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Recently I bought a wiring harness from a company called AAC. They make these things so you can buy awesome Camaro RS Xenon HID headlights and install them easily in a non-RS Camaro. Good deal. So I circled everything that was wrong with my wiring harness in red. Besides those items, this one piece of paper is all they include as "instructions". Now I have an $850 set of headlights sitting in boxes in my living room because this company is complete fail.

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Sweet, sweet irony. This iPhone screen shot was taken immediately after I took the picture of the billboard. Don't worry, traffic was heavy, I was going all of 1MPH

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A company I owned through TDAmeritrade was purchased by another company very recently. This resulted in all my stock in the first company being cashed out. So yesterday, I went online, did some researched, and picked a new company to put that money into. I placed the order.

Today, I went to log in to my account to see if the order went through, and to see if I'm up or down already :-D. But, I couldn't log in. When I try, I get a very general message saying "Unable to authorize access. Please try again.
If you continue having difficulty, please Contact Us." OK, that doesn't really mean anything, maybe the system is down. So I wait a while and try again. Repeat. Repeat. Give up. Next step, give em a ring. I hold for a few minutes and get a girl on the line. Not India, this girl is clearly from somewhere in the middle of the USA.

So she proceeds to tell me that TDAmeritrade's third party consulting firm has indicated that my computer has been infected with malware. I need to run a virus checker first, then they will reopen my account. There must be some mistake, for you see, I have a Mac. Those weren't my exact words, but close to it. OK sir, well you still have to run a virus checker. I was getting annoyed, I insisted that I had a Mac, there are NO viruses or malware (proof of concepts mean nothing) out there. Furthermore, what does it even mean that a third party says my computer is infected, how would any third party know anything about my computer??? She began to describe the process, but before she ever actually said anything that made sense, she stopped and just reverted back to "we have a third party and they indicated some red flags from malware". She then again insisted that I have to run a malware checker before they will reopen my account. I'm starting to get very annoying, I again insisted that there is no such malware for Mac, and that there is nothing to check for.

So she told me to hold. I assumed she was talking to a manager or maybe even better, an actual person that works in their IT / security department? Someone who would tell her "oh he's on a Mac? Must have been a bug in our system, let him back onto the site!"

She came back after a few minutes. She told me yes she actually TOLD ME, that she had just GOOGLED for 'Mac Viruses' and saw that there were viruses available. This is what "internet security" comes down to at TDAmeritrade. The customer service operator ran a quick google search, and based on that, makes decisions on the security of my account. And what about they're overall policy making? Do they only bother to check their system with Windows computers?

This surprise incompetence is very much on par with what I would expect from Comcast. I never would have expected it from Ameritrade!

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Look what they sent me in the mail. I got this thing and of course, by design, it looks pretty damn important. So I'm thinking oh shit, what is this? Hopefully not something from the IRS. Or more likely hopefully not something about that Somerville parking ticket I never paid because they put the wrong license plate on the ticket? Oh crap maybe something else I'm not even thinking of.

Nope.

Just an ad. Ironically I am going to try to buy a Chevy soon, and now I know to avoid this dealership all together.

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When I first switched from Comcast to RCN (granted it was only about 3 months ago), it was great. My TV (A 26" Toshiba Regza) has a built in ATSC/QAM HD tuner. That means it can get any HD signal you give it. And I was getting a lot. RCN was broadcasting all of it's Digital Cable channels in QAM HD. No need for a bulky cable box, no need to pay $12 a month for that box. No need to try and find a place to put a cable box when my tv hangs directly on the wall. I was getting NESN HD and life was good.

THEN...
RCN decided that while it was getting rid of all it's analog channels, they would also go ahead an Encrypt all their HD channels. Now they can give you all sorts of reasons why they encrypt their HD channels, but the bottom line is that they do it for one reason. To get people like ME to pay the $12 a month extra for the RCN HD cable box. Even though my TV already has an HD tuner built in. It is HELLA lame.

No more NESN HD. No more Myth Busters HD. No more CNN Obama Ass Kissing HD.

Non-encrypted HD channels were one of the few draws RCN has over Comcast. RCN service isn't as reliable as Comcast. And RCN tech support is just as useless as Comcast. But HD direct into my TV made it worth the trouble to switch. But now they've taken that away. So once my RCN contract is up, if they haven't given me back at least the all important NESN HD, I'll probably just switch back to Comcast and get no HD channels, BUT I won't lose my internet as much.

