Sunday, May 25, 2008

Data Caps suck

So I was reading about another carrier announcing surprisingly low data caps and thought I would offer a little personal experience with my parents household that relies exclusively on a data card from AT&T. Some time recently they did roll out HSDPA to the area so the data actually moves pretty quickly for casual browsing, and on most days performs at 768k DSL speed. By no means is this screaming, but it gets them through their day to day bill paying and shopping and online picture printing with costco. In fact it works so well that from time to time I forget the amount of work it took me to get them set up with wired connections to the office locations and wireless in the rest of the house. This all piggy backs off of a server 03 machine with pci to pcmcia adapter that houses a sierra wireless card. Now for any current data customers you might be saying that att doesn't support server 03 with the sierra drivers. Yeah I copied the keys from an xp machine, moved the files manually, and registered the device using the correct drivers all by hand because I am a masochist. the Server 03 machine runs as dhcp server and internet gateway for the household. The card and AT&T's data package works for them, it is in fact about their only option. Thankfully they have not run into the data cap issue, but I fear the day they do. This literally is the only way they can get relatively high speed internet in this house.

My parents home some how lives in a magical vacuum of high speed options, adjacent communities are served by Comcast, seems silly they are not.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No, just no. This has got to stop.

I am not sure how I got to this point but for some reason I watched

It is stupid, just click on the link and watch it. I have time, go ahead.

The show makes my brain hurt. I watch some stupid shit on tv, but goddamn that show might be the 4th horseman of the coming apocalypse. I also apologize to everyone that clicked that link and lost 3-4 IQ points for having watched it. I am sorry.

Here is some less pointless video for your trouble, besides this one will make you laugh. If you enjoy it and wonder what the source material is, please for the love of god don't go looking for it. It does exists on youtube, it came from Canada, and there is a techo breakdown in the middle of each verse. Do not for any reason look for it.

Shippers just don't get it.

All right so it is bitching time again. I work for a living and write a blog for fun, so guess what location I am not at during the day basically ever? You know the one place on the planet that UPS, Fedex and DHL are willing to transact packages? That's right my house. I am not home during the Mon-Friday delivery window. Ever. So UPS et all in there infinite wisdom decide to deliver packages to that location during the day. Technically I can have it delivered to work but the receiving dept gets a little touchy if you push it too often. Also, for somethings I cannot have them shipped to my work as they are prizes or the shipping has to match the address on a credit card.

I realize that this is what they always have done, but when I have them hold the package at the shipping station that is closest to my house (in that god forsaken strip of earth know as Redmond) it is actually not even remotely kind of convenient for me to get there. Believe it or not the Down Town center is closer and far, far more convenient. I would save them a lot of gas and me a lot of headache if they would let me redirect all packages to the Down Town UPS facility for pickup.

I want all shipped mail to have to have a destination telephone # and then they can call me for my desired outcome. Never put it on the truck, nothing I order or receive can be dropped at the door. Everything has to have a sig, which is sort of the point of us using your service. I don't want a freaking xbox sitting on my doorstep from 3pm to 6pm or later when I get home normally.

I don't have a specific suggestion as to the best way to remedy this situation, but I cannot be the only one in the world that finds this annoying. I think my suggestion would be something akin to have the shipper hold the package select an intercept location for delivery, the ability to select the facility that is most convenient would improve my outlook on these companies a great deal. I don't think that they should ever try to deliver to most homes, it doesn't make sense. I know very few people (of my generation that is) that have a stay at home wife to get the frigging packages.

The business model is outmodded, but your damn business has scaled so massively that I cannot imagine a new comer knocking you out. I am asking you to publish your numbers. What percentage of packages are delivered the first try? What percentage are not delivered in the retry attempts, and have to be picked up after you tried 2 or 3 times? If this percentage exceeds 15% I imagine that the money saved on gas alone would be worth the effort to try and develop a method to let customers tell you that they are never going to be at their home so don't bother trying to deliver. Let them tell you the closest store/facility and let them pick it up. I promise that your customers are not as dumb as you think, and though there are some who are there are many that would make this a money saving venture. I will tell you what, first company that steps up and does something anything to make my life easier, I will make sure to insist on your service. I will insist on your service even if I have to pay more for it.

