Category Archives: Compooting

Commentary on compooters and related technology; internet web portals.

Dell Hell

Has the once-venerable Dell slid into the slime pit or is this just another case of sour-grapes consumers using the lawsuit lottery to get rich quick?

Two Dell customers in California have sued the computer company in a
class action suit. The plaintiffs allege that Dell didn’t deliver the
systems promised, and the suit also names CIT Bank, which handles
credit agreements for Dell Financing, as well as Dell Financing
itself. One plaintiff alleges that a laptop advertised for $599 and
an $89 printer, cost her over $1,300. Another claims that Dell
supplied two PCs of an inferior specification to that ordered. One of
the two law firms representing the plaintiffs said it has
investigated over a hundred complaints since August. The suit cites
violation of two California state laws, the Consumer Legal Remedies
Act and the Unruh Act. Law firms Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman
& Robbins in San Diego, and Jeffrey Keller in San Francisco will
handle the litigation. Dell declined to comment. [read more]

Come See the Samurai

Samurai Web Cam--click for the latest shotI just got one of those cool web cams, you know, those X-10’s that you see in popup ads everywhere you go on the web? Yeah, one o’ those. Well, I finally broke down and bought one. It was easy to set up and seems to work pretty well. I have it set up here on top of my monitor, taking pictures while I’m working. Here, check out the latest shot from the live Samurai Web Cam.

See you later.

New and Improved Sounds at Fixitnow.com

sfdfgsdfgsdf wrote:

the sound on your website is REALLY F*CKING ANNOYING. do YOU like it when websites have really long annoying sounds when you go to them? didnt think so.

_______________________________

Message sent from IP: 68.33.109.109

It’s exactly this kind of constructive criticism that enables us continually to refine the unique user experience we strive to achieve here at Fixitnow.com. Based on this email, we’ve made some modifications to our website’s sound system. Play the clip below to hear the pleasing new sound that will play on each and every page of this website to enhance your user experience:

Thousands of Spam Accomplices — Revealed!

An article in the paper today announced that a brother and sister in Virginia were convicted yesterday in the nation’s first felony prosecution of spammers. The brother was sentenced to nine years in prison! Like most people, I loathe spam, and thus felt no sympathy for these people. But then I read more. One of the items these siblings offered was a fraudulent “FedEx refund processor” that supposedly allowed people to earn $75 an hour while working from home. The article briefly mentioned that in one month alone they received 10,000 credit card orders for the processor at $39.95 each, then went on to other details about their conviction.

Hold on, there! 10,000 people ordered this junk in one month? This is why we have spam! This is why we have telemarketing! Because numnutzes out there actually buy the stuff from them! If spamming and dinner-time sales calls didn’t bring in a profit, they would’ve stopped a long time ago. These are the people we need to target. Instead of spending all this money to prosecute one two-bit pair of spammers, let’s get the customer databases from these guys and publish them in a “Don’t Be a Dufus” educational campaign. I’d love to have the chance to let some of these people know how much I appreciate them supporting the spam industry.

Worst of all, to me, is the utter lack of critical thinking evident in the thousands upon thousands of people who keep these scumbags in business. They have the ability to purchase and operate a computer, but believe all of the bunk that they see on the screen. (Yep, our government schools are doin’ a fine job.) Think of these people the next time you see a celebrity on TV urging “everyone” to go out and vote!

Oodles of Googles

Have you heard about the new Google Desktop search utility? It’s a cool new download from Google that let’s you search your entire hard drive for pictures, web pages, email, MP3’s, documents, or anything else you’re looking for. No more of those frustrating searches using the cloddish file search feature built into Windows in a futile attempt to find that letter you wrote to Aunt Mabel last year. You download this free, nifty little program from desktop.google.com and install it. After it indexes your hard drive, you’ll find that letter to Aunt Mabel in less than a second. Oh, and it gets better…

Google has integrated it into its regular web search. So, let’s say you’ve installed the desktop search program and you go the Google homepage to find a recipe for chocolate-covered cockroaches, just like Momma used to make when you were a kid. Well now, in addition to the web page and image searching, you’ll see a tab to search your desktop right there. So if you’re not finding what you need on the web, you search your desktop and, BAM!, there’s that forgotten recipe for chocolate-covered cockroaches that yo Momma emailed you two years ago.

