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Dec 192012
 

Yelp Sucks

You can see here that Yelp.com is still offer a bogus deal. Don’t fall for these scams.

I finally got around to writing up several reviews for Yelp.com and while I was on the site I noticed my favorite comic shop, 1up collectibles, had a Yelp “deal”. $75 for $50 (I knew my next comic pick up would be more than that so I bought it thinking I would be saving myself $25.

Well, I fell for the old scam of if it sounds too good to be true it is. Turns out 1Up Collectibles had turned off that deal over a year ago and Yelp.com should NEVER have been selling it. Shame on Yelp for scamming folks out of their hard earned money. My only hope is that my credit card company will see fit to reverse the charges since I can’t spend it and even if I could my comic guy would never see the money from Yelp since he no longer has an account with them.

How is it that they can continue to sell these deals after the companies discontinue, expire or stop them?

Is their a Yelp.com page to review them on their site? If so I have yet to find it. Guess the world is not allowed to review them!

Speaking of not allowed to review…they apparently filter reviews (even though I found a post saying they no longer filter — bullcrap). I wrote up my honest, unsolicited review of 1Up Collectibles and they removed/filtered it. My review (my thoughts, my opinions) don’t count when it comes to Yelp.com. Guess what? Yelp.com doesn’t matter and it seems like more and more people are starting to realize that.

Maybe Yelp should require reviewers to disclose if they received anything in return for their feedback. Instead of black balling the store owner for suspected deceptive practices. We have to do it on our blogs *waves nicely to the FCC* so instead of censoring us simply require the same standards of all websites to your users. Amazon.com does, so why can’t Yelp?

So lessons learned here. Yelp will remove you if they think you were bribed to write a review even if you weren’t and NEVER, EVER buy any Yelp Deals as they are not deals they are steals (as in Yelp stealing your money and you not getting a thing in return). You won’t even be able to call and speak with someone to ensure that your issue or problem will be dealt with. Shame on you Yelp.com

 

Disclosure/Disclaimer: I was not given anything but a headache and an empty wallet from Yelp.com in exchange for this review.

Nov 292012
 

Got a text message today telling me I won a $1000 Target gift card. YAY (if it were real). First off I never entered a contest secondly I knew this had to be a scam. So first thing I did when I hit the office was Google the phone number it came from – 323-636-8891. First thing to come up is a post about it being a scam. Check out a few more to confirm and it is definitely a scam. So if you get this text message (or anything telling you that you won something and asking you to click through to a website) don’t click the links, don’t reply (only tells them they have a good number) and DELETE the message off your phone.

text message scam

I then did a search for the website it was telling me to go to — TargetWinners.com and got more info and a few additional phone numbers that are sending out this crap. I wish it was easy to block phone numbers on my cell because half the known world would be blocked by now.

Two other people at work got this same text too. Just wanted you all to be on look out and not to be taken in during this crazy time of year.

It is bad enough we get all that SPAM in our email why bother us on our cell phones? Especially when most people have limited minutes and/or no text messaging (it cost them money).

 

May 232012
 

OK, last night I spent all that time driving home playing with the Dragon Naturally Speaking App on my phone thinking it would help me get my ideas out of my head and onto “paper” so to speak. Well, all it did was teach me a very valuable lesson.

DO NOT USE YOUR PHONE AT ALL WHILE DRIVING. JUST DRIVE!

I “missed” nearly 20 miles of my commute because I wasn’t paying attention to the road. I could have killed myself or some one else. It is never good to not be able to figure out how you got from point A to point B on a road trip, but to know it was because you were screwing around with an app on the phone this is doubly not good!

To add even more fear into my evening I got a call that my only sister was in a pretty bad car accident that night. She was not texting or even near her phone but it drove home the fact that something bad can happen in the blink of an eye.

PLEASE DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE. This is now against the law in PA (thank goodness). But when will PA wise up and make using the phone while driving at all a crime?

