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User Journal

Journal Journal: Where to post new JEs? 9

I'm looking to post more JEs, but not here on slashdot, it just isn't my style anymore. I'm thinking of using Blogger or Wordpress, or whatever fits my style. First thing to be looked for is preview showing me the editable copy without me having to go to another page to edit it, like it used to be here. Any ideas?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rift

RIFT is holding a special Allies of the Ascended event. As my chosen ally, you can use this code to join me during the dates below, free of charge! Heed my call, and together we shall battle the Blood Storm!

Event Dates
10am PDT April 8, 2011 through 10am PDT April 11, 2011
Ally Code

ZDHM-R9WC-MLT9-ZNG9-MCJM

Visit www.RIFTgame.com/en/ally instructions on how to apply your Ally Code and to download the RIFT patcher.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Introtext and title cannot be empty. 10

Decided i should write a JE just to let people know i'm here. But i kept holding off. Seeing the new slashdot design, i'm glad i did. Not only is it ugly, it's hard to find anything. Oh well. Computers are passing me by. I don't care about these sorts of things anymore. First it was MTV, now Slashdot. Guess i'm finally over the hill.

Anyway, just went to google to search for "average gestation first pregnancy". First link was wikipedia, so i clicked and was greeted by a picture of a naked pregnant woman. Absolutely disgusting. I ranted in the past about the circumcision picture (i'd link to it, but i'm too lazy to figure out how to find the full JE listing in the re-design). Wikipedia has an agenda. I don't care who or what. Of course i'm wrong, just ignore me, i'm a loser who likes to rant.

I've been playing Rift. I canceled by subscription (Tomorrow would be the first month they charge for, game opened last month with one-month included in purchase price). As a keyboarder, i find the mouse use too much. I was hurting my back reaching for it. It's a young game, i know. They're fixing things, i know. You need a mouse for games like this, i know. Nonetheless, the fact is my back was hurting. The AH and mail system are a pain to use extensively, and they do not allow add-ons. Also, PvP was fun at first (i'm horrible at PvP, i always lose, and yet i liked it in this game) but after level 20 it was all about the stuns (baby). So, i'm back to being horrible at PvP at don't like it. And Stonefield was drabby and the rain just made me not want to play the area. They did a great job on Sanctum and Meridian, stupid design, but it did look real nice. Silverwood and Freemarch were nice, but all the other areas were blah. Not interested.

The clincher was the 1.1 patch. What did it add? More rifts. Yay! And more scantily clad female NPCs. I mean, really. Of course the head of the Defiants, the strongest women in the game, doesn't wear too much armor. And why do traveling merchants need clothes? Alsbeth, she's dead already. Dead people don't need clothes. Unless they're male, they grow clothes, naturally, of course.

Rift is a pretty cool game and has a lot of potential. It's definitely worth checking out, and i have a good feeling the developers are going to make it better, as they have been doing so far. It's likely i'll come back to the game soon enough, but for now, i'm taking a break.

So, that's that. I'm still following JE titles in email, interesting/informative titles might get read, which means i ignore 99% of the JEs i see, which is almost nothing nowadays anyway. If i read it, i'll almost always try to give you a moo, unless you're being useless or disgusting. I'm a cranky old man and best left ignored.

Anyone want to purchase a 3 digit uid? :P

[Arg! Can't see the edit text and preview at the same time? What sort of idiots are designing these things anyway?! Well, that pretty much settles it. Don't expect anymore JEs from me. It's just too frustrating. Sorry about the quality of this JE. This interface is not inviting.

Where's my typewriter anyway?)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Got an EKG (4) 4

Went back to the doctor to check on my cholesterol. After about four months, my weight dropped from 186 to 153 (might have taken my shows off last time, however) to the point where after comparing the nurse weighed me a second time. Then a small conversation ensued, basically: "How do you lose all that weight?" "Eat less." "Fair enough." I'm also down to a 38" waist from 44 +/-2, so things are looking good.

