Time Warner there was a lot of things about it that I thought was stupid. But then there were some smart things, I thought, like the idea to rename CNNfn to CNN Money and create some more synergy with Money magazine, which Time Warner also owned. That kind of creative thinking must have come from AOL. Well, the idea was eventually nixed, and now the network itself prepares to be nixed in mid-December. CNN is also apparently ready to move Headline News away from its current format of 30-minute cycles of repeating news. Bummer. When I was in college, I had two TV's in my room, a big one and a little one. I always had the little one on much with Headline News on the screen.

And no more writing checks before you've got the cash in the bank... The Check Clearing for the 21st. Century Act goes into effect today. It will take years before everyone is on board, but we're going to see more and more companies treat checks like credit cards, deducting the money immediately. Which hopefully will mean fewer and fewer idiots at the grocery store with a million items who don't even start to fill out their checks until they see the total.


Dear Adobe Software,

I don't know what your night job is, but please, please quit your day job. PDF is a horrible format. Or maybe it's not. But Adobe Acrobat Reader is a horrible program. It's more bloated than Microsoft Internet Explorer and Michael Moore combined. It's slow, drags the entire computer to a halt while it loads, and then it cumbersome, unintuitive and annoying to use.

But it gets worse. You also offer a program called Adobe Acrobat, a more full-featured program that you can use to to create PDF's. I'm sorry, but scissors and tape are better tools for page layout than Acrobat. Oh, and it's slower than molasses and more bloated than the Reader, Microsloth IE, the afforementioned player-hater/film-documentarian and a well known fat film critic thrown in for good measure.

But you don't stop there. You layer insult on top of injury. When I view a PDF off the internet, you insist on loading the entire Acrobat program. But when I open a PDF on my own computer, then you load the Reader. Where is the justice in that?

We, the public, would benefit strongly from you sending everyone home, selling off your products and closing up shop.

Thanks for your consideration.

Run, don't sprint

Your Get Out of Jail Card Has Arrived

Yes, you too, can get out of your Sprint PCS contract without paying early termination fees. I read of a man who filed a new complaint with the Better Business Bureau each time he dealt with Sprint PCS and was unhappy with the results. The complaints were legitimate, he wasn't trying to get free stuff, just trying to get problems resolved.

After three complaints, Sprint PCS finally told him he could cancel without paying the ETF. But, he took them at their word, failed to get it in writing, and then got charged it. When he threatened legal action, then they waived it.

So, get it in writing. But using the BBB to help you document your problem will result in your being able to get out of your contract, until Sprint PCS figures it out and finally refuses to even deal with the BBB at all. must have suffering friends...pass this on to them...

Did someone say Sprint PCS sucks?

It's been awhile, but yes, Sprint sucks still.

Sprint PCS sucks in New York, Sprint PCS could care less about San Diego, Sprint PCS hates New York, Sprint PCS tells Chicago to stick it, Sprint PCS gives Austin the bird, Sprint PCS ignores Detroit, Sprint PCS laughs Chicago

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Kill me. Kill me now.

Imagine if your only source of news was this blog. You'd beg for death as an alternative to the boredom.

Imagine if you were driving a Segway from Seattle to Boston. Top speed? 10 miles an hour. Ok, sure, it's an interesting topic for an independent movie. But it sounds like agony. The bugs would buzz your head a bunch of times before landing on your teeth just to annoy you. And what if it broke down... can you imagine dragging one to a motel looking for a power outlet?

Sounds painfully dull, even if they did get a police escort in one city by that city's Segway-ized police patrol.

So, it's come to this...

Billboard introduces a new chart to track hottest selling ring tones. Lalalalalame.

Super TV

Sony's newest TV is wireless, and then some. It has two parts... a wired base that plugs into your internet connection and your DVD player, XBox, whatever. The other part is just a screen. But the screen finds the base wirelessly if you're at home, or by plugging into the internet if you're somewhere else. Then over you can surf the internet, or watch what's on your TiVO or DVD player, even if you're somewhere else in the world. Wow.

Monday, October 25, 2004

We want to be uglier!


Volvo, the maker of unfortunately unpleasant looking cars strives for a new high -- a three-seat ugly car. Or, worse yet, a two-seater that looks like they stole it from Minority Report.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bad Eggs

costco evil barf barf barf. barf, barf. barf barf barf... barf. barf. barfbarfbarfbarf. coco's on lake ave. in pasadena also evil. bad fish two weeks ago. sucks.

Best disclaimer of the week (Verizon) Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Fraud - simpler is always better

It's come to this... just fudging the address a little bit and getting away with stolen goods. So simple it's sad.

