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Posted by on Jun 1, 2009 in Technology, What the..? | 0 comments

Epic Technical Fails

1) HannSpree 19″ Monitor Fail

I saw one of these in action several months ago, and was quite impressed with the resolution. When the wife’s old Dell monitor crapped out, I found the HannSpree at Best Buy for an incredible price. Considering I’m a cheap, deal-sniffing bastige, I snatched it up and ran to the truck, laughing like a hyena. HD computing glory would soon be mine. (OK, hers.)


Once the monitor was installed, I did a test run and everything worked, sort of. The images were slightly compressed, or ‘scrunched down’ as my middle son described it. I tweaked the display settings, to no avail. So I then did what any self-respecting technoid would do: Google it.

Within .89 seconds, I had the answer: The HannSpree 19″ only works with Vista, or, if you have a certain Radeon graphics card installed. Hey HannSpree- Thanks for telling me that in advance, toolbags. Anyway, I checked around and found a Radeon card for cheap (see a theme here?) and will soon test the set-up. Otherwise, I’ll have to buy a new desktop, or upgrade to Vista. Or better yet, convince the wife to join me on the Mac side.

Which leads to point two…

2) eMac Power Button Fail

I’m a Mac guy. I love everything about them, or at least I did until my eMac gave me a metaphorical mule-kick in the plums.

For those of you that don’t know the eMac, it’s a one-piece machine made in the early to mid-nineties, primarily for educational use. The 17″ version with Superdrive is an outstanding and robust machine, and you can get them for nothing on EBay. They’re perfect for kids or office use, and are generally indestructible as long as you don’t have to take the damn things apart.

Enter the mule-kick.

I’ve owned an eMac for two years, and have used it extensively for every imaginable task, from writing inane spleen vents like this one, to editing video for broadcast with Final Cut Pro. Last week, I decided to remove the case and give it a good spray down with the compressed air; you know, set some of those damnable dust-bunnies free, and all that. The case lifts off of the main unit very easily…except for a tiny wire leading from the power button to the main internal unit, where it plugs in to a microscopic receptacle a half inch inside the case.


The wire itself was not a big deal. I moved cautiously while removing the case, and it separated from the receptacle with no damage. But getting the damn thing back in is impossible, by my estimation. A quick Google search revealed dozens of other eMac users with the same complaint. One guy even used a freakin’ surgical hemostat to re-connect the plug.

After three dozens attempts, I finally gave up, which was probably a good thing since one of the hair-thin wires in the wire broke in half. Now I’m stuck ordering a new power button kit, or, I’ll simply retrieve the hard-drive and memory from the unit and find another computer for fun and games.

Listen up, computer makers. Use your head when you make stuff, eh? These two massive failures could have been avoided had you simply asked the neighborhood 13-year old computer geek to look at the plans in advance. Now, I have to expend considerable time fixing these things, or shopping for a newer, better model. (Refurbs for my cheap ass, heh.)



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Posted by on May 15, 2009 in Technology, Tomfoolery | 1 comment

Fighting back against robo-calls…

We receive at least ten calls a week from these idiots.  Glad to see someone fighting back.  From the Wall Street Journal:


Rickrolling the Robo-callers

Millions of Americans have gotten the call.

“This is the second notice that the factory warranty on your vehicle is about to expire,” says the recorded voice at the other end of the line.

Most people hang up.   The machine calls again later.

Michael Silveira decided to strike back. The 22-year-old laboratory technician, who doesn’t own a car, says he was getting unsolicited sales pitches as often as twice a day on his cell phone.

So last week, Silveira began calling back an auto-warrant company that has become the focus of an Internet crusade. He left it voice-mail messages that contained nothing but a recording of Rick Astley’s 1987 hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Using phone numbers for Auto One Warranty Specialists Inc. that users posted to a Web site called, Mr. Silveira joined dozens of activists who have peppered the warranty company with messages including elevator music, threats and offers of rude services.

“I thought, if you get a bunch of people together, you could blow up their voice-mail boxes,” says Mr. Silveira.

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Posted by on May 4, 2009 in Technology | 1 comment

Cell phones: What say you?

I need a new cell phone.

iPhone is top of the list, but I’ve had dust-ups with AT&T in the past and would rather not give them my business.

The new phone should access the internet easily and have a QWERTY keyboard.  I use GMail as a hub for my important email accounts
and therefore don’t need a stand-alone email feature.

And I barely watch regular TV,  so an onboard TV screen would be useless.

Camera and MP3 player would be nice, but not required.

Go ahead, tell me what to get….

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Posted by on May 3, 2009 in Entrepreneurship, Technology | 0 comments

Farewell, Google, we hardly knew ye…

We’ve barely scratched the surface of the internet, according to many in the scientific world.

Indeed, we’ve come a long way since AOL was the hotness, and a singing squirrel with swinging nuts was comedy gold.  But now Google is the big kid in the sandbox, valued at $100 billion.

But not for long.

It seems there’s a new upstart on the block, and it could render Google as un-hip as Hotmail on a dial-up modem.

Behold!  I give you…Wolfram Alpha!

This could be a massive winner, or end up in the discount bin with last decade’s other hot ‘revolutionary’ item.

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Posted by on Apr 28, 2009 in Entrepreneurship, Media, Technology | 1 comment

Good night, Gray Lady…


This is an 8-track tape.  It played on 8-track tape players, which later became obsolete due to the development of cassette tapes.  Cassette tapes later became obsolete because of CDs, and so on, and so on.

To the shareholders of The New York Times:  Give up the ghost.  You lost $74 million last quarter, and it’s NOT going to improve.    The world is going digital, and you’d better keep up.

(And you might want to tighten up your crappy ‘reporting’ while you’re at it.  Middle school bloggers do a better job at unbiased journalism.)

BTW, who in hell is Montana Slim? 

This is Montana Slim.

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