So if you are pissed off about RCN taking away your HD, go ahead and call them to complain.

You can also join this Facebook Group:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=27402274888

If RCN is learning from Comcast, then they'll be sure and completely ignore us. But maybe, just maybe, if enough people complain, they just might give us what we're asking for.

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So I finally got a refund RMA from OWC. I sent in my second replacement PCI SATA card, and after a week, they issued me a refund. But it was $15.75 short. I emailed them right away and asked what was up. They said the $15.75 is the restocking fee. Thats interesting since neither card WORKED in the first place. So now we know OWC just puts defective returns right back on the virtual shelves. AND one of their emails to me actually admitted that they have a known issue with PCI SATA cards from Siig. SO I guess that $15.75 is just because they like to bust balls.

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Here is the review I just left on BizRate for OWC. Read how they totally ripped of off. $80 that I'll probably never get back, and all I have to show for it is a broken PCI card.


Oy
So on April 2nd I ordered a 4 port PCI SATA card. After a few days of messing with it, it became clear that the card was no good. My computer wouldn't boot reliably with the card installed.

So I tried contacting OWC, first by email. I got several half-sentence reply emails, filled with unhelpful suggestions that didn't make sense. Then I switched to live chat, where the person I talked to told me he would email me an RMA "in a few minutes".

Two days later I went back on to live chat and asked where my RMA was. Again I had to wait and finally got my RMA. I choose the "advanced cross-ship" option so they were supposed to send out the replacement card immediately.

So I got tracking on the card i sent to them. After about 5 days it arrived. A few days later I started sending emails to OWC. For about 3 or 4 days I emailed them every day, and never got any response.

At this point, I was so fed up, i contacted Paypal (yes I was foolish enough to pay with paypal instead of a credit card, dumb mistake) and tried to get my money back through them. They of course told me to take a hike.

Finally, back on the live chat, I was told that the paypal 'dispute' caused a hold up and my replacement part hadn't been shipped. Of when you look at the timeline, I hadn't opened the dispute until over a week after they were supposed to ship me the replacement part, AND the dispute had already been closed for a day or two when they were telling me this. So there was no reason for them to not have shipped me my part.

They also told me they had in fact sent me some emails, but I checked and even checked my junk mail folders, they didn't send me anything. So finally they send out my replacement card. 5 days later it arrives and it's exactly the same as the original. My computer won't boot with it installed. No drivers or software are supposed to be needed.

So I go back on to the live chat, tell them I got my replacement card after more than a month, and it doesn't work either. And here's the kicker:

They told me they can't give me a refund because it's been more than a month since I placed my order!!!!!!!!!

So I'm out $80 with absolutely no recourse except a negative bizrate review. Lesson learned: avoid OWC like the plague!


So I thought of a really funny way to get my payback. I don't know if I'm actually going to go through with it or not. Open up the static bag, and poo in it. Yes I said poo in it. Then tape it up. Put it in the box. Tape up the box, put it in a generic brown box for shipping. And smile. I might be out my $80 but goddamn I'll get the last laugh for sure. I probably won't do it, but if I do I'll certainly post about it here.

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Part One of this story.

So at this point, things get a little sketch. I called Comcast's Customer Security Assurance team. Unfortunately it was a phone call, so no transcripts. And I called with the idea in my head that they were going to solve my problems, so I didn't think to try and record the conversation.

So I got right through to a human very fast. It was a guy with a very stern voice. I told him that I was having problems with port 25 being blocked. He told me to wait while he looked up my account. Then he came back and before we could even get into my port 25 problem, he proceeded to scold me because my port 80 was open. Port 80 is the port web traffic goes over. He went on and on and on how port 80 was forbidden. I asked him if he had bothered to look and see what was running on port 80? All that is there is a a redirect to this web site (hosted on my real collocated server) and a personal bookmark page (that you can't see because it's password protected). He said no it didn't matter what was there. Just having port 80 open was a strict violation of their TOS. You can't do ANYTHING on port 80.

This is completely absurd. What possible reason could they have to ban this? It can't be for excessive bandwidth use. An average gzip compressed web page is maybe 10K. Compare that to something like bittorrent use. Web traffic is an insignificant drop in the bucket. I could see if I was running a real enterprise website, in that situation the could take issue with it. But its a PERSONAL bookmark web page, and a redirector to this very blog that no one even reads. WTF.