After I installed this handy utility and was playing around with it, I took a step back and was blown away at how Google has become such an essential, even indispensible part of my internet life. Here’s a list of all the Googlets that I use:

  • Web Search: Google is, hands down, the killer search engine on the web and it’s the one I always trust to give me the best results when searching the web.
  • AdSense for Search: I use Google’ site search as part of its AdSense program. This search utility gives excellent results for on-site searches. As I continue to add content to this website, I find myself increasingly relying on this site search to find things that I wrote last month, last year, whenever.
  • AdSense for Content: This is Google’s revenue-sharing ad program where you place context-relevant ads on your site and has been an extremely significant source of revenue to keep Fixitnow.com going. So, if you see any interesting Google ads while you’re here, feel free to click away and check ’em out!
  • Blogger: This website is published and powered using Blogger. It makes publishing updates quick and painless. You don’t need to buy a webhosting plan because they’ll even host it for free. (I do use a separate host for this website because it gives other benefits like file sharing and email addresses that I wouldn’t have otherwise.) And it’s so easy to use, even my 12-year old daughter maintains a blog. “Push-button publishing for the people.” But, in addition to standard text publishing, Google provides tools for multi-media publishing such as…
  • Audioblogger: This free service lets you make spoken audio posts to your blog. I can be on top of a mountain and phone in an audio post from the summit. Or, sometimes I just call up with a weird noise and write a goofy story to go with it. It gives a whole ‘nother medium to create with. And, of course, no website is complete without pictures. Google has this covered, too…
  • Hello BloggerBot: Yet another freebie that let’s you quickly and easily publish photos. You just pick select the picture on your hard drive or CD that you want to upload and BloggerBot does the rest: uploads it, resizes it, makes a clickable thumbnail that opens a larger view of the picture, does all the HTML for you and then publishes it all to your site. It takes what used to be a tedious half hour task and reduces it all to just a couple clicks and few seconds.
  • Google Toolbar: This is like a Swiss Army knife for your browser. I’ve used this toolbar since it came out over a year ago and use it constantly. I like always having a Google box available right there in my browser for quick searches. The popup blocker initially was extremely effective but the new generation of popups are getting good at faking it out. The other feature it has is a built-in Blog This button that let’s me make posts to my blog on the fly when I’m surfing and come across something noteworthy.
  • Deskbar: Not to be confused with the Desktop Search that I started out talking about, this is a separate utility that goes into the Windows XP toolbar and adds Google search, a dictionary, a thesaurus and other reference utilities to your desktop. The results all open in small, built-in mini-browser. I use the dictionary and thesaurus functions a lot when I’m composing posts.

There are lots of other Googlets but I’ve only listed the ones that I use most often to illustrate just how much my work on the web depends on Google in some way. If anything happens to Google, I’m screwed. I also do a lot of Yahoo’s but I’ll save that for another post.

Come git me, Mother, I’m through.

Now Hear This

The Samurai finally gets hip with the MP3 player revolution. I’ve been wanting to get an MP3 player so I could download and listen to two of my favorite radio shows: Coast to Coast AM and the Phil Hendrie Show. As an online subscriber to both of these shows, I get access to both streamed and MP3 archives of the shows. I used to listen to the streams but got tired of being stuck to the computer if I wanted to hear the shows. The solution: an MP3 player.

Rio Cali Sport:  the Samurai's MP3 playerAfter much hand-wringing over which player to buy and one false start, I ended up buying the Rio Cali. The first player I bought was an Apple iPod. Several things annoyed me about it: the LooneyTunes software did not mesh with my brain, the rechargeable battery drained quickly, it was heavy, expensive ($250), and that damn menu wheel drove me insane. I returned it. I had given up on the whole MP3 player thing when I happened to see the Rio Cali Sport in a Radio Shack at the mall in Concord. It was everything the iPod wasn’t: intuitive to use, lightweight, runs for 18 hours on a single AAA battery (even longer if you use rechargeable NiMH batteries), and over $100 less than the iPod (you can buy ’em for $110 at Amazon). It even has an FM tuner which I use in conjunction with my Sirius satellite radio rig in my van–more about that later. It comes with 256 MB of flash memory which, for my use, is usually more than enough. You can buy an SD card and double the memory for about $25.

