Showing posts with label consumer goods. Show all posts
Showing posts with label consumer goods. Show all posts

Friday, October 24, 2014

Comcast

One thing's for sure, I'm not signing up with Comcast. If even half of what O'Rourke says is so, Comcast looks as bad as they come. The Public Relations cost alone is probably in the millions, in terms of potential lost customers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A No-Brainer

This particular legal question should be a no-brainer, but one never knows. I'm rather appalled that Amazon continues to abuse its warehouse workers even after all the bad press they have received. That makes me feel better about not buying things from Amazon, since they now hit their customers with state sales tax.

Amazon, if any one of your products costs $0.01 more than any other retailer on the Internet, then I'm not buying from you, because morally you're just the same if not worse. There is zero loyalty to Amazon. I get a creepy feeling just thinking about the people that run Amazon. They have no morals, so what's to stop them from selling tainted or defective products, other than fear of punishment?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

NewEgg

NewEgg is cool except for one little thing--and you know that a geek is going to find that one little thing, and NewEgg caters to geeks, so they must have been forewarned.

NewEgg decided on its own without so much as a by-your-leave to change all their existing and future reviews to publish the customer's real name. The problem with that is that you may not want your negative review on a defective motherboard to pop up first thing when a potential employer is doing a Google search for your name.

I prefer to live my life in the way human beings have lived it since time began. My opinions, feelings, doubts and anxieties I keep to myself and my friends, and to potential customers and business associates, I present my professional self. I think it's stupid to spill your heart in public on the Internet, if you can possibly avoid it, that is, if you care at all about working in a corporate office environment at some point in the future. Jobs are hard enough to get without having an employer pass you over because you hated a hard drive NewEgg sold you ten years ago and spoke your mind about it, or didn't use proper punctuation or proper grammar.

All NewEgg cares about is NewEgg. They think their reviews gain more credibility with real names attached, and perhaps that is the case, but tough titty. I may buy from NewEgg on occasion to save myself the sales tax, but I won't review anything on NewEgg ever again.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bluehost is Incompetent

Bluehost is a web hosting service based in Utah. A subscriber to a hosting service expects to be able to view the access log. Bluehost, however, does not make complete access logs available to the customer unless the customer calls them on the telephone to request it. Bluehost's CPanel archive download manager is broken. Available to the customer is only a truncated, incomplete daily access log. Activity from two days ago is not available to the customer. Bluehost does not make the monthly log available for some unknown reason. I wonder what they are doing over at Bluehost that they are so concerned they need to cover it up?

Downloading the daily log, which is insufficient and only provides a brief glimpse of activity, results in a .gz file. Inside the .gz file is another .gz file. Bluehost zips each daily access log twice for no apparent reason. There is no technical advantage to doing so. It is simply a quirk on the part of Bluehost and yet another inconvenience to the customer.

In addition to all these shenanigans related to the access log, Bluehost also throttles shared hosting accounts. I have a site that is throttled every day without fail. "Throttling" is a process by which Bluehost deprives the site of cpu share, which slows the site down substantially, often to a crawl. The site being throttled is a low-traffic site that receives no more than 20 visitors per day. I have seen Bluehost throttle this site when it has received 3 visitors spread over a twenty-four period. I should add that the site is highly optimized, and its cpu demands are more modest than this blog's. Clearly Bluehost throttles sites not based upon activity, but for any reason whatsoever, just to handle a very large volume of customers, more than they should be handling.

I can't recommend Bluehost in good conscience any longer to anyone. They seem to be handling too many sites per server and cutting corners in order to deal with the load.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kenmore No More

I was about to buy another Kenmore window air conditioning unit when I noticed, after performing my customary, due-diligence online research, that Sears played switcheroo on their Kenmores. One model received an excellent rating from Consumer Reports. What do you think happened to that model? Sears discontinued it immediately, replacing it with a different model, a cheap, shoddily manufactured model that consumers don't like at all according to reviews. Seems rather sneaky to me and all too familiar. I have a Kenmore air conditioning unit myself, and the touchpad does not work anymore. Indeed, it quit working about a year after purchase. The unit is also noisy, and I had to make a lot of modifications to the side panels to block incoming outdoor air. All in all, I think Consumer Reports must be taken with a grain of salt when a Sears brand is being considered, because Sears likes to play cunning little games in order to save a couple pennies.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Post PC May Be OK For Some, Not Me

I often read in the media a premature obituary about the death of the desktop and how mobile gadgets are taking over the world. Maybe that is so. I know that a lot of my friends use mobile phones, although many also use desktops in addition to or instead of mobiles.

