Friday, December 30, 2016

Summary, 2016

Remarks: Modified: 12/30/2016

12/30/2016 --

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New Day, again

Back in 2009, we wrote a post (A New Day). After eight years under Bush, the country was starting down a new path. Notice that I mention fiance starting to look at its fiduciary duty. Gosh, that took a long time.

Today, we are in the cusp of a new path. It's noon, so no winner is known. How things will unfold the new two months is uncertain. But, we wanted to set the tone for our re-looks.

Essentially, we had, with this election, the flower-child times coming to fruit. There is a lot to think about with this. These types of transition times allow look backs without having to apologize.

Flower child? Yes, those idealistic, anti-establishment little folk who had their summer in 1967. That little bubble burst not long after. Rushing forward, we had bubbles bursting when the earlier post was written. The depth of the recessional times had not been seen. Actually, they never went away for some folks. We can write about all of that.

One candidate is 70; the other is 69. So, 49 years ago, they would have been 21 and 20, respectively. What were they up to in that seminal year? We have to look at that.

In the past 49 years, how many oops have we seen? Ah, an endless list have we with which to occupy ourselves.

See sister blog: Truth Engineering.

Remarks: Modified: 11/08/2016

11/08/2016 --

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The road moved

Out in the western region, there are roads that go for miles. They all follow the terrain. And, so, driving allows one to get familiar with our huge space of country. That is an integral part of the American Dream. Move about. Do so in peace and safety, somewhat.

The robot-car developers do not understand this. Or, are they just so intent on enslaving with their overlay via the muddy cloud, that their brains are warped. Power corrupts, as the saying goes.

So, people have accidents. Distractions are a major cause. I describe one below.

Disclosure: The past decade has seen me put 250K miles on the same vehicle on roads all of the U. S. In none of these trips was there some mobile device of the dumbing type involved. Yes, not twit, nor email; just music. The old FM/AM was sufficient augmented with CDs and tapes.

So, yesterday, I was buzzing along. Interstate situation. That means, 2 lanes each way, shoulder, markings, and such. And, out west. High speed. So, I was somewhere below 80 (mph) and the road had been mostly unchanging for several 10s of miles. Traversing a huge valley, okay?

I saw a car come up and pass, probably in the excess of 95 (mph). I turned my head to look, to the left, of course. Young lady with a heavy foot. Let's hope that she will be able to handle the consequences of driving like that.

Not more than a few seconds after I turned my head, I heard thump (and felt the vibration). I was being Newtonian. The road engineers put in a slight shift, but enough for my vehicle to go out of the bounds. It was not marked.

Marked? If you look now, you'll see curves marked heavily if they exceed a limit. Why? People have blithely gone off the road too many times on curves that just went past controllable conditions. I have taken those for years (night and day) with no problem. But, I do appreciate the warning.

It does not take much of a road change to cause havoc to the unaware. Nothing to worry about. You, the driver, are supposed to pay attention.

So, yesterday, the front-seat driver said, you went off the road. I said, no, the road moved away. Now, many try to correct the situation and do it too quickly. That is wrong. You just ease back. The thumps give you some additional information. And, in the better states, they are off the right line. Some have the thumps right at the line which does not give you much leeway. It is easy to drift off to the right just from subtle changes in elevation. Road warp, so to speak.


Now why would someone drive in such a situation with a dumbing device being in their face? In long stretches, there can be many road changes due to natural causes or man-made messes. Too, at a high speed, the amount of yardage covered accumulates quickly.

And, with a situation of an unexpected curve, how much time and yardage is lost before the mind gets back to the task of driving?

Making robot cars is no the answer. In fact, there are rules of the road (driving counsels) that we need to get specified. We'll try to write one of those soon.

Remarks: Modified: 10/25/2016

10/25/2016 --

Friday, September 30, 2016

Ease versus quality

This summer, I ran across several cases that puzzled me. I saw workers doing a process that was guaranteed to produce poor quality, as in, have poor results.

