Matt\’s Cuppa

My take on tea, technology, and our environment

Archive for the ‘WTF?!’ Category

Does Your Bank Offer ‘Disposable’ Credit Cards?

Posted by telecommatt on December 13, 2007

Everyday Loopholes | Sign Up to Try Things Without Being Tricked Into Buying Things!

Now-a-days most big banks (ex: Citibank) offer disposable credit card numbers for one time purchases.

Really? Are you sure about that? I’d like to hear from someone who has actually used a "disposable" credit card. My skepticism comes from the fact that "disposable" contradicts the entire point of a credit card. But then, I’m no bank manager. I’m waiting for someone to prove me wrong, because this could be really useful!

Posted in WTF?! | 1 Comment »

Pass The Embalming Thins, Please

Posted by telecommatt on December 3, 2007

2007-12-03_221335.png Last weekend I was house sitting for my folks and was up looking for a midnight snack. Trying to find something reasonably healthy, I happened upon a box of Wheat Thins. “Excellent!”, I thought. My parents never were big into snack foods like chips and sodas, but Wheat Thins have been a staple in my house since the dawn of time. I probably ate Wheat Thins before I had teeth. My point is that Wheat Thins always seemed healthy snack. I mean, the box even boasted 0 trans fats and 5 grams of whole grains per serving. But I’ve really been trying to stay away from high fructose corn syrup lately, so I decided to look at the ingredients as I was crunching away. Actually, Wheat Thins score relatively low on the uses-high-fructose-corn-syrup scale. It doesn’t come in until halfway down the list of ingredients. And the ingredients are pretty much common stuff that you can pronounce without struggling. It was the line after the ingredients that made me bite my tongue. “This product contains BHT.” BHT? What the heck is that? And why does it need a special identifier? BHT, it turns out, or butylated hydroxytoluene, is compound commonly used as an antioxidant food additive and is also found in things like cosmetics, jet fuel, and embalming fluids. Embalming fluids?! Are you serious?!? And according to Wikipedia, several other countries have banned its use in food products, Japan since 1958. As in, they’ve been concerned about ingesting it for about 50 years! So, I guess the moral of the story is that you really have to put some research into the foods you eat. You can’t just read the big letters on the front of the box anymore. My lifetime of BHT-laden Wheat Thins may or may not cause some strange health defect in me many years from now. Apparently, the jury’s still out on that. Regardless, even if it means I need to stand in the grocery aisle looking up strange ingredients using my mobile phone’s web browser, I’d rather know about the kinds of stuff my family is ingesting.

Posted in Food, Health, WTF?! | 1 Comment »

Why Sprint Is Raising The Stress Level In My Life

Posted by telecommatt on November 12, 2007

My phone strikes again… In the beginning, there was the picture mail issue. When I send someone a pic, I’m never sure which pic they’ll get. Sometimes it’s the right one. Sometimes not. Mostly not. Sprint was never able to fix it and I gave up trying.

Then it began randomly crashing and restarting. And the startup time began to increase. A minute, two minutes, five minutes. My PC starts up quicker than my phone.

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Last week I tried to send a pic, hoping it sent the right one for once, and a message popped up: Fatal Error. Good, now I can’t send the wrong pic anymore because I can’t send pictures at all! I thought that was bad, but last Friday I tried to record some video and another message popped up: Recording failed. Sweet! If I look at the features that now work properly, I would have been better off taking the bloody free handset that was offered when I signed up!

So, I called Sprint and asked if they could walk me through a software reset. The lady flat out told me no. (Which is odd, because I’ve done this with them over the phone before in order to prove that my picture mail was zonked.) She sent me to a Sprint repair store. At the store, the guy tried all sorts of behind-the-counter tricks, but my phone apparently won’t accept a factory reset. Seems strange, but he’s the expert, so I’ll do as he says. He informed me that I need to visit a Sprint service center instead. I gather that they’re going to rip my phone apart and perform some sort of surgery on it.

Why not just get a new phone? Because Sprint offers existing customers a paltry $75 discount on a new phone. WTF?! That’s like asking me to switch carriers rather than stay with you, because I can go out and get a better phone for the same mediocre service and pay less money! I’ve got a decent background in business and I’m trying to understand the business reasons behind such a slap-in-the-face policy, and I can’t.

