Two Days Off

Today and tomorrow, I’m off work. Yes, of course I checked email a few times. But that’s it. Today was all about schoolwork. I’m caught up with everything, and ahead of the game in a few things – all of this weekend’s due items are already submitted.

The downside is that all I’ve had today are clear liquids. And I just finished my first of two SUPREP rounds, before tomorrow’s “Gosh, it sucks to be 50” diagnostic test. So I’ve got a stack of magazines, and perhaps some video gaming to while away the hours this evening… while I drink another gallon of fluids. Oh, joy.

What Day Is This?

I have it on reliable authority that it is, in fact, Tuesday. That’s amusing, since this clearly isn’t Belgium. But with a bunch of reorg work yesterday in the data center, and fun with ZFS and the backup system today, I’m all a-whirl!

Things to do next:

  1. Move the watering over to the next flower bed.
  2. Get cracking on a final review of the database course project.
  3. Figure out why my WordPress instance insists on correcting my writing to British english.
  4. Start on the reading for the applications course.

That third item is fun, because I’ve been known exhibit Anglophilic tendencies in my writing from time to time. So I’m going to get a different set of corrections after finding and killing that configuration. But I rarely spell that word in the first paragraph “centre”,  so I think it’ll be a net win.

I would comment on more important things, but there are reasons not to, so I won’t. Politics and position don’t always converge neatly, I’m just sayin’ … anyway, Ciao!

Just Don’t Lie To Me

Karon(09:06:39): Hello. Thank you for choosing Verizon and visiting our Verizon chat service. How can I help you place your order?

You(09:07:06): Old bundle expiring, looking at new bundles… Confused by pricing, let me explain:

Karon(09:08:42): Thank you for being a valued Verizon customer.

Karon(09:08:52): Please go ahead with your question.

You(09:09:07): I select the bundle with Ultimate HD, 35/35 Internet, Freedom Essentials – price listed as 139.99. I click the button to do a 2-year deal. The next page shows the price: 139.99 (same as before), only it *ALSO* says “Price included these discounts: $5 24-Month Contract Discount”.

You(09:09:22): There’s no actual $5 discount reflected.

You(09:09:42): What is the truth?

You(09:12:00): Ping.

Karon(09:13:00): You will are seeing already discounted price for the service.

You(09:13:21): But its the same price that was displayed BEFORE the discount was offered!

Karon(09:13:56): You will be able to see Discounted price on your screen.

You(09:15:12): No, you’re not understanding. PRIOR to selecting the 2 year plan, I was shown $139.99 for a one year price. AFTER selecting the 2 year plan, it says I’m getting a $5 discount for 2 year plan, but it still says $139.99.

You(09:15:36): The discount is NOT reflected in the price.

Karon(09:16:41): I would suggest you to proceed with the customization of the service and proceed till “Review Order” page to see the detailed information on this. I am right here to assist you.

You(09:18:06): No $5 discount applied.

Karon(09:21:16): $139.99 price is already discounted price.

Karon(09:22:11): You will get 12 months price guarantee with Month to Month plan and 24 months price guarantee with 2 years contract that’s the only different with the contract.

You(09:22:19): Read above. Seriously. Your website is NOT changing the price, but claiming to have applied a discount. I can always ask the Maryland Public Service Commission to look into this for me.

You(09:23:34): The FIRST page doesn’t claim to have applied a discount and shows 139.99. The later pages claim that the $5 discount applies to 24 month contracts, but doesn’t change the price. That’s funny accounting, and is wrong.

Karon(09:25:49): If you are getting message saying “”Price included these discounts: $5 24-Month Contract Discount” it means that price is already discounted price.

Karon(09:26:04): It already includes the discount.

You(09:28:52): You’re wasting my time, and the pages for signing up for bundles are showing falsehoods. One of two things is true: (1) The language claiming a $5 discount for 24 month contracts is incorrect, or (2) the discount is true, but the discount is not being applied to the monthly price. When I read your web page, there are no other possibilities – something is wrong. Please advise.

Karon(09:28:52): Do you have anymore question I can assist you with today?

Karon(09:29:52): You can confirm this information with our Local Business office and check with them.

You(09:30:21): Good luck with that script…

Ah, the joys of life dealing with big corporations. If I can’t get a straight answer out of the local folks on the phone later today, I will refer this to the Maryland Public Service Commission, claiming to apply a discount without having done so is a problem.

