February 11, 2006

Domincia found this really cute Boston Terrier named Pepper in a shelter in Warren, PA. The animal shelters are in need of space to be able to help all of the animals that are displaced. So please consider adopting a dog or cat either from your area or find one in an area that is overloaded with animals. And if you are unable to adopt an animal at this time then consider donating to the SPCA. They really need our support. And don’t forget that older animals make really great pets too. Babies are a lot of fun but they are much more work. Mature animals are much easier to take care of and are more readily available at most shelters.

A nice relaxing day at home. That is the plan anyway. Oreo is exhausted today from being sick yesterday so he spent the day sleeping beside me. He is the sweetest little boy. The sun was bright today and he would occassionaly move around the house to find the warmest spot. He actually got out of bed early this morning because the sun was streaming in through the eastern window in our bedroom. The sunlight was just barely hitting the floor in front of the bedroom door and he was there in that nook sunning himself.

I downloaded a number of the Microsoft showcase WMVHD videos so that I could see how they look. They are pretty impressive on my 19″ monitor here. I can only watch 720p here. I am anxious to see 1080p on dad’s new monitor when it comes. That should be really cool.

I started recording episode 45 of the SGL Podcast last night but Andy came over while I was working on it so I had to save finishing the show for today. I also put in some time today auditioning new music for the show. I hope people realize how much bad music I have to listen to to be able to find the really awesome stuff that gets played on the show. You really have to wade through a sea of crap to find anything really good. It is a good thing that I have headphones on or Oreo might get sick again.

I forgot to mention yesterday that my Aunt Sharon went into Castile Christian Academy at 3:00 and met with the school to talk about her teaching art classes there. She is going to be starting in two weeks teaches classes on Fridays. That school is really expanding.

For anyone into fixing up old houses and martial arts there is Home Improvement Ninja. I have no comment as to the quality of the blog. But anyone called Home Improvement Ninja gets a link from someone with a blog called Sheep Guarding Llama.

Andy and I spent a ton of time on the phone this evening trying to fix some networking issues that he was having at home. After several hours of work he finally discovered that there is a known problem with his Linksys RTP300 router that is a part of his equipment from Vonage. The router is known to be flaky and instead of fixing the problems Linksys has removed any indication from their websites that they ever had anything to do with manufacturing the device. They not only took down any obvious links to the product that they might have had but they have also completely erased the product pages that were linked to by big hardware reporting sites like Tom’s Hardware. So if that isn’t a good indication of something being fishy… So Andy spent a ton of time on the phone with Vonage trying to get some answers. Well, they passed him off to a guy in some other country who didn’t speak English. Andy had a hard time understanding him but, more importantly, this guy couldn’t understand Andy’s English (read: this guy didn’t actually speak English) so there was nothing that could be done. So Andy got passed off to a manager who basically told Andy that Vonage doesn’t support people who only have a Vonage phone line and if he wanted Vonage to try to fix anything that he would have to have another phone line! Good sales technique, Vonage: “We only support customers who don’t believe in us enough to have given up their other services.” They also said that they would not replace the known bad equipment until it had been proven to be bad to their satisfaction. So, Andy is probably going to be moving over to a different phone service provider like Broad Voice. One of the big issues with Vonage is that they lock down the service to only work with hardware that they provide. And if that hardware does not function correctly or does not work in a specific type of installation then the service just doesn’t work and there is nothing to do but drop the phone line. Broad Voice allows you to use their equipment or your own or just use a piece of software on a computer if you want so that you are never tied down to equipment that they have chosen. That is SO much better and more flexible. And so much easier. Why are companies so set on making it impossible for normal people to do business with them. Vonage isn’t happy that Andy pays them $25/month. They would rather see him go to the competition than to have to actually have their service work. Why is that a good business plan?

Here is an important tip: If everyone who gets treated badly by a company doesn’t just lie down and take it and instead goes out and tells everyone how badly they have been treated. And then continues to stop doing business with that company and switches to a competitor then pretty soon companies will start making good products and standing by them. But if we all continue to just accept that fact that companies treat us badly, make poor products that don’t work, pass us off to people who don’t speak English and try to brow beat us into thinking that somehow it is our fault that people who don’t speak English can’t communicate with us, lie about their support, fail to deliver on promises, etc. then we will continue to be treated this way because WE are responsible for making it the most cost effective way to do business. So just remember: Everytime that you let a company do the wrong thing you are making the whole system worse for everyone. No one lives in a vacuum. What we do affects everyone.

Dominica came home and really wanted some pizza so I drove over to Walmart to get one for her. She also really wanted to watch Remington Steele and so I picked up the first season of that as well. I have never seen Remington Steele but I was always a fan of the 1980’s hour long mystery action genre (there has to be a better name for it than that) but you know the type that I mean: Simon and Simaon, The Fall Guy, Magnum P.I., Charlie’s Angels, The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, etc. Remington Steele ran from 1982 until 1987. Strangely enough I never saw this show when it was originally on. I wasn’t even very familiar with it. I have never come across an episode in all of these years. It is a pretty good show. We watched two episodes before going to bed.

Oreo is feeling some better today but not completely. He is still having “sick”moments. We are going to have to do something next month about his worm medication. It is apparently just too much for him.

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