Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Free Two-Day Shipping… Right!

February 2, 2019


I’m an Amazon Prime member and have been ordering stuff from them for over a year now and, generally speaking, the stuff arrives in a timely manner.

This past week, I ordered a DVD and, two days later, had not received it, so I went online to “track” the order only to see that it has not yet been shipped!

I went to their contact page and chatted with a personable (and, of course, apologetic) person who took the time to explain that the “two-day” shipping means it will be two days from the date it is shipped.

And the problem seems to be that the Amazon Fulfillment Center closest to me did not have the item so it has to be shipped from further away.

That’s fine and I fully understand HOW their system works in that regard.

What I cannot understand is why the item hasn’t shipped in two days’ time!

I don’t care if it is coming from Timbuktu or Malaysia or wherever, they had the order 24 hours ago, unless this one Amazon outpost is so far removed from the mainstream that it can only receive order through the assistance of the Pony Express.

But even that should take less than twenty-four hours! In this day and age how can any business NOT have the capabilities to receive orders practically instantaneously.

Even communications to Mars would have been received and the package prepared for shipment before now!

Sure, the two days is from the time they SHIP the package but the lack of the small print doesn’t tell you how long it is going to take that slug-a-bed Bob to get off his lazy keister and stick the package in the mail.

Aren’t these people trained?

All you gotta do is open the freakin’ email and put the thing in a box, print the shipment label and Bingo! Shipped!

For all their supposed capabilities in using this marvelous new tech (yeah, I mean the mailstream) they cannot figure out how to box something up and ship it in less than six weeks, which is the delivery date the representative told me.

Their packages, smiling so smugly, barely hide the bitter broken system that lies within.

Sorry, Amazon, but if anyone capable comes along any time soon, I think your empire is gonna topple.

Okay, rant over.

Our Obsession with All Things New(er)

April 23, 2018

Recently Updated
(newly revised version today)
[re-updated just now]



It seems we have an obsession for up-to-the-minute [updated: up-to-the-second] updates on all our tech-gadgets.

Every time I connect to Google docs to edit a document, I get the message that the application is in the dreaded state of “out-of-date” and that condition needs to be corrected before I can continue. So, I have to wait while it “updates”.

The next day, I find the application is once again woefully “out-of-date” and needs to be updated.

Every morning when I turn on my phone, it has downloaded updates and I have to wait a while to give it time to apply all the updates to a half-dozen apps I don’t recall adding and certainly never use.

Thank God I did not have an emergency phone call to make!

We will connect you to 9-1-1 immediately after the updates have been applied…

Wanting to upload pictures from my iPad to my computer is delayed because the device wants to sync with my computer. Yes, even if it synced only twenty minutes before!

What has become of us being in charge of our own lives? Now, it has been relegated to some faraway company deciding their updates are more important than anything we may need or want to do.

But, you know, I get it. I really do!

We feel this primal need to be “on top of things” to be completely current. To somehow not lag behind others… to be on the forefront of that leading wave.

This reminds me of something my daughter used to say all the time: “I’m living for the moment.”

That’s what all these companies and people seem to be doing as well.

But, they’ve got it all wrong. The old saying is NOT live FOR the moment – which is what we are doing so damned well – but living IN the moment.

Which we cannot seem to do because we’re waiting for the updates to download or devices to sync.




Technology still has a ‘ways to go…

August 4, 2017

I sometimes call a company to sort out a bill or a problem with an account and constantly run into the same problem: non-retention of data.

By this, I mean, the first contact point requires you input – by voice or via keypad – your account number. Then a human comes on and… you guessed it, asks for your account number. Nine times out of ten, they have to transfer you to another person who then… wait for it… asks for your account number.

Sure, it’s a petty thing but isn’t technology supposed to handle this sort of thing a bit better?

Why do you have to repeat your account number and all the information about the problem you called in about, over and over and over and over…?

Unless, of course, their real intent is to dissuade people from calling. In that case, they are succeeding tremendously.

And I, as well as many other customers, will help them out in that regard.

We will simply transfer our business to another company that at least seems to give a shit about their customers.

(Microsoft, are you listening?)

Off the Grid

July 12, 2013

I saw on CNN this morning a news story that was truly astonishing. Even the reporter could not believe it.

A young man from Chicago actually went off the grid for ninety days.

Yes, he was determined enough to set aside his blackberries, phones, i-apps, and other miscellaneous high tech gadgetry for three (count ’em, three!) months.

The people I work with have been known to go “off the grid” for as much as ninety seconds. Forget that ninety day thing.

What makes this story truly amazing to me is that I frequently do that. And I know a lot of other people who do it as well.

So, what’s the big deal about a story such as this? Is it because the guy is in Chicago, or because he’s young, or what?

