Thursday, October 30, 2008

How long could you survive chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor?

I could survive for 1 minute, 9 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk Beds.net

The sound of silence

Completely unrelated to the Simon and Garfunkel song...

On September 30, I registered our home and cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), as did millions of other Canadians. According to the rules, telemarketers had 31 days from registration to comply and stop harassing us (I could have sworn it was 30 days, but I noticed it was 31 as I was searching for other information).

Anyway, by my calculations, today is the day they stop! Our home should no longer receive annoying calls from telemarketers, with a few exceptions.
"Registered charities are still allowed to call for donations, and certain other organizations-such as companies conducting polls or surveys, political parties, and newspapers looking for subscriptions-can also continue to contact you. As well, if you’ve done business with a company in the last 18 months, that company is considered to have a relationship with you and is allowed to call."
I'm really not sure how many companies they'll actually punish for not complying. You need their company name or phone number to file a complaint, which means you'll more or less have to go along with the call to get that information, if their number isn't displayed on your call display box, before tearing them a new one. It's much easier and quicker just to hang up on them, which I suspect is what most people will do unless the calls are frequent.

I have a feeling that many have already stopped calling. For almost a week, we were getting daily canned messages on our answering machine from HBC Credit Services or hang-up calls and they've suddenly stopped. It's unusual to get home after work and see a ZERO on our answering machine, yet that is how it has been.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When "free" isn't really free

Harmonix finally announced the list of 20 "free" tracks for Rock Band 2, slated for November 4th.
  • The 88 - "Sons and Daughters"
  • Authority Zero - "No Regrets"
  • Between the Buried and Me - "Prequel To The Sequel"
  • The Cab - "Bounce"
  • The Chevelles - "Get It On"
  • The Cocktail Slippers - "Give It To Me"
  • Dealership - "Database Corrupted"
  • Endeverafter - "I Wanna Be Your Man"
  • The Ghost Hounds - "Ashes To Fire"
  • Hollywood Undead - "Young"
  • Kutless - "The Feeling"
  • The Len Price 3 - "If I Ain't Got You"
  • Lesley Roy - "I'm Gone, I'm Going"
  • Opiate for the Masses - "Burn You Down"
  • Semi-Precious Weapons - "Magnetic Baby"
  • Shaimus - "Like a Fool"
  • Thenewno2" - Crazy Tuesday"
  • Tickle Me Pink - "The Time Is Wrong"
  • Underoath - "Desperate Times, Desperate Measures"
  • X Japan - "I.V."
The Rock Band forums are abuzz, but mostly negative.

I searched YouTube for each title to have a listen, and I'm a little disappointed. Quite frankly, most of the songs that they've included in the "free" track pack are crap. Many in the forum are of the same opinion. They appear to be indie bands -- not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, most of the original indie content that came with the game is fun to play and I've been introduced to bands I probably wouldn't heard otherwise. I'm all for it, but come one, at least give us some GOOD indie content worth playing or listening to.

There are some who seem to be pleased with the list, and some of those people are slamming those who are expressing their dislike about the songs.

"It's free, what do you expect?" is the most common response. Let's get something straight here. Although Harmonix marketed them as "free", they aren't. We paid for those 20 songs when we bought the game. I don't recall reading anything about it being "for a limited time" or for early buyers. It was promoted as including "20 free downloadable songs" at a later date, therefore the price we paid for the game included those songs. End of story. Had they released the game without the promise of free content, and then at a later date said "Hey, we're gonna give you guys 20 free songs!", then you could argue "hey, it's free, what do you expect". Alas, that is not the case.

At least one person speculates that this list of 20 songs was not the original list that they intended to give away. They said that they believe Harmonix decided to sell that content at $2 per song and give away the songs they knew they couldn't sell. Again, it's speculation, but it does seem to make some $en$e.

Now we wait for November 4th to see exactly how this track pack will be distributed. I'm really hoping that they allow us to pick and choose which ones we want from the list, but I fear that it's going to be an all or nothing deal. It would suck royally if we have to accept the entire 20 songs just for a few, because that would mean more undesirable content appearing on the game's "Mystery Set lists" while playing the game. There's nothing worse than having to play a song you don't like among three or four songs that you do like.

