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Verbiage: My Amazon Kindle

Chacham Re:love my kindle (2 comments)

it gives me an estimate, based on current page turning speed I assume,

That's awesome.

I email it from some plugin in FF. It's great when i figure i'll read some documentation or what have you in the tub.

4 days ago

$250K Reward Offered In California Power Grid Attack

Chacham Moo (111 comments)

Linky linky.

about a week ago

How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

Chacham Re:Internet confirms my faith (1037 comments)

I will go against the crowd here, and say that Internet helps me with my faith.

You might just be speaking for them. The minority tends to be more vocal.

became an atheist by reading about religion on the Internet. He was already away from faith, since he said that he would have identified himself as religious without attending service

I disagree with your example, but not with the idea. I am not an Xian, and religion, to me, has nothing to do with service, service is just another effect.

There is a famous quote, "Power corrupts, absolute power power corrupts absolutely." That was said by someone who was denying responsibility of the individual. Power does not corrupt. Power gives corrupt people the ability to exercise their extant corruptness. A non-corrupt person would be fine with power, and we might even be the better off for it.

Similarly, the Internet does not shake anyone's faith. It stirs he whose faith has already been shaken, or just wasn't so strong to begin with. That being said, sites of...um...ill repute, will demoralize a person, and that can ultimately lead to shake his faith. But that is more an issue of morality than theism.

about two weeks ago

Samsung Claims Breakthrough In Graphene Chip Design

Chacham Moo (88 comments)

It's all still lab stuff but it shows that silicon's days are numbered

That's what they said about XP.

about two weeks ago

German Wikipedia Has Problems With Paid Editing — and Threats of Violence

Chacham Moo (55 comments)

Wouldn't it be more appropriate to give the Wikipedia link for Marvin Oppong (English?

about two weeks ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Chacham Re:Philistines (641 comments)

Ehem, 3.11. 3.1 didn't get very far.

But why get so graphical? Text can be done by Windows 2, or Windows 1 with no overlap!

about two weeks ago

Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

Chacham Moo (469 comments)

Important paragraphs:

Fritz cautions that the study is too small and too subjective to draw broader conclusions about new or old violins in general. "Our observation is about these 12 violins," she says. "Maybe if we had done this with 12 other violins people might have been able to tell the difference." One aim of the study was to determine what violinists look for in an instrument, which remains hard to quantify scientifically. "I donâ(TM)t like violins that are too direct," says soloist Solenne PaÃdassi. "I like a sound that's more diffuse."

Not everyone is convinced that there isn't something special about the old instruments. Hou says she found the study somewhat artificial in that choosing an instrument for one tour isn't the same thing as choosing one to use for the long haul. A modern instrument may sound better right away she says, but an old Italian may be able to produce more colors of sound that only become apparent after months of use, she says. "I played the Avery Fisher Stradivarius for 6 years," she says, "and it took me 3 years just to get accustomed to it."

about two weeks ago

SC2 on the MBP

Chacham Moo (4 comments)


In SC i was terrible against other players. I never figured out how to defend sides. So, when playing against friends the rule was noone could attack me from the side. I would still lose. :)

Against the computer, i could do a 3 on 1, but not more. (My younger brother beat a 7 on 1, remember though, there was always a dead computer, so it was actually a 6 on 1.)

I checked out the SC2 demo and couldn't figure out what was going on, and didn't care enough to try again. With D3's lackluster state at debut and the still lingering always-on requirement, i wonder if i'll ever be playing Blizzard games again.

about two weeks ago

AES magic trick

Chacham Moo (1 comments)


Although, calling it magic signature as opposed to magic number is odd.

about two weeks ago

European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

Chacham Moo (148 comments)

According to a European Commission survey published in February 2014, 94% of Europeans who travel outside their home country limit their use of the web, including social media such as Facebook, because of the cost of mobile roaming.

Catch that? including social media such as Facebook

I knew Facebook was everywhere. Taken over little by little. First Occulus, now the Occident.

about two weeks ago

State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

Chacham Re:Moo (127 comments)

Are you saying that a decision for finance is no decision at all?
Or are you saying that a decision for finance is a good hedging?

