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Terry Sloane

March 2012



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Mar. 8th, 2012

Terry Sloane

Google Privacy Issues: Web History

Originally posted by boreal_forest at Google Privacy Issues: Web History
Originally posted by lrndng at Google Privacy Issues: Web History
Originally posted by anjak_j at Google Privacy Issues: Web History
If you are going to do this, you need to do it before March 1st. It has been said that users will not be able to do anything about this after that date.

With reference to Google's policy changes and how everything you do with your Google account will be tied together into their super-cauldron of information, you will probably want to clear your Google Web History out - if you turned that feature on - before month's end. After that, you won't be able to clear it, and everything you search for will be connected with your account.

To check settings and/or clear out your Web History:

1. Go to Google. If you aren't signed in already, do so.
2. In the top right-hand corner you'll find your email address or name, perhaps an icon if you have a Plus account, and a little downward facing arrow. Click on the arrow and a menu will pop up.
3. Click to 'Account Settings'. This will take you to a page called 'Accounts'. (If you have a Plus account, you might go via a Plus sign-in page.)
4. Scroll down to a section called 'Services'. Here you'll find an option called 'View, enable, or disable web history', which has a link next to it. Click on the link.
5. If you never turned web history on, you'll get a page asking if you want to turn this service on. Just click 'No Thanks' and all is good. If you did turn it on, you should have a list of your searches. At the top there is a button that says 'Remove All History'. Click this and follow the instructions which will remove all items from your Web History and pause the feature so nothing else will be added in future.

Also, you can completely remove Web History as a service from your account by clicking THIS LINK, checking the tick-box and confirming you want to remove Web History. To be safe, it is probably best to do the steps above first to remove any history that might have already been collected.

Aug. 5th, 2010

Terry Sloane

One year later


Still miss you baby.

May. 10th, 2010

Terry Sloane

In other news, Dinobot!

Back at the main blog, a new post (http://fairplaythings.com/blog)...

Feb. 26th, 2010

Chairman Meow

Stupid stupid bus creature

Last night, in prep for Saturday's course at the National Gallery, I opted to take the bus into work, so I could bus to the gallery and then home. You know how that worked out for me in the morning. In the afternoon, it worked mostly okay. I was even able to stop in at Rideau Centre, at Ms. Tiggywinkles, to discover the new 4" rainbow and glow-in-the-dark munnies, and made it to my destination on time.

I left the gallery at 7:30 and proceeded to wander through Chapters and grab something to eat at the mall. I was ready for the bus at 8:50 that didn't come. So too small a bus came at 9:30 and we were squished all the way home.

Then we watched the last episode of Torchwood: Children of Earth (Day Five). It was a great show arc but highly disturbing. Now back to Sarah Jane series two, with the Doctor 2009 specials on their way.

But the bus is not over yet. This morning, the bus was late (i.e. too early to be the next one early), and I got to Billings and tried to board the 148 to pick up the O-train. Was told it wasn't going straight. Confused, I got off the bus. I actually didn't want it to go straight and I have no idea why I got off the bus. I only need the bus to go two stops to the Confederation exchange. Instead I mistakenly got on the 97 (which for some reason read as the 87 which would have gone my way) and ended up going the wrong way. I was able to get off at the last O-Train stop in Greenboro, but of course missed the train at this point by 2 minutes and had to wait until 9:30. So late again.

Stupd stupid bus creature.

Jan. 29th, 2010

Terry Sloane

Lottos are not rocket science

Note to self. Never go to ticket kiosk at Billings Bridge.

Back in October I took over administration of the office lottery pool. It's kind of a bigger deal than normal because we have eight sets of 6-49 numbers that we run for each draw, twice a week. There are approximately 20 people in our lotto pool and I am forever sending reminders to people to give me their $10 regular contribution. At $16 per draw, providing there are no winners, the $200 gets eaten up in about six weeks, so I am always going back to the group and always dealing with the same 5-6 stragglers.

But usually it is pretty quick at the lotto booth. Throw down ticket, gets wins and then print the tickets for the next duration. Except for today.

Today, I opted to stop in on the way to work. Wanted to get going because I fear missing Saturday's draw. But we won $70.90 today which actually screwed everything up. I couldn't get an answer as to which draw or numbers were the winner(s), I had to fight to get the "winner's receipt" from the operator, and then was told that, because of the tear in the bar code that she put in place, I had to manually write out all 48 numbers by hand.

I am pretty frustrated at this point but then I come back to the cash with my numbers and ask her for thirteen sets of tickets. I get one. Okay, I rephrase the request. And she starts to print THIRTEEN individual tickets. Even better? They are all for the next draw - Januart 30.

Why the hell would I need 13 tickets, at a cost of $208, for the same draw? You can only win once - I'd be sharing the pool thirteen times with myself.

