Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kindhearted Miscommunication

Oh, Amazon . . . what did I ever do without you? This gem comes from the description for a folding, papasan-style chair:

"Operating guide: 1. When unfold it, one hand catch the chair's back top tube, the other hand catch the back leg tube and stretch it. 2. When fold it, let the fabric face to our body, and press down the each tube's push-button. Then push it to our body with our hands. Matters needing attention being used: 1. Please note that the max weight capacity of this folding chair is 220Lb. Exceeding this limit will damage the chair and may cause person hurt. 2. Please take care of your fingers when unfold and fold the chair. 3. Please put the chair on safe and flate place. Sit on the chair only when the chair is wholly opened. When sit on the chair, please don't incline the chair. 4. Do not sit more than two persons at the same time in case of any accidents. 5. Childre should use the chair within the guardian's visible sope. Please don't let infant use this chair. 6. When being carried, please fold the chair. Placement and Maintenance 1. The chair can't be kept in a damp environment. 2. Don't keep the chair a long time in the sun and don't use it when it is rainning and keep it away from the fire.. 3. Don't put the chair togther with the sharp article Please use rare & neutral detergent when clean the chair."

At least the author shows a genuine concern for the safety and comfort of the end-user, eh?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

From the Inbox: All European Life Died In Auschwitz

The tidal wave of rabidly anti-Islamic sentiment in the US following 9-11 turned me off to the entire issue of Islamic influences in our country.  I don't know how technically accurate the following information is with respect to Muslims, but I do know the Jewish info is largely correct.  The Holocaust was a far greater tragedy than I think hardly any of my generation understand.

********************* 

Date: Tue. 15 January 2008 14:30

ALL EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ By Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez

I walked down the street in Barcelona , and suddenly discovered a terrible truth - Europe died in Auschwitz .... We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.

And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

They have blown up our trains and turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime.

Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.

We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe ...

***********************************
And now, for some interesting numbers and commentary (not part of the above piece, but came in the same email):

The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000; that is ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world's population. They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

Literature:
1988 - Najib Mahfooz

Peace:
1978 - Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
1990 - Elias James Corey
1994 - Yaser Arafat:
1999 - Ahmed Zewai

Economics:
(zero)

Physics:
(zero)

Medicine:
1960 - Peter Brian Medawar
1998 - Ferid Mourad

TOTAL: 7 SEVEN

The Global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000; that is FOURTEEN MILLION or about 0.02% of the world's population. They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

Literature:
1910 - Paul Heyse
1927 - Henri Bergson
1958 - Boris Pasternak
1966 - Shmuel Yosef Agnon
1966 - Nelly Sachs
1976 - Saul Bellow
1978 - Isaac Bashevis Singer
1981 - Elias Canetti
1987 - Joseph Brodsky
1991 - Nadine Gordimer World

Peace:
1911 - Alfred Fried
1911 - Tobias Michael Carel Asser
1968 - Rene Cassin
1973 - Henry Kissinger
1978 - Menachem Begin
1986 - Elie Wiesel
1994 - Shimon Peres
1994 - Yitzhak Rabin

Physics:
1905 - Adolph Von Baeyer
1906 - Henri Moissan
1907 - Albert Abraham Michelson
1908 - Gabriel Lippmann
1910 - Otto Wallach
1915 - Richard Willstaetter
1918 - Fritz Haber
1921 - Albert Einstein
1922 - Niels Bohr
1925 - James Franck
1925 - Gustav Hertz
1943 - Gustav Stern
1943 - George Charles de Hevesy
1944 - Isidor Issac Rabi
1952 - Felix Bloch
1954 - Max Born
1958 - Igor Tamm
1959 - Emilio Segre
1960 - Donald A. Glaser
1961 - Robert Hofstadter
1961 - Melvin Calvin
1962 - Lev Davidovich Landau
1962 - Max Ferdinand Perutz
1965 - Richard Phillips Feynman
1965 - Julian Schwinger
1969 - Murray Gell-Mann
1971 - Dennis Gabor
1972 - William Howard Stein
1973 - Brian David Josephson
1975 - Benjamin Mottleson
1976 - Burton Richter
1977 - Ilya Prigogine
1978 - Arno Allan Penzias
1978 - Peter L Kapitza
1979 - Stephen Weinberg
1979 - Sheldon Glashow
1979 - Herbert Charles Brown
1980 - Paul Berg
1980 - Walter Gilbert
1981 - Roald Hoffmann
1982 - Aaron Klug
1985 - Albert A. Hauptman
1985 - Jerome Karle
1986 - Dudley R. Herschbach
1988 - Robert Huber
1988 - Leon Lederman
1988 - Melvin Schwartz
1988 - Jack Steinberger
1989 - Sidney Altman
1990 - Jerome Friedman
1992 - Rudolph Marcus
1995 - Martin Perl
2000 - Alan J. Heeger