P.S. I should say writing, until the audio comes to a comment near you.

about two weeks ago

State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

Chacham Moo (127 comments)

Unfortunately, you have to be a finance major to understand the report.

But the Finance major can't possibly be a CS major, unless he went to college twice, which would means he can't plan anyway. Regardless, if he went for Finance first, then to CS, he obviously realized that CS was better. But, if he went for CS first, then for Finance, he would then realize that CS was better. This catch 22 is the best proof why Agile is the preferred method even when taking college courses.

about two weeks ago

Chronicle: Listening to LoTR in th car, splitting MP3 files

Chacham Re:cool (2 comments)

Up to chapter 2. The breaks at just over 3 minutes means not too much repeated. Though, ironically, yesterday, the first time i tried it, i left off right before the end of one (no way to know without timing, really) and got a full 3 minute repeat.

I do not often read fiction, per se. One reason being, i am enthralled by nearly anything i read. LoTR is especially good, and the reader did an excellent job on top of that. Add the British accent and i simply don't want to get out of the car. I am embarrassed to say that i have laughed out loud (in the privacy of the car) while getting into the story.

about three weeks ago

In Passing: my phone is three years old

Chacham Re:I still remember (2 comments)


I think it was Professor Hacker in the Billiard Room with the Barkelite Phone.

Judge: Which phone?
Defendant: The one labeled Odel.
Judge: The incident happened in Hood River. Did you pay the zone charge?
Defendant: No.
Judge: Curious.

No, no reason at all.

about three weeks ago

Emergency Alerts

Chacham Moo (2 comments)

I wanted to say that you needed to use Cyrillician logic, but as it fails miserably, i am not commenting at all.

about three weeks ago

Mini Rant: Matching terms

Chacham Re:Start & Finish, Begin & End, Start & (2 comments)

Start & End for *Realtime* database queries, is my standard

Start is the opposite of Finish. If you like End, you should use Begin. You are one of the people i am complaining about! :)

about three weeks ago

Looking for Galen's De Temperamentis in English (3)

Chacham Re:My experience (3 comments)

Google Translate does a half decent job.

For example, the beginning

Constare animalium corpora ex calidi, frigidi, sicci, humidique mixtura, nec esse horum omnium parem in temperatura portionem, demonstratum antiquis abunde est, tum philosophorum, tum medicorum praecipuis. Diximus autem & nos de iis, ea quae probabilia sunt uisa alio opere. In quo de iis, quae Hyppocrates constituit elementis, egimus. Hoc opere, quod illi proxime succedit, omnium temperamentorum differentias, quot hae, qualesque sint, siue generatim quis, siue membratim diuidat, inuenire docebo. Sumamque ab ipsa nominum interpretatione principium. Cum nanque ex calidi, frigidi, sicci, & humidi, temperatura conflari corpora dicunt, de iis, quae summo gradu sic se habent, ipsis scilicet elementis, aÃre, igni, aqua. terra, intelligendum aiunt. Cum uero animal, stirpemue calidam, humimidam, frigidam, uel siccam esse, non item. Neque enim ullum animal, aut calidum in summo esse posse, ut est ignis, aut in summo humidum, sicut est aqua: pari modo nec frigidum, siccumue in summo. Sed ab eo quod in mixtura pollet, appellationem sortiri,

is translated as

The animal is composed bodies to be of hot, cold, dry, and moist mixture , nor the being of those of all the peer in the portion of the temperature has been demonstrated of old time, it is quite enough , as well as of the philosophers , as well as the principal of physicians . But we have said & which we find out what those are things that are more or less probable it seemed appropriate for another work . In which of the things which constitutes the elements of Hippocrates , and have dealt wickedly . This work , which is now the former is succeeded by , of all the combinations of the differences, and how many these are , and what they are , or in general any man , whether in its constituent parts divide , find the symptoms. Sumamque of names from the very interpretation of the principle. Since, for a portion of hot, cold, dry, and somewhat moist , the temperature of melting down their bodies , they say, of the things which the highest degree of the same relationship holds present, namely, the elements, air , fire, water . land , they understood . But when an animal, stirpemue hot , humimidam , cold water , or dry to be, not the same. For it is not any kind of animal , or the hot to be in the highest degree to be able to , as it is a fire , or at the top of the moist , as it is in water, and in the same way nor cold, siccumue at the top. But from the fact that in a mixture is endowed with , and the calling to draw lots ,

