Monday, July 30, 2007

Review of Allegro Medical's online store

Just to break the cycle of negative reviews, here's a positive one for Allegro Medical (at -I bought my dad a birthday present from them on Monday, July 16th and on Tuesday, July 24th, I realized that they hadn't been delivered, nor did I ever get a tracking number for them yet!?! Since my dad's birthday party was the next weekend (July 29th), I called and asked for the status of the order. -It turned out that the server in their warehouse that processes the orders crashed and my order kinda slipped through the cracks. I told them about my dad's party and that I needed them by Friday, and although it took a couple calls to follow up on it, they got the order to me on Friday -overnighted, at no extra cost to me. In short, they screwed up, they admitted it, and they made it right. -I'll definitely order from them again based on this experience!

Sprint's having "technical difficulties" -well, at least they admit it!

I ordered a new phone with service from Sprint on Sunday, July 22nd. On Monday there was an issue with them being able to pull my credit report, but that was resolved on the same day (although it took about 4-5 calls, see the "Sprint review" post from 7/23 for that story). ...My invoice said to expect the phone in 2-4 business days, so I expected the phone sometime between Wednesday and Friday, but Sprint's order tracking page still, to this minute, hasn't given me a tracking number... Today is Monday, July 30th -a week and a day since I put in the order, and one week from when the order was said to be complete. No phone, no tracking number....

So, I called Sprint this morning to find out why their order tracking page is still saying "The order is awaiting fulfillment." After a half hour on hold (yes, I timed it), I get this Indian guy who I can barely understand. He takes my order number and puts me back on hold for another 5 minutes. When he gets back on the line, he tells me something about technical difficulties and to call back on Wednesday. After going back and forth with him trying to figure out what's going on, he says it's not a problem with my order, all I can get out of him is that it's just "technical difficulties" and UPS should have my tracking number on Wednesday... Super.

...I just can't believe that I ordered the phone on Sunday, and then the next day I put in an order with Egghead for memory for the phone, and I opted out of their $2.99 "faster processing" fee, and I still got the memory on Wednesday (2 days after ordering it). I also bought 2 cases for the phone from a Yahoo store on Monday, and I got those on Friday. But I'm still waiting for the phone...

When I ordered my phone from cheap-as-heck, pay-as-you-go Virgin Wireless, I had my phone the very next day! What's up with Sprint? Is it a temporary problem? -It doesn't look like it... Google "The order is awaiting fulfillment." and you get back results from various forums where people are discussing how long it takes to get a phone. The average seems to be a week (which means Sprint's invoice should be updated so their customers aren't expecting it in "2-4 business days"). But some are reporting up to 20 days with no notice of the item being back ordered, etc. Everyone, however, reports terrible wait times when calling Sprint and horrible customer service once they finally get through. With the carriers all being bought up and the market coming down to AT&T vs Sprint, I don't expect we'll see any improvement.

I guess that when you shop by price alone, this is what you get...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How businesses view employees

I ran across this article yesterday:

The summary is that this guy pitched the idea of a hypothetical job applicant named Albert to several managers to see whether or not they'd hire him. Albert is described as someone who has exceeded work goals for the past 5 years and he gets along well with others, but while seeking full-time pay, he refuses to work more than 20 hours a week and also demands that his time not be wasted.

Steven Smith (I assume that's the writer's name?) mixes it up a bit by putting this hypothetical situations in 3 different contexts: Software development, production, and sales. For sales, it was clarified that Albert would always bring in more than 105% of his goal, but never more than 110%.

In each case, the managers declined hiring Albert. When Steve asked them:

QUOTE: "What's preventing you from hiring Albert?" A manager sneered as he said, "The notion of him only working 20 hours per week is insulting and his demand that his time not be wasted is absurd. He is being paid to do what he is told. And think of what he could produce if he worked a regular (40-60) hours. If I can't motivate him to work hard, I don't want him" The creases in my forehead became more pronounced as I said, "But isn't the guarantee of him producing 105% of his quota worth something to you?" "Doesn't matter. I might be able to hire someone who would work more hours and make 200% of his quota," countered a sales manager. my experience businesses don't really hire employees to take care of a particular task. I'm the only Systems Administrator in my office, but that doesn't mean that I have full control of the systems under my care. Often I have to do things I don't agree with because a decision has been made by upper management (none of which are IT professionals). Their reasoning is that I may have specific knowledge about the sytems, software, etc, but I don't have much knowledge of the big-picture -where the company is headed, etc. I used to ask "who's fault is that?", but I don't anymore.

