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Oracle Broadens Legal Fight Against Third-party Solaris Support Providers

LoadWB Re:Maybe Oracle should focus on providing support. (142 comments)

Well played. There's no way to argue against the conclusion that any argument would be akin to a crack addiction. Might as well have said Solaris users are the new racists or just gone ahead and invoked Godwin.

1 year,2 days

Oracle Broadens Legal Fight Against Third-party Solaris Support Providers

LoadWB Maybe Oracle should focus on providing support... (142 comments)

...rather than suing companies which pick up its slack. I've tried on-and-off for several years to get support from Oracle on my Solaris machines. I'm even offering to pay for the support contracts which abruptly ended when Sun was bought out. It wouldn't have been such a problem if Oracle hadn't pay-walled the Recommended updates for Solaris. I'm having to move away from the venerable old operating system because of Oracle's neglect.

That stench in the air is the SCO disease.

1 year,3 days

Ask Slashdot: Will You Start Your Kids On Classic Games Or Newer Games?

LoadWB Not quite as old school as Old School (285 comments)

Took along my TI-99/4A with about 150 cartridges and an MBX system to Christmas with my family. My two nephews, 7 and 13, got neat new electronica, including a Nintendo DS. They spent most of the day on the TI playing "Championship Baseball" and "Frogger," amongst other games in the collection. They really thought the speech recognition of the MBX was cool, though not perfect.

Why not start them with what you started with, and explain to them your evolution? Maybe even demonstrate it if you can: I have my TI, my Commodore 64, and my Amiga which I can show to them. I can even show them early Macs and Ataris (8-bit and ST) like I got to use in school. It believe it's helpful for them to know from where the technology they use today came.

While I lament that the card-swappers of today don't know so much about the chip-swapping I did (though things like the Arduino and BASIC Stamp certainly help,) I am sure that some of my own elders lament that I never knew what it was like to solder a diode into a CPU to create a new instruction.

about a year ago

Demo of Prototype Virtual Retinal Head Mounted Display

LoadWB I saw this on TV about 20 years ago (93 comments)

It was on some show. It was distributed as a game involving getting pink Frisbee-like objects into purple articulating horns which emanated from holes in plane which extended off into the distance. Seems like it might be quite addictive.

about a year ago

Oracle Sues Companies It Says Provide Solaris OS Support In Illegal Manner

LoadWB If only Snoracle would... (154 comments)

Other companies wouldn't have to provide Solaris support if Oracle would provide it. Oracle's support sales team is in the witness protection program.

about a year and a half ago

Eric Schmidt: Teens' Mistakes Will Never Go Away

LoadWB Back on-track (335 comments)

"This is quite different from his infamous 2009 remark"

Maybe that was the event to put his life back on track.

about a year and a half ago

'Master Gene' Makes Mouse Brain Look More Human

LoadWB Re:Slow night (121 comments)

Definitely a good read. I thought this right away. As rescuers sift through the rubble of what once was the research lab at Ludwig Maximilian University, they will uncover a journal with the sentence

"Algernon bit me today."

about 2 years ago

Utilities Racing To Secure Electric Grid

LoadWB So when do people lose their jobs... (113 comments)

...over this bullshit? How many times do we have to hammer into managers and security teams alike that this shit is serious? When do we just start replacing ineptitude with people who give a shit?

about 2 years ago

Britain Could Switch Off Airport Radar and Release 5G Spectrum

LoadWB Re:Infomercial Airlines (175 comments)

This addresses part of my question below. Thank you.

about 2 years ago

Britain Could Switch Off Airport Radar and Release 5G Spectrum

LoadWB Government control of private transmitters? (175 comments)

Are all TV transmitters in England government-run? The problem I see arising from this plan is privately-operated TV stations become a critical infrastructure and eventually fall under government control for integrity and safety purposes. If a TV transmitter shuts down for whatever reason, planned or other-wise, then that part of the air traffic system could fail or operate under reduced capacity. If required for air traffic control, would TV stations then become "too important to fail?"

*sigh* Guess I have to go RTFA.

about 2 years ago

Deloitte: Use a Longer Password In 2013. Seriously.

LoadWB Web site design confounds saving passwords (538 comments)

"Password vaults are likely to become more widely used out of necessity."

A long time ago I memorized my passwords. They started with simple six character passwords to more complex 10 characters. Later as complexity requirements became more disparate between systems, including aging and having to retire otherwise good passwords, I gave up and started saving them, instead.

I use the built-in password saver in Firefox with a master password and FIPS enabled (http://luxsci.com/blog/master-password-encryption-in-firefox-and-thunderbird.html) and with my user profile encrypted by Windows EFS. I use apg (http://www.adel.nursat.kz/apg/) to generate random passwords as long as 48 characters and with character sets dependent upon site requirements.

To my aggravation many web sites do not allow me to save my password. To mitigate this I have a bookmark button with Javascript code to strip all autocomplete=off from the forms. I get more aggravated with sites which have maximum lengths or do not allow certain special characters. So far as I know, if you hash what you get from the user it should not matter what is used for the password,assuming it meets complexity requirements.

Sure, I could get a third party password utility, but I feel that I should be allowed to use the built-in utilities available to me. While my way does have its weaknesses, and I know not everyone manages passwords much worse, the situation is no less aggravating.

about 2 years ago

Mozilla Dropping 64-Bit Windows Nightly Builds For Now

LoadWB Re:Firefox + 64bits = Waterfox (224 comments)

20.0a1 here. Without actually reading TFA, I wonder if this is the last version.

more than 2 years ago

Mozilla Dropping 64-Bit Windows Nightly Builds For Now

LoadWB Re:Switching to Chrome (224 comments)

If only I had mod points. I've been using the nightly x64 builds now for a while. I'll echo OP's statement on not easily finding the 64-bit nightly builds. I'm running a lot of 64-bit software on my XP x64 system (will be 7 x64 when I get around to it) simply because I have noticed performance increases in Firefox (with a butt-load of add-ons) and The Gimp in 64-bit. AutoCAD and Revit in x64 run like dreams, too (aside from the standard bugs.) Anyway, I'm disappointed I'll not be seeing more nightly builds. Even though every once in a while I have to go back a date because something got broken the night before, that's the gamble with using beta software. It was also pretty neat to see features folded in before they made it main-stream (though I suppose there's 32-bit builds to do the same?)

Without delving into the technicals presented in above threads on developing in a 64-bit environment, I'll just note that in 2012 (soon to be 2013,) with x64 Windows OS pretty much the standard I see no real reason why we don't have x64 software as the standard. My best guess is once developers drop XP, and maybe Vista support as well, perhaps we'll see more.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Deal With a DDoS Attack?