Yet, they blithely went about the work. Machoism? Idiots? Management intervention (same thing)?

In the first case, I asked some guy why they did it this way. You see, they had to do it over. He said that it was easier.

What? Where did we lose our sense of working for purpose?

Later, I talked to one manager. I said, your guys are doing things to make their job easier, not to do it better. He said, that's not right. However, I think that he was just pushing off the comment.

No wonder things are going to pot everywhere. Recalls up the wazoo. Shoddy work all around.

In another case, the guy said that this was the modern way. What? The older method gave better results. Matter of style? Not really.


Now, at the same time, we see an emphasis on self-auditing. What idiot thought of that?

Remarks: Modified: 09/30/2016

09/30/2016 --

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

100 years old

Illustration: Chad Hagen 
This is a little tardy. IEEE Spectrum featured Boeing's anniversary. Remember the date, July 15. Part of the remarks deal with the 787 which was the motivation for this blog.

How is that? Well, the first posts (August 2007) dealt with mission seeds for posts. This Seeds post was updated for a few years with current topics. Too, this was a month after the event (termed Potemkin, another side of the story) in which the company rolled out an empty shell with a lot of hoopla. Marketing had ruled over engineers (Here we go again). That little thing went on for awhile, then, engineers were given their right of driving themselves, and things worked (2011, lookback).

It was about the time that the program was getting its act together that the effects of financial idiocy started to become so public as to be unavoidable. Actually, that took more of my attention as flightblogger (now history) was doing a good job of following developments. The blogger went over to the Wall Street Journal.

But, continuing with the 787. This blog (started in 2008) is still in operation: All things 787. There are other blogs that were reporting their views throughout the process.

A comment on the All things 787 post is interesting. It concerns an early plane that Boeing cannot sell. This is the suggestion.
    For those two 787 frames that are unmarketable, I'd suggest they be donated to the NTSB and FAA for training of emergency crews. Equip one of them to fly unpiloted but controlled from a chase plane and then crash it on a runway that is no longer in use. Firefighters have not yet had to deal with a carbon fiber air frame on fire...with its attendant dangers of toxic fumes and minuscule carbon fibers being released into the air. Key questions would be how to suppress the flames quickly at such a crash site and how to properly outfit the firefighters. Full body hazmat suits? Special masks and air filters? What precautions need to be taken in terms of the spread of toxic fumes and fibrils into the surrounding community? (etc.)

    Such training has not yet been done. Are major airports properly equipped and fire crews adequately trained for this new situation?

In general, many areas have crept up over the years that are of concern. Of late, Quora has offered a platform to use answering questions as a manner to organize material and thoughts. Activity here will start up, again, sometime in the future. In the meantime, congratulations to Boeing.

Remarks: Modified: 08/24/2016

08/24/2016 --

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Recap needed

Of late, I have been in a warp that I never thought that I would see with business as run sanely. To see the particulars, see the lone post in June and July of this year in this blog. Yes, indeed. Caught in a vicious cycle of phone passing back and forth.

At times, it seemed to be strategic which was depressing. How did the business sense stoop so low? Well, consumerism might be a factor. So many people, so complicated trying to handle so much flow of stuff, and then the inevitable issues related to bad quality.

Except that I had not experienced inferior quality from the company, at least, not in the few transactions that I had taken. Rather, it was a choice of not wanting something. Could not tell until I had the thing in hand.

However, these was one quality concern, albeit not of significance because the things was cheap. So, you get what you pay for.

Cheap? Yes, less than $500. Now, that little bit, compared to the billions of those at top, is like a wart. But, to real folks, that does represent something. Too, though, one ought to get some type of response to a query.

But, then, too, talking to oodles of people per day can get tiring and tedious, I would suppose. Too, those who are answering the phone may not have the full picture. So, they have to assume.

That was why I was told many times that I was the problem. Yes. As I mentioned in the June post, someone told me to listen up, and they would explain. But, it was simple algebra being mangled. Oh well. That was rectified, but it was by going to Uncle Sam.

