Sunday, August 23, 2009

I don't want to pay for your 800 number.



According to dictionary.com,


“800” number –noun any toll-free telephone number, usually with a 3-digit code of 800, established, as by a business, so that people from widespread areas can call for merchandise, information, or services.


Like it says, 800 numbers are useful for calling what would otherwise be a long-distance number.Who wants to pay to call their credit card company?

Not me.

And so companies establish these "toll-free" numbers.

But they're not really toll-free. The company has to pay for it. And guess what, they pass the bill along to you, their customer. So you really are paying for that phone call. Hopefully, you're still saving though.

So what about cell phones?

Yes, cell phones don't have "long-distance". I can call anyone in the 50 states for the same price.

Wait, you can call anyone for one rate?

Yep.

So, you could say... call your credit card company in Dallas.

Yes, if my credit card company was located in Dallas, it would be the same as calling a local number here in Indy.

Sweet.

I know.

So why are you calling an 800 number from your cell?

That's a good question. I'm using my minutes to make the call. And they're using their 800 number. So we're being charged on both ends of the call. And then part of my payment is going towards that 800 number. I'm being charged TWICE for one call. I need to find a local number for my credit card company.

It's on your bill.

It is?

Yeah. It's labeled "collect". If you need to call them collect, they list a local number for that purpose. The number works whether the call is collect or not. Just don't dial from your land-line.

Sweet.

So why do companies still have 800 numbers then?

A couple of reasons:

  • Habit. They've always had one, why wouldn't they?
  • Not everyone has a cell phone. Some people still need it.
  • Mindset. You feel comfortable dialing an 800 number.But chances are, you don't need them.

A while back, I signed up for Vonage. Any VOIP provider that offers "unlimited nationwide calling" has no reason for an 800 number for their customers to call.Sure, have one for your potential customers, but when I call to ask a question, why waste the money?

Y'all've been asking for my opinion, so here it is.



So all y'all watched the Teen Choice Awards the other day, right?

Don't worry, I didn't either. But boy did I hear about them!

Mostly, I heard that Miley Cyrus performed a pole dance and stripped. I also heard people calling her not-so-nice names.

I was slowly exposed to everyone's opinions.
The people I follow on Twitter were defending Miley (in fact, #WeLoveYouMiley was one of the most popular topics on Twitter for TWO DAYS STRAIGHT!).
My wife said something about needing to wear more clothes.
A Nurse I talk to said her 30+ year-old husband enjoyed it. She thought it was alright.

I happened to come across a recording on YouTube. By "happen to come across", I mean that a friend tweet™ed a link.


video


And?


Sweet niblets like to complain!

Really? Isn't that what one expects from a female performer at an awards show?
She sang, she danced, she performed. I think dancing and performing are actually the same thing in this case.


Now, before anyone starts panicking (like my wife...), let me move on.

While that's the type of dance I would expect from say... Brittany Spears, that doesn't make it right.


This isn't just any awards ceremony, it the Teen Choice Awards. For teens. People 13-19 or so. Probably younger. Not so much the 19 year-olds.
And it's someone else's show. When invited to perform at an event, you should try to err on the side of caution. You're representing them too.

If it's your concert, you can do whatever you want. It's YOURS. An awards show, or a Super Bowl half-time show, is not the place to try something new.


  • Stripping

She stripped? Okay, at the very beginning she took off a boa? a scarf? a something. She removed one article of superfluous clothing. I wouldn't call that stripping.
It's like taking off a jacket.
Although, I will admit that she was more modest before that thing came off.


  • The pole.

Even if she just touched the pole with her finger, people would have freaked.
In our society, if you're dancing, and you have a pole, you're pole dancing and a stripper. Period.
The pole is considered a sex symbol of sorts. It comes with its own luggage.
There is no way to tastefully pull off a dance with a pole.
That being said, she wasn't pole dancing. Besides that one little dip, she basically just stood there. But that one little dip is why mothers across America are in an uproar.

But don't just blame her. You don't manage to get on national TV and perform on stage on your own.

This would have taken months of practice and planning and approval. Tons of people would have been involved in selecting, creating, training, and approving the dance.

Not only that, but it had a TWENTY-FOUR HOUR delay. After the half-time show problem years ago, NBC has added a five second delay to all live broadcasts. This show had an entire day.
If the show's producers had a problem with it, they had plenty of time to just cut it out.