LoadWB Re:Price gouging? YOU should have been prepared. (303 comments)

I posit that the car analogy is valid for the part of his question in which he denigrates RackSpace for charging for immediate service. In the sense that returning his web site (car) to a usable state (repair service) which would have normally incurred a nominal cost (insurance) but instead he addressed it after the DDoS (wreck) and wanted the mitigation to happen at a lower rate (paying the body shop for next-day service out-of-pocket versus letting the insurance cover it and pay for a rental.)

I like your pick-up on the effects on other customers and the wreck blocking the road. In terms of municipal services, the emergency responders are generally paid for by local taxes but services such as removal, repair of damage to public property, clean-up, and subsequent storage of the vehicle (if necessary) are all often billed to the party at fault.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Deal With a DDoS Attack?

LoadWB Re:Price gouging? YOU should have been prepared. (303 comments)

Well, you got me to respond, AC. The poster answered his own question: RackSpace provides a DDoS mitigation service. But more to your critique of my response, since he took the extra effort to fold a statement into his question I naturally assumed that this might be part of his question and deserved a response. Sure, his primary point was how to deal with a DDoS, but perhaps he should have stuck to that point and not drifted off into a thinly-veiled rant against RackSpace.

If that was tl;dr, then perhaps "your mom" addresses your comment more in-line with your expectations.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Deal With a DDoS Attack?

LoadWB Price gouging? YOU should have been prepared. (303 comments)

So you never bothered with DDoS prevention services for what is apparently a critical company web site, which would allow the provider to work pro-actively on protecting your assets. Then when your assets come under attack you expect your provider will just drop everything and tend to your immediate emergency without additional costs? Sounds like car insurance after the accident, or health insurance after you develop cancer.

It's 2012. DDoS are a real and credible threat today. 10 years ago, perhaps a passing thing, but today... do you not read the news?

Stipulating that your lack of preparedness is not your fault and over-sight, I want to address RackSpace's mitigation fees and perhaps defend your position at least a little. Being that it is 2012 and DDoS are a real and credible threat, depending on the costs of such protection, perhaps RackSpace (or another provider, free market thingie and all) could provide these mitigation services as standard for a bumped-up cost. Perhaps 400% mark-up is a little steep for immediate service when 200-300% might cover the costs of getting someone involved.

Nonetheless, my inclination is to side with RackSpace. When you work proactively, your provider can have technology in place and ready to go so that a DDoS doesn't affect you. But calling in when it's going on: first off, they have to deal with the increase in bandwidth, the abuse of the server, virtual service, or multi-hosted box you occupy and hence affects on other customers, getting someone or a team of someones involved to start the mitigation process and move your incoming traffic to the systems which perform this protection, amongst other issues.

No, you need to bite the bullet on this one and count it as a learning experience. And call your local and/or state authorities and start an investigation, since your costs will most likely be well over the threshold of damages necessary to start such an investigation.

more than 2 years ago

Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting

LoadWB "Constitutional separation of church and state..." (1152 comments)

Can't find that in my copies of the Constitution. Just that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Black was very much anti-Catholic and disrespectfully invoked Jefferson for his ruling.


more than 2 years ago

Would You Put a Tracking Device On Your Child?

LoadWB No. (610 comments)


more than 2 years ago

Parent Questions Mandatory High School Chemistry

LoadWB Re:Makes good points (866 comments)

It's not necessarily about "useful" information, but more about turning enough basic information into knowledge and thinking skills for the child to elicit an interest in the subject or thought process at hand. My high school physics class was enormous fun an I learned quite a bit which laid a foundation for my college physics classes. Not that high school prepared me to pass a college physics test, but rather gave me some underlying principles to which I could refer in class with an, "oh yeah, I remember how this works" notion.

Same with chemistry to chemistry, Earth science to atmosphere and geology, social studies to Western civilization, and so on. High school offers a number of electives which may more interest students and put them on a path toward their college degree. But then again, I know of a large number of students, myself included, whose major wound up not reflecting their high school elective curriculum because we changed our minds or found we were more interested in one subject and less in another than we originally thought.

I wanted to be a fireman. Then a train engineer. Then I thought I'd do computer programming. Even though all of those are great interests of mine (I like to write programs that set trains on fire,) I am instead a criminologist who finds that those boring Western civilization and similar classes had some useful information for me. Oh, as did chemistry and physics for the investigative aspect.

I didn't excel at all of my classes, even the ones I found interesting. Sometimes I excelled at classes I didn't like. In any case, at the end of the day I remember a ton of stuff to which I have been exposed and it makes me a more rounded person with better heuristic and critical thinking abilities. Or, if you prefer, I already possessed these innate abilities and the material to which I was exposed helped to better develop them. Much like playing sports did not for me but did for others.

Had I only taken classes in subjects which interested me, there's a likelihood that I wouldn't be where I am today. I feel pretty lucky as I know several older adults who are only now getting exposed to materials in which they truly excel versus a previous career in which they had moderate interests and lack-luster productivity as a result. (I must also admit a tinge of jealousy toward some of the electives offered to kids in high school today: SharePoint administration and design, Cisco networking, network administration, network security, CSS in web design, database management, and the like. Some of these kids graduate high school ready to pass CCNA and MCSE exams.)

As much as our public school system is being shredded by pervasive bureaucracy and unending political intrusion, it still is one of the best venues for a wide-breadth of exposure to subjects and at least semi-competent people to foster learning of those subjects.

The author addresses a number of my points above, rather dismisses them off-hand with exaggerated examples, with the end result of turning high school into "speed dating" for education. High school is four years, grades nine through 12, with each year offering six to seven classes depending upon the school, for a total of 24 to 28 classes. If you consider a baseline each year of a science, English (reading and writing,) and math, that leaves 12 to 16 classes available. These classes may then be used for self-discovery and other requirements, such as two years of a second language, two years of social studies, two years of civics and history, etc. Not to mention the availability of "dual enrollment" allowing advanced students to enroll in college classes while still in high school.

He speaks of "opportunity costs" of one choice over another, but at the same time fails to address what may lead to those decisions. In his example of selling tomatoes versus cucumbers, consider if said grocer chose to only learn about and ultimately sell tomatoes because he was attracted to the red color, dismissing the opportunity to learn about cucumbers. If said grocer was exposed to all manner of vegetable during his coming of age, he may well have learned to overcome the surface attractiveness of tomatoes and instead chosen cucumbers.

To his specific abhorrence for chemistry: Sure, I don't know off the top of my head how many elements are in the periodic table (I remember around 108 when I was in school and I am certain there are more today) but thanks to chemistry I know that some metals are poisonous, some gases are inert while others are reactive, some gases are deadly and can be given off by innocently mixing cleaning products, that oxygen is required for fire, amongst other things. Can I balance a dual-substitution reaction or do so in my daily life? Certainly not readily, but that does not make the overall course any less valuable to me.