Economics:
1970 - Paul Anthony Samuelson
1971 - Simon Kuznets
1972 - Kenneth Joseph Arrow
1975 - Leonid Kantorovich
1976 - Milton Friedman
1978 - Herbert A. Simon
1980 - Lawrence Robert Klein
1985 - Franco Modigliani
1987 - Robert M. Solow
1990 - Harry Markowitz
1990 - Merton Miller
1992 - Gary Becker
1993 - Robert Fogel

Medicine:
1908 - Elie Metchnikoff
1908 - Paul Erlich
1914 - Robert Barany
1922 - Otto Meyerhof
1930 - Karl Landsteiner
1931 - Otto Warburg
1936 - Otto Loewi
1944 - Joseph Erlanger
1944 - Herbert Spencer Gasser
1945 - Ernst Boris Chain
1946 - Hermann Joseph Muller
1950 - Tadeus Reichstein
1952 - Selman Abraham Waksman
1953 - Hans Krebs
1953 - Fritz Albert Lipmann
1958 - Joshua Lederberg
1959 - Arthur Kornberg
1964 - Konrad Bloch
1965 - Francois Jacob
1965 - Andre Lwoff
1967 - George Wald
1968 - Marshall W. Nirenberg
1969 - Salvador Luria
1970 - Julius Axelrod
1970 - Sir Bernard Katz
1972 - Gerald Maurice Edelman
1975 - Howard Martin Temin
1976 - Baruch S. Blumberg
1977 - Roselyn Sussman Yalow
1978 - Daniel Nathans
1980 - Baruj Benacerraf
1984 - Cesar Milstein
1985 - Michael Stuart Brown
1985 - Joseph L. Goldstein
1986 - Stanley Cohen [& Rita Levi-Montalcini]
1988 - Gertrude Elion
1989 - Harold Varmus
1991 - Erwin Neher
1991 - Bert Sakmann
1993 - Richard J. Roberts
1993 - Phillip Sharp
1994 - Alfred Gilman
1995 - Edward B. Lewis
1996- Lu RoseIacovino

TOTAL: 129!


The Jews are NOT promoting brain washing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non Muslims. The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants. There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church.. There is NOT a single Jew who protests by killing people.

The Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.

Perhaps the world's Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.

Muslims must ask 'what can they do for humankind' before they demand that humankind respects them.

Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel 's part, the following two sentences really say it all:

'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel ." Benjamin Netanyahu

General Eisenhower Warned Us 

It is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect:

'Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened'

Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the, 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic priests who were 'murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated' while many people looked the other way.

Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center 'NEVER HAPPENED' because it offends some Muslim in the United States?

************************

And now, for the best thoughts on this article, reprinted from PlancksConstant.org, first posted on 27 Feb 2006:

freedom go to hell
Ican tell a fake when I see one. Before I go into the details let me say that about 100 blogs in the past 6 months repeated the story below and a few like vodkapundit rightfully had qualms about its authenticity: 'With some reservations, I'm posting the translation in full. If it turns out this is a fake, let's steal a page from the MSM and call it "fake but accurate."'
Here is the post, usually prefaced by Written by Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez, Spanish Writer or "This is a translation of an article from a Spanish newspaper":

All European Life Died In Auschwitz

I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth – Europe died in Auschwitz. We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims.
In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world. The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.
And under the pretence of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.
They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naïve hosts. And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.
We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.
What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.

