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May 2009

Written By: Gary on May 30, 2009 No Comment

This has happened to me several times at Kohl’s Department Stores. I’ll return something after paying my bill and while I might buy something there I’ve still got a credit with them (i.e. they still owe me money). So they send me a refund check.

This time it was only for $8.37, and after a month or two they mail me a check refunding me the amount. For one thing, it’s a pain, I have to go deposit the check and it’s not not for a very big amount. And (B) it’s not like I won’t be shopping there again. This has happened to me a few times before, I think always for small amounts. It just seems a waste on many levels, time, stamps, billing, etc. (I understand the computer just spits it out, but there is still expenses); not even to mention the non-greenness of it. BTW, Kohl’s is the only credit card that I have that won’t automatically deduct a bill from my checking account.

Better yet, they should mail me the check but tell me I can take it to any Kohl’s store and can redeem it with the attached five dollar coupon or (better yet) one of their 30% off coupons and get me to spend more in the store. In theory I’ve got this ‘found money’ plus whatever bonus they might offer me. They’d have to put limits on this so people don’t scam the system, but it’s not like they don’t pass out similar coupons all the time. It would have cost them nothing to put such a thing in the same envelope.

Another thing, mailing checks to people’s mailboxes when they aren’t expecting them strikes me as a security thing; now this wasn’t a large amount, but I really don’t want large checks sitting in my mailbox when I’m not expecting them (or when I might throw them away).

On a side note: I called a friend today and they were shopping at Kohl’s and I thought “I haven’t been there in a while” and instead of running over there today, I’m sitting here blogging about their weird refund policies :)

Written By: Gary on May 29, 2009 No Comment

They released a free Hulu Desktop Client. I’ve never been a Hulu fan, never wanted to twait for the streaming, but I checked it out. I’m a fan now! Watch videos, previews, clips, subscribe to shows (sort of like a season pass) and make bookmarks for later. Pretty cool.

hulu-desktop.pngGotta say, if they integrated this with Boxee (or XBMC) it’s a sure win. And since both are open-source (I think) it might be a good choice. Make Hulu the default menu choice and main menu default when you start it up but still have the other features would make a great option.

Did I mention that it works with your Apple Remote too?

PS – You can add me as a Hulu (or Boxee) friend by using my e-mail address or my name.

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Written By: Gary on May 22, 2009 No Comment

Why doesn’t anyone have a bike rack to park your bike at any more? It’s a pain in the ass when I need to park it somewhere. I’m being healthy and ecological and have to climb in the bushes to find a place to lock it up. The only thing around with one is the library. Although I guess since I’m writing this from McDonald’s, healthy isn’t the first thought in my head…

glee-tv.pngI’ve got these stupid songs from Glee (that link goes to a free HD download of the pilot), running through my head. The two songs in particular are You’re the one that I want from Grease and Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. Kind of a cute show, most of the adult characters are pretty lame though (the women especially). I just noticed they’ve got the cast doing Don’t Stop Believin’ at iTunes.

I think I need to go see Night at the Museum II and/or Terminator Salvation some time this weekend.

It’s another awesomely sunny day out too!

Written By: Gary on May 22, 2009 No Comment

Assuming we get new iPhones at the WWDC in early June, I’ve got a few guesses. June 9th is when it’s assumed Apple will release the new 3.0 Operating System and announce (or release new phones). I think the upgrade is supposed to be free for iPhone users but not for the iPod touch users; I find this completely bizzaro since I think you’ll need it to purchase applications, so Apple is cutting out their market of potential iTunes App sales.

Apple iPod touch 16 GB (2nd Generation) Apple ComputerThey could just announce new phones, but people’s contracts are running out so I assume they’ll have something to release or announce with product in the next few months (there are July 17 rumors too, but it could just be the same rumor re-tweeted over and over). I’m just talking about features for the physical phone, the software has been out in beta and I don’t think there will be too many surprises there.

1) I think we’ll get a new phone with a new camera. It’s never had the best camera and rumors say Apple has been buying 3 MP and 5 MP chips. I’d really hope it’s the 5 MP as the main camera, but sadly I’m not sure what else they’d use the 3 MP chips in. I’m assuming this would also allow you to record video. But 3 MP is pretty low when you consider the quality of everything else that goes into the iPhone.
2) I’d love it to have two cameras, one on the back and one of the front for video-conferencing. I don’t think we’ll get that with this refresh (maybe on ‘the iTablet’?), but if they offer it, I definitely pick up that model.
3) I think they’ll start offering an iPhone with more memory, they’ve had more memory in the iPod Touch (up to 32 GB v.s up to 16 GB)for a while so this is a no brainer (IMHO). But will they stop at 32 GB or go all the way to 64 GB?

Other stuff:
Lots of rumors on a faster processor and if Apple wants to make this a gaming machine it needs a little more power. Rumors indicate faster chip purchases, but these could be for ‘the tablet’, but then again maybe they need it for the rumored video recording capabilities.