The Rio has turned out to be the perfect solution and has even opened up a whole new world of online radio shows to me. If you have an MP3 player and you’re looking for talk radio content to add, here are some sources I’ve been enjoying:


  • Bush/Kerry in '04:  heads they win, tails we lose.The Harry Browne Radio Shows: Harry Browne, a past Libertarian presidential candidate (for whom I voted in the last presidential election), does two excellent radio shows: one is about libertarian philosophy and issues and the other is about investment advice. Both are great listening.
  • The Weekend Interview Show with Scott Horton: A libertarian talk show featuring thought-provoking interviews with prominent libertarians, classical liberals, and traditional conservatives.
  • Ludwig von Mises Media Archives: This is the motherlode of libertarian and free-market teaching. A vast collection of scholarly treatises on all sorts of topics from a free-market, libertarian perspective.
  • WebTalk Radio Show with Rob and Dana Greenlee: An informative and entertaining show about the bleeding edge of the web’s technological evolution.

  • Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church Music Ministry
    : A great collection of some beautiful Orthodox Christian music. I love Byzantine chant and this is the only music I have loaded on my Rio.

Most people probably get an MP3 player to listen to music and the software that comes bundled with ’em is definitely geared toward that. But setting up and maintaining your music library on an MP3 player is a tedious and colossal waste of time, something of which I’m always in short supply. The last thing I wanted to do was eat up more precious time dinking around with music files. I use my Rio to listen to radio shows and lectures. For music, I use Sirius satellite radio. I figure it’s worth a meager $12 a month to have professional DJs put together a great line up of rock n’ roll music for me. (You can get a complete Sirius radio channel guide in pdf format here.) If you’re unfamiliar with satellite radio, check out these articles in the
Crutchfield Advisor
and Wired News for some good background information.

So, I’m sitting here at my computer after midnight, writing this post and jamming on one of the 17 rock channels on Sirius–commercial free! If a song comes on that sucks, I just flip to one of the other channels where, inevitably, I find a song I like and then I go back to pecking on the keyboard. Sometimes this keeps me going until the sun comes up.

But the other cool thing about Sirius is that I have a great selection of news and music, with perfect reception, for those long commutes to the White Mountains. For example, from my home in New London, New Hampshire, it takes two and a half hours to drive to the Wildcat Trailhead on Route 16, south of Gorham. Driving to the Mahoosuc Range in the North Country is at least a three hour drive. Flipping around on Sirius makes the trip seem shorter.

Ah, Classic Vinyl just started playing BTO’s Let It Ride. I’m gonna grab a brewski and kick back a while. Later.

Callgrave Glitches

I use the Callwave (more aptly named, Callgrave) internet answering machine service to run the Toll-free Appliance Repair Hotline. Here’s a heads-up on a glitch I’ve been having with the Callgrave service.

When you call the Toll-free Appliance Repair Hotline phone number, it only rings my phone three times, even though you’ll hear it ring in your phone more than that. But if I don’t answer the phone within the first three rings, Callgrave stops ringing my phone and I lose the ability to answer your call at my cell phone. This means there’s a lower likelihood of my answering your call in-person and and you’ll have to leave a message for me to call you back.

I’ve contacted Callgrave about this problem but, as you might expect, I got a canned reply that didn’t even address my problem, as though the Customer Disservice Rep at Callgrave just scanned my email and pigeon-holed it into the wrong problem category.

So, until I finally get someone at Callgrave with an attention span long enough to read more than a single sentence, we’ll have to put up with this diminished level of service. But, be persistent and, as we sing in that time-honored spiritual, “We shall overcome!”

Mailbag: Replacing a Computer Clock Battery

leroy william skees wrote:

as a part of a deal an old “infinity 2000″ computer main
box was thrown in. if the thing has a clock battery i can not quickly
see it. please help me here. looking inside through the open side
after lifting off the cover is the battery in the center some where,
north, south east west, get it? is it hidden under some small plastic
cover or is it not the usual type of clock battery?

thanks.

qetmbogh lond

_______________________________
The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP: 207.68.120.81

The subject is interpolated into a semiotic subtextual theory that includes sexuality as a totality. Thus, la Tournier implies that we have to choose between Debordist situation and the neodialectic paradigm of context. Bataille uses the term ‘semiotic subtextual theory’ to denote the common ground between language and sexual identity. In a sense, if postcapitalist theory holds, we have to choose between semiotic subtextual theory and deconstructive subcultural theory.

Hope this helps!

P.S. – We’re an appliance repair website; we help people do their laundry, cooking, and stuff like that. As such, I don’t know much about the inner workings of computers, just that I use them to help people fix their broken appliances. Even still, I enjoyed answering your question as it somehow evoked my academic studies in political philosophy. Domo!

