Check out this MSNBC article.
I so agree!
Here it is. A picture of the final straw on this here camel’s back. The ultimate frustration for someone who spent years as a mere network user at work, with limited ability to customize her own PC environment. Who after paying her OWN DAMN MONEY for a PC to use at home, is confronted with this EACH AND EVERY TIME SHE CLICKS THE “SHUT DOWN” BUTTON ON BOTH OF HER VISTA-EQUIPPED PCs:
Yes. I was yelling.
Look, I have never ever put my PC to sleep. I have no idea why I would want to. It’s either on and I’m using it, or it’s off and I’m not. And it’s really off: peripherals powered down, the surge protector block turned off too. Not sucking electricity just so I can save a teensy bit of time when I want to use the machine again.
Until Vista came along, the “Shut Down” button for Windows (my cousin the software engineer calls it Winbloze) would produce a box that defaulted to your last choice. Which was probably what you usually did and wanted to do that time too: restart, shut down, log off user, whatever.
But not now. Oh no. Whatever you did last time, Vista doesn’t want to know. Because obviously the exalted gurus at Microsoft know best for you and your PC: You are feeling sleepy. Verry verrry sleepy. Do not pursue your desires and the stress they bring. Just relax. Go to sleep.
In three hours I’ll be at the local Apple store meeting with a concierge for an hour of personal shopping. I’m keeping the Toshiba notebook PC but dumping this desktop. Yeah, I know that Macs have a sleep option too but I’ll deal with it. Maybe this unalterable default to the sleep mode is an example of Microsoft aping Apple, but it’s irritating as hell on top of everything else.
And every time I see that “sleep” default on a Vista shutdown screen? I’m thinking: Bite me, Microsoft. You drove me over the edge into MacWorld and put a few thou into Apple’s coffers with that stupid little stunt.
Thanks to Cambridge Soundworks’ customer service guru, Chris Cooper, for posting a comment below and for being so helpful in our phone conversation.
I’m OK with the radio I’ve got. It seems to work just fine. And now CSW knows I’ve got it. Chris said that if they can’t fix a radio sent in for repairs, they may ship the customer a refurbished unit of the same model instead. But that wasn’t stated on this service invoice, so this may have been a genuine mixup. Chris asked me to send my “bonus” kiddie music CD back to them at their expense, which I will. In case they hear from another customer asking “where’s my Mommy and Me CD that was in the radio I sent you to repair?”
Last night I thought I’d take my two currently checked-out Netflix DVDs from the living room to watch on the TV in the bedroom. And couldn’t find them.
Anywhere. Even after I went to bed, realized I was still worrying about where they could be, and got up to rummage around a couple more places. In vain.
The good thing about living in a small-ish condo: there aren’t all that many places to look for a lost item. The bad thing: once you’ve looked all over and not found it, you have to face the strong probability that it’s well and truly lost.
In the case of the DVDs, I suspect that in their mailing envelopes they got swept into a stack of newspapers on the dining room table, and then placed into the recycling box. And duly dumped into our big recycling dumpster.
So I bravely went to Netflix to learn the worst. I can’t get any more DVDs sent to me until I either return those two or fess up and pay for them, and I pay a flat monthly fee no matter how many - or few – DVDs I circulate in a month. Procrastination will just waste more money.
It’s not as bad as I thought. There’s a simple way to report that you’ve lost or damaged a DVD. It costs you $20 (not cheap but not too outrageous – they do have to discourage people from reporting losses just to keep a DVD instead of sending it back).
And the sweet part: if you find it within a year, you can send it in and they will refund the $20.
A $40 reminder that I need to be tidier around the house. It hurts. But I’m glad it wasn’t worse.
I made up a term for a condition I have in a very mild form, but just enough to notice: numbers dyslexia. (And no, I haven’t looked it up to see if there is such a thing recognized and named by the experts.) The thing is, I occasionally transpose digits. Besides generally having trouble memorizing phone numbers, street address numbers, etc.
Before I found tax preparation software back in the mid-90′s, the IRS sent me a notice that they had corrected arithmetic errors on my tax return. In two different years.
Yesterday I spent a few hours researching, analyzing and writing about a certain document. Let’s call it “YDR-1395″ which isn’t its real title, I’m just trying to maintain a little professional discretion here. I created four documents and a couple of emails, delivering my work product to the person who needed it.
I was duly thanked for my work on this. But later, the guy sent me a polite email pointing out that the document is actually called YDR-1935.
Which is so far my personally most embarrassing incident of numbers dyslexia. Though Lord knows I may do something in the future to surpass it.
