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Worst ad ever

I just happen to see this ad over at whitepages.com. I can’t say I have visited this fine website before and I just can’t seem to figure out why. Most of the page is devoted to awesome ads like this:

I am sure they thought they had all the makings of the most awesome site and service ever and then thought we could make a killing with some of these really great banner ads I hear so much about. And you know who is really under-represented in banner ads? I do. Sketchy homeless looking guys who have failed to refinance. I’m not buying that either of these gentlemen are homeowners. Why is the old man straining to here the clock? The root of all this appears to be a gentleman by the name of Obama. He appears in all 5 repeated ads.

I know this thing seems abandoned. Funny I have a few posts sitting in the queue that I am too busy/lazy to finish and just post. I seem to not get the idea of this. It isn’t supposed to be polished and perfect. This is not print media. I just have such a hard time releasing the unperfected. That was the idea behind doing this to work on my inability to GTD and just ship already. Working great isn’t it!

Note: This article was started August 4, 2008.

So I went and got a TomTom 930. I travel enough to warrant one, which means I travel every month. Half my travel is abroad, or to cities bigger than mine own, which is not a boastful achievement. The out of the box experience was pretty good, not iPhone good but it is nicely packaged. It feels good in the hands and is slick looking. Updating the maps went well except that I had to backup and delete the current North America map before installing the updated one, at a size of 1.8GB. First off this made me a little nervous, in the event that the new map did not work and I could not replace the old one. There is an SD card slot in the 930 but I have not yet purchased a card for it. Having used my iPhone for almost a month now the TomTom’s screen does not feel as nice, probably because it is a resistive touch screen and you can feel the plastic cover over the screen. The 930 is roughly the same size as the Garmin nuvi 780 but the 930 is curved across the back while the nuvi is a consistent width, it doesn’t seem to really make a difference. The TomTom Home application for Mac OS X works well, though it is limited what you can install to the TomTom without Plus Services.

Now to finish this thing. Only 5 months later, but with much more travel experience with it.

So using the TomTom. Where were we? Well really I bought two of these things and the nuvi 780. I have exclusively used the 930. A coworker took the TomTom and the nuvi to Napoli, Italy. He was using the TomTom being as it was the supposed nicer of the two and he got a ticket. If you haven’t been to Italy let me restate this for you. HE GOT A TICKET. I really can’t imagine how bad you have to drive to get a ticket in Italy but he did thanks to the TomTom. TomTom directed him to drive up a street that was in fact not a street but a pedestrian walkway, turns out the Italians take this offense seriously. He wanted to toss it out the window but he understood there are sometimes map mistakes. The next day traveling back to the hotel in after work in Napoli, TomTom decided he should drive to Salerno or Sorrento, not sure. So TomTom about went out of the window. He elected to use the nuvi for the rest of the trip.

I have had a much better experience with my TomTom. The only real problem has been that my car adapter did not work. After calling TomTom and explaining this they promptly sent me a new one. Great customer service. I had much better experiences overseas with my TomTom. It worked great for me in Germany, France and Italy, including Napoli. I did get very VERY lost in Rome around the airport one day while looking for the Parco Leonardo but that was my own fault. I left TomTom in the hotel. Be advised, if you think you can get to the Parco Leonardo from the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and you are not from Italy rethink your strategy. TomTom has no Japanese maps, this is unfortunate.

Day to Day I never use the TomTom. I honestly don’t know where it is right now, whether it is at work or still in my travel bag. With the new baby, new house and piled up work it is very low on my list of things to keep up with. Don’t think that I am knocking the 930, when I am going someplace that I am unfamiliar especially away from home I carry it and rely on it.

This post is now well out of date, I have been lazy and slow, mostly because I have been iPhoning.

Well I did it. I am now the owner of two white 16GB Apple 3G iPhones. It was a lot of work and an long build up waiting for the 3G model, holding out and not buying the original model. I would say it was worth it. I tried very hard to not covet the iPhones I saw or to even use a friends knowing that I would be drawn in. Now I have my own, and it is awesome. I have slight feelings of sadness for having to leave my current mobile provider, Sprint. Some will think I’m crazy, its just business. Sprint has been good to me, never caused me trouble, they took my money but I received great service. Not once in four years did I ever call or need to call customer service. I can only hope that AT&T can compete with Sprint on that level.

I was number 8 in line. I think that is a very respectable place in a line. To get to number 8 I had to get in line at 3:30 in the AM. Normally I do not do such things, I would rather sleep. Once you have kids you cherish things you once took for granted, like sleep. So I woke up early much to the demands of my comrade, Brad, who I would be spending the next few hours with waiting in line. I also would meet a friend of his from work and his wife, who I was using as my wife stand-in to purchase more than the mandated one phone per customer in line. I could not come home without two iPhones, unless I did not want to have one. waiting for iPhone

So we waited.

It turns out that the next guy to get in line behind us arrived at 5:30 which is when we originally planed to arrive ourselves, until I freaked out the night before and decided we needed to be there earlier. We still weren’t doing to bad, #6 had gotten to the AT&T store at 12:30 and #s 1-5 had camped out from 9:30 Thursday night, that is a little much, they did have their Macbook Pro to watch movies though with the help of a found power outlet.