To his apparent admiration of vast stores of information on the Internet, having a reference around is great and handy, but knowing where to find information is no replacement for having knowledge immediately on-hand. Looking up how many elements are in the period chart on Google is a great thing for trivial information, but knowing what it means and how to use that information is knowledge.

This notwithstanding, many students during high school are still learning about themselves and unable to make a number of decisions which will have long-term effect. The more we as parents and educators abdicate our responsibility to parent and educate, and instead attribute long-term decisions which are above the level of experience, knowledge, and maturity of our children, the more we open them and our society up to failure rather than success. Eliminating a base-line of educational requirements and basic skills is the foundation of a societal monoculture which births little to no innovation nor progress.

more than 2 years ago



NASA's Poor Treatment of an Independent Inventor

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  about 3 months ago

LoadWB (592248) writes "Jed Margolin holds patents spanning four decades. When he attempted to contact NASA about possible infringement upon one of his patents he was met with numerous years of stone-walling, insults, and dubious agency and legal shenanigans, including and detailed within a 4,000-page FOIA answer. So frequently we hear of corporate juggernauts ripping the very life out of consumers (his site is also not devoid of corporate mistreatment,) but read on to see what happens when Goliath is the agency of an ever-growing and increasingly ubiquitous government."
Link to Original Source

New TCP/IP stack for 68000-based Amigas

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 2 years ago

LoadWB (592248) writes "Direct from APC&TCP's email announcement today:

Starting today, the free demonstration and evaluation version of Roadshow is available for download from our support web page. Save for a time restriction, the evaluation version is identical to the full commercial release.

Roadshow is a TCP/IP stack for Amiga computers, which allows you to connect to the Internet, access your e-mail, web pages, chat, etc. It can also help you access and exchange files within your local home network.

The full commercial release version will be available for sale from the APC&TCP online store starting January 2013."

Link to Original Source

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 8 years ago

LoadWB (592248) writes "Reported at Amiga.org,

"Amiga OS 4.0, The Final Update is the culmination of 5 years of development and takes the form of a stand-alone ISO image which contains a full installation of all Amiga OS 4.0 components... Availability of PowerPC hardware suitable for operation with Amiga OS 4.0 will be announced by third parties early 2007.""



Earth Hour protest

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I will be protesting this year's Earth Hour. Simply put, I believe that we are basing an ideology on a minute variable in a horribly complex system which we simply do not have the power to understand. Every week there are new, properly studied reports which tell us that, aside from CO2 being a very small percentage of the Greenhouse Gases we so decry, there is another variable which has not been considered. The most recent is that dust actually has influence over Atlantic water temperatures, not carbon dioxide.

The concept of carbon credits, "Cap and Trade," is nothing more than a way to control people. This money we are to pay for credits goes to those who would control us, irrespective of the touting of third-world countries which it will help. All the while the same people who vilify our energy usage are enforcing draconian energy rules on developing nations which have the net effect of preventing development. At the same time, these people who would judge us and control us blatantly and brazenly ignore their own justifications and limitations, and yet somehow are given pass.

They want to tax us who might consume over whatever limit they would arbitrarily set. And yet I say that I already pay for any amount I consume in terms of a percentage of my electric bill. I am charged for every bit I consume, and therefore should not be charged additionally for any overage of what THEY think I should use. If THEY really want to enforce such an agenda, then allow those who use less than the arbitrary limit to use energy for free, and ONLY charge those who use over that limit. But that would lose money in the long run because it is an ignorant idea to attempt to tax a "vice," no matter what you may consider a vice to be.

But ignoring the political power overtones of the entire issue, I state this: I am tired of being told every day that I live my life in a wasteful manner, when all I am trying to do is simply live my life.

I conserve. I am conscious of my energy usage simply because it is the right thing to do, if only for the selfishness of paying less every month. I was raised to only use energy (nee electricity) when and where necessary. And that is all I do.

For Earth Hour this year I will continue to use energy as I see fit. I will, however, illuminate all of my outside lighting, which amounts to two spot lights and one flood light. I will not turn on all of the lights in my house, and I will not use energy needlessly other than my display of protest -- doing so is a waste, is completely ignorant, and just plays right into THEIR hands to justify THEIR argument.

What I will do is continue to live my life, ignoring outright the missives of the frothing masses, which is exactly what they are against -- the freedom to live my life.


CountryWide customer information leak

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I received notification today, dated the 6th, from CountryWide that a "now former" employee may have sold unauthorized personal information about me to a third party. A quick Google search reveals that this news apparently broke around the 13th.

Nice. That now makes four different companies which have somehow lost or had my personal information leaked.


AT&T uses "secret" root cert to dictate s/w "compatibility"

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 6 years ago

This is a copy of the email I sent to AT&T.

A few years ago I began purchasing phones outside of Cingular's marketplace.
I found that Cingular did not carry the phones that I found useful or
attractive. A couple of years ago I picked up the Sony Ericsson K790a.
This is a CyberShot phone which does everything that I need for my personal
and business life.

Unfortunately, this phone is not an official Cingular phone. Even though it
runs the same operating system, Java Platform 7, as several other
Cingular-branded and supported phones, including several of the Sony
Ericsson W-series phones, I am prevented from making purchases online. This
includes ring tones, other multi-media, and Java games.

More importantly to me at this point is that I am prevented from using my
bank's on-line banking system because the application will not install on my
phone due to a missing root certificate.

I attempted to download the application using the link provided by my bank.
I found that the download would fail. I manually captured both the JAD and
JAR files comprising this application and discovered that the JAR file
*will* install and run on my phone, however as an untrusted application it
lacks some functionality.

Upon examination of the JAD file, I found that it contains two chained
certifications, the primary of which is signed by "Cingular Trusted Root CA"

                Version: 3 (0x2)
                Serial Number: 4955 (0x135b)
                Signature Algorithm: sha1WithRSAEncryption
                Issuer: C=US, O=Cingular Wireless, LLC, CN=Cingular Trusted CA 1
                        Not Before: Nov 3 02:38:29 2007 GMT
                        Not After : Nov 1 02:38:29 2017 GMT
                Subject: C=US, ST=GA, L=Atlanta GA, O=Firethorn Holdings LLC, OU=ATT
Trusted for Java - Production, CN=CodeSigning for Firethorn Holdings LLC

              Version: 3 (0x2)
              Serial Number:
              Signature Algorithm: sha1WithRSAEncryption
              Issuer: C=US, O=Cingular Wireless, LLC, CN=Cingular Trusted Root CA
                      Not Before: Nov 3 00:00:00 2006 GMT
                      Not After : Nov 11 23:59:59 2023 GMT
              Subject: C=US, O=Cingular Wireless, LLC, CN=Cingular Trusted CA 1

The root certificate of this chain is not available anywhere for download.
I am told by Data Support that this certificate is not released to the
public and is only available on Cingular/AT&T-branded phones.