So then we got to the port 25 mess. This guy was a complete dick. He absolutely didn't give a shit about anything I was saying. Most of the time when I asked him something, he wouldn't even respond until I was like "well, are you going to answer me?" Again with the 'no port 25 use at all'. I said I don't send anything I only receive. No port 25 use at all. How could my accepting incoming mail possible pose any kind of risk to anything at all??? "its not my job to argue with you about the rules, it is what it is". He told me "it is what it is" several times during this phone call. Again he told me once you are added to a port 25 block, there is no way to get it unblocked. I told him thats bullshit, there is no such thing as a router that on adds new rules, and doesn't let you delete or modify existing rules. I then went on to tell him if it's a policy thing, then lets talk to whoever we need to talk to, we'll make sure my system is secure, and get port 25 unblocked. He told me HE is the guy that makes the decisions. Unlikely. He again told me that once a block is made it can't be undone. Again he told me "it is what it is".

During this conversation he also brought up the spam excuse. I quickly interrupted him to tell him there is no way a single spam has ever been sent from my system. I've got all macs. He then went on to tell me that macs can get viruses and spam bot infections too just like pee cees. I told him thats complete bullshit. I don't know if I told him he was talking to a mac tech or not, but there has yet to be a single OS X virus live on the internet. Only 'proof of concept' viruses made on a test computer. He's completely full of shit. But he also doesn't care. Every comment I made, was followed by silence. He had nothing to say. His job seems to be to scold/intimidate comcast customers. He had zero interest in my what my problems were, or how we could solve these problems. He was only there to yell at me and send me on my way. If I treated my customers the way this guy treated me, I would NEVER get any call backs. I would be out of business.

There was much more absurdity in this phone call but it was 5 days ago and I just don't remember it word for word. I sure wish I had recorded the conversation, then I could have typed it out word for word. I also wish I took the guys name. But I'm sure he's trained to be a dick & intimidate customers he talks to.

BUT the good news is RCN is available in Stoneham now. So I can switch to an RCN package that has internet twice as fast as our current comcast plan (10 MBits down), more TV channels than we get now, and a static IP address that doesn't get ANY ports blocked at all, all for $10 LESS than what we pay for comcast. Then I can run my little bookmark page, and host my personal johnmasone.com email in peace, without getting random port blocks, and without being told any server automatically means business, business if forbidden on residential internet. Comcast can lick my balls.

I also found this great group on Facebook: www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=15135185550
Join it if you hate comcast!! hahaha.

- - - I hate posting this article because I know there was more stuff that I'm forgetting about this phone call. But oh well this is all I can remember.

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Comcast absolutely doesn't give a shit about it's customers. They couldn't care less about my problems.

Comcast stared blocking outgoing port 25 traffic. You can only send out mail on port 25 if you are sending to comcast's own mail servers. This is a pain in the ass for many customers because it makes it very difficult to use non-comcast email. So at home, I have a server that accepts incoming email for johnmasone.com. It doesn't send email directly, it relay's all mail through comcast's SMTP server. So I'm very much inline with their rules, though technically they don't differentiate between incoming and outgoing mail servers... an incoming only mail server doesn't send anything, so if these blocks are really about preventing spam like they say, they I am very much inline with the spirit of the rule.

So starting Friday March 28th, my port 25 became blocked almost completely. I could send out to comcast's mail serves (actually I assume this is the case. I don't use comcast email so i could have been completely blocked). I went online to comcast's tech support chat, and here is the hilarity that ensued:


[21:05] John > Can't send or receive email

[21:10] advanced_tool_log > user John_ has entered room

[21:10] advanced_tool_log > analyst David has entered room

[21:10] David > Hello John_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is David. Please give me one moment to review your information.

[21:10] John_ > hi

[21:10] David > I apologize and would be happy to assist you in correcting this.

[21:10] David > Are you getting an error message? If you are what does it say?

[21:10] John_ > as of this morning, i am no longer able to send mail or recieve it

[21:10] John_ > port 25 is blocked in both directions, except out going to comcast mail servers

[21:10] John_ > i am unable to send mail through any of my email addresses


[21:11] John_ > and i'm unable to recieve any mail at all



[21:11] David > what email program are you using?