Here are a few problems.
  1. The phrasing and syntax look like they were originally written in English but as if translated.
  2. I disregard any post as true unless it gives me the name of the paper and date of publication.
  3. Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez only exists in these posts.
  4. And most importantly - there is no European Paper with the cojones [one can take a cojones test here] to actually publish anything this provocative against Muslims. Indeed Spain has been on a push to encourage Muslim immigration since 2004, see Jihadwatch.
As to "fake but accurate"; it is undoubtedly true that almost all the sentiments expressed in this "article" reflect the Muslim reality in Europe. It is too bad that no paper actually published it.
Update: The email stating that this appeared in a Spanish Newspaper is false. It did however appear on the rightwing, pro-Israel, anti-Communist, Spanish language website Gentiuno.
No doubt there will be those who protest the seemingly flagrant racism and I am equally certain that it will come mostly from liberal Jews who need to scratch the political correctness rash of theirs. I would call them fellow Jews but they are no different than Jews that deny the holocaust [yes they exist, Virginia]. They will rant that this is no different than the antisemitism of the Nazis.
One difference. The Nazis lied when they said Jews wanted to control the world. It is not racist to describe the truth. Perhaps a few months ago one could have posited the notion that it is a blatant, racist lie to say of Muslims that "they plan the murder and destruction of their naïve hosts" and that we have "exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition". But today, after the Danish Cartoon Affair, can anyone deny that this entire article indeed has the ring of truth?
As final proof of the truth of this article, go to any European and tell him a thousand Jews are coming into his city and he will say, "Great, and in what area are they going to invest?" Now change 'Jew' to 'Muslim' and the response would be "Crap, and what area are they going to destroy?"
***********************

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Local Girl Makes Good

Reading all of that Seth Godin pays off. ;o)

Hooray for Houzz.com, that listens to its users!

*Update*

That discussion has disappeared from Houzz.com, so I used the fabulous Wayback Machine, and pulled it up.  The text went as follows:


Wondering why we can't pin our fave pictures on Pintrest? Not being rude here just seriously want to know, is there a legal reason?
posted 2 days ago in Using Houzz by ldirk | last reply 31 hours ago
 

13 replies

annalea123 says:
I'd love to know, too. Not "allowing" Pinterest links is seriously hurting Houzz. Sure, it brought me here and I now know what Houzz is . . . but there's no way I'm going to start using the service after they've fouled up my method for keeping track of my idea files. The lack of perceived goodwill is pretty glaring -- and I don't have time for two services anyway.
2 days ago
Thank you for your comments, ldirk and annalea123! We love our community and truly appreciate your feedback. We are currently looking for a solution that will also address the requests from design professionals on the site to keep their photos protected.

When we started Houzz in 2009, a priority was to create a place where design professionals and others would feel comfortable and protected when sharing their work. When members share their portfolios on our site, they know we have done our best to make sure their photos are presented in the way that they have chosen.

We recently discovered that 20,000 images from Houzz had been posted to Pinterest. From there they can be copied again to other places. We certainly do not wish to spoil anyone's experience with Pinterest; we were simply fulfilling a promise we made to the designers when they gave us license to use their images on our site.

Again, we are trying to work with Pinterest to find a solution that will solve everyone's needs.
2 days ago
ldirk says:
Awesome! Thank You so much for answering my question. I wondered if it wasn't something as such. I have to sort of agree with annalea123! that it seems negative even though you are just fulfilling a promise. I hope it can be resolved because I love these two sites equally and I direct all my friends to both. I don't plan on quitting Houzz. It's an awesome site. But I will say that many others will be directed to your site via Pinterest. I have found numerous sites since joining there and it makes it simple to be redirected to the origin of the photo.
Thanks Again! And thanks for your great site. Lots of hard work and time goes in to Houzz and I really do appreciate it.
2 days ago
annalea123 says:
Hi Sheila,

I appreciate your time to answer. One thing that's important to bear in mind is that once photos are posted on the internet, control is gone. If photos are here at houzz.com, they can be downloaded, copied, pasted, ad infinitum. (There are plenty of image-capture programs out there if right-clicking is disabled in the page html.) As it is, code is offered upon right-clicking to embed the photo wherever I want, so I'm at a loss to see how disdaining Pinterest pins protects anyone.