The implications are obvious to me: AT&T is preventing otherwise compatible
applications from running on unlocked phones by the use of a "secret" root
certificate. This artificially segregates the market and serves to help
reduce the overall value of my perfectly capable and compatible phone.

I can easily accept that AT&T does not know how to support unsanctioned
phones. For the most part, however, I have found that people capable of
selecting and purchasing an unlocked phone are also capable of supporting
themselves. We also can handle not being able to run Java apps which are
not capable of running on our phones.

But I cannot accept that an application which could run on my phone
otherwise is prevented from doing so artificially by way of a restricted
root certificate.

Thank you for your time.

Alan W. Rateliff, II


I believe Sprint PCS customer accounts are compromised

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I have sat on this for a couple of weeks and I will no longer do so.

I have received spam email to an email address which was specifically used for communication with SprintPCS for my business data card account. Three other people who are also SprintPCS customers received the same email from the same source with the same content.

SprintPCS is adamant that it does not sell or give out customer account details.

According to my mail server logs, these emails began on January 17th. My concern at this point is that my email address, specifically crafted for use only with SprintPCS, that no one on the face of this planet or regional solar system has, and is not easy to guess, has been obtained by illegitimate means. That being the case, my concern is that other account details may have been obtained.

Over the course of two days and five hours on the phone I attempted to contact Sprint Corporate Security. I was shuffled from department to department so much that I have a detailed map of the phone tree. Only two people took interest in my problem: one person sent an email to a supervisor who never got back to me for more details, and another in Level 2 support tried to find someone who could help. Oh, well, one other person did offer to send me over to technical support so they could "block the email."

Sprint's fraud department told me that it could only act if my account had been used for fraudulent purposes such as unauthorized charges or phone calls. The fact that my private customer information, and possibly other customers', may be compromised did not raise any hackles in fraud.

At the behest of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, I have filed a complaint with IC3, the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a joint between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. At this time I have not heard anything else back and remain disturbed by the situation.


Embarq blocking port 465 used for smtps due to Cisco vuln

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Port 465 was recommended for use as smtps, or SMTP using explicit SSL, in the Netscape SSL v3.0 draft date back in 1996. Unfortunately this port was already, or at least is now, used by Cisco for urd, or the URL Rendezvous service (whatever the heck that is.) For the past five years now I have been providing authenticated SMTP transport over SSL on port 465, as seems to be the de-facto standard (look at GMail's configuration section, for instance.)

Thursday I was made aware that several customers were unable to send email through my server colocated within the Sprint/Embarq network. At first it seemed that ComCast was blocking port 465 outbound as other ISPs did not appear to exhibit the same behavior, and neither myself nor my colocation have any ACLs what-so-ever related to ComCast or port 465.

What I discovered later, however, was that people using Sprint PCS data cards and my own AT&T data card and phone were unable to send email as well. Further prodding revealed that somewhere far upstream, Sprint/Embarq has a blanket block on port 465 due to a Cisco vulnerability.

Cisco Security Advisory: Crafted IP Option Vulnerability
Document ID: 81734
Advisory ID: cisco-sa-20070124-crafted-ip-option

What really chaps my hide about this is that Sprint/Embarq could have easily put ACLs in place that protected their Cisco equipment without disturbing customers down-stream. I find it hard to believe that no one in their network administration has ever heard of smtps on port 465, and the implications of blocking this port to all destinations. Then to add insult to injury, not providing notifications down-stream.

Now for two days customers using what has been considered to be a standard set up for smtps have been unable to send email through my server. I've now spent numerous unbillable hours tracking down the problem and coordinating with affected customers to use an alternate configuration.

Of course I would prefer to use TLS with customers, but Outlook and Outlook Express, the predominate email client for business offices, do not support it. Thank $_DEITY that Exchange does. Then there's the issue of outbound port 25 blocking that several ISPs do, but I've been using port 925 (semi-random choice) to get around that since 2000. I understand now that port 587, the submit port, is the recommended port for this, but I imagine it's only a matter of time before that's blocked as well, and I have questions as to the legitimacy of using submit for this purpose.


Google requests removal of Google Maps support from MGMaps

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Mobile GMaps (http://mgmaps.com) is a free Java application for Java-enabled phones, like my Sony Ericsson K790a, which turns your phone into a GPS-enabled mobile mapping system, complete with on-line tracking, custom mapping, and a slew of other features continually being added.

Even though this program has been mature much longer than Google's own Java phone-based mapping program, which also does not include the heavily requested GPS functionality, Google has sent the author what is essentially a C&D email. The email apparently claims that MGMaps is a dirivative work, as this clause from the Google Maps for Mobile (http://google.com/gmm) terms of service is invoked.

Personally, I like MGMaps better than Google Maps for Mobile, if only for the GPS functionality alone, although it does provide many more features than GMM. I have always liked Google Maps over Yahoo! or MSN maps, but alas it is time to take up something new.

I think this is crap, and goes against the normally open spirit of Google, and the Google Maps API. I only found out about it tonight as I was driving home and decided to check for updates. I read in the release blurb about the new version removing support for Google Maps.

Read more about it at the MGMaps news page.

"Google requests removal of Google Maps support from MGMaps (July 31st, 2007)"


Review: Ten Reasons Why I Hate My Palm LifeDrive

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 8 years ago

[EDIT: I added the word "Review" to the title so that it might have a better chance at showing up in search engines. I really want people to see how frustrating being a Palm customer is.]

My primary purpose in purchasing a new Palm was to replace my well-aged Palm IIIx, which had served me well for a couple of years but began suffering screen calibration problems. When beginning my deliberation on Palm versus Windows Mobile, I stuck with Palm because I already had a small investment in Palm-based software. Even with this prior investment and the purchase of software afterwards, I am ready to abandon all of these investments and move completely to Java applications on my K790a. In fact, I am only one app away from being able to dump Palm completely, and I am considering writing it myself.

1) Palm Support (or lack there-of)

I contacted Palm support more than a few times about some of the issues I address in this list. Each time Palm's response was more or less that the problems I was having were due to me using the device improperly -- all of the faults I find with the LifeDrive are really my fault. In reality, I bought the LifeDrive because the T5 I purchased originally would never support WPA WiFi encryption, and buying a LifeDrive instead was Palm's solution.