So I take the last ticket and show her the line where it says "4 draws" and say I want 13 tickets in a row. Blank stares. So I snatch back the numbers and say "forget it! I'll just go somewhere else" and storm off. So my start time at the office gets pushed back and I still have to do the lotto thing. Just makes me cheesed off.

Jan. 24th, 2010


On Netbooks (or how I came to hate BestBuy)

Picking up on my earlier customer relations exercise, let me tell you my tale of (netbook) woe.

So on Thursday, after much searching, I found the netbook that was right for me. An ASUS Eee, 1 GB of RAM, 160 of ROM, 12" screen and a full-size keypad. At $399. it was not the cheapest, but it had the added benefit of running XP which meant that I could run old software that is incompatible with my current system. I instantly took to it and tried to buy it.

At first, I rejected the BestBuy associate's repeated efforts to sell me the installation package (at $100). When he returned with a discounted $60 pitch, I finally acquiesced. No, I don't really see the value in the offer, particularly given that I have a brand new Norton that I could run, but it was easier for them to put on an anti-virus than me.

It being 8:30 on a Thursday night, I was told I could pick it up in 24 hours (or basically wait until Saturday at this point).

So Saturday afternoon comes and kirilaw's parents being in town, we went shopping. As part of the trip I picked up my computer, and took it home to charge the battery overnight for the first time. Honestly that is all I did.

Sunday, I got up and turned on the system. At first I thought it was strange that the screen was completely black. Then I heard the telltale XP sound and, seeing a black screen, knew there was a problem. Turned it off and turned it back on didn't helped. Kirilaw and I went through a variety of keystrokes in case the monitor had been dimmed, but to no avail. I now had an unusable laptop. So I called BestBuy twice before noon and got nowhere. I finally got through in the afternoon and was told to try a couple of tricks. No luck. So then I was told to bring it back in.

Before I go on, I want to highlight the reasons that I wrote the (previously-posted) scathing email to BestBuy and why I am so mad about this computer at this point. Basically it comes down to customer service and my time. This company was paid $60 to make sure that the computer worked. If it had come home without this charge and didn't work, I'd try and get an exchange and wouldn't fault BestBuy. But it was their big idea to push this package upon me, one that I accepted admittedly with some reluctance. If they couldn't be bothered to even check to make sure the computer left the store properly, how can I have any confidence that there aren't any other little or large troubles in this computer's future? And meanwhile what should have been a one or two stop trip into BestBuy is going to require at least one and possible two further trips, blowing a hole in at least one Sunday and one weekday evening.

I am not pleased by this. And so, as the anger changed to despondency, I basically decided on the 15 minute car ride to BestBuy that I would simply return the computer for a refund. I was no longer interested in being humoured. If they weren't going to do the necessary due-diligence between Thursday evening and Saturday morning, I wasn't going to waste my time with them.

So I walked into BestBuy and went straight to customer service. Surprisingly, my voice was very calm as I explained the situation (the monitor doesn't work, I just bought this, and I want a full refund). The key here is full. The customer service person looked at the receipt and explained she'd need to call a tech manager to discuss the receipt with me.

Okay, here's the thing. BestBuy can mark down the cost of its protection and installation policies. But it can't seem to label the fact it is doing this. So the receipt shows a computer costing $359, and an installation service package costing $99. So while it works out that I only paid $60 for this service, the hard fact on the receipt is that it cost $99. This is important.

This is important because, when Mark came forward to make inquiries, he explained there was no problem on exchanging the computer. But the service plan was non-refundable (runs afoul of open software policies, yada yada yada). I basically glared over my glasses at him and asked him how it was possible that I could be sent home with a computer that doesn't function properly when I had handed over money for the explicit purpose of making sure it worked in the first place. Basically, because I'd been suckered into taking their damn service, I was now going to be out $99 (!) for nothing.

Interesting, the screen wasn't burned out at all, it was simply lost because the backlight was not working. If you tilted the screen you could actually see something, but you had to tilt a lot and squint really hard. At this point, they tried to reset the backlight and tried some keystrokes to no effect. Mark is clearly confused by this and I think he said something like "I don't know how they (his technicans) could have uploaded the service software and not realized there was a problem." At this point I helpfully suggested that they probably plugged the netbook into an external monitor to do the work.

His response? "My guys aren't that stupid."

So somehow sending a customer home with a non-functioning laptop is somehow smarter bypassing the built-in monitor in favour of an external choice and being too lazy to check the internal one?

In any case I'm basically stuck at this point. However you spin it, 20% of my expenditure is going to be lost unless I back down from my original position. What choice do I have? So Mark takes the computer to the back and I wait patiently for 15 minutes. The other on-duty customer service person comes over and asks if the receipt is mine. She's gotten instruction it seems. There are no more replacements in the store and I'm to be given a refund on both the computer and the plan.

