STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Call to Action

The above-linked article is a plan to boycott paying the RIAA any money in the month of March, while still getting money to artists through attending live performances or buying merchendise. Awesome. The ARIA are just their lapdogs, so feel free to participate if you can. Personally, I don't spend money on CDs right now because I don't have any money to spend. Therefore attending concerts and buying merch are a bit out of my reach. Still, I'll send some emails to artists letting them know I appreciate them more when they don't make me pay a bunch of lawyers and business types lots of money so that they can get a little.

Monday, February 19, 2007

First ISPs, and now BANKS.

Following on from my indepth explanation of why my ISP is "t3h suxx0r", let me now explain why banks, or specifically this bank, also are deserving of that title.

I'm a member of emailcash, and although it took me 3 years to earn my first $30 with them, I hopefully will shortly earn my second in about 6 months. Considering the work involved is effectively nil, that's not a bad deal. Anyway, the reason I'm up for cheque number two is that the above-mentioned bank offered me 1000 reward points if I successfully applied for their credit card. After looking into the card's details ($60-something application fee, 9.99% interest on cash/purchases, 0% on balance transfers for 6 months) I thought it sounded like a good deal, and given that the 1000 points would tip me over another $30 emailcash cheque, that sealed the deal.

So I applied. I included on my application the details of my existing credit card balance, and because it was an existing expense, I also included the $200 a fortnight we put into the credit card to pay it off. Bad move, but I'll get to that in a second. Anyway, time passes and eventually I get an email letting me know that my application has been approved and the cards are in the mail. Given the application fee and the second card fee, that brings the total spend to $80.

Today, I decided I'd like some details. Namely, how much have I been approved for, and when will my balance transfer go through? So I give them a call, explain I don't have my card yet, and then ask the first of my two questions. The answer I get is a good $3000 below the balance transfer I'd specified.
{insert shock and frustration}
How flipping stupid can a bank be to not realise that if I want to transfer a balance of x dollars onto a new credit card, that approving me for x - 3000 dollars is not going to make me very happy? How about giving me a call prior to putting the approval through and asking me if I want to go forward? How about asking me how much I'd like to apply for, so that you can deny it if I don't make enough to get that much credit?

Anyway, my only recourse is to wait until the cards arrive and then apply for a reassessment. More time, more details needed, and I'm already $80 out of pocket. I'm not impressed. However, I did realise part of the problem is probably the fact I'd used my fortnightly salary allocation spreadsheet to do my monthly living expences. We put $200 a fortnight on the credit card to try and pay the debt down, but my minimum payment is WAAAAAYYY less then that. Hopefully I can get this resolved quickly. However, I still hold that the bank is completely idiotic for approving an application for a card that logically requires a limit higher then what they're approving. Do you want to make your customers crazy!??! Gah.

Monday, February 12, 2007

My ISP is t3h suxx0r.

So I'm at work today, like most days, and I fire up Internet Explorer which opens about half a dozen tabs of my selected homepages. Two of these, are mailboxes on my mail server at home. Running my own mail server means that if I change ISP, I don't need to change my email address, and that is a good, good thing. So anyway, I'm greeted with that "friendly" screen that indicates the server could not be contacted, and assume the problem must be the connection at home. Every now and then, the connection will drop out and I'll need to tell it to reconnect. No biggy, I'll give my wife a call and we'll get it sorted...

When I call my wife, I learn that she's had no internet all morning, and is quite keen for me to resolve it. So we reboot the modem, and everything comes up as it should, but still no internet access for her, and no mail for me. What's going on?

So I do a tracert to my home server's IP, and what do I find? Please observe:

Tracing route to []over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms

2 1 ms 2 ms 2 ms
3 2 ms 8 ms
4 4 ms 4 ms 4 ms
5 255 ms 315 ms 343 ms []
6 12 ms 11 ms 11 ms []
7 11 ms 11 ms 11 ms []
8 13 ms 11 ms 28 ms []
9 20 ms 25 ms 31 ms []
10 13 ms 17 ms 13 ms
11 14 ms 15 ms 20 ms []
12 19 ms 16 ms 15 ms []
13 18 ms 15 ms 15 ms []
14 79 ms 49 ms 54 ms []
15 19 ms 21 ms 18 ms []
16 18 ms 15 ms 19 ms []
17 24 ms 16 ms 25 ms []
18 37 ms 42 ms 42 ms []
19 23 ms 21 ms 19 ms []
20 24 ms 21 ms 23 ms []
21 25 ms 48 ms 97 ms []
22 205 ms 133 ms 130 ms []
23 32 ms 29 ms 27 ms []
24 25 ms 21 ms 27 ms []
25 27 ms 26 ms 30 ms []
26 21 ms 23 ms 22 ms []
27 36 ms 26 ms 26 ms []
28 21 ms 38 ms 24 ms []
29 23 ms 21 ms 30 ms []
30 41 ms 24 ms 24 ms []
Trace complete.

For the slightly less tech savvy amongst us, let me explain that what you're looking at is the path taken across the internet from me at work to my computer at home. This path should jump from point to point until it reaches my home PC. However, if you look at line 13, and then line 15, and then line 17, etc. etc. you'll notice that they're the same. Also, lines 14, 16, 18, etc. are all the same. And then right down at line 30 - does that look like the address I asked it to get to? Ah, no. Why? Because after it goes past 30 hops, it gives up in disgust.

What does this mean? It means my craphouse ISP whom I won't mention by name (*cough*) have pointed two routers at each other and said to Router A:
"If you're trying to get to Justin's PC, go to Router B"

and then turned to Router B and said:
"If you're trying to get to Justin's PC, go to Router A".

Have you ever been in a public toilet cubicle, and read on one wall "Toilet Tennis: Look other side", and then turned and looked at the other wall, only to find the words "Toilet Tennis: Look other side"?? No?? Well, you're missing out. But basically, that's what's going on here.

Sound intelligent? Yes well - this from a provider who when I first signed up had their mail server blacklisted by Bigpond for being a spam relay. I emailed to let them know and they fixed it, but... that's just BAD. At the time, they were on half a dozen other well-known DNSBL servers as well.

Anyway - the moral of the story is less of a moral and more of a cry for help. I NEEEEEED a decent internet provider who will give me unlimited 512kbps ADSL for a flat monthly rate. Dodo had crap customer service, and this new provider is slow, and breaks regularly. And I don't like them. I have a suspicion they use Macs, and that alone would cause me to run screaming away from them at the speed of light. People who use Macs shouldn't run ISPs.

'Nuf said. Hopefully by the time this posts, my connection will be back up. I don't think I'll hold my breath...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Windows Vista

So I was looking around at Windows Vista today, which I'm interested in getting but because I want both the home stuff (like Media Centre) and the business stuff (like Remote Desktop) I need the Ultimate edition which is retailing for around $750 for the full retail package. However, if one was to take themselves over to you'd find that Vista Ultimate full retail package is US$379.99 - which works out to AU$486.23. Unless you're going to be paying a couple of hundred dollars in shipping, that looks like a much better deal to me, and is the way I'll be going if and when I decided to buy this software. Just thought I'd share.

EDIT: As it turns out, closer inspection has revealed that Amazon won't ship this product outside of the US. So yeah - no Vista for me in the near, non-finacially enabled, future.