Businesses (in general) have changed their structure. They prefer to work from the top-down rather than relying on the skills and knowledge of people in more hands-on roles who actually see the work that gets done day-to-day. The reason? Lack of loyalty might be one.

It used to be that people rarely changed jobs. They'd stick with one until retirement. And, as we all know, that just doesn't happen anymore. Who started it? I don't know. Who's perpetuating it? Both employers and employee's I'd imagine. But, if the employer can't count on you to be there next week, month, year -then it's risky for them to have you be a part of the decision. You may buy them into some odd platform that only you know. You might not document the solution well enough for the next guy to be able to pick up the ball and run with it. That's a fair reaction on their part.

But, this top-down system results in fuzzy, detached job roles that, in my opinion, is hindering growth as well as that much-strived-for "team spirit" or a feeling of being a part of the company rather than just an employee.

Managers want to see you in the office. They want you to be available to fulfill a task or implement a solution whenever they might come up with one. The idea of a job role being fulfilled and the employee running on autopilot is no longer the ideal. Poor Albert proves that it's not even wanted anymore. Managers, like the one quoted above, now see the ideal as being a person who will "do what they are told". So, I guess the only knowledge I bring is HOW to do what I'm told? The ability to plan ahead isn't necessary. ...No wonder outsourcing is so popular.

Could this be a result of too many (bad) managers and their egos? -I don't know. All I know is that I often feel wasted as an employee. I look around me and believe others feel the same. While the one manager in my (small) office is out today, we are all left clueless as to how to fill our time. The monitors I can see while walking through the office are displaying one of two things: solitaire or entertainment websites. No one hesitates to put the entertainment aside when a customer calls, but surely there's something more productive for us to do? But, without any value being put on us initiating anything, we fall back to waiting for the next task. In the meantime, we're not only our time, but the company's as well.

Oh, look -time for lunch! :-P

Monday, July 23, 2007

A review of my Sprint customer service experience -trying to get a new phone set up with Sprint

Whew. I feel like I just went through some initiation for some super-elite underground organization. But in reality, all I've accomplished was becoming a Sprint customer! Wow... it really shouldn't be that hard!

Here's what happened:

At 9pm last night I ordered a new phone and service plan with Sprint online.

At about 9am I found I had an email from Sprint saying there was a delay in processing my order because of a problem running my credit report. It said they'd call me, but gave a number if I wanted to "expedite the process". I did, so I called. This is call #1...

Call #1:
Nice girl, spoke English well. She said that the order was saying it was "in process" and she couldn't check or alter it -it may be going through just fine. She told me she'd personally keep an eye on it, and if it got held up, she'd call me. She took down my number, and that was that.

At about 11am I got another email from Sprint saying I needed to call them because of a problem running the credit report. Okay, I call again. Call #2...

Call #2:
This girl barely spoke English at all. She took my application # and put me on hold while she talked to the credit department. When she came back on the line she kept saying something about them "not having my credit report". -I asked several times: "Who doesn't have my credit? Sprint or the credit reporting agency?" She didn't understand my question so I tried rewording it, which was hard because it's a 5-word sentence! So, the last couple times I asked the question v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. She still couldn't tell me so we moved on.

Next, she wanted to know who took the credit report in the first place? I repeated that I purchased the phone online. She asked again -"Yes, but did they run a credit report?" I said "Did who run a credit report? The form on the web site asked for the info to run one, but... I don't know, it's YOUR website!?!" Then she says, yes, but someone has to run your credit... I replied that surely I can't be the first person ever to have purchased a phone and a plan off your website... (Silence) So, I added -I can't be expected to know how this works... The website asked for the info to run my credit, I entered it and hit "Purchase"... That's when we somehow got "disconnected".

