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Pepsi Perfect - Part II 
Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 9:45 AM - General
Posted by Administrator
Pepsi really botched their first release of Pepsi Perfect, selling out on October 20, 2015 despite announcing a sell date of October 21, 2015, which Back to the Future day. So they thought they would try it again. But as we all know from Biff, history tends to repeat itself.

November 3, 2015
9:00 AM

Webserver overloaded by people wanting to buy Pepsi Perfect, limited edition. The page just does not load for a minute or two.

A page finally loads for some requests. It appears to be plain text with a broken graphic at the top. No click-able link to buy, but if you view the source HTML, you will find a link to an amazon product page. Twitter blows up.

9:02 AM
Loading the amazon product page shows the "Currently Unavailable" status, as it does today. Twitter is very confused.

9:03 AM
Amazon product page shows Pepsi Perfect available for pre-order. I am able to add to my cart and check out as usual.

9:06 AM
Pepsi twitter account sends out direct link to the the product on amazon. Presumably their server is still getting hammered.

9:08 AM
Twitter users start to report problems once it is in their cart. It disappears from the cart, invalid shipping address errors for addresses previously used and sell out notifications at check out.

9:11 AM
Pepsi twitter account announces sellout.

9:13 AM
Amazon product page is showing "Currently Unavailable" status again.

January 4, 2016

The estimated delivery date. So much for 2015.

Updated: Corrected time for sellout tweet.


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Buying a Cable Box Now Possible 
Sunday, January 5, 2014, 2:05 PM - Computing Technology, Hardware
Posted by Administrator
Samsung just started selling its Smart Media Player, a set top box (STB) that will accept a CableCard from the cable company for $150. Previously these have only been available for purchase for connections to computers, such as a HDHomeRun, not directly to TVs. Cable companies typically charge a small rental fee of $2-5 per month per CableCard. As you can see this can pay for itself in 1-2 years compared to a $10/month (or more) HD STB rental from the cable company. You won't get all the features of the cable box like the guide or on-demand but it functions like a normal TV, pick a channel, the video shows up on the TV. For an infrequently used TV set, this could save a bundle while still getting HD quality.

The Samsung GX-SM530CF Cable Box and Streaming Media Player is available on Amazon and at time of writing is $138.
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Firewall 1 - Chromecast 0 
Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 9:38 PM - Hardware, Software, Security
Posted by Administrator
I unboxed my new Chromecast device yesterday. Setup was fairly straightforward, I entered my Wifi information, only to continually get an error that it "could not connect to the internet." I thought I might have has a Wifi issue, not connecting for some reason, maybe out of range or a DHCP issue. I was finally able to track it down. It turns out that it didn't like my DNS firewall. On my network I have blocked use of all DNS servers besides mine to handle problems like DNS Changer. I saw this traffic:

19:19:10.284578 IP 10.0.3.247.59034 > google-public-dns-a.google.com.domain: 57629+ A? pool.ntp.org. (30)
19:19:10.300858 IP 10.0.3.247.55306 > google-public-dns-a.google.com.domain: 6977+ A? clients3.google.com. (37)
19:19:11.300764 IP 10.0.3.247.48751 > google-public-dns-b.google.com.domain: 6825+ A? clients3.google.com. (37)


Chromecast is hard coded to use Google's Public DNS service and does not use the DNS servers provided by DHCP. Problem solved, but I had to punch a hole in my firewall specifically for Google DNS which is a little annoying.

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Customer Service is Dead at UPS 
Sunday, March 6, 2011, 3:51 PM - General
Posted by Administrator
What follows is a copy of my recent correspondence with UPS "Customer Service." Despite offering to "rectify this situation" and asking me to contact them for "additional assistance," I do so and get absolutely NO RESPONSE. I now plan on boycotting UPS and choosing ANY other delivery service, even at an extra expense to myself. I encourage others to do the same.

The service offered for an additional cost does not even address my problem. I cannot believe they want me to spend more money on a service when they can't even complete a basic level of service! I request they explain how they will "rectify this situation" in the future, as they said they would, with no answer.

Since the email exchange, there has been no improvement in service as I requested. I have received many more packages and not been notified. Even days when I am at home all day, there is no knock on the door, not even an attempt at a real delivery.

----------------------------------------------------

These packages (tracking numbers included) were delivered during the past few days to my rental office. I did not receive an infonotice. You need to provide infonotices in the future when you deliver a package and no one is available at my residence. This has been a continuing problem both at this residence and my previous residence. How am I supposed to know when "surprises" arrive from others? If the problem is not corrected I will actively choose other carriers for my shipping needs and tell others to do the same.

----------------------------------------------------

Dear Neil,

Thank you for your e-mail. I have checked the status of your shipments in our tracking system. Our records indicate that your shipments were delivered on 12/15/10 at 9:47 AM to the following address:

<REDACTED>

Your shipments were signed for by the following individual:

LONG

For future use, UPS shippers can obtain immediate Proof of Delivery (POD) information--including the delivery address and an image of the delivery signature--by using our online Signature Tracking service at ups.com. For more information on how to use this free service, please visit the following web page:

https://www.ups.com/myups/info/sigtracking?loc=en_US


Your comments are very important to us. Feedback such as yours allows us to continually improve our services. I completely understand your frustration, and I appreciate your cooperation as we work to rectify this situation.

Please contact us if you need any additional assistance.

Steven S.
UPS Customer Service

----------------------------------------------------

Hi, I don't think you understand my point. I already have the packages. The problem is that I was not notified by UPS that they were delivered to my rental office. If I did not have the tracking numbers, as sometimes happens, I would have no way of knowing they were waiting for me.

And actually your system is showing me that one of the packages was delivered on 12/15 and the other two were delivered on 12/16. So I should have had at least two Infonotices. There were none for any of these packages. Please explain your plan to rectify this situation for future deliveries. Thank you.

Neil
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Verizon's 180 
Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 9:00 PM - Computing Technology
Posted by Administrator
I just ran across my notes from why I canceled my contract with Verizon in early 2007. I recently switched back, and it appears most of my gripes have been addressed. The list from 2007:

- Disabled Bluetooth features (namely file transfer and dial up profiles)
- Unable to install non-certified apps
- Contact backup program doesn't work
- No unlimited SMS plan
- Web costs a monthly fee AND minutes, no unlimited data plan available for phones
- Can't activate non-e911 compliant phone
- Weak coverage at work
- Voicemail does not count as IN network minutes

Since that time it appears that all but the last four issues have been addressed. I should note that my phone at the time was a Motorola v710 (a J2ME/BREW based phone, Verizon's first Bluetooth phone) and I now have a Motorola Droid X. It looks like Verizon STILL doesn't offer an unlimited web plan for "standard" phones, only smartphones. And as far as why calling a Verizon voicemail system, using the Verizon network, with a Verizon phone, still isn't considered "IN network," I have no idea.
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