(stirpemue can become two words, stirpe mue, and humimdam can be corrected based on the proofreader's note to humidam) Which seems good enough to understand what he meant. A professional translation would be nicer, but probably too expensive. I have asked for a ball park quote, we'll see where that goes.

about a month ago

Question: Popular email program

Chacham Re:Thunderbird mail is Mbox standard (4 comments)

I'm aware of that. Or at least i should be. :)

Superiority aside, i want to answer his question, which indeed i did: Thunderbird is good, and they use a standard format. The guy at Microcenter was an idiot.

about a month ago



Chacham Chacham writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Chacham writes "The Telegraph is reporting:
Prof Stephen Hawking is to divorce for a second time.

Papers have been lodged at Cambridge county court to end the 11-year marriage of the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University to Elaine Hawking, 55. It is understood that the couple both want to divorce following the breakdown of the marriage.



Verbiage: My Amazon Kindle

Chacham Chacham writes  |  4 days ago

I bought an Amazon Kindle (received 11/15/13) after receiving a coupon for $40 off. For $29 dollars, the device seemed quite nice and the e-ink display is all its cracked up to be. They said it was valid for a limited time, so i grabbed it.

Afterward, i googled* at the time and found* that there was a $60 promotion as well. I wondered if i should have canceled and waited for the $60, but i didn't. Who knows if that would have worked anyway? Regardless, it's well worth $29.

I replaced it once (received 12/7/13) after the bottom of the directional button stopped working smoothly. It had to be pressed firmly to make it work, which was inconvenient. I reported this to Amazon, and added that i tossed the Kindle to the floor (carpeted, from maybe knee-height) which might have led to ti not working. The rep said that he would replace it as a one-time thing, and that was nice.

Since then, i have gotten a chip in the display, though i am not sure how, but i am okay with it. A few days ago i picked it up, and half the display was frozen. Resetting it didn't work, and now i have a new one on it's way (estimated delivery 4/16/14). Amazon is very nice about the one year warranty, and replaced it with two-day shipping. Yet another reason why i love Amazon.

I use the Amazon to read things in the tub. I highlight stuff to review later online, and together with Kindle for the PC and Mac, the Kindle is great for research.

* Links are examples, and not necessarily the one i used.


Question: What's up with technocrat.net?

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about two weeks ago

What's up with technocrat.net?

He's there, he's not there, he's there again, and now its stagnant. He need a (meta-)blog, Or maybe 10 great story submissions. Is there an update anywhere?


Chronicle: Sunday drive to Cleveland

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about two weeks ago

My matzoh came as part of a larger shipment headed for Cleveland together with the other Detroiters who ordered from the same place. A driver was dispatched to pick it up, but 5 boxes of special (raichayim shel yad) order (2 for me, 3 for my sister) was missed. Instead, we got the regular (chabura) matzo. So, i decided to drive to Cleveland myself on Sunday. As i told my sister, "i have a need, i have a Sunday, what the heck".

In general, i drive to Cleveland once a year to go to Telshe for the high holidays. I know the road well (Southfield->75->280->80/90->90->Euclid->Sun). This time, however, i needed to go to Cleveland Heights, and going through Wickliffe would have been out of the way. Knowing this, i went to Google Maps for the way. My sister couldn't find her GPS device, so, i just went with the GM printout.

The directions say to go from Coventry to Cedar Glen. Cedar (didn't see the Glen) was closed in that direction. Not knowing where to go, i called a friend in Wickliffe who directed me. It didn't work, and i ended up driving up and down that part of Euclid for an hour or two before i realized it. Eventually, i got through again, and they told me to go up Mayfield. I found it on my second pass, and go to my destination shortly thereafter. It would have been faster for me to go "the long way" and go to Wickliffe, then just take Euclid to Taylor. Me and my bright ideas.