There is a small silver lining to all of this. There was at least one song that I found rather catchy: Lesley Roy, "I'm Gone, I'm Going". She reminds me of a cross between Paramore and Kelly Clarkson. Although I'm mostly a rocker type of guy, I do like the occasional pop song. :) I know that my daughter is going to love singing along with it in Rock Band.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

No Smart Car for me :(

The event was to begin at 6:30pm at Star Motors. After leaving work, I picked Sandra up at work and we drove to the dealership. We would have arrived at around 5:50pm, so we took a short detour to Timmy's to grab a coffee and then parked in the Costco parking lot to have a smoke (or two, in my case) I asked Sandra if she was nervous and she said no. I was a bag of nerves. Maybe this was a good sign, we thought, because she's usually nervous about stuff like this.

At around 6:10pm, we drove to the dealership which was only a few minutes away. They had a guy standing at the entrance checking invitations, since the entire dealership was closed down for the event. He told us to drive around back, park and head on in.

There were already a lot of people there, maybe just over half of the 34 qualifiers and their guests. It turns out they also had other Smart Car owners there as well, since it was also a customer appreciate party that they hold once in a while.

Just inside the entrance they had a desk with two people, a whack load of gift bags and white "Read Red" Ottawa Sun T-shirts, and a short line-up of people waiting to register. We were about fifth or sixth in line, but it was slow going. When it was my turn, I handed the guy my driver's licence, he checked it and wrote down some info, then I was handed the sheet he filled out. On it was a skill testing question to answer, then print my name and sign it.

The skill testing question was easy, as they usually are: 10 x 4 / 2 + 5 - 15.

The division sign looked a little like a plus sign at first. I had to ask Sandra if it looked like a division or plus. She agreed it was a division. So, in my head I'm working it out... "10 times 4 is 40... divided by 2 is 20... plus 5 is 25... minus 15 is..." brain freeze. So easy, but I was nervous! :) "Duh... 10.. that's it." I looked it over quickly to make sure I was right.

They handed me a large gift bag and asked me to take one of the white T-shirts and wear it and wished me good luck. All the qualifiers had to wear one so they were easy to spot. We stepped to the side and I put the T-shirt on over the T-shirt I was wearing. That's when I had to ask Sandra if I got it right. She assured me I did.

They were serving burgers and sausages at the other side of the show room. We walked over and I grabbed a bottle of water. I was too nervous to eat anything.

There must have been 15-20 people in line to register now.

We checked out the car they were giving away. I had heard that they were roomy, and had seen one a few years earlier, but not this close. It's VERY roomy inside. Sandra got in tried it out for size. They had 4 snow tires stacked beside the car. They announced later that they were including them with the car.

We stepped outside for a smoke break while waiting for them to begin the draw. I think it must have been close to 7:00pm when they announced how the draw was going to take place.

We walked back into the show room as they spoke. What they would do is pick a name out of one box, then that person would go up and pick a number out of a second box. The number you picked would be matched with a numbered CD. You then got into the car and popped the CD into the car stereo and if it played the sound of a car starting, you won. Anything else meant you lost.

They began with some speeches by the various sponsor: Ottawa Sun people, Live 88.5 people, and the manager of the dealership. McEwan's gas was also a big sponsor, but I don't recall if any of them spoke. They also announced that they have another contest coming in January where they will be giving away TWO Smart cars. As one prize or two? We don't know yet.

Next, they called each person's name and you had to raise your hand to acknowledge that you were still there(?) Then, before the big draw, they drew a few names for some Thule car bags(?) donated by JREK Autocare.

FINALLY, it was time for the big prize draw.

The first thought in our minds was "Wouldn't that suck if the first person won it?" Surely, not for that person! :) I had my hands in my pockets, with fingers crossed the whole time, between applauding each person as they went up to pick a number.

My mind was a jumble of thoughts. Do I want to be an early pick? Or a later one? The more people who try and lose, the better the odds for the remaining people, right?

One by one they called names. One by one, they lost. Sandra actually tracked the odds as they went along. The losing sound was a "Whaa whaa whaa whaa whaaaaaa...." followed by a female voice "I know baby... it hurts to lose" followed by a few different voices... "Loser... loser... lahoo-saher". Umm... a little harsh, perhaps. I think some of the Live 88.5 folks thought so too, but everyone had a good laugh.