Although I'm sure mobile gadgets are useful for highly mobile individuals, such as salesmen and executive types, for the average person, I'm against mobile gadgets. If you invest in one of these traps, have fun buying a new gadget every two years when the old one has a minor glitch and has to be completely replaced with a brand new one. Gadget-makers do not encourage repair or tinkering. Gadget-makers do not design using the modular approach. Gadget-makers manufacture disposable items with planned obsolescence, which is bad for the environment and bad for the economy, because people have to keep buying the same products over and over. Me, I'm sticking with desktops, for several reasons, foremost of which is that if something goes awry, the modular design of the desktop allows me to swap out the bad part, like a bad hard drive, and plug in a good part. So I can "upgrade" for $100, tops, whereas those using mobile devices have to buy a whole new thingamajiggy. I have used the same case, scanner, and printer for over ten years. Ten years! It could have been even longer, because desktop cases simply last forever and ever. My desktop's other parts were not thrown away, but instead sold on Ebay, offsetting the cost of new parts. I never have to buy more than about $100 of parts to maintain my desktop. For the most part, nothing has ever broken--no piece of hardware has ever fried or burned or gone silent. The only reason I swap them out is to improve performance or increase storage. I find that desktops are more reliable because they are based on proven technology that has withstood the test of time. To a certain extent, even laptops enjoy something of this reliability, in comparison to less reliable phones.

My desktop can do about a hundred times more than a mobile ever could, because my desktop has high definition resolution, a real mouse, a real keyboard, real speakers, storage space measured in terabytes, and peripherals such as a printer, scanner, camera, microphone, and a network of other computers. When I go out, I like to experience the world, not tinker with my gadget--I do quite enough of that at home and need a break once in a while. The farthest I've gone towards mobility is buying a used $95 laptop, which works great with Linux Mint 14 KDE.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Crest Whitening Toothpaste--Yucko

I've been remarkably healthy for a long stretch, up until I started using Crest Tartar Protection Whitening Toothpaste, at which point all of a sudden I came down with an upper respiratory infection--a cold, a sore throat, and bronchitis, which lingers to this day. Now I am of the belief that that nasty toothpaste had something to do with my bronchitis. I haven't caught bronchitis in a decade or more. I use Crest, and all of a sudden I have bronchitis? The only reason I bought this infernal toothpaste was it was on clearance at the grocery store for something like $1.50 for a 232 g tube, which is a good deal, toothpaste normally being about $2.50 - $3. I should have asked myself why this toothpaste was on clearance. Why do the other customers not like it? Why is it unpopular? These are the questions a consumer should always look into whenever a brand is marked down.

I found out why the Crest toothpaste was so cheap after using it. It has the approximate consistency of baking soda, being powdery and not at all like normal toothpaste. The brushing experience is extremely unpleasant. The toothpaste tastes bad, and I don't feel that it cleans teeth well at all. To make matters worse, one of the ingredients of this Crest toothpaste--and the reason it is supposed to be whitening (I don't care about the whitening effect)--is titanium dioxide, a known carcinogen that causes lung irritation. Now I brush my teeth right before bed, and I am sure that I leave some amount of toothpaste residue in my mouth and subsequently inhale it while sleeping. So I think a connection might well be drawn from using Crest Whitening toothpaste to bronchitis, especially due to the timing of my infection (a few days after beginning use) and the highly unusual color of my phlegm--bright white, the color of titanium dioxide, rather than the yellow one might expect from bronchitis. I stopped using the toothpaste two days ago, and I'm already starting to feel better. I'm not going to buy any more Crest, regardless of variety, ever again, because in my opinion that brand does not know how to manufacture toothpaste.

I'm afraid all the brands have a variety with titanium dioxide, because CEO's tend to be evil and not care about the health of their victims customers. Anyone suffering from an infection in the respiratory tract should not rule out their brand of toothpaste as a possible cause, or for that matter the gum one chews--Trident sells a cheap gum that also claims to be whitening and also has the cancer-causing irritant, titanium dioxide.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Firewall for the Telephone

My phone has a firewall. If it didn't, I'd disconnect my phone and give it to Goodwill. There are far too many evil scum in the world that call on a daily basis for the purpose of sales, scams, handouts or just pure harassment. Just as every computer should have a firewall, every telephone requires a firewall, and the best firewall is Call Clerk. That program just keeps getting better and better, with an update every few weeks. I would purchase Call Clerk before any other program, including Windows. It is reason enough to own a computer and is far more important than the internet browser or the operating system. Call Clerk transforms the telephone from what it is today, a weapon of harassment against the user, and makes it what Alexander Graham Bell intended it to be, a useful method of communication. The only downside is that it runs on Windows instead of Linux, so one has to use an inferior operating system.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Clock Radios