Other stats are more friendly. I noticed today that there are now exactly 500 positive (“helpful”) votes for my reviews on amazon.com (out of 551 total), and I have risen in the reviewer rankings to number 6,725. (Or 6,729, or some nearby number – it changes at intervals I don’t understand.) I share the ranking with several others, so it’s not as distinguished as I’d like to think.
Now if I just remember to check my bank account balance this weekend, I hope to be in a peaceful relationship with numbers for awhile.
If you shop at amazon.com you may have noticed that the friendly folks there always suggest a second product you could buy along with the item you are looking at.
If you’re looking at a book, amazon.com will often suggest another book by the same author, or on the same subject. If you’re browsing a software product, you may be offered a user guide for the program.
I’ve gotten so used to that “better together” thing on amazon pages that I rarely pay attention to it. But today, I was stopped cold by the “better together” suggestion I saw when scrolling down this product page.
Click on the image on the right here to see what I mean.
Thank you, TurboTax.
It is 11:05 a.m. on February 2, 2008.
I have just completed, printed, copied and signed my 2007 federal and state income tax returns.
Because I’m getting refunds, they will be in the mail later today.
Sometimes, I just adore technology.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that for nine months last year, I was retired and had time to sort and organize my records. So that when my last W-2 and 1099s arrived in the mail, I had all the information I needed to sit down and crank up TurboTax.
I need to hunt down and read some more pleadings in the case of Atlantic Recording Corporation et al v. Howell, about which I blogged in disgust yesterday. But after reading this brief and this online discussion thread, my anger may have been misplaced. And – is it possible? – the Washington Post may have published a story that was less than a full, frank and accurate depiction of the lawsuit.
It may well be, that the RIAA’s focus in the case is Mr. Howell’s use of the file-sharing service Kazaa to share the music he ripped into his ‘puter from his purchased CDs. Which is a whole other issue entirely.
I burrowed through a very long page on the RIAA’s website about what consumers should know about copyright law, and found this:
- It’s okay to copy music onto an analog cassette, but not for commercial purposes.
- It’s also okay to copy music onto special Audio CD-R’s, mini-discs, and digital tapes (because royalties have been paid on them) – but, again, not for commercial purposes.
- Beyond that, there’s no legal “right” to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won’t usually raise concerns so long as:
- The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own
- The copy is just for your personal use. It’s not a personal use – in fact, it’s illegal – to give away the copy or lend it to others for copying.
- The owners of copyrighted music have the right to use protection technology to allow or prevent copying.
- Remember, it’s never okay to sell or make commercial use of a copy that you make.
So what the RIAA says, is that it I am outside the law when ripping music from my purchased CDs onto my PC for my own listening convenience. But I shouldn’t worry about it unless I give away or sell the copy or even lend it to others for copying.
I may be a criminal in the RIAA’s eyes, but they have bigger fish to fry, so I can rest easy for now. Besides, the RIAA may be on thin legal ice about the copying to PC (and mp3 players) for personal use being outside the realm of legal rights. Courts have held that it’s not a violation of copyright law for consumers to tape TV shows on their own VCRs for time-shifting, i.e., so that they can themselves watch the shows at another time, when no distribution is involved.
It’s OK. I contained myself. No F-bombs in this post. Barely.
I am seriously pissed, after being at first incredulous.
The Recording Industry Association of America can kiss my grits. What a bunch of greedy power-crazed paranoid idiots they are.
They are suing a man for copying 2000 songs from CDs that he PURCHASED legally onto his own home computer. The RIAA’s going after him for copyright infringement and music stealing and maybe also for vagrancy, loitering with intent to creep, sedition, felony bad taste and illegal license plates.
I am not making this up – OK, except for the probable additional charges part. I wish I were. Story is here in the WaPo and all over the innernets by now too.
So the RIAA sez that I can buy CDs (as I did just last night, as it happens), but only listen to them in whatever inconvenient way the RIAA thinks best? Yep. I’m a criminal because I used my LEGALLY acquired iTunes software to copy my OWN LEGALLY PURCHASED CD music, for my OWN listening enjoyment (not for distribution) onto my OWN LEGALLY PURCHASED PC? According to the RIAA, I’m stealing every time I copy a song, even in those circumstances. (more…)
“There’s a sucker born every minute,” as P. T. Barnum did not say. (It was a competitor, David Hannum.)
I think of that every time I order something at amazon.com which is one of their 4-for-3 deals. You know, order four and the lowest priced one is free. Usually with me it’s CDs. This morning I decided to order two CDs which were both in the 4-for-3 thing. So of course I had to browse around looking for a couple other items to fill out my 4-fer shopping cart.