This whole thing was going down at 8 so the line really started taking off at 7 it wasn’t long before it was definite that they were going to sell out. I knew I wasn’t going to settle for an 8GB model so I was glad we were in such a sure position. At 8 the doors opened and the first seven in line were allowed in to make their purchases. It wasn’t long before I was allowed to enter. Then the fun started. I won’t bore you with all the details, but buying two iPhones was a challenge as was starting a new family plan. Repeated attempts by AT&T employees to have me come back later to buy the second phone fell on deaf ears, I let them know that #8 was not leaving without two shiny white iPhones no matter what we had to do. After an hour and much work I did get my phones. A few weeks later when billing time came though I found I have 4 different AT&T accounts and bills, only 1 of which is the legitimate account so that will be some fun figuring out. Still all totally worth it. Are you rockin’ an iPhone?

It seems most anything that the government touches turns to crap. Any idea successfully implemented in private industry no matter how great it is will turn to a pile of stinking poo when the government gets near it. Credit Card purchases, online travel booking, globally accessible email turns into crap by way of the government purchase card system, DTS and NMCI.

Well the disease of inability to do anything, especially actually… doing work has begun to spread to companies we deal with as well. Some would say that government contractors have been inept for some time but I fear it is getting much worse.

I have been attempting to purchase two MacPro computers from Apple since early September. The order was supposed to be finalized with Apple’s governemt contracting group in mid September. Well here it is November and I still have no computers. I do not even have confirmation that the sales number I was provided, FOR THE SECOND TIME, is correct. No one will call back, staff is getting moved around with the fiscal year change. The whole system is a mess.

I hate to say it but Dell has their act together. A colleague ordered three Dell PCs through our same contracting group at work and I can say that those PCs are installed and running RIGHT NOW. They may not be running well, or as best as a Dell can, but they are still there.

My MacPro only exists on paper and in my dreams.

I know Apple has always had trouble dealing with business sales, and I suppose government sales go along with it. I just don’t understand why they would neglect this sector and do such a terrible job with the staff that they do have. To make my purchase I worked with the Navy agent in the government sales group. Well he was terrible, could not keep track of this simple order, and at one point lost the order until I contacted him. He was then moved over to the Army team, so screw the Navy. I would think the sales agent would make sure the order was being filled before cutting off all his account ties. Call me crazy for thinking I should finish what I start. I currently have a new sales agent working the issue, I can only hope it is resolved soon.

For further purchases I will either have to go through a contractor or order through an Apple partner such as CDW. I wanted the custom configured machine but the system in place at Apple just doesn’t make it easy enough to support that. The cost to me in my billable hours that have been spent working this purchase have not been worth it. I love the Macintosh and it is what I use at home and professionally. I jumped at the chance to get the Dell I was given off my desk but even I can only do so much.

Come on Apple, these are government employees you are selling to here, they aren’t known for backbreaking labor. If Dell makes it easy and you make it so hard that a devout loyalist just says “screw it” who is going to win?

So I got home last Thursday to find my Wii alerting me, beckoning me to come listen to what it had to tell me. I hurried to turn on the TV to find what Wii wanted to tell me. This is when I learned of the new Wii Remote Jacket, or the Wiimote condom. I can say that I was very impressed by Nintendo’s loyalty to its customer base to supply these to existing owners of Wii Remotes. I immediately got on my iMac and placed an order for 4 new shiny jelly jackets. Well it turns out that most of the US came home from work Thursday to find their Wii calling out to them and did the same thing. When I submitted my request to nintendo.com the confirmation of order page failed to load, my guess being that the actual back end script to process the order pooped out. Checking my nintendo.com account showed that I had no orders. I sent Nintendo an email allertring them of this problem and went to bed. On Friday I discussed the issue with my fellow Wii owning co-workers and they had the same issue. Nintendo let me know that they were aware of the problem and hoped to have it resolved before the October 13 ship date. Hopefully they do. I think what would have been a better user experience would be if you could have processed the order on the Wii. I mean why not, if it has internet access and it knows its serial number, why should I have to enter it into a text box. Really Wii should have been able to handle the whole thing, they could have queried the Wii, asked it how many Wiimotes it currently had configured and then sent than many jackets to my registered address. I still commend them for giving them out for free, but it could have been automated a little better.

Maybe I’m an Idiot

Google is too smart for itself, or at least too smart for me. When I travel abroad Google likes to automatically redirect me to the Google it thinks I really wanted. This means www.google.com turns into Google in the language of the host country I am in, such as now it automatically redirects to http://www.google.co.jp/. I am sure they thought this was a nice feature for people who are not in the US to be directed to the Google they can more eaily interect with but for me it is really difficult. Luckily there is usually a link on the bottom the says “Google.com in English” which puts me back to www.google.com in English where I wanted to go originally anyway. It seems that Blogger which is now a part of Google does not do this, or I cannot find the link, and it should be obvious when most of the page I am writing this in has strings like, “によって下書きが自動的に保存されました”. So it should stick out. It does point to Blogger.com’s good clean design that I can still use this page even though I can read nothing on it except my login name and the title of the page at the top.

iMac 2007

I have to say that the new iMac is stunning. I had been waiting to purchase one because there were some features of the old iMac that I did not like, mostly the 3GB memory limit. So when the new iMac idea started buzzing around I figured this would be the time to get one. I did not like the glossy screen at first when I saw it online. I have to say though that I do love it. The glossy screen does not bother me. I do not notice the glare on the screen as much as everyone talks about. I wonder how long before the 24″ display will seem small to me, much like my 19″ CRT seems small next to the iMac. I’ve heard people talking about not putting the new iMac next to a window but I am not having any trouble and it has been between 90 to 100 degrees with 90% humidity here sincei I got it and it is installed next to a window.