People will Pay for convenience!!!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

God Damn Beta's

I am sick and tired of everything on earth being a GD Beta. I have used MS Onenote in the past and like the product, but don't feel like dropping $100 for everyone of my machines (there are a lot of the damn things I use), so I went looking for alternatives.

The field is :

MS Onenote
Google Notebook
Zoho Notebook

I use Google Notebook and have no specific complaints, but it has become more of a link dump for me and I don't like the FireFox plugin, couple that with it isn't quite as cool as the snip tool I have gotten used to on a Tablet PC and Google Notebook is free and functional, but kind of meh. One note takes the snipped content (which can really be anything) and you past it in to Onenote to annotate. The functionality is really nice for the handwritten notes that you just never realized where way more natural and usable than typed notes. I am constantly creating typed notes, I have hundreds of typed notes in various applications all over the place. Outlook notes and notepad notes are the ones that I was using the most prior to Google Notebook.

I took all of my class notes from a recent developers class in Google's Notebook and was happy with the links and organization of the pages and individual blurbs. The notes were easy to layout and fill with content, the code even pasted in well. The only sad part was finding the limit of data in one individual note was shorter than I wanted it to be. I pasted like 10 pages of text and Google Notebook choked; I pushed the limits and the app crapped out. It is nice to know the limitations of a piece of software so I am glad that it wasn't at a critical juncture that it failed, but I was still disappointed. Really my complaint for Google's Notebook is that it is fundamentally a web app, and lives only where the bandwidth is plentiful. I hope Google implements Gears for Notebook in the future to give it the offline functionality I think it really needs.

Zoho was fine, I didn't like the way that you had notes and snippets in the note pages with scroll bars, but that is more personal preference than anything else. I pasted a section of text and didn't like the way it was layed out so I left.

Evernote looks like the mix of online sync and off line functionality that I am looking for and really the reason I am writing this whole post is to bitch about them letting you download the software but not run it without a beta invite. Put the code behind the wall if you aren't letting the software work at all without a beta invite. How fucking unbelievably shitty is it to download some software and install it, and then not be able to run it? Pretty shitty, thats how shitty. I am pissed off about it in fact, I would be fine if I hit invite and didn't get a code for how ever long, but to have the download outside the wall and install it only to find out I will be waiting for an invite is a real bad choice. So until further notice Evernote is on my shit list.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I realize I am kind of a whiner, but I am hoping PMOG could find a way to give me credit for my activity in Google reader. You see you have to go to sites to earn credit for having gone there. I don't go to Techcrunch's actual site often, but I do read their RSS feed religiously. How am I supposed to get that badge if PMOG doesn't give me credit? The stupid answer is to open the blog from the link in my Google reader. Basically generate fake traffic to Techcrunch for the sake of PMOG.

Any way whatever right, but an minor annoyance. I also wonder if there will ever be a plugin for other RSS readers?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Microsoft Groove does stuff...

I was trying to explain to someone what MS Infopath is for, and why anyone would want it; I couldn't. The best I could give them is it makes it nice if you have MS Sharepoint, (apparently you have to have the Enterprise edition to do forms though).

Their response was "What is Sharepoint?"

Sharepoint is a collaboration server, like public folders but better. Not a lot better, but a little better. It has some back end stuff so Admins can police usage, and customize for the site, and it has roll back features, version tracking and such. There is personal homepages, and team sites, communication and collaboration, but you have to have Communication Server for some features of that work really well. Sharepoint also has some cool Business intelligence stuff you can do, using Biztalk server as the middleware.



My point is it seems like Microsoft is in the business of selling products with features can only be unlocked with the next upgrade. The carrot is the new features the stick is that you are already in bed with them and if you rely on the .net framework much you really are in bed with them.

----------------------Updated Post----------------------------
I actually get to the point about what it is that Groove does.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Crack reporting there Engadget

Crack reporting there Engadget

I think Flipstart made it clear that they where exiting the business as far back as January when you reported the price drop. Dynamism or Flipstart confirmed this to me when I called them about it forever ago, never hurts to call people to follow upon hunches; you know like journalists.