Wednesday, April 30, 2008

For the last couple of months I have been in the process of purchasing a very, very nice digital SLR camera; a Canon EOS 40D to be exact. I spent a lot of time back in January getting pieces of the camera from different websites to save some money. A memory card here, a lens and filters there, a case somewhere else. And it was really panning out. I saved a fortune on my 16 gig memory card and I even swung a deal on my lens with the online dealer nearly throwing in three filters for free. Finally everything came in the mail except one thing: the camera body itself. I purchased the body from some obscure online camera retailer basically because it was dirt cheap. The camera body is the same no matter where you get it, so I figured I might as well pay bottom dollar for it right? Well, maybe not.

The retailer sent me an email stating that my item had been placed on backorder, but didn’t say for how long. Now I was getting one kick-a** deal so I didn’t really care how long it was going to be on backorder. When saving over $1000 you have some patients. I ended up calling the company however to get an estimate on when my item would be in stock (never mind the fact that the website said the item was already in stock). I was told 4 to 6 weeks. That was no problem. I could wait.

Well guess what? That time went by and then some. Then one day, Stupid Me forgot to get my check card out of the ATM one day so I had to cancel it. Now the retailer wasn’t going to charge my credit card until the item was shipped. However, since it had been over two months since I ordered my camera, I didn’t really care about updating that company with my new card information. They were done, despite the amazing price. So I conducted a new search to once again find the camera body at an inexpensive price avoiding any online camera retailers that had a webpage like the first company I encountered (which was in case you were thinking about buying from there) and believe me there was a number of them. Finally I decided to go with the retailer that supplied me my lens and filters. Re-enter I called the company this time thinking maybe I could haggle them down in price again. They were having none of that and frankly didn’t even care I would go somewhere else to buy the camera. But they were the next cheapest so a few days later I placed my order online with them. I wasn’t totally shocked to get an email stating that item was on backorder (again despite the fact their website said it was in stock). However they did give me a 3-4 week backorder time frame. Again I figured I’d wait it out.

Well, today, five weeks later, I still have no camera body. I decided enough was enough. I called up 1WayPhoto and canceled my order. Not a single question asked. All I said was I wanted to cancel an order, gave them my order number, and they were more than happy to do it without question. Not a second later I received an email confirming my cancellation and apologizing, stating that item was just too darn popular (or something like that). That is crap straight from Hillary Clinton’s butt!

So with my ego defeated I started searching online once again. This time however I had enough of these silly waiting games. I hit up the websites I knew would deliver:, and the major electronics retailers! After a few minutes of searching and comparing prices, had won. With my income tax rebate check nearly spent, I am now one happy camper. I even ordered next day delivery so with any luck tomorrow I will be the proud owner of a fully functional Canon EOS 40D SLR camera!

Moral of the story is sometimes it’s just better to stick with the people you know will deliver and pay a little extra for it. It’s what my dad has been telling me for years and why there will be service people out to our house today to fix our microwave that broke last night. Second moral of the story is sometimes Dad can be right. As long as he’s not hassling me about getting LASIK!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Curious about what kinds of things I contemplate throughout the day? Read on my friend!

You know how when you’re typing and you hold down a key, that character repeats quickly? An example of this would be holding down the backspace key to delete those last few words you typed. Ever wonder at what point does holding down a key become more efficient than hitting a key as fast as you can? Well I have.

After a few experiments I found I can quickly press the same key about 20 times in 3 seconds. That calculates to 6 2/3 presses per second, or a key press every .15 seconds. Not too shabby in my opinion. Now, I have my keyboard repeat rate set for Frickin’ Fast which “types” about 20 characters per seconds if I hold down a key, or a key press every .05 seconds. Yeah that puts my finger to shame, but the repeat delay is set for one tick shy of Short as Dani Devito which after several minutes of testing I calculated to be roughly a 1/2 second delay. This means that my keyboard does not repeat a key press like a mofo until half a second has passed with a key held down.

With all this data I came to the conclusion that if I need to type more than four of the same character in a row, theoretically it would be quicker to hold that character key down. Of course this is the real world and not Theoreticalville so holding down a key for ¾ of a second is going to be pretty cumbersome and will likely take up more time because I’d be forced to use more keys in order to fix the inaccuracy I’d get with holding down a key to get five characters out of it. But such is life I suppose.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It’s time for an American Idol update. Season 8 so far has not disappointed! In fact I think I’m buying in to this whole Season-8-has-the-most-talented-singers-ever bit. It’s been a while, but it’s long overdue, so be prepared to read Captain Jimmy’s American Idol Season 8 Top Idols!