I am terrible at following directions...any directions. I was on a team with a friend, he being a programmer (doing Java at the time) and me doing the database. As the database needed to process something and he knew how, he started explaining to me the step-by-step instruction that would have to be followed. Completely bewildered, i stopped him, and tried to explain to him i cannot understand that step-by-step directions. He though i was pushing him off or something, and i explained it to him again. He relented, though i don't think he ever believed me. I need to know the overall picture and only then the small details.

Anyway, i got more LotR goodness, in Book 2 Chapter 4 now.

Sometime after the movies came out, i downloaded and watched them. I just didn't follow the story at all, and gave up before finishing them. Sometime later, i picked it up again and watched it again getting the entire story. Well, the movies' version that is. The movie is all about action and perhaps some reluctance. The book is all about wavering and perhaps a little action sprinkled about. The story is so much easier to follow as everything is explained and it is easy to get into.

I have my own thoughts on Tom Bambadil now, glad i finally "read it" in the original.


Chronicle: Today is a good day to troll

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about two weeks ago

Perlmonks has polls, switching mostly one a month. Wasting time, i posted to the currently current poll thread (and many others as well, which strangely enough became a live poll.

On good old greenie, i trolled not too successfully, but realized people seem only read the first line of the post, or gave up when trying to make sense of the second.

It's like Slashdot is more of a playground. I'm trying to enjoy it before the beta destroys the last vestige of normalcy here.

Edit: Changed title from "Silliness" to "Chronicle". I should have followed my own advice and written the title after the entry.


Question: Comcast copyright violation (from another user?)

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about three weeks ago

Comcast is my ISP (again), and i have been receiving copyright violation notices.

Case ID: (removed)
Work Title: Maid to Obey
Copyright Owner: Froytal Services Limited DBA Brazzers
Unauthorized File Name: Jessie Andrews And Joslyn James - Maid to Obey
Unauthorized Hash: d48d521f033c2fb816c7dbf13753f5dcbe9dab0e
Unauthorized File Size: 497576269 bytes
Unauthorized Protocol: BitTorrent
Timestamp: 2014-03-27 06:12:08 North American Eastern Time
Unauthorized IP Address: (removed)
Unauthorized Port: 20036
The following files were included in the unauthorized copying and/or distribution:
File 1: Jessie Andrews And Joslyn James - Maid to Obey/ham_jessie_joslyn_jd020713_480p_2000.mp4

I use qbittorrent on my mac, but never downloaded that. And this isn't the first infringement notice for similar movies (guessing by the names).

Maybe it is from one of the people using my connection, as a couple neighbors and a few friends have the password. I just want to get rid of the problem , i don't really want to know who it is.

I mentioned to my neighbors and one friend that i have been getting the violations, yet they still come. I may have to block access, but i want to let these people use it, if possible.

Any ideas on resolving this?


In Passing: my phone is three years old

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about three weeks ago

In the elevator today, on my way to the sixth floor, a man and woman were talking. She told him that she had a new phone, and after he asked, she explained (iirc), "It's a 5s....my old phone was a 'droid", putting on a more serious face, "it was three years old".

Luckily the doors opened an i got off. I might just have burst out laughing...youngsters.


Chronicle: Listening to LoTR in th car, splitting MP3 files

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about three weeks ago

With a 20 to 30 minute drive to and fro the office when traffic is light, i might as well listen to something. Being too lazy to read LoTR, maybe i can listen to it.

The 97 Honda Civic has a radio, though not much else in the way of audio. A friend lent me an FM transmitter, and then we realized it only transmits but does not play mp3s. An external device is required for that. And they seem expensive, until i found this item, which a number of sellers have for varying prices, but seemingly is the same product. There are many negative reviews on it, though one review which appears on top, really does set the record straight. So, for under five bucks, which includes (free) shipping, i gave it a shot.

I ordered it on 2/20 and got it last week, probably about 3/20. The plastic container was crushed, i didn't see any instructions, i set it to 87.7, and it works nicely. A day or two later i remembered to get the correct USB stick into the car, and started listening to LoTR.