I called back...

Call #3:
I got another girl who sounded exactly like the last girl. I asked if this was the person I was just speaking to, and gave my name. She did not reply to my question, but asked my order # and then asked me to hold. Again, I somehow got disconnected.

**I want to clarify that I never raised my voice with anyone. Towards the end of call 2 I let the girl know I was frustrated and wanted a resolution, but I was never mean or angry. I'm generally not good at being forceful with people anyway. But I was frustrated that it took half of my day to get this taken care of while I was supposed to be working.**

Call #4:
This time I called Sprint's main number. Probably a mistake if I look back on it. But, this time I got a male who was able to communicate better than the last girl, but still had an accent (no biggie as long as we can understand each other). I told him the whole story up to this point and then he asks for my name, address, phone number, etc. When he gets to my SSN, I ask if he's starting a new application. He says "Yes". I told him that I already had one, I paid for the phone, and I just needed to straighten out the credit report issue.

"Ok" he says, "no problem", I can run the credit report for you right now. I gave him my info, he put me on hold, then came back and said my credit was good, and I was approved. Sweet! But, no. He then said he needed to cancel my previous order and start a new one. I told him I didn't want to do that because I had ordered the phone through the SERO program. He didn't even know what that was. I explained it, and he said he'd transfer me to that department to re-do the order.

So, I get transferred, and a recording says "welcome to the Sprint employee purchase program, please enter a valid sprint phone number to continue". Uh... I enter the phone number I'm trying to get transferred to this new phone, and it's invalid, so it tells me to re-dial the customer service number I used to get there and then hangs up on me.

Call #5:
This time I go back to the number from their email and I get a nice English speaking girl again. She explains that they need to run the credit report in order to process the application. I tell her that the guy I spoke with 5 minutes ago already ran the report. She said she needed to run it again because that one was under a different application number. Great. Whatever, I said, I just want this done. So, she re-ran the credit report. It came back ok (again), and apparently the phone will be on it's way in a day or two.

Wow. It took over 2 hours of calling, recalling, (several times when I dialed either the number from the email or their main number I got a busy signal or "please try again"!?!) They are a PHONE company!!! WTF!?!

If I didn't get such a good deal on this plan, I would have given up. I kinda dread ever having to deal with them again, though. 2 year contract... Yikes.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Advice on Loosing Weight

In high school I was about 140lbs (chunky considering I'm only 5' 3" or so). Then in college I hung out with some pretty active guys, so I lost some weight by trying to keep up with them. I was about 125 when college was over and we all went our separate ways. Over the next year or two I probably gained about 5 pounds back. Then, in 1999-2000 I gained a lot of weight and maxxed out at 150lbs. I couldn't believe I got that bad. Over the next year or so I got back down to about 125 again, then gained 5lbs of that back fairly quickly. For the last 5 years or so I've slowly crept up from 130 to 135, but I was happy with that. But, over the last year 135 has turned into 139.6lbs as of this past Monday. Uncool.

So, it's time to take care of this before it gets way out of hand. I've signed up on a weight/calorie tracking website and yesterday I stumbled upon their "Community" (forum). Wow there's a lot of misconceptions about weight loss floating around that place!

The one thing that trips everyone is that "there must be a better way". There's not. You figure out how many calories it takes to get you through a normal day, subtract 500 from that number, and that's your goal intake for an average day for as long as you are on your diet. If you want to eat more than that, you have 2 choices: make it up with exercise, or make it up by eating less the day before or after (longer than that and you're like to "forget"). That's it.

"But, I want ice cream"
Fine. Have your ice cream. I'd suggest buying it in a single-serving size at the grocery store, though. That way you'll know that you got the serving size right and the package should tell you how many calories you've consumed. A calorie of ice cream is no different than a calorie of cauliflower, you don't have to feel bad about eating it at all. In fact, you're more likely to stick to a diet if you can work in your favorite foods. Don't fall into the cabbage and rice diet fads. Calories in - calories out. That's all that matters.

