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"Serial Bus is a place for me to dump interesting links that I find."


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I hate Comcast Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | comments

Here at work, we soon have someone moving into an apartment type called a corporate suite. This means it has furniture, utilities, and cable all added into their rent price. I had to set up Comcast. This all began a month ago. Let's go through the timeline. Each bullet point repersents a different call with a different person.

-I called, told them what we needed, and they they accidentally hung up on me.
-I called back, they heard the word "corporate" and transferred me to a Comcast voicemail in Grand Rapids
-I called back, was told I needed to put the resident's name on the account and us as the billing address. I did so and they told me they were going to ship me the box for installing the cable and that I would have it in 5 business days.
-Two weeks later or so later, I realize we haven't gotten the shipment and call to ask where our equipment is. They check and see it never shipped. They ship it out.
-On Friday I get just the cable modem with no box. It says more boxes will follow but on Monday, I still have no other boxes.
-I call Comcast, get transferred to someone and don't get picked up for a half hour at which point I have to hang up to make work calls.
-I call later and they say that somehow that's the only thing that shipped. I explain to them that I need the box for Wednesday because that's when they're moving in. They tell me the fastest way to get the box is to pick it up in person at the local Comcast location. They say they'll add a note to the account saying that I'm coming to pick it up. I ask them to verify that I'll have no troubles getting the box. They say the note will take care of everything.
-This morning I go in and there's no note on the account. Furthermore, they can't give me the box because the account isn't in my name (despite the fact that I set it up). The only way to get the box is to have the resident (who is the cosigner and lives abroad) come into the office or have her call to be on the account.
-From the parking I call the 1-800 number for Comcast to see if they can see the note. They can't but say that if I bring in the lease that they'll be able to add me to the account.
-Before I go back for the lease, I go inside Comcast and ask if I bring the lease in if that would work. They say no. Even though I made the account, they said there's nothing they can do without the resident since it's an active account. They tell me that I shouldn't have been able to make the account in the first place under someone else's name (which, you'll remember, is how the Comcast person told me would be the best way to do it).
-From work, using the same information I used to make the account, I call and pretend to be the resident. I get added to the account even though I have a male voice and the resident is clearly female.
-I drive back to Comcast, show them my license, and get the box.

And now, after a lot of back and forth, I finally have everything I need and am ready to go install it. I can't imagine what it must be like to work at Comcast where the system is so flawed and no one says the same thing. It's worth noting however that someone must be enjoying their job because the last woman I talked to had a "24 years of service" certificate up at her window. It's also worth noting, however, that she had her last name on the certificate covered up--probably so all her disgruntled customers couldn't look her up.

Update: Moments after posting this, Comcast emailed me directly to apologize and ask for more info as it seems they do frequently these days, which is pretty cool. He then called me directly to get more specifics about when this occured and he's working to get his people to see if they can change everything so that the correct name is on the account and we'll have no further issues. He saying he's "reaching out to his contacts" and will keep me posted with the results. While I still don't have any faith in the main system over there, it's really nice to know that there's at least someone up there that's trying to fix things.

Shawshank Redemption in a Minute Sunday, September 28, 2008 | comments

Wario Destroys Youtube Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | comments

Even if you don't care about Wario, this deserves 45 seconds of your time. Just watch.


[via digg]



[via kotaku]

Ninja cat Sunday, September 21, 2008 | comments

This has been on a bunch of blogs and two different podcasts I watch, but it's still good enough to link

I also can't upgrade your satellite service Monday, September 15, 2008 | comments

In order to track which specific ad people that call us have looked at, each ad typically has its own 1-800 number. We have, in total, about 20 numbers I'm told. This of course leads to wrong numbers, and no matter how much I enunciate:
"Thank you for calling Pine Valley Apartments. This is Mike"
I am always met with
"I would like to order Elton John tickets!"

And when I tell them that they're talking to an apartment complex, there's always this moment of disbelief where they ask again, as if I'm some Ticketmaster agent playing a joke on them.

Update: Elton John tickets must have just gone on sale, because in the last few minutes, I've gotten 5 wrong number calls.