It’s so tempting, of course, to keep tossing things into the old shopping cart until it’s more like 8-for-6. So instead of two CDs for like seven bucks each, I’m paying for six CDs and looking at my VISA statement later and saying “WTF was I thinking?”. You know.
This morning I maintained control, did in fact order just four bargain CDS – for the price of three.
Along the way, I found this temptation easy to resist: The Environmental Sounds of Crawford, Texas. Which may become, according to the wry write-up of its creator, the “pet rock” of audio CDs. I have to love their attitude – and the critter on the cover wearing shades – but I managed to do it without ordering their CD. Even as my 4-fer freebie selection.
Denver Post editorial writer Bob Ewegen is my favorite Republican newspaper columnist. Who, I’m sure, the people in charge of the GOP these days wish would just die. Because he’s rational, compassionate, smart, and can think for himself. His column today is posted in whole below the fold in case the link doesn’t work.
Having bought nothing yesterday, I’m happy to read this:
For years, I’ve cringed at the pagan festival of Greedmas, which kicked into high gear yesterday as “Black Friday” lured consumers into big box temples to separate them from their cash and max out their credit cards.
A long time ago, this season was known as “Christmas.” But it no longer honors the message of Jesus.
Lest we forget, that message was reported by a far better journalist than me, by the name of Matthew:
For I was hungry and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger and ye took me in. I was naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye visited me. I was in prison and ye came unto me. Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of these of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Sadly, the least of our brethren are mostly ignored during Greedmas — they don’t have credit cards
Thank you, Mr. E.
I almost always worked the day after Thanksgiving, because I almost always worked for state or local government agencies who do not observe the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday, and I saw no reason to burn a day of vacation leave on it.
On Thanksgiving Friday the office was quiet. It was the perfect time to catch up on work without a lot of interruptions from phone calls and other things. Like chatty co-workers, because most of them had taken the four-day weekend. I doubt that blessed quiet will survive the Blackberry culture, now that the boss and everybody else can generate annoying email traffic from offsite.
One of the most blessed things about working the day after Thanksgiving was NOT SHOPPING ON BLACK FRIDAY. I do not have the words for how much I hate shopping in crowded stores. For how my gut literally churns when I read the inevitable news stories about innocent kids trampled by sweaty fat adults rushing through the doors of Wal-mart to grab one of the loss leader color TVs.
But here’s another scary thing. According to this morning’s newspaper ads, the stores are opening so early tomorrow that determined shoppers can hit a few selected targets and still get to the office on time. If they aren’t injured in the earlybird frenzy.
In case anyone wants to plan their Black Friday shopping, here’s a schedule of retail store opening times for Friday, November 23:
OPENING AT 4:00 A.M.:
OPENING AT 5:00 A.M.:
OPENING AT 6:00 A.M.:
OPENING AT 7:00 A.M.:
OPENING AT 8:00 A.M. OR REGULAR HOURS:
A few stores are opening this afternoon or tonight. I refuse to give them free publicity. They should let their employees have the day off. Grinches.
If you go shopping tomorrow, be careful out there.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled candles wrapped in birch bark because they are, well, a fire hazard.
I am surprised that: (1) somebody decided this would be a good product line, (2) somebody else filled the orders to make the products, and (3) other people decided to sell them to the public. Okay, not so much by (2); these were manufactured in China, where apparently nobody turns a hair at making anything possible, regardless of the toxicity of the ingredients or whether the finished product is capable of wiping out hundreds of people at a go when being used as directed, even if that’s not the intended result.
Thanks to my cousin for passing along the recall news me by email in which he wrote:
Gee, what a surprise!
Birch bark, particularly paperbirch bark, has been known since man first started making fire as an excellent tinder for getting a fire going. It doesn’t make a good primary tinder (that into which one would directly strike a spark) because it doesn’t catch a spark easily. However, once a flame is available and applied to strips of birchbark, it burns hot and well.
I am constantly amazed by the ignorance of people. I guess it is just a consequence of the fact that many people have been completely removed from reality by modern conveniences and have no practical knowledge of things that used to be common knowledge. Consequently, it isn’t a great leap for someone to think how pretty a candle looks wrapped in birchbark and not realize that birchbark is wood and burns. Soak a little candle wax into it…. and it burns even better!! What a concept!!
This story cries out for the superb snarkiness skills of, say, Cranky Professor. I am not worthy.
Eight months ago I was freed from the daily routine of holding a job. It’s been fun. Some weeks I slept late and stayed up later. I took some wonderful trips. Played with my new digital cameras at home and away. Read lots of books just for fun. Spent time with family and friends. Blogged more. And watched too much TV. Way too much TV.
