I’m back…

Posted by Mr. Wister on August 27th, 2010 under Mental Masterbations Tags: ,  •  1 Comment

Sorry for the lack of updates, I wish that I can say I’m back after fighting cancer, or even a deadly strain of flu or kidney failure. But the truth is I’ve just been lazy. I guess in that respects I’m a good American. Oh yeah, if I forgot to mention that before in the course of my blog, apologies…no wait, that’s right, you don’t really care if I’m American or not. All you care about is -reading- watching youtube and perhaps thinking naughty thoughts about the neighbor’s wife, who just happened to changing in the window. Hey, either way – I understand. No really. I do.

The amazing thing about the Internet, or as some senators call it, the ‘tubes, is there is an almost unlimited amount of content out there for you to consume. Think about it. You could stay up all night tonight, and all day tomorrow, and repeat that for the rest of your life and you still won’t see or read everything there is to read or watch online. The web, the Internet, is expanding like the universe in a way. Technology is moving us forward. Feeling dizzy? We’re traveling at an amazing speed through innovation while taking a back seat in our own lives. We’ve ceased to ‘live’ our lives, we’ve given in to the beast online. We’re now corporate prey. We’re hostage to bad ads, terrible amateur videos about getting hit in the crotch over and over again with a football, and other mindless distractions so much so that we’re missing our kids take their first steps, go on their first dates, and contract herpes for the fourth time.

It’s everywhere. Its on our phones. Its on our TVs. Computers. Watches. Cars. Cafe’s. Restaurants. Do you have a microchip in your brain with internet capability yet? You will. The moment you stop thinking for yourself and nod in agreement with what some jackoff on youtube or CNN.com says is the moment you might as well be castrated and get a bolt through the skull with a microchip implanted that says “I listen to the man.” It doesn’t matter who the “man” is. You’re a slave, a hostage. There’s nothing you can do about it.

The irony is you’re reading this online. Did you nod your head at the last paragraph. That makes me the man. Did I contradict myself? I prefer to think of it as creatively defending my own juxtaposition. Let that swirl for a minute, then go back to watching stupid pet tricks or scan through more pictures of cute and cuddly kittens and puppies while drooling on your mouse. And don’t forget about dinner in the oven, or junior upstairs who’s been sitting in a pile of his own shit for the last 30 minutes because you had to check your Facebook status.

Computer running slow? Get Linux.

Posted by Mr. Wister on April 7th, 2009 under random complaints Tags: , , ,  •  No Comments

Batshit crazy. Everytime I hear and see commercials for “Is your computer running slow? It’s not your fault! Download our computer cleaner!” I just want to bang my head against the wall.

First, it IS your fault that your computer is running slow. Even if you didn’t download the gigs of porn you say that you don’t have, or the “free” programs that you found on some Russian website, you’re online. And chances are you’re running Windows.

Next, even if you get this miracle product, that will completely clean your machine and registry, guess what? Its going to happen again.

Also, don’t forget. You’re still going to download porn.

And…you’re still going to go online.

It’s not all Window’s fault. More specifically, its not all Microsoft’s fault. When your OS runs something like 80 or 90% of computers in existence, you’re the natural first target. A hacker or virus writer of spyware author will naturally go after windows and hit a high percentage of users, rather than the 20% that use another OS. But that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

The solution? Get Linux. It’s free. It’s free. As in, it’s totally free. In the legal sense. Not in the “I got my copy of Windows free because blah blah blah.”

Is it as easy to use as Windows? No, I’ll admit that. But…computers aren’t really supposed to be easy to work with. They never were supposed to be. We’ve become addicted to computers, computing, and the Internet because it was made too easy.

Look, seriously, you can do nearly anything with Linux that you can with Windows. 96% of people use their computer for email, web surfing, and typing docs. Linux can do all that.

So, the commercial should be “Computer running slow? Backup anything you want to keep on a CD, go to ubuntu.com or fedoraproject.org now. Then pick up a book and stop surfing online so much. Enjoy!”

Someone tell Congress what the banks are doing now!

Posted by Mr. Wister on April 7th, 2009 under Economy Tags: , ,  •  No Comments

Okay, so you know how there’s this thing right now, some kind of financial thing, where banks are about to fail and they aren’t making loans or not giving consumers money to “jump start” the economy. Yeah, must have just happened the other day because I for one know nothing about this. {grin}

And you know how the government is bailing out all these banks with billions of dollars so they can start lending and being consumer friendly again?

Perhaps they didn’t get the memo that part of being customer friendly and lending (the opposite of trying to raise a ton of money at the expense of its customers) is to NOT RAISE INTEREST RATES they control!

I don’t know about your experience, but every single credit card I have, including the fixed and variable rate ones, are increasing their rates by about 2-3 times! Even cards that I’ve had for 10+ years are being raised so they can make a few extra bucks off me because they’re in need.  What the fuck is that about!