On the cholesterol front, all the readings dropped: Total from 230 to 134, HDL from 56 to 32, LDL from 149 to 78, and triglycerides from 124 to 120. So, all is good except the lower HDL score. The doctor ought to be calling to discus the results this evening.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Question: Excel: Edited Hebrew is reversed on reopen. 5

Someone just asked me about Excel. She works on a sheet that has English and Hebrew words. If she edits any existing Hebrew entries, or enters any Hebrew herself, when she reopens the file the Hebrew letters show up in reverse order (Hebrew is RTL). Any idea what could be wrong?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Mother's computer slows down or freezes (2) 2

Continuing on my mother's computer , i took Com2kid's, Cyberdyne's, and Bill Dog's advice, and checked PIO Mode. I had no idea how to check what mode it was in, but it was set to "DMA if possible". A little googling and checking the registry, i reset the error counts, rebooted and all was better. Thanx!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Whitelist at local organization

Continuing the support of a local organization's computers, we're implementing a whitelist. The office itself uses B-Secure. But an open computer implements a whitelist which is desired by the users as well.

IE was blocked following what the last guy did, by setting up a bogus proxy.

I installed Firefox and started using ProCon Latte. It does the job mostly, but, it's per user (perhaps i installed it wrong?), if a whitelist is used a blacklist cannot also be used (to block out some aspects of an allowed site), and the list has no order.

To implement a blacklist to remove some specific pages i installed some filter (i don't remember offhand, i'm guessing it was FoxFilter).

Google is blocked, but can be gotten to via maps.google.com which is allowed. That was fine until Google added the sidebar. Images and videos can be quite inappropriate and needs to be blocked. But because of the way google shows the images, adblock seems ineffective. Gmail is also allowed and uses google.com for login, so google.com itself cannot be blocked.

To block the sidebar, i installed greasemoney and a script i found online. That worked for a bit until the links showed up on top of the google page as well.

Currently, there's over 100 sites allowed, and there is an approval process in place to allow more, as required. People who might not use the Internet otherwise are ok with this computer, so there's positive progress being made.

There's mainly one user on the computer. But there are three others as well. One for kids to play games (no Internet access allowed), one for a another person with more applications, and one for the admin. I wanted to remove the kid's login, but that's a no go as it's for the office admins kids. It's workable though.

I can block all image from google via Firefox itself. But that removes even the google logo itself, which is not a desirable option.

I'd really like a better more manageable solution. The ideal solution would work for all users, allows both a whitelist and a blacklist simultaneously, organize the list (alphabetically or the like), handles the bookmarks as well (otherwise each site must be managed in two places), and handles google's images.

I'm neither for nor against this form of filtering. I do, however, want to help them reach their goal.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Mother's computer slows down or freezes 6

Well, my mother's computer runs slow or freezes now and then. Also the mouse periodically jumps around. Ignoring the mouse issue, i decided to check out the slow downs.

There were some slowdowns on startup, and after then when IE was running. IE running slow is probably what most people consider XP's sluggishness.

Uninstalled old programs, removed startup items via Autoruns, and checked out processor time in Process Explorer. The slowdowns are hardware interrupts which means drivers(, hardware settings,) or hardware.

Disabling or unplugging hardware made no difference. Shutting IE8 made all the difference. My guess is its the hard drive. Windows is notorious for thrashing the HD on startup and IE isn't too good either. Firefox had the issue to a lesser extent.

To verify this, i'd have to disable the HD. So i'm not quite sure how to continue. I could just get a new HD, but i could be wrong and just wasted $100 or whatever. I'm debating whether booting off a USB key of CD would make sense as a test.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Verbiage: Options for new toner. 2

My Printer, an HP LaserJet P1006 is low on toner. Pages are coming up partially blank, or at least close to it, and the driver issued the warning. The replacement cartridge is CB435A.

Replace toner with a chip, is just under $20, a knock-off cartridge is slightly more. The few comments i have read say the knockoffs are never perfect.

HP has one at $67.99 or two at 121.99.

Amazon has the Dual Pack at $108.30 (it was $106.18 moments ago, reloading that tab also shows the new price), which has a $15 credit toward a next Amazon purchase. I use Amazon often enough to consider that a real $15. This means it's 2 at $93.30, or $46.65 each.

