Tuesday, April 30, 2013

ShopVac Assembly - Be Careful!

I bought a new ShopVac Wet/Dry Vacuum from Amazon.com for spring cleanup and set out to assemble it Saturday.  The User manual has fourteen pages of instructions and cautions in multiple languages.

The English Safety Instructions include 23 items.

I put off reading that paragraph until I finished the assembly.  Step 5 of those instructions says,"Insert casters into feet by placing stem of caster into holes provided.  Apply pressure and twisting motion until casters snap into place ..."

Perhaps those instructions should be modified to include,"if no snap is heard, it's probably because the damned caster has just pinched your finger.  In that case, remove blood from finger with a clean rag."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A New Low in Website Creation Has Been Reached! (ScoreCard dot com)

"Here, run this program on your PC!"

Remember when people would say that and you'd actually do it?  Probably not, unless you were using PCs back in 1981/82 or thereabouts.  People have gotten a lot more savvy since then.  Thirty years of experience tells us that this is a bad idea.  No one would just accept a program from a stranger and run it on their computer in 2013.

Or would they?  Most web-surfers don't realize that this is what they might be doing when they visit a site on the web with "scripting" enabled on their browsers.

I normally surf the web with scripting disabled.  Scripts are just programs downloaded from websites onto your computer.  I presume they are all evil - not a bad position to start from in spite of their widespread use.  I will enable scripting at a site like my bank so I can log on to my account, since I assume they take reasonable security precautions in the code on their site.

Today, Instapundit had a link to the website RightWisconsin.  I followed the link and briefly saw the page flash up followed by this message:

Well, that is interesting.  And if I don't enable scripting, I keep getting bounced back to the message.  I can't visit RightWisconsin with scripting disabled.  Now who thought that was a good idea?

Well let's just check the code on the site to see what they are doing that makes it so damned important to be able to run javascript.  Besides setting up lots of tracking cookies, they include this piece of code to count the folks that drop by without scripting enabled
       <img src=" ... scorecardresearch.com ... c1=2&c ... =1" />
 ScoreCardResearch?  Who's that?  Why do they want to know who came by without scripting enabled?

I'll leave you to research ScoreCardResearch for yourself.   See if you can turn up this quote:
Going crazy with the Scorecardresearch virus infection on your computer? Don't know what exactly it is and where does it come from? It seems ...
There used to be a widely accepted belief that swearing was the sign of weak vocabulary.   I don't necessarily agree since I learned my serious swearing in the army back in 1969 from some quite articulate NCOs.  But I do believe that the use of scripting is generally a sign of either weak CSS skills or evil intentions.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wait! Don't Hangup on This Call.

206-397-1823 Health Care

That's the number left on Caller ID when this computerized robot-caller contacted me.

I suppose some ex-Microsoft programmer in Seattle got the idea of calling people at random after careful data analysis to solicit them for Health Insurance.  Then he could get really rich since his MS stock options were all underwater. Maybe he didn't qualify for the buyback program.

Well, the reason he didn't qualify was because he's incompetent as a businessman.  After telling me to press 1 to talk to a representative, I went into a holding queue for over three minutes since "all agents are busy helping other clients."  And so I was treated to three minutes of pleasant guitar music until an agent picked up the line.  Well, at least the phone company was making money!

I began my conversation with, "Wait!  Don't hangup on this call.  You are a ...." but, I'll be darned if the agent didn't hang up anyway.

Whom, do you suppose, buys health insurance from an unsolicited robo-call that dumps you into a three-minute wait?

Never hang up on these kind of calls.  Wait 'em out and make them pay for the call.  Then waste as much time as you can to maximize the loss on their call to you.  Hanging up just plays into their business model.