Think this practice will make me want to use the card more? Fuck no! In fact, I intend to pay down the card, cut it, and never use it again. But keep it. And I’m going to start calling a few times a month just for the fuck of it. Make them spend more money on me even though I don’t owe them dick.

I just lol’d an evil lol to myself.

iContact i-sucks

Posted by Mr. Wister on February 26th, 2009 under random complaints, sagas Tags: , , ,  •  No Comments

Maybe its just me, bad karma or something, and I should stay away from anything with an ‘i’ in the name that tries to make itself look trendy, hip, or whatever the i is supposed to stand for. First the ihome, now a company called iContact.

Here’s the short of it. I found the company because I was in need of email marketing software. I’ve dealt with installing a solution on my own computer, and keep running into limitations of hosting services (only so many emails can be sent per hour or per day.) iContact fit the bill, seemingly, with a free trial and a plan starting at 9.95 a month.

Perfect. So I started out with a test list and built some other ones. The interface is nice and the service “seems” to work. So I upgraded my account to the $9.95 one.  I built a real autoresponder and put the form up on the web.

Of course, I have this ridiculous idea of actually testing something to make sure it works. I know, wtf, right?

Well to my surprise, I never received the double opt-in confirmation email for either test address.

So I contact their support department. Now in my mind, the opt in should come next to immediatelyn an hour or two tops. I mean, this is the mail that confirms your subscription to a list. But…nope. A support rep tells me it could take up to 24 hours. Um. Wow. Really. W-T-F.

So I wait until the next day. Nothing comes rolling in. I check my spam folder. Nope. Check my two inboxes. Nope. So I contact support again. The guy this time tells me “Hmmm…weird.” Then he asks for my email addresses so he can search through the logs and see what he can find. He asks for my email/contact info, I give it to him and he says hel’ll ‘research it’ and get back to me.

That was fuckin Tuesday. Its Thursday. I’ve heard nothing. How long does it take to search through logs? Hmm, seems you’d have a search query set for something like this. Or perhaps pulling a physical file, and Ctrl-F. Seems easy.

Now it bears mentioning that I’ve figured out (partially) what happened. I already confirmed the two addresses on a previous list, so in their system the addresses are probably set. The rub is I deleted the two addresses, then re-added them. So their database must still have those records. Therefore the system thinks I’m already confirmed…except if thats the case, and I’m already “opted-in” why don’t I receive the messages I send? And why isn’t the address listed as confirmed? Strange.

I can only take one thing away from this, logically. The delete functionality isn’t really there. Once you remove someone from any of your lists, you better not re-add them later or they will be in no man’s land.

Incidentally, I didn’t tell iContact about my hypothesis. I want to see what they come back with. If they get back to me at all, that is. Customer Service, FTW.

3 minor complaints about the G1

Posted by Mr. Wister on February 18th, 2009 under random complaints Tags: , , ,  •  No Comments

With the whole T-mobile customer service saga behind me, I received my new phone (yep, it was a G1. Hey If you’re going to upgrade might was well be to a smartphone.) I will give T-mobile credit on the shipping – it arrived within 2 days. Now just fix that whole web / tracking thing and we’re good.

Anyway, I’ve been playing with it like a dyslexic diabetic in the Ghiradelli shop recently, as expected. And I must say that the phone itself is very, very nice. The touch screen and control (feel of the phone) rivals  the iPhone (IMO) in sensitivity and usability. The qwerty keyboard is nice because it is unobtrusive and much easier to type on than trying to precisely hit a touch screen. And its faster to hit a qwerty keyboard, too.

But everyone who owns a G1 probably already knows about the apps, speed, performance, usability, etc. And I’m not all about spreading the love, so to speak. So let’s get dirty.

Here’s what sucks (albeit, minor suckage) about the G1’s design.

Keyboard: Yeah, the qwerty keyboard is nice. But there is a flaw. Those who are used to typing on a regular qwerty keyboard will find, when typing, their message has a lot of line breaks in it. Why? Because the Enter or Return key is where the shift key normally is. And the Delete key is where the Enter key usually is. It takes some getting used to.  Its a minor inconvenience. But when you’ve been exposed to a normal qwerty layout for years, and you can go relatively quickly even just using your thumbs, you’re guaranteed to hit any of these keys by accident. And curse a few times in the process.

Volume / Ringer control: If you’re using the phone as a phone, it’s perfect. If you use your left hand and left ear to answer the phone, your thumb rests naturally on the volume control. Sliding your finger up or down can adjust accordingly. There’s no need to pull the phone from your ear and adjust the volume like on most other phones. However, if you have the keyboard out, the volume control is at the bottom left. This means your left thumb is resting on the control.  Depending on how firmly you grasp, you’re adjusting the volume. Again, minor. The first few times I did this, of course I said “Shit! What the hell!”. Then I answered the phone and adjusted the volume effortlessly. “Ah….hah. Well then. I guess that’s okay.”

