Being that type of guy, a red LED glowing in the far corner of the basement attracts my attention:
Back in the day, Verizon didn’t make it obvious that the customer is responsible for replacing the battery keeping the ONT alive during power failures. I expect VZ would eventually let me know the battery was dead, remind me I was on the hook for the replacement, then offer to send a tech around with a Genuine VZ Battery to maintain reliable service.
It’s an ordinary 12 V 8 A·hr sealed lead acid battery and, yes, it’s been in there for a while:
Why You Shouldn’t Use Heat Pumps in the Northeast US
Baofeng UV-5R Squelch Settings
Mini-Lathe Tailstock: Alignment
Arduino Serial Optical Isolator
Mysterious Noise in Toyota Sienna Minivan: Fixed!
Baofeng UV-5: Squelch Pop Suppression
bCNC Probe Camera Calibration
Demolition Card GTA 5-10-9
Multimeter Range Switch Contacts: Whoops!
Realigning Tweezer Tips
Schwalbe Marathon Plus and Michelin Protek vs. Glass Chip
Kenmore Model 158 Speed Control: Carbon Disk Replacement
Kenmore Electric Dryer: Power Resistor Replacement
Old Kenmore Sewing Machine Foot Control Repair
Closing the Dmesg Audit Firehose
Blog Page Views
That adds up to 200 k page views from 122 k visitors, for an average of 1.6 pages / visitor, down slightly from last year. For a variety of reasons, I wrote only 242 posts over the course of the year, so more folks read only the single post matching their search terms.
To give you an idea of how awful online advertising has become, WordPress shoveled 817 k ads at those readers, slightly more than four ads per view. Given the toxicity of online advertising, I just started paying $50/year for a “personal” plan to get a few more gigabytes of media storage, which also let me turn off the ads. Most of you won’t notice, as you already run ad blockers, but it will calm the results for everybody else.
Fortunately, losing the $250 / year income from those ads won’t significantly affect my standard of living.
Subject: [redacted] review blog invitation about bluetooth programmer
Message: Hi dear,
Thanks for taking time to read this email.
I am Colleen from [redacted] brand, we sell two way radio on Amazon. I learned that you have wrote two way radio review blog before and I think your blog was written well.
Now we have a product named bluetooth programmer that need to be reviewed. […] We would like to invite you to write a review blog about it.
Your can earn $2 from each product sold! We promise it. Just put the link we provided you in your blog and the Amazon backstage will count the data. And we will pay you $2 for per product sold by your link through PayPal on the 30th of every month. (Please provide your PayPal account)
If you are willing to help us write a blog, please tell us if you have a radio and your address we will send you the product for free to review.
You can view more detailed information through this link:
Most likely, it’s just the result of an ordinary web search.
You might think everybody would know about Amazon’s crackdown on out-of-band review kickback scams, but either word hasn’t gotten around or the rewards still exceed the penalties. I think the latter applies, particularly when the offender (or its parent company) can spin up another randomly named Amazon seller with no loss of continuity.
“Earning” two bucks on a few purchases during the course of a year won’t move my Quality of Life needle, so I reported them to Amazon and that might be that.
Speaking of randomly named sellers, it’s highly likely any Brand Name you remember from the Good Old Days has been disconnected from the tool / hardware / service you remember. Perusing a snapshot of the who-owns-who tool landscape as of a few years ago may be edifying: I didn’t know Fluke and Tektronix now have the same corporate parent.
Enjoy unwrapping your presents and playing with your toys …
Amazon sent one of their prescription savings cards, followed a few days later by a note:
We recently mailed you a physical copy of your Amazon Prime Rx savings card, and are writing to inform you that the BIN listed on your Prime Rx card printed incorrectly. The correct BIN is 019363.
So I wrote the corrected number on my card, not that I will ever use it:
Although the BIN (whatever that stands for) is a numeric value, it’s not treated as a number by whoever reads it. I’d lay money down that the source code’s formatting string changed from %6d to %06d or the equivalent in whatever fancy language they use nowadays.
The Social Security Administration sent me an email telling me to check a corrected version of a statement they sent a few months ago. Unfortunately, attempting to do so while writing this post produces a heads-up notice:
We apologize for any inconvenience accessing my Social Security. We are aware of some technical difficulties and are working on them at this time. We appreciate your patience as we work to solve the problems as quickly as possible.
Attempting to sign on seems to proceed normally, until this technical difficulty popped up:
We’re Sorry… There has been an unexpected system error.
Your login session has been terminated. For security reasons, please close all of your internet browser windows.
The first statement put my nearest Social Security office 130 miles away in Wilkes Barre, PA. The corrected statement put it back where it belongs, in the hot urban core of Poughkeepsie.
Perhaps an off-by one error in the database lookup?
As far as I can tell, the world now depends on software nobody can understand or control.
Quite some years ago, I had a health insurance plan with Humana, although I gave it up because the premiums seemed entirely disproportional to the benefits. They have continued to bombard me with emails telling me how wonderful they are, with an obligatory sentence at the bottom:
If you do not want us to contact you by email, you can unsubscribe from our online Humana community.
I do not know anything about this “community” of which they speak, other than that they seem to think I want to be part of it.
Clicking on the “unsubscribe” link takes me to a page at their randomly named email service, whereupon I check the “don’t send me anything” box and click the “Submit” button:
Did you see the green text near the middle, where my email address should be? Apparently somebody misconfigured the email script to not include the actual address; the %25 gibberish seems to be encoded percent signs, so it may be one of those too-many / too-few / wrong-kind of character escapes.
Just a typo that could happen to anyone. Right?
Having once been a customer, I still have an account, but there is no way to control / shut off those messages. Not being a current customer, however, I cannot use their chat interface, which would likely not be productive. I am unwilling to wait on hold for an hour, because I know my call is not valuable to them, and their customer service rep wouldn’t be competent to solve the problem anyhow.
Fortunately, I can set up a filter to route their emails directly to trash.
I hadn’t realized the “standards compliant” road design caused the death of so many street lights, but the dead bollard population is definitely under-represented. In round numbers, every traffic circle (“intersection”) always has at least one smashed bollard in addition to the vestigial stumps of those removed rather than being replaced.
The upright bollard is a relic of the earliest installations, back before they realized a bollard with an eye-level light glaring into drivers’ eyes weren’t an effective design, particularly along a road lined with dead-black / non-reflective posts.
Spotted in the Town of Poughkeepsie Highway Department compound.
The next day I walked past the other side of the collision at the corner gas station’s dead car collection:
A closer look at that nice rounded dent links the two contestants:
The impact didn’t blow the airbags, so maybe the car isn’t a total loss, despite extensive front end damage and some scrap metal inside the engine compartment.
As far as I can tell, Vassar College has been holding a deer cull every January, but taking out a few dozen deer definitely hasn’t eliminated the road hazard. If the folks objecting to the cull set up a fund to help drivers damaged by the objects of their affection, it’d demonstrate their understanding of the problem.