The Amazon price would be approximately twice the knock-off price, and i would have to buy two, which i don't go through too often.

Ebay has a few listed for about $53 with free shipping.

Buying the two pack on Amazon and selling the second on Ebay, sounds interesting. Assuming shipping is $4.90 though, (My cartridge weighs 18.25 ounces. Parcel Post prices for not-over-two-pounds to zones 1 and 2 is $4.90) making the total $51.55, leaving a dollar or two profit. Considering ebay's final value fees of 9%, however, makes it non-profitable even before ebay's listing fees and ebay's paypal fees.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Bought Google Voice Invites on ebay (2) 1

Continuing my ebay saga, i started a thread in the ebay forums and got just one real reply. Quickly checking another thread, i figured the guy just has a bad attitude. So, i opened chatted with ebay support, and Tabatha told me to open a case. I did just that. The seller offered a compromise, i rejected because it wasn't 50/50. We decided to escalate, and ebay decided in my favor. Here's the text (sans phone number) from the resolution center.

Jun 30, 2010 at 4:10 PM eBay Customer Support has opened a case for you.The seller has 7 days to respond.
Details you provided:
The item doesn't match the seller's description.
You have tried contacting the seller
You paid on Jun 28, 2010
You have issues with 10 items in the order
You contacted the seller through eBay Messages
The seller has responded to you
The seller isn't working with you to solve the problem
You entered the phone number xxxxxxxxxx
We will not share your phone number with the seller.
The buyer said the item is unusable
Additional information:
"I bought 10 google voice invites for $1.25. I paid right away via paypal.) Moments after i bought it i realized Google Voice has been open for a week, and thus invites are useless links now. I messaged the seller about this and asked for a refund. He sent the invites and responded that he sent them and i was paying for his waiting time. He explained that he did not know google voice was open now. Our entire conversation was through ebay. He was courteous. I'd like to get ebay's opinion on this. In short, i made a stupid mistake. He is selling bogus invites."
You wanted:
A full refund

Jun 30, 2010 at 8:42 PM The seller has offered you a partial refund of $5.00.
Refund information:
The seller offered a partial refund of $5.00 that will be issued through PayPal within 3 days if you accept the offer.
Seller's note:
"I feel we both should share responsibility. I delivered what I listed. I waited a long time for these, and they were sent in a timely manner. With that said, I'm willing to give you a partial refund. I think this is a fair solution."

Jun 30, 2010 at 8:48 PM You have responded to the seller.
Your message to the seller:
"I think i can accept that we share the responsibility here. But let's make it 50/50. The cost was $12.50, so half would be $6.25. And i will delete the emails you sent to me. (Haven't touch them.)"

Jun 30, 2010 at 9:46 PM The seller has responded to your case with other solution.
Seller's message:
"But I have paypal and ebay fees, you don't. I think my offer is fair. We are arguing over penny's here."

Jul 01, 2010 at 4:46 AM You have responded to the seller.
Your message to the seller:
"In truth, i really think you should refund the whole amount and stop selling these expired invites. This is a compromise. The way i see it, you're making free money by selling no-longer-required invites, i'm losing money for something absolutely useless. I'd like to refuse the offer and have ebay decide. So, if you believe you are in the right, just say so, and i'll have ebay get involved. That's probably be the best option anyway."

Jul 01, 2010 at 6:05 AM The seller has responded to your case with other solution.
Seller's message:
"Have ebay settle it!"

Jul 01, 2010 at 7:15 AM You have escalated the case to eBay Customer Support.
Your message to eBay Customer Support:
"We did not agree on terms. Would like ebay to look at the details and decide."

Jul 01, 2010 at 1:02 PM eBay Customer Support has refunded you through PayPal and the case is closed.
Refund information:
A refund of $12.50 has been issued to your PayPal account. View PayPal transaction
Final decision:
Neither you or the seller were found at the fault.
eBay Customer Support comments:
"You will be issued a refund."

This item was covered for your purchase price plus original shipping. Learn more

Find out more about getting your refund.