More from AT&T on the Dangers of Text Messaging and Driving

May 222012
 

That’s right I gots ideas in my head and I want to get the out. Problem is they appear there while I am driving.

And I always lose the idea / thought once I reach my destination.

Sucks to be me.

So I tried Dragon Dictation for my iPhone (see the last two days).

I hate the idea of talking to myself. That’s one of the reasons I did not jump on the new iPhone with SIRI (although she does talk back).

I feel self conscientious about talking to myself (or to a dictation software app), but I think I might be able to get away from that if I used it more often. I know for darn sure making an audio memo on the phone is out. I would never listen to it and if I did I would be afraid that someone would hear it. So that leaves me with either ignoring all the ideas that pop into my head during my commute or finding a speech to text that works and that I can get comfortable using.

Dragon did not work out for me. Guess I will try a few others before I give up the ghost completely.

I used to keep my digital pen in my car, but stopping to write down notes makes the commute a lot longer than it already is, besides the folks that made it stopped making the pads so no more digital pen for me. I just won’t buy the “adult” version that came out a few years ago and you can still get at Best Buy because of that. What happens when they decide to stop supporting the pen and special papers? Also they did not have any OCR software at first and I needed to become typed text not hand written images, you know?

May 212012
 

Ok now I am really confused. I went to iTunes to leave a review and it told me I did not have the Dragon app on my phone. I just used it, or rather tried to use it, and could see it right there. So I removed it and reloaded it. It came back up with a different icon on the iPhone now it is Dragon Go and the app looks different. I will give it another try.

I figured it out. The first non-working Dragon app was Dragon Dictation the second one that works is Dragon Go. Dragon Go only searches the phone and operates apps. No note taking which is what I need. And as I said before Dragon Dictation did not work at least not in the car. I had the radio off but I guess the engine noise was too much for it??? So no Dragon note taking for me. I haz a sad now :(

May 202012
 

I just loaded Dragon Dictation on my iPhone.

First of all, I thought Dragon was supposed to be the leader in speech to text technology, so why then does their app for the iPhone suck so bad?

It would not pick up anything I said at first kept giving me an error message…try again. Again? I don’t remember what I just said! That is why I wanted to try out the app in the first place.

Finally it started picking up some words, but only after I started speaking very slowly and unnaturally. It worked best one word at a time. I had to keep looking at the phone and would have had to correct almost everything as it came up. They ONLY thing that worked in any regular fashion was the period. Every time I said period it put a period on the page.

Anyone out there know any good, as in working, apps for speech to text?

May 202011
 

For the last couple of years Boris (that’s my cat) and I have been making donations and helping out our local animal shelters. When I make the donations I like to personal deliver them to the animals and take pictures of their little faces lighting up when they get a toy or a treat. Sometimes it is the first time they have been given a toy and it is so rewarding watching them finally figure out how to have fun with it.

I usally post the donation photos and adoption information of the animals over at Boris’ site — BorisKitty.com (he has more followers on his blog than I do and we won’t even get into all his followers on Twitter and friends on facebook).

Today I took over boxes and boxes of dog treats from work and a small bag of treats and toys for the kitties for the animals at the Animal Rescue League of Berks County as I have done MANY times over the past few years. When I took my first photo of a cat playing with one of the toys I gave them a staff member yelled at me for taking pictures and basically told me to leave. I had no idea what was going on as I said I have gone in and taken photos of the cats in their care on MANY occasions.

Needless to say I was very disappointed and a bit upset by being blocked from my project.  I asked to speak with the director of the ARL who tried his best to placate me with the old “it has always been our policy” bit. Oh really, then why have I been allowed before without getting special permission to photograph? It seems they had some one posting photos on facebook that showed them in a bad light and instead of fixing the issues these photos pointed out to the world at large the sweep them under the carpet by banning photography. Doing that only makes it seem like they REALLY have something to hide doesn’t it?

I half expect to see an expose on them on Action News sometime in the future.

