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It's snowing at a rate of $30/hour

A quick entry today about some tech-related stuff…

  • I recently discovered that I had been slammed back in September — someone changed my long distance provider to Sprint without my knowledge. When I called Sprint to fix the situation, they were quite helpful — the attendant confirmed all the charges that I had seen and sent all the information to some investigatory department (I should hear back in 20 business days… seems like a long time). She said that it looked like someone had bought a Sprint cell phone at a Radio Shack and put down my home phone number as their number and asked to have their long distance switched to Sprint. I asked her if this was the newest way of slamming people or whether it looked like someone made an honest mistake. She said it looked like a mistake. Hmm. I’m dubious, because the name on the account wasn’t mine and the address was “similar but different” (i.e., on my street, but the number was backwards). I suppose that it’s certainly possible that someone randomly put down a phone number that just happened to be mine and a jumbled address that was remarkably similar to mine… perhaps even one of my neighbors on my street (she obviously couldn’t tell me the name for privacy reasons). But it still seems awfully coincidental. We’ll see what Sprint reports back to me — hopefully, at a minimum, I’ll get a refund of the costs involved with switching to Sprint (!) and the difference in their long distance rates vs. what I was paying before I was slammed (yes, I was getting worse long distance rates with Sprint).
  • I got a new headset for my cell phone. I like it much better than my old one. It’s a little in-ear thingy with a short, noise-cancelling boom mike (the kind that doesn’t come out beyond your cheekbone). Yummy.
  • We just switched my church over to a Windoze domain (they had previously been doing just peer-to-peer stuff with a central file server before). All in all, it’s been a good transition, but there have been a million tiny “gotchas.” The same procedure applied to 13 machines has yielded different results on all of them — every one failed in different ways (keep in mind that they are fairly well-controlled machines; none of the users have administrative privlidges). This is perhaps what I had about Windows most: the lack of repeatability.
  • I’ve found at least one, and possibly two software bugs in my maxivan. The first is quite repeatable (I tried several times in the Kroger parking lot to ensure that I wasn’t imagining things). Do the following steps:
    • Insert key and turn on the car
    • Wait 4 seconds
    • Switch into reverse
    • Backup for 4 seconds (not sure if moving is actually necessary, or just being in reverse)
    • Switch into drive
    • The rear-view camera may stay on for several seconds more, but the map disclaimer will eventually come up. Click on ok, and you’ll be taken to the map. From here on our, the “Audio” button is non-functional — you can’t get to the stereo screen.
  • I haven’t taken the time to make the second bug repeatable yet, but it has happened to me multiple times: if I turn on the car and the CD starts playing (i.e., the CD was playing the last time the car was turned on), when I go to the audio screen, I can’t use the touchscreen to move away from the CD (e.g., to switch to XM radio). I can push all the mode buttons (FM, AM, XM, etc.), and the push clearly registers on the screen (i.e., the button changes color like it was selected), but then the button unselects itself and goes back to CD (the CD is playing uninterrupted the whole time). The “mode” button on the steering wheel seems to be the only way to change out of the CD player (note: I haven’t tried with the backup stereo controls, nor the back seat stereo controls). Need a little more testing to nail this one down, actually.
  • I got the weirdest message from Norton Anti-Virus on my mac the other day (many ask: “why do you bother to have anti-virus on an OSX machine, anyway?” After this message, I’m not sure!): “Norton AntiVirus AutoProtect could not continue. Please reinstall Norton AntiVirus and restart.” Here’s my response: “Dear Norton: PC users may be used to this crap, but I am not. If you stop working for no apparent reason (I hadn’t done anything to Norton when this message suddently appeared on my screen), then I won’t use you. Buh-bye.”


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 22, 2004 5:28 PM.

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