Category Archives: Rant

My Thoughts on Phish as 2011 Closes

The following ramble goes on for far too long.  It’s been building inside me all week.  I’m sorry to burden you to even read it.  You don’t have to.  But I’d love to hear if any of you have the same inner conflict I do.

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AT&T Suckage

AT&T’s network has improved dramatically in the last year or so.  I’ve been really happy with them lately.  So it pissed me off a little extra today when I called to get a number blocked and got this nonsense for a response: a non-English speaking person with a phone number one digit off from me continues to call and leave me long rambling voice mails, over and over and over.  So I called and asked to have the number blocked, and you know what they told me? They can’t do it.  They can’t block a number.

Except, they can. They can block the number, but only for $4.99 a month.

So I’m forced to have the phone ring endlessly or take their “recommended resolution.”  You know what that is? I can change my number.

Hey, AT&T? Unacceptable.

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I’m Kicking the Apple Habit

I just sent this letter to Apple via their feedback form. Those of you that know me know that this is a big deal for me.

I am the owner of many generations of Apple products. From iBooks to Macbook Pros, Macbooks to multiple iMacs, multiple Airport Extremes, Airport Express, AppleTV, every generation of iPhone, three iPods, iWork, iLife, OS X and much more, we’ve owned and paid for it all. I also rely heavily on the incredibly applications that run on OS X, gorgeous and useful as ever.

I have personally convinced at least 10 people to switch to AT&T to the iPhone. I’ve convinced dozens to switch from PC to Mac. I can provide names if prompted.

However, given the treatment of iPhone app developers recently, from Darkslide[1] to Google[2] to the recent Google Voice fiasco[3][4], and the unnecessary lockdown of all of your platforms, I was forced not only to advocate for the increasing wave of jailbreakers, but also to make a startling decision: I’m kicking the Apple habit.

Your treatment of developers sucks. Your treatment of your users sucks. Your treatment of the general public sucks. I’m over it. I’m not buying any more of your products until I see a change. You don’t deserve your customers respect anymore. You still make the best products, but I’m not spending, or encouraging anyone else to spend, another dime with your company until you respect your ecosystem.

OS X only exists because quality developers wrote XNU, Darwin, and BSD. You benefit from that. If those people were treated the way you treat your developers, you’d have no core platform.

I’m anxiously awaiting your next move.


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IE: Sucking Hard Since Version 5

This code (extracted from a javascript file) works in every major browser except IE (including IE8):

          'frameWidth' : 500,
          'frameHeight' : 465,
          'hideOnContentClick' : false,
          'centerOnScroll' : true,

This is the fix:

          'frameWidth' : 500,
          'frameHeight' : 465,
          'hideOnContentClick' : false,
          'centerOnScroll' : true

See the difference? Yeah, neither did I. The difference is the last comma in the argument list.

That’s 3 consecutive major versions of IE that have been absolutely crap.  Why anyone continues to use IE is beyond me.  IE: sucking hard since version 5.

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I signed up for Vonage in November.  We have Vonage ads on OSNews, so I thought I’d give them a shot.  I signed up for the $25/mo plan.  The problem is, they use recycled numbers, so we got tons of phone calls over the first month or two from people speaking Arabic.   I had to change my number.  They want to charge you $9.99 to change your number.  But we changed ours.

Fast forward a few months, we still get 99% wrong number calls.  We never use the thing.  So when the device stopped working two weeks ago, we finally decided to cancel.

When I called to do that, I found out that Vonage charges $39.99 to cancel your service.  Buried in section 8.7 of their terms of service, you’ll realize that by signing up, you’re actually agreeing to a contract with a cancellation fee.  A big one too: $39.99 for the service, plus, you have to buy the “device” for the full price: returns are not accepted.  So, to cancel today, I have to pay them $170.  Worse than a damn cell phone carrier.

I’m telling everyone I can now: stay away from Vonage. While some may be happy with their service, their terms are intentionally vague (sdee seciton 8.8, “Recovery Fees“), their service “contract” is misleading and intended, I believe, to sucker you into thinking it’s a monthly service, and their customer service laughed at me when, after he told me that it was “kinda hard to find and understand,” I suggested that they should reconsider their terms.

