Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ouch! Greed exposed – Your $45 broadband costs your Internet Service Provider (Comcast – Time Warner) … $1.35

As quoted from “The Problem With Cable Is Television

“The operating cost of providing broadband service is low and getting lower. At Time Warner, the cost of connecting to the Internet and other direct costs of providing its high-speed data service fell to $33 million, down 18 percent. That represents just 3 percent of the revenue it collects for broadband service. But it doesn’t include the capital expenses needed to upgrade the network. Comcast reported $120 million of costs for high-speed data service, down 13 percent from a year ago. That represents 6 percent of its data revenue.”

Ok.. so If you pay $45 a month for broadband … it costs them $1.35 at Time Warner … and $2.70 at Comcast.

Lets put that in perspective … lets say it cost $1.35  to make a loaf of Wonder Bread (Of course that doesn’t include packaging upgrades) … $45 to buy it? … No more outrageous than the cost of broadband!

To add insult to financial injury they want to raise the price.

Do you think broadband users should be paying to subsidize Comcast and Time Warner Cable Television?

Share/Save/Bookmark

Advertisements

Dishonesty, Deception, Trickery … it’s the way of doing Business in America

Why has America accepted these practices with an “Oh well!” attitude.

Why aren’t we outraged when Monster Cables sells an HDMI cable for $79.99 that they imply works better than a standard cable  when video expert (Scott Wilkinson) will tell you the $5.99 HDMI cable works the same. Dishonesty is everywhere. Companies will go to any length to increase their bottom line … ethics be damned. Those who choose to mislead others discover that this is not the type of corruption that sends people to prison. It is more a matter of intellectual dishonesty and lack of personal ethics. Compensation has replaced ethics as a governing principle.

dishonesty

If you have to “trick” me into buying your product through overstating its merits or altering the packaging to make it appear larger or the same size with less content you’re being dishonest … your moral values need work. The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

Deception and dishonesty are running rampant practically everywhere you go. It’s exhausting trying to sift through it all and get to the truth. This is what is considered “marketing.” It has gotten to the point that if you are honest in what you are selling, you must be some sort of “fool.” However, what is “foolish” is not to recognize that if you are being deceptive in your business dealings, so is everyone else. Therefore it simply is not intelligent to continue these practices. Everyone seems to be doing his or her very best to try and take advantage of everyone else.” Quoted from an excellent article by Elizabeth Fink .

Some of my personal observations:

Java update with the pre-checked toolbar install … Every time there’s a new java update it try’s to trick you into installing either Open Office or some toolbar by having a pre-checked box about 1/2 way through the install … anytime there is a pre-checked box to install something like this they are being dishonest. The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

“Like New” items on EBay … EBay is a good place to find items and lots of those items are used. Unfortunately many sellers  overstate the condition of the item or fail to mention material defects.  Yes …  it would have helped to know the cooling fan on that router doesn’t work. What do you mean you forgot to mention there was a 4 inch crack on the back of that antique figurine? The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

Credit card bill mailing and late charges … Credit card companies make a large profit on late payments either by charging a late fee of $30-$40 dollar or by raising the interest rate on your balance … or both. Did you think it was a coincidence that you receive your bill only 5 or 6 days before its due? The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

The towing and car rental premium on your insurance policy … That $30-$50 charge on your insurance policy premium for towing that your agent didn’t mention when quoting a price … because he gets a big commission on it. Many people already have this coverage with AAA or some other entity. The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

The guy on eBay that sells his item for $1 with shipping charges of $27.99 – I can’t think any of the carriers charge more than $5 dollars to deliver a DVD (the item was shipping 1st class mail which actually costs less than $2). EBay charges a commission based on the sale price of the item sold. If the seller is willing to cheat EBay they are probably willing to cheat you too. The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

USB cable not included or power adapter optional … Granted some printers now come with a USB cable but many still don’t and buying one at Staples or Office Depot for $15 (they are about $5 delivered on Ebay) just adds insult to injury. Battery operated electronics that sell a power adapter separately. No Thanks! The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

The tire sale … advertisement – 15″ name brand tire only $39.99. Of course when you arrive the model for your car is out of stock but there happens to be a Goodyear model available for only $15 more … and did you want that mounted, balanced, a new air valve … the total $72.99.  “Oh, by the way, I noticed your brakes pads are getting low .. we’re having a special this week”.  The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

The $19.99 Jiffy Lube oil change … No sir, the $19.99 price is only for certain models your car model costs $29.99. Did you want to replace the air cleaner too, no that’s not included … but  it’s only $9.99 more?  The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

Free download … When you search for freeware you’ll come across a lot of sites that say “Free Download” these are not for freeware but software that requires a fee … free to download? Who charges to download?  Its not free to use. Shame on them for misleading us. The “That’s the way its done in this business” excuse just doesn’t cut it.