2) Horrible file type handling

The LifeDrive support IrDA, Bluetooth, downloads (via the Blazer web browser,) and email attachments (via VersaMail) for file transfers. However, if the file does not have a "registered" handler, the system rejects the file. This is really a pain in the ass since it seems that some programs are unable to register themselves as handlers. For instance, I run Kinoma Player and MMPlayer, which together support a multitude of video and audio file types, such as MP4 and DivX-encoded AVI. Forget transferring these files via any means other than directly copying to the drive or SD card, as the PalmOS rejects the files, without chance to just save the file.

[EDIT: I have been told this is actually an issue with the programs themselves, though I have also been told that the PalmOS does not make this easy. He-said, she-said.]

3) Limited Bluetooth phone recognition

It does not recognize my new SonyEricsson K790a, so I am unable to use the SMS or EDGE networking features. To be fair, the unit only recognized my T637 enough to use it, but tests always failed because of unrecognized responses.

[EDIT: The LifeDrive itself says that I should run the Phone Link Updater, found in the Palm folder on my PC. Not only does this not exist, but the last updater available for download from Palm is dated the middle of 2005, well before LifeDrive Update 2.0.]

4) Unstable networking stack

The network stack cannot switch between Bluetooth and WiFi without crashing.

5) Unstable applications and operating system

The Palm-included applications, primarily Blazer and VersaMail, crash under normal use. It is also extremely easy to crash the operating system. Mine reboots so often that it is practically useless during a normal day.

6) The LifeDrive is seemingly abandoned

As I stated before, I have contact Palm on several occasions about numerous problems. I even presented a good dozen bug reports, each reproducible. All of my cries have gone unanswered, and there hasn't been a major system update since December of 2005, which did not address any of the problems I had with the system.

7) No sense of security

The Palm Desktop software is not multi-user aware in the Windows environment. Each Windows user who wishes to use the Palm Desktop must install the software, and even then the Palm user profiles, which are often different for different Windows users, are not protected.

8) Poor performance and functionality from included or sanctioned software

My 50MHz Amiga has better performing email and browser software than VersaMail and Blazer.

VersaMail crashes the moment it touches an ActiveSync (Exchange 2003) server, which I have come to find apparently actually communicates via Outlook Web Access in basic authentication mode rather than RPC over HTTP. The only good thing I can say about VersaMail is that it seems to handle IMAP better than Outlook 2003, though it would be nice if messages no longer on the server would be cleared from the Inbox. VersaMail should also support groups or at least have better contacts lookups.

The LifeDrive also supports VPN software. Even using the Palm-sanctioned VPN program, the system still fails to recognize that VPN functionality is available. None of the VPN menus work, and the program must be launched on its own rather than conveniently from within programs.

9) Left-Handed mode does not change user interface elements

The LifeDrive provides a left-handed mode which one would assume makes the unit more friendly to left-handers. However, it only seems that this mode affects the direction of the landscape viewing mode layout. One would expect that in left-handed mode the UI would adjust itself in ways such as putting scroll bars on the left side of programs to prevent having to reach across the screen to scroll. The left-handed mode setting also does not survive a reboot, so needless to say that, irrespective of its apparent uselessness, I never set it anymore as I would have to do so many times a day.

10) Unfriendly, inflexible, and obstinate hand writing recognition

Graffiti2 is a pain in the ass to use, especially if you do not write with the exact hand orientation as expected. This is another problem for many left-handers already. It also differs in many regards to the original Graffiti system, and cannot be trained to the writing nuances of the user.

All-in-all, the Palm LifeDrive has amazing hardware specs: 413MHz Intel XScale processor, 4GB built-in hard drive, SD RAM and SDIO, high resolution color screen with fast refresh, Bluetooth, WiFi, IrDA, and USB. The machine rocks, but is crippled by the PalmOS. This was supposed to augment my laptop as a surrogate in times when I either could not carry or simply did not have my laptop available. Instead, it has been an incredible incumbrance. My experience with the Palm LifeDrive has not only pushed me away from future PalmOS-based devices, but also to sway the professional recommendations I make to my clients. My LifeDrive is close to becoming a $500 paper weight, or embedded in a wall.


Why Intel cranks my yank

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 8 years ago

1979-ish: Motorola 32-bit CPU
1983-ish: Intel 32-bit CPU

1990-ish: DEC Alpha 64-bit CPU, followed soon by SPARC, and others
1995-ish: Intel Pentium 32-bit CPU
2001-ish: Intel EMT64 64-bit extensions grafted onto 32-bit CPU

2004-ish: AMD Athlon 64-bit CPU
2004-ish: Yet another phuqn Intel 32-bit CPU with more useless extensions

2006: Intel will release yet ANOTHER 32-bit CPU core.
2006: AMD will hand Intel its ass

'nuff said.


Of landlords and mentors

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 8 years ago

So, now that we've settled with our old landlord, I can say that, in my opinion, our former landlord is a miserable old, man-hating bitch. We got everything settle by way of her lawyer, and not once did we ever have contact with her during this whole fiasco. Seemingly against the idea of small-claims, but whatever it takes. My girlfriend and I settled for an amount which made us happy, recouped a large part of our expenses, and kept it from having to go to court. Without getting into too much detail, after visiting with an attorney who handled such disputes, we were fully prepared and confident that we would be able to recover $2500 in expenses, plus potential punitive damages. But, in the long run, this is just another in a long list of things to put behind us, and we're both glad it's over.

That being said, a couple of weeks beforehand I made a trip back to my home town and discovered that an old friend of mine had passed.

I started working at Taco Bell a couple of months before my 18th birthday. She worked there as a manager, for the next few years she would teach me a solid, strong work ethic and, most importantly, patience. Patience not just for my work, but for other people as well. She was a great manager, and a great friend.

She was one of the most ain't-never-done-nothing-bad-to-no-one kind of person I ever met in my life, always willing to help out -- always willing to give of herself for others. A few years later when I got laid off a job, she even brought me on board temporarily to work for her office and construction cleaning company.

I will say with absolutely certaintly that no one EVER came into contact with her without their life being touched deeply.

She was more than a manager, more than a friend, she was a mentor in life.

And it really stupifies me that people like her die, and people like my former landlord still trudge around Earth leaving nothing but swaths of destruction in their path.

I'm not saying I want her to, or think she should, die... I'm saying that the logic just seems unfair. But then again, how could we appreciate the good if we didn't have the bad.

Whatever her reasons are for being a total bitch, I don't know, and quite frankly I don't care, because nothing that ever happens to you should give you sufficient reason to make other people miserable.


I am fighting my landlord

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Since we moved in, our landlord has been abusive to us and has refused to perform maintenance. In particular, we went without A/C for a month during a time when the average outside temperature was in the 90's daily.

