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Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday Joke

I'm taking a break from posting this weekend for a quick getaway with the wife. I'll start posting again Monday night. I'll leave you with a joke I heard that made be laugh out loud (which very few jokes do).

Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cell phone on a
bench rings and a man engages the hands free speaker-function and
begins to talk.

MAN: "Hello"
WOMAN: "Honey, it's me. Are you at the club?"
MAN: "Yes"
WOMAN: "I am at the mall now and found this beautiful leather coat.
It's only $1,000. Is it OK if I buy it?"
MAN: "Sure, ...Go Ahead....If you like it that much."
WOMAN: "I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new
2003 models. I saw one I really liked."
MAN: "How much?"
WOMAN: "$60,000"
MAN: "OK, but for that price I want it with all the options."
WOMAN: "Great! Oh, and one more thing....the house we wanted last
year is back on the market. They're asking $950,000."
MAN: "Well, then go ahead and give them an offer, but just offer
WOMAN: "OK. I'll see you later! I love you!"
MAN: "Bye, I love you, too."

The man hangs up. The other men in the locker room are looking at
him in astonishment. Then he asks: "ANYONE KNOW WHO THIS PHONE BELONGS TO?"

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Intuit To Discontinue Product Activation

The loud and vocal protesting worked: Intuit backed down.

Did you know there was an issue? Get the background information at ExtremeTech. The product activation idea probably sounded good to Intuit at the time, but the heavy handed implementation and their lack of preparation for the shitstorm that followed doomed their tax season.

Most users were unaware of the product activation requirements until after they had bought the product. As the publicity and complaints escalated Intuit tried to defuse the situation, yet the protests continued. Intuit did not meet their sales targets in large part due to lower than forcast growth in the TurboTax brand. The potential of a an organized boycott by loyal TurboTax customers next year seem to have had an impact at the corporate suite at Intuit.

H&R Block tried to capitalize on consumer fears in a marketing campaign for their TaxCut product that proclaimed tax software should "instill confidence. Not install controversy." Most tax software users had already purchased their software by the time the controversy erupted, so H&R Block didn't get a ton of traction. H&R Block was poised to go on the offensive next tax season. Some TurboTax users were advocating a boycott of all Intuit products.

Don't think that this is an isolated case. Other vendors are mulling over the whole copy protection and activation issue. In this case a noteworthy failure in implementation by a major vendor may give them cause to reconsider.

Here's how Intuit addressed the issue in their press release:

"All in all, this was a solid tax season for us," said Bennett. "We grew faster than the industry and were successful in driving customers to new, higher-end offerings, though product activation didn't perform as we'd expected. Intuit has a long heritage of doing right by customers, and some of our customers didn't have the great experience they expect from Intuit. In addition, we didn't get the revenue and profit growth we expected. Therefore, we've decided to discontinue product activation next season." Bennett noted that next year, the company would include in-product technology to unlock marketing and trial versions of TurboTax products.

Times Meeting Details

Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post has the notes from the Times staff meeting. Read his column here. You've got to believe that the Post is just having so much fun watching this unfold. Remember it was the ass kicking they got (based on Blair's falsified stories) in their own backyard on the sniper case that started all of this.

Canada Labels Mossad Informer "Terrorist"

Via Marduk's Babylonian Musings

The Canadian government in its continuing effort to piss off every government is used to have good relations with has label a Mossad agent a "terrorist" and refused his refugee protection request.

Here's the National Post story.

Another feather in the cap of the Chrétien government.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

So I'm on a work trip to Boston, watching TV in the hotel room when I see an infomercial screaming:

"When is a diet pill worth $153?"

OK I'm mildly interested in the marketing pitch. They are trying to use the price as an indicator of product value. The product they are trying to sell is Leptoprin. Never heard of it?

I did a little snooping around and found a debunking site. I have no idea who these chicks are, but 3FatChicks have debunked this product by analysing the label. The major ingredients are calcium and aspirin.