"I hate exercising"
Than don't. You'll have to eat less and your fitness level won't improve as much, but you will still loose weight.

"I bought a machine built by NASA that exercises for me"

"No really, I do curls while on it and my arms are toned now!"
You do arm exercises while in a vibrating contraption and you believe that it was the contraption and not the exercises that toned your arms. Ok... I think you got scammed and don't want to admit you wasted your money.

"Is there a pill?"
Yes, and the instructions say that it must be used along with a sensible diet. Do you think it's the pill that's causing the weight loss or the diet? Save your money, you don't need the pills. Take a vitamin instead, that's what many of them are anyway.

"What about Ephedrine?"
Do you want to risk a heart attack or stroke to loose weight at a slightly higher rate?

"If you go under 1200 calories a day you won't loose weight"
What??? This "starvation mode" stuff has been taken far too seriously. Sure, research shows that the body MIGHT slow it's metabolism some to get our ancestors past periods of famine, but is there a magic number that you shouldn't go below? No. If it's true (and it's still being debated), then it most likely happens as soon as you eat fewer calories than you spend in a day, and it's a sliding scale from there on out as you reduce intake vs expenditure. -It takes 1600 calories for me to get through a day, subtract 500 and that means 1100 calories a day will lead to the recommended goal of 1lb lost a week. But OH NOES!!! that's below the 1200 calorie cutoff. Come on people! Ooh, look at me violating your rule and still loosing weight. I'm not anorexic, I'm short. Leave me alone!

"But you have to eat more to weigh less"
People will believe anything as long as it allows them to eat more. Don't fall for it. As long as you are being reasonable don't worry about "starvation mode". One exception -eating 100 - 200 calories more for a couple days might help a plateau, but that's as far as I'm willing to trust this bit of nonsense.

"Is (insert diet program here) worthwhile?"
No. You know what they'll do? They'll weigh you, log your weight, sell you overpriced meals and a "plan" that has "fewer calories in than out" as a base (masked as "points" or whatever's popular this year), and then they'll have meetings where they pat you on your back for loosing a pound this month. A bathroom scale is what? $10? You can count calories on your own. If you need the pat on the back, try joining a forum or group online.

"What about the Atkins / South Beach Diet"
These programs are just another clever way to reduce calories. Meat really doesn't have that many calories, even the greasiest of stuff. Plus, it fills you up quicker and lasts longer than carbs do, so you eat less overall. It works, but it's not healthy. Calories in, calories out.

"At what weight will I be a size 6?"
Depends on the manufacturer. They're all increasing the actual measurements of their sizes, though, so it's just a poor measurement all around. If your goal is a size, why not just make that "Size 10" into a "Size 1" by crossing out the "0". There... does that feel better? No? Oh, well try paying attention to measurements that matter.

...of course, there's un-funny topics too. Teens and adults with identity disorders, people binging then asking how to exercise off the 3000 extra calories they just ate.

In the end, though, we're all in the same boat. Being overweight stinks. Loosing it is hard. The hardest part is not allowing yourself to believe that there's an easy way out. Walking around a store is not exercise. Giving blood does not make up for a donut, typing for 8 hours doesn't qualify as an "active lifestyle", and drinking a gallon of water a day's not going to help either.