Granted, she is not required to provide air conditioning, but as the Dept of Ag and Consumer Services pointed out, the fact that the lease was signed with the understanding that the house had working air conditioning at the very least constitutes breach of contract and devaluation of the property.

Without getting too deep into the specifics (as this WILL be going to trial,) about a week ago I turned on the A/C because is was hot and muggy, and lo it failed to work again. So, we sent her a seven day notice that if she did not perform a list of maintenance we provided that we would withhold rent and file with the county court.

She responded by sending us a 30 day notice to vacate, and apparently retained a lawyer to intimidate us to honor the very same.

Regardless, next Tuesday I go to the Leon County Circuit Court office and file against her for material violations of Florida Statute 83.51(1) as provided for by F.S. 83.60, and additionally for retaliatory actions as expressly prohibited by F.S. 83.64. There is a large section of F.S. 83 which deals with landlord-tenant disputes.

I will be calling around today and Monday to try to get our own legal advice, but from my discussions with DoACS and my understanding of the relevant statutes, we have a strong case.

I am putting this up as not only a small outlet for frustration, but I also found that people actually read my journal, so at the same time I am hoping someone else has experience in this arena.


Cingular: Don't slam my GAIT!

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago

The last week of August I noticed my Sony Ericsson T62u was acting funny.

The T62u is a GAIT phone. It operates on GSM, TDMA, and analogue cellular networks. I LOVED it because I could be assured of having services ANYWHERE, especially around Tallahassee where Cingular's GSM penetration has been crappy. (In their defense, Cingular is not completely at fault... we are the arm put of technology: we get everything last, and it is done half-assed when it gets here.)

Being the proud geek that I am, my T62u was in debug mode, which I put it in by entering *666 (or *777? I forget now) and power cycling the phone. Next to the signal indicator I would see a G, T, or A, for the respective networks. I noticed that I was not able to send or receive SMS (text messages) nor get on the Internet when the T62u was connected to a TDMA network.

I called Cingular about it. I was given several different stories before I finally got pissed and had a nice rant session with someone who gave me the real scoop.

1. TDMA never had those capabilities. (An out and out lie.)

2. Your phone doesn't work on our system anymore. You need to buy a new GSM-only phone.

3. Your phone needs updates which I will send to it.

4. Those updates did not turn off your TDMA... we don't have the ability to do that.

5. We have been shutting down the TDMA network in anticipation of the full GSM network rollout which is a combination of our "Blue Towers" (AT&T Wireless) and "Orange Towers" (native Cingular.)

3&4: A helpful tech at Cingular told me that she needed to send updates to my phone. I accepted and went about my business. But I then noticed something even more strange... the phone NEVER seemed to fall over to TDMA. When I called and asked if the update shut off my TDMA, they said no, they cannot do that. (Well, *I* can do that in debug mode, so I can only conclude that the same functionality is available to them.) I finally proved this point when I was in an area in which my phone displayed "No Network." Normally the phone's network stack is set for "Use SIM," but I changed it to "GSM Pref" which prefers a GSM network, but will fall back to TDMA and AMPS when necessary. Lo and behold, I get a FULL STRENGTH TDMA signal! WTF?! Draw your own conclusions.

5: THIS TIME I call and a fella tells me that the TDMA network functionality has been being shut off slowly, kind-of tower-by-tower in anticipation for the big combined GSM network push, which should happen in November. He confirms what I already know, NO, I DO NOT need to buy a GSM-only phone since the T62u obviously handles GSM. So now I am forced to change plans and accept less than mediocre usage.

I was really pissed. It took my almost a month to get the straight dope on the situation. I was also really put off by the fact that such a change in service was never announced. I wonder how many TDMA-only customers were burned by this, and then had to BUY new phones. This move was really not customer friendly, and I hope Cingular does not have the gall to put the screws to its customers like this again.

There is an upshot to this. From what I understand, while we could access both "Blue" and "Orange" towers, the networks were not completely integrated, which meant that calls were not handed off between towers of differing "color." THAT was a pain in the ass. I will say that I have noticed within the past week that areas in which this used to happen no longer suffer from the problem. So, I would move to conclude that the planned integration has finally been realized.

Signal strength in my house has also improved dramatically. Apparently my closest tower is/was "Blue," but my phone prefered the "Orange" tower from which I barely had signal.

The Cingular store upgraded the SIMs in my two T62u's to 64k units for free to help the situation.

I managed to find a new phone which I adore, and will probably usher towards even newer models: the Sony Ericsson T637. It is slick, gets excellent reception, and has all the features and functions that I find very useful in my day-to-day business.

But alas, GSM coverage is still lacking in many areas which I service, so there are many times that I miss calls. I am also not a fan of the new voice mail system, which does not allow me to interrupt a message with the "Delete" command.

Overall, I am still not convinced that I need to move from Cingular. I am a little pissed about how I was snubbed from the TDMA aspect, but from what I hear from others, I am not likely to expect any more or less from another carrier.

I do not like that customer service tried to push new phones on me when I did not need one. They actually tried that on me last year when it was decided that the GAIT phones were evil. I do like that every problem I have ever had was taken care of quickly and to my satisfaction.

So now, I have another phone I really like. I can use the Bluetooth function to get on the Internet with my laptop and my Palm LifeDrive. I also keep my calendar and contacts in synch on all three.

I pay $180/mo for two phones, 2100 minutes, roll-over, free mobile-to-mobile, 1000 SMS and some hundred MMS per phone per month, and unlimited data for both phones (this plan is no longer available, apparently.) It compares well with other services.

So, for now I will not be a churn statistic :)


Dell is a spammer

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I don't care what they say. I have found through the use of crafted email addresses specifically for this purpose that Dell will send you advertisements, even if you tell them not to.

Every time I call for a client I give them an email address to send me confirmations. Every time I give them an email address I tell them I do not want to receive advertisements. Every time I tell them that they say that they don't send advertisements. Every email address I give them gets their damnedable ads.

Fucking liars. I have half a mind to completely block Dell at the server level, but I know that there are many customers on the boxes which get legitimate mail from Dell.


Protecting personal info -- WTF are they thinking?

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Admittedly, every so often I have money problems. As an independent consultant, sometimes I'm living hand-to-mouth, and that gets compounded by having large invoices which go over a month past due.

Today I get a call from Sprint, which was a bit different from calls in the past. It went basically like this: a woman with what I could not identify as an American accent tells me she's from Sprint, needs to discuss my account, and would like to verify the password on my account. Uhhhh, not on a cold-call, I don't think so.

This kind of call is very suspect. And rightly so. In the past, and still today, much telephone fraud is perpetrated in such a way. Hell, in the past they've flat out asked me for my SSAN!

The main difference this time was an actual number showed up in my CLID, versus before when it came up as "Unknown."