[21:11] John_ > apple mail


[21:13] David > I have reviewed your account and determined that our Customer Security Assurance team has placed a block on your connection, preventing the use of Port 25.  This block was put in place because we have received complaints that a PC connected to your modem has been compromised and is being used as a Spam zombie.  In other words Spam is being generated from one or more of your computers without your knowledge. To restore mail service, we require that you reconfigure your application to use Port 587 and you enable authentication. This link has walk throughs for reconfiguring common email application:

http://www.comcast.net/help/faq/index.jsp?faq=EmailOutlook_Express18537



[21:14] David > For your incoming server you would want to use port 110



[21:14] John_ > oh WAAAAAIT a minute



[21:14] John_ > i have NO pc's at all on my network, only Macs


[21:14] John_ > there is ZERO chance that a computer on my network is a spam bot


[21:14] John_ > tell me how i can get this port 25 block lifted ASAP


[21:15] David > I apologize, we cannot lift this block but once you convert to port 587 you will be able to send and receive with no issues

[21:16] John_ > this is completely unacceptable, you have to remove the block

[21:16] John_ > i'm paying for internet service, and i can't even sent email.

[21:16] John_ > i don't use comcast email, i use email through my own websites


[21:16] John_ > this has to go over port 25



[21:16] John_ > that is how smtp works


[21:18] David > I apologize for the inconvenience if you are accessing a different smtp server you can contact them for an alternate secured port as port 25 is unsecured and has been blocked on your modem


[21:18] John_ > ok well how can we unblock it


[21:18] John_ > if i specifically have been blocked, then i can be unblocked

[21:19] John_ > if there really is spam coming from my network i will work with you in every way i can to identify and stop it, but in the end i need prot 25 opened up

[21:20] David > I apologize we are unable to do this. Like I said converting to a different secured port will resolve this and protect everyone from spam


[21:20] David > Is there anything else I can assist you with today?



[21:21] John_ > you have yet to help me with my first proble



[21:21] John_ > m



[21:21] John_ > why is my INCOMING port 25 blocked also?



[21:21] John_ > how could that possibly effect spam?



[21:21] David > Your incoming mail should be set to port 110



[21:21] John_ > undertand something



[21:21] John_ > i am NOT using COMCASTS mail servers



[21:22] John_ > i am not talking about pop



[21:22] John_ > i am talking about SMTP


[21:23] David > Again, I apologize but the port has been blocked and you will need to re configure for a different port.


[21:23] John_ > incmoing smtp mail can ONLY come in on port 25



[21:23] John_ > does comcast want me to continue being a customer?


[21:24] John_ > if so, then we need to figure out what needs to be done to get my port 25 opened again.


[21:24] David > Do you have a mail server set up at your home?



[21:24] John_ > yes for incoming email



[21:24] John_ > outgoing email all goes through comcast, or other mail

servers (until yesterday)


[21:27] David > Any personal email should come in on port 110. If you are running an online business or mail server at your home this wouldnot be allowed in our terms of service for residential high speed internet

[21:27] John_ > i don't run any outgoing mail servers at home, all my outgoing mail goes through YOUR mail server. i only recieve email


[21:30] David > what is the smtp server name?



[21:31] John_ > that i send through or recieve through?



[21:31] David > that you receive through


[21:31] John_ > johnmasone.com

[21:33] David > I apologize. You would need to contact your webhost for an alternative port

[21:34] John_ > you clearly do not understand what i am saying to you because none of your answers are relevant


[21:34] John_ > i'm going to start over



[21:34] John_ > i am having two problems



[21:34] John_ > first problem is


[21:36] John_ > my port 25 is being blocked for inbound traffic. This means that i can't recieve mail on johnmasone.com, which points to my comcast IP. This is not buisness traffic, this is not an outgoing mail server, this is a computer that JUST recieve mail and thats it. This block has NOTHING to do with spam because it is blockign INBOUND connections which could not possibly be used to send anything at all.


[21:36] John_ > my SECOND problem is...


[21:36] John_ > i can no longer connect to any outbound SMTP servers except comcast's

[21:36] John_ > so i cannot send email from any of my email addresses which are hosted on 3rd party servers, LIKE my business email address, which is hosted on a server in a data center in michigan

[21:38] John_ > And note that both of these problems started TODAY. Yesterday, and for years and years previous, i had no problems at all.

