Category Archives: rant

Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Worse

Here is a great account of what has to be one of the funniest and yet saddest things I have ever seen.  The Creation Museum is actually real and charges $20 for adults on top of all this.  Apparently it is God’s vision to charge you a lot of money to learn about what some funny people want you to believe.

Here’s a great writeup of it all:

I’m going to go and pray for the future of our country.  🙂

You Would Think Wired Could Control Their Ads

One would think, right?  I mean, after all, Wired is supposed to be one of the mainstream tech rags out there.  Okay, it likes to think it is but that’s another story.

I go to this story today and on both IE7 and Firefox 2.x I can not for the life of me get this AT&T and Philips ad to go away that pops up directly over the story.  I’ve clicked on them, waited, etc. and nothing.  It just sits there.  There’s no close button for the ad layer either.  That’s just plain annoyin, Wired.

Why Can’t Companies Just Be Honest?

Seriously. Customers will appreciate it more and give the company the benefit of the doubt. I’ve had so many instances in the past where if a company had just come clean it would have given them a lot of good will. When we moved to San Francisco about 7 years ago the moving company’s driver got pissed, dropped our trailer off at the yard in Phoenix and drove off. He didn’t tell anyone. Well, the company bullshitted us for 3 days telling us our stuff would be there the next day. Three days we took off of work. No truck. Finally they came clean. It took a threat to start talking to my congressmen about who is in charge of interstate commerce to get a call from the CEO the next day. Granted, the truth wouldn’t have been pretty but it was going to come out anyways. Then, we found out that once they did figure out where the trailer was they sent a 19 year old driver to get it. It’s not legal for this kid to drive across state lines at night due to his age I believe he said but he did it anyways because the company told him to.

So what brought this rant forward? FedEx. Normally FedEx is pretty good. Not this time. I ordered a projector from woot the other day and it shipped very quickly. It even got to the Benicia terminal a day earlier than expected. I might get my projector a day early I think. Wrong. So it goes into a delivery exception while on the truck a day early and returns to the terminal. No biggie, it’s still expected to be here on time. The next day comes and we wait around…and wait….and wait. Then, at 7:50pm we notice that another delivery exception has been noted on the account and that it is going back to the terminal. But this time it gets better. The report says “customer not available or business closed”. My wife was home the entire time waiting in the living room about 15 feet from the front door. The dogs were in the house as well. There is no way the FedEx driver attempted delivery. I called FedEx and asked what happened and of course all the person on the other end could tell me was what I saw on the Internet.

Then the kicker. I ask “aren’t the drivers supposed to leave the yellow door tag indicating that they attempted delivery?” She says it’s a “courtesy” and not “policy” and that he might have run out. I call BS again. This is just ridiculous. It’s obvious that the driver never attempted delivery and just headed back to the terminal.

Well, it gets better. The next day the package never even gets put back on the truck. It just sits at the terminal and I call again. This time they guarantee it will be delivered the next day (today). I’m not holding my breath. The next kicker though, is that yesterday they again show a delivery exception with “customer not available or business closed” yet again. This, even though it never went out for delivery in the first place.

FedEx, get your act together. It’s not so much to ask for a huge company like yourself to actually have a better feedback system on tracking.

I Hate the Windows System Beep!

Have you ever heard the annoying system beep that Windows will sometimes make? You know, the one that can’t be turned down through the volume control? (At least it doesn’t get quieter through the volume control on my laptop and install of Windows XP SP2) One example of where the sound will be generated when I make a mistake in MySQL such as trying to insert a row into a table and I forget a required column. For some reason on my Latitude D620 it is extremely loud.

I did a Google search and here is a list of how to turn it off. Follow this link.

It takes 13 steps to actually disable the beep. 13!!!!! Nice job, Microsoft.

It’s Amazing How Times Change

Look at the date on this article. This was during the Clinton administration and the scandle that erupted after it was revealed that he had an affair with a 23 year old intern. Now, first, let’s all realize that she was 23 years old. Also, imagine the uproar if Monica had been a boy. Those are two HUGE differences. Mark Foley was found to have had at a minimum sexual conversations with a 15 year old page. It also looks as that it probably went further than that. And that some members of Congress knew of this to a certain extent. Okay, enough commentary, I’ll let you read it for yourself.

Before you crucify someone you should probably make sure you’re not walking in the same path they are.

Flying Highs and Lows

We flew to Chicago today, one day after all the crap started with no liquids and no gels of any sort. So, let’s start with the good.

Security took almost no time to get through. I think we got through security in about 10-15 minutes. They were professional although the guy going over the rules in a loud voice multiple times did get a little annoying. I think it was his tone more than anything.

Okay, the bad.