In summary if you buy this product you are paying $5 a day for an aspirin and vitamin tablet. Sounds like a bargain, right?

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Bronx Student "Fisk" Wall Street

No actual Fisking, sorry - I just liked the sound of it. None the less the students at Clara Barton Elementary in the Bronx are kicking you ass in playing the market. They're also kicking Wall Streets ass. Their game portfolio is up 44%. Their strategy? Invest in companies who's products they use.

The New York Post op/ed piece details some of their picks like Timberland, Ticketmaster, JetBlue, and Microsoft. I wonder if they would be interested in taking over management of my 401K?

Comments - Enough To Set A Web Master Over The Edge?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that a hacked post and deletion of web site files are what lead to the Case Western shooting last week. Loner's rage burned after ruin of Web site details the Biswanath Halder's obsession with blaming Shawn Miller for a nasty comment left at his web site and deleting the web site content. Millers was apparently targeted by Halder because he was the computer lab operator who suspended Halders account privledges.

Halder's problems at CWRU began in June 2000, when a visitor to his Web site left a mocking message: "Bizzy Halder is a moron. This guy makes a living out of creeping people out. From his fake hair, to his fake teeth, his whitey tighty shorts and pants. . . . this guy is LOON."

A month later, someone Halder described as a hacker deleted his Web site files. Halder was convinced the culprit was Shawn Miller. He first complained to CWRU's administration, then to the University Circle police.

Miller has denied doing anything to Halder's computer files. Miller's lawyer argued that Halder focused on Miller because the lab assistant told Halder his computer privileges were suspended.

Given the nature of blogging let's hope there are no bloggers in the same state of mind as Halder. You wouldn't want to be the one to post a comment on his site and set him off.

Five Hurt in Badger Rampage

LONDON (Reuters) - An angry domesticated badger savaged five people, leaving one man so seriously injured he needed skin grafts, and chased away pursuing police officers during a 48-hour rampage through a quiet English town.

One-year-old Boris launched what experts described as unprecedented attacks after finding himself hungry, alone and frightened after being stolen or released from a wildlife visitor center where he had been hand-reared and hand-fed.

"I have been involved with badgers for 24 years and I have never heard of anything like this, nor has anyone I have spoken to," Mike Weaver, chairman of the Worcestershire Badger Society told Reuters on Tuesday.

Weaver was brought in by police to catch Boris, who had bitten the five victims' arms and legs after getting loose near Evesham, Worcestershire, in central England.

The officers themselves had been chased onto the bonnet of their car as they tried to round up Boris, who was later put down.

Weaver said badgers were notoriously powerful animals and the incident showed the folly of trying to turn wild animals into pets.

I just had to post this. Why would anyone want to domesticate a badger...

Monday, May 12, 2003

Texas Woman: "God Told Her To Kill Her Kids"

There's just no way to imagine what could be going through this woman's mind: Mother charged in Mothers Day's murder. Deanna Laney's brother-in-law (the pastor at their church) delivered the following sermon Sunday regarding the murder. The Laney family were to all appearances a normal family, and Dee did not have depression problems according to early news reports. Deanna Laney killed her two older boys, and attempted to kill her 14 month old boy. 14-month-old Aaron, was in critical condition Monday at Dallas Children's Hospital. CNN is reporting that Laney is acting erratically in prison.

Is there something going on in Texas we should know about? Sounds eerily familiar to the Yates case. On the topic of the Yates case, here is an interesting take: Satan Plays Major Role in Yates Murder Trial

The trial brought to light the influence of Michael Woroniecki on the Yates family. The Unrepentant Idealist has a lengthy take on the god of Woroniecki. My favorite line:

Can the "good news" be so trite as to be reducible to "you don't have to spend eternity in hell"?

It would not be surprising to find Woroniecki (or someone like him) tied into this case as well. Otherwise what could possibly posses a mother to commit such an obscene act?


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