Miley's dad didn't have a problem with it either:
“You know what? I just think that Miley loves entertaining people. She loves singing [and] songwriting. I always tell her to love what you’re doing and stay focused for the love of the art and not worry so much about opinion. I give my kids a lot of freedom to make the art they wanna make, and make it in their own voice. I think it’s important.”
The Disney Channel however, said this:
“Disney Channel won’t be commenting on that performance, although parents can rest assured that all content presented on the Disney Channel is age-appropriate for our audience — kids 6-14 — and consistent with what our brand values are.”

Well then.


So no, I don't think that a pole should have been anywhere near that stage. And yes, I feel like that skirt should've been longer, and yes, I feel like she shouldn't be showing off her bra straps.

But if you're going to yell at someone, yell at a bunch of someones. A whole lot of people (I'm going to assume that they're adults. Maybe even "corporate males") would have had several opportunities to keep the dance we saw go out on national TV. Yell at them.

Kellog's Star Trek Promotion Part 1

So over the summer, Kellog's had several promotions going on involving the new Star Trek movie.
Some of you may have seen the large quantities of cereal and pop-tarts that my wife purchased.
If memory serves, they were offering 3 differnt uniform shirts, an USB drive, Eggo plates, movie tickets, and beam-up badges.

Only the beam-up badges came in the boxes.

It just so happens that we sent in for EVERYTHING else. (We eat a lot of cereal, might as well get the free stuff...)

And so one morning I placed several envelopes into a mailbox.

Viewing the picture on my phone, I wasn't able to account for the final envelope. This caused some concern when weeks later, all but one of the checks cleared the bank.
Our minds were put at ease when the final check cleared.

And then we waited.

And then the first package arrived!

Dalyn opened it and pulled out a red shirt.

"Is that Scotland's shirt‽"
Ireland replied "NO! It's Scotty's shirt!".

She's a very clever little girl.

We were *very* impressed with the quality of the shirt. If you can't tell, it's not a T-shirt, it's a jersey.


It's been at least a month since that first package arrived. So, where are the other four?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

So, what language do you speak? #tlh

So six days ago, tweeting from the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, @startrekconv09 posted the following:


After @tlhIngan re-posted (and sadly shortened) the tweet, @darinarrick replied.



I was going to jump on in, but other things got in my way. I also had more to say than could fit in a 140 character message. So here we are.

Yes, in "The Trouble With Tribbles" (TOS) Korax boasts that "half the quadrant is learning Klingonese". Impressive.

That word in not heard again until Quark uses it in "Looking for Par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" (DS9).

The in-universe novel "The Final Reflection" by John M. Ford refers to the language as "Klingonaase", giving "Klingonese" as a Human mispronunciation.

All other on-screen references to the language simply call it "Klingon". And why not? Star Trek is very good at reuseing the same name as often as possible. Spock is a Vulcan. He was born on Vulcan. He speaks Vulcan.

And then came Marc Okrand. (Well, "then" is a relative term timeline wise...). The language that he created is called tlhIngan Hol. It simply means "Klingon language" in Klingon. And in his book "The Klingon Dictionary" the language is referred to as "Klingon".

So even though the actors seem to be using "Klingonese", the fans and the creator of the language himself, refer to it as "Klingon".

And given the similarities between "Klingonese" and "Klingonaase", especially in the way they're pronounced, I'm more likely to merge them into the same thing. I only use the term to refer to the language as used in "The Final Reflection".

I'll use tlhIngan Hol to distinguish between "Klingonese" and "Paramount Hol" (the language as mis-used by the TV writers).

Otherwise, I'll simply say "Klingon".

----------------
If I were to list the language on an application, I would write "tlhIngan Hol".
  is how it looks in the native Klingon writing system of pIqaD.
Doing a Google search on "xifan hol" will pull up results on tlhIngan Hol.
The HTML language code for Klingon is tlh.

My Life According to Miley Cyrus

(Figured I'd post this facebook note as a blog which will forward to
fb anyway. Share it with my blog readers too)

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions.
Pass it on to 25 people you like and include me (presuming I'm someone
you like).
You can't use the band I used.
Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think!
Repost as "my life according to (band name)"

Follow these simple instructions: Go to "notes" under tabs on your
profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type
your title as "My life according to (band name), erase my songs &
enter your answers, tag 25 people including me (tagging is done in the
right hand corner of the app) then click publish.


