Posts Tagged Rants

Wasabi NP-BX1 Batteries: FAIL

I just got a new pair of Wasabi Power NP-BX1 batteries for the HDR-AS30V helmet camera, charged them up, and ran them through the CBA:

Sony NP-BX1 - Wasabi FGHI - 2017-08-08

Sony NP-BX1 – Wasabi FGHI – 2017-08-08


The new ones (H and I) cost near twice as much as the 2-1/2 year old previous pair (F and G), while delivering less energy at a lower terminal voltage. Tested ’em twice to be sure and the curves overlay just about perfectly, so it’s not a fluke.

The rep assures me the replacement cells will deliver their promised capacity. We shall see.


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Riding With Scissors

Well, bypass pruning shears, anyway …

Although NYSDOT did cut back the Japanese Knotweed along Rt 376 north of Maloney Rd, perhaps because they were repaving that section, the overgrowth south of Red Oaks Mill continues unabated:

Rt 376 - SB at Walker - Overgrowth - 2017-07-09

Rt 376 – SB at Walker – Overgrowth – 2017-07-09

I’ve been carrying shears to deal with the most egregious offenses, because some sport inch-long thorns:

Rt 376 - SB at Walker - Thorns - 2017-07-09

Rt 376 – SB at Walker – Thorns – 2017-07-09

Unlike the NYSDOT Wappingers (a.k.a. Dutchess South) Residency , their Poughkeepsie (a.k.a. Dutchess North) Residency has no compunction about defoliation around road signs:

Rt 376 - SB marker 1117 - Sign defoliation - 2017-07-15

Rt 376 – SB marker 1117 – Sign defoliation – 2017-07-15

And guide rails:

Rt 376 - NB marker 1124 - Rail defoliation - 2017-07-15

Rt 376 – NB marker 1124 – Rail defoliation – 2017-07-15

So, obviously, different strokes for different Residencies.



Ersatz Yellow Pages Scam

These mailings generally carry a “trash before reading” interest level, but this one stands out:

Biz Directory Scam - the deal

Biz Directory Scam – the deal

The Terms and Conditions feature some gems:

Biz Directory Scam - Terms and Conditions

Biz Directory Scam – Terms and Conditions

The first few sections suggest their past behavior has required some … admissions … to avoid future issues.

Section 9 says the laws of Florida apply and the “agreement is performable” (whatever that means) “at United Directories’ address located in Jacksonville Beach, Florida”. They’re so afraid of their customers that the only address appearing on the mailer is in Atlanta, Georgia, but a bit of poking around suggests their HQ is inside what looks like a beachfront house across from Joe’s Crab Shack or a biz building up the street.

Section 11 says your “listing” will be renewed every six months at $396, so you pay nigh onto 800 bucks a year for a “customizable web page” nobody visits.

Section 12 tells you “Unpaid accounts will incur a 10% late charge” and “Any credits will be applied to the next subscription period.”

This will come as no surprise:

Searching for obvious keywords + scam won’t turn up any surprises, either.

Sad fact: they actually have some listings.

I wish no ill will on anyone, but if somebody’s gotta be under the next meteor strike, I have a short list of candidates …


Handbag Strap Rivet Repair

One of the leather strap anchors on Mary’s giant haul-everything-to-a-concert(*) handbag pulled its rivet through the canvas fabric:

Handbag - pulled-through rivet

Handbag – pulled-through rivet

We knotted the strap around the zippered opening and completed the mission.

Of course, it wouldn’t have pulled through if they’d splurged on washers, but noooo too expensive:

Handbag - intact rivet - inside

Handbag – intact rivet – inside

Some rummaging produced a pan-head M3 screw of suitable length:

Handbag - repaired - outside

Handbag – repaired – outside

A slightly battered acorn nut was a special treat for the inside, with another washer to keep me happy:

Handbag - repaired - inside

Handbag – repaired – inside

That was easy!

(*) At Tanglewood, where they don’t strip-search you on the way in, tow-behind coolers seemed de rigueur, and a good time was had by all.

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Yellowbook Do-Not-Deliver Delivery Option

Last summer I followed the procedure that should turn off (one of) the ersatz “Yellow Pages” directories littering our driveway.

This just arrived:

YellowBook Do-Not-Deliver Delivery

YellowBook Do-Not-Deliver Delivery

Seeing as how they have the wrong town in my address, there’s still another excuse available.

My guess: they’re paid by tonnage of books delivered and have a powerful incentive to continue delivering all of them, no matter what gets in the way.

You absolutely cannot make this stuff up.


Amazon Packaging

The ample padding around this bag of fragile pecans leaves nothing to be desired:

Amazon - well-packed pecans

Amazon – well-packed pecans

They’re firmly held in place on all sides, well protected from injury, and survived their shipping ordeal unscathed: not a bruise or break to be found. Well done!

