Month: February 2009

United Parcel Service: UPS Sucks

Posted by – February 26, 2009

UPS Sucks.  I hope they all shrivel up and die.

UPS Sucks. I hope they all shrivel up and die.

Not sure if many of you are aware of the sneaky underhanded tactics that UPS uses to extort money out of people, I thought I’d share a little bit from my experience. UPS for one, seems to be no better than ANY of the alternatives Purolator, Fedex, Canada Post, United States Postal Service etc. However they will cost you almost THREE FOLD MORE if your sending a package out of country. However this isn’t fees to the shipper, these are fees passed on through UPS’s own “brokerage center”. Let me explain…

My wife had bought a tiny miniature Yule tree from some place in the United states, we paid 25 dollars for it including shipping which was fine. We received it, just fine. However many months later I get this envelope from UPS stating I owe them $30USD for brokerage fees. I called up UPS who stated that since they had to carry it across the border they have to charge fees to do so.

I’ve sent and received a LOT of packages to and from the United States, and at no time was I ever charged any outrageous fee such as this. Keep in mind this is NOT a customs fee, it’s NOT being paid to the govt of Canada for taxes and levies. It’s a fee solely made up by UPS to gouge money out of unsuspecting people. I now boycott all places that ship UPS exclusively as they are horrendous and I really hope they are the first courier to shut down due to the failing US economy.

The amount of time I spent fighting this fee was insane, but I refused to pay it, nor should I have to pay it. I made no agreement that I’d pay any fees, they give you no prior notice that you’ll be charged this fee and they don’t tell you when they deliver it so you can refuse to accept it.  I even told their representatives that they can come take the item back.

They eventually gave me the credit, but this by no means absolves UPS of it’s practices.  They screw over a lot of people, people who probably would pay the fee instead of fighting it or letting it go to collections.  I really don’t care if UPS adds fees to my credit, I’ll just attach a letter stating how they tried to scam me out of the fee.  I’m not the only one to complain about this either:

Or simply Google ‘UPS Sucks‘.

Congratulations United States Parcel Service, you’re now on my shitlist.

Good news, everyone!

Posted by – February 23, 2009

Good news, everyone!

Good news, everyone!

Good news, everyone!

I’ve discovered a way for you to read things in Professor Farnsworth voice!

If this didn’t work it’s most likely your not much of a fan of Futurama.  If you aren’t; you should be.  It’s a great cartoon from the Creator if the Simpsons.

I don’t really have anything else to say on the matter, it’s just funny how certain phrases become so ingrained in one’s head you can use them against people.  Such as the McDonalds jingle; regardless of whether you like McDonalds you can’t help but have your internal voice complete the jingle whenever you hear “Ba Da Ba Ba Baa”.  Companies pay millions for this brainwashing to happen, yet if shows are awesome enough they become ingrained in your psyche simply by having their own catchphrases.

I’ve always wondered if this was possible for a company to include a product placement in a catchphrase on TV or in a movie.  We’ve seen horrible attempts such as in “I, Robot” with Will Smith, and we’ve seen “Harold And Kumar Go to White Castle” but nothing to the extent that Homer screams out to shop at Wal-Mart or anything crazy.  Perhaps placements such as this instantly make them uncool and thus fail, and I would only imagine they’d tarnish the show’s PR for ahwile.  Don’t know, I’m just rambling.  I hope the joke worked, if not it’s your fault for not liking cool stuff!

Edit: Found a youtube link of a bunch of Farnsworth moments of him saying his catchphrase, for those who are not familiar with the character I’m refering to:

The Great Facebook Scandal of 2009

Posted by – February 19, 2009

For those of you who are a bit behind in the news, Facebook has changed their Terms of Service as reported by the Consumerist.  These changes stated that not only does Facebook own all your information and content you upload (Pictures, blog posts etc) but they can keep it FOREVER even if you remove your account.

This change has created GIANT ripples throughout the intertubes, causing Facebook to recoil and revert to their old TOS.  Even Mark Zuckerberg had to weigh in to try to calm the masses.  This of course didn’t work so well as people started leaving Facebook which prompted them to add this to the “Delete Your Account” Page:

Please don't leave, we're sorry!  We promise not to do it again until you're not looking!

Please don't leave, we're sorry! We promise not to do it again until you're not looking!

It’s still up in the air whether I’ll decide to leave myself.  It’s nice to be able to stay in contact with others but it’s not worth my information being used for uses I may not agree with.  Not to mention ANY pictures of me, including ones other people upload become the property of Facebook forever.  I’m still not sure how to prevent this, unless it’s already against current privacy or copyright laws.

Canadian Copyright & Neutrality Wars

Posted by – February 17, 2009

This is what Net Neutrality means.  Imagine paying for websites like you do TV Channels.

Scary Isn't it?

There have been a lot of attempts by the current Canadian Government to change Canadian copyright and Internet Neutrality law.  I personally believe that neither law needs any changing at all at this time, they are both fair and lead to the best solution for the Canadian people at this time.