All the while, intending that I’m not permanently retired, just enjoying a welcome hiatus from the rat race and expecting to rejoin the world of paid work sooner or later.
That encore I was working up to, is almost here. A nice opportunity has dropped into my lap. For a few months I will work a few days a week. I’m not going to blog about the specifics. Depending on getting the contract signed, I’ll probably start in a week or so. And be done in time for a spring vacation. Sweet!
The Denver Post business section’s weekly interview today: Michael Edesess, a financial industry veteran and author of “The Big Investment Lie: What Your Financial Advisor Doesn’t Want You to Know.” Full text below the fold if the link has expired.
Here’s the money part, pun intended:
Q: What is the small investor to do then?
A: The best strategy is to put 50 percent in a total market domestic index fund and the rest in a total market non-U.S. index fund. It is simple. It is the maximum in diversification, minimum in taxes. You can’t beat it.
Q: Does that strategy work in volatile times like these?
A: It will go up and down. Just forget it. You can’t time it. Ups and downs occur because of unforeseeable events, unforeseeable to the markets and the experts.
Keep reading for the whole thing. (more…)
It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.
I have too many pieces of paper in my house. They are corralled into boxes or file folders, pending The Big Scan – a project I thought would be finished by now. TBS means I use my lovely little Fujitsu ScanSnap S500 scanner (pictured closed and opened – scroll down for the other photo) to scan all those documents I wish to retain, after which I can recycle or shred almost all of the hard copies. I will end up with only a storage box or two of paper – not bad for a lifetime as a middle-class American homeowner working in a paper-based profession.
But as we know, life is what happens while we’re making other plans. In this case:
Now the PC’s home with a new hard drive, the scanner is working, and yesterday (more…)
A sweeping tip of the hat to author Annie Dawid for her generous act: she bought a case of stainless-steel travel mugs and handed it over to the operator of her local coffee shop in Westcliffe, Colorado. Which was the start of something good. Customers are happily passing up styrofoam to-go cups in favor of reusing the travel mugs. Since Dawid got the ball rolling, many more of the travel mugs have been put into service.
From BBC News. Dr. Pepper’s marketing agency created a “find the buried coin” contest, in which players would follow clues to the buried treasure, dig it up and claim their prize.
Nice idea. But they buried one prize in the historic Boston cemetery where Paul Revere, John Hancock and Samuel Adams, among others, were laid to rest. Contestants eager to dig around in the 347-year-old Granary Burying Ground were foiled when the cemetery was closed to prevent just that occurrence. Dr. Pepper’s parent company has apologized. Complete BBC story below the fold. (more…)
Certifiable Princess writes funny. I love that. The latest installment over there chronicles the extremely dysfunctional management at her workplace, in the person of the Office
Manager Monster. Whose felony crimes against fashion are just the beginning of a terrible rap sheet.
Because of the strange US system where employers provide health insurance for working folks, people end up hanging on to jobs they hate (even when they love the work itself). Because they need to keep health insurance coverage in place for themselves and their families. What’s up with that? How did we get here, where a person’s only realistic way to obtain health insurance is through her employer? Why isn’t there a viable option out there where you can sign up for reasonably priced health care coverage independent of your job?
We don’t rely on our employers to get mortgages, educations, groceries, or most of the rest of life’s needs and wants. We go out and rummage around the marketplace for them. Sure, most of us wage slaves have to work at something – usually a job – to bring in money. But except for health care coverage, we spend that money wherever we find the goods and services we buy. For health care coverage, we are chained to our jobs.
Over at YouTube, here’s a great Dove video, “Evolution,” on a subject I hate thinking about: the false standards of beauty constantly marketed to all of us and especially girls and women. (YouTube doesn’t support WordPress blogging yet and I can only figure out how to just link to it. Sorry.)
HT to the CrankyProf over at Cranky Epistles.
I’ve been reading Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat 2.0. I’m learning a lot from the book. Technology, outsourcing, insourcing, globalization.
Millions of hungry, bright, ambitious, focused young people across that globe – in Eastern Europe as well as India and China and that neighborhood – studying their buns off.
While American kids coast and play video games. While our government burns up all our (more…)
” I am not ashamed of my spiritual beliefs, I just don’t think they should be pulled out of my purse as a ploy to sell make-up.” – comment [currently listed as #17] posted by “pinkstinks — cranky consumer” over at Mary Kay Sucks.
And run like hell from anybody who bills themselves as a “Christian” whatever – investment advisor, makeup consultant, plumber, contractor, ad nauseum.
I don’t need the windows prayed over. I need ‘em fixed.
I’m not looking to have the kitchen sink shutoff valves converted. They need to be replaced. And unlike theological doctrines, those pipes have to hold water.