Apparently, most people in the mainstream have become addicted to technology that they cannot stay away from it. Not even for ninety minutes, much less ninety days.

A couple of months ago, I heard that people were starting a new dining craze: whoever answered their phone during the meal, paid for everyone.

From what I know of people, I imagine the bill was always split between several offenders.

Windows® Placebo

November 9, 2012

Have you ever come across a problem while running Windows®…

Whoa! Hold on a moment… don’t get off on a rant here… the question was rhetorical and only used in this context to set up my piece. Those rants have a proper time and place, like later and on your own blog.


So, you encounter some “little” problem with Windows® – stay with me – and the program extends the offer to “fix” the problem for you.

And this cute little pop-up window… well, pops up and starts through the process:

And you see the thing start working…

and the little progress bar moves across the block slowly,

pulsing as it moves, spreading inexorably toward the end of the progress bar…

and then maybe starts sliding the green “bubble” across, untethered,

And then the answer flashes on your screen.

And it is never an answer you want because it now implies that you have to call the Geeks Squad or the store where you bought the computer or – a fate worse than DEATH – you’ll have to call the Microsoft help line… even though you really don’t have the four-and-a-half hours to hang on to the phone waiting your turn in line (hearing repeatedly the warning about losing that precious place in line if you should hang up) or you’re on a cell phone and your charger is nowhere to be seen.

But you could have saved yourself the momentary elation that Windows® had given you if you had merely looked at the small message at the lower left of the pop-up window, as seen below.

The “help” was nothing more than a way to appease the furious consumer…

[Please note, this article is meant for humorous purposes only and the screenshots (yes, including the name “WindowsPlacebo”) are fictitious. The entire idea was merely suggested by the many times I have used that pop-up “service” that never resulted in any fix being found. Perhaps you have had a better experience.]

… yeah… right!

Free Book Giveaway

May 4, 2012

Yes, you heard that right. I recently got published (in a digital format) and the publisher wants to do a free book giveaway.

Sounds kind of silly, you know… I mean, I wrote the thing to try and make some money, not just pass them out free on the corner somewhere.

But then, I was never much interested in the marketing angle of publishing. Heck! I haven’t been interested in the marketing side of anything – except maybe avoiding the commercials and advertisements.

Anyway, these guys are doing a “Mother’s Day Giveaway”… as if any mother’s would be interested in my volume If the World’s a Village, I’m Its Idiot. But then you never know.

I mean, my own mother liked it, but I think she’s biased.

Anyway, if you are interested in a free copy of my book, readable in digital format on the computer or most hand-held devices, go to, and view a free sample of the volume or click “buy” and enter the coupon code: EM45F.

It will only be good through Mothers’ Day, so you’ve got a bit over a week to get the thing for free.

If you are interested in one of the other books there (those not by me), I believe there are free coupons for those as well but I don’t have the number codes for them.

Check out the publisher’s blog, A Different View (, for those.

Either way, I hope you’ll leave a comment on the book but I mainly hope you like it.

People with No Vision

March 21, 2010

“If God had intended Man to fly, He would have given us wings.” A rather narrow sentiment spouted by many otherwise good and intelligent people over a century ago. It turns out God DID give us wings, we had only to stretch our imaginations a little further and build them.

Quite a few areas of human endeavor have encountered this same sentiment, as close-mindedness is not confined to any one field of endeavor.

I remember a computer mechanic years ago talking about the 64K ram in a computer. “No one is ever going to need more than 64K to write a program,” he stated with confidence. “That’s plenty of memory to create a program to do anything.”

What was sad is that at that same time, NASA was using programs much larger than 64K. Today, I don’t know of any program on the market that could be under 64K, but I could be wrong.

Our species makes its greatest strides when certain people can expand their vision – see outside the box – and spread their vision to others. But only certain others, as most people are going to be of the kind who express the negative, doubting sentiments. It’s not to say there’s anything wrong with those people as they usually have the same stability in other areas of their lives – and we need some very stable people, too.

Still, the thrill of discovery is good for invigorating the species.

Ignatz Verbotham once said, “If God had intended for Man to do anything but copulate, He would have given us brains!”

That might be a good catch-phrase for the intelligensia, but there’s a lot to be said for people who don’t crave the adventure of experiment and discovery. They are the solid people who keep the society working smoothly.

The darker side of this type of person is seen in the robotic masses of 1984 or Brave New World, but we should not forget that they are the ones who have kept the wheels of society going so that the inspired ones can do what they do. If there was no stable environment for one to develop their keen interests, there would be fewer and fewer leaps of the human imagination.

It is like the astrological sign Libra: these people are often seen as stuck-in-the-mud. But stability is the upside of the trait.

I don’t think we should institutionalize either extreme. We truly need both.