damnum absque injuria

July 2, 2010

iCrap Update

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:57 pm

Seems the iPhone has a little-known defect: its bars tell you how strong Verizon’s signal is, but it actually runs on AT&T’s network. Who knew?

May 3, 2010

Got Droid?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:28 pm

I finally took the Droid plunge, which set me back a whopping $19.99 for a two-year contract. Today alone it paid for itself when I found a coffee maker I liked at Target, scanned the bar code, and zapped it to Amazon, who offers it for $30 less. So definitely money well spent, at an online store that offers discounts you won’t find anywhere else (that I know of, anyway). Two words of caution, though. First, anything you buy at Wirefly is subject to a deep “equipment discount” which can be recouped if you downgrade your service during the first 181 days that your phone is in service. That pitfall is best avoided by signing up for the cheapest plan that qualifies, as there is no penalty for upgrading your service, only downgrading. The other word of cautions is do not even THINK of purchasing the sad excuse for insurance they offer there. Either do without insurance or get the real thing through your carrier. The lame “insurance” Wirefly offers you from Mobile Device Protection Association excludes practically every kind of damage that can ever happen to your phone. It’s probably not even legal; at a glance it appears to be an illegal insurance contract offered by a company not licensed to transact insurance. Whatever it is, it’s a rip-off, so don’t buy it. Get your phone from Wirefly, order the cheapest plan that qualifies, and get everything else through your carrier from then on.

UPDATE: Per commenter Ben G. it seems I may have overpaid.

March 16, 2010

Credit Card Chargebacks

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:06 am

If you have a charge on your credit card that you disagree with, try to resolve it with the merchant first, and go to the credit card company last. Failure to do so could get you blacklisted.

February 9, 2010


Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:45 pm

Experian is getting hit with a class action on the novel theory that false advertising in a domain name is false advertising. My heart bleeds.

February 6, 2010

On the “Antitrust Exemption”

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:57 pm

Much political hay has been made of late over the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which is commonly but wrongly dubbed the “antitrust exemption” for insurers. Past efforts have been made to repeal McCarran-Ferguson entirely (Patrick Leahy is big on this), but the latest incarnation, H.R. 3596, would make piecemeal changes to the Act for health and medical malpractice insurance only. Decent arguments can be made pro and con, but for reasons that don’t lend themselves to sound bites, few of them are.


February 3, 2010

On the Kindle Kerfluffle

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:36 am

What he said.

August 30, 2009


Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:31 pm

Anyone tried it? I had VOIP with Packet8 and SunRocket in Cali, then had no choice but to revert to POTS in Virginia since neither cable nor DSL was available in the Land of Gooches at the time. I didn’t bother going back to VOIP upon moving to NC, as I got a pretty good deal on POTS, but $0 a month sounds like a better deal still. Any catch?

August 29, 2009

Ikean 101

IKEA has an annoying habit of being too lazy to write instruction manuals for their furniture, relying instead on a bunch of cutesy drawings that are supposed to tell you what you need to do. Recently I purchased a bookshelf (Expedit) and learned this lesson the hard way. For future reference, this:

means “on the off chance you are not clairvoyant enough to figure out from these cryptic drawings everything you could possibly need to know, but are clairvoyant enough to recognize that there’s something you don’t get from the pictures, and are also clairvoyant enough to know Ikea’s phone number off the top of your head, but are too stupid to know that it’s Ikea you should be calling for assistance, here’s what to do.

Also note that this:

means “Don’t even think of putting this bookshelf in an upright position until it is fully assembled or the damned thing will collapse under its own weight.”

Betcha didn’t know that.

UPDATE: To their credit, they took it back without incident. Heading home now with a new one, and one more opportunity to find my same butt with my same two hands and the same flashlight, but a slightly more detailed butt-map.

FINAL UPDATE: The butt-map makes all the difference. Once I knew what should have been in the instruction manual but wasn’t, assembling the next one, and the rest of Mrs. X’s new set, was easy.

August 3, 2009

How to Piss Off Your Valued Customers

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 5:47 pm

Picked up my rental car in Vegas yesterday, and learned that the car rental industry has found a third way to screw over customers. It used to be that only customers who forgot to refuel the car got screwed over by an unreasonably high per-gallon refueling charge. Then they started screwing over a second class of customers, those who try too hard to avoid getting screwed over by an unreasonably high per-gallon refueling charge, and opt to get screwed instead by a “buy a whole tank of gas whether you need it or not” charge upfront. Apparently, too few customers consented to that form of overscrewing, either, so now Budget has come up with a third: screwing over customers who don’t prepay a tank of gas they don’t need, but do come back with a tank full of gas, but didn’t keep a receipt to prove that the gas wasn’t … er … stolen?

When exhorbitant fill-up prices and prepaid tank scams leave some customers unscrewed...

Note that they didn’t say how much gas you have to buy. I’m tempted to fill up in two stages, first buying 20 cents worth of gas, then filling up in a separate transaction, and only provide the 20 cent receipt when I turn in the car.

July 31, 2009

iFought the Law and iWon

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:36 pm

Apparently, many of those cool apps for the iPhone have more unlawful than lawful uses.


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