The iMac was purchased with 1GB of RAM installed but 4GB has since been put in replacing the 1GB factory SO-DIMM. Installing the new memory was a little tricker than I would have thought especially for an iMac. I have had PowerMacs previously and a memory install is no trouble in those but pulling the little plastic tab to remove the old memory had me for a second. I wasn’t sure if the tab would pull out or if it just was lifting the memory out of the locking tabs.

Go Cocks!

I can’t believe it but it is time for the best thing ever, College Football. I can admit that I was not really into it until I went to college but now I gladly had over my $2000 a year, smiling, for the priviledge of watching us win a few games. Hopefully we will really do something this year. Under Coach Spurrier we have been making some progress and for the most part I like the players I see on the team. I am not a Blake Mitchell fan and I would rather see Chris Smelley brought up to play this season opener with the Louisiana-Lafeyette Ragin’ Cajuns. I’ll see you out there tomorrow. Let’s Go Gamecocks.

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I can’t say when I reached 96Wave conciousness but it has been a part of my life and many Charlestonians and South Carolinias for that matter for some time. How many bands have gotten their chance with 96Wave? Who remembers reggae on Sunday nights? FreeFall Jam? Yes, I was in before Wavefest, BEFORE Wavefest. I can still remember when Hootie & the Blowfish and Big Head Todd & the Monsters were performing at FreeFall Jam in 1994. Both were competing to be the main draw and the next big thing. Now Big Head Todd has had some success but not like Hootie. I stil remember the commercial. How many stickers have been given out and what percentage of those are plastered to cars on Folly Beach?

So it finally happened. I turn on the radio tonight it is set to 96.1 and I hear a song that has no place on this station, I Touch Myself. I figured it was a DJ having some late night fun. No. It was over. I am now dialed in to the new
96.1 Chuch fm. I felt like a friend had just taken himself out. What sucks is I had just seen him that morning and on the way home from work and he seemed ok Why?

I guess I should have seen the signs, they were all there in retrospect. It has been a declining year for the station. I don’t know why when they have always had a real character and culture associated with them not like your cheesy 95SX sellouts. The first big blunder I remember was when they fired Adam, The Critic and Storm from the morning show years back. I remember it being the best and when it was gone it was irreplacable. We then got stuck with Howard Stern. Some people really like Howard Stern and he will say anything to make you forget the local guys he replaced. I did not forget. Many years later a crazy thing happened Critic was back and it seemed to be to save the station from a slump. Not only that but a new morning show was aired Storm and Kenny. Again I felt they rose to the top of the morning shows much like Adam and The Critic had before them. Again though management at 96Wave felt that ratings were not high enoubh and in April of 2006 they were abruptly taken off the air. I miss you “Traffic Fairy” you always let me know which way to go to work. Critic had a great afternoon show at this time featuring a whole cast of characters such as Evil Lou and out next president The Southern Avenger. I loved listening to Critic on the way home and hearing what the Southern Avenger was speaking out about. You need to check out his commentary, just listen. Things had started going downhill a few weeks before the Storm and Kenny firings. The station had changed their music format from the strict “alternative” and local to a much wider range, so would say they were too bold. It gets worse.

The Critic didn’t last long after they attempted him filling in the morning slot. His show was all about happy hour and his friends being at the bar. You wanted to come home and be listening to this, even if you had no friends you thought you were at the bar with them. Well the show didn’t make it and we got the semi-nationally syndicated Free Beer and Hot Wings. Now at first I refused to listen and I yelled about it wherever I went but I couldn’t find anything else to listen to. I couldn’t listen to 95SX Two Girls and a Guy. I just couldn’t do it, they make me wish I could close my ears and stop hearing.

So here we are in the downward spiral, if I would have been paying attention I could have seen them as death throws. Tonight I feel much much older as all I am left with are memories, there are no more good times coming. I miss you 96Wave, what else can I say? I wanted you here forever, I will miss your music and local commentary as I go to and from work. No longer will I go to the beach and hear about the bikinifest you are doing at the Windjammer. How will I know what great local acts are headlining our terrific venues? That is why I do not listen to sattelite radio, I want to listen locally, I want to do things locally. In your quest to keep listeners from running off to satellite radio with their wide-ranging playlists you have pushed away your core audience who loved you dearly. Goodbye 96Wave.

96Wave is Dead, Long live THE WAVE, WAVF Hannahan, Charleston.