Cingular will call with an automated message saying to call 611 about my account. I don't think it would be such a horrible thing for Sprint to do something similiar, especially since you can reach an account representative by dialing 811. Believe me, I appreciate the reminders -- it doesn't happen often, even so I'd rather not forget to pay my phone bill.

There are no absolutes in this world in regards to protecting our personal information, but many companies just throw caution to the wind, seemingly a gesture of defeat. Seriously, I had a rep for Dell Financial Services tell me that protecting my SSAN didn't matter since people can get any information on me they want. So, wouldn't it also follow that they could USE that information to forge my ID over the telephone? In that case, why even bother to verify my identification?



Aluminum cans for the poor?

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I was wondering today if the "Adopt-A-Road" program hurts people who wander the streets to collect aluminum cans to turn in to recylcing centers for money.

I remember when I was in my before-teen years that my mom, dad, and I would wander one of the local highways and some of the back roads collecting aluminum cans. I don't think we collected glass containers. Anyway, we would take them home, crush them, then turn them in to the recycling center for money. When I got into my late teens/early 20's, I did that a few times for some gas money.

But if someone is out cleaning this stuff up, is there much hope for this kind of revenue?


Bible for idiots?

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago


Christ. So, the Bible has been converted into text which can easily be sent to a mobile phone and conforms to the limitations (160 chars) of SMS messages.

So, just like at the site itself, you can see verses like

"4 God so luvd da world"

So we can breed a new generation of idiots? What is so difficult about multiple messages with the full, English-conformant text? Ever since I've been invovled in on-line chat (1985, Q-Link, to present) I have had my intelligence bombarded by stupid replacements like "U" instead of "you," "R" instead of "are," and the like. I'll admit that I used shorter phrases of things, like "prolly" instead of "probably," but even that seems to skirt the proficiency barrier.

To me, such short cuts lead to the barbaric assault on our language, such as "your" instead of "you're," the use of "of" instead of "have," and the various misuses of "their," "there," and "they're."


Does the use of such semi-cryptic short cuts help keep our minds fresh? Having to constantly translate text into our native language may work to help lead us into larger, more complex puzzles. 1337-speak is one of those things that I could never get into. I have distanced myself from even close friends who have chosen to partake in such text conventions. What makes me feel even more ashamed is that my love of complex puzzles lead me to develop my own language based on the use of pronounciations of numbers -- that is, I did not use numbers which looked like letters, such as "4" for "A," "1" for "L" or "I," etc. -- I used numbers for their sounds: "4" for "4ever," "3" in certain circumstances (yes, this system has rules) such as "tr3" (tree,) and so on.

Sometimes my dislike of the SMS/IM language perversions, and the whole "1337-5p34" thing clouds my judgement.

So, should the SMS Bible be an insult to our intelligence, or does it work to enhance our intelligence?

Oh, and just for the record, words like "pwned," "teh," "haxor," and the like ARE just plain stupid.


Where are we heading with computers?

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Every so often I come across someone talking about the next big thing in computers. From what I remember, we went from a single personal computer, to multiple personal computers, to desktop convergence (entertainment PC,) to hand-held (ala PDA,) to hand-held convergence, so on and so forth.

From what I understand now, we need:

A single convergence computer which will either
  a) act as an entertainment device playing media from another machine (LAN or WAN server)
  b) act as a server from which other convergence PCs (or simple PCs) may play media

A hand-held multi-purpose convergence machine which acts as a personal organizer, cell phone, digital camera, audio recording device, multimedia playback device, and also be able to interact with desktop convergence PCs/servers via Bluetooth, IrDA, WiFi, or other wire/less networking interface.

Wow. Can I get mine in a watch, with fries, please? (Funny enough, I have a Casio watch which takes color pictures at QVGA... alas the model I have only displays grayscale at the face and has been obsoleted by a model with a color display!)

(Oh, and let's not forget the DRM... that's the large shake.)

ANYWAY... the battle now is who is going to take us there, how, and when.

As a system admin by trade, programmer and hardware hack by hobby, I see a bigger problem. How are we going to achieve the infrastructure?

Turning our PCs into dumb terminals for displaying content seems to be the big thing. But that doesn't remain inexpensive, and it also requires (with the advent of massive networking operating systems like Windows, Linux, MacOS X, et al.) that the user become an administrator. Wow, again. My grandmother just wants a computer to send email, browse QVC, and get pictures of the family. She doesn't need to be concerned about service packs, critical updates, dependencies, and of course malware.

So that leads to the next logical step, making the system administration-less as far as the user is concerned. This happens by moving the OS, at least the bulk of the OS, to the content provider. Ala WebTV or other (TV) set-top boxes.

Discussion of the security implications of the client OS and network transmissions is beyond the scope of this entry, and an exercise for the reader.

To continue... That's nice and all, but the WebTV-alike system is also limited, and inherently untrustworthy.

The biggest concern out there is a person's data, information, and identity. So, here we have moved from the "fat" client (ala AOL on a personal computer,) to a "thin" client (ala WebTV-alike set-top unit.)

Let's press on. In a previous post I made I discussed the potential for a "chunky" client. It's not fat, it's not thin, it's kind-of husky... CHUNKY. What's this all about?

Well, let's take the good parts of everything so far:

The centrally administrated system offered by the thin client. The ability to keep one's information local and private (admittedly, mostly, though this can be changed through implementation, a piece-of-mind thing.) The ability to perform "fun", useful, or productive tasks.

errr Sort of a minimal boot environment with terminal services and a back-mapped drive.


The idea is the the "server" operating system is maintained by a provider. The user can choose which information is stored on the "server," and which information is maintained locally. This gives piece of mind that sensitive information is not kept in an active location. False sense of security, it might be, dependent upon total system implementation.

The client will have a hard drive, a basic operating system, and some some kind of media drives (remember, we want convergence, too) for multimedia playback and recording. Should the hard drive fail, the system will boot a stripped-down OS from the server. PXE-ish.

Now, what about the fun, useful, and productive aspect? Well, we all like software. We all like games. And hell, we all LOVE to work. At the server applications are available for people to use... word processors, graphics editors, web browsers, games, etc. A virtual catalog should be available which allows users to select software to "install" to their profile. Such apps may already be installed by the "server" admins, but not available to a user profile until purchasing, licensing, whatever.

I like the idea of distributed computing. Something like this system could be run on my Amiga 1200 50MHz 68060... but where are we going to find such, uh, robust hardware these days? The average client hardware will more than likely be pretty beefy in the CPU arena, and probably have a GPU as well. Some applications may need to have parts run at the local client level (consider games with heavy CPU and graphics requirements.) Parts which would not only tax resources at the far end, but also the bandwidth in-between.