Buying an item then wearing or using it and returning it ... Businesses aren’t the only ones cheating … I think we all know someone who has bought an item for short term use then returned it to the store for a full refund. Its even worse when they brag about it … The store has to reduce the selling price. You may as well have dipped your hand into the cash register. I hope you don’t have children you are teaching these morals to.

Indeed dishonesty, deception and cheating are all common place. “It is exhausting trying to sift through all of this deception. Nothing is easy anymore. You need to take your time and read the fine print on practically everything. You need to have received a college degree practically to be trained in deception in order to be able to see through it. It is unfair and taking advantage of the public at large. We should not continue to be so accepting of these practices.” Quoted from an excellent article by Elizabeth Fink .

Here is another story I spotted that makes my point.   From an article in the Telegraph News

Managers at Comet, Britain’s second biggest electrical store, forced staff to lie to customers to boost profits, an employment tribunal heard last week. They encouraged assistants to deceive shoppers into paying for unnecessary extras such as extended warranties, credit agreements and accessories, according to a former employee.

As a result of the allegations, Comet – whose mission statement is to aim to be the “most trusted and respected” electrical retailer – has been stung into launching an internal investigation. Gareth Sweeney, a former salesman who worked at the Comet store in Llansamlet, south Wales for 4.5 years, cataloged a series of sharp practices intended to squeeze money from customers.

Mr Sweeney, 45, told the tribunal in Cardiff that staff were told to give 40 per cent discounts to those prepared to pay for full warranties – but just 10 per cent if they refused. Customers who showed an interest in Sky television were offered just one package costing £40 a month and none of the cheaper options, he said.

Sales staff also gave false demonstrations of equipment to encourage customers to buy expensive cables, he told the tribunal. In one instance, Mr Sweeney said, they altered settings on DVD players to make it appear that a £60 cable produced a better picture than one costing £29.90, even though there was no difference.

Mr Sweeney, a father of two from Llanelli, near Swansea, also alleged that staff were encouraged to push accessories into the hands of customers even if they did not need them. Staff were also told not to use the term “store card” because it was associated with high interest rates, he said. Instead, they asked customers if they wanted to open a “store account”.

Mr Sweeney is claiming constructive dismissal after leaving his £20,000-a-year job. He told the tribunal on Friday that he resigned after being told that he faced a disciplinary hearing for not selling enough extra products. He said that sales assistants who sold more extras – called “key performance indicators” by the company – were rated higher than those who sold more goods. “I could sell £30,000 worth of items but no extras, but the celebrations would be for someone who sold lots of extras but just £2,000 worth of goods. I was bullied and pressured into selling extras,” he said.

“It was the final straw when I received a letter from a sales manager telling me to attend a disciplinary hearing because I had fallen down on my targets. “I felt as if I was being punished for being honest and decent to customers. I decided that the mis-selling of DVD connection leads amounted to deception on our part,” he said.

OK … so that is the end of my rant on dishonesty in America. My Advice to you … Steer clear of these unethical merchants and remember to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

Share/Save/Bookmark

Microsoft Cuts Windows Home Server Price

I use and love my Windows Home Server. I’m still running the trial so I’m glad I waited …

read more | digg story

Surprise, surprise: iPhone now supports podcast downloads

You may have been scratching your head when Apple rejected the Podcaster application from publication at the App Store. Apple said at the time that the decision was made because the application replicates a feature that already exists in iTunes, but a new leak from the iPhone 2.2 firmware points to another possible reason:

read more | digg story

Meet Jeanette McDermott from Ecopaparazzi.com

What Jeanette McDermott is doing to help get this planet back on the right track is so cool. If you want to learn/do/see how to leave a smaller carbon footprint, check out this new site, Ecopaprazzi.com

read more | digg story

FCC Clears Free National Internet Plan

Plans to offer national free wireless Internet access got a boost on Friday when the Federal Communications Commission released a report stating that the plan would not interfere with service from other wireless carriers.

read more | digg story

Absentee Ballot – Be careful … you could poke your eye out with that thing!