This time I went, on advice, to the Better Business Bureau. Ah, I feel for those folks. This one firm had 5K complaints in the last 3 years. BBB is not set up for that. Other firms, of the same nature, had 1000s of complaints. What? These companies owe BBB some money and respect.

Well, perhaps there may be acceptance, as the issue was resolved within a week. In fact, I heard back the next day. But, and I can give details, the guy that called was a jerk. Saying, listen up. Again. So, I let him ramble. They had a poor excuse. One wonders how often that has been used.

Well, BBB does have data. It might be worth studying if it were not too damned depressing. 1000s of complaints. Kudos to you, BBB.

In some sense, the problem came from a complicated system getting people confused. Well, we might expect that. And, according to some foreseers, that type of thing will become even worse. But, some of this just might be to only let those who persist get their proper completion. Otherwise, the expectation may be to have people give up.

How is this type of thing accounted for? Does the reward stay with the contractor who is doing the deed for the business?

As the young folks say, just saying. It's not my world.

Remarks: Modified: 08/11/2016

08/11/2016 --

Friday, July 15, 2016

What's up with Dell?

On Tuesday, I chatted with American Express. You see, I have been a card-carrying member since 1979. Well,hit me on the head for loyalty. Yet, have you served in the military? Only a small percentage of Americans have.

I told AmEx that Dell swears that it has sent a credit to the card account. AmEx has no record of this transaction. And, AmEx takes its reputation for financial prowess seriously. They told me to get some confirmation from Dell that they paid. Then, I was to get back to AmEx.

Aside: Some of the early details can be found at this blog post - Open letter to Michael Dell.

Mind you, this saga is months old. Many would have given up by now. Too, it is disheartening to get a different answer to different phone calls on different days. But, I attributed that to offshoring and other modern business practices that do not care for the end customer. Want me to expand upon that?

I called Dell after I had chatted with AmEx. If you look at the Remarks added to the "Open letter" post, you will see that I have recorded, there, some of interchanges. Several times, I was told 5 days more. Other times I was told that it is a 30-day process: be patient, you are in the final stages of the financial transaction that has been approved.

Several said that the credit had already been sent. Hence, the chat with AmEx. However, this reminds me of an issue with a phone company. I had talked to several persons about a problem with no resolution. One actually told me to listen, and she would explain and pay up.

It was simple algebra. Finally, I got some guy who could follow the logic. In the meantime, I put in a complaint with the Feds. I heard from the headquarters of the company. They assigned some muckity-muck to work with me. Also, they sweetened the pot, a little, in order to get me off of their back.

Too, they changed their process to remove this source of irritation. I did not get any pay for the consulting work. However, seeing them improve their process was enough. Though, I scratched my head at the declining smartness in the market place.

So, back to Tuesday. I used the number obtained on Monday from someone who said that the customer needs to talk to Dell Credit in regard to issues like this. That is, the ones answering the phone only see paid on their records, but there is some hang up somewhere such that the customer does not see the transaction. And, I must admit, I did ask, via chat once, where in the long bit of travel from a button push to a credit appearing on the screen was there a traffic tie-up. I mean, was I held up in commuter snarl?

On dialing the number, I found out that it was another entry into Customer Care (ah, let's talk that name, shall we?). The guy saw the record and said, oh, this will be paid in 48 hours. For sure, he assured me. And, I got a confirmation number. Well, I have that number. But, there is no credit. And, we are far beyond 48 hours.

That means that I'll have to get back on the phone for the umpteenth time with Dell and not know which of the many types I will end up with.

In the meantime, Michael, is this a scam being run under your nose? Or, do you know of it? How is this bit of profit accounted for? And, how many consumers have given up, thereby enlarging Dell's intake?

BTW, all of this has been on the consumer side of Dell. I called the business side and asked if they had heard of this. Twice. Both times, the person on the phone was aghast. What?

Yes, indeed, what is up with Dell, Michael?

