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Friday, September 29, 2006

Spilled Milk

The other day I discovered a gallon of milk in my refrigerator in a funky package, different than what we usually get from the grocery store. I was pleased to see that I was about to experience the latest in milk storage technology. It was Kirkland Farms milk from Costco. Given that they now have syrup bottles that somehow do not get covered in sticky syrup, I was giddy with anticipation to experience this new milk distribution unit.

Now, the one thing about choosing milk is that milk is milk. It all tastes pretty much the same. In a way, it's like when you choose where to get gasoline. As long as the gas doesn't spill all over the side of my car and my shoes, I am happy with the gas.

So here are my three requirements for milk:
1. It does not give me mad cow disease
2. I can quickly open the safety seal without special tools
3. I can pour it without it dripping all over the container and counter.

Here is my report card for Kirkland Farms gallon milk from Costco:
No Mad Cow: A
Safety Seal: D-
No Drips: F

The safety seal on this container has the approximate removal time of the plastic wrapper on a CD (yes, including that sticker on the edge). Note, this time can be reduced if you have handy an eyeglass repair kit and some whittling tools.

It is somehow impossible to dispense milk from this container without having milk go down the side and drip on the counter. The one exception might be if you were pouring the entire contents of the container into a very large pot. This might be a good idea anyhow - then just store the pot in the refrigerator and toss the milk container in the trash. When the milk in the pot goes sour, now you can go buy a gallon of milk from another store.

Note to milk distributors - please discontinue the use of this container immediately, or I will have to start sending people to this site.

This really bovines my spongiform encephalopathy!


I received a nice e-mail (below) from Costco customer service.

I guess it is pretty cool that the cartons are stackable. If you don't mind drips, and want something you can stack, then I heartily endorse Kirkland Farms milk from Costco.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Easy Share My Ass

I recently decided to "upgrade" my Kodak "Easyshare" software from ver. 5.0 to ver. 6.1. It was anything BUT easy. Calling it "Easyshare" is like calling quantum physics "Easylearn". Here are a few of the worst things that happened:

1) The software failed to install, giving the extremely useful error response "Error 20x101x12029x." When I went to the Kodak support website, they had a list of troubleshooting instructions where you had to match up your error code. "Click here if you are experiencing 451x238x12951x error." There was no rhyme or reason to the error codes. I had to read the entire list, matching up those codes until I found a match. I did not find a match.

2) I finally found some generic instructions suggesting that I do the following before trying to install ver. 6.1.
  • Remove ver. 5.0

  • Reboot computer

  • Download ClearV64N.exe from Kodak website and run

  • Reboot computer

  • Try installation again

I had to run a special application to remove their software? WTF? Upgrades should be able to install over older versions or coexist, not require manual remove of previous versions, special software, and 2 fracking reboots! Even after that, during additional phone support from Kodak, they had me search my hard drive and manually delete additional remnants of their weed-like software.

3) Now that I completely removed Kodak "Easyshare" from my computer, I could no longer access my CD-ROM drive (the removal corrupted my drivers). I also could no longer access my Kodak "Easyshare" camera, which requires the software to download pictures. Warning: Never buy a digital camera that requires special software to download the pictures! A lot of GOOD cameras give you immediate access to the photos the same way you get access to files from a flash drive when you plug it in.

4) The final solution was for me to turn off my firewall while installing the software. Listen here, Kodak, I don't want to turn my firewall off to install your crappy software. The whole point of a firewall it to protect myself from malicious, or in your case poorly designed, software. "Oh you can trust us, we are a big friendly company." Like Sony BMG?

If I didn't absolutely need this software for my camera, I would have never continued with the installation. I also don't plan to buy any more cameras from Kodak. Mea culpa.

That really makes me 45x607x2091x.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Preying on Human Nature

I am getting tired of people taking advantage of us. They study our human nature, and then they use it against us to get our money. Here are some examples:

1. Gas pumps that have the most expensive (high octane) gas on the left. You are thinking about something else, click on the left choice that you expect to be the cheapest, and you end up spending an extra $.20 per gallon.
2. Pop-ups in a web browser that start installing something if you click "OK" instead of the red X.
3. Telemarketers who record you saying "yes" to confirm your name, then it turns out you're actually saying yes to agree to sign up for something.
4. "Free" services that automatically start billing you if you do not take the initiative and figure out how to cancel them.
5. TV shows that tell you to stay tuned for scenes from next week's episode. Then they get you twice - first they show you a bunch of commercials and then they roll right into the next show to get you hooked.
6. Restaurants that include the gratuity in the bill and don't tell you. There is no incentive for the server to tell you that the gratuity is included because they can stay quiet and hope for a double tip. I can recall several times that we almost didn't notice this (and I'm sure there were times we never caught it at all).

We can all be absent-minded at times and not pay attention to details. So shame on us, but also shame on companies who take advantage of our weaknesses.