Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hydrox ! : Hydrox cookies are now available again, although maybe only for a short time. Two links tell the whole story: Wikipedia and the manufacturer's own website. My review is as follows:

A local store (Randalls) has them advertised at two for $5, the regular price will be $3.59 per package, and they come in a 14 oz package, smaller than original. My son sight unseen distrusts them as transfats have been removed and believes they can't have the same mouth feel. My taste test is as follows. They taste 100% like I remember Hydrox, although the creme filling is softer and slightly more squishy than the original. This can easily be taken care of by storing one's Hydrox in a refrigerator. I give them an A-, my son may give them a different grade.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

AT&T cant even do rip offs right:
It's a scandal that cell phones are sold for a 2 year contract, but
only carry a 1 year warranty, and commonly batteries WILL NOT LAST 2

So at 15 months age I discover my batteries lasting barely
longer than 1 day, but when new they lasted 4 days.

For a Sony/Ericsson w300i, the ATT website says a replacement Lithium
battery is $59.99 but they are out of stock.

At w300i batteries are $4.17 and in stock.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Citibank Screw Up - A few months back I got a Citibank at&t Universal Savings Rewards MasterCard. The hook is: all at&t purchases matched by any other charge get a 5% credit. ie. If your Cellular bill is $100 and you charged another $100 that month, you get a 5% credit in your card; and for the first year, you'd get a bonus 5%.

All went well the first few months, and I got 10% off. Then apparently in August at&t changed how the charges were submitted to Citibank. They were no longer submitted as "Cingular" which the Citibank computer knew was an at&t charge. It's now submitted as ATTM,
for at&t mobile, which Citibank didn't program its computer to recognize as an at&t charge; as no credits are issued.

I am hopeful that by going public Citibank will correct this error faster and retroactively give credits, rather than wait to see if customers discover the error and call in.

Followup: Two days later I get a call back from the Citibank President's Office, that still wants to blame it on AT&T, but says they're correcting the problem, and an $8.23 credit will appear on my account in 2 or 3 cycles/months. I told them that in the 21st Century, there's no excuse for it to take so long, and if their computer systems are so archaic I need to cancel my account, and I did.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Buying a Prius: Three factors caused me to start seeing about buying a Prius. First my Pontiac Vibe isnt getting any younger. Second Toyota's next generation plug-in hybrid Prius isn't ready for prime time yet, and so the 2009 Prius will be essentially identical to the 2008 models. With gasolene prices now down to $3.50/gallon in Houston, and still dropping, long waiting lists are "melting" away. I identified a dealer that took my deposit for a 2009, put me on his waiting list, and we agreed that I would "only" pay MSRP when it comes in. I was told it might be three to six months. Next day I got to give to the sales manager a piece of my mind when a "Sales Consultant" called me to say that they had a Prius just in, that the person it was inline for declined, and I could have it for $1500 over sticker. I declined and asked that I not be contacted about any Prius they wanted to sell for over sticker (MSRP) price.
I think the dealer is ordering the following. A 2009 Prius Touring in Driftwood Pearl, with Bisque cloth Interior, and option package 3, which includes Deluxe audio system and anti-theft system, Bluetooth, but not DVD Navigation system. Standard now on all but the cheapest Prius is anti-lock brakes, Vehicle Stability System, Cruise control and Backup Camera. All Prius now have more airbags than you thought possible.
I have already ordered Texas specialty license plates KW-82, as 82 Kilowatts is the total output capability of the Hybrid system, so I seem committed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Our DirecTv HR10-250 a TiVo DirecTv receiver decided after Tropical Storm Edouard had passed through that it only had one signal input instead of two. Having recently signed up for Directv Service plan @ $5.95 a month, I figured a simple phone call would save me from a $79.99 (and up) service call to resolve the problem (wiring or Multiplexor, etc). However DirecTv will still charge for a service call in first 30 days of that plan, so I cancelled the Service Call, and set out to solve the problem myself. First I swapped input lines at the receiver, and the problem moved with the cables switched, so I knew it was upstream from the receiver. Then I traced that line around the house, and found some suspect connections, so I bypassed them all with a new longer piece of RG6 wiring, and voila, problem went away. So I went to my local Electronics Supply store and bought RG6 Cable Clips to mount the new piece of wire nicely, and cut it to exact size needed and added a connector (C110-F). All is fine now, and I cancelled the Service Plan, which is free for first 30 days.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Your Microsoft Internet Explorer is unsafe. Story here. Use a safe browser. Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 protect your browsing from websites that will leave malware on your computer.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Microsoft Vista is bad because it is bad. Sorry Microsoft: Microsoft ran a trick demo of Vista, calling it a new OS "Mojave", and only seeing a demo, and not being able to interact with it, users said it seemed good. Microsoft spins that it means people who don't like Vista really haven't used it. WRONG. People who have used MS VISTA, and have not just seen a carefully choreographed demo don't like Vista. The same day Microsoft's trick hit the news, so did this story of Vista being difficult and a way to work around Vista's all too common crashes. Another user of Vista comments here.