[21:40] David > Your other outbound SMTP servers would be able to provide you with an alternative to the unsecured port 25 as we provide port 587 you could contact them for this. Our user agreement also bars the use of mailservers on the account

[21:41] John_ > First of all, you understand that either port 25 or 587 can be secure or insecure. Second, i am not running an outbound mail server, i'm just recieving mail. Third, you said that I am blocked because spam was detected coming from me. I'm telling you that is impossible, so lets talk to the security team, go over their logs, get this settled and have them unblock me

[21:42] David > I am sorry once you are blocked this cannot be unblocked.


[21:42] John_ > i'm sorry that is simply untrue. you are lying to me


[21:42] John_ > i am a systems administrator myself, i know this is not true


[21:43] David > Our security department will not unblock you.


[21:44] John_ > this is not acceptable. i am willing to work with your security department to make CERTAIN that no spam is coming from my network. But telling me 'once your blocked you can't be unblocked' is completely bullshit and you know it

[21:45] David > They determined there was too much traffic and closed the port. You can call 1-856-324-2025 to speak to our security assurance group if you has additional questions

[21:46] John_ > is there a specific person i should talk to? an extension?


[21:47] John_ > also is there some sort of reference number?


[21:47] John_ > trouble ticket?


[21:47] John_ > etc?



[21:47] David > That number will get you right to the security group



[21:48] John_ > ticket number, anything like that?



[21:48] David > There is no trouble ticket for this



[21:48] John_ > can you make one?



[21:49] John_ > i want record of ALL OF THIS



[21:49] John_ > because i do not trust comcast



[21:49] David > I apologize I cannot



[21:49] David > I will note your account for you


[21:50] David > Again for your residential comcast email you can easily convert to port 587 with the instructions on the link I gave you

[21:50] John_ > i am nost sending comcast email, the link you gave me is of no use to me

[21:51] David > You can contact the security assurance and your other email providers for alternatives


[21:51] John_ > ok



[21:51] John_ > i will do that


[21:52] John_ > i am unable to copy text from this chat window, is there a way i can get a transcript of it?

[21:53] David > You can always highlight the text of this chat, and then Copy and Paste it into a document such as Microsoft Word, or Notepad etc.  You will also be given an opportunity to either Print or Copy the entire transcript at the end of the session after you are given a chance to fill out a survey.

[21:54] John_ > thats what i mean, i cannot highlight the text. it doesn't let me select any text in the chat window. but as long as i can print it that will suffice.

[21:54] John_ > ok i beleive we are done here. I'd say things but you really haven't solved my problem. Hopefully the security people can.




Note how he absolutely doesn't give a shit. Also note how he seems to have no idea that SMTP both sends and receives email. All he understands is basic "send through smtp, check through pop" client side stuff. Also note that at first he says I'm blocked because of SPAM complains, THEN later on he says I'm blocked because of too much activity.

Another fun part is the end. So this online survey, once you fill it out, there is a submit and a view transcript button. If you submit the survey, the transcript is gone forever. I guess thats their sneaky way of making sure people don't post this crap in their blogs. I had to contact them again Monday, talk to a supervisor, and have him look up this transcript in the big comcast database of unsatisfied customers.

Stay turned for Part 2 of the story, which is when I actually called the Comcast Customer Security Assurance Department. I was actually foolish enough to think "OK let me call these people, they'll straighten this mess out" HAHA ...

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MySpace is supergay. Here's one more reason why.

When you post a link in your profile, like a link to apple.com or google.com or johnmasone.com, their system actually replaces your link with a custom myspace link ( www.msplinks.com/sdfadsfasdfadsfasd )

This is so they can control outgoing link. The custom myspace link forwards the viewer to whatever link you originally typed in. This is very bad because it totally screws over search engines trying to index the web. But also, get this, myspace is blocking johnmasone.com

I can't link to my own blog, from my myspace account. See for yourself. Go to my myspace, and try clicking on the johnmasone.com link: www.myspace.com/l008com

Apparently MySpace finds my opinion on things offensive? My Facebook links all work.

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I finally got my money. About 2.5 months after Jordan's Furniture refunded it to my credit card. Mere words are not nearly enough to describe my hatred for this company. The whole reason I closed my account was because I was so pissed off that I could never log in to my account online, and I could never get through to a human when trying to call up and complain about it.