Okay, end of rant. Now, I just have to find the time to get to the service center during the business day, on a day when I won’t need my phone. Oh, that’s right! I don’t have days when I don’t need my phone! Frickin’ Sprint!

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IBM Patents Making Money From Patents

Posted by telecommatt on October 24, 2007

IBM patenting the fine art of patent trolling? | Tech news blog – CNET News.com

IBM has now taken a step beyond the pale (again) and sought to patent the art of squeezing profits from patent portfolios, otherwise known as patent trolling.

IBM has apparently patented the idea of making money from other people’s patents.

Posted in WTF?! | 1 Comment »

And Now For Something Completely Obvious

Posted by telecommatt on October 18, 2007

Dept of obvious research: Girls with photos online get more messages – Download Squad

And now, for the findings from the [Department of Obvious Research] Pew Internet & American Life Project

Okay, it’s been a DLS day for me, but their articles seem to fit my mood. Especially since it’s my favorite month and I haven’t seen the sun in something nearing two weeks. There has got to be some way I can blame global warming on that!

But really, do you need an advanced degree to come up with research ideas like this?? Someone, please, tell me how I can get someone to fund my own thank-you-captain-obvious study. Is this a nonprofit? Maybe I can get a tax break for making a donation!

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9 Idiots

Posted by telecommatt on October 18, 2007

I can’t pass up the irony here. Some time back I participated in the MapMyName project, where the creators had developed a (feasible?) plan to count all the world’s internet users in a month. It was actually pretty cool. I just received an email from them. Actually, 181 emails from them. Here is the email text. And yes, they are actually calling themselves 9 idiots…

Hello!Do you remember MapMyName project? The crazy guys that wanted to count all internet users in one month?Well we did no count everybody, but we quit our jobs and founded an company, 9idiots ( http://9idiots.com ).Now we are looking for more crazy ideas, if you have one don´t think twice, contact us now!Be Happy 🙂

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Posted in WTF?! | 2 Comments »

Bad Cow! You’re Under Arrest!

Posted by telecommatt on October 9, 2007

Cow in custody after traffic accidents | Mercury – The Voice of Tasmania

A COW is in custody after causing traffic accidents that killed at least six people this year, Cambodian police say.

I had to post this, just because I don’t think I’ll ever see anything like this again! (I hope…)

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GoogleTransit For Duluth, MN? Ya Sure, You Betcha!

Posted by telecommatt on October 6, 2007

Google Transit

Create your own transit trip, complete with itineraries and maps

 Google Transit currently includes transit information for ten states and Japan. I was totally excited that Minnesota was included, until I saw that the only Minnesota city available was Duluth. Duluth, MN?! Duluth is a cool place and all, but why not start someplace useful? Like the Twin Cities area, the 15th largest metro area in the country? I’m happy for the good Duluthians, but WTF?!

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Microsoft Offers to ‘Vista’ Your Medical History

Posted by telecommatt on October 4, 2007

Launch: Microsoft Launches HealthVault Medical Record Manager – Lifehacker

Today Microsoft unveils new web application HealthVault, a medical records manager

Would you trust your medical history to Microsoft? I think they have more important things to work on first. Like Vista… Can you imagine if every time you scheduled a physical a box popped up and asked, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Then you would be asked if you wanted to scheduled the Home or Ultimate physical. (It would take you several months to figure out which was covered by your insurance provider. Meanwhile, all the TV commercials for Microsoft HealthVault would show you features available only in the Ultimate physical, giving you the impression that you’d get all those features included in either package.) Then you’d be asked to verify that your doctor is a Windows Genuine Advantage doctor. Finally, late at night when no one was looking, Microsoft would ‘update’ your medical records without telling you, even if you turned off automatic Microsoft Medical Records Update Service.

Thanks, but I think I’ll wait until Medbuntu is released instead.

Posted in WTF?! | 2 Comments »

Amazon to You: Don’t Log Off; Then You’ll Have to Log In Again

Posted by telecommatt on October 2, 2007

InfoWorld Gripe Line | Ed Foster | InfoWorld | Amazon Makes You Lie to Log Off | October 2, 2007 12:10 AM | By Ed Foster

Are e-commerce websites making it harder and harder for users to log off?

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