Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CapitalOne Bank: I use a CapitalOne Visa Card when I go overseas, as perhaps uniquely among credit cards, it doesn't charge a 3% currency conversion fee. Calling them to talk about a future trip resulted in my discovering that they now have most of their VISA call centers in India. One day soon that fact that may do as much for them as paying bonuses did for AIG. Luckily they have a (formerly) secret number that only reaches stateside VISA call center(s) 800-819-2222; and if you need to call from outside the United States the unadvertised number for that is 800-847-2911

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ATT / DirecTv combined billing: Allegedly one gets a monthly credit if one allows ATT to bill them for their DirecTv.

Seems like the biggest scam going. AT&T just wants to get customers on the phone to try and upsell them to a Wireless Unity Plan, or a Wireline Long Distance Plan, or even U-Verse.

Then they'll find some reason why you don't qualify for a combined billing discount, which a quick Google of ATT Combined Billing shows can cause more grief than you can imagine, as the combined billing makes it near impossible to correct billing errors in the individual ATT components as what ever rep you talk to wont have access to whatever database you need them to connect to.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DirecTv screws up: The night of March 21, 2009, it "told" DVRs that it was July 14, 2009, which of course screwed scheduled recordings. First news report here.

Waiting now to see what compensation they give out for that. So far nothing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Whither Q-Tips - Unilever sells Q-Tips in the refillable plastic Vanity Pack - .

One minor issue. They have stopped making and selling the refill packs. So is it false advertising and a deceptive trade practice to still call it refillable?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I don't have this kind of trouble on a Macintosh : Went to scan a 60 year old letter to a PDF while in Windows XP, and my HP 5280 wouldn't let me, saying it needed the missing scan.msi file. So I searched my Hard Drive in both the XP Install and Vista Install with no luck, so I had to uninstall all the HP software for the 5280, and reinstall it (making sure to use the "Advanced/Manual" setting so it didn't install Bloatware of Yahoo Toolbar or HP Store), about an hour's task to get everything working as it should. I should mention that HP will send you a replacement of the 2007 version of the Install CD for free, but doesn't have an Install CD with the most current drivers. That I went and created myself last year.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bye - bye eBay and Paypal - I was selling my old laptop, an Apple Powerbook Pismo, that I had blogged about upgrading almost exactly a year ago (my February 26, 2008 Post). Someone won the bidding, and instantly shot me a payment via Paypal. Paypal put a 21 day hold on the funds "to protect the buyer?", more likely so they can earn interest on the float IMHO. For a $3000 computer from a new seller, a hold might make sense, but for an under $300 computer sold by a seller with a 100% eBay record with 63 feedbacks over 9 years??? I objected, Paypal was arrogant, so I refunded the buyers' money and quit Paypal and eBay. Paypal already charges a service fee for handling one's money, and makes no effort to pay you back the Interest they earn while holding your money.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Norton misses one: I must have been to a bad web site, as my computer's Windows XP got infected, and Norton Internet Security 2008 never saw it. Even their online database still today doesn't contain svchostw.exe. Luckily, using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware the problem was found. It reported:

Registry Data Items Infected:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Shell (Hijack.Shell) -> Bad: (Explorer.exe svchostw.exe) Good: (Explorer.exe) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.

The Registry was fixed, and the offending file (svchostw.exe) deleted. Then I had to reapply Windows XP Service Pack 3 to my Windows XP to get Windows to start the Desktop on Bootup (rather than my manually starting it every time from the Task Manager (C:\Windows\explorer.exe)). Then a couple of Windows Security patches from Microsoft update to apply as SP3 had apparently undone them. All seems well now?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

MS Windows Vista : Service Pack 2 Release Candidate is available for download now. HERE

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Solving Windows Grief: I like the Intel CPU in the current generation of Macintosh computers as it allows one to also run Windows on those devices. I was having grief with Windows XP in one such scenario. It wasn't allowing Windows Security updates to download and install. I vaguely recall reading someone suggesting it had to do with installing Windows Service Pack 3 before allowing some other updates to occur to a Windows XP SP2 installation. In any event I finally tracked down instructions for fixing the problem here: Not exactly easy or intuitive, but it solved the problem, and now I don't have to manually install every patch one at a time from Microsoft, when sometimes even knowing you wanted the patch for KB951847 wasn't good enough to find the download.

Monday, March 09, 2009

MacBook: I am now the proud owner of a "2009 White MacBook", which I love. I've already upgraded the memory and hard disk in it; and it's running Mac OS 10.5.6, as well as Windows XP SP3, and Windows 7 RC1 under Parallels.