LoTR, the book, is quite enjoyable (who woulda thought?) And the reader is pretty good too, changing his voice for the different characters which makes me giggle as i listen. Usually i change the speed to get the information faster. For example, i'm watching in anime at 2.55x (VLC is really strange sometimes). It's an anime aimed at teens so they speeeak veeerrrrrry sloooooooooooowly and........................pause..............a....lot.................in.................between.................words. I watched DBZ, iirc, at 1.7x, It's all a matter of how long the subtitles stay for, or in English, how long the pause in between words is. It can be sped up until just before the point where there is no pause. Regardless, i am enjoying this audiobook too well to want to speed it up.

But there is one issue. While the MP3 player does remember the track it is up to (by ordinal, that is, change the thumb drive or the tracks and it'll pick up a different track at that ordinal). So, i heard a lot of repeats for things before chapter 1. But chapter 1 itself is over an hour long. What to do, what to do...

Duh! Split it at every five minutes, or maybe just every one minute. Okay, but that sounds tedious, and what about splitting on silence. Enter MP3Split. On the "Batch & automatic split" it has an option "Silence - split with silence detection." "Threshold level (dB)" is set to -48.00, so i set "Minimum track length (seconds)" to 60 and gave it a shot. There were very few splits. Guessing, i set threshold to 0, but that resulted in no splits.

Giving up on the silent treatment, i set to split every 60 seconds, and got 3209 files (starting with Book 1). That is hard to manage and the player only has three digits for the ordinal. So, i set it to 200 seconds, resulting in 988 files. It splits words, but that seems ok, there's just a small click or something as it switches tracks. I wonder how it will sound in the car.


Mini Rant: Matching terms

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about three weeks ago

Why do i see people using Header & Trailer records? It is Header & Footer! Get it, the head is opposite the foot. If it is a Trailer record, the former is a Leader record. Head is the top of the body, foot is the bottom; lead comes before, trail comes after. Sheesh, some people just don't think! When should one be used over the other? It is a matter of paradigm. Are the records "part of" the body or not?

It's not limited to that. I see people using Start & End. It is Start & Finish or Begin & End. Like Lead & Trail, Start & Finish are outside the process, Begin & End are of the process. I get frustrated because i am starting to think in their stupid terminology! (The antidote to that sickness is to rant about it. :) )

When naming a COLUMN storing a process's start & finish times, Start & Finish are when they are set to start and finish. If it record the actual times of when it started and when it finished, the names should be Started and Finished.

Are these idiots turning their brains off before they name things or have they just not have brains to begin^H^H^H^H^Hstart with?


Looking for Galen's De Temperamentis in English (3)

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about a month ago

Still moving slowly along in trying to read Galen's De temperamentis in English, Distributed Proofreaders started a project for it. Those Type-in Addicts are awesome.

The project state currently is Proofreading Round 3: Waiting for Release. Although Round 2 finished on December 12th, 2013, The Project Manager put a Hold on it which prevents it from proceeding through any further rounds.

On January 11th, 2014 i sent the PM a message

What is the status of the project De Temperamentis?

It seems it has been waiting for the proofread level 3 for a month now. I'm asking because i do not know how the process works here.

Is there anything i need to do to help move the project along?

Can i see the entire text as it is right now? The project page lets me download "Concatenated Text Files" but it does not seem complete to me.

I hope i am not bothering you with these questions. I really don't know the process.

but have not received a response. So yesterday (3/18/14) , i posted to the project's thread asking "What is the status of this project?" Perhaps someone will respond in the next week or so.

A few hours after i posted that message to the forum, someone emailed me


          I saw your post on Slashdot looking for an English translation of Galen's De Temperamentis. I wish I had one for you, I'm actually looking for the same thing and curious to know if you found anything in the six months since you posted your question, or if a kickstarter ever got started, or anything else.

(name removed)


After wondering how he found the JE and where he got my email address, i saw that googling for "de temperamentis english" has the JE high (third, to me, right now) on the list. Link is to the ugly beta though. Well, i responded with information about the project and

the entire Latin text can be downloaded from the project page, but will have page lines in between.
Google translate will translate most of it. Some words it won't translate can be split into to.

(Last word should be "two".) That seems good enough for him.

As it so happens, he is working on "the history of the four humours for a personality documentary", which is somewhat related to what i am working on.