A designer's work pinned (and repinned, going viral) on Pinterest is some of the very best free marketing ever. The social networking aspects of Pinterest make it one of the most powerful tools so far for making sure images are seen. And if you're a designer, whose work must be seen, I'm having trouble understanding how that's a bad thing.

All of the hyperventilating about limiting what amounts to fair use really is self-defeating. I'm sad that these designers don't yet grasp the importance of always gaining a wider audience. Pinterest is, quite literally, a "quotation" site, but it quotes images instead of text. Images are always linked back to their original sources, which will drive traffic both to Houzz and to the designers in general.

As the business-minded wife of a software company owner, and an active customer/consumer, I love to see companies that humble themselves and realize that without goodwill and a great reputation for generosity and friendliness, they simply won't make it. Designers fall under that same category.

There are tons of great designers out there, in innumerable fields. I'm sorry that those who post to Houzz are actively opting out of such a fast-growing and highly active marketing tool as Pinterest.

You may now return to your regularly-scheduled evening. This rant chapter of the Great American Novel is now over. ;o) Thanks for reading!
2 days ago
islandhome says:
With you annalea123 on this. Houzz's stance on this has been very disappointing particularly as these designers portfolios are online and available to pin without going through Houzz.
Enough to turn me off Houzz and stick with Pinterest.
I'm curious to know how this will affect bloggers who use images from here? After all Pinterest provides links to follow back to source whereas a blogger can easily eliminate all that information when posting an image from Houzz.
48 hours ago
I completely agree with annalea123-you are a very eloquent writer! Everything she mentions about images being "protectable" is correct, as I'm sure you well know.

I am a photographer myself and would be absolutely delighted if a photo of mine went viral on Pinterest since it would lead so many back to my site and/or blog. There is quite a difference between saving a photo (or what have you) on a pin board online vs. STEALING a photo for print or to claim as your own work.

I'd also like to point out that I had never even heard of your site until someone was bashing it ON Pinterest for taking away a ton of folks pins, many of whom I'm sure were the same as me and had not heard of your site before they found something they thought was beautiful pinned from it on Pinterest.

I have literally replaced a lot of the paper in my office by using Pinterest and will not frequent any site that does not allow me to pin something so I don't have to try to remember the path I took to get back to it.

I hope you will reconsider this horrible business idea and that the designers you work with understand that nothing they make available on the internet is sacred.
48 hours ago
cookles2 says:
Why would anyone post anything on the internet if they wanted to keep it private. I love you site and have spent many hours searching reading and enjoying. I am in the process of building a new house. Being able to catalog my likes on PINTEREST has been a godsend, I can easily share my likes and dislikes with my entire design team. Over 100 pins from Houzz were just deleted, all that invested time ... GONE! Business wise I can't imagine your designers and advertisers wouldn't want the exposure, I have used a few of your leads. Hope this can be resolved .... till then I can't spend the time searching your site for info that later I can't retrieve easily.
43 hours ago
houzzsupport says:
Thank you again for your feedback and ideas. We read them all and take them seriously. We have written to Pinterest to let them know they can continue to allow their users to pin photos they find on Houzz.

We value all members of the Houzz community and want your experience to be the best it can be — on Houzz as well as Pinterest. We are sure there's a solution that works for everyone and will do whatever we can to make that happen.
39 hours ago
ldirk says:
Great News!!! And Thank You Houzz.
38 hours ago
Awesome! Thank you.
34 hours ago
annalea123 says:
I believe one word begs appropriate use here:

Waaah-hoo! :o)

Houzz, you just earned major points in my book. Thank you!

Now, to find that email so I can repin the Houzz photos I had before . . .
34 hours ago
annalea123 says:
P.S.) Now I just need to wait for Pinterest to whitelist Houzz so their "Pin It" bookmarklet will work again. . . .
34 hours ago
islandhome says:
Well done Houzz for sorting this out and coming to the party.
31 hours ago

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why I don't live in California

This just in from the inbox:

A southern California man was 51-50'd and placed under 72-hour psychiatric observation when it was found that he owned 100 guns and allegedly had a million rounds of ammunition stored in his home. The house also featured a secret escape tunnel.