I was reading my RSS feeds and stumbled upon a post on Michael Geist’s Blog:

Net neutrality is frequently re-characterized as “network management,” with ISPs arguing that they should be able to manage their networks in a manner that distinguishes between certain applications (and potentially content).  Funny, though, what happens when groups ask that the same network management tools be used for alternate purposes such as Canadian content rules.  When that happens, Rogers, the same ISP that acknowledges traffic shaping,  now says “We’re a dumb pipe. We don’t know what you’re downloading . . . so how can we be responsible for the content?”  In other words, when Rogers appears before the CRTC during the new media proceeding it runs a “dumb pipe.”  When it returns several months later for the network management proceeding, it runs a smart pipe engaged in deep packet inspection to identify the traffic on its network.

I really couldn’t put it any better than that.  ISPs in Canada want to have their cake and eat it too.  Luckily my M.P. is the Hon. Ralph Goodale who seems to have the intellect to know that both changes to the Copyright Act and the loss  of Net Neutrality spell disaster for Canadians.

Regardless of who your MP is I STRONGLY urge you to write your MP of your riding to inform them of your personal view as well as getting the word out for others to do the same.  Not to be overly dramatic but this decision will affect our children and our children’s children.

2008 Vacation

Posted by – February 12, 2009

The Alamo

The Alamo

Well I’ve been back from my 2008 vacation to San Antonio, Texas for awhile now.  I’ve been super busy since then as I found that a few people were hanging around the Freedom-Uplink IRC servers and decided that we should redo the website and everything.  Thus far everything is working excellent and we haven’t hit any snares and we’re even running our own Internet Radio Station now.  However, before I delve into that, I’d like to share a bit of my vacation here.

For those of you who don’t know, my wife is from San Antonio, TX.  I tend to spend quite a bit of time there every couple years, Christmas 2008 was one of these times.  It’s always nice to get away from home, especially during the cold winter, by going someplace warm.  I really need to do it more often, or simply move to where it’s warm year-round.

The Tower of the Americas

The Tower of the Americas

I spent the majority of my time lounging around with my wife’s side of the family.  Whether it was being over at her sister’s or hanging around with her brother from Portland, OR.  We hit a few museums together where I was able to view a few Picasso’s and an exhibit on the Nightmare Before Christmas (My wife’s favourite movie) which was indeed awesome.

I happened to go to this Bass Pro Sports Shop or whatever it was called that has so many mounted animals, it very well could have been a mounted animal nature trail.  From there I was able to not only admire the rifles that cost more than a car, but they had a little infrared shooting range with minor animatronics to make pots spin and doors open etc.  It was pretty cool considering it was a sports/gun store.  I should have taken pictures, it had a glass elevator and lots of stuff, it’s no wonder why Americans loves guns if their shops are that much fun.

I don’t have a whole lot of photos of all the stuff I did, the most exciting bits were near the end and we bought a video camera so a lot of it is on there[Larger Daylight View of the Tower, View from The Tower].  Unfortunately I don’t have the cable nor the time to transfer the video to my HD to edit it yet.  Hopefully in the future.  On the last few days however we to a few places including the Tower of the Americas, The AlamoThe Mexican Market, The RiverWalk mall and other miscellaneous attractions I can’t remember off-hand.

Grackle Invasion

Grackle Invasion

The Tower of the Americas was pretty amazing, being so high (and getting there in a glass elevator), in a rotating restaurant and man was it expensive!  I snapped a poor picture of it (as well as the Alamo above) as it was dark at both locations and long exposures make it a little blurry as I didn’t have my tripod with me.  Anyway, the tower was pretty cool being able to see all the lights and locations I ahd visited throughout the day.  Luckily my father-in-law knew how to get to the observation deck without having to pay the admission.  For those of you wanting to go, here’s the secret: Ask to go to the lounge, have a drink or two, then they’ll elt you take the elevator up.  It works out to be cheaper or about the same as paying admission, but you got food out of it too!

One rather odd thing I noticed while traveling this time is that San Antonio is have an Invasion of Grackles.  Nobody parks under any trees, power-lines, nothing overhanging because EVERYTHING is covered in hundreds of these birds.  It reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, although with a lot more fecal matter.  Not sure how I missed this the past few times I’ve been down there, but I guess it shows that there is always something I miss on each trip.

Well, I shouldn’t say that was the only odd thing, while in a Dollar Tree store, (where EVERYTHING is one dollar, no exceptions) I found some pregnancy tests as

One Dollar Pregnancy Test.  Only In America...

One Dollar Pregnancy Test. Only In America...

an IMPULSE BUY at the front till.  I of course had to snap a picture of it, which I’m sure made us stand out, but hey this stuff is interesting.  I think the only way these would work is if you buy enough of them to make a good average of the results and derive from there.  To do this though, you’d probably have to buy 10-20 at least, which means you might as well buy a more accurate one at a pharmacy.  Then again, screw it.  Best two out of three.

One of the best things about America though, is the dirt cheap fast food.  Man, I am in love with America in this regard.  Canadian fast food has smaller portions and costs at least twice or maybe 2.5x more.  When I can go and get a HUUUUUGE milkshake (seemingly equivalent to a litre or two of ice cream) for like 4 dollars, I’m one happy Canadian.  I love how the “large” in America is 2-3 times the size of the Canadian “large”, and how it’s a deformed cup so that it fits in the cupholder, because that is what America is about isn’t it?  Way oversized unhealthy portions that are crazy cheap and fit in your cupholder.  I miss America already.