Having done a few google searches, it looks like I've made out quite well though. Often times, people dealing with CapitalOne do NOT get their money back. What a rip off.

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So me and my friend called CapitalOne today and double teamed them. As usual, they wouldn't let me talk to a human. We called the number and pressed NO buttons, menu after menu, until finally we go to a human. We asked about the $773.36 and she said she will put in to have that money sent to me. As of right now, it's been 56 days since I closed my account. And they waited for me to call and ask for the money, before they'd send it. But even then, I had called a bunch of times before, but they WOULD NOT let me talk to a human, until I cheated and didn't use their automated menus. In other words, you call up and it immediately asks you to enter your account number. If you do, you get a recording and then you are told to hang up. Only by sitting there did we get to someone. This is such bullshit! CapitalOne has got to be the worst credit card company EVER. I will NEVER, under ANY circumstances, get another CapitalOne card, car loan, ANYTHING, EVER AGAIN!!! And we'll see if I actually get my money '10 business days' from now!

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I recently stopped using my CapitalOne card because every time I try to call them, or log into their web site to manage my account, its a big pain in the ass. 'No Hassle' guess again. So I stopped using it.

Back in spring, I had bought a new waterbed on the card at Jordan's Furniture. Fast forward to October and the Red Sox win the world series, and I have $770 coming my way. Unfortunately, the way they are refunding your money (the contest was buy furniture during a certain time frame and if the Red Sox win the world series, you get it for free), if you bought on a credit card, the money is refunded back to that card.

So they do and I have a $770 credit on my card. So I call up CapitalOne and told them I want to cancel my account and have my money sent out to me. They asked why, I probably told them that the card gives me zero rewards, which is another reason to get rid of it.

So a few weeks after that, I'm sitting around thing where the F is my money? It's been a while and its Christmas time, I need that cash. I call them up and I get a recording:
- A request has been made to close my account (yeah no shit)
– My account won't be closed until I stop using it for one full month after I made the request.
– The money they owe me won't be mailed out till at least 10 days AFTER that.
- Then the recording tells me to hang up and doesn't even let me talk to a human.


Can you believe this shit? So I've already gotten two blank statements from them. And I'm still waiting and waiting.

AVOID CAPITAL ONE. Out of all the credit cards I've had (Discover, American Express Open, Fidelity Visa, GM Mastercard) no card has busted my balls more than the CapitalOne card. And the card doesn't even give me rewards for my troubles. And now they steal $770 from me. One of these days I'm going to have to spend hours calling number after number, lying about my account, and say I want to sign up for a new card, just so I can get to a person to fight with. This is what 'No Hassle' means...

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Dear guy who cut me off today. Please kill yourself. If that doesn't work out, lets hope that you get run off the road, and you die in a horrible flaming explosion. Everyone has asshole moments for sure, but to cut ME off, and THEN give me the finger. Clearly you are the kind of worthless pathetic excuse for a human that is only going to make life worse for the rest of the humans on the planet. Boy do I wish I had written down your plate number, then I could have called the police and told them you threw a baby out your window on the highway. You didn't actually do this, but honestly, you probably have before so I wouldn't have felt bad about it. So in conclusion, happy holidays, and Go Fuck Yourself I Hope You Die.

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I've been an Amazon affiliate for a while now. The way it works is pretty simple. People click through my special links to go to Amazon, they buy stuff, I get 4-7% commission on the sale. A pretty easy way to make some money.

Now I've been a member of many affiliate programs over the years. They're purpose, as well as I've always understood it, was to have me be a bit of a salesmen for them, and get them extra sales they otherwise would not have gotten. It's a simple process.

So I often use my own Amazon link to purchase things for work. Its nice cause I get that 4-6% kickback as an amazon affiliate, and amazon gets a sale it otherwise would not have gotten. I say that because if it wasn't for the Affiliate program, I'd most likely buy everything at NewEgg.com, which is much cheaper than Amazon anyway.

So anyway to the point of this. Here is how Amazon is ripping off us Affiliates. I recently bought several thousand dollars worth of software for a client of mine. My affiliate bonus on the purchases is $350. Nice. When I check my earnings reports, all the sales show right up. BUT when you check your payment history, every month shows a huge deduction from your earnings, labeled 'Personal Orders'. A sale is not a sale when it comes to Amazon. But they can't tell me in the earnings reports that I don't get paid on these items. Why? Because then we'd stop buying things from Amazon. So they hide the fact that they are not paying us deep in the payment history where few people ever look. We also don't get paid until 60 days after the end of each month, and most of us get direct deposit, so we don't even see checks. So we just trust that Amazon isn't ripping us off. Ooops.