Renters: They Might Bite

We came home this evening to find barricades with orange tape between them in the street in front of our house. We have a 60' tall tree and some big branches had broken, but were still hanging there. We just paid $2k to get the other tree removed, but this one was gonna have to wait until we got our tax refund. It was the night before I was to go to Virginia when I got a knock on the door and it was the neighbor from two doors down saying he was watering when he heard a loud crack. That was when we discovered the 20-30' tall branch that had broken and was just hanging there. Well, we pulled on it and I've pulled on it many times since then, but it's refused to come the rest of the way down. That night, by the light from the headlights of my car parked slightly on the grass, I was out there with the radial saw held over my head cutting off branches to make it lighter, but at least 20' remained still hanging there.

Well, we heard from the homeowner who's now living next door again that her psycho renters had said they had called the county about our tree, but that was a full month before that big branch broke, so I don't know if she had her timeline wrong or if it was about another large branch, but anyhow, there are barricades out there this morning, and there was no note on our door, so I don't know what they have planned. A power line for the street light goes through the tree, so I'm hoping they just plan to trim the tree a bunch. We left before anyone arrived this morning, thankfully.

I sent three pictures but so far this one is the only one that arrived, so if more random pictures of trees start appearing on here, that's what they're from.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

We're sorry we gave you freedom

This is a site with a bunch of people holding signs apologizing for the invasion of Iraq. The people pictured are funny, the captions making fun of them are funny. But what's really interesting is the comments posted below the pictures. While there are way too many to read, there are some pretty intelligent people posting stuff on there. Granted, they mostly lean right, but what else is interesting is that I think many of them are Australian.

Look who came to visit me at work! Posted by Hello

Be Gone, TV!

A clever little device that emits every known "power off" code for TV's. Almost as good as a cellphone jammer, I guess. But, wait until tomorrow to visit their website, they've run out of bandwidth for the day. Ooops.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Cell Phone Jamming

I loved this line from the article linked above. Makes me think it would be cool to get one. Could use it during the commute when the idiots around me can't stay in their lane or are waiting for the light to get greener before they take their foot off the brake. Just turn that sucker on and let them concentrate on their driving for awhile. (Or, they run into me because they're paying less attention as they try to get their call to go through.)
Commuters still buy mobile jammers to shut up chatty train passengers...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Let it pour...

It's sprinkled a little this evening. At one point, the rain was pretty decent. But, I don't know how serious it is. Should I water, or will it pick back up overnight? I haven't seen rain in months, save one time we saw it out the office window but there was no trace of it by the time we went outside. I don't think it is currently raining, but this house is better insulated than the apartment was, so who knows? I do hear cars driving on wet pavement outside, so that's a good sign.

I feel really proud of myself. For some reason this morning, I looked at the coil of unused wire left over from my dishwasher project just about a year ago. And I stretched it out in the living room and it stretched all the way to the nursery. So I realized that this was in, in fact, enough wire to reach from the power outlets installed in the attic last March when the heater and air conditioner was installed. So I opened up the ceiling fan that we had purchased 14 months ago and laid all the pieces out and started looking over the instructions. It looked simple enough so I started some pre-assembly.

After Lori and the baby woke up, I measured the center of the living room. I drilled a small hole and pushed a garden stake up to see if there was any obstructions. Finding none other than insulation, I held up the mounting box, traced it, and then drilled lots of holes in the ceiling. Then I went out it with a hammer through the plastic and a box cutter through the drywall until I had a big enough opening. I put in a saf-t-brace and a saf-t-box, then I pushed up the wire until it was all looped in the attic and secured it to the box correctly with the pressure clamps. And then I proceeded to hang the ceiling fan. Heavy sucker, the box doesn't say how much, but I'd guess one of the heavier ceiling fans out there.

Part way through, I had to go to Home Depot because it didn't come with bulbs (cheap-os!) and then I came back, finished up assembly and then cut the power to the attic, climbed up and unscrewed the plate on the outlet. At that point, I became really thrilled with how the project was proceeding. The crew had used a plastic box and the outlet itself had open connections. I thought I was going to have to illegally tap into something in wirenuts, but instead, all I had to do was connect my wiring to the outlet. Screwed the panel back on, tacked down the new wiring -- as much as

(from home depot website) Posted by Hello

I could reach, since the heater pretty much makes it impossible to get to most of the attic now. Climbed back down, went out and turned the power back on and came in to see the light on and the fan spinning. Success. All told, probably 3-1/2 hours from start to finish, plus 30 minutes of clean-up. Still need to clean some of my tools and put them away, as well as take out the trash, but the living room is back to normal and the fan looks and works great. I am really proud of the job I did.

The fan is a Mission-style five-blade fan with a Tiffany-style lighted base. It gives the entire room a warm golden glow.