Here's what does help:
  • Track your calorie intake and weight daily. There are many websites to help you with this.
  • If you are a "snacker", snack. Those 100 calorie snack packs are awesome -you can't trick yourself into eating more than you should that way.
  • If you eat out, check online for nutrition info at chain restaurants you go to and plan what you'll order before you're sitting infront of the menu with all those pictures of nachos and stuff.
  • Stop drinking stuff with sugar in it. There are many alternatives, you will get used to the taste of diet pop if you choose that route and don't worry about nutrasweet -the corn syrup they use to sweeten pop with in the US is just as bad.
  • If you're hungry, 100 calories of meat, cheese, or something with a lot of fiber will fill you up longer than carbs will.
  • Trick yourself into exercising by finding some activity you enjoy that gets you off the couch at least once a week -hike, bike, play a sport, take brisk walks with your dog or kids, whatever. Even just flying a kite, playing with your kids at the park, dancing to music while you fold laundry will help!
  • Don't go to buffet restaurants.
  • Avoid Mexican -those chips are too tempting!
  • When you order something that comes with fries in a restaurant ask to substitute veggies or cole slaw -don't allow yourself to be tempted!
600 calorie meals:
  • 2 slices of a medium pepperoni pizza with hand-tossed crust at Pizza Hut (and most places)
  • Pasta and marinara sauce (most places, but you have to avoid the bread etc before the meal)
  • A cheeseburger and small fries at McDonalds
  • The grilled chicken sandwich and small fries at Wendy's
  • A grilled chicken sandwich (alone) at most other restaurants (don't eat the fries!)
  • A burrito bowl with rice, black beans, and corn salsa at Chipotle (you can add lettuce if you want, but not much more than that -this is actually more like 800 calories already!)
  • A Jr Whopper, and small fry at Burger King
  • 2 White Castles and a small fry

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Things that will kill you: sunscreen

Sunscreen that absorbs into your blood is TOXIC!!!
Massive gov't conspiracy!!!
FDA hasn't studied it because manufacturers know it's not safe!!!
Oh noes!!!:

Goodbye Yahoo LAUNCHcast, hello Slacker!

Please excuse my rant from yesterday. I've found an awesome service to use for my custom online radio needs. It's -yes, I know I complained about them yesterday, but as long as you create an account and LOG IN before creating your custom station, you should be fine.

I recreated my station yesterday and listened to it from 9am to 4pm with NO ADS, NO COMMERCIALS, and I can pause a song whenever I want. There are 2 downsides: 1, it doesn't introduce music from artists that are similar to those on your list. I kinda liked that about LAUNCHcast. I found some awesome new music that way. But, with the trade-offs, it's no contest. I'll stick with -after all, there's a lot of music from the artists on my list that I've never heard, and I can always add new artists when I hear them on the radio. The only other issue is a limit of 6 "skips" per hour. Since they only play artists on your list, I don't see that as a big deal. I never ran into the limit on LAUNCHcast and they used to throw "featured artists" into my mix like "Super Gansta Daddy and his Gang of Pimps" WTF!?! Where did that come from?

So, if you're using LAUNCHcast, I suggest you give a try!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why in the he!! is listening to music on the internet so hard!?!

I stumbled upon Yahoo's LAUNCHcast service a few months ago and I absolutely loved it. I spent a good hour searching for and adding artists that I liked to it so it'd play the music I like. Sometimes it'd choose off-the-wall artists to play like the Notorious MSG or this band that plays a song called "Are We Not Horses" that's really odd, but I loved it. So, I endured the ads and the limits on pausing and skipping because I loved how most of what it played was right-on in my book. Then, yesterday, I was rocking out to some Ani Difranco song or something and all of a sudden the music stopped. "Are you still there?" the player asked... I quickly clicked "Yes" so it'd continue the music and it did... but it started a new song. GRRR! That's happened to me before too. I don't want to be forced to rate or re-rate each song that's playing to avoid the player stopping in the middle of a song. And I refuse to pay for a radio service, personalized or not. After all, my entire CD collection is on my computer in mp3 format, so I can listen to my own music for free -I just like mixing it up a little with these online services.

So, I searched for a new customizable internet radio service and I found Awesome! It didn't even ask me to log in before creating my station which I saved as "dsmgirl". Again, it took me quite awhile to build up my preferred artists list -I searched for and added all the artists from my mp3 collection as well as from my LAUNCHcast list. When I was finally done, I played the station and listened to about a half hour of awesome music ad-free. It even tells you what artist they'll be playing next!

But, after about a half hour it told me that if I wanted to continue listening, I needed to create an account. Ok. No biggie. I created an account. I was thrilled with the service, so why not? Afterwards, though, I couldn't seem to find the station I had just created!?! I sent them "feedback" about it, including my email address like it said "so they could get back to me", but so far nothing. I'm music-less. I'm not creating the profile again.