The sign says “essential non-prescription drugs” are allowed but no one could tell us an example of one. We told them our doctor said flying with a decongestant for our daughter was essential because she has had some sinus problems lately. But apparently that doesn’t qualify. Actually, no one could actually come up with one that did qualify other than insulin, which was specifically listed as permissable. Next, we missed one item. Our daughters little rubber pig from Bed Bath and Beyond which is filled with a pink gel and these little plastic hearts. They saw on the screen and pulled it and said we couldn’t take it with us and if we wanted to mail it back to ourselves we’d have to get out of line and go back and mail it back to ourselves and then go back through security again. For a $3 pig. Yeah right. I’m just glad our daughter didn’t see them throwing it away. You can’t through a 2 year old’s favorite toy away without consequences. Luckily we’ve been distracting her when she asks for it but now we have to go and find a new one tomorrow. Thanks guys.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to marginalize security. Far from it. I just wish it was really good security. If I’m committed to blowing something up, at this point I’m going to get fake prescription bottles and put stuff in there. How hard is it to get a prescription and change what’s in it? You can’t ‘make me take one to show it’s not an explosive since it’s not a regular fluid. What can you do?? Also, some people could get through with liquids if they drank them in front of security. What’s to stop me from putting in a fake bottom that would have about 3 oz. of real liquid and hide the nasty stuff? Seriously folks, if I can think this up on the fly while waiting in line I think the real bad folks can come up with much worse ways to get around this. This just pisses everyone off and creates a false sense of security (that no smart person really buys…but then again, 1/2 of all people are below average I suppose) that can be exploited.

Call me a skeptic, but every time Bush and GOP and Co. need a pick me up they or an ally announces some big sting operation.

Oh well. Hopefully the trip home goes better.

Dell Laptops Suck

I’ve had this Dell D620 laptop for about 2 months now. It’s one of the Core Duo based laptops.

After two months my battery will not charge more than 79%. It says it’s full but then when I unplug the thing it immediately shows 80%.

If that’s not enough it will occasionally come out of suspend mode on its own. Normally it happens when I’m on BART and I put the laptop into suspend mode. Then, when I take it out of the bag a couple of hours later it’s running again and hot. And this particular issue is not limited to my 620. It happened on my previous D600 and D610. This never happened on my previous Thinkpads.

BTW, Whoever thought widescreens were a good idea for regular work? That’s the only way to get a Latitude now I think. For coding I would much rather have the older profile. Sure, for watching a movie it’s great but I would rather have a better screen for coding. The wide screen does nothing for me in that regard. I wish my company would go back to Thinkpads.

Wow, A Good Customer Experience!

I had been pretty brutal with AOL so I thought I should point out that I recently had a great experience with On this recent occasion I had ordered a kit that had a bunch of adapter cables for things like USB, Firewire, Network connectors, etc. Anyways, the post office loses it. They attempted delivery once, didn’t leave a slip saying they attempted delivery, and then when I found out via’s website that they did have it I went down there and they couldn’t find it! So I e-mailed on Monday morning and got a response that afternoon. They asked me if I wanted a refund or a replacement. I e-mailed them back and said replacement. They let me know it might be a couple of days to process the claim and so forth. I was kind of expecting to not hear from them again. But this morning I had a sequence of e-mails that ended with them issuing a new shipment order for the product. And it’s only Tuesday morning! Wow. Seriously.

Great job guys. totally won me over with their handling of this issue. Now, if only Amazon’s customer support could be as prompt.

Cancelling AOL – My Nightmare

So we had this AOL account a long time ago. We had kept it up until now because the points my wife had on a credit card basically paid for it and we were lazy. We decided to cancel the account. Big mistake.

I call AOL. Enter in name, credit card, screen name. It confirms who I am. Then the lady comes on the phone and asks me similar information. I ask her why she can’t just see what I had confirmed through the phone system. “We do things on a different system and I can’t confirm that way”. Whaattt? Lie #1. Her name was Lucia or something like that. Of course, it’s not her real name.

She then tells me that I will have to go online and log in and then call her back. No, she can’t search any more for the information she needs she tells me. Lie #2.

I try to login. It tells me the account has been shut down for a TOS violation. Grrr.

My wife calls back because I’m about ready to blow a gasket. I get Jeremy this time. He tells me he can’t find the account name either (that I just re-validated on the phone yet again). We figure out that the billing name had been updated to my wife’s name (it had been under mine earlier for some reason).

Jeremy tells us that our account had been locked due to a TOS violation for spamming. Then he accused us of being spammers. Good move, Jeremy.

We tell him it wasn’t us but we just want to cancel it. He tries to redirect us and tell us how to get our account unblocked. No, we tell him, that’s not why we’re calling but that if we’re spammers, why not just cancel our account anyways? Then he tells us he has to transfer us. Lie #3. He hangs up on us!!!

We call back. We’re not giving up. We get Shirley this time. She seems ready to do it! Yes!!

Not quite.

Now they want to go through this long series of questions on “how they can improve AOL”. The wife is polite but firm and manages to bypass the questions but it took almost as long to not answer them as it would have to answer them. Why do they make it so difficult?

And entertainment entities like TimeWarner wonder why their profits are dropping. Treating customers like this is no way to keep them in other areas. Or to get them back in the future.

By the way, they try yet again to keep us. I know it’s their script and the reps have to follow it (we were actually pretty polite but just very insistent on the phone…we don’t get abusive with the people doing their job although if they get pissy we will elevate it) but this script sucks…why can’t AOL just act right for once?

What does all this tell me?

AOL knows they have a defective and failing product. If you know your product is only getting better and more compelling (I mean, you believe, truly believe that) then you let people cancel without an issue because in a service that size some people will always decide to cancel service for some reason. And you hope they come back. But maybe it just wasn’t for them. But the way they handle it just tells me that they have a crappy product that they know no one really wants to pay that much for. Have fun trying to keep your customers AOL. It’s going to be fun watching you slide into oblivian.