Fixitnow.com Makes the Big Time

One gauge of a website’s success is when hacks and feebs start spoofing your site. “Spoofing” is when some semi-literate, pimply-faced, pencil-necked geeks send out spam fraudulently representing themselves as an established website with which they have no relationship whatsoever. Happens all the time to the big boys like Pay Pal and Yahoo. Well, I guess Fixitnow.com has finally made the Big Time…or at least big enough to get on some punk’s radar screen. I received this email today:

support@fixitnow.com wrote:

Dear user, the management of Fixitnow.com mailing system wants to let you know that,

We warn you about some attacks on your e-mail account. Your computer may
contain viruses, in order to keep your computer and e-mail account safe,
please, follow the instructions.

For details see the attach.

Attached file protected with the password for security reasons. Password is 08405.

The Management,
The Fixitnow.com team http://www.fixitnow.com

> ATTACHMENT part 2 application/octet-stream name=Info.zip

If you get this same email, or something similar, purporting to be from Fixitnow.com and asking you to open the attached ZIP file, please report it to your email provider or ISP and then delete it. Do not open the ZIP file–it’s a worm. It is not from Fixitnow.com, it’s from scum-sucking losers in Malaysia or some other third-world pisshole.

More fun facts to know and tell. If you get an email from Fixitnow.com, it’ll be from me, not “The Management.” How lame is that? I mean, does anyone in Ameedica really sign their emails, “The Management.” Second, there ain’t no “Management” at Fixitnow.com–there’s just me, Samurai Appliance Repair Man, and Mrs. Samurai. Period. Further, I would never have any reason to send along an attachment called “info.zip.” Finally, Fixitnow.com is a do-it-yourself appliance repair website. My expertise and interest is in helping you fix your major home appliances–I couldn’t care less about viruses in your email and I sure as hell wouldn’t waste my time sending you email about it.

Y’know, you’d think the internet has been around long enough that people would know better than to just dutifully open attachments “‘cuz the email said to.” But, I guess there are enough ignoramuses out there to keep the virus breeders and worm farmers in bidness. Now read and learn the Samurai’s Cardinal Rule for Email Safety: never open an attachment from anyone, even people you know, unless: 1) you’ve asked for the file and are expecting it and 2) you scan it with an up-to-date virus scanner before opening it. Good web-based email providers, like Yahoo Mail (my personal favorite), have built-in virus scanning and automatically scan all incoming email and attachments prior to downloading. The internet is a big, mean, dirty neighborhood–lock n’ load before you surf.

Beware of Net2phone!

Here’s a warning to anyone considering installing the Net2phone internet telephone software on your computer. If you really want to jump into the internet telephone craze, the so-called VoIP method of making phone calls from your computer, heed this warning well. If you feel compelled to see what all the hoopla is about, use Skype.com. It’s a well-behaved program, phone calls to other Skype users are free, and sound quality is excellent…unlike Net2phone on all counts. You can call me on Skype, my username is Zenzoidman. Ok, talk to you later.

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Google Deskbar

This is one of those tools that rivals the usefulness of a beer bottle opener on your key ring: the Google Deskbar.

If you’re not Googling when you search the web, well, you just ain’t searching the web. Plain n’ simple. But aside from being the most comprehensive search engine, I use Google for all kinds of stuff: spell checking, thesaurus, news, looking for images…I mean, if it’s happening on the web, it’s happening on Google. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that it ain’t happenin’ on the web unless it’s happenin’ on Google. Yeah, that’s it.

So, anyway, back to the Google Deskbar. Not to be confused with the Google Toolbar that fits sveltly into our browser so Google is always there for a quick search while we’re surfing. The Deskbar is kinda the same idea except they cut the umbilical to Internet Explorer. Now you can have Google built right into your desktop toolbar. Ya hey, you don’t even need to open a browser to Google something. For those of us on a broadband connection (and if’n you ain’t, you awwta be, suckah!), it’s Google-manna from heaven.

Ok, happy Googling!

Forum Problems

Several members of the Appliantology Group have reported that they’re unable to post in the repair forum. I’ve sent a bug report to Microslop and am hoping to resolve this soon. In the meantime, if you have an appliance repair question, email me using the Live Person box in the right-hand column and I’ll help you via email.

Samurai Web Cam

Samurai Web Cam--click for the latest shotI just got one of those cool web cams, you know, those X-10’s that you see in popup ads everywhere you go on the web? Yeah, one o’ those. Well, I finally broke down and bought one. It was easy to set up and seems to work pretty well. I have it set up here on top of my monitor, taking pictures while I’m working. Here, check out the latest shot from the live Samurai Web Cam.

See you later.