Remarks: Modified: 08/10/2016

07/19/2016 -- I found this via the Corporate website. Filled in the report. ... BTW, I have called Dell several times. They must know my number as I go into hold with music that's like torture when you hear it enough. What that means is: what good is the 48 hours confirmation? Of course, I will continue. I'm missing on some deals (black Friday in July) since I will not buy until this is resolved.

07/22/2016 -- It's late in the afternoon. Nothing from Dell. Are they incompetent? Or is this some type of fraud to rook old (more than one sense) customers? It is way over 48 hours.

07/25/2016 -- Nary a peep. Replied to the Customer Care email. Got an automated response that someone will get back with me within 24 hours.

07/26/2016 -- Query yesterday said 24 hours. So, I have launched a BBB complaint. Dell, I would take a credit for a new system. Wake up. ... Later, heard from BBB. They have contacted Dell.

07/27/2016 -- Another message from BBB that they have contacted Dell. This morning a credit appeared from Dell on my account. That, at least, shows that the capability is there. The problem? It is a duplicate of an earlier credit received and not for the amount being discussed. Oh well. ... People wake up. Your automated processes are dumbing down people. Too, they confound issues far beyond what might be considered normal.

07/28/2016 -- Asked the card company. They let their vendors determine the date for a credit. It was dated two days before it appeared. On the other side, debits are recorded to within a second (give or take clock sync issues). ..., Later in the day. My phone system heard from Dell. They left a message with a phone number to call, with an extension. On my call-back, into hold, with the music that I have listened to for four months now.

07/28/2016 -- So, I get a call. The guy, more or less, tells me to shut up and listen. Later, he tells me how many minutes he has talked to me. Come on, Mr. Dell. The guy says that he has researched the case and sees that a credit was done on 6/8/16. Oh, sure. Why did he call? Well, he says that he needs another 1-2 days to talk to finance. Did I hear that before? This is in response to a BBB complaint. Come on, Mr. Dell. I just sent the guy a note with an attachment showing a refund from yesterday that was dated for three days ago. However, it was the repeat of a refund done way back in March. His research did not see that. Would finance? We shall see. BTW, what is a good substitute for Dell?

08/01/2016 -- I did not hear back from the guy on Friday. I had sent him a note on Thursday, after we spoke. A refund had appeared for an earlier purchase on Wednesday. I wanted to know if he had known of that. ... Then, on Friday, I get a note from BBB. Dell had sent them a note on Friday saying that I had been contacted and there was no resolution. ... Today, no call. So, later this afternoon, I sent a note and wanted to know when this will be finalized. ... Got a call just a few minutes ago, didn't have my phone with me, so there was a message. Ah, the guy says, somewhat bashfully, the credit did not go through because of technical difficulties. He could resubmit the request for a refund. But, he needs my credit card information. ... Notice, there was a refund from Dell just last week. ... So, what gives? Lots of possibilities. Say, Peter doesn't know what Paul is doing. Or, the off-shored people do not have a clue on how to fix things like this. ... You see, the other day, he was argumentative and downright crappy in attitude. Of course, what does he make? Mr. Dell is worth 18B. A little refund of $300 seems to be difficult to accomplish. The guy who has to talk to customers probably could use that $300. ... Ah, the strange ways of modern business. If they cannot do money, how can we trust their overall computing wherewithall?

08/02/2016 -- So, Dell says that there were technical difficulties. And, they will resubmit the request for a refund. I sent a note saying that I was by my phone. No call. So, I called. Luckily, the guy was available. He wanted my credit card number. When I go into purchase, it's already on my profile. Evidently, this group is outside of Dell's system. Okay. I give them the number. He says, in response to my query of how long, 2-3 business days. And, I am informed, it's too late for this week. He will call me next Monday. So, I will watch the account, in the meantime. Actually, Mr. Dell, I do this for two reasons. One is, I'll know when the credit appears. Two, I will watch for unauthorized activity. Something seems amiss. But, then, the thing is to get the refund. That settles the account. Then, I would like to know what is going on. That, I am afraid, may be a fool's errand. The world is going amok, and those with the big pockets like this when it is in their favor (opens up the giant vacuuming process to take from the pockets of the hapless).