After two hours shopping on Amazon, NewEgg, and E-bay, I did not find a single clock radio that was not designed by a retard. All brands are terrible. I imagine it would be easy to make a million dollars in that business, because anyone could design the best clock radio that the world has ever seen in about an hour or less.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dos Equis / Heineken Does Not Honor Rebates

Anyone considering buying Dos Equis beer on the strength of their seemingly generous rebates ought to think again. They took my rebate and the UPC codes I painstakingly clipped out and mailed and threw it in the trash can, mailing me a little postcard that told me my rebate had been rejected due to "No UPC Code submitted," which was a lie. Now I will think of one thing whenever I see Dos Equis or Heineken beer, and that is their Lie, and the liars that lie about things in order to sell their product.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Homeowners Associations = Communism

I couldn't have said it better myself. A home owner in one of these god-forsaken Homeowners Associations has described life in that community as the equivalent of living under communism. That's exactly my sentiment.

Homeowners Associations are just a bunch of uptight, paranoid, money-grubbing morons intent on making everyone as miserable and uptight as they are.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Losers Shop at Wal-Mart

Losers shop at Wal-Mart. That would include myself, as of yesterday. I went there to pick up a few things, none of which I found. Wal-Mart does not carry good brands, such as King Arthur Flour, but instead carries inferior garbage, which tends to be popular. I could not find my favorite brand of gum, UP2U, at a reasonable price, nor Terra, my favorite brand of vegetable chips.

The shopping experience at Wal-Mart has been specially designed, and I admire the designer, to be the most unpleasant experience I have ever had in a store. I admire the designer because it really takes a lot of effort and imagination to make the shopping experience as intensely unpleasant as Wal-Mart's. The noise level, traffic congestion both inside and outside the store, lighting, store layout, and everything is just horrible, which guarantees that each and every customer will feel worse after they shop at Wal-Mart.

Instead of shopping at any big store, the smart way to gather necessary household items is to comparison shop online and then buy them in bulk via Amazon, WEBstaurant, and other web-based wholesalers. The United States Postal Service, derided by some but never by me, will ship goods to your front porch at a very low rate and with surprising speed. (They will also pick up packages from your front porch if you ship via USPS Priority Mail, something inconceivable from a private shipper.) By buying as many goods as possible in bulk online, I have managed to save 20 to 50% on costs and have had a much better experience overall.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Foxconn

I have never purchased a Foxconn product knowingly, and after reading this article, never will.

I'm amused by those who purchase Apple I-junk (produced by Foxconn). There is no functionality offered on those overpriced gadgets that is worth their price.

Cellphone-addicted airheads have even spawned a new neurosis, nomophobia.

I think those morons should pick up a book once in a while.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Food Lion Sux

Food Lion is a thoroughly detestable grocery store. One of those spoiled-milk stores went out of business recently, and everything was marked down 25%. I decided to stock up on laundry detergent at the 25% off Food Lion.

A week later, I discovered that my brand of laundry detergent was on sale at Publix, so I did a cost comparison. Even with 25% off, the Food Lion detergent was more expensive. Moral of the story: Food Lion sucks. If they don't get you with their spoiled milk and rotting meat, they will get you with their tricky pricing.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Microwave Popcorn

Microwave popcorn is overpriced, bad for health, and contributes to obesity. A good food with a solid nutritional profile is rendered fattening and bad for health by cynical manufacturers who despise their customers.

It is both simple and cheap to pop kernels without oil by using nothing more complicated than heated air.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why I Didn't Buy a Kodak this Year

I'm not surprised Kodak filed for bankruptcy. Kodak has for a long time been run by idiots. The executives are mentally retarded. If the executives were ejected, and the company run by workers, then Kodak would become the dominant brand in the marketplace. Instead, Kodak was run by greedy, stupid morons who did everything in their power to destroy the Kodak brand.

Kodak Easyshare is a case in point. That bit of software was absolutely required to download photos from Kodak cameras. Other cameras do not have this peculiar limitation; you can simply download via Windows or any third-party program. Not so with Kodak. Kodak requires a memory-resident program to be alive in your computer AT ALL TIMES, sucking up resources and doing who knows what. Sometimes it even caused my computer to crash. Its features were junk. It was little better than a glorified Windows Explorer. Basically it just sat around reducing my computer's memory and taxing my patience.