Creepy Thoughts

I was in the chair at my dentist’s office on Wednesday morning. I chose not to tell them what I thought of as I was falling asleep the night before…

I’m talking to my dentist.

“You know, I was looking on the Internet, and found evidence that 90% of problems with teeth originate with the gums.”

The dentist nods in agreement, and I continue.

“So I found a couple of sites that made specific recommendations, and followed them. I got a fresh #11 X-Acto blade and cut all the gums way, way back. Once the screaming and bleeding was done, I think my mouth felt a lot cleaner, and healthier, too! See!”

I grin an awful grin, and the dentist recoils in horror.

I told you it would have been a bad idea to relate that vignette to the dentist, and especially not to his temporary hygienist (the regular Terese was gone on holiday, she ‘gets’ my oddball sense of humor).

*    *    *

Tonight I finished up, I think, the second project in my database class. I’ve sent it in by email for review, on the off-chance that they’ll offer useful advise this time. It’s not due until the 24th, but better ready early than late.


Here and There


A busy week for school, two big assignments due tonight, both turned in Friday evening. I probably should have spent some time on the upcoming week’s work, but whacked myself working in the sun most of the day yesterday. On the good news front, the coffee from yesterday wasn’t burnt, but another 15 seconds of roasting and it would have been. Pretty yummy, actually.

Google+: How to find me, if you need to, in that venue: brian {dot} bilbrey {at} gmail {dot} com is the right place. My Orb Designs identity is tied up with Google Apps, and I can’t have access to Google+ at this time, by that route.

What made me chuckle this week? The Shatner Comma.


Our condolences to the families and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Capt. Matthew G. Nielson, 27, of Jefferson, Iowa, died June 29, in Badrah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with indirect fire.
  • Staff Sgt. Michael J. Garcia, 27, of Bossier City, La., died July 4 in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.
  • Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Throckmorton, 28, of Battle Creek Mich, died July 5 in Paktia province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Jordan C. Schumann, 24, Port Saint Lucie, Florida, died July 5 in Paktia province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Preston J. Suter, 22, Sandy, Utah, died July 5 in Paktia province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. Nicanor Amper IV, 36, of San Jose, California, died July 5 in Khowst, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade.
  • Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Dodds Dudley, 29, of Tega Cay, South Carolina, died July 7 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Spc. Nathan R. Beyers, 24, of Littleton, Colorado, died July 7 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his convoy using an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Nicholas W. Newby, 20, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, died July 7 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his convoy using an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker, 39, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died July 9 in Panjshir province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.


Miles Per Gallon

I may like summer least among all the seasons (except for the output of the garden), but my car loves summer. As long as I can keep the windows down and the air conditioning off, I’m doing nearly 53 miles per gallon in the Prius, according to the data from my Sunday fill-up. A week of driving without side trips costs about 10 bucks. That would have run me 25 to 30 dollars in the 4 Runner.

*    *    *

Tonight was the monthly LOPSA meeting – the speaker was a former (he claims to be former, anyway) penetration tester with a decade of fun gigs under his belt. Topics ranged from ease of physical plant penetration to HB Gary, Anonymous, and Lulz. Technical details of the relative security merits of VPN design, MitM attacks against SSL,  and lousy automated registrars and Certification Authorities tied the evening up nicely. I’m going to be crying about what I learned this evening for a long, long time.

[[ This also serves as a reminder-to-self that I want to get a LOPSA link in the right hand margin one of these days Real Soon Now. ]]


Wild and Crazy Guy

Some of you may remember the Festrunk brothers, from the gilded age of Saturday Night Live. This is not my life. I’ve just spend my Friday evening leading into a three day weekend on What-If analysis and Pivot Tables in Excel.

Lexi on guard

Lexi on guard



While I’m studying, Lexi spends a lot of time either watching the world or sleeping on the ottoman/storage bench I made for Lucy a few years back. But every once in a while I turn my head to find her sitting up and staring into a relatively blank corner of my office. I sure hope she doesn’t see dead dogs…

Sleepy time.


Registration not required

We’ll see how comments go when registration isn’t required. I’m getting registrations from Poland, which frankly feels like a spamming setup to me, so wait and see. Oh, I’ve deleted those Polish registrations, and I’m going to setup registration moderation. Logins make it easier for posting for registered users, and I still recommend that for people that care to comment.

Be well, as Syroid used to say.