Monthly Archives: August 2008

Verizon FIOS in Brooklyn

I was out walking around in Park Slope the other day and I noticed a huge group of people loitering on the sidewalk handing out flyers.  Generally, I try to avoid these things as I get annoyed very quickly with people wasting my time.  These people were dressed as the Verizon network people, wearing white coveralls and hard hats.  I went over towards them, and they promptly handed me a flyer explaining the benefits of FIOS over Cable.

I agree with these things.  I would get FIOS right now — IF IT WAS AVAILABLE!!!  Verizon has been advertising for over a year now that FIOS is available in New York City.  From what I can tell, its available in a very very limited amount of areas.

So, why is this group of 100-150 people being paid to advertise a service in a neighborhood that it doesn’t exist?  Wouldn’t it make much more sense to pay the technicians to install the hardware to make FIOS work in Park Slope?

This was a bit annoying to me, and really makes me question the logic of marketing.  I do call once a month and ask when I can get FIOS, and generally I am told the same, “Soon, we are working on it” canned statement.

Annoyances aside, I still will get FIOS the day it is available — but for a different reason than you might think.  Of course I am interested in the fast internet speeds, but it is the TV service that I am more interested in.  For one, I am anxiously awaiting the ability to watch NFL network again.  When I lived in Canada this channel was included in basic cable, and it was watched by my girlfriend and my self MOST of the time in football season.  I caught her watching it all by herself a few times actually — even when I was not home.  Secondly, because the Scientific Atlanta 8300HDC is such a piece of junk (crashes at minimum one per week) I looked into what box Verizon uses.  It seems that it uses the Motorola box, which has proven much more stable in my experiences.

Regardless, I will not be holding my breath for the service to be available any time soon.

Mozilla weave seemingly working again…

As of Sunday the 17th of August, Mozilla Weave seems to be back up and working.  I haven’t been able to use the service for at least 2 weeks, but I can confirm that I can login, and sync all my Firefox 3 settings.

The sync process is still slightly slow, but it is working again.  I use no fewer than 4 computers on a daily basis, and I have found it is hard to function properly without such a browser sync feature at this point.

This is something that Microsoft really should think about integrating into Internet Explorer 8.  We could set this up to use our hotmail/live/msn email logins as the sync username.  I can see the process being really smooth.  I can’t guarantee that I would use IE again, but this might get me at least slightly intereseted.

Decrease in Spam?!?!

I have a number of email accounts I check on a daily basis.  I run different tools to help filter spam on most of them.  Web based accounts like gmail, hotmail, and yahoo mail have typically been plagued the worst by spam, but by far none is worse than my Marshall University email account.

In recent weeks, I have noticed a large dropoff in the amount of spam i am receiving to my web-based accounts.  This is a good thing.  I have a number of University emails too.  Some of these accounts receive very little spam, but as stated above the Marshall University account (which I have had for many, many years) is the worst.  Even this account is not receiving as much spam lately.  In fact, it seems to be receiving less than 10 spam messages per day.  These mostly come from Russia (based on the character set in the subject of the message).

I don’t know whats going on lately, but I hope it is a trend.  Any reduction in the amount of spam I receive daily is a good thing.  Hopefully, this is not just an unfortunate coincidence.

Shipping to Europe

I recently sold some older drives on ebay.  I made a mistake in my listing in saying specifically that I do NOT ship to Europe, rather just the continental US and to Canada.  I generally change 10-15 USD for shipping via USPS priority mail to USA and $25 to Canada.  This price includes the box, packing material, insurance and tracking.  I think it is a fair price, and I do not make more than a few extra cents by estimating the cost.  In fact, often the shipping to Canada, I lose money.  This few cents is what I earn for my time spent waiting in line at the post office just to ask for a customs form — which in NYC can take upwards of 1 hour!!  No, they are not freely available here due to the fact that people steal them….

Here is where my mistake lets me know a bit about how Europeans think.  In the listing, I had $25 for international.  It should have read International to Canada (which it DID in the item description), but since ebay made some changes recently in their selling system, I made a mistake.  I admitted to the mistake, and asked if it would be possible to charge the extra $10 for shipping to Europe to the 4 people who won the auctions from Europe.

Each one of them accused me of fraud.  They said it doesnt cost that much to ship to Europe.  Well, guess what Europeans.  IT DOES COST THAT MUCH TO SHIP A HARD DRIVE TO EUROPE VIA USPS INTERNATIONAL PRIOROTY MAIL.  I am NOT using first class mail, which is closer to $25.  It costs about $38 USD to ship a 2.5 pound package to Western Europe.  I am shocked by this as much as you are, but I assure you it is not fraud on my part.  You can even goto and check it.  It tells you how much it costs.

So, in the future, please think before you speak.  Use the internet, use google, and most of all check for the price of a 2.5 pound package shipped via USPS International Priority Mail to your country before you cry, complain, and accuse.  It really makes you look bad in my eyes.

Steelers sign Leftwhich to 1 year contract

As a former student of Marshall University, and and as someone who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I was particularly interested to see that the Steelers signed Byron Leftwhich to a 1 year contract this morning.

Mozilla Weave not updating?

I was using weave for a couple of weeks, and found it to work well, barring a few problems. For the last 2 weeks, I have been completely to connect to the service. I AM able to login, but when I try to sync, I am given a server busy error.

I like the service, but this server error is annoying, and renders the service essentially useless. I wish there was a way that I could specify where to save the file — to Mozilla, or to my own server. This would be a great option to have until the service is a little less alpha.

Double Crispy Bakery — China Town — New York

Double Crispy Bakery

One of my absolute favorite things to do on the weekend is walk through Chinatown and look for tasty things to eat.  There are alot of dumpling places that I like, but as for a bakery, the absolute best, in my opinion, is Double Crispy.

They have a fine selection of baked goods, including the typical Chinese hot-dog buns and corn and mayo buns, but they also have really fine fish and chicken cutlet sandwiches.  The fish and chicken are not on the same sandwich….

Double Crispy Bakery also has a nice selection of steamed buns.  My favorite is the BBQ Pork Steamed bun, but vegetable is a close second.

The store is quite clean and there is ample seating.  The prices are unbeatable for the quality of the buns.

Rai Rai Ken Ramen (East Village)

Rai Rai Ken Ramen

One of my favorite places to eat in New York is East Village.  The food is good and its cheap.  I am also a big fan of ramen noodles — not instant ones (I like those too) but rather the good ones you get at Japanese restaurants.  A good place to try Ramen — Japanese Style — is at Rai Rai Ken.  It is a little place with only a bar to eat at, but that is all it needs.  They have a menu with a variety of different asian foods, but I would recommend sticking with the specialties of the house — Ramen Noodles, Gyoza, and Beer.

I am particularly fond of the miso ramen.  The soup is tasty and the toasted garlic its topped with really adds something to the flavor and texture of the soup.  The noodles are prepared semi-al dente, close to how ramen should be.  The gyoza are some of the best around.  Rai Rai Ken uses gyoza with thin skins and pan fries them so they are nice and crispy on the outside.  Beers offered are the typical Japanese selection minus the fantastic Yebisu (what is up with the prices of Yebisu by the way?!?!)

Anyway, I took some pictures with my cell phone and they are below.  The resolution isnt the best, but you can get an idea of the type of place it is.  Rai Rai Ken is definitely worth checking out.

Running in Brooklyn

I like to go out running and check out what is going in in the city.  I took some pictures a while back and thought I would test the Picassa embed function.  Click on the above images to see larger versions at Picassa.