Pencils are dangerous – Remember the warnings you got from your mother … “if you stab yourself you’ll get lead poisoning” (actually Mom … it’s not lead its graphite) and “Be careful … you could poke your eye out with that thing!”

 

I received my absentee ballot in the mail the other day and was ready to fill it out and send it in … but then I read:

WARNING: Use only a No. 2 pencil.  “

 

You’ve got to be kidding me … I haven’t even seen a pencil in years! I searched through my “junk drawers” – where I find all kinds of interesting artifacts .. but no pencils. I asked my mother who has at least 6 of everything … NOPE! I asked co-workers at the office “You got a #2 pencil?” – they had no pencils. I’m determined not to go to the store and a buy a #2 pencil.

If you have a pencil then you need a pencil sharpener too right?

Those pencil erasers always wear down or break off so you also need one of those big erasers.

What if my pencil doesn’t say the number on it … #2 is not the only pencil you know!

So why did do we start using pencils on tests and ballots … and why are we still using them?

From howthingswork.virginia.edu

“The #2-pencil requirement is mostly historical. Because modern scantron systems can use all the sophistication of image sensors and computer image analysis, they can recognize marks made with a variety of materials and they can even pick out the strongest of several marks. If they choose to ignore marks made with materials other than pencil, it’s because they’re trying to be certain that they’re recognizing only marks made intentionally by the user. Basically, these systems can “see” most of the details that you can see with your eyes and they judge the markings almost as well as a human would.

The first scantron systems, however, were far less capable. They read the pencil marks by shining light through the paper and into Lucite light guides that conveyed the transmitted light to phototubes. Whenever something blocked the light, the scantron system recorded a mark. The marks therefore had to be opaque in the range of light wavelengths that the phototubes sensed, which is mostly blue. Pencil marks were the obvious choice because the graphite in pencil lead is highly opaque across the visible light spectrum. Graphite molecules are tiny carbon sheets that are electrically conducting along the sheets. When you write on paper with a pencil, you deposit these tiny conducting sheets in layers onto the paper and the paper develops a black sheen. It’s shiny because the conducting graphite reflects some of the light waves from its surface and it’s black because it absorbs whatever light waves do manage to enter it.

A thick layer of graphite on paper is not only shiny black to reflect light, it’s also opaque to transmitted light. That’s just what the early scantron systems needed. Blue inks don’t absorb blue light (that’s why they appear blue!), so those early scantron systems couldn’t sense the presence of marks made with blue ink. Even black inks weren’t necessarily opaque enough in the visible for the scantron system to be confident that it “saw” a mark.
In contrast, modern scantron systems used reflected light to “see” marks, a change that allows scantron forms to be double-sided. They generally do recognize marks made with black ink or black toner from copiers and laser printers. I’ve pre-printed scantron forms with a laser printer and it works beautifully. But modern scantron systems ignore marks made in the color of the scantron form itself so as not to confuse imperfections in the form with marks by the user. For example, a blue scantron form marked with blue ink probably won’t be read properly by a scantron system.

As for why only #2 pencils, that’s a mechanical issue. Harder pencil leads generally don’t produce opaque marks unless you press very hard. Since the early scantron machines needed opacity, they missed too many marks made with #3 or #4 pencils. And softer pencils tend to smudge. A scantron sheet filled out using a #1 pencil on a hot, humid day under stressful circumstances will be covered with spurious blotches and the early scantron machines confused those extra blotches with real marks.

Modern scantron machines can easily recognize the faint marks made by #3 or #4 pencils and they can usually tell a deliberate mark from a #1 pencil smudge or even an imperfectly erased mark. They can also detect black ink and, when appropriate, blue ink. So the days of “be sure to use a #2 pencil” are pretty much over. The instruction lingers on nonetheless.”

About Pencils

“One pencil can write 45,000 words or draw a line 35 miles long. It can write in zero gravity, upside down or under water. The “lead” is non-toxic graphite – the wood is cedar. Mass produced in Europe since 1622, the first U.S. pencils were made in 1812. And why are 75% of all pencils yellow? During the 1800s, the best graphite came from China. Yellow is the color they associate with royalty and respect. A pencil painted yellow became know as the best pencil you could buy.”

Here is the front page of Maryland Absentee Ballot. Where it actually says ” Mark only with a #2 pencil. DO NOT ERASE.


Share/Save/Bookmark