They were down to the last 16 numbers when my name was finally called. A 1 in 16 chance. I walked up, reached into the box and pulled out a number. #14. They handed me CD #14. I walked over to the car and hopped in. A woman from Live 88.5 (I think) hopped into the passenger seat and chatted away, wishing me luck (I think). Seriously, it's all pretty much a blur from this point on. I can't remember a thing she said. I was nervous as hell. I took the CD out of the sleeve and put it into the car's CD deck while the radio played away. Seconds later the radio stopped...... followed by "Whaa whaa whaa whaa whaaaaaa...." *sigh* I pressed the eject button before it could continue, like many before me had done. I got to keep the CD. Yay. ;)

I got out of the car and walked back to Sandra and dropped the "loser CD" into the gift bag. We then continued to watch as more names were called. THREE people later, this elderly man's name was called. He walked up, reached into the box and pulled out a number. #22. He got the CD, walked over to the car and got in. He didn't look very nervous. In fact, he was quite expressionless. He popped the CD into the deck.

The sound of an engine starting played over the speakers, followed by some winning style music. Cheers and applause erupted in the show room.

He seemed stunned. Or in shock? Or just ho hum. No emotion whatsoever. Photographers snapped photos like crazy. He got out of the car and the DJ, Katfish Morgan from Live 88.5, asked him how many cars he's won in his life. He responded... "Umm... I don't know... I lost count" Seriously, that's what he said. Just joking or serious? It was difficult to tell.

The organizers thanked everyone for coming, yada yada yada, and then most people hustled out the door, as did we.

As we drove past the showroom, I could see a crowd of people all getting their picture taken. The winner and sponsors, no doubt.

I think Sandra is more disappointed than I am, oddly enough. A second car, especially one so good on mileage, would really have been nice to have.

Oh ya, the gift bag -- what was in it?
  • 2 plastic Ottawa Sun mugs w/ lids
  • 3 "Read Red" Smart Car key chains
  • 1 Ottawa Sun T-shirt (different than the one they made us wear)
  • 1 Ottawa Sun blanket
  • 4 tickets to an Ottawa 67's hockey game
  • 1 manicure set
  • 2 Ottawa Sun car window ice scrapers
  • A brochure/discount coupons for JREK Autocare
  • A Hot 88.5 "Big Money Shot" Volume 2 CD (uhh.. music?)
  • $100 in gift certificates for McEwan's Gas (which I originally won for qualifying back in June)
I think that's about it!

It was a well-organized event. Fun, excitement, and disappointment all rolled up into one evening. What more could you ask for? Yeh, the car would have been nice. ;)

Both Sandra and I will be entering the next contest in January. :) I have to say that the Smart Car really is a nice little car. I could see us owning one in the future.

[Correction: Sandra says that they asked the winner how many new cars they've owned before, not how many they've won. I'll go with what she says she heard since, as I said, my mind was mostly a fog. :) The winner looked a little happier in the photos in the paper this morning. His wife seemed much mire excited in the photos than he did though.]
[P.S. I had a listen to the Live 88.5 CD last night. I've never heard any of the songs on it, and none of them sound like anything I'd ever listen to. No offence, Live 88.5... but thanks for the coaster]

Posted by email from scottpaterson's posterous

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Chris Chelios is a moron

"Someone should have drove that guy, he did that on purpose," Cheli said Wednesday.
Why would anyone intentionally try to make themselves look foolish?

He made a mistake. Good grief.

If you were to make a list of the top 5 worst things to happen to the cup, I don't think this one would even make the list, yet people are making such a big deal out of it.

Think it's bad? Try these...
MONTREAL(?), 1906 or 1907. A Montreal club (possibly the Wanderers) wanted its picture taken with the Cup in the studio of photographer Jimmy Rice. After taking the photo, the team left, and the team left behind the Cup. It stayed in the studio for some months until Rice's mother (some sources say it was his wife or his housekeeper or his cleaning lady) used it as a vase, as it held red geraniums in the Studio window.