So Amazon's official word on this is that their Affiliate program is NOT meant to increase sales, but rather to gain more customers. The idea is that once someone uses one of my links, they'll like Amazon so much, that the next time they want to buy something from them, they'll go to Amazon directly, and not bother clicking through my link. So I'm not giving them sales, by their messed up explanation, I'm giving them one time only leads. This is of course a gigantic load of crap. They are just ripping off money from the Affiliates, the people who made Amazon what they are today. We've promoted the hell out of Amazon for the last 10 years, and now the quietly take back hundreds of dollars of commissions each month that we rightfully deserve.

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Granted, fast food is pretty gross even on a good day. But this is horrible. It's easily the worst Wendy's I've ever been to. The food is always extra nasty. Look at this chicken wrap thing I got. Its like they keep their food in their socks to keep it warm or something. And the Fries.... oh man they are super nasty. I've had way better Wendy's from the one in Burlington, and thats after letting the food sit in the bag the whole way home from Burlington to Stoneham. Yeah seriously. Plus they are only open till Midnight. This would frustrate me if their food was good. Oh well.

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MySpace hates MenuLizard. Why? I have no idea.

They've deleted two of my accounts already. The first one had been around for over a year. It had nearly 10,000 myspace friends on it. I never sent out any spam at all. I didn't leave spam-like comments on other people's profile. I sent out a myspace bulletin once every two weeks, and thats all. And that bulletin was basically just asking people to send me menus. Which by the way, worked. I've gotten a great many menus from people that found me via my Myspace account. So anyway, one day this account was gone.

I emailed them and asked why, but all I got was generic emails, listing a bunch of possible problems and possible solutions. The closest thing I got to an answer was a generic "If your account was deleted by MySpace, please review our Terms of Service in order to better understand our community rules."

So I have no idea why they deleted me, but my user name was available again after that, so I just made a new account. I was back in effect. But a few weeks after that, I was deleted again. I hadn't even gotten around to sending out ANY bulletins yet. I only had about 150 friends I believe. I keep sending Myspace emails asking why they deleted my account. I told them I want to make another account, and I told them that I want to know what I'm doing wrong so I can STOP doing it and my account won't get deleted anymore. I've send them several emails and all I get in return are generic auto response type emails.

So I have no idea what it is that I'm doing wrong. There are a million myspace accounts out there that are not specifically for an individual, and they never get deleted. I know I have one for my Computer Repair Company, though it's not set up yet. But I do have another myspace for my FellsBiker web site and my WhatsMyIP website. Neither of those have ever been deleted. Not to mention the countless bike shops, bike manufacturer, restaurant, and all the other myspace accounts out there that you see all the time, that are not for individuals, that never get deleted.

I'm very angry at Myspace. I'd just forget all about it, if it wasn't such a powerful tool for promotion.

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Soooooo. It's not easy building a baseball team. Things like contract negotiations, dumping players for better players etc. I imagine it can be very difficult if you let your emotions influence your decisions. I figure a good general manager has to put his feelings aside when he's doing his job, and this is probably very hard to do when your team is as kick ass as, oh I don't know, Your Boston Red Sox. There's a thin line, and you have to ignore your person feelings and make good business decisions.

However, there are certain situations where your personal feelings are more important than business decisions. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing, even if its not the best business decision on paper.

Let me put it another way. I don't want to win if I have to win with him. We need Mikey Lowell. Its the only way. A-Rod is a loser. He will be a cancer that rots away at the core of this team.

If it wasn't for the fans, there would be no Red Sox. Its normally not a good idea to let the fans make the decisions. But in this case, you owe it to us. We are the only part of the Red Sox that doesn't change. Sometime you have to do what we want you to do. If A-Rod somehow makes it to the Red Sox, we will never accept him. He knocked the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hand! Our team is amazing, and he doesn't belong anywhere near it. On the other hand, Mike Lowell is the man. He's an amazing team player. And he's an amazing player period.

P.S. Ask me about my free waterbed. Thanks Sox!