The message from ebay support was:

Dear chacham,

We appreciate you contacting eBay in regard to item #180525725741. I
understand it can be very frustrating to have to open case in the
Resolution Center to get a problem resolved , but we truly appreciate
your cooperation. I thank you for your patience and commend you for the
time that you have given the seller to correct this situation.

I have good news! After reviewing the case, due to the value of your
claim as a courtesy to show that we value you as a member, I have
decided to close it in your favor! In this situation, you do not need to
send back the item for this particular claim. We do realize that it can
be frustrating to receive an item that is not as described in the
listing. Rather than have you spend time to send this item back, and
wait for a refund when you have done nothing wrong here, we'd like to do
you a favor to show our appreciation, and issue you a refund today.

Our system will generate an automated email that says the same, but I
wanted to take a few moments and explain our decision in further detail.
You should see the money in your PayPal account within 48 hours. If you
do not have a PayPal account you'll simply need to open one with your
registered eBay email address to claim the refund.

Also, please make sure that the email address on your eBay account is
added and confirmed on your PayPal account. If it is not, you will not
be able to receive the refund.

Here are the steps to confirm your email address with your PayPal
account:
1. Log into your PayPal account at www.paypal.com
2. Hover over the "Profile" link under the "My Account" tab
3. Click on "Add or Edit Email" from the drop-down menu
4. Select your email address and click "Confirm"
5. Check your personal email for an email from PayPal
6. Open the email and follow the instructions to confirm your email
address

Thank you for being a valuable member of the eBay community! I look
forward to assisting you with your many future eBay transactions.

Sincerely,
Rodney G.

eBay Buyer Protection

All in all, ebay seems to have their act together. I'm impressed by this part of their service.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Worked on another computer issue 9

Call #3 of the bunch came an. An elderly lady has a laptop that stopped working, she wanted to connect to the Internet. Her son told her to get an iPad, so she did, but is finding it confusing. She wants to know what to do. I told her to return the iPad.

It's an iPad 3G 16G and it's just past the 14-day return period. She said the store wanted a 10% restocking fee, which would be ~$70. I said i'd look on ebay. I'll wait for a few to end and see what they go for. This is nearly new and with the box and all.

Her needs are to get onto the Internet mostly for studying and research, which means a a few websites. She goes to Florida during the winter, so it and it's Internet connection should be portable. She has used a laptop for some time, so a laptop seems optimal.

Her laptop is over ten years old. It's a P3 (iirc, 600 MHz or so) with 384MB RAM, and a 4GB HD. The laptop has a key for 98/98SE but it's running XP. There's less than 100 MB free on disk, the battery looks like it's shot, and the power cable is a bit loose.

Freed up some 800 MB by deleting, uninstalling, emptying the recycle bin, and lowering the system restore space. With just under a GB free, she ought to be able install an aircard (she had a problem with that in the past) and the low disk warning will go away. That was last night, i'm going to have to get back to her.

I think she needs a new laptop. Her current laptop will work, but it's probably worth a small investment to have a lighter laptop with a working battery. Dell's cheapest new laptop shows $399, same at Newegg. Is there anything cheaper?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Worked on someone else's computer 10

Worked on someone else's computer. It seems that calls like these come in bunches.

She called and asked for three things. Hook up her fax machine, copy outlook files from the old harddrive to new computer, and plug the computer through the surge protector/battery backup.

The fax machine was easy. She had already hooked it up, but it was conflicting with the answering machine. The instructions showed three modes: fax unless voice, voice unless fax, and (i think) choose. After verifying she wanted the second option, i read to her what to do, and she clicked it all on the mini screen. Tested and it worked as desired.

The line conditioner came second. The battery required plugging in on the bottom as the readme had it. It had eight outlets. Three have conditioning and backup, three have only conditioning, and i don't know about the other two. Following the good instructions, i plugged in the monitor and case into the backed-up outlets, and the speakers and printer into the others.

Then came the old files. She's running Windows 7, so i hit Start and didn't see shutdown. Luckily Alt-F4 still works. Checking inside showed SATA HD and DVD drive, which i have as well, but i never dealt with. The old HD was SATA as well and there was an open connector. I actually have no idea what the two cables are for, so i guessed one was data and one was power, the wider one was available, for the smaller one, i grabbed it from the DVD.

