Get Back To Your Lamp!

AccessoryGenie (they pissed me off so they don’t get a link, not that you couldn’t figure it out) sent me an e-mail today with the subject “Thank you for your order”. Since I haven’t ordered from them in months, I was immediately alarmed – with identity theft rampant these days, who knows, right?   Perhaps someone broke into my account and ordered five grand worth of… accessories.  Anyway, obviously I opened the e-mail. And read this:

Thank you for your past order to
As our way of saying Thank You we have a ** GREAT July 4th Holiday SPECIAL***

Oh, am I pissed (or should I say, “they rubbed me the wrong way” or, “they better have a heavy stockpile of wishes right about now”). This is going to The Consumerist (who I just posted about), and I’m debating whether to tell them how scummy they are for pulling this.  And please don’t try and say they didn’t know what they were doing.  In the VERY unlikely chance that this was true, it means a major e-tailer is ignorant to the dangers of phishing and other forms of identity fraud.  Either way, this wisher is going to another genie.  Yeah.


Good Stuff From The Consumerist

The Consumerist has been on fire lately, with a slew of great stories and posts:

It has a whole section on AOL, with plenty of stories on AOL’s crappy Customer Support and their policy of actively preventing users from cancelling. One man, Vincent Ferrari, even taped his call, and made it onto CNN with the Dada-esque results. Another resorted to begging.

Then there’s the case of a Comcast technician falling asleep on a customer’s couch, apparently because Comcast kept the guy on hold for an hour. Comcast fired the technician, but the person who reported it tried to get him rehired, since the fault really lies with Comcast’s tech support infrastructure, rather than the individual technician. But as Consumerist rightly points out, there is no excuse for a technician to fall asleep on a customer’s couch – that is as unprofessional as it gets.

Then they have a funny take on the feud between the administration and The New York Times on the latter’s reporting on the government’s secret trolling of bank records: some supporters of the administration say it’s “treason” to report on something like that. Says the Consumerist: “If free speech is treason, then the terrorists truly have won. If they win, the war is over. If there is no more war, then there is no crime of revealing state secrets in wartime. Therefore, there is no treason.” At least they admit it’s specious reasoning :-)

They have a cool story about a band encouraging their fans to download their music and burn their own CD’s.

And a story about how Intel plays the song “Intel Cares” on the PA for its factory workers in China.

But what I like most of all is their straightforward approach to how they see companies – not as antagonists, but simply customers who want to be treated fairly and like human beings. That’s why they’re reluctant to say hello to a salesperson in a store. And why they sometimes feel that dealing with Customer Service is a war, and that, in that sense, companies are not even following Geneva Conventions. And that “Sometimes All We Want Is An Apology” (great post on how companies could avoid a lot of lawsuits if they were willing to admit they were wrong every once in a while).

Last but not least, they are more than happy to post stories about good customer service, like Moen, USAA, Timbuk2, and even the rarest of the rare – good service from UPS. And they do point out when the customer who contacted them is actually wrong.

So keep up the good work, Consumerist! Fight the good fight!


Please Stop Apologizing

As Regret the Error points out, sometimes apologies are better left unsaid… (text NSFW)


Thank You, WebMD

Today, in the “No S–t” Department, WebMD writes: “Rheumatoid Arthritis May Hamper Sex“.

Ummmm… duh?

Less obvious: “Migraine Sufferers: Are They Sexier?


A NAFTA By Any Other Name…

Via my co-worker T, who really needs a blog ;-) – NAFTA has apparently been reborn under a new name – The SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America). And like the rose, it smells the same no matter what you call it. I’m actually not anti-globalization in general, but “rebranding” something to make it more palatable is just obnoxious.


All About ‘W’

No, not the president. The ‘w’ command on Linux:
“Show who is logged on and what they are doing.” (from the Linux User’s Manual)

Hmmmm – on second thought…


Testing Flock

I am posting this from Flock, which I read about on Slashdot.  It’s reaaaaally cool!


Blogged with Flock

Helter S’Coulter

Hey Coulter fans! Are you running low on hate and bile that you need to get you through the day? If so, check out The Coulter/Hitler Quiz! Who said it? Anne Coulter? Or Adolph Hitler (yemach shemo*)? Don’t ask me – I got a score of zero!

* See halfway down linked article for an explanation of that phrase.


p.s. The Headline/Title/Subject is a reference to Helter Skelter, a book about the Manson murders. The title comes from the fact that Charles Manson saw the Beatles’ song of the same name as a prophecy of a race war to come in the future (it was in fact about an amusement park ride).

Gaming on Speed

Via Creation Robot, the Speed Demos Archive, where you can download video captures of gamers playing games at top speeds. It’s a great resource if you’re stuck on a game (one of the ones they have online, at least), and want to see how to get past a part as quickly as possible. I picked out some interesting ones…

Quick Shots:
Marble Madness for NES (0:03:13)
Jurassic Park for Genesis (0:03:33)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for NES (0:03:35)
Jaws for NES (0:04:48)
Super Mario Bros. for NES (0:05:06)

Surprisingly short:
Mega Man: The Power Battle for GCN/PS2/Xbox (0:05:08)
Morrowind, The Elder Scrolls III for PC (0:07:30)
Metroid for NES (0:18:35)

Long Hauls:
Zelda: The Wind Waker, The Legend of for GameCube (6:42:xx)
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door for GameCube (7:11:xx)
Chrono Cross for PlayStation (7:55:08)

Surprisingly long:
Mega Man X: Command Mission for PS2/GCN (5:46:xx)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for PlayStation 2 (7:46:xx)


Funky Gadgets

Wired’s Gear Factor has had some cool gadget reviews recently:
1) A car specially designed for handicapped drivers here.
2) A lawn chair made of… lawn here.
3) A wall safe that’s much more fit for the age of technology than a stuffy old painting here.