I was assured that nothing bad is going on and that they are only trying to stop that sort of thing from happening again.

Ok, wait an minute here…

If nothing bad is going on why do you have to stop photographs from showing it?

I have never liked the ARL all that much any way, especially since they are a kill shelter, and this new issue only reinforces that dislike.

Yes, animals you take in there are usually put down within days of going there and sometimes they are put down within minutes. But they had been cleaning up their act a bit, or so I thought, by implementing a fostering program, which gives the animals a fighting chance to be adopted out instead of put to sleep.

The staff there are never friendly, yes they are trying to do their job and I am sure most, if not all of them, dislike working in a kill shelter, but if you don’t like your job or you don’t like people quit. Of all the times I have donated I have never once been thanked or helped with the boxes (and I usually take a lot of boxes in). Surprisingly this was the first time someone not only helped me with the boxes (came out and took one of the last two inside for me), but also kind of thanked me and asked if I needed a receipt. (I should have taken them up on that receipt that pile of boxes retails at over $800.)

When I raised $11oo for them online with the first SCIFIpawty I never heard one word of thanks. I guess the HSBC spoiled me by sending out a thank you letter every time I drop something off at their facility.

I know there is bad blood between the ARL and HSBC but never once have I heard HSBC speak ill of the ARL. The director of the ARL freely spoke of HSBC and of his opinions of them. Not very good form for the director is it? But he was trying to place blame for the whole Skittles issue on everyone else except the ARL where it belongs.

Guess I will stick with groups that appreciate what I do for them like One By One Cat Rescue and Humane Society of Berks County. Two very worthy animal rescue groups indeed.

If you know of some other worthy shelters or rescue groups please let me know in the comments below.

Aug 102010
 

Okay so if you are a person and want to express your displeasure with a company how do you complain? I voice my opinion to my friends and family and that circle has grown to include my online friends and family too. I also avoid using those products and services ever again, if I can help it.

Some examples of this are Comcast….hate them, their customer service, their product — everything but I still use them because cable companies are a monopoly and I have no other choice (don’t get me started on satellite TV). Thanks to my complaints here on my blog they did finally take notice and come out to fix both the DVR issues & the cable leading to my house.

Another example is the SCI FI Channel (now SyFy) for personal reasons I can not really spell out here, they did a great disservice to me back in 2000 & I have never gone back (only a few exceptions have occurred.

Then there is The Outback Restaurant. I some of the worst service by any waitress ever there, which was then followed up by the manager who only defended the waitress. I could not eat the food and was still charged. I actually had to take my complaint to RipOffReport.com to get the corporate office to notice my complaint and/or do anything about it. All they did was send me a gift card for a restaurant that I was never going to ever again (I have not been back in one in over 5 years). I gave the gift card to friend.

Latest example is BP. With this BIG problem in the Gulf I refuse to buy their gas (thank goodness there aren’t many around so I do not have to actively avoid them but I will drive by if there is one even if the gas is cheaper). Will I ever go back to BP? No.   I haven’t gone back to using Exxon gas for anything so why would I forgive BP?

That being said…I think you now know the answer to the question…do i hold grudges? YES.

Seems like companies these days are more about PR then they are about actual customer service. Shame, because those companies will never see my business again.

May 282010
 

I don’t like this feeling.

I don’t like feeling.

I feel strange. I can feel everything happening in my body.

I feel weak. Nauseous.

I can fell my heart beating in my chest.

I can feel every breath I take. Especially the ones I don’t take. My chest feels heavy. It is hard to breath. I feel out of breath when all I am doing is lying here.

I can feel my throat. I can feel the breath as it moves down my throat. How can air get caught in your throat? My tongue feels like it is pushing on the back of my throat. Pushing it closed.

I feel my head, the weight of my head. Yet I am light headed?

I feel my arms and legs. Feel them feel as if they are useless or not even there. Tingly but not tingly. Weak.

Remember to breath.