Windows found the HD and wanted a reboot. No thanx. Went Start, and typed cmd into the unlabeled text box, which got me a familiar prompt. Dir /s found me the pst files, and i copied them over to c:\oldhd.

Went to Outlook 2010, afte being horrified and the huge buttons on top (and the ugly icon in the taskbar) i went to the menubar and found import. Luckily, that hasn't changed. The file to be imported was over 3GB, which Outlook decided to take 5 minutes to import. After the first import, it did a second import, which imported 512 messages at a time, then started the taskbar over again. 120 minutes remaining, 60 minutes remaining, 45 minutes remaining, 2 minutes remaining, or similar nonsense. Each batch took a minute or so, and after 20,000 messages i decided to leave having absolutely no idea how long it would take.

During this time, i used xcopy to copy all the contents of the old hd to c:\oldhd. It worked fine, except the documents and setting stuff was renamed. So, what used to be c:\doc...\Owner\Documents\ was now something like c:\oldhd\123456_Owner\C\doc...\Owner\Documents. On top of that, Explorer wouldn't show the new directory, and i had to click on the address bar to type it in.

When i left, i told her that when the command window stopped scrolling and outlook finished the import, to run the newly installed Security Essentials. I uninstalled Mcafee which had 10 days left. She called me later to tell me that SE has caught a worm.

I came back in the morning, removed the hd, connected the DVD and put the cover back on. She offered to pay, i refused, so she donated some money to a local synagogue (that i had prayed in that morning).

After everything, one thing is clear to me. I dislike Vista/Windows 7. I dislike Office 2010. Not because they are bad. It's because it changes everything. I know what i want to do, and i know how to find it. But, why the big ugly toolbar? Why the big ugly icons? Why do applications seem slower on faster machines? Why hide directories? Why move around the start menu? Sure, i can probably customize it, but really, why? Eventually, i'm sure i'm going to be stuck with Windows 7 at some company. I'll probably survive, as long as i have a command window. If worse comes to worse, i can create a bunch of cmd scripts. As for Office, i avoid it as a general rules and use notepad. I can survive it at the end to format everything, if required.

At home, i'm using XP. If that ever ends, i'll probably go back to Linux. Unix command are so much easier once you learn them. And they don't change.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Reoved virii from local organization's computer

While supporting a local organization's computers, i remove the offending winsock entries. Lo and behold, they belonged to B-Secure. Things worked a lot better without it (remove the entries, have IE's wizard "fix" the connection) but it noticed it was gone on reboot. So, i killed it again, removed it from startup and things were moving along.

Then came Defense Center. It puts nasty icons on the desktop and wants you to buy into its scam. It runs one process, cleverly disguised as the Windows remote executable (wau something, i forget) and places itself in .exe in the registry. Every application runs it, then it runs your app, but it throws up warnings. Luckily, i had Process Explorer on the system, and watched what was happening. Killing the process did not kill its child, so i was able to get the programs i wanted to run. Security Essentials wasn't doing anything.

Took the hard drive out and connected it to another computer and did a full scan. It cleaned the virii, and i put it back. Still there, but Security Essentials started realizing there was a threat, but failed to remove the actual executable. Even a full scan didn't seem to remove Program Files\Defense Center (i deleted it myself after it *seemed* to have past it in the alphabetical order). But, it did ask to send a copy of it to them, which i did (twice).

I changed the .exe entry, deleted the file (it was in the temp directory), but now executables wouldn't start. To fix that, i used Explorer's Tools\Folder Options\File Types, to reset it as application. Then Security Essentials did a full scan and found no threats.

All in all there were three virii. One master that wasn't really detected, and two children that it caught after the other computer scanned it.

Windows Update installed a few items, .Net 4 and a Security Essentials update. A reboot made Windows want to do a full scan again. Instead, i did a quick scan, reinstalled B-Secure, rebooted, and started a full scan. That's where it is now. I'll have to make sure it restart ok next time.

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