I am amused.


Silliness: Friday Pi Day

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about a month ago

Well, it's Friday, Pi day, as i'm sure you know.
But next year will be even so much more so
And a year after that, you can feel rounded
Anyone else wish to hear this expounded?


Verbiage: Beta and Mod points

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about a month ago

I was sneaking around slashdot before, and now the front-page and journals all sow up in the beta. Removing "beta." from the URL is of no help. It reminds me of Windows 8, which made me switch away from Windows and to the Mac. Perhaps, we are now entering the Third Age of slashdot.

I have 5 moderator points, and prefer to spend them in JEs. But, i can't seem to find the moderate button in the old interface. Wondering if it was the date of the JE, i started listing JEs, but most seem like advertisements and there do not seem to be too many with comments.

The more i use Slashdot, the more i dislike it.


Question: Popular email program

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about a month ago

A friend asked me how to change top-post/bottom-post in Thunderbird. He intentionally uses a strict white-listing ISP, so searching is difficult (and that is pretty much how he wants it). That ISP offers excellent service and support to those who want exactly that type of service. Nonetheless, the time comes when you have to ask someone else to find something out for you. A simple search finds the answer. Easy enough.

He responded:

Thank you! Whats the best email program to install? Nothing against Thunderbird but I heard that its not so popular. I once went to a Microcenter to transfer my emails to a different comp. They said that they have no experirence with it!

Popularity (and possibly good sense) aside, he simply wants a popular email program, one that he can go into a place like Microcenter and get support.

Personally, i use GMail. I would recommend that to him, but, it can be hard to allow only one of Google's services.

Any recommendation?


Verbiage: MetroPCS account silliness

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about a month ago

Tried last night to pay my phone bill again and succeeded. MetroPCS under manage and Pay has a big Make a Payment button. That page includes a dual-purpose form. It allows you to pay the bill or sign in to your account. All you have to do is choose the appropriate radio button (with javascript on, otherwise you can choose both) and then enter either you password or your phone number a second time. I guess having the pay without logging in option which previously was big and on the side was too easy for people to use. Between this confusing screen and disabling your account (not just your phone number) when services lapses, i no longer wish to stay with MetroPCS. They're great until a problem happens, and then they're just plain stupid.


Chronicle: Bug gets response after ~2.5 years.

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about a month ago

I created a ticket to report a bug in Spreadsheet::ParseExcel on 8/23/11. Just got the reply today, 3/11/14. Is 2.5 years good turnaround?

Of course, the response was to reject the report and blame it on someone else. :) He did say he would file a bug report with WriteExcel though. Progress. I don't care anymore, but its progress. That's always a good thing, right?


Chronicle: A bad idea i mentioned gets implemented

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about a month ago

What was actually in the requirements and what the business customer thought was in the requirements were at odds. Apparently, a change was discussed, something was put in the requirements, and the business user signed off thinking her changes were implemented in it.

We're implementing a SOx related change, when the question of history comes up. History is part of the SOx requirement, the business user thinks it's in the requirements, and the developers know it isn't and that there is not enough time to put in history properly before the next release.

I mentioned in passing to one of the BAs that i sit next to, that it could be done with a TRIGGER shudder, but it would be a really Bad Idea. The hack is quick and dirty, TRIGGERs are evil, and this is a change log, not a history, which will be treated as a history at some point.

At the next meeting, the BA brought up the idea and it is decided to implement it. I fight with them over pulling in data from other TABLEs too, telling them that the FK should be enough, and duplicating data is bad. Someone gives me a TABLE structure, which adds new SOx COLUMNs, that is, not only do we capture what the change was, we capture who made the change, which, by definition, is the same as the master record's last updated or the next record in the change log. I register my comments, they are all ignored. The TABLE has the words "audit log" in it, and everyone refers to it as a history.

Now i have been asked to write a SQL statement to help the support team pull up the history. I mention that the original idea, seemingly agreed to, was that this hack would allow us to provide the change log on request, but it would not be automated. Further, this is a bug waiting to happen (especially if anything changes) and i strongly recommend against it. I am assured this will only be used by the production support team for now until a history is properly implemented.

