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.

G’nite!

GOLD! Errr, Vegetables!

Cucumber, beans, and tomatoes: Hurrah!

Cucumber, beans, and tomatoes: Hurrah!

It’s getting to be happy veggie time, fo’ shuzzle. This evening’s haul was everything I could fit into and balance on top of a stainless gallon bowl. Sure looks pretty, right? It’s delicious, too. I put tomatoes and green beans in with my pasta and chicken for supper. Absolutely superior. Soon … Salsa. Another week, perhaps. And out front, the tiger lilies are once again spectacular.

Tiger lily, up close and personal

Tiger lily, up close and personal

The day’s gone fairly well, too. The temps are down 10 degrees from the peak a couple of days ago, and the humidity is down, too. I was able to walk Lexi after supper without breaking a major sweat. After helping out with Marcia’s appointments today, I made a big dent in the next database class project. The “hard” stuff is done, now I’m just making up fake data and proving that I can retrieve it again. While many students are using the Oracle 10g instance running on one of the school’s big Solaris servers, I’ve downloaded and installed Oracle 11g Express Edition for Linux. Works like a champ, although I’ll bet dollars to donuts that Ubuntu current isn’t an Oracle supported platform, eh?

Back to the grindstone mines. Ciao!

Arbitrary Crap

I lost two points out of fifteen on my first database project. I did so by following the directions literally, and by counting on the review by the instructor and the TA to provide useful feedback. The loss of two points doesn’t bother me, except that why did I bother getting it reviewed if I’m not going to get useful feedback. That makes me angry. No point in fighting city hall, though.

I’m taking the day off tomorrow, and I’ll get plenty of work done on the next class projects that are due in about ten days. After this summer session, 8 more classes to FINI!

 

Byte? SRSLY?

First off, Byte is back. Yeah, SRSLY, Byte. Talk about your basic reincarnation myth, remixed about 5 times over the last 10 years. And equally fully of #FTW, Jerry’s involved. Huzzah!

*    *    *

Also, Jerry’s got a column out, having finally battle his way past nearly four months of creeping crud. I just finished the editing pass and got the column posted for him within the last hour. There’s still kinks to shake out of CMR at the new hosting site, but we’ll get them licked, one way or another.

*    *    *

Nothing else going on, work and such. Remind me someday – I *still* really want  to build a Solaris 11 box. Can I do everything I do here (on Linux) with that? Do I want to try? The answer is “Probably”, but it sure ain’t this week. Maybe after summer session, and before fall classes start. I can’t just wing it, because I don’t have spare hardware, and no budget for any right now.

Here and There

Here.

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.

There.

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.

 

Nothing to see here…

Typical boring weekend day for “homeowner with yard in summer”: Yardwork. We actually got a good chunk of rain yesterday – nearly an inch and three quarters, most of that within a one hour span shortly after four in the afternoon. So even though the lawns are pretty darned dead dormant (except around the flower and garden beds), I mowed everything, just in case there’s a moisture-induced explosion of growth. That and burning some coffee beans pretty much filled my day.

Yes, I said burning. I was reading, and didn’t pay as close attention as I should have. The beans plowed straight through the first and into the second crack before I realized what was going on. Tomorrow we’ll know how much I over-roasted by. If it’s burnt too much (too ashy-tasting, like that popular coffee house chain), I’ll just roast more tomorrow. It might be okay, though – it’s a Sumatran that’s supposedly good up to a Viennese roast.

Now, time to walk the mutt one last time for the day. Ciao!

Delayed Condolences

Argh! Argh! I failed on Sunday, my humble apologies! Had I managed to post, I would have spent the Fourth of July mourning these fallen warriors (reported by DoD June 27 through July 3). Our condolences to the families and units of these fine men:

  • Sgt. Marlon E. Myrie, 25, of Oakland Park, Florida, died June 25 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Gunnery Sgt. Ralph E. Pate Jr., 29, of Mullins, South Carolina, died June 26 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Douville, 33, of Harvey, Louisiana, died June 26 as a result of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device on the border of the Nad ‘Ali district of Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Spc. Matthew R. Gallagher, 22, of North Falmouth, Massachusetts, died June 26 in Wasit province, Iraq, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident.
  • Staff Sgt. Russell J. Proctor, 25, of Oroville, California, died June 26, in Diyala province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Pfc. Dylan J. Johnson, 20, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, died June 26, in Diyala province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Kevin J. Hilaman, 28, of Albany, California, died June 26, in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.
  • 1st Lt. Dimitri A. Del Castillo, 24, of Tampa, Florida, died June 25, at Kunar province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Staff Sgt. Nigel D. Kelly, 26, Menifee, California, died June 25, at Kunar province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Cpl. Michael C. Nolen, 22, of Spring Valley, Wisconsin, died June 27 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Staff Sgt. Donald V. Stacy, 23, of Avondale, Arizona, died June 28 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Lance Cpl. John F. Farias, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, died June 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Lance Cpl. Mark R. Goyet, 22, of Sinton, Texas, died June 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Spc. Nicholas P. Bernier, 21, of East Kingston, New Hampshire, died June 25 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries suffered June 22 when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire in Kherwar, Afghanistan.
  • Cpl. Kyle R. Schneider, 23, of Phoenix, New York, died June 30 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Sgt. Chad D. Frokjer, 27, of Maplewood, Minnesota, died June 30 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Capt. David E. Van Camp, 29, of Wheeling, West Virginia, died June 29 in Badrah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with indirect fire.
  • Spc. Robert G. Tenney Jr., 29, Warner Robins, Georgia, died June 29 in Badrah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with indirect fire.
  • Spc. James A. Waters, 21, of Cloverdale, Indiana, died July 1 at Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

Where’s the beef?

No potato famine here!

No potato famine here!

Who needs beef when there are fresh potatoes? Okay, I do … but not tonight. I just finished harvesting out the rest of the potatoes (25 pounds worth), bringing the grand total return for 10 half-potatoes plunked into the ground in April up to 40 pounds. Holey Moley!

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. ]]