Charging: I’m not going to bitch about battery life. If you have a phone that can do almost anything you ask of it (I installed a ssh app, ftp client, and file browser for crap’s sake) its gonna go through a battery quickly. My bitch here is how you charge the phone. There is a small, flimsy piece of rubber at the bottom of the phone that you remove to reveal a small, proprietary USB connector. You plug it into your computer or an outlet to charge.  Here’s my bitch – the plug or stopper or piece of shit rubber thing is kind of hard to remove – and I have to remove it every night (at least) to charge it. Dammit. Plus, I don’t exactly have long fingernails. So its a bit of a pain in the ass. Or fingers. Or…well its a pain.

And that brings me to a sub-bitch, or related bitch that isn’t necessarily specific to the G1 but it kind of is except its a broader bitch. Um, right. Proprietary USB cords. Why? Why is there a proprietary connecter on one end of the cord? Okay, Apple does it, presumably for some reason. Maybe they felt like they wanted to be different. Fuck it. Whatever. Mac and Apple whores will buy it up. The G1 does the same thing – except as far as I’ve seen this is the only place I can use the fucking thing. At least with the Mac / iPhone cord it will work with ipods and the iphone.

So, why make a new cord. Are you that fuckin greedy that you need a special cord people have to buy if they lose or need another cord? Wht’s wrong with a normal usb cord? Same size…

I have some faith. Maybe they needed 1 less pin, or one more pin, or something like that.

Wait a minute! No, that can’t be right! I mean, how mp3 players out there use standard usb cords? How many phones use standard usb connections? How many camcorders use normal usb and firewire connections? And they work fine! And other phones use normal usb for their computer connections. So Apple clearly wants to be different and force their beret wearing, latte drinking cult to keep buying their custom and proprietary crap “to be different.” Yes, you’re different, like the millions of others out there who have the exact same fuckin thing you do.

Then again, wait. I have a G1. I’m a whore too. I’m just in bed with Google, not apple.

Well, at least the sex is good. And Google always calls me the morning after.

T-mobile: their sucky website, sucky automated phone system, and other practices

Posted by Mr. Wister on February 11th, 2009 under sagas Tags: , , ,  •  3 Comments

Not sure why companies are drawing my ire lately…oh wait, I know why. They’re money grubbing faceless corporations and conglomerates that collectively conspire to rape the consumer. For goodness sake, even Amazon has shown their ugly side to me.

Today’s not so random complaint is directed squarely at T-mobile. I’ve been a customer for about 3 years now. Actually, over 3 years. And I have no real complaints. Well, thank goodness for the inter-tubes known collectively as the web and my toddler son.

I was in Target the other day when my son decided he’d had enough of looking at the fruity pebbles box (hey – maybe he thought pebbles was hot or something…for a cave baby) and wanted something else to grab his attention. I tried keys, random toys, but nothing fit the bil. He loved playing with my phone, so I gave him the phone. It was a pretty indestructable phone, I’ve dropped it on concrete and even played pong and floor hockey with it. However, my son managed to bite off the keyboard. (And for all you people out there that are saying “Holy shit! You let him play with a fucking phone?”…Yes i did. Call me parent of the year. When your kid is angry in aTarget, you do whatever you can to placate him. Go smoke in front of your kid – give him an early start at melanoma or a tumor – then talk to me about being a bad parent.)

So now my phone is missing the 8,9,0, and # sign. Ah shit. Well, my contract was up anyone and I need a new phone anyway. The battery life on this is going to hell.

So, I go to the website, and pick out my new phone. Then I pick out a new phone for my wife (we’re on the same plan). I put it in my cart, then I realize “Shit! It thinks I’m a new customer – that’s not right.” So I sign into my account and have to start over. Not a big deal.

Except it is. You see, even though two phones are on the same plan, each phone number has to sign in separately to access “their” account. Even though its one account. Hmmm. Okay, whatever. Except now I have to upgrade two phones which means I have to upgrade each one at a time. Again, inconvenient.

So I upgrade my phone. Done. I login to the other account, and upgrade that phone. Done. Whew. Now I need to cancel a third line on the same account, since it is never used. Okay. I assume I need to call for that.

So I dial up the customer service number. I get an automated system – you know, the whole “Press 1 for Enlgish, 2 for spanish…”

I press 1. Now some automated woman (who doesn’t sound like she’s being too sincere) is asking me how she can help me.

“Drop third line” I say.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand you.”

Yeah, no shit. I try again a different way.

“Cancel additional line.”

“I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you’re asking?”

Then she rattles off some options that make no sense to me. Like account balance, minutes, things like that. I’ve had enough.


“I’m sorry, I don’t understand you.”

So I press 0.

“That’s not a valid entry.”


“I’m sorry, I don’t understand you.”

“Let me talk to someone. Now.” I press 0.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that.”

Finally, I’m able to randomly convince this fembot that she can’t help me and she transfers me. And I’m finally able to disconnect the third line.

