Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mo' BlackBerry Pie!

OK, the ech's arrived today! First impression using the earpieces that came installed... amazing.
Not the best fit but I hear things that I haven't heard ever in some pieces. I'll concentrate on getting the perfect fit and then continue this discussion.

My articles about the BlackBerry Curve continue to get hits so I think I'll do some more.

One of the many reasons I like the Curve is because of its multimedia capability. This time I'll talk a little bit about the Music Player.

The player is pretty basic. It gives you the controls you would expect to see on a first generation CD player.From the menu you can select next and previous track, replay, repeat, and shuffle. You can pause the song and play returns you to where you paused or you can stop and play will restart the track. The trackball will allow you to select a horizontal slider that moves you back and forth in the track. Volume is controlled by the handset volume control pushbuttons. Like I said, pretty basic.

The Curve comes with a Roxio application that is a Windows app and as other reviewers have mentioned its slow and unimpressive. All I can add is that on top of that it really sucks.

If you have enabled the Curve to do so, it shows up on your desktop as an ejectable disk when you attach it to your computer with the supplied USB cable. You'll see a Blackberry folder at the top level and inside folders titled Music, etc. From my computer based iTunes folder, I just drag the album level music folder from my computer to the BlackBerry Music folder. Eject the Blackberry volume and disconnect the USB cable and you're set to go.

Depending on how much music you dragged over, it may take a few seconds for the directory to update on the Curve. If you drag several albums from the same artist, they end up organized under the artist in the directory, as you would expect. There must be enough information in the music files to allow the Curve software to do this. Otherwise, it's FM. I don't know.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Here's a quote from Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States:

"(C)loned animals suffer high mortality rates"

Well, there's a news flash for you. He should have seen the fate of my uncle's cattle at slaughter time every year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Domino's, what is up!? Part 2

Well, I took down my previous post regarding the shady practices of my local Domino's in order to let Domino's respond to my email complaint to them. I've put it back up since they have chosen, as yet, not to respond.

Edit: Domino's corporate's response was that since my local store was locally owned and operated, they basically have no control and have forwarded my complaint. If that's the case, the store should be named Bruce's or something.

Edit 2: The general manager from the local franchise understands our concern and has promised to look into it. Maybe I'll order another pizza and see what happens.

Based on information posted as a comment to my first article and information I have since received first hand from VISA, I find that I was giving Domino's far more leeway than they are entitled to. VISA's agreement with both the card holder and the merchant states that if the card is signed, the only requirement is that the signature on the charge slip and the signature on the card match.

So, one must wonder, is the reason why the delivery boys are demanding the additional information so that they can harvest enough information to make fraudulent charges on the card? One could easily come to that conclusion. VISA's agreement with the merchant is that they will honor the charge if the merchant simply compares signatures and determines that they match. Period, end of report. No photo ID, no pencil lead impression of the card on the charge slip (there is a good reason why they don't print the entire card number on the slip), no recording of the CVC, and most importantly, no record of any personal information from the customer's ID. I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV, but I'm sure I could convince a jury that the collection of this information by the delivery people is illegal. For Domino's to condone it makes them accessories.

Now, no reaction at all from Domino's corporate or the local store manager, and a very courteous response from the bank that issued my card and from VISA and the promise to address the matter with the merchant. That in itself speaks volumes.

I'll post any additional news if and when it happens.

Jura Capresso, good job!

I love coffee. I love it so much I could have got a used Korean car for what I paid for my machine. I did the math though and almost 2500 cups later, I'm way ahead of what I would have spent at Starbucks.

Anyway, I have a Jura Capresso unit and I have been completely satisfied with its performance. All I have to do is make sure it has beans and water and it cranks out a perfect brew every time.

One of the nice features of the machine is that it alerts you from time to time when it's time to clean the machine, change the water filter, empty grounds, etc. Today it decided it was time for a thorough scrubbing.

As with all the other machine features, cleaning is fairly well automated. The LED display prompts you through the steps and basically all you have to do is drop in the cleaning tablet when it tells you to.

After following the cleaning steps, the LED display informed me that it was still time to clean the machine. Thinking is was just a firmware glitch, I ran the cycle again, this time with no cleaning tablet. Same result.

So, on the phone to the company's 1-800 number. The first nice surprise was that after the automatic attendant determined if I was a user or a retailer I was immediately talking to a live human. Sweet!

Well, my problem was a familiar one to the technician and she walked me through the steps necessary to solve my problem in about 3 minutes. It seems that there is a "tamping disc" that gets clogged sometimes and is not washed by the cleaning cycle. You can wipe it off by reaching into the bowels of the machine with the grounds/drip tray removed. Simple and quick!

After running another cleaning cycle, sans tablet, I was back in caffeine heaven.

Excellent machine and excellent service, Jura Capresso!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Domino's! What is up?!

Domino's Pizza has started a particularly suspicious policy recently. You only notice it when you order a pizza to be delivered and pay for it with a credit/debit card.

I expect the delivery boy to ask to see my card and some form of ID when he brings the pie. What I don't expect is for him to make a rubbing of my card, write down the three digit CVC, and record my name, address, and drivers license number. Then the guy freaks out when I take his photograph. Hey, I just want a face to put with the phony charges I might get on my card.

Talk about the perfect recipe for credit card identity theft. Domino's, is this your Christmas season bonus plan?

Well, the pie is not that good. Myself and all my neighbors will not be getting any of your product while you insist on pursuing this policy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Austin Allsup

One of my favorite bands of all time played at the T last night. Austin Allsup.

'nough said.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Downtown is coming of age.

One of the things limiting acceptance of Downtown Dallas as a place of residence is the lack of infrastructure. If you still have to jump in the car or grab a taxi to, say, buy a book, you may as well live in the 'burbs.

Well, things are certainly moving in the right direction, finally. CVS just opened a street level pharmacy on Main Street. One previously had to go underground and the tunnels closed at 6 pm daily and completely on weekends. Not very convenient for residents, and originally designed to accommodate the tens of thousands of commuters to Downtown jobs.

Also on Main, Jason's Deli is due to open in about a week. Let's hope they decide to stay open after dark and on weekends. Enchilada's moved up from the tunnels a month or so ago and are doing a booming business on Elm Street.

The most exciting news, though, is the announcement that Barnes and Noble will be opening a store in the old Kül location on Main.

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!