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Monday, February 26, 2007

Mystery Pricing

I understand that companies like to play marketing tricks. It doesn't bother me TOO much when they say a hotel room is $79 per person, double occupancy (actual cost = $158 plus tax). The company flashed a "fake" number (79), but at least there was full disclosure.

No, what really stinks is stuff like this item I received from Snowshoe ski resort in West Virginia:

I think it is unconscionable to say "Rate does not include reservation processing fee". Is it a $20 fee? Is it $99? This is a huge factor. Why did they bother to print the $53 number? This number is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT without knowing the amount of the mystery processing fee. It would be equivalent for them to just say "My niece's favorite number is 53. Call us to find out how much the real cost of this package is going to be". Who are we kidding, they know how much the processing fee is. So why not just tell us?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Milestone: 100 Posts

This post marks the 100th submission to the Rants and Raves of Thickness. For the past 1.5 years, we have been ranting (and occasionally raving) about anything and everything. To mark this milestone, we've added a list of favorite rants to the sidebar.

You can expect to see the following during the next 100 posts:
  • A new and improved look and feel to the blog
  • 40% more angst
  • Guest rants (you know you want to)
  • Vista rants (would you expect otherwise?)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Thanks For Your Business

Ok, I appreciate when the auto repair guys try not to get the mat soiled in the car, but do they really need to leave behind the filthy paper mat that says "Thanks For Your Business"?

"Thanks for your business. Now look for a trash can where you can pull over and discard the thick, crumpled mass of paper we left behind."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Specialty Pool Products

As soon as I received my Specialty Pool Products catalog the other day, I was ready to dig in and order some quality items.

And what is this about Free Shipping? How wonderful! Let's have a closer look.

Looks like free shipping is going to set me back $8.95. Goodbye Specialty Pool Products. Hello ebay.

The Windows Experience IndexTM

With the release of Microsoft Vista comes the Windows Experience Index. While not as exciting as the Jimmy Hendrix Experience, the Windows Experience Index is intended to indicate, in a single "score", how well your computer will perform under the Vista operating system. Microsoft has made it clear that, if your computer is older than Suri Cruise, then you might as well just throw it out, because Vista will simply cause the hard drive to melt down into a blob of goo if you try to install it.

This may be more obvious than Paula Abdul's substance abuse problems, but...

You should not need to buy a new computer every time Microsoft introduces an updated operating system!

It seems every time Microsoft introduces a new operating system, it raises the bar for minimum system requirements, without good reason. As far as I can tell, the reason you need a faster computer to run Vista is for the new AeroTM glassy windows with "dynamic reflections". I have no doubt, once I run out and buy the latest computer pre-installed with Vista, that it will operate just as slow as my previous computer, because it will be overburdened with these new moronic and useless operating system "features".

So, if you are still thinking about upgrading a computer, you probably want to know your Windows Experience Index first, before you embarrass yourself. Here is all that you have to do:

1) Buy MS Vista
2) Install MS Vista on your computer
3) Get your Windows Experience Index (yes, you can only get your score AFTER you install Vista)
4) Act shocked when your score is -3.2
5) Uninstall Vista
6) Realize that you lost your WinXP CD, and now you are screwed.

Update: It turns out that Microsoft has a tool for XP that you can download called the "Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor". After installing this tool and letting it "analyze" for 10-20 minutes, it did... NOT reveal my Windows Experience Index. It DID tell me that I should replace my video card and upgrade my memory if I wanted to use Vista. I am half-tempted to plop down hundreds of dollars and many hours installing crap just so I can find out my WEI.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Slapping The Donald

When we had a dial-up connection, we waited forever for pages to load. We thought to ourselves, "When I get a cable modem, everything will be great. Even the most complex pages will load instantly. Surfing the web will be a true delight."

But what we didn't realize is that when designers realize that we all have cable modems, they will design more content into every page. Video, images, flash, etc will all become the norm. They will continue to do this until we are back to an intolerable load time.

Today's sign of the apocalypse - waiting for my browser to load a banner ad for "Slap the Donald - Get a Laptop".

That really burns my bandwidth.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

You Send It

A few months ago, I signed up for some web services that let you send large attachments in an e-mail. All of them were horrible, so I ended up just putting the file on an ftp site instead. One of the sites I had tried was called You Send It. Last night, I got an e-mail from my friends at You Send It. I could not believe my good fortune. It said that I got a free upgrade of my account from YouSendIt Lite to YouSendIt Business Plus!

I could not turn down such an offer, so early this morning (11 hours after receiving the promotion e-mail) I clicked the link in the e-mail to upgrade my account. Here is the "Promotion code is expired" message I got on the site:

So to my friends at YouSendIt, I say: You Shove It!