Over dinner I ranted about this to Ed and he told me about Last FM -the service he uses. It's a social site that hooks into Mugshot and has a little program you can download that syncs your Winamp and Windows Media Player playlists with their service. Awesome! I went straight home and signed up, downloaded the program and found out that it doesn't just upload your playlists for you, it uploads them as you listen to the songs. Poop. Okay, well, I just let Winamp play through my music all night. By morning it was only at "F", but what at least it's automatic, right?

Well, I hadn't actually played any music on Last FM last night because I couldn't figure out how to do it. The interface blows. I could barely figure out how to add music to my profile! And even then, you add songs, not artists, so it's super tedious and slow. But, hey, there are no limits on skipping or ads (per Ed), the social aspect is nice, and the fact that it'll hook into my Mugshot page is pretty cool too, right? Wrong. The deal with Last FM is that you can play other people's stations, but not your own unless you pay. Great. I just wasted more time building a profile for a useless service. How hard is this you greedy f#ckers?

Come on. Give me a station I don't have to pay for. I guess I'm going back to Slacker and rebuilding my profile under my own account to see if that works. I think they are my best bet at this point.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

We made it through the LATE ride again!

364 days out of the year, Ed and I sit on our butts all day at work, then come home, eat, sleep and repeat. The most exercise we get usually happens on the weekends while we roam Ikea or the Carmax car lot on Sundays. Then, sometime in mid-July we get the bright idea to dust the cob-webs off of our bikes and go for a 25 mile ride around Chicago from midnight to sunrise with approximately 9,000 other people. Oh, it's fun, but it hurts!

Mental notes for next year:
  • Eat before you leave. (I hadn't eaten since dinner and found the first part of the ride the most difficult -after the snack break, I was good to go... well, for the most part.)
  • Bring beverages for the first leg. (We missed the refreshment stand at the starting point, the crowds were nuts!)
  • Use those sports bottle caps on the bottles for said beverages. (I found myself trying to will the traffic lights red so I could get a drink.)
  • Bring your camera again! (Photo op's make great excuses to take a break!)
  • Definitely pick up your packet early so you get into the first wave! (You can go a bit slower and still get back to the fountain at the same time!)
  • Maybe do some conditioning rides first. (Yeah right, who am I kidding...)

Friday, July 13, 2007

An atheist preaching religious tolerance!

To the 83% of Americans out there who call yourselves Christians, I sincerely would like to know how you feel about what happened on the floor of the Senate yesterday:

Click here for a link to a short article about it on CNN.

Now, I know we all live very busy lives and it's hard to keep up with the news and how our government works, so let me point this out -As the article states, the Senate has a Christian Chaplain who performs the opening prayer on MOST days.

So, these obviously deeply religious people couldn't just maybe silently pray to themselves while this Hindu chaplain said his prayer? They couldn't just be happy with having the majority of opening prayers be of their own persuasion?

It may be just a few Christians who want to push their beliefs on others via interrupting someone else's sacred ceremony on the Senate floor (the same right they claim for themselves), as well as wanting to teach their religion's non-scientific version of how the world was created in our science classes, as well as putting up their god's "rules" in our government court buildings, etc BUT THEY ARE DOING IT IN YOUR NAME!

As an atheist I'm disgusted by this display. I would never interrupt or delay a (legal) religious ceremony of any kind. I respect others' beliefs as long as they are not trying to push them on me. Likewise, I don't push my belief on others. Who sounds like a more honest and good person here? Shameful.

Perhaps they see the Hindu prayer being said on the Senate floor as "pushing" or "advocating" the Hindu beliefs? Well, how is Christian prayer on the Senate floor not the same thing? The only reason it's accepted is because of that 83% majority that agrees with you. If you lived in another country, like India, Hinduism is what the majority believes in. There, you'd be in the minority. So, how would you want to be treated if you lived in India?

Religious or not, if you believe in advocating the separation of church and state, consider joining Americans United for the Separation of Church and State at or for fellow atheists, check out the Freedom From Religion Foundation at (As a direct result of what happened on the Senate floor yesterday, I'm joining this organization today.)

