• Dealing with the devil

    Boy (aged 8): Do you like meat better than rice?
    Me: Yes.
    Boy: I’ll trade you my meat for your rice?
    Me: Deal.

    I’m not sure he’s mine, but I’m going to keep him anyway.

  • I do not miss voice mail

    From the New Tech City podcast:

    Voicemail is a default archive of your life. You would miss it if it were gone

    Voice mail is terrible. It’s just another form of spam. I hate it. I also hate phone calls. I’d decline to answer a phone call from someone (everyone) I didn’t want to talk to, and then I’d immediately have another message from them that I needed to deal with.

    You said “you would miss [voice mail] if it were gone”. Wrong. Absolutely wrong. And I know.

    A few years ago I was at my carrier’s store dealing with something and when they finished they asked if there was anything else they could help me with. Without really thinking, I said “yes, get rid of my voice mail account”. She looked shocked, and perhaps a bit concerned about my sanity. She didn’t know if it was possible to do but got on the phone with corporate. I myself didn’t think it was going to be possible, either because of a technical issue, or just a lack of knowledge from the low level tech support I’m use to getting, but only a few minutes I was told I no longer had a voice mail account.

    It’s been amazing. If you call me, my phone will just ring and ring like an old land line. If I decline your call, you get cut off. It is one less inbox I have to check. One less “to do” list cluttering up my already too cluttered life. My life is so much more peaceful.

    If only I could get rid of my USPS address.

  • Shopping cycle

    1. Search internet for reviews of certain product I need.
    2. Based on reviews and my specific need, determine product I want.
    3. Check if product is on Amazon.
    4. If so, victory. Fin.
    5. If not, go to company’s website.
    6. Struggle through a horribly designed check out process, declining to create an account and sign up for their newsletter.
    7. Two weeks later, use PaperKarma to unsubscribe from their snail mail magazine.
    8. Hate myself for ordering something not from Amazon.
  • It's about ethics in web browsing

    I do not have a problem with advertising. I have a problem with loud, grotesque, ugly, distracting, and insulting advertising. A testimonial ad for Backblaze on a tech podcast by a fussy developer who uses Backblaze is great. A loud, obnoxious, misleading, and outright dishonest advertisement for colloidal silver is disgusting.

    I choose to avoid all such advertising. In the cesspool of the internet, one tool I use for this is an ad blocker. I should not have to go to a webpage and see the ugly ads before choosing to close the webpage as the damage is already done. I also don’t wait for someone to steal from me before putting a password on my computer. Pre-emptive is an acceptable policy position.1

    I completely understand if a content generator says he would rather I don’t view his website if I am using an ad blocker. In such a case, I will either choose to turn off the ad blocker, or not view his website. I know of at least two websites that do test for ad blockers and will not display their content if one is detected.2 I respect that. One of those sites, I have white listed. The other I have not.

    Preferring to pay for content and only be exposed to tasteful advertisements is a logical, consistent, and respectful way to live.

    Update: A friend sent me this:

    Sometimes OkCupid runs this ad for free users using adblockers. Only other way to block ads is to sign up for the monthly pro service. There are some “pro” features but you can get by forever with free.

    This is totally fair. I have no idea what the normal ads are on Ok Cupid, so I don’t know if I’d prefer the ads or not, but if I was in the dating world, which hopefully will never, ever, happen again, I’d pay the money.

    Update 2: He sent me a follow up:

    I think the ads on OkCupid were pretty awful, which is probably why I got an adblocker in the first place.

    1. One Twitter user tested my consistency by querying if I watch TV and subscribe to magazines. I do not subscribe and do not have cable, but I do not understand the connection. Who doesn’t use the commercials to grab a drink or snack, or go to the bathroom. I do not think starting to watch a TV show is a contract to sit chained to the couch and watch each ad intently.

    2. Unfortunately, I’ve had Hulu repeatedly tell me I’m using an ad blocker when I’m not. I browse the web with Safari, which has the ad blocker, and watch Hulu with Chrome, which doesn’t.

  • Tile support fail

    I was looking forward to the Tile.

    Sadly, it was dead on arrival. g I went to their website and did all the trouble shooting activities they recommended, and being the “tech guy” in my social circle I tried several other things, all to no avail.

    I sent several requests for help to them on their website.

    They finally replied to me… 16 days later.

    with the exact same information on the website that I’d already done.

    I informed them that this didn’t work.

    Their response was report the same issue, again, in the app?

    This seemed very strange but I thought perhaps there is some extra data that is sent with the in-app report.

    They replied 12 days later with a completely different ticket number and “activation tips”.

    This is ridiculous. I get better service at the DMV.

  • Only 6 months to go

    Do you have any questions about the new baby?

    Boy (age 8): No!

    Are you annoyed about something?

    Boy: I’m annoyed you keep asking.

    I just want to make sure you’re comfortable with everything.

    Boy: I’m not comfortable with anything.

    What aren’t you comfortable with?

    Boy: It’s been three months and we don’t have a name or a room for the baby.

  • Parenting

    Boy (age 9): Dad, can you make me a sandwich?

    I’m not always going to be around to make you sandwiches, tie your shoes, and kill your zombies. You need to learn to do these things on your own.

    Boy: I can tie my shoes and kill zombies. It’s just a sandwich.

  • Does Dr. Google take my insurance?

    A secretary walks up to my nurse and starts complaining about a minor symptom. My nurse gives her excellent advice. The secretary expresses doubt and starts to argue. I interject that the advice is excellent and should be tried. The secretary counters that she had done a Google search.

    Having become accustomed to this response from patients and family alike, the board certified physician and license nurse both shrug and go back to work.

    Expertise is dead.

  • The Tile - Dead on Arrival

    I ordered the Tile, a BTLE internet-enabled device designed to help you find lost items, to attach to my keys so I can avoid the occasional panic on Monday morning when I can’t find them.

    After waiting a ridiculously long time to arrive, it was unresponsive out of the box. I followed all the trouble shooting ideas on their website without success. I emailed support and have gotten no reply.

    Tile: ★☆☆☆☆

  • FTC sues AT&T over throttling "Unlimited" data plans

    I am not a big fan of class action lawsuits in general because it appears that the only ones who really benefit at the lawyers. Maybe I’m wrong because I’m pretty happy about this:

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States today filed a federal court complaint against AT&T, accusing the carrier of misleading its smartphone customers by charging them for unlimited data while reducing their data speeds by up to 90 percent. - MacRumors

    I had one of those “unlimited” plans and AT&T sent rude text messages threatening to throttle me and then eventually did. I was using just over 2 gigabytes a month. I switched to Sprint.

    The FTC alleges that AT&T throttled customers who had used as little as 2GB of data beginning in 2011, and that the throttling is severe, “resulting in speed reductions of 80 to 90 percent for affected users.” AT&T is said to have throttled 3.5 million customers more than 25 million times, violating the FTC Act in the process. - MacRumors