Yep, I can hear the rain now and the littlest cat is going crazy running around trying to figure out what it is.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Derrrrr..... we don't want your money

Ok, let me get this straight... Idaho, like many states, has a statewide lottery. They excuse it by saying that the money goes to schools, like many states. Now a school is offered $10,000 and turns it down to make a point? What point is that? That they like higher taxes? The school administrators suggest that gambling is wrong and that they want to set a good example for the students. I doubt most students care or understand, and that could buy a lot of paint to brighten up the place. (I'm just guessing, it seems like schools in general can always benefit from fresh coats of paint.) I still believe that gambling is a tax on those who are bad at math. And in Idaho, that's 70% of their population, according to lottery officials. Maybe the school should have taken the money and bought new math books.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Get Lost

This company makes mazes in cornfields. Kind of a clever way to make money.

Friday, October 08, 2004

There Is No One Superior To Me

I know I rail often against Sprint PCS because of how much they have sucked, continue to suck and always will suck, and I often tell you how phenomenal Verizon Wireless is. But, they are not without their faults, so it's only fair I relate a recent problem I had with Verizon Wireless. Happy Ending, but unhappy process.

I recently made a trip to the east coast. I knew that my plan only covered the west coast, so I called Verizon Wireless to find out if they had any plans that covered the entire country that was comparable to what I had. They described a plan to me and I said I'd confer with my wife and call back. Well, I did call back, and indicated that I wanted the plan. The operator confirmed and said it would start with the next billing cycle, two days into my trip. Fine, I had colleagues with national plans who said I could use their phones during the trip.

On the day we were to leave, I called Verizon Wireless to confirm that the new plan would be going into effect and they confirmed that it was. So I flew to Virgina and didn't use the phone for two days. On the new plan day, I began using my phone.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my e-mail and saw a bill for $36 more than I was expecting, and that all of it was out of area roaming. I was confused and annoyed so I called Verizon Wireless. They said they had no record of the call to place the order and the call the day of the trip I just asked general questions about roaming, according to the notes.

WTH? Uh, no. The woman was not that polite at all. I realized I was going to get nowhere with her and said "Ok, I guess I need to take it to the next level." and she said "You want to upgrade to a new plan?"

Uh, no. I said "No, I want you to transfer me to someone more superior." To which she replied "Sir, there is no one more superior, but I will transfer you to a manager." I'd swear I couldn't believe my ears, but yes, that is indeed what she said. Manager came on not too long later, I related the entire story again, she credited me the full amount and hooked me up with the other plan.

Happy Ending, but by did that first representative suck.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

eBay - The Perpetual Fraud

Tiffany's is suing eBay because they say that eBay knowingly profits in counterfeit Tiffany Products and in fraudulent auctions that purport to have Tiffany products for sale.

My Witness

I guess I'd make a good witness. This story from Lori says that people in bad moods are more likely to recall accurate details than those in good moods.

Go, Speedracer, Go

My wife frowns, but I thought this was kinda cool... maybe because I could live vicariously through it... guy gets ticket for doing 205 MPH on a motorcycle. Some people are saying his bike couldn't do that speed, but the guy did work at a motorcycle shop, so he may have modified it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

How To Write a Book

This is a pretty cool link that has lots of resources for writing, including a guide to pretty much every possible outline for a dramatic story.

Buh-bye, Mike

This is belated, but Michael Eisner is leaving Disney in 2006. Woo hoo!


A Ferrari GTB 308 sits under a collapsed carport damaged by Hurricane Jeanne Sunday Sept. 26, 2004 at a mobile home park in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/David Adame)

(from Lori who asks "What was a Ferrari doing at a mobile home park?")
 Posted by Hello

How about a mint-dispenser?

Cell phone that tells you if you have bad breath.

Now that they're doing camera phones, maybe you need one that tells you about that piece of spinach you have stuck in your teeth before you take the call from a prospective date.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Google Browser?

Hints abound that Google may be introducing its own browser.

Not Your Father's Ant Farm

Scientists are studying termite mounds to find new techniques for managing climates in skyscrapers.

Smells Like Cancer

Urine sniffing dogs can detect cancer. Amazing how this stuff all works together. God gives dogs noses much fancier than us and we find we can get the dogs to do something useful while performing a task they most likely enjoy anyhow and one we would kill ourselves if asked to perform.

To Space, and Beyond!

SpaceShip One wins the X-Prize while NASA again delays Space Shuttle's return to space.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Why Disney Will Continue Sucking

Eisner's replacement choice says that no pixar deal is likely. I don't understand. Why is Eisner then even bothering to step down? Because he's chosen someone who won't show him up by raising the studio from the ashes?

Friday, October 01, 2004