Borrow $2,600.00, give back $9,051.10 Saturday, September 13, 2008 | comments

You've seen Gary Coleman pushing Cashcall. But let's take a look at the fine print

As my dad pointed out to me, the rates on these loans are absolutely ridiculous. If you borrow 2600, you pay this back in 42 payments of 216.55 which comes out to 9,051.10. Check out their rates page to see how you can borrow 10k and give back 30k

Spammers get more clever all the time Friday, September 12, 2008 | comments

Here at work, I got an email yesterday that read:

I wonder if you can help with some advice. My unit has been on market for almost 4 weeks now, the market seems to be slow. What web sites or publication I should use to get more exposure.


It was to a large number of local apartments. I figured it was a scam of some sort, so I didn't reply and I just let it sit.

But then, today, I got another email from a second person that did a reply to all on the previous email. She wrote:

The best sites are www.CraigsList.com and [Website]. Try them, I received a lot of calls and emails from them. The Premium option kept my listing reposted everyday.

I noticed after I added photos, I received more hits. I rented my place within 5 days.

As a general rule of thumb, I would aim to keep your rents below market and be open to take in pets. Do what you have to do to make your place as competitive as possible.

Best Luck,

So basically it looked like a legitimate email when it was really an ad. Everyone knows craigslist. The basic idea seems to be to get people to say "I already use craigslist, but I'm not on the other site! I better sign up!" And apparently with the premium option.

I'm glad our church isn't like this Thursday, September 11, 2008 | comments

Dance break shortly after the 2 minute mark.

Every time a phone rings, an angel gets no wings Tuesday, September 9, 2008 | comments

I'm reading the book Choke at work. In it, the main character makes money by letting people save him (and he's also a historical reenactor but that's beside the point). He goes to restaurants, pretends to choke on something, and then lets someone be the hero and save him.
"Somebody saves your life, and they'll love you forever. [...] It's as if you're now their child. For the rest of their lives, these people will write me. Send me cards on the anniversary. Birthday cards. It's depressing how many people get this same idea. They call you on the phone. To find out if you're feeling okay. To see if you maybe need cheering up. Or cash. [...] You're the proof of their courage. The proof they were a hero. Evidence of their success. I do this because everybody wants to save a human life with a hundred people watching."

Basically people give money to him not to do good, he argues, but to feel like they're someone that does good.

While reading this, I got a phone call at work from a charity. She asked if I was familiar with their charity. I replied I wasn't. She asked if she could give me their website address and a call back the following week. Sure I said. Trying to make me get a taste of that hero feeling, she replied, "Oh thank you so much Mike; you're an angel."

I wasn't aware the prerequisite for angel-dom was typing a few letters into Firefox and hitting enter. I thought it at least involved a bell or Jimmy Stewart or something.

Today I got a phone call. I did my standard greeting. She asked for Mike. I said speaking.

"Oh hiiii sweetie how are you this is [name] from [organization]" she said all in one breath
"I'm doing well how about yourself?"
"Just great. It turns out my son is going to be coming home from Iraq early."
"That's great!" I said. And it is great. I'm genuinely happy for her; it must be great to have your son come back from Iraq. But somehow I'm not sure this is entirely relevant to me donating money to her charity. I'm sure everyone on her phone list must know her son is coming back.
"Yeah he wasn't going to be coming back until February but he's coming back early it turns out"
"Hey that's great news"
"Yeah, it's nice to be able to spread around some great news for a change. It kind of makes you a little teary eyed in a happy way." She then shifted tone. "So what are we going to be doing this year? Calendars? Cards?" she asked, referring of course to my assumed angel-like donation.
"Actually, I think I'll be passing this year, sorry."
"Nothing at all this year? You [referring to my company] passed last year also." Here she is with her son coming back from Iraq and I have to ruin the excitement.
"Yeah, sorry, I'm going to pass."
"Not even Christmas cards?"
"Unfortunately no. But I am really glad your son is coming back from Iraq."
"Thank you. Goodbye now. Talk to you next year."

They certainly know how to work the phones over there. And while I'm sure they have a great cause, it's a shame they have to do so much on the phone to try and play up your emotions and make you feel like a great person for doing it.

I'm curious about the Christmas cards now. I wonder if on the back--or the front for that matter--if they announce that the sender is a great person who gives money to the disabled. Or perhaps they just forgo that in favor of making your face sit atop winged shoulders on the front of the card.

10 most confusing traffic signs Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | comments


[via digg]

Don LaFontaine died | comments

That's this guy

No more mr. rogers on tv... | comments

They had better release it on DVD so some day my kids can watch it