Okay, so now I presumably have two orders in the system, and third line cancelled. Later, I wanted to see the order status. So I look on the site, and under Support I see order status. Awesome! So I click it. It is this FAQ/help page with links to USPS and UPS. No order numbers, not order status. And the header says “Track Package”. WTF?

So apparently there is no way t get an order status on the site – just track your package. If it hasn’t shipped yet, well, you’re kinda fucked. So since my order hadn’t shipepd yet, I was in no man’s land. I searched the site and couldn’t find anywhere that had some kind of order status. Wow. Amazing.

But I did see a delivery estimate (not specific to my order) that delivery takes 7 business days, after processing of course. So I’m thinking “Wow. WTF? Well, maybe I’ll call to see if I can just pick up my phone in the store. Its 5 minutes away.”

So I call the rep, and ask if I can do this.

“No, if you ordered online you have to wait for it to be shipped.”


“Web only or special pricing.”

“So you mean to tell me that I can’t come into your store and get the phone, even though I’m a customer, and you have my order in the system?”


“If I walked into the store right now, and cancelled my web order, you wouldn’t give me the same price of the phone I paid online?”


“I know this isn’t true, because whenever I walk by a kiosk in the mall, the guy always tells me there are rebates available. And those just happen to bring the price to the web only ’special’ price.”

The call ends. Now if she had told me “it was separate inventory” or something like that, I’d let it go. But the whole price argument is shaky. Very shaky.

I log into my account again this morning, and see nothing on the order status page. Dammit – I want my phone, or at least some kind of update! I click the UPS link, enter my phone number, and it turns out the phone was shipped yesterday.

Skip the drama, please and just put something on your order status page. Please?

Corporate jargon translator

Posted by Mr. Wister on January 13th, 2009 under Work Tags: , , , , ,  •  2 Comments

Yeah, that’s right. Why start to be clear now? When you’re in a job, son, you have to know how to speak the speak, or just know what the fuck the speak means. You might be in a meeting, getting coffee, or taking a piss when you’ll hear some poor schlep on a cell phone having a conference call in the stall next to you. And you have a choice to make, either fart out loud and make obvious bathroom noises to teach the ass a lesson, or listen to his conversation and laugh. Either way works. (Give it a try)

Anyway, the corporate world has adopted a new language which is generously peppered into most meetings and now corporate casual conversations in the halls and lunchrooms. Let’s cover a few of them I head all the time and decipher them for our combined amusement.

Run interference

Not sure what the fuck this means, but it makes me feel like I’m playing a sport and some 280 pound sweaty guy with .5% body fat is about to run into and castrate me in the process. You might find someone saying this if they want to be “kept in the loop” (see below) or if they feel so self important that they have to be involved in every single decision that is being made. Middle to upper class management pricks use this to interfere with everyone’s shit. Maybe that’s why its called interference. As you can tell, when this happens, nothing really gets done. If there is “progress” on something, the person running interference fucks it up. That’s the definition of interference. If there is a problem, someone steps in and…fucks it up.  See the pattern?

Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes

Translation: I’ve tried to bring up this issue before but no one listens, so I’m bringing up again and I will continue to bring it up  over and over until someone acknowledges my pitiful existence and gives me a corporate cookie. People who want to sound “engaged” or more important than they actually are tend to use this. These are the same fuckers who are peons like you, but send out the emails to everyone that talk about great new ideas for the future, or new things that everyone could try. They try to “engage” people to act. While it may sound worthwhile, these people are usually just douchebags covering up their inadequacy and shitty performance with a smokescreen of douchebaggery. They are also known as attention hogs, attention whores, attention sluts, and just…douchebags who aren’t good at their jobs….but man can they talk the talk.

Let’s take this offline

Translation: I really like this idea or where its going, but it is off topic. Let’s talk about it again.

The real translation: Fuck off, this idea or thing we’re talking about is stupid, I don’t want to talk about it or hear about it ever again. If you ever mention it again I’ll replace your esophagus with your rectum.

The only people who are ever allowed to say this are server administrators who want to take a site or computer server offline for maintenance. Middle class managers or higher, or employees who don’t deal with these sites or servers should never say this. Ever.

Let’s interface

What ever happened to “Let’s do lunch?” Lunch became too expensive, dinner is right out, and “Let’s do breakfast” sounds like an invitation to an evening of uncomfortable corporate love making following by bad eggs and burnt toast in the morning. This is just fancy speak for “Let’s talk”. Wow – what’s wrong with that term? Nothing. Then why don’t we use it more? Because it is clear. Ah. That’s right.

Burn the midnight oil

Stay up late and finish your job! Or I will kill you! All of you! Especially you in the cubes!

Let’s not call it overtime or double time, because we’re not going to pay you any more than you normally make (salaries rock!). And and employer doesn’t want you to say you stayed late. That’s too clear and concise. So let’s say that you burned the midnight oil. In reality, midnight oil is a euphanism for “your life” or “your spare time”. So, really, its saying “burn your free time by working.”