08/03/2016 -- I get a call. Same guy. He says that there was a rejection. And, he wanted the number, again. Also, he said that he would expedite the thing. How long, I ask? It would take 2-3 business days, he says. Any questions, he asks? No, I'm just wondering about deja vu here. What gives? Indeed. We'll keep you posted, he says. Well, I'll keep this posted, here, too.

08/04/2016 -- Later, I got an email. It says that the credit was done. I ought to see it in 2-3 days. ... Nothing yet. And, no untoward charges.

08/05/2016 -- The credit, expected back in April, appeared this morning on my account dated 8/3/16. Also, there were some reads on this post the past 24 hours. Anyone from Dell?

08/10/2016 -- What gives? For sure. The case is closed. Dell responded. Not to the extent that I would have liked, but it's not a perfect world. One reason is that we have business people making decisions that are suspect (other ways to characterize) in the longer term. Poor BBB. Non-profit. Let's see. Dell had thousands of complaints. Boeing? One. There are other firms that only have a few. One retailer (big name) has a 'F' rating. Lots of complaints. And, they drag their feet. And, about the web vendors? Two big names have more complaints than Dell. But, Michael, take no comfort in that. I sampled a few. Need to look at this further. ... However, the business brain that strategized this approach to customer service was stupid. Categorically. Again, poor BBB. And, how many do not know to go to BBB? How many never get their little claims rectified? Who cares? At the top, there are billions of personal accumulations? ... Look for "near zero" in my blogs. I'll get back to that. For any accumulation of a large magnitude, there are myriads of little losses. Oh, they aren't human; don't fee the pain. That's the thinking? ...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Open letter to Michael Dell


Your people's approach punishes your customers who do not follow your processes which are not clear; also, these processes cause your people to give ambiguous instructions. Before the events described below started, I had researched Dell's ratings. Some things that I noted, and ignored, came about. My intent here is to document what happened clearly. Perhaps, you might learn from this.

By the way of introduction, except for systems bought in the early 90s (one still working), I have bought Dell computers. These still work (10 years old, 7 years old, 4 years old) even if I do need to nurture the function of the older models. I am currently writing this on the 4-year old (Vostro) which has performed marvelously (still does). But, I need a larger laptop plus something a little more mobile.

So, to the gist of the story. I ordered a Venue 10 in February. I thought that it might be large enough. The Venue and its accessories came quickly with no problems (two boxes, though, from two different places). After a week, I saw that it was too small. The keyboard was awkward (larger hands and fingers, also I am a touch typist so I do not hunt and peck). Incidentally, I have an early Toshiba laptop (the model that went up on Everest). Its keyboard was quite comfortable.

I called Dell to initiate a return. Your agent asked, would you take a discount and keep the thing? Well, I opted for that. Dell gave me a discount. But, after another week, I did not see any need to keep the system. Also, I think that I need, at least, a 12" to have a more comfortable keyboard. I called Dell, again. The person that I talked to was hard to understand but ended up sending me one address label. I had asked about this. To the person, and by email.

There was no response, so I put everything into one (the larger) box and took it to UPS (destination, Ohio). There were several items in the box: those that came originally in the larger box plus the Venue which had come from a different location by itself in a smaller box. Everything was packed well in the larger box. I received notice of receipt by Dell plus UPS notified me of delivery.

Recap - timeline:
    Feb - order and receive; start return
    March - pack and ship, confirmed by UPS and Dell; call about refund
    April - calls about status and refund
    May - calls about status and refund
We are now into June.

I got a refund in short order for the items in the larger box. When I called about the Venue, I was told that Ohio did not handle these types of returns. But where was the Venue? I had feared that someone would swipe the Venue. But, it sat on the shelf for over six weeks. After several calls, we worked out that the Venue was supposed to have gone (by itself, separate box, address label) to Tennessee. Tsk, Tsk for me (stupid customer).

