Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Two-Hour Star Wars Holiday Special in only Five Minutes!

More about this at Wikipedia, which quotes David Hofstede, author of "What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History", saying it was "the worst two hours of television ever". It was broadcast only once — in 1978. Via MacBreak Weekly. Full length version. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Apple iPhone Repair Dream

As I mentioned in my post "Nokia Phone Repair Nightmare", I planned to purchase an iPhone to replace my Nokia 6682 when the iPhone came out in June.

Well, I did purchase an iPhone and I am very happy with. However, I did manage to damage it and had to send it in for repair. This gave me the opportunity to compare Apple's service against Nokia's. To summarize my Nokia repair experience: Nokia took two months to determine that they could not fix my phone. And I had to call them repeatably to get status updates on my repair; their status web page was useless.

My Apple repair experience was completely different. I took my phone to an Apple store, they took care of the paperwork and shipping. I dropped it off on a Thursday night, Apple repair received it on the following Monday, and fixed it the same day! I received it back on Tuesday. I received emails every time my repair status changed, and was able the check the repair status on Apple's repair status page (which was always current, unlike Nokia's status page).

Apple has put a lot of thought and planning into their repair process, and as a result has a very happy customer.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hijacked Disney Characters Explain Copyright

Epicenter - Wired Blogs: "Disney lawyers' heads must be spinning over this one. A movie posted on Stanford University's site called 'A Fair(y) Use Tale' mashes up all your Disney favorites to humorously and effectively explain copyright law. "

Schneier on Security

Schneier on Security
: "I tell people that if it's in the news, don't worry about it. The very definition of 'news' is 'something that hardly ever happens.' It's when something isn't in the news, when it's so common that it's no longer news -- car crashes, domestic violence -- that you should start worrying."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?

Are mobile phones wiping out our bees? - Independent Online Edition > Wildlife: "It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail."

Via boingboing.

Update - 4/28 - According to this LA Times article, the bee colony collapse is being caused by a fungus.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut Quote

Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five
US novelist (1922 - 2007)

From The Quotations Page

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The image soaked future

Fascinating article on the rise of the graphic novel and how they developed from comic books. Via h20boro lib blog.

From the article:

"So, why is this rebirth of the serious graphic novel different? Because this new wave arrives when the ascendancy of the image — presciently described by George Steiner, in 1971, in his book In Bluebeard’s Castle — has begun to dwarf the power of the word. The visual arts are booming. The screen fills our lives through television, cinema and computers. Thanks to computers, even when we are obliged to read words, we expect them to be arranged in helpful modules, with plenty of graphics. The computer normalises the graphic novel as a form. The graphical user interface may one day be seen as the most important invention of our time. Through such devices, the imperial image reigns and is, more successfully than ever before, invading the book."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pitchfork: Video: U of Arizona Marching Band Covers Radiohead

From Pitchfork: Video: U of Arizona Marching Band Covers Radiohead: "Our personal favorite piece of footage is culled from the middle of the band's performance. It begins with all 250 students chanting 'Fitter Happier', and from there kicks into a booming, brassy 'Optimistic'. This rolls straight into 'The National Anthem', which features a couple of impressive, range-pushing trumpet solos."
My alma mater's marching band covers my favorite band.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Salon Expo Attendees: Keep Your Chemicals Off Our Towels!

Last month I stayed at the Westin in Long Bench while on a businesses trip. I happened to be there at the same time as the International Salon and Spa Expo.

I noticed a stack of letters at the front desk intended for the expo attendees, and took a copy for myself. From the letter:

"With the large number of Salon and Spa Expo guests, we have put together a special policy regarding hand and bathing towels. Due to the high amount of chemicals some hair and beauty products may contain, it is increasingly difficult to provide clean towels without product residue. We hope that you will assist us in our efforts to provide clean towels for our guests and suggest that guests throughly rinse off all product before using the towels. Should towels be damaged our stained, a fee will be charged accordingly."

Chinese hackers attack 'anything and everything'

Scary article on the Chinese government's attacks on our military's computer networks: - Cyber officials: Chinese hackers attack 'anything and everything': "Attacks coming from China, probably with government support, far outstrip other attackers in terms of volume, proficiency and sophistication, said a senior Netwarcom official, who spoke to reporters on background Feb 12. The conflict has reached the level of a campaign-style, force-on-force engagement, he said."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Nokia Phone Repair Nightmare

I have had, frankly, a horrible experience over last two months with Nokia's repair center. I had to send my phone in after I bricked it in my I attempt to update the firmware, even though I was using the official installer from Nokia.