That’s not always the case. A padded envelope recently arrived with an obvious wound:

Amazon - envelope perforations

Amazon – envelope perforations

Which came from its completely unprotected contents:

Amazon - unprotected PCB pins

Amazon – unprotected PCB pins

Fortunately, the fragile glass front plate of that OLED managed to put itself flat against a small box inside the otherwise empty bag. it wasn’t broken, but due only to good fortune.

“Static sensitive parts enclosed”, indeed …


Verizon FiOS at 1 Gb/s for $70? Really‽

Jessica: Hi! I am a Verizon specialist, can I help you today?

You (that would be me = Ed): Verizon has announced gigabit Internet service for $70/month. That isn’t listed as one of the my “upgrade” options. Is it available in this area? If not, why do the 25 and 50 Mb/s services cost 90 and $100/month?

Jessica: By chatting with us, you grant us permission to review your services during the chat to offer the best value. Refusing to chat will not affect your current services. It is your right and our duty to protect your account information. For quality, we may monitor and/or review this chat.

Jessica: Hey there! My name is Jessica. Happy to help!

Jessica: Thank you for being a valued Verizon customer, I will be glad to check the information for you.

Jessica: For security and protection of your account records, please provide your first and last name as it appears on your account, plus one of the following pieces of information. Either your:


You: [redacted]

Jessica: Thank you for the information, Edward Nisley!

Jessica: Please give me few minutes to check the information.

Jessica: I appreciate your patience.

Jessica: Thank you for safeguarding the account.

Jessica: Thank you for your years of loyalty to Verizon!

Jessica: It looks like you currently have just Verizon Fios Internet up to 25/25 Mbps plan.
Just to confirm, are you looking to make upgrade for just Fios Gigabit Connection?

You: That’s correct: I do /not/ want phone or TV service.

Jessica: I have checked the information and it looks like Verizon Fios Gigabit Connection is not available for your location.

However, you can make the upgrade for Verizon Fios Internet up to 100/100 Mbps and above speed plan.

You: Which gives me the opportunity to pay twice as much for 10% of the bandwidth: definitely an unattractive offer.

Jessica: We are offering different speed plan with different prices and great discounts.

Jessica: It looks like you are currently paying just $45.99/mo. for your Verizon Fios Internet upto 25/25 Mbps plan.

Jessica: Just to confirm, are you looking to make any upgrade?

You: I was interested in 1 Gb/s for $70. I’m uninterested in bait-and-switch tactics for lower bandwith at higher prices. Based on the gigabit price, I should be getting 25 Mb/s for $1.75/month … what sort of discount can you offer to make up for that sort of overcharge?

Jessica: I understand how you feel.

Jessica: The availability of speed and price vary from location to location.

You can get our Verizon Fios Internet up to 50/50 Mbps plan at just $59.99/mo. before taxes with new 2 year agreement.

Jessica: The base price of this plan is $99.99/mo. before taxes. However, you will be getting $40 OFF for 24 months with new 2 year agreement plan.

Jessica: So, its just $59.99/mo. before taxes.

The estimated price would be just $62.48/mo. including taxes and fees.

Jessica: Just to confirm, would you like to go ahead and make the upgrade for this speed plan?

Jessica: I haven’t heard from you for a few moments. Would you like to continue chatting?

You: That’s the bait-and-switch tactic I’m /not/ interested in; DO NOT change my service. Verizon tacks on a few bucks a month for a “Municipal Construction Charge” without actually building anything. Let me know when you can offer me a gigabit for $70, then we can talk. Before then, DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING. Thanks …

We are sorry, but the agent was disconnected, please wait for the agent to reconnect..

We apologize for the unexpected delay, an agent should be with you very soon.

Agent Carl enters chat

Carl: Hi there! You have reached Carl. How may I help you today?

You: Do you have access to the previous half hour of chat before Agent Jessica was mysteriously disconnected?

Carl: It seems that the previous agent lost connection.

Carl: I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to you. She might have faced some technical issues.

Carl: Pleasure assured no changes will be made on your account without your consent.

Carl: I read that you wish to check the availability of Gigabit speeds for your home. Correct?

You: That’s what I asked, half an hour ago, and was told it’s not available, but I /can/ pay more than that (minus a teaser discount) for 10% of the bandwidth. If that’s still the best you can do, it’s not what I want.

Carl: The availability of services and plans is address specific. I see that the previous agent informed the Gigabit speed is not available.

Carl: The prices and promotions are time specific.

Carl: You get discounts and promotions available at the time of signing up for new services.

Carl: When you signed up for services 2 year back, you get the promotions available at that time.

You: OK, we’re going in circles. Let me know when you can deliver what Verizon offers to other FiOS customers. Thanks …

Carl: Right now, the customer who sign up for new service on a new account for 1st time, they get the offers available right now.

Carl: You’re welcome.

Carl: Is there anything else I can help you online today?

You: Nope, we’re off to a concert. Have a good rest of the evening!

Carl: You too have a great evening.

Carl: If you need assistance in the future, visit us anytime on the My Fios App or at Thank you for chatting with Verizon.