Entries from August 2008 ↓


Special offer from the Geeks. Debranded HP computer for under $200! The thing comes with a 250gig SATA drive, 1gig memory, Lightscribe DVD burner, Athlon 64 X2 dual core 2.2 ghz 4200+ processor and motherboard with integrated video and lan plus 3 pci slots and one pci express slot.

Wow! just what I need at a price I can afford. Or so I thought.

First problem; no operating system. Normally that would not stop a computer guru, but this thing needs a 64 bit operating system. Some Linux software will support 64 bit hardware for cheap but if we want to use windows it will have to be Vista. XP will not work and Vista is not ready for prime time. Some hardware will support 32 bit as well as 64 bit but this is not one of those.

Second problem; drivers may be hard to find. That translates to mean that the integrated video and lan may not work due to missing software. No drivers, no workee.

Third problem; Lightscribe DVD burner. I was eager to get into using a lightscribe burner. Lightscribe is a system that uses the laser to label the disk. Trouble is lightscribe capable disks are about twice as expensive as normal disks. Oh well, can’t use the burner anyway. Don’t have drivers for it!

Now I understand what debranded means, junk.

It is all American

Is it really?! If I can’t see that for myself, if the sales clown has to point it out, it is probably all bull shit, not all American.

Isn’t it funny how when some folk realize they are selling stuff no one wants to buy, they have to wrap it in Mom, country, and apple pie. You hear things like ‘its for the children’. Or it is what Americans want. Or it is what everyone is going to. All this when none of it is true.

It should not surprise us that people who peddle crap also lie and become politicians.

Assembled in America

Sounds better than ‘Made in China’ but does not mean it was made in the United States by U.S. citizens. A common mistake we make is to consider the term America to mean the United States. The United States is just one of many countries located in America.

As long as it is not food, medicine, critical safety equipment or toys, I have no problems with stuff made in China. What I do have problems with is companies trying to hide country of origin by claiming their product was assembled in America.

Most everything that requires shipping needs to be disassembled, to some extent, for shipping. Hence, it has to be assembled upon arrival at its destination. This has absolutely nothing to do with its country of origin.

People who use the phrase ‘assembled in America’ just don’t want to tell you it was not made in the United States.

Not being made in the United States is not always a bad thing, but companies who try to deceive the public are bad news regardless of where they operate.

So, when you hear the term ‘assembled in America’, the sales folk may be trying to hide the fact that it was made by HIV positive pygmies in some third world hell hole from reconstitute cow poo.


I hear that windpower can provide about 20 percent of our electrical needs. That means something else must provide the remaining 80 percent.

Assuming that the something else exists, maybe we should spend time and money on it instead of windmills.

It might be easier getting to 100 percent by starting at 80 percent than trying to grow 20 percent to something useful.

Half Off

I hear more than the usual number of ads offering services and product at ‘half off’. I keep wondering ‘half off’ what? My budget is based on dollars American. It has no provisions for including things ‘half off’.

I find it interesting that most of these ‘half off’ deals are on services and products that are questionable at best and outright frauds at worst.

For instance, one outfit wants to spray paint the underside of your attic with aluminum paint. Claims it cools the attic in the summer and reduces the heat load on your air-conditioning. I bet they also claim it heats your attic in the winter.

Another scammer offers you a third party warranty on anything you feel needs it. They claim the warranty can save you money on replacement costs of various equipment. Evidently they have figured out how to fix things at low or no cost.

There are a number of insurance companies who have policies that are not available in all states but they are only 20 percent off.

I think a consumer has to be 100 percent OFF to fall for any of these scams.

Unfit for Public Consumption

We have been residents of the Richardson Texas area for over thirty years. Until this morning we have maintained an active, land-line, telephone service during those thirty years and never experienced problems until a few months ago.

The first indication of trouble was an additional charge of eight dollars. After investigating the reason for the charge we found it was for caller ID. We did not order caller ID. The charge was removed and we were credited for the overcharge and assured it would not happen again.

This month it happened again.

I do not need to be paying for a service that requires me to supervise them without providing compensation. Something is broken at ATT land-line telephone service and I am not interested in helping them fix it. So, we closed our account after thirty years. That is one solution when a venodor’s service becomes unfit for public consumption.

Another solution would have been to work with the vendor and help him correct the problem. In this case there was an alternate service available that made it unnecessary to get more heavily involved with an organization that had lost its ability to provide a reasonable service.