OTTAWA, 1927. The Ottawa Senators won it, and it spent much of the year's summer in King Clancy's living room, where it served as a receptacle for everthing including letters, bills, chewing gum, and cigar butts.

NEW YORK CITY (?), 1940. After the New York Rangers won the cup, Hall of Famer Lynn Patrick and teammates celebrated by urinating in it.

NEW YORK CITY(?), 1980. Clark Gillies of the 1980 New York Islanders allowed his dog to eat from it. Gillies said, "He's a nice dog.

And there's more... source.
Get over it, morons.

Posted by email from scottpaterson's posterous

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Careless use of email

I've had a Hotmail account since way before Microsoft bought them. In that time, I have occasionally let it go inactive and then reactivated it. To be honest, I don't use it very much. But I like to keep it because... it's mine. :)

For the last two or three years someone else is also making use of it -- in a way.

They've been using it to make purchases. They've been giving out the email address to their friends. They've been signing up for online games, and newsletters.

How do I know this?

Because I get all of their order confirmations via email. I get all their personal email from friends. I get all the "account activation" emails for the online games and newsletters that they sign up for.

I don't think they're making a small spelling mistake when typing it out, I think they truly believe that the email address they are typing is their email address!

For a while it was fun to read their personal "hey, how ya doin'?" emails from their friends, but it has actually become quite annoying because I seem to get twice the amount of spam, as they sign themselves up for god knows what, using my email address.

Today, I replied to two of their personal emails, thanking the sender for their concern about my well being, but also advising them that they have the wrong person. I tried that before about two years ago, but it didn't seem to work. This time, I got an apology reply from one of the senders, so I replied to it again, and asked them to advise the person whom they think I am, that they're giving out the wrong email address. Maybe it'll work this time.

You would think that something like this might be a once-in-a-lifetime occurance right?

Wrong.

About two weeks ago I received an order confirmation from Hmv.co.uk thanking me for my order of two DVDs, but this time it was sent to my GMAIL account. Yes, I have another email account that someone thinks is their's. I know it's a different person because this one lives in the U.K., while the other lived in the U.S. I also received further emails from HMV after each DVD was shipped. I'm hoping that this one was just a typo, like not typing two T's in their last name or something.

Seriously, though, what's wrong with people? Why aren't they taking more care of typing their email address? What if these retail accounts have their credit card information stored in them? I honestly don't know if they do, but it would be very easy for me to find out.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Newegg comes to Canada! Or did they?

A little while ago, Newegg announced that they were going to have a Canadian web site. Computer nerds like myself all signed up for notification of when this would happen.

On Wednesday I received an email from Newegg.ca announcing that their Canadian web site went live.

I took a quick peek at some of their grand opening specials and they weren't too bad. I also monitored a thread on a forum that I regularly read. Most of the comments about it weren't too positive. It seems that many of Newegg.ca's prices weren't as good as other online retailers, like Ncix.com, where I usually order my hard-to-find parts.

Then someone noticed that Newegg.ca uses UPS for shipping. In fact, UPS is the only shipping option for Canadian customers. As a Canadian, if you've ever ordered anything from the U.S. and had it shipped UPS, you know why that's a bad thing. Aside from customs/duty fees, you generally get it up the bunghole by the brokerage fee that UPS charges.

Seeing as how Newegg doesn't appear to have any kind of Canadian-based store or warehouse, I decided to send them an email asking where they ship their Canadian orders from.

Here is their reply:
========== Original Message ==========

From: Newegg Customer Service <>
Subject: RE: Newegg.ca - >(Mail #021020081912488)* (LTK436050495X)
Reference number: LTK436050495X Please use this ticket number in any correspondence with Newegg.ca.
Subject: Newegg.ca - >(Mail #021020081912488)*

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Newegg.

Unfortunately the item will be shipping from warehouse in the U.S., at this time we don't have locations in Canada.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please visit our FAQs page. If you still need assistance, please feel free to email me directly and I will be happy to assist you.

Thank you,

Jacqueline Ruiz

========================================
Does anyone know how they'll be able to ship their products from the U.S. to their Canadian customers without the customers getting the 'ol brokerage screw?

It'll be interesting to see what happens.

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