Makes me wonder a bit what would have happened if I had tried simply to get it fixed? Anyway, it wasted about two hours of my afternoon, and the three day adventure means I am still without netbook. But I guess I get to call this a victory anyway. Because I am not out here. And I'll go buy another netbook from somewhere else, next time sans "service" installation.
Dirge points

I come to rant.

The following is taken from the comment section of a BestBuy customer survey. I think it is self-explanatory in terms of my situation and present state of mind:

This Best Buy location has a repeated tendency to have no available customer service representatives. I have frequently ended up waiting 10, 15 and 20 minutes to ask simple questions and I always feel like I have to flag down someone for service. Even though there were more than four people milling around on the day I purchased the computer, I had to flag someone down. In cameras, I had to do the same.

When I did buy the laptop in question (and this purchase was not because of some super deal or special service but simply having a particular model in store that met my needs), I did get a hard sell about the security package and anti-virus software, even though I recently purchased a computer and have relevant software that is accessible for a second laptop. Although I did ultimately accept this purchase, it was only because it was at a reduced price of $60 (because $100 for a service on a $400 computer is gouging). However, I had to wait to pick up my computer when I returned to retrieve it after this purchase was made, and now that I have the computer (that has been opened by BestBuy techs to install all the relevant software) I find that there is no power to the monitor, a problem for which there is no quick fix at my end.

Did the techs have the laptop hooked up to an external monitor and just "forget" to turn the monitor back? Is it a computer problem? Who knows. But suffice to say, when someone spends money on a service that is INTENDED to make sure the computer in question works, they are not going to be very satisfied when they can't even perform something basic as turning it on and getting a screen display.

Four days after purchasing my laptop, at a cost of almost $500, I am looking at a powered up laptop with a blank screen. If I had bought the laptop without service and this happened, I would simply take it back. Tech issues happened. But I feel particularly miffed that BestBuy took $60 of my money to make sure the computer worked and now I have to get back into a car and drive the 15 kilometres back to BestBuy so they can fix what they screwed up in the first place. I am not pleased. So when I say I won't be recommending this location to others for future computer purchases, even if and when things are resolved, know that I actually mean I will be dissuading people from making such purchases from this BestBuy location in the future. Because this experience (to say nothing of the aforementioned need to flag down service support) makes your operation seem a bit like amateur hour.

Jan. 1st, 2010

Terry Sloane

2010 Masterforce!

Over at the main blog, I've talked about plans for 2010.

In the meantime, I'm off to set the resolution into motion by hitting the basement.

Happy new year!

Dec. 28th, 2009

Terry Sloane

Blugeoned Tar Pits

Yesterday was terrific. Terrific!

Back home after Christmas holidays, the cats were eager to see us and never left us alone all day. The remaining Christmas presents for [Bad username: Kirilaw&quot;> arrived, so she now has her USB Ravage (may I just say how awesome a job Takara-Tomy did on that one!) and the Skeletor t-shirt. I also finished up the Diamond set of statues with the missing Galvatron so I now have all the original releases as well as a good portion of the variants. And I received the Fan Productions add-on missile and gun set for Ultra Magnus to make him more Gee-Won! The man has four guns! Don&quot;t mess with Magnus! Then we went to Burger King and hit the dirty Comic Book Shoppe out in Merivale, where, as Kirilaw says, I made the sound. The sound is basically an excited ]twitter feed</a> under consideration for online publication, was published here as the Tar Pits link. Brilliant!

Now to shower.

Dec. 17th, 2009

Dirge points


The thing about Christmas is that there isn't enough time to get everything you want to get AND deal with shipping time.

I have never been as organized as I am this year in terms of getting presents off my list. Almost too organized because the planning has meant that I've had to skip some really good "spontaneous" purchases for folks. Nonetheless, with the exception of Operation: Reflector* for kirilaw, the plans have fallen into place with one exception (sis-in-law). I was even far enough ahead to have most of Kirilaw's not-insufficiently sized family's gifts sent down with her mom and dad two weeks ago.

And yet I'm still under the gun.

The Christmas letter is not yet written and the cards are not yet in the mail as a result. Worse, I count two of three giftos for Kirilaw that have yet to arrive, which is driving me crazy because they both confirmed they shipped at least as far back as December 7.

They better be here today. Or it's a paper holiday.

*Operation: Reflector is where I tried to get Kirilaw a swanky new point-and-shoot camera for the holidays, only to fall down because I'd already spent too much to get her a really good one, and thus I am forced to rely on the old coupon strategy to ensure she gets the one she wants.
**And before you ask, she's aware of her present, so I'm not breaking any secrets in advance.

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