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GET THE F' OUT OF THE LEFT LANE!!!!

I don't know what it is lately with my fellow Massachusetts drivers, but for some reason, EVERYONE likes to instantly go over to the left lane on the highway, and just stay there... driving slow as shit! They NEVER get out of your way. It stresses me out every time I have to drive on the highway. It stressed me out so much, I actually did RESEARCH.

Mass Law 89-2
Mass Law 89-4b

To summarize (although the laws are pretty short). Keep right, unless you are turning left or passing. Only pass on the left. Don't block people from passing you.

So why is it that I get on the highway, we go over a hill, and I see a solid string of cars in the left lane, while the 2 or 3 right lanes are almost empty? It drives me crazy. Like, really crazy. I can't go pass everyone on the right cause I'll be the asshole that gets pulled over, but none of the retards in my lane will GET OUT OF MY WAY.

Note the part about it being illegal to block someone trying to pass you. This means that if you are in the left lane and someone is right behind you and you think "hmmmph I'm not moving, this person can go around me". Not only would that be illegal for that person to do, its also illegal for you to be making him do it. In short, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY! Left lane is for passing. Go into the lane, pass, then get back over. When people tailgate in the left lane, its because you are being a "Left Lane Dick" and not getting out of their way.

Massachusetts drivers, please stop stressing me out, and get out of the left lane when faster traffic comes up behind you. I really wish I had a picture to go along with this blog entry, but I don't. Pictures of a line of traffic being held up by one slow ass driver in the left lane of a 4 lane highway. Oh my god, just thinking about it stresses me out.

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So after getting a good recommendation from someone else who had business cards printed from VistaPrint, I decided to give them a try myself. $54 is better than $120 right? So why not. I got my 1000 cards and ummmmm... not so good.

The "Glossy White" card stock was yellowish. So my white background looked yellow. And my red ink looked orange. Making it look even more off color, everything VistaPrint does is either Black & White or CMYK, no spot colors. So my Pantone 1805 Red came out looking like some orange out of your $68 Epson printer.

Now, the standard size of business cards in this country is 2" by 3.5" (see!). But not on VistaPrint. Their business cards are 3.43" by 1.93". So the cars are noticeably smaller than they should be. Its like saying "Hey, I fix computers, but I'm a little insecure, so I don't want to say it too loud".

And finally, the template they gave me told me to upload an image with a .25" bleed. Now I'm just making up that number cause I don't remember exactly what bleed I was supposed to use, but whatever they said, thats what they got, EXACTLY. So I got my cards, and rather than bleed .25" off the page, the entire image of my card (which, do the math, is .5" taller and .5" wider than its supposed to be, because .25" of it all the way around is supposed to be printed off the edge of the paper) has been shrunk down, so the whole image, including the bleed, was on the card. So everything was shrunk, and none of the backgrounds lined up like they should. What made this extra annoying, was that on the "digital" proof their web site gave me, it actually DID line up perfectly, and the cut lines were exactly where they were supposed to be.

So anyway, the point is: Don't use VistaPrint unless a really low price is more important than a quality products. And, I don't even mean that sarcastically. There are certainly times when you don't need a good document, you just need a lot of them.

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Apparently there was a miscommunication in Boston yesterday. The phrase "that show is the bomb" was mistaken for "that show IS a bomb". Ok thats not really what happened, but it might as well have been. These are the devices that the bomb squad was blowing up with a water cannon yesterday.

On the count of 3, lets all say it together now: 1... 2... 3...

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

"they had all the components of Improvised Explosive Devices, but without the explosive"

Meaning? Batteries and a circuit board? FYI my cell phone is not a bomb. My iPod is not a bomb. My car is not a bomb. My electric tooth brush is not a bomb. My razor is not a bomb. I mention this only because I don't want to have to buy new ones if the bomb squad comes a'knockin.

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Yes this car is parked. It looks like I took a picture of a car while it was pulling over, but nope. There is no one in this car. It is parked like that. This person should not be allowed to drive.

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I'd like to thank this lady, whoever she is, for not picking up her dog's shit as it crapped in front of my house. I love stepping in dog shit and this lady has really hooked me up in that department. Besides she looks way too cool to pick up her own dog's shit anyway, someone else should definitely be doing it for her. We common folk shouldn't be bothering this lady with such insignificant things.
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