By southern California standards, someone owning 100,000 rounds is considered "mentally unstable.

If he lived elsewhere:

In Arizona, . . . He'd be called "an avid gun collector."

In Texas , . .. . He'd be called "a novice gun collector."

In Utah, . .. .he'd be called "moderately well prepared," but they'd probably reserve judgment until they made sure that he had a corresponding quantity of stored food.

In Montana , . .. .he'd be called "The neighborhood 'Go-To' guy."

In Idaho , . . . He'd be called "a likely gubernatorial candidate."

In Washington, ……he'd be a "retired Policeman"

And, in Wyoming, . . . He'd be called "an eligible bachelor."

 ~ Author unknown

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Great Homophone Chase, vol 1

"par down" instead of "pare down"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Time4Learning Review

Well, our free trial period is complete.  For some families, this might be a great solution, but at the end of the day, I think we'll pass.  Here are my thoughts, entirely my own, not written or endorsed by Time4Learning:

Pros:

It's a lot of fun. The kids have really enjoyed the learning activities.  They're reasonably well done, the information is presented in a way that's accessible, and there are only a few lessons that have markedly annoying voices. ;o)

Structured.  It's laid out like a traditional school curriculum, so one lesson builds upon another.

Engaging. All of my four older children really looked forward to their "turn" to work on their homeschool lessons.  Even the two-year-old loved to watch, too.

Adaptable.  The student can repeat a lesson as many times as necessary, and complete them in any order.

Cons:

No assignment functionality.  One of the most attractive feathers of the program (to me) was the ability to set assignments for each student.  I saw this in the control panel when I first logged in, and was very disappointed to learn (only after a LOT of searching through the control panel and then searching the support forums) that feature is reserved by Odyssey (the company that owns the lessons & software) for public school teachers.  Boo.  Yes, you can see which lessons the student has completed, but if you want to pick and choose according to ability and make a custom lesson plan, it's got to be separately elsewhere (which is a big headache for me).

The lessons can be too chatty.  There are, especially in the upper grade lessons, times when my eleven-year-old needed to sit and think through the problem he was working on, and the software would repeat instructions he had already heard at narrow intervals.  It made it very difficult for me to help him, as the voice was distracting, and turning the volume up and down is somewhat involved and inaccurate on that computer.  The time allotted for figuring out the problems were fine for an adult already familiar with writing numbers in expanded form or deciphering Greek numerals, but not for my very bright and quick-thinking son who had never seen them before.

Some of the voices are not what I would choose.  In the lessons my five year old often worked on, there were voices made to sound like a child her age, with imprecise enunciation.  While that might sound like a good idea (attract the children with a child's voice), repeated exposure to less-than-perfect examples isn't something I consider a good idea.  Add to that the fact that that particular voice was talking down to the student in a Dora-esque way (using the same inflection over and over, regarding normal and friendly usage patterns), it made me a lot less excited for my five-year-old's lessons.  (We don't use baby talk around here, fwiw.)  Thankfully, she only ran into that kind of voice a few times . . . but she didn't work very far through the lessons, so I don't know how many more of those might be lurking in there.

Too much emphasis on screen time.  The children showed a marked tendency to want to spend all day in front of the computer (and with four of them spending 20-30 minutes each, usually with siblings looking in on others' lessons, it often felt like they did anyway).  And after online schooling was done for the day, they pestered me more and more to play games or watch movies, etc.  We're not a big-time "watching" family, and this was a definite tradeoff.

The fee structure just doesn't work for us.  While the cost of this might be workable for small families, it's pretty spendy for us.  (At the time of this writing, the monthly price is $19.95 for the first child, and $14.95 for each child thereafter.  You'll want to double-check the website before making a decision, as pricing can and will change, and this price is not binding on Time4Learning. They can and will set whatever pricing seems best to them.)  For the $65/month (or $777 annually), we can go and do a whole lotta fun stuff, pay for an entire prepackaged curriculum that's largely reusable, or any number of other big-bang homeschool-related things.  For a family that's very activity-oriented (and loves to do things outdoors), allocating that much of our limited income for a one use-type service is too high an opportunity cost.  I don't know if Odyssey sets per-student prices (as they were designed for public schoolrooms, and would charge differently), or if it's a T4L thing, but I would love to see more attractive family pricing . . . especially considering that my tax dollars pay for public school students' expenses, and my own schooling costs are on top of that.