Amazon's "Customer Service"

Okay, I think this has some humor value, so I'm gunna share:

On Wednesday I got an email advertisement from Amazon about some sale on a DVD or something that I wasn't interested in. I followed the link at the bottom of the email to change my email preferences. When the page loaded, I checked the box that said I still wanted to be notified of legalese changes as well as the box that said I wanted to be notified when my magazine subscriptions were due to expire, but the rest I UNchecked. Then I clicked "Save" and when the page loaded again, while it said that my changes had been saved, the boxes all came up checked again!?!

So, I went back to check the confirmation email in order to see if my preferences were saved correctly or not. The email said I was UNsubscribed from ALL communication from Amazon! That's definitely not what I wanted!

At this point, I'm thinking maybe it's just a Firefox thing, so I opened my email preferences page on Amazon on my other workstation, in IE6 and the same exact thing happened.

So, I went back to Amazon and found their customer service form, filled it out as specifically as I could, including the information about the 2 different browsers, etc and I hit "Send".

The next day I receive this response:

Hello from

I'm sorry you encountered problems while using our web site to
unsusbscribe from the sales emails.

As a customer, you'll occasionally receive e-mail updates about
important functionality changes to the web site, new
services, and special offers we believe would be beneficial to you.
We hope you'll find these updates interesting and informative.

However, if you'd rather not receive these mailings, please let us
know by visiting this URL:

Click "Customer Communications Preferences." On the next page you
will be able to choose which communications you want to receive from
us, and which ones you don't want to receive.

Please note that it may take several business days to process such
requests, and you may receive one or two additional e-mails before
the unsubscribe process has been completed. We apologize for any
inconvenience this may cause.

Kindly note that, many common problems can be solved by adjusting
your browser settings. We've posted some easy troubleshooting tips
in our Help pages:

If these suggestions fail to solve the problem, please call us when
it's convenient for you. You may either use the "contact us by
phone" button in our Help pages, or call one of the numbers below.
We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at:

US and Canada: 1-800-201-7575
International: 1-206-266-2992

I appreciate your patience in this matter.

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

If yes, click here:
If not, click here:

Ok, so I click on the Help page link, but all the info on that page is about ordering. There's nothing about changing preferences of any sort. So, all they really gave me was a link to the unsubscribe page that STILL DOESN'T WORK FOR ME!!! (I tried it again to be sure.) So, I click on the link that says that the email did not resolve my question, which takes me to another customer service form. Ok, I'll bite. -I wrote them back pointing out the fact that I wrote them about a problem with their unsubscribe page and I got back a link to the unsubscribe page.

Today I received this:

Hello from

I am sorry for any inconvenience caused with this situation. This
may be happen due to technical error.

I will be sure to pass your message on to the appropriate department
in our company for consideration. Customer feedback like yours is
very important in helping us continue to improve the selection and
service we provide.

However, if you'd rather not receive these mailings, please let us
know by visiting this URL:

Thank you for shopping at

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

If yes, click here:
If not, click here:

...a second link to the unsubscribe page. I clicked on the "didn't help" link again. I'm not calling customer service about this issue, it's really their problem more than mine. I just wonder if their email is being answered by bots or just people who can't read... Should I keep trying? Nah, I have a "3 strikes and you're out" policy. If I get another link, then I'll finally take the hint and start ordering from smaller stores that actually answer their emails properly. :-P

**UPDATE** A few hours after I posted this I got 8 UNPROMPTED confirmation emails from Amazon saying that I was unsubscribed from the 3 email types I actually WANTED, and subscribed to the other 3 that I didn't(?). The upside, though, is that I was able to change it this time -after hitting "Save" the correct boxes stayed checked and my latest confirmation email is correct. Finally.

Friday, July 06, 2007

New Photography Blog!

I know there are some people out there who watch this blog for my photography stuff, and I wanted to give you all an update. -I've decided to become more serious about blogging about photography, so I've started a new blog just for "photography talk". It's at and I intend to post there at least 3 times a week.

There are 3 articles up already, so go read!