And so on.

Hey, this is only a journal, not a thesis, so I'm dodging some bullets here.

So, in the end we have the Chunky Client System:

Centrally operated and maintained
Local storage capabilities
Local peripherals (printers, storage devices, etc.)
Far-end application execution
Distributed processing, including local execution
Virtual catalog of applications available to user

I don't know of any kind of system like this which exists. I'd like to think that I'm one of the first to articulate it. I'd like to think that one day this kind of thing will come about.

Hey, can we program on a system like that? Give us BASIC, dammit :) Oh, distributed LOGO. Okay, that's enough now. eerrrr one last hit... Visual RPG-II.

Okay, I'm done.

To reach this kind of communistic technology nirvana our current thinking of technology needs a rethinking. We cannot stick to our current pragma of operating systems, mice, and men.

Oh, and marketing for this system. I think that such a system could run hand-in-hand with the traditional PC for many years. Many of us still want the freedom of modifying, tinkering, and doing whatever the hell we want with our hardware. Such freedom simply cannot be afforded with the Chunky System, at least not easily and without risk. But there is a large part of the populace which doesn't care, doesn't know, doesn't care to know, doesn't have the time to know, or some combination thereof.

I'm really done now.


Why Dell Financial Services SUCKS

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Dell Financial Services (DFS) SUCKS for several reasons. First, my personal experience with them.

Last year when I first openned my office, I ordered some equipment on a 60-days same-as-cash deal. I gave them my business information, my business address and contact information. It took a couple of months to get all of my equipment, but I eventually got it. Mind you, the keyboard and mouse I ordered DIED within a couple of months. I digress. I did not hear from them until December when they contacted me about the billing. But they had the wrong address!

What? Yes, somehow they linked my business account to a personal purchase from almost five years ago. I corrected their error, and got off the phone thinking everything was fine.

Except that I had to do this again in January.

Then in March, I start getting calls from Tritium Card Services about my several months of past due invoices. What? I haven't received any invoices! Well, we've been mailing them, and you must have gotten them. Blah blah blah, and suddenly it hits... they have not only my home address, but a home address from which I moved a few years back. Dammit!

I tell them that this was THEIR screw-up, I never received any invoices because they have been sending them to the wrong address, AFTER I corrected them TWICE. As far as I am concerned, I made the effort to fix this mess.

NO, no no. See, you have a responsibility to pay. You knew you were in a credit arrangement, blah blah blah. That's all well and good, but I pay my bills when I get an invoice. Staples invoices me, Cingular invoices me, etc. As a one-man operation I don't have time to chase down all of my bills, and I certainly don't bring in enough money to suddenly pay four months of past-due bills! Not good enough. This can ruin your credit, and so forth.

Fine. I'll take my case to the FTC, Texas Dept of Business Regulation, Florida Attorney General's office, and the BBB. I won't be extorted because of DFS/TCS's screw-up, and I won't have my credit held hostage for the same. We'll compromise. Adjust my billing to start on the date that you first sent me an invoice, and I'll continue to make the regular $92.43 payments per month.

Nope, not good enough. Pay it up, including the late fees. Well, I'll do my best to make the payments, but I'm NOT paying late fees.

This goes on for months, until finally in July we make an agreement for me to make the few months back payments in exchange for dismissal of all late fees. And then the fuckers charged me a late fee for the automatic draft which covered all of the past payments and current! But, as a one-time customer courtesy, they waived that fee and discussed the due-date with me again.

So, now on to my girlfriend. She bought a laptop from them about a year ago after hers got stolen on a business trip. I won't make excuses for her, she sometimes pays bills late. Fine. But these assholes call SEVERAL times a day, starting on the day AFTER it's due. Seriously! In one day I counted 12 calls! And they LIE about who they are. "This is Josh, I need to speak to xxxx." "What's this about?" "Oh, she knows me." "We don't know any 'Josh'." "Well, she knows me, and it's personal." "Well, this is my phone line that I pay for, and she doesn't get calls unless the caller properly identifies himself." "Well, I'm afraid it's business, and I cannot discuss it with you." "I thought you said this was a personal call? Is she screwing around on me?" "Uh, this is personal business." "Those are mutually exclusive. Look, unless you identify yourself, you won't get past me." "Well, I'll just call be in two or three hours." "Fine."

And they do. Each time with a different name in that same annoying accent. Let's see, they give you fake American-sounding names, lie about who they are, call numerous times in a day, refuse to identify their purpose... sounds a lot like harassment to me. I know the economy is down, but hell... if Dell needs to money that bad, I wouldnt' mind letting them hold a couple of bucks here or there if it meant that they wouldn't harrass their customers the day after a payment is due. It's like having a crack addict as a land-lord... "You got the rent??! I NEEEEEEEEED IT!"

Then they give us this bullshit about "Once we speak to the person, we stop calling." BULLSHIT BULLSHIT! She talks to them this month about her payment. It was an automatic draft (which they almost insist on) but it hit before her paycheck. Whoops. So she talks to them. They want $10 to process a payment over the phone, which they say they will credit back on the next bill. Oh, and this is after they ALREADY charged a late fee. She said NO. I've already been penalized, so I'll send in two month's payment next month, plus the late fee. And the calls haven't stopped.

Oh yeah, don't ask for a supervisor, because they're always in meetings or otherwise not available.

So, that's why DFS sucks. And that's why I don't recommend Dell to my clients anymore. Used to be I wouldn't even try to compete on system builds. Now, I don't care. Sure, my builds cost twice as much, but I give much better customer service.

Well, that's the end of that. Pizza's here and I'm damn hungry. Until next time.



Do Amiga users think alike?

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I found this guy's page in a search for "Amiga HDBackup". I started scrolling through his random thoughts and found that he and I think alike on a number of things.

Interesting, isn't it? I mean, could it be that a lot of sane Amiga users think alike? Could it be that if Amiga users were great in number that maybe the world would be a saner place?



I won't moderate

LoadWB LoadWB writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I get really tired of the bullshit moderating that happens around here. I also get tired of the poor grammer, dupes, and various other happenings that lower my estimate of the intelligence of /. as a whole. I'll mention that I get irritated by the fact that most of the articles are news items I've read from other POPULAR sites as much as three days before, though sometimes within hours. The only redeeming factors are the discussions which follow, which you don't get from the popular sites. For that, I overlook that /. has become more of a news aggregator.

I just find that a lot of moderators abuse their powers to smite those who have opinions opposite of their own. I have modded up plenty of posts with which I do not agree, but the content is such that it makes for a valid argument or differing perspective.

We'll see how things play out with time. Maybe I'll start moderating again, if /. doesn't get tired of me letting my mod points expire.

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