The firmware update died partway through, leaving my phone completely dead (lesson 1). Wouldn't even power on. I will take the blame for damaging my phone - I know there is always a risk when updating firmware of bricking a device, even though I have successfully updated firmware on other devices, including computers and routers, and never had a problem.

I tried everything I could to try to bring my phone back to life, but nothing worked. So I did the only thing I could - send it in for repair. Luckily I had kept my old 6590i phone (lesson 2), so I still had a working cell phone.

I sent it in on November 27th of last year, via second day shipping. Then I dutifully checked my phone's repair status on Nokia's web site every day, to see if they had received my phone and had a quote for the repairs. I did this for almost two weeks, and each day there was same status results:

11/27/06 - Pending Receipt by the Repair Center

This seemed like an awfully long time for them to receive my phone. So finally I called them (lesson 3) on December 7th, and they informed me that it would be $100 to repair my phone and I should have it within 10 days. I authorized the repair and waited.

Again, I checked the web site, every day, but no change in status. Finally I called them again about a week later, and they told me that the turn around time on phone repairs was approximately ten days and I should be getting it soon.

Soon after that phone call, my phone's status was updated:

12/14/06 - Quote Approved

I thought the date was strange, since I had already approved the quote by phone on the 7th, but the 14th was also the day they also charged my card, so I guess it took them a week to actually get around to approving the quote on their end.

Again, I waited and checked the status page every day, but no new status. On December 27th I then called the repair center again, and I was told that, "yes my repair seems to be taking too long", so I was transferred to "Repair Escalation". I explained to the person I was transferred to my situation again, he then transferred me to someone else, who was not in, so I left a detailed message on that person's voice mail, asking him to call me back. (I think that most of the repair staff was out of the office for the holidays that week.)

I waited a few more days, but no call back and no change in the online status. I then sent Nokia an email explaining how I called them and repair escalation never called me back. I received an email response three days later, which told me to call the repair escalation center (lesson 4).

I called the repair center again, they gave me the updated status, which then also appeared on their web site shortly after my call:

01/08/2007 - Repair In Progress

So now it appears that it has taken Nokia over three weeks to start the repair of my phone after they approved the quote, four weeks after I gave them my credit card over the phone to pay for the repair.

Then a few days later, a new status on the web site:

01/11/2007 - Waiting for Parts

This appeared to be a good sign - at least something was happening.

I wait another two weeks, but no change in status. I then call them back. This time I am told that my phone can't be fixed, and they were waiting for a replacement phone. They had no idea when my replacement phone would arrive, and offered to refund the $100 I paid for the repair.

After a quick check on eBay, I realize I can get a used Nokia 6682 for about what I paid for the repair. I call them back, and tell them to refund my money.

I now have my replacement phone from eBay, it works fine, same firmware version as my original phone; but I won't be upgrading the firmware on this phone.

In fairness to Nokia, my calls to them were always answered quickly and politely, and my money was refunded promptly. I don't think the problems I had with Nokia could be blamed on the reps answering the phones; there seems to be larger problem with communication and workflow at the repair center.

Since I am both a Cingular customer as well as a very happy Apple iPod customer, I am planning to get the iPhone when it comes out in June. My wife has already switched from her Nokia to Motorola Razr; I doubt our family will ever purchase another Nokia product.


  1. Don't upgrade the firmware on your Nokia 6682 phone yourself. According to reports I have read in some forums, others have been successful doing it; but if you are not, it doesn't seem like Nokia will be able to repair your phone.
  2. Keep your old phone when you upgrade to a new one - you may need it as a backup if something happens to your new one.
  3. Keep calling the Nokia repair center every week - the online repair status can be significantly behind the actual status of your phone. It seems that you have to call them to get the online status updated.
  4. Don't bother emailing the repair center, they will simply tell you to call the repair center.
  5. Nokia has absoultely no idea idea how long it will take to fix your phone, or wheter they can even fix it at all.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Microsoft Provides Better Support for Google's Blogger Than Google Does

Google just released their new version of Blogger. However, the "BlogThis!" button, which allowed users to blog directly from Firefox via a bookmarklet or a button on the Google Toolbar, no longer works with the new version.

But the blogging Live Writer extension for Firefox works with the new version. You'll need to download Windows Live Writer and the Firefox extension for Live Writer and install them. The intersting thing is that Live Writer is from Microsoft. I am not a MS fanboy, but in this instance, they are providing better support for Blogger and Firefox than Google is!

Coffee With a "Drop" of Milk

This is a great picture of a drop of milk hitting a cup of coffee.