In the loop

See the interference comment above. Again, this means I think I’m more important than I actually am, so I want to you treat me like I’m the god of this issue and consult with me on everything. If you want to take a piss, let me know so I can track it.

On my radar

Did you know that most manager secretly want to work in Air Traffic Control? Or possibly in the Navy…where they can join their fellow man. That’s the only explanation I can come up with to explain this nonsense. The closest translation is something like “do you have time to do this in the future?” If you’re wondering why people say the nonsense of “on my radar” in place of something that makes more sense, I’m wondering why you’re still reading this?

Low hanging fruit

Are you a farmer? No? Then stop picking fruit! The rough translation:

Let’s address or fix the things that are easiest.

But that doesn’t sound good. Kind of sounds like a lazy way out, doesn’t it? I mean, why take on the important stuff when the easy shit is right there in front of your face! Let’s not do it right, let’s do it this way instead. It’s better because we look like heroes for doing something “above” and beyond what you’ve asked for…even though we didn’t really do what you asked.

Can’t we just…or…Can’t you just…

The answer is no. It should always be no. Actually, fuck no is more appropriate.

Someone is trying to make you do something that shouldn’t be done. If I asked you to rob a bank (I’m not) and you said no, and then I said “Can’t you just walk in and take their money this afternoon”, would you say yes?

I hope not.

Monkeys, worker drones, cube farmers, etc.

Normal workers. They come in, try to focus on their job, and go home to a mediocre house with an overpriced mortgage or rent.


The notion that by removing a person or group of people from a setting and placing them in another place, together, and expecting revelation equivalent to the second coming is laughable at best. It is a waste of money too, because most of the time the location “off site” is rented at a relatively high cost. But it usually is catered in some way. So free food is a bonus. Then there’s something to throw at the douche across from you who can’t put down his blackberry for 30 seconds.

Whatever comes out of an off site is usually touted as a success, but 99 times out of 100, the plan fails or isn’t implemented, making the offsite a complete waste. Besides, offistes violate an unwritten corporate law: any meeting with more than 5 participants is bound to fail. The more people are added in a meeting, the less gets accomplished, and the collective IQ of the groups goes down by at least 10 points.

On my plate

Transation: This is what I’m doing, or will be doing.

Contrary to belief, your manager or fellow officemates don’t want to know what you’re eating. They want to know how much “bandwidth” you have to accept their “can’t you just” request. If your plate is “full” it means you can’t do it. But you’ll be expected to do it anyway. If its not full, expect them to pile more gruel and creamed corn (aka piece of shit project request) and expect you to do it.

Unless you’re at a buffet, you should not be talking about what is or isn’t on your plate.  That’s just rude.


Kind of similar to the one above. Someone is asking about what you’re doing all day, because they want to give you more work. You probably shouldn’t tell them that you’re watching youtube porn…that’s not good for your job or your corporate internet bandwidth.  Anyway, the rough translation is really “workload”…someone wants to know what your workload is, except bandwidth is more future oriented. Whoever is asking might say something like “What’s your bandwidth look like next week?”, you know, as if you were Rasputin or something. What they are asking is “What are you working on next week?”

If they’re not your boss, you can either tell them to a) fuck off, or b) make up something that sounds halfway decent and confusing. If they are your boss, go with answer b.

All on the same team

Using this logic, everyone is on the same team. “We’re all on the same team” roughly means we all (meaning employees) are working towards the same goal.

Wait, that doesn’t make any fuckin sense! How can we all be on the same team? If we are, why call it a team? Everyone in the NFL wants to win the Super Bowl…that’s a common goal. So why do “teams” do battle if they are after the same thing? Every country in the world wants to be the best. Yet we go to war over it and kill. If we’re “all on the same team” because we all want the same goal…why bother?

And if everyone in an office is on the same team, why have teams in the office? Why have divisions? They “divide” people, that’s whay they’re called divisions. Or departments. Think about the word “departments”. Think of Department store. Everything is separated into departments or areas. Work is the same. Then, we’re not all working on the same team. We’re on our own teams. Make sure you bring this up the next wise ass that mentions this to you. Think put Visine in his coffee.

Action items

What? Well, you go to a meeting (especially used there) and some brilliant wise ass assigns something for you to do, they may call it an action item. Its fancy speak for homework, which may or may not be done at home. Call it “cube work” or “desk work.” It has a due date, like an assignment, it is usually vague, and you’re expected to do research or something on it. Awesome! What it really is…its more work that you didn’t expect to come your way. Better “clear your plate” and have enough “bandwidth” because “we’re all on the same team”.