So, we have a problem in this instance. Your people implied that the process could not work because the records in the computer were not right. Okay, is that my problem as a customer? When the box was opened in Ohio, the extra item (the Venue) ought to have been noted and put into some type of return process. As in, change the computer record to reflect this. But, no, the Venue was put on a shelf somewhere.

In response to some of my calls, your folks noted the time lapse and promised that the remainder of the refund would be done in 3 to 5 days. On the last call (two weeks ago), I was told that the case was, finally, in finance. That is, there had been some change made to the computer record, the Venue had been shipped to Tennessee, the Venue was processed back into the Tennessee site, and the refund process was going forward.

And, I was reminded that refunds could take 30 days. By this time, it was already over 60 days from receipt of the Venue by Dell in Ohio.

Today, I re-checked; there is no refund. We are not talking a huge amount. It is not the money. Rather, I wanted to see just how botched up your process might be. Too, I got an earful of your people's attitude. As well, this has caused me to delay my purchases.

So, the issue is that I ought to have been sent two address labels. However, even with that, the person opening the package in Ohio could have done more than just put the Venue on a shelf. Then, I talked to several people who could not figure out what had happened. Some actually suggested that the problem was due to me (stupid customer). Meanwhile, the Venue sat and sat. At some point, in late April, one of your folks got the process going to get the computer record updated so that the Venue could be handled properly (planned delay to make me squirm?).

What gives there? Dell is supposedly a top-notch technology firm. And, it takes six weeks to move one little computer one state over? I could drive that in half a day.

My purchases are pending resolution of this little tangled mess.

BTW, since I am a long-time customer, I got an email asking how the purchase went. I responded and never heard back. I have sent notes through various means. It is like a blank wall. That is, people respond to a call; then, things are dropped. Where is the follow-through that would help with your customer relations?

Fortunately, I can still call which I will do in the near future. When I do so, I will put notes below.

Like your canned music. Being on interminable hold (time and again) can be bothersome. But, perhaps, the light at the end of the tunnel is close at hand.

Remarks: Modified: 07/15/2016

06/03/2016 -- Called today. Another 45 minutes or so. Most of it was the Dell person having me on hold while he researched the problem. After some circuitous movement through cases, delineated by long numbers, we got back to the original one. That was nice, as I recognized the number.  In short, he verified what I knew. Made sure that I knew that I was to blame by insisting that Dell sent two labels. My email shows that I got one. And, the Venue was in Tennessee by early May (six weeks) at which time the refund process went to Finance as I learned when I called on May 3 and verified on 11. Why did I call back in 8 days? On May 3, the person said it would be 3-5 business days for the refund. We are waiting. 10 weeks after the Venue was in Dell's hands. The Return department has done their thing; now, they say wait. Some more.

06/06/2016 -- No refund, as this am. The computer sat on a shelf about four hundred miles from where it should have been for six weeks. At least, it was not stolen. Does that, perchance, say something of the Venue 10? BTW, I drive that in a day. Perhaps, I ought to have offered to carry it from OH to TN.

06/14/2016 -- The last time I spoke to Dell in early June, it was the Returns department. They informed me that the they have done what they could and that I ought to contact Finance. So, not being an irritant, I waited and was going to call today. As, there is no refund. I have been checking, every day. Just did a few minutes ago. Now, to call Finance, I needed a number. Looking, again, at the FAQ, I saw that refunds could take 60 days from receipt. Let's see. That was March 21st. So, we're approaching over 90 days. But, it sat for six weeks. The clock then started in late April. The FAQ suggested to check Dell account. I had been doing that; last time was on the 6th. So, I see, today, that on the 7th, payment was approved. The notice looks like an order with a delivery date. The type of delivery was for 7-days. So, that would be today, unless it means business days. In any case, the order said that it was awaiting pickup by the delivery system. Okay. The other credit was back to the card used in the order. Other? Yes, the part of the order that was returned to the right place. That worked well. It was the part of the order that went to where it ought not that caused this hangup. So, the question is, when will the refund pop up? There are purchases pending resolution of this. Not from a financial sense; rather, a mere matter of principle. In the meantime, I am looking at other options. You know, Samsung looks good.