Jason Castro – I’m not thrilled about the dreads, okay I think they are sort of disgusting, but I do like Jason’ style of singing. He’s laid back, chill and usually doesn’t repulse me when he sings. His version of Another Hallelujah was tremendous however; the young hippie can’t last much longer.

Kristy Lee Cook – For the past few weeks now Kristy has eluded the bottom three. This was my pick from the very beginning to win. I still think she has a great voice, but she fails to choose good songs to sing. That one song in the final 12 was horrendous! You know which one I mean! And she could tone down the eye glitter too. I find it quite distracting.

Syesha Mercado – Syesha is no doubt one of the best singers on Idol this season. So far she has rocked out Whitney and Fantasia! I think she’s still holding back too. The only reason she keeps ending up in the bottom three is because she isn’t popular and I haven’t quite figured out why yet. I think she’s quite likable. And how can you not love the female fro??

Carly Smithson – Awesome tats, awesome voice, bad taste in clothing. Simon was correct, but he should have voiced it a little more kindly. I think if Carly sang Bonnie Tyler songs all the time she could win it, unfortunately the show isn’t called Sing like Bonnie Tyler Hour. It should however be called Watch More Commercials than American Idol Time.

David Archuleta – Am I the only person that doesn’t want to adopt this guy? With a younger fan base than Sanjia, Archuleta will no doubt reach the final three. I’m still waiting for him to sing some John Mayer because I know he sing the crap out of those songs. He can’t sing songs that have a fast beat or rock very well. Let’s hope Dad keeps his grubby little fingers out of Archuleta’s song book for the rest of the season.

David Cook – Am I the only person that finds it extremely unlikely that two contestants in the final 7 have the same last name? Apparently so. Let’s face it, this man has the confidence and voice to make the final episode this season. No song is too hard, no song too rough for Cook. His rendition of Billie Jean was as Randy would say, “Yo that was HOT DAWG!”

Brook White – Who could forget the girl that said she never saw a R-rated movie? By far the most professional contestant and most humble. If she can keep from boring her fans a second time it will be a Brook-Cook finally, with the winner being selected by the gosh-awful song that wins that crappy song writers competition. No matter what outcome, I’ll be buying her album. She may make it over to the dark side yet . . .

Thursday, April 03, 2008

With April Fools Day just a few days past, I thought I'd point out some of the awesome April Fools pranks I experienced. Okay, so it was really only two pranks and they both involved the Internet giant Google, but you're going to hear about them anyway.

So I've got a little thing called Gmail Notifier running on my Windows desktop. Basically all it does is inform me of when I get an email, sort of like Outlook does, but since Gmail is Internet based, much less frequently. So Tuesday morning I was notified I had mail. I cheerfully double-clicked the taskbar icon to bring me directly into my inbox. I don't even recall who emailed me, but what I did notice was a new red-linked feature of Gmail. It was labeled, "NEW! Custom Time Changer!" Or something like that. I clicked the link and started to read about how Gmail could now let you change the time of the email sent on past emails in recipient's inboxes. That's quite the feature, even with Google's e-flux capacitor. Numerous testimonials followed claiming no more tardiness and first-come-first-serve turn-around victories that had already ended. I had to smile and chuckle upon reading these as it was at that moment that I realized Google spent some time on something so little, yet so customer satisfying.

Later that day I went in to check my GCal (Google Calendar) and once again I was greeted by a little red-linked message at the top right of my page that read, "NEW! Wake Up Notifier!" or something like that. This time slightly wiser I clicked the link and was entertained by what read to be GCals latest feature: the ability to get your tired a** out of bed! Your first alarm would be a text, followed by more annoying phone calls, and if it came to it, water in your face and industrial molten steel spills on your bed. That ought to get you moving in the morning! And all this via a simple Internet Calendar.

Look, Google makes great products, no doubt. But sometimes it's the little things that can really sell something. Maybe it's the service, or an extreme attention to detail. Sometimes however, it can just be something as simple as making you smile. And if companies can satisfy me by making me smile, just think how I feel about the people in my life that make me smile . . .