I sent off the SQL to whomever. I remind myself (unsuccessfully, i'm sure) to keep my mouth shut.


Verbiage: Automatic payments want to switch phone service

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about a month ago

I've been using MetroPCS for some time now, due to their $25/mo no contract, unlimited calling plan. It used to be $40, and that was good too, but at $25 it's hard to beat.

I like simple phones that are actually phones. Maybe i'm old-fashioned, but these semi-trucks that people whip out of their pockets with menus that look like they're from outer space don't seem to me to be an ideal phone. I also have a computer that is a phone, but i leave my mac at home.

MetroPCS is really annoying though. First it was the text spam. When i finally got bothered enough, i googled and found that it was the metro apps. Disabling some option took care of that. The second issue, which gets me every month, is automatic payment. I almost always forget to pay bills. I sit down once a month to pay my credit cards (which requires a bit of planning), but almost everything else is automatic. Two things are not, my water bill and my phone bill.

I live in an apartment building managed by Hartman and Tyner. I pay for electric bills to Detroit Edison through the local utilities comp. Heating and water is grouped together, and they split the bills in between the tenants. (They used to do that, i believe, they might have individual metering now.) It used to be that water was free, but they decided to have us pay 1/3 of the bill. That is handled by Yes Energy Management which adds a customer fee or two. Bills can be paid via the mail. or together with the rent at Rent Payment.

Rent Payment works if everything is in order. If anything is not, such as a credit card expiry made a card unusable, they won't tell you about it, and you find out when you get charged a $25 late fee (which increases every few days) and warning from the local office. Payment can be set to automatic, and they have gotten a little better about knowing when your lease starts and ends and required amount to pay.

The water bill is different. The amount shows up if i log in, but there is no way to pay it automatically. When i asked the local office why it wasn't, the response was that since the amount changes per month, it isn't possible. That seems bogus to me, as my electric bill changes every month and DTE has no such issues. So, i usually forget to pay it until i get a warning from the local office.

MetroPCS is the other problem. They text me when it is time to pay. At that point, by the time i get home and remember to do it, my phone has been suspended. Because it is suspended, i couldn't login to my account on their website, meaning i had to make a payment by typing in all the information. Only after the account was active could i get back into the account.

One month i actually setup everything, or so i thought. Apparently, the payments are still not automatic, but at least i can login to my account now. I went through the motions to make a payment, though i completed it (maybe even twice), but my phone is still not working.

I am sick of MetroPCS. I realized that i don't actually want the cheapest service. I want the cheapest convenient service. I'm ready to switch, anyone got any ideas?


Verbiage: Some random debugging session

Chacham Chacham writes  |  about a month and a half ago

A team member from Chenai asked me why a script which EXECUTEd a PACKAGE i wrote wasn't working. First thing i did was run it myself via SQL*Plus, which is did splendidly, i might add. :) First thing accomplished, it's not a problem in QA, it's the script.

Logged onto the app server and sure enough received the same error. Copied the file and started to change things. Having seen this file before, i was able to skip all the variables and right to the code. The code looked okay..maybe it should be tested on the db server itself to mimic what that script was doing.

Logging on to the server reminded me that the password had changed. No idea what it was changed to, but it wasn't required anymore, so i didn't care. That was a problem here. Luckily, there are those variables.

The variable and variable handling take up probably most of the script. The variables themselves are loaded from files, which may include other files. Ultimately, usernames and passwords are in a script under ~/etc...easy enough.

Trying the first set, then realized that was the db login itself. I made sure the db user could indeed EXEC that PACKAGE via SQL*Plus, and it could. But that wasn't the server login. Looking again, there was a server login, which failed. I checked and double-checked. Something was wrong.

That was it, no more assumptions, just check which server it was connecting to straight. Sure enough, it was set to the server we were migrating to, but is not for general use yet. The TNS name pointed to it as well. Duh! Is your computer plugged in?


When writing this, i hit [ctrl]-[e] 2 or 3 times to go to the end of the line. Between my mac at home and just being on a Linux box, switching back to windows shortcuts takes a second. After switch back from Google, i found my window empty, luckily, i had Lazarus installed.

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