Why did Kodak require Easyshare software? Simple. They wanted to sell a bunch of useless unwanted crap on their online site. Easyshare pesters the user with all kinds of unwanted offers, because the Kodak CEO has the mindset of a mafia boss. It was a slap in the face for trusting what I thought was a reputable American brand.

Needless to say, when the time came around to replace my Kodak, I did not even consider buying another Kodak, no, not at any price, even though Kodaks are selling for dirt cheap nowadays because everyone now realizes Kodak is a synonym for crap. I will never buy a Kodak again in my lifetime. Millions of other former Kodak customers had a similar experience and feel the same way. Hence, Kodak filed for bankruptcy.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, December 26, 2011

What Does OKIDATA Mean?

I discovered what OKIDATA means. The English translation is: "Service Call, Fatal Error."
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, September 26, 2011

Seller Beware on Ebay

I used to sell valuable stuff ($2000+) on Ebay, back in the day, but Ebay has made a lot of changes over the years making the environment hostile for sellers. First, sellers can no longer leave negative feedback, but buyers can in every case, even if a seller cancels a transaction and attempts to refund the purchase. So, abusive buyers don't have any trail behind them.

It used to be that safer forms of payment could be used, such as a postal money order, but Ebay makes it difficult to use anything but Paypal. Paypal almost always rules against a seller in the event of any dispute. So, it seems quite a simple matter for a dishonest buyer to steal from a seller, especially a low-volume seller who does not have a legal department on staff. "I never received my item" is one possible lie, but a more cunning one is, "The item I received was not as described in the auction," which is impossible to disprove, and as noted above, Paypal always rules in favor of the buyer. So, as a seller, there is a chance that you will become a victim of theft that involves a significant amount of aggravation and humiliation added for good measure. Ebay suggests that you factor such losses into your business plan. It is like shoplifting, they say. Incidentally, if you are stolen from, you will also be charged Ebay and Paypal fees, increasing the amount of your loss.

I still sell on Ebay, but after a buyer blackmailed me over a $5 transaction, threatening to leave negative feedback unless I sent him free stuff, I opted to remove all auctions that are for items greater in value than $100. Buyers are acting in an unsavory manner, abusing the system to their advantage. Ebay doesn't care, because they still make money, no matter what happens to the seller.

The total amount of fees that Ebay charges is another matter. For me, they have been in the 16% to 18% range. Ebay also undercharges buyers on shipping costs on a pretty regular basis.

Overall, I think the usefulness of Ebay is not what it once was, and I would welcome a strong competitor. As far as I am concerned, Ebay is a good place to sell junk that would otherwise go into the garbage. I don't intend to sell anything valuable on Ebay ever again.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, September 23, 2011

Netflix

Netflix is catching a lot of flak in the media. Here's the real reason why. They are caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand they want to provide the maximum amount of shows at the minimum price, whether via DVD or streaming. On the other hand you have the Entertainment Studios that are worried about people copying those streams. It is easier to copy a stream than to copy a DVD, from what I gather on a cursory examination. Also the "unlimited" spec is really a tad too generous if you ask me. There really is no foolproof way to protect copyrighted media. Where there's a will, there's a way to copy. Every hacker knows this.

I'm not sure what the solution will be, but I do sympathize with Netflix. I think their hands are tied by the policies of the studios.

I used to use Netflix, but their content selection does leave a lot to be desired. If all movies of more than a year old were available for streaming, it would be worth it, even if Netflix charged $.50 per hour, which I think is fair enough.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Charter Cable Still Doesn't Get It

I received yet another letter from Charter Cable offering internet, tv, and phone for $60/mo. and deposited it directly into the trash can like the fifty previous letters before it.

Charter still doesn't get it, six years after I left them.

It's not the price.

It's not the features.

It's reliability.

With Charter, I went without Internet for days and weeks at a time because of unexplained technical problems on their side. That's something I remember. Refunds for those time periods were promised--only if requested--but never materialized. So I don't care if Charter offers the bundle for $30, I'm not biting.

They need to work on reliability, followed by reliability, and thirdly, reliability.

When Internet service goes out, they should refund the customer's bill for the Entire Month. If they had that policy and were consistent about following it, then I'd sign up again. Otherwise, no. I don't need Bozo the Clown as my Internet Service Provider.

Meanwhile, there's a landfill somewhere with all the crap Charter has mailed me over the years trying to woo me back.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments
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