The pipeline

When corporate big shots, or wanna be big shots make predictions, especially financial or sales predictions, they talk a lot about the pipeline. This is slang for what they expect to happen. In a sales pipeline, this is the number of times or things they expect to sell. Often times, they won’t refer to actual numbers. They will put some vague, up for interpretation phrase like “strong” or “weak” when describing a pipeline…you know, like the chances Sarah Palin has for ever actually getting a clue. (Notice I used Palin, the governor of Alaska, when talking about a pipeline…eh? See, I actually planned out that pun.)

Pipelines are bullshit. They in inaccurate and given the vague terminolgy used with them, they suck. They suck hard. Or should I say, “strong.”

Killing an issue

Translation: I’ve fixed the problem.

This is usually uttered when someone wants to talk on and on about what they did. Ignore them and think about lunch.

Beating a dead horse

Usually muttered with “I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but…”

Which really means  “I want to talk about this even though everyone is so thoroughly sick of hearing about it that they want to bludgeon me with a dry erase marker sword because I like hearing myself talk and I think I’m so important that I just don’t shut up.” People who say this shit are usually proud of something they did and want recognition, so they keep babbling on and on.

Just tell them to frig off, put on your headphones and listen to the Ramones telling you to “Beat on the brat with a baseball bat”

Drinking the kool aid we made

There’s nothing like drinking the drink you made. Unless the drink tastes like shit. Which is what some kool aid tastes like. Yuck.

Translation: We got ourselves into this , now we have to live it…or…we built something or tell our customers something but don’t do it, and we probably should.

Either way you look it, the phrase sucks.

Eating our own dog food

Exactly like the kool aid comment above, except more vivid and less pleasant. Whereas kool aid at least has a shot at being palatable, eating your own doog food implies a punishment of eating Dad’s dog food.  Beware when some asshole wants to do this. It won’t be pleasant.

Not surprisingly I heard Microsoft uses this one.  Hmmm…

Best practice

This is whitewash for “I think you should do something my way.” If I tell you that the best practice for pissing was on your neighbors door, would you do it? If I told you the best way to get rid of the viruses and spyware on your computer right now was to reinstall Windows or install Linux, would you? Consultants get paid thousands of dollars for injecting their opinions and calling it best practice.  They might say its what hundreds of others are doing and it works well. That doesn’t make it smart. In fact, it may be incredibly stupid.

In the same boat

Same thing as “on the same team”. The only difference is, if everyone is on the same team and the team loses, you can still go home, have sex with your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other. If everyone is on the same boat and the boat sinks, everyone drowns. No sex for anyone. Except maybe the fish.

Ping someone

Someone is going to bother someone else. Its a nice way of saying “I want to talk you about something”. Problem is, its almost always a bother. Don’t “ping” anybody. Talk to them. I fucking hate pings.


Uh oh, some ass is rambling about something that is borderline coherent and completely off topic. How did we get here? Well, we were talking about sex with fishes or something then after I realized we were all in the same boat, I decided to run it up the flagpole to see who salutes.  So best practice at this point would be to interface with each other in an offsite and eat our own dogfood while killing the issues on our plates. Then, we’ll develop action plans to help keep the pipeline strong. We may all have to burn the midnight oil, but if I run interference and we keep everyone in the loop, we can go after the low hanging fruit and avoid beating a dead horse.

That is, after all, what we do.

ihome, i don’t…part 3

Posted by Mr. Wister on January 13th, 2009 under sagas Tags: , , ,  •  No Comments

So Amazon’s customer service was useless. I had to find the support / customer service link myself (not a big deal, except Amazon gave me the wrong info). And so I land here:


My first email was to technical support shortly after the email from Amazon, since I figured hey, they’d probably be in a better position to help me. Tech support from the manufacturer? Probably the place to go.

I write very nicely the problem, what I’ve done to troubleshoot, etc. And I send off the email.

And I receive…no response. At all.

Okay, well, it was around the holdays. I’ll give them a mulligan on that one.

After the holidays, in fact, over a week later, I write to customer service:

Hello, this is my second communication regarding this issue. The first one I sent to tech support because of the nature of the problem. It has been nearly two weeks and I still haven’t received a response at all.

The problem is regarding my iH9 unit. I bought the unit on October 7 from Amazon.com. The unit has worked flawlessly for a couple months, until a couple of weeks ago when the unit stopped responding. The backlight would not turn on, the radio would not turn on, and the ipod switch stopped working. In fact, the only thing that seemed to work was the alarm noise. Following the instructions I removed the batteries  and unplugged the unit for 1 hour. In fact, I even left it off for a few hours. I replaced the batteries and plugged in the unit. Same problem. No light, no response. I could not set the time, play the radio, or an ipod.

What now? The unit is less than 3 months old! Please, please someone respond and let me know you got this. And please let me know what I can do to resolve this issue.

Thank you.

And surprise…over a week goes by, nothing.

So I send a second email and followup with a phone call.


First of all, let me say that I can not believe this is my third email concerning this issue and I have yet to receive 1 response of any kind. I have been trying to get in contact with you for three weeks now and have not heard back.