06/30/2016 -- Went to my Dell account. This refund is put out as a shipment. It says shipped. That record was put there on 6/7. Of 2016. There has been no completion So, I called. By email, I got a Credit Memo. Which I am to take to the bank, the Dell person said. There has been no transaction that corresponds with the CM. ... Spent two hours on the phone. So, the Credit Memo, more or less, shows what Dell paid so far. And, it was as of Mar. It took Apr and May to get the Venue processed. According to Zaid, there was a credit posted on 6/7. But, it takes 30 days to kick in. So, we have to wait until July 7th to find out. ... That would be receipt on Mar 21 (confirmed) with refund in July. Well over 90 days. But, then, it's my fault as a customer for letting their process have a system sit on the shelf for 6+ weeks gathering dust. I am grateful that no one ran off with the thing. No one wanted a  Venue?

07/07/2016 -- Nothing. Mike, are you running a scam?

07/11/2016 -- Nada. Talked to several people. Lines were dropped. Spent 45 minutes, twice, on hold, listening to the music. How? Phone on desk, speaker on, and doing other work. I was finally told by one person that it was paid on 6/8/2016. What? Yes. Also, I was given a number to call that handled credit card disputes. But, I did not use Dell's credit. I didn't use credit at all except for handling the payment. The thing was purchased in February, paid in March, returned in March. I tried the number. Long wait on hold. I also left a message.

07/12/2016 -- No return of the message. So, I chatted with AmEx. I don't know if they like that contraction, but I use it. I told AmEx that Dell swears that they sent a credit. You see, this raises the concern of AmEx about mishandling or reputation. Whatever. They said to get a Credit Memo. That was done earlier. Now, if Dell gave me such, they would be saying that they paid. But, where is the credit? So, I called that number given to me yesterday. The guy says. The payment is in the final stages. But, I respond, I was told that on June 30th and was told that it takes 30 days starting on June 7th. How long does it take? He comes back on the line and says 48 hours. He also gave me a confirmation number. So, we shall see. However the next two days unfold, I intend to recap this. It seems to be a problem on the consumer side, not the business side.

07/14/2016 -- Going on 48 hours. No credit. How many people have gone through this and gave up? That is, Dell, then, kept the money. How is this illicit gain accounted for?

07/15/2016 -- What's up with Dell?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Windows and all

Context: OfficeLive, Content, we know (note, my favorite site, dealing with mathematical physics, was HTML/CSS for years - flash can work against content - games are not reality).


This is an oops for me. MS has been offering Windows 10 (W10) for free, for awhile. Lately, I notice that the offer is up at the end of July.

So, all of these months, I have held off. I am running Windows 7 on a laptop (Dell Vostro) that is 4 years old. It has been doing well. I had a BSOD yesterday but can explain it. Altogether, there have about a handful of these events. On the other hand, Windows Vista had a slew of BSODs over the years.

As I write this post, I'm enjoying the cooling breeze of the fan. As, the computer is running just warm after I went back to Windows 7 after doing W10 just long enough to see the issues. The CPU usage is holding at a low rate. After all, all I am doing at this time is typing. Nothing is running in the background. Sure, there are a whole bunch of processes awaiting something from me, but they'll sit there until I respond. Very few cycles are required for that.

So, now for the OOPS (yes, MS, tsk). This is my fault. I read about a year ago some (very) glowing report about W10. I used it briefly on a Venue. Also, I have played with various demo little devices. But, I did not get into the specifics. I did notice that it was not as fast as I expected. As the glowing report talked about speed and small footprint.

Where the heck did they get that idea for the report? That is, it appears to use less memory. It's beating up the CPU in order to have that little bit of fantasy. Clever, sure. But, somehow, I had expected that we were looking at something new.

