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Showing posts from September, 2009

You know you're in trouble when...

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So, what does it feel like to have your bank account information stolen, and money seemingly ripped from your account against your will?  I had no idea what that feels like until this morning.  Today I woke up like any other day, checked my email, etc. before heading off to work... Except I got a horrible surprise when I took a look at my Checking account balance.

Apparently, overnight, a small video game company decided to charge me via my PayPal account almost $500 ($19.99 X 24 = $479.76) in fraudulent charges. It's like getting slapped across the face when you see something like this... but honestly I had no idea what happened until I spoke with PayPal and my bank.

Both were very helpful and understanding that something bad had happened, and tried to alleviate my worry in stating that all will be well, the charges will be reversed, we just have to walk you through some stuff to make sure it won't continue to happen.

Honestly, I've been banking online for well over 7 yea…

Netflix and Hulu - where's the rest of the season?

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So a few months ago I decided to completely leave the subscription cable TV world and go to purely digital content and video streaming.  My wife was a little hesitant because she was worried that she wouldn't be able to watch the local news and sports (we live in Pittsburgh - so football and hockey are staples)... but we decided it wasn't worth an extra $50/month for 1 or 2 days a week of sports and news.  I kept the basic cable (23 analog channels) because the Comcraptastic service for internet doubles without some sort of TV service.  Anyway, it's been pretty nice watching stuff from Netflix on my Xbox 360.  I had been using Boxee and watching Hulu on my AppleTV until Hulu caved to content providers and stripped that functionality out.  I had hoped to use my PS3 to watch Hulu as well on my TV, but again, Hulu blocked their browser, so I've put a complete personal boycott on the Hulu product.

If I can't watch TV when and where I want to, I'm not a happy camper…

Top 40

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Popular. If I was a lame student beginning a term paper, I'd be using a quotation block to add a Webster's definition to that word. The way I did it would telegraph exactly how I intended to approach the topic. A single definition cherry-picked from the possible choices (usually number 3 or 4) is a statement: "this is how I am choosing to use this word. I will brook no dissent to my chosen definition and if you come at me with an argument using any other possible definition of the term, I will defend myself by attacking you as not understanding the word at all...perhaps you have a learning disability."
Listing all of the available definitions sends a few messages: "I only started this paper last night." "I'm eating up space with a large block quotation because I don't have enough to say to fill three pages." "A good strategy for putting almost no thought into this assignment would be to spend a paragraph or two discussing each of thes…

Welcome to the new Nerd-dom... same as the old Nerd-dom

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Sitting at my computer after sleeping for 23 hours--thank you sickness for my mini vacation--I figured that I would post a small update on my latest obsession:

Dungeons & Dragons!

Yes, yes. It's hardly new. It's been around almost as long as I have. However, last year they updated the rules yet again; this time it's 4th edition. I tried my hand at 3rd edition but found it too.... much. It had too big a scope and tried to be everything. I'm sure I could have cut it down, but I just felt like there was too much minutia. Prestige classes, skill checks. I just wasn't ready for it.

For the .05 of you who don't know, Dungeons and Dragons is a Role Playing Game where you create an avatar for a high-fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master creates a basic story and the players act out that story. There are rules for how well you can swing a sword or cast a spell, which takes out the "I got you!" "No, you missed!!" aspect of the role playing games of our y…

I will not fix your freaking computer

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I've been thinking a lot lately about my side-project/hobby work that I do on computers at home, and I found myself extremely frustrated by what I've been asked to do over the last few years.  You see, I love computers, I adore technology, and I find myself wide-eyed and giddy when I get a new toy to play with.  I've been that way since the time I was about 8 when I plugged the non-business end of a Photon gun into the game port on my Commodore 64 computer and subsequently fried the motherboard (and thoroughly pissed off my dad).  I've always loved figuring out how things work, what breaks them, and how to fix them.  That thirst for knowledge still holds a strong place in my life, and I really enjoy learning something new as often as possible.  Computers are sort of a conduit through which I garner new information - much more than I would otherwise without them.

But through the years, I've realized that my hobby for fixing computers has mostly become my curse.  I k…