I know of a couple of families online that really enjoy using Time4Learning, and it is, overall, a pretty neat service.  It just doesn't work as well as it needs to for our family in order to justify the cost.  I hope this reviews will help other families know if this service would be a good fit for them.

Thank you so much, Time4Learning, for providing this trial period for our family, so we could really see if it worked for us!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A quick shout out

Lisa over at Suburban Retreat is having a great Spring giveaway, which includes a copy of this beautiful book:


So, you should go check it out, since I never win anything, anyway. ;o)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote of the Day: Seth Godin

"Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It's in the soul of the artist."


Amen.


(Found here.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

4Shared: Not.

If you're currently using 4Shared's service, I would caution you to not try to use it as a file sharing/download service for your readers.  Here's what happened to me today, and (from the comments I've read at another blog) has happened to plenty of others, as well.

4Shared has crafted their website very carefully.  If you're looking to upload files to share, it's as easy as pie.  Registration is quick and simple, offers a snazzy app to help you upload things automatically, and makes getting set up and sharing files a breeze.  I went through that part of the process a couple of months ago when I needed a quick backup option.

But.

If you're on the download side of the coin, watch out.  Sure, they say you can download for free.  After a wait.

Okay, I thought.  No problem.

So, I bring up a few download pages with files shared by a fellow blogger.  I click on the links, wait the prescribed 90-ish seconds, and then click "Download".  The first file starts great.  The second file even begins to download concurrently.  Then, when I click on the third, I'm given a message that I'm already downloading a file from my IP address, and will need to wait until it's done to start another one.  Ugh.  But, it's free, so I figure I'll wait.  Again.  I carefully look past the fact that there are three computers sharing an internet connection in my home, and we all use the same portal IP address, so only one of us could download anything from 4Shared at any given time.

At this point it's annoying, but still doable.  (Hint to businesses . . . the LAST thing you want to do is annoy potential customers who have come to your website . . . people who may have come wanting to give you money.)

So, I wait until the file finishes, and go to click on the next download link.  Apparently each page has some kind of session, and it had expired.  Clicking the download link reloads the page.  At this point, I notice the "Log In" link, and think to myself: "I'll just log in; that should make things better,"  Right?  Right.

I log in, am greeted by cheerful text at the top of the page, and then click on the first "Download Now" link again.  I wait (this time for 240 seconds).  I'm surprised by the four minute wait, and am now graduating past the "annoyed" benchmark.

I manage to get back to the page before the session times out and requires another page reload and another wait, (because I'm not going to sit there and watch 240 seconds count down), and click on the second "Download Now" link.  At this point I have very little faith in the "Now" part.  My browser grinds for about 30 seconds, and then the page loads to an "Unable to connect to  . . . yadda yadda yadda."  {Insert expletive here.}

I click back and reload the page.

Click the initial "Download Now" button (which I now understand really means "Download Eventually, after we make you wait even LONGER, and reload the page a few more times"), and see that the wait THIS time is going to be 381 seconds.

Yep.  That's 6 minutes, 21 seconds.  And a serious slap in the face.

I even managed to get back to the page after the elapsed wait time, but before the session expired, and try the download yet again.  With no results. (Another "cannot connect to" page.)

4Shared, do you think that you will EVER, at any point in the remaining 50-or-so years of my life, EVER get any of my money?  EVER????  Or that I will tell anyone to use your service?

Quite the contrary.

Your extortionate tactics have just made sure that you have not only lost a customer, but have a very unhappy ex-customer on your hands, who feels tricked and abused.  My time has been wasted, the files I was hoping to download (which would have proven very useful in my tasks today) are now firmly out of reach, and I'm going to do all I can to see if I can influence my fellow blogger to switch to some other service.  Advertising free downloads when, in reality, no download is possible (but the user only learns that after wasting their time), is absolutely beyond the pale.

And life is too short for that.

{/rant}