My issue is with the ihome IH9 product. I bought one from Amazon and it refuses to respond. It is (now) a little over 3 months old. I saw that you have a 90 day warranty which is now expired because you refuse to respond to my requests for assistance. Technical support has not responded to me either. Please advise ASAP.

The phone call went just as well:

Thank you for calling, all our representatives are busy with other customers…

I like how there is an email form, but it might not work. Or representatives might not care. Either way, now I’m pretty pissed.

More to come, I’m sure.

ihome, i don’t…part 2

Posted by Mr. Wister on January 13th, 2009 under sagas Tags: , , , ,  •  No Comments

Recall from my last post about the ihome that the ihome ih9 I bought did not work properly (at all actually) after less than 3 months of usage. So I reached out to Amazon customer service to see what they could do for me. I knew that they would probably tell me to contact the manufacturer, but since Amazon prides itself on customer service, well, let’s see.

Less than a day later, I got my response from Amazon. Here it is (complete with my comments):

Thanks for writing to us at Amazon.com.

First, please allow me to extend my apologies for any inconvenience this matter has caused.

We do not offer a repair service for “iHome IH9 Speaker System” as it would be difficult to offer such specialized service for each of the wide variety of products that we sell. We recommend consulting the item’s owner’s manual regarding information on product-specific service centers and warranties.

Okay, well I kind of figured as much. I mean, Amazon will sell you nearly anything but repair nothing. I don’t think they’re known for their repair department. But nice to know, you know if I wasn’t a customer for over 10 years…but an understandable, canned first response. I pretty much figured this is what I’d have to do.

Unfortunately, more than 30 days have passed since you received this item, and we are not able to accept the return. Our return policy states that within 30 days of delivery of your order, you may return any merchandise in new condition, with the original packaging and accessories, or any defective merchandise, for a full refund.

Again, understandable. I didn’t ask for a full refund or anything, because I still like the product. I just want to know what I need to do to get it fixed.  But thanks for clearing up any confusion I have about your policy.

I apologize for any frustration and disappointment this policy may cause.  However, I hope you can understand our position on this matter.  We do post our company policies online for our customers’ reference.

However, as you’ve mentioned that there is a problem with the item, we recommend that you consult your owner’s manual and/or contact the manufacturer to see if the problem in question is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Okay…again, I kind of figured as much.  So here’s where things get interesting:

I have included the contact information for the manufacturer below for any assistance with this issue:

Telephone: 08458 733 118
Email: support@ihomeservices.co.uk

Very helpful, will send defective parts directly to customer with no charge. We do hope the manufacturer will be able to resolve this problem.

Um, I don’t think they’ll be as helpful as you might think. that site goes to a UK site for media solutions. Their products page makes no mention of the ih9 or any other electronics item like that.  I don’t think they will help me with my IH 9.

Look Amazon, I gave you my order number, so looking up the actual product in that order is trivial. I think you might have a manufacturer link somewhere in your customer service database you can look up. Even if you don’t…if you google ih9, the third result is the manufacturer’s store. Note that its not a UK address, its a dot com: ihomeaudio.com. And if you go there…yup, there is the ih9.

So, you’ve basically sent me the wrong contact info. Forgivable I suppose. Wait, not its really not. You’re wasting my time.

As a representative of Amazon.com, I want to assure you that we value our customers’ trust above all else–it’s the foundation on which our company was built.  Please know that we’ll continue working hard to ensure that you receive accurate service, and to minimize the chances of anything like this occurring again.

Right…accurate service. Keep that in mind. Not only did you send me the wrong info for a product you sold me, but….

I have brought this with the defective DVD to the attention of the appropriate persons, so that they may do further investigation.

What? DVD? Last time I checked you can’t plug an ipod into a DVD. Accurate service. I’ll keep that in mind. I would love to see the expressions on their faces when they see the defective DVD is actually a damn alarm clock radio/ipod docking station that doesn’t work! Accurate Service. Keep it in mind.

If you have further questions, please visit our Help pages to contact us:


You can find answers quickly using the self-service tools. If you still have questions, you can contact Customer Service from any Help page by e-mail or by phone by clicking on the appropriate link given on the right side of the help page.

I used the self service tools, they were no help, and neither are you. I know your policies. I knew I couldn’t return it. I knew I’d probably have to contact the manufacturer. But I thought you had better, more accurate service than they could offer. Maybe I was wrong.

In addition to our large selection, one of the benefits we’d like to offer our customers is convenience, and I realize that we have not met that standard in this case.  I hope that you will give us another opportunity to prove the quality of our service to you in the future.

You do have several options, however, which I have listed below. I appreciate your understanding and apologize for the inconvenience.

Oh boy! More options! Do they include possibly giving me the right information about the right type of product! Let’s see!

