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Sometimes it Pays to Procrastinate
May 28th, 2010 by Babs

<div class=\"pavatar\">Sometimes it Pays to Procrastinate</div>

Last month, without warning, I lost my internet connection. Since RCN used to have outages all the time I assumed that’s what it was, however, after two hours I started to get worried. I called Comcast CS. While on eternal hold I started reading the latest statement and discovered that they had been charging me $45 the last two months for not returning a router that I had received from them a month prior to the billing. So now I had two problems.

When I finally got someone they looked up my account, couldn’t understand why I was being billed, but insisted that I wasn’t actually being charged. Never mind that my bill was $90 more than it should be for two months of services. She said she would fix it and then transferred me over to tech support to fix my internet problem.

The woman from tech support was very nice. She quickly checked my connection and isolated the to somewhere in my house. I was about to ask how much it would cost me to have a service call when she asked if I had a Comcast router. I told her “yes” and she said, “I know exactly what your problem is.”

Turns out I ordered my router at the wrong time. Comcast was starting up its whole Xfinity thing and, apparently, a lot of routers ordered during that time were entered as “due to be returned” instead of “shipped out”. And since no notices were sent out no one knew about the problem until they started getting billed or, in my case, when their routers got de-authorized because they hadn’t been returned. I was the fifth customer she had helped with that problem that day. *rolls eyes*

My latest bill arrived today. I noticed there was no $45 charge this time. I also noticed there was no credit given for the previous overcharges. However, the amount due magically went down to what it should be. Makes me wonder if I would’ve received a credit, had I paid my bill on time.

While Comcast did fuck up, and this fuck up is a mere drop in the bucket compared to their other fuck ups, I will say it appears their CS isn’t outsourced. It was nice being able to talk to people about a problem and actually understand them when they gave the solution. :)

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Super Bowl Commercials
Feb 8th, 2010 by Babs

<div class=\"pavatar\">Super Bowl Commercials</div>

Super Bowl commercials were pretty lame this year. However I did manage to find a few that I rather liked.

Volkswagen – I don’t know why they call it “Slug-a-Bug”. Everyone I know calls the game “Punch Buggy”.

Tim’s Doritos

eTrade

Bud Light Auto-Tune

Kia – Too cute!

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My Thoughts on Trillian Astra
Sep 10th, 2009 by Babs

<div class=\"pavatar\">My Thoughts on Trillian Astra</div>

I have forgotten how long ago I began using Trillian. I know that I started using it back in the days of the Oliverettes, when some of us where on ICQ and others were on AIM. Trillian helped me keep tabs on both camps.

Over the years many have found other networks to expose themselves on *laughs* and Trillian has been rarely used. In fact, each time I did run it I’d have to update it — and Trillian doesn’t do many updates. A couple of days ago, however, someone asked me if I used Skype. Being the type who wants to keep as much as I can in one place (it’s the ADD) I checked to see if the most recent update came with the ability to incorporate Skype. It didn’t. However I did accidentally learn about Trillian Astra, which does.

In addition to the traditional chat clients Trillian worked with, Astra can now incorporate Facebook, Twitter, and Skype — at least for 30 days. After that you have to cough up $25 ($10 if you have Trillian Pro) if you wish to continue using it for web based IMs. :P

Astra comes with its own chat client, which you have to set up before you can add the others. Importing ICQ and AIM contacts was easy, as was setting up Twitter, Facebook, and adding Skype. It’s default interface is pretty. You can either simply change the color scheme or completely change the skin — you can even use older Trillian skins, if you have a favorite.

Unfortunately, that’s where the goodness ends. My first issue was when I learned I had to run Skype alongside Astra, which kind of defeats the purpose of incorporating Skype within Astra. Then there was the problem with adding Skype contacts. I had to add them via Skype, itself. When the preteen accidentally closed the window for the chat I was in and I couldn’t get it back up, I began to wonder if Astra is really worth it.

How it works with Twitter isn’t much better. It shows the most recent tweets, with a “link” below to obtain ten more. Unfortunately, no matter were I position the interface, the top tweet is always cut off. And I still have yet to figure out how to go back further, so if I happen to be away for a few days I’m fucked. Replying is easy. Just double click the tweet you wish to reply to. It brings up a window (which conveniently has a recent tweet from what I assume is one of Astra’s sponsors) were you can type in a response. You can keep the window open if you want to post more tweets. That can be rather problematic if you have more than one Twitter account, however: multiple windows (and they all use the icon associated with Astra!). :P Private and retweets require a little more effort. You have to right click the tweet and make your selection from a dropdown menu. Would you believe it took me two hours to figure this out?

Forget about Facebook. While it does show you everything that’s going on on your home page, you can’t always reply to it. Unlike Twitter Astra takes you to Facebook to reply.  Some days I click the link and it takes me to my friend’s wall. Others it just takes me to their profile page. WTF?

The older versions of Trillian are no longer supported. Sadly it appears support for Astra is not much better. Reading reviews on CNET indicate a failure to respond to customer (as in they paid for the software) complaints. And there are many. Astra is very buggy — especially in regards to video. So, save the $25. I’ve already gone back to using Skype’s software, and Seesmic for Facebook and Twitter. Both are free and both are far easier to use.

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Why I Use Skribit
May 27th, 2009 by Babs

<div class=\"pavatar\">Why I Use Skribit</div>

I love to write, even though my ADD tends to make it a painful process. Blogging helps. Sometimes, though, I either don’t have anything to write a full post about (hence the Twitter Updates), or I don’t have the time when the idea hits me and when I do, I’ve forgotten what I wanted to write about.

Over on LiveJournal they have this thing called “Writer’s Block”. There is a constant supply of suggestions for blog fodder, made possible by the LJ community. Unfortunately, since it’s something that automatically appears on your LJ homepage, there’s no feed for me to drag back here. ;P

Skribit is the closest thing I could find that would work with WordPress. I feel a little bit odd that total strangers can come to my site and make suggestions for content. Then again, that’s pretty much how it’s done at LJ. I don’t have to write about every suggestion, either. And I can even “archive” my own, so I won’t forget them!

So yeah. I’m going to keep the Skribit box around for awhile and see what happens. I’ve also added one to Maxwell Pink Tells Stories, so Max can experience the joy of being inundated by plot bunnines. WEG

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