My stomach is empty yet I feel it working. Digesting. Gurgling. Pushing nothingness into my bowels, bowels that bubble and twist.

Headache.

I can feel my eyes moving about in their sockets. I feel every blink.

I feel like a stranger in my own body.

I want to go back to not feeling any of this as it happens, to blissfully feel nothing as my body works.

I don’t like this feeling.

I don’t like feeling.

Apr 052010
 

I have been using Outlook Express for years without too much of a problem until today.

I recently moved all my files onto a newer computer at work (we won’t call it new as it has been sitting there not being used since it was purchased in 2007, but it is a lot newer than the dying one I was using). I moved all my email files, address book everything over to the new computer and I was rather impressed that I did it without spending too many hours searching on Topeka (see Google’s April Fool’s Day joke for an explanation) for the help I needed in exporting and importing the files from old PC to new PC. Yay me. Pat on the back and all that.

Okay, that being said, I normally have the email spell check everything before sending it. Well this new system did not have the email set up that way from the previous user. So I manually ran the spell check only to find that it wanted to change every word to something funky. What the heck was going on here? So I looked under the hood, so to speak, only to find that the only language available for the spell checker was French! I don’t speak French and don’t send too many emails in French. I need English, any English would do.

A quick search revealed that the missing languages in Outlook Express is known problem with Outlook Express 6 and Microsoft Office 2007. From what I read this happens with upgrades from old office versions to this new one, yet this PC come with the programs installed on it. Apparently, Microsoft has no intention of fixing this and suggests you use a third party spell checker. Maybe an updated Outlook Express is in order, maybe?

Thanks to a very helpful blog post on Outlook Express being stuck on French, I was able to find the information I needed to either get the 3rd party software (they recommend Spell Checker For Outlook Express from Snapfiles). Upon further reading of the comments I saw that I could install/reinstall just the needed Office 2003 Proofing tools, which I did and so far so good. But who knows what tomorrows PC start up will cause. Wish me luck.

Don’t even get me started on their new file formats for Office 2007!

Mar 162010
 

Okay, so if witnessing the murder of a groundhog this morning wasn’t bad enough, tonight’s no better!

Now I am faced with stinky, runny cat poop to clean up and a spider.

I give up. Today is just crappy.

Going to bed now.

Night.

Mar 162010
 

I had a rather disturbing thing happen on the way to work and quite frankly it was a horrible way to start my day.

I was speeding along the turnpike as usual when up ahead I spotted a little groundhog trying his hardest to make it across the road. He got across the first lane of traffic fine only narrowly escaping the Mack truck only to be struck down by the SUV in the next lane.

His, hopefully, lifeless body came tumbling towards me at a high rate of speed coming to rest up against the cement medium.

I still can’t shake that image. It really messed me up most of the day. Poor little guy. Even if he had made it across where would he have gone? Upon reaching the middle of the road he would have been met with an insurmountable cement wall. Why don’t they make them with a gap in them every few yards? Or make the mediums out of cement columns instead of solid walls? Something.

Feb 232010
 

I was witness to an invasion last night.

Okay, not so much of an invasion as one giant spider from Mars.

Okay, it wasn’t from Mars.

It was from the ceiling.

Okay, it wasn’t giant either, but when it is only inches from your face hanging there with all eight of its evil little legs squirming at u in the light on the TV it looks friggin’ HUGE!

I detest spiders.

Okay, maybe that is a little strong.

I hate them.

Still too strong. I extremely dislike them and do not want them near me ever, especially two inches from my face when I am trying to go to bed.

My fear, disgust, distrust of them keeps me from even being able to squish them dead so that I can go on with my pathetic little existence as  a spider loathing human being. I was ousted from my own bedroom in the middle of the night from a creature the size of my thumb nail. How does that work?

I like Spider-man. I like spider themed jewelry and art. I even like watching them on the Discovery channel. I just don’t like them on my head.

Spider: 1

Me: 0

(If you are keeping score.)