Pick your Artist:
Miley Cyrus

Are you a male or female?
"He Could be the One"

Describe yourself:
"Fly on the Wall"


How do you feel:
"Beautiful"

Describe where you currently live:
"These Four Walls"

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
"You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home"

Your favorite form of transportation:
"Butterfly Fly Away"

Your best friend?
"True Friend"

You and your best friend are:
"The Best of Both Worlds"

What is the weather:
"Before the Storm"

Favorite time of day:
"You and Me Together"

If your life was a TV show what would it be called:
"Crazy"

What is life to you:
"Fairytale"

Your relationship:
"It's All Right Here"

Your fear:
"The Bottom of the Ocean"

What is the best advice you have to give:
"Send It On"

Thought for the Day:
"Nobody's Perfect"

My soul's present condition:
"Peace"

My motto:
"Life's What You Make It"

The 3's of Me

Facebook note posted as a blog (which forwards to fb) to spread the
love to my blog readers. I'm nice like that.
Or too lazy to figure out facebook...


You've been tagged. You are supposed to write a note with the 3's of
YOU. At the end, choose 20 people to be tagged.
You have to tag me so really you just need 19 more people.
If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you - but not
in a creepy stalker kind of way.

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, copy then
paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 3's of Me,
tag 20 people - in the right hand corner of the app - then click
publish.)

Three names I go by:
1.  (naHQun)
2. roneyii
3. Drug Guy

Three Jobs I have had in my life
1. Drug Runner
2. Professional Klingon Translator
3. Box Folderer (guy who folds boxes)

Three Places I have lived
1. San Jose, CA
2. Plano, TX
3. San Diego, CA


Three Favorite drinks
1. Dr Pepper
2. Slurpee
3. Fruit Punch

Three TV Shows that I watch
1. Hannah Montana
2. The Wizards of Waverly Place
3. Star Trek

Three places I have been
1. North/South Continental Divide
2. The Temple
3. Here

People that text me regularly
1. Connie
2. A little bird ;-)
3. Dalyn

Three of my favorite foods
1. Milk
2. Chocolate
3. Peanut Butter Sandwhiches

Three friends I think will respond
1. You
2. Not Connie, she started this
3. I think I summed it up in number 1

Three Things I am looking forward to
1. Finish Moving
2. Translating Time
3. Miley Cyrus concert in November

Three Wishes
1. Less Debt
2. more Unicode support for pIqaD (You can't read that ---->  can you?)
3. World Peace (I was really at a loss)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can you let in ONE member of an angry mob? [MATURE CONTENT WARNING: READER DISCRESSION IS ADVISED]

There's an angry mob outside your door. They're trying to break it down.
There's no way they'll do it on their own, your door is pretty tough.
Regardless of your defences, you're responsible for everyone's safety,
and so you stand guard.

You can hear the crys and shouts from the mob.
One of the voices begins to stand out. He's able to shout louder and
you begin to listen. You start to feel sorry for him, being stuck
outside with the mob. His words make sense. You may not see
eye-to-eye, but he has good reasons for entering through the door.

You want to let him in. Should you?

Your answer may have been "Of course not! The mob will pour in unstoppable."

Or it may have been "The safety of that one man is worth the risk of
everyone inside, let's get him in. Somehow."

At the moment, there are several groups trying to redefine both
marriage, and what is sexually acceptable in society.

Don't start screaming at me yet, hear me out. You really don't know
what's coming next.

Now regardless of which group you belong to, you have your own set of
moral standards. There are things that *you* consider to be "wrong" or
"going too far".


Several states here in the US have legalized same-sex marriage.
Several have tried and failed.
But this is just the beginning.

They're represented by that guy you wanted to let in. But there's
still a mob outside your door. They want in too.
They also feel that they need to be legally represented and protected.
Right or wrong, they want it.

Once you decide that marriage is NOT between "one man and one woman",
you have to decide what it is.

So, what is it?

The biggest voice seems to be saying that it's between "two people".
But that's rather vauge.

And why just two?

There are people out there that want to leagalize triads.

The term was new to me too. A triad is a loving relationship between
THREE partners of ANY gender combination who love each of the other
two partners equally.

What do they want? To have legal marriages. If for nothing else, the
legal benefits would be nice.