Yes, Amazon.com will accept the return of items after the 30-day return period, but you may only be issued a partial refund. Generally, the refund is 80% of the purchase price. For full details on how refunds are calculated, please visit our Help pages:



You already pretty much told me that I can not get a refund. Why are you sending me info about a refund if I can’t get one? Oh wait this is a partial refund….Look, I don’t want a refund, I just want it fixed or something similar.  I don’t want 80% of my product value back. I just want it to work. It’s less than 3 months old.

If you are unable to print a return label, please ship your return to:

172 Trade Street
Lexington, KY 40511 USA

Please write the reason for your return on the packing slip, put the slip in the carton, and wrap the package securely. If the reason for the return is our error, we will refund your return shipping.


You are always welcome to sell the item you purchased on Amazon Marketplace. To sell an item, go to its product information page on our web site and click the button marked “Sell yours here.”

The next page will outline the steps involved in this process.      For more information, please visit the link below:



Are you just intentionally trying to make your email seem longer now in the hopes that your copy/paste job or canned response will make me go away? Wouldn’t it have been easier to tell me “Talk to the manufacturer, the RIGHT manufacturer…” I would have accepted that in 200 words or less.

Our return policy is available at the address below:


Thanks, I think I now know what your return policy is. And stop playing the role of an over-glorified secretary by copying/pasting something your supervisor wrote in a procedures or canned responses manual! Think for yourself! Read my complaint! Send me the right information. Take 30 seconds and read and think! It might hurt a little, but it won’t fuckin kill you!

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

If yes, click here:
[link removed]
If not, click here:
[link removed]

Fuck no!

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.

To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

This implies the obvious…how about a related issue? Where do I go for that? You didn’t give me the right info! Do I click the link above?

Best regards,

[name removed]
Amazon.com — Earth’s Most Customer Centric Company

Nice. Okay, so Amazon customer service was, well, useless. Disappointing and surprising, but I’m not surprised I have to contact the manufacturer. Maybe I’ll have better luck with them…

ihome…i don’t, part 1

Posted by Mr. Wister on January 13th, 2009 under sagas Tags: , , , , , ,  •  3 Comments

And so it begins, the saga known as the ihome debacle.

On October 7th, 2008, I bought an ihome IH9 from Amazon. For those who don’t know what an ihome ih9 is…well, here is a picture of it:

ihome ih9 alarm clock radio for ipod and iphone

ihome ih9 alarm clock radio for ipod and iphone

I bought it because on a recent trip, I stayed in a hotel that featured these units and was blown away by the amazing sound and honestly the innovate design. The ipod fits right into the top, comfortably, and the remote allows you near full control of the unit. And if you don’t have an ipod, no worries! It has a line in for other mp3 players. And did I mention you could wake up to your ipod too? Very cool.

Anyway, I’m not into giving you a product review right now…let’s move on.

I use the unit nearly every night to help put my 17 month old son to sleep. I just start up his playlist and let the magic happen. The unit work falwlessly…until around December 20th, when inexplicably, the unit just stopped working. The backlight refused to turn on, the radio wouldn’t turn on and none of the controls would respond. I would plug in the ipod and it would light up as if it recognized it was in a dock…but then nothing. The unit was completely locked up. Strange, since I used the unit just last night. Hmmm.

So, like a good wanna be techie genius, I started troubleshooting. I checked my power connection, changed outlets, changed power strips, changed the back up batteries. I unplugged the unit, took out the batteries, then let the unit sit for an hour (to reset, per the manual.) No change. I inspected the unit visually, to see if there were any marks, such as burns or dents or anything like that. Was it dropped perhaps without my knowing? Not a scratch. from the outside, it looks nearly perect.

Why, oh why god have you chosen to take back my precious ihome into the great master bedroom in the sky?Do you need an ih9 to wake in the morning too? Perhaps want a compact solution to crank out the tunes while judging souls of the unworthy. I can certainly understand. But…here on lowly earth, I need my unit to put my son to sleep. And I would like to get a little more use out of the unit I faithfully paid $100 for.

So, I have no choice. My first stop is the place where I bought the unit – Amazon. Known for their superior customer service and willingness to make the customer happy, they seemed the perfect choice for my assistance request. I knew they’d probably tell me to contact the manufacturer, but I figured I would give them a shot to see what will happen. Now I’ve been a customer for over 10 years. Loyal customer, in fact. When I need something, anything, the first place I look is Amazon. It does not matter what it is. That’s how much faith I have in Amazon and their ability to serve and provide.

And so I wrote to them. This is what I wrote on 12/21/2008:

iHome IH9 Speaker System and Alarm Clock for iPod (Black)
Comments:I have been using the item since I received it, and have been extremely happy. When I went to turn it on today, it refused to turn on. The clock was still on, but it would not turn on the radio, ipod, the backlit screen, or anything else. Do I need to contact the manufacturer or can you help me? Thank you. dave

And I waited for a response. It didn’t take long, in typical Amazon fashion.  Look for the Amazon email in part 2.