Vonage sucks.


Damn It, Twitter!


All goddamned day I’ve been getting this goddamned whale on Twitter. I’ve also been trying to change the background of my stream, but although it always reports successful (when it doesn’t fail due to capacity problems), it never changes. It either replaces my background with nothing, or it uses the background I had three or four changes ago. God damn it, Twitter, get your goddamned act together!

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So Lame

Dr Pepper needs a new web host.  I tried getting through for several hours minutes on Sunday to no avail.  So the offer was extended, and now I get this, crappy availability on a crappy Windows server.  Lame! 

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Apple Support

Today is NOT my day when it comes to Apple products.  I bought Mobile Me, the ridciulously overpriced service Apple offers, specificaly for its photo album capabilities, but I cannot activate it.  Although I am logged into iTunes using my AppleID, and I am registered with my iPhone, AppleTV, etc, for, it says there is no such user.   So I figured that I could very quickly get this fixed by calling 1-800-MY-APPLE. 

But Apple offers no phone support for MobileMe.    When you dial and tell the comoputer you want to discuss “Mobile Me”, it says “Our support is now available online at  Thank you.  Goodbye.”  Then it promptly hangs up on you.  Fail. 

My solution? Call and just ram through any menu prompt until I get to an operator and force them to help me.  Apple support is generally pretty decent, but aside from the fact that Mobile Me is priced about 5 times too high, they have the audacity to provide no real manner of support other than the massively un-realtime web.  

Boo, Apple, boo!  You’ve let me down a lot recently.  I hope my new iMac makes me happy, or it may be my last Apple product (for awhile, at least).

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iPhone 2.2: More Stuff We Don’t Need

I posted an article recently called “Apple’s Jobs Gives iPhone Customers What They Don’t Want” that discussed the upcoming 2.2 firmware and its new features.  iPhone firmware appears to give us Google Maps’ “Street view” and several other “features.”  It does not, however, make available any of the most requested features: MMS, copy & paste, Flash, voice dialing, bluetooth/wifi syncing, A2DP (stero bluetooth), landscape Mail view, video recording, text-message forwarding, or any of the over 1800 issues listed over at  So what gives? Why is Apple not giving us these things? 

I should start by saying that MMS, or lack thereof, is the one things that bugs the crap out of me on the iPhone.  I’ve detailed before how useless and silly is. I can’t believe it’s not even something that can be accessed via a clicked URL.   But I don’t think the iPhone will ever have true MMS.  If Steve Jobs wanted MMS on the iPhone, it would be here by now.  No, they are phasing it out, which is arguably good in the long run, but at the expense of its usefulness today.  I don’t mind paying the extra few pennies each month for MMS.  Even just to receive the messages, but not send them.  But stop making the decision for me. 

I hate to say that the iPhone, a device that literally converted me from a mobile phone carrier to a smart phone carrier, as someone who sold more of these puppies in the last year than most Apple employees, is doing more to turn me off to Apple than anything else.  The iPhone and AppleTV both have let me down.  A lot.  So much so that even though I recently bought a new iMac (the 24″), I considered a nice new PC at a fraction of the cost, as prep for Windows 7, which looks to be really cool.  

Apple’s arrogance and inability to listen to its customers didn’t matter nearly as much when they were a tiny niche company.  But they play in the big leagues now, and I suspect that now that they have serious market share in the laptop and education market, they will find a mass defection in a few years as people start to get wise to their control tactics.  

I find the new iPhone firmware, even before I get my hands on it, a let down.  My iPhone can’t do what phones from 3 years before the iPhone existed does without sweating.   If Apple doesn’t start delivering, I suspect that the odds are very high that by the end of 2010 I’ll be carry an Android powered phone.

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Mark McGwire Not Elected to Hall of Fame

Mark McGwire, home run king, who single handedly rescued a much ailing baseball in 1998, was denied access by a large margin to the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. McGwire is an alleged cheater, in that he supposedly took supplements — supplements that were legal according to baseball rules at the time. McGwire is a legend, he was a driving force behind the reinvigoration of baseball in the late 90’s, after the pathetic downstride post 1994 strike.

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