Apple iPod touch 32 GB (2nd Generation) Apple ComputerI feel if Apple starts releasing very different model iPhones, people will start getting confused on which models to get. So far the only difference has been color (do they still make the white?) and storage. If they try keeping a cheaper model with less features, a mid-range with with a better (or two) cameras and another with faster processor will just confuse the masses. Even more confusing if each higher step doesn’t include every feature of the “lower” models. Nothing says “don’t buy” more than confusion between models.

And speaking of the iTablet, which I think will be more of big iPhone/iTouch than a low power tablet or netbook computer, I’m not sure why the iTablet would need a better camera than the iPhone (I’m really hung up on the 3 MP / 5 MP chip rumors). I’d like the tablet to have to ability to be a phone to use my SIM chip from my iPhone for data. They better not release a tablet with a phone from a competing company so I need to buy another plan for wireless data for this other device.

So I’m ready to transition to the iPhone, I’ve been playing with the iTouch (yes, I know it’s an iPod Touch) for a few months and I need the data “on” all the time. As long as they announce a way to tether my laptop to the Internet via the phone, I’m in!

Written By: Gary on May 21, 2009 2 Comments

Argh! Haven’t been this frustrated in a very long time…

The last 24 hours:
– I can’t sync my calendar items and address/phone numbers between my computers, MobileMe and iPod Touch.
– My main Windows machine won’t reboot, keeps resetting. Think the hard drive went.
– Accessing/syncing to my AppleTV is goofed up (that’s minor, unrelated and hacked so not an Apple issue)
– My cell phone keeps saying international roaming when I’m at home (it’s Sprint). I’m not that close to the border of Canada/Michigan.

I’ve spend more time with tech support the last 24 hours than the last 24 months. I’ve been escalated multiple times at Apple and not getting any closer. And after all the changes at my end I’m leaning towards it’s going to be a problem at their end so then I’ll have to get everything set back the way I want (a few hours ago, I’d have said 100% sure at their end, but not so sure now). They say this is a new problem and since we’re pushing 4 hours today I’m hoping it’s a unique problem (for their sake).

And I’ve wasted another sunny day :(

Written By: Gary on May 17, 2009 No Comment

wordcamp.chicago.pngI’ve mentioned it a few times before but in less than 3 weeks (June 6-7, 2009) it’s time for WordCamp Chicago. It’s only $31 and it’s getting full (only 50 spots left) so sign up now. You can get more information at the WordCamp Chicago blog.

They’ve already got a bunch of speakers lined up including Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress. You can even see who’s already signed up to attend.

 

 

Written By: Gary on May 17, 2009 One Comment

I gotta tell you I hadn’t even noticed the similarities (other than the weapon).

Here’s the Direct Link to the video.

Found at The Fire Wire.

Written By: Gary on May 12, 2009 One Comment

I got way overwhelmed with my RSS feeds, I’ve got gobs of them (almost 300). Many of those feeds don’t get updated more that once a month (if ever) so they really don’t impact the list, but a dozen or so update 2-4 times a day. Plus, I recently added everyone coming to WordCamp Chicago (list of attendees) another 100 or so feeds; I’ll prune that down later.

I’ve been over a 1000+ unread items for ages and even when it gets back to 700-800 it just jumps back up! Lately , no matter what I do, I can’t even get it under 1000, so I cleared out all my posts. And started over…

THey really need a way to click a button to ‘mark all posts older than __ days as read’ and that would help with when it gets full.

Hopefully I’ll do better catching up in the future.

I’ve got the feeds syncing with my iPod Touch (but if I’m not of WiFi there are no images, which makes some feeds useless) so maybe that will help. I use Doppler (you can try Doppler Lite for free).

I’m really looking for an off-line Google Reader the includes the images for off-line viewing, any tips? Other than storage space, once you’ve written the reader the image caching doesn’t seem too hard, but it still eludes me….

Written By: Gary on May 6, 2009 One Comment

Testing the WordPress Client for the Touch and iPhone.

A few extra features with editing categories and pages, but I can’t figure how to use a current category. You can publish or keep local drafts too. Looks like it will post more than one photo (unlike iBlogger).

Sample screen below…

I like this, it’s free and it appears to work well off-line. It supports multiple blogs. It attaches the photos at the bottom but I think after posting it, you could easily edit the html (while still on the handheld) to move it. Still not sure how to use an existing category. I like the ability to publish drafts so I can possibly edit them on the computer before finally posting.

It also lets you approve/spam comments! This is a great feature!

(By default this showed up in the “uncategorized” category, but then it showed that cattegory so I changed the category to “blogging” )

Written By: Gary on May 6, 2009 No Comment

image1328246471.jpgThis is a test from my iPod Touch.

The edit screen looks like this:

Mobile Blogging from here.

Doesn’t want actually post the tags that I manually typed for the post (while categories work fine). For some reason it seems to crop a photo to a square and only lets you use one photo. Works off-line okay. It’s pricey at 9.99 but works with multiple blogging systems and multiple blogs.

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