But why bother writing the word "three" into the lawbooks? We'll just
have to go back and legalize four in a few years anyway.

So we'll just leave that open.

Marriage is now a loving relationship/commitment between people.

This will more than likley legalize "traditional" plural marriage in
the process.

Everyone is happy now, right?

Almost.

You say your uncle wanys to marry his goat?
I'm only slightly joking.
One of the benefits of marriage is sex. Even without marriage, people
have sex. But "marriage" is the term being redefined at the moment, so
we'll jump onto that bandwagon.

I hear news stories. Not often as I avoid the news, but they're there;
people and animals.

So we now omit the word "people" from our definition.

That is one loose definition, but it should cover everyone.


Oh, but there's that unwritten part.
The part covered by other laws and sublaws.

Age.

If that guys uncle can marry his goat, why can't this guy's uncle
marry that little girl?
Heck, why can't he marry his niece?


And on it goes.

No matter how many people you let in that door, there's always going
to be somebody else trying to get in.

Once you unlock it, how do you choose who to let in?

Where do you draw the line?


I didn't call anyone right or wrong, I just said that they want to be
called "right". And the more you say "yes", the harder it will be to
say "no".

Monday, August 10, 2009

How hard can it be to buy a charger for an @Palm #Prē?

So back on July 15th, I was at work.

Wait, let me back up.

The third Wednesday of every month, is  (wejDIch) Wednesday.
On this day all of my updates on Twitter (which are then forwarded to Facebook) are in Klingon.

ALL OF THEM.

So, on this third Wednesday of the month, I'm about to go and start my route for the evening, and I notice that my phone needs charged.
No big deal, I have my charger with me.

Or so I thought.

You see, normally I take my wall charger with me in the car, and via an adapter, I charge my phone through the cigarette lighter.

It just so happens that I forgot it. Again.

Hey! There's a Sprint store between me and my first stop. Two actually. I'll just pop in, buy a charger, and pop out. It'll be easy.

Or at least it should've been.

I show up at what used to be a Tony Romans restaurant, and go inside. The door clearly shows that I'm inside normal business hours.

I find my way to the little sign-in place to wait my turn to be helped.

A Sprint rep pops up at the desk and says "How can I help you?"


"I need a charger" I say while lifting up my phone.


I'm then informed that they're "too busy" to help me. I can't buy a charger.

"But I really need to buy a charger."

"My phone is going to die."

"My phone will NOT last through my shift. I NEED a charger."


Not only is this guy not selling me a charger, but he continues to get rudder and rudder and then flat out refuses to sell me a charger and practically kicks me out of the store.

He says they have too many customers to get to me. That there's a line and they just don't have time for me.


What‽

You're "too busy" and have "too many customers" to help me? You are *refusing* me service?

I was NOT happy. I was SO not happy that I tweeted about it. IN ENGLISH.

Yes, I broke my 24 hour Klingon-only tweeting and yelled at Sprint.

I'm sure this shocked my followers.



The next day, I stopped at the Sprint store where I bought my phone in the first place.

They were 10 minutes away from closing, had 1 rep and 1 customer.

Great.

Before I'm even through the door, I'm greeted by name.

It's made clear that he'll be glad to help me, but he's with someone else.


I let the rep know that I'm there for a *second* charger. That I keep forgetting my charger at home, and need an additional one.

"So you need a charger for your office"


Sure. No point bringing up that my office is my car. I'm cool with a car charger or the Touchstone.

The Touchstone is this really cool charger that charges 40%? faster than the wall charger and it charges via magnetic induction. You just set your phone on the hockey puck looking thing and it charges like magic.

For $75.

I don't have much of a choice as Walmart clearly doesn't carry any other options.

So I buy it and go to work.

Two hours later, I decide to play with my new toy.

I open the box, pull out the disk, and look for the cord. And look for the cord. And wonder where the cord is.

There's no cord.

Huh?

I read the box.

It requires the cord from my wall charger that came with my phone. This is clearly a problem.

This is NOT a *second* charger. It's a charger ACCESSORY.

IT'S AN ACCESSORY TO AN ACCESSORY!!!

It is useless for my needs.

I don't have $75 to just toss around for a cool disk. A cool disk that requires me to continue moving my charger back and forth from house to car and back again.

The next day I have my wife return the charger. I've had enough of this.

I haven't bought a new charger yet.