Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

DeepDiscounts' discontinued discount

This Black Friday I bought 2 things, a DVD and a DS game. Both were bought from DeepDiscount.com.

Initially, I wanted to buy Professor Layton and Curious Village, the first game in the series, but it was listed at only a dollar below regular price. Instead, I ordered Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box at $21.74. An awesome price for a game that came out 3 months ago.

For 3 weeks, in order detail, the game was listed as backordered. On 12/8/09 I decided to ask customer service when they expect to get the game back in stock again. Next day I received an email that my ordered was canceled because the game has been "discontinued by the manufacturer". A game that came out 3 months ago, has received an 8.5 from IGN and has sold over 1.26 million units is discontinued?! Really?!

I contacted Nintendo, the manufacturer. I received a reply within 4 hours. Was pleasantly surprised at the fast reply, DeepDiscount took a lot longer, and that the reply was not some canned response from India but was from America and actually addressed my question. The reply was that the game just came out and is not discontinued. I emailed Nintendo's response to DeepDiscount and have so far didn't even receive an apology.

What I'm guessing happened is that the game was listed at the wrong price and instead of honoring the price, DeepDiscount took the game off their site and told everyone who purchased it that it was discontinued. Since DeepDiscount is ignoring me, I filed a complaint with BBB of Chicago.

DeepDiscount's original reply:
Thank you for your recent order. Unfortunately, the item(s) listed below
have been discontinued by the manufacturer and are no longer available
at this time. We apologize for your disappointment. Since this item(s) was
canceled from your order, your credit card was not charged for that item.

We encourage you to consider another item from our product selection and to
shop with us again. If you have any questions about your order, please send
an e-mail to our customer service department at: cs@deepdiscount.com or
you may call us at 1-800-264-5076.

Nintendo's reply:
In answer to your question, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box was released August 24, 2009. As you may know, the game has not been discontinued. That said, I would recommend contacting the online store where you placed your order. Rest assured that your email will be forwarded on to the appropriate department for further review.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PSA: Free cell phones and service for the elderly

People on financial assistance and those with a low income may qualify for a free cell phone with a free 68 minutes per month service. The program is offered by SafeLink and is available in New York and many other states.

In New York, if you're on one of the following programs, you automatically qualify and all you need to do is visit the website and apply online.

  • Family Assistance
  • Food Stamps
  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Safety Net Assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veteran's Disability Pension
  • Veteran's Surviving Spouse Pension
You can also qualify if your total household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). Check the website for the exact number.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A password you can remember

A good password has different case letters, number and symbols. It's also hard to remember and a lot of people resort to a password they can remember over a good, secure password. Big mistake. A bad password will let a hacker have access to your personal information, your credit card, your bank account, and the ability to scam your friends too.

What is a bad password?
Your name, name of someone from your immediate family, any information that can be looked up on your Facebook or any other social network site.

What is a really bad password?
12345, abcde, asdfg, a11111, abc123, etc. These passwords are unfortunately common and are very easy to guess.

What is a really, really bad password?
Name of site with or without number. facebook or facebook123 is about the worst password you can choose for your facebook account. These passwords are even more common and you might as well leave the password blank.

Are good password hard to remember? I say no. I recommend picking two words, at least 5 characters each, preferably not English and if English is not your native language, don't use that language either. Pick each word from a different language and these words should not be greetings or curses. Replace vowels with numbers and symbols. For example, "a" can be 4 or @, "i" can be 1 or !, e can be 3, o is 0. You can do same for some of consonants. "w" can be vv or \/\/, "l" can also be 1 or !, "k" can be |<, etc. Make the first letter of the second word a capital.

Now you have a password which is easy to remember and very hard to crack. Microsoft has a very good password checker which you can use to check the strength of your password.

One last important point. Don't use the same password for different sites. Your email should have a unique password. Social network site should at least have another password. Financial sites should have a third password, though preferably a different one for each site.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chilli Contest

From an email from Harry's Black Hole.

I was laughing so hard, I was crying through half of this:

Chilli Contest.
Note: Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better!

For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-off about the time the Rodeo comes to town.

It takes up a major portion of the parking lot at the Astrodome.

The notes are from an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast:

Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The Judge #3 called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking for directions to the Budweiser truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted".

Here are the scorecards from the event:

Chili # 1 Mike's Maniac Mobster Monster Chili

Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.

Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

Judge # 3 -- (Frank) Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

Chili # 2 Arthur's Afterburner Chili

Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.

Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

Chili # 3 Fred's Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili

Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick. Needs more beans.

Judge # 2 -- A bean less chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.

Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all of the beer.

Chili # 4 Bubba's Black Magic

Judge # 1 -- Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 300-lb. bitch is starting to look HOT. . . just like this nuclear waste I'm eating ! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

Chili # 5 Linda's Legal Lip Remover

Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks!

Chili # 6 Vera's Very Vegetarian Variety

Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.

Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and Garlic. Superb.

Judge #3-- I shit myself when I farted and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that slut Sally. She must be kinkier than I thought. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone.

Chili # 7 Susan's Screaming Sensation Chili

Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should take note that I am worried about Judge #3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.

Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world Sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava like poop match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing, it's too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Chili # 8 Tommy's Toe-Nail Curling Chili

Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.

Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge # 3 passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor dude, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Don't call me

I don't make purchases from turquoise food processors
My walls are bleeding cheese and slivers of moonlight
It's your fault and I will stab you with a wave of green bunnies

Can I get this to go

Your comical appearance
Is creating an uncomfortable silence
If you'll change
Dogs will sing your praise
And we can go hunt headless sparrows
At the corner bakery