Today, I put on Windows 10. I have notes and can write about the process. I told MS when they asked, that if I had not known what I was doing, I would not have completed the task. I had to do some workaround. The wait during the install process was not outrageous as I could continue to work.

But, as soon as I booted W10, my computer ran hot. So, I pop up the Task Manager. Sure enough, CPU as maxed out. Memory was almost out (we're talking 6 gigs). So, I started to remove things that somehow were put in place by the installer. That got memory reduced. So, I could get to where I had multiple processes going that I could balance.

However, even if I just let these things wait and just typed like this post, it still ran 100% and in a very heated mode. MS, ever heard of burning candles at both ends?

Well, I did some quick reading. Remove things was suggested. Clean out the crap. So I did. But the biggest thing of use had to do with memory and compression. So, what is that? Well, this little sleight of hand by MS pushed a big thing into a smaller space by doing transforms. That is, smaller, but denser. Trade-offs that ought to be brought to attention. I know, lots of brains were behind this.

Well, silly old me, I figured that they (MS) had really pulled out the crap. What a dunce I was! This is MS, after all. The joke was (is?): type win, and you lose.

So, when I get a W10 machine (for the apps), I'll have to make sure that it has oodles of memory. But, then, will the CPU still be worked to death? This may have already been discussed elsewhere. I will have to read on this and get back.

Do I have the energy to look at this in detail? You see, waste and computing seem to go hand in hand. And, these folks talk as if they are going to maximize efficiency, minimize need for power, etc. That is, people who use these things are driven to bow to this stupidity.

When will we wake up?

There is a bind here. Windows 7 is so far down the line that updates have accumulated almost to the height of the highest mountain. Going to W10 was supposed to reduce that so that the heap would be small for awhile.

Forget that.

Is Apple any better on the efficiency issue?

Remarks: Modified: 05/31/2016

05/31/2016 --

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beans, again

I put two posts on Truth Engineering (TE) related to this theme: Beans and such and Boomer lessons. Why TE? Well, beans are important. We expect that they will be handled appropriately; yet, through history, beans have been hard to control.

In the modern realm, things are a little better. Little? Yes, we have accounting. Yet, books are cooked; people are screwed out of their life savings. Then, even the most modern are problematic. Take bitcoin. It has been used to support gambling, illicit activities of other types, and even piracy. Piracy? Yes, someone ran a Ponzi scheme, evidently successfully.

So, oops, too? You bet.

And, beans apply here, too (04/11/2009). Back then, the conversation was about the fiction in finance. Is it any different, today?

Not. But, we must get a better handle on these things. How to go about that varies so much by personality and such.

We must not think that it is hopeless; after all, we learn how to engineer chaos, manage NP, and have some sort of success with Turing issues.

Remarks: Modified: 04/13/2016

04/13/2016 --

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ranting bot

Could not have asked for a better Good Friday gift: ranting bot. There will be subsequent analysis after a little time to see the reactions.

Related to this? Big-daddy data. Gosh, if only Janet would pull the plug on this mania by raising the rate. Janet, you are coddling moral idiots in their trashing of our economy.

Remarks: Modified: 03/25/2016

03/25/2016 --

Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day, 2016

We started this blog in 2007. So, this will be our third Leap Day. It might be interesting to see what was going during each of those earlier times.
    2008 This blog's first focus was looking at one product from a project management perspective. By February 2008, there was a fourth survey completed. See Oops happen. The response was hardly enough to be significant; however, it it interesting. We intend to get back to this; however, the engineers took over in 2010 which prompted this "We're gone" post.

    You see, we could trust engineers to do a product right once the marketing folks got out of the way. Finance? Not, it's a mess. Was then; still is. There were so many things out of whack that several books have not covered the gamut. So, expect more about this.

    2012 A few years later, the product was in the air. However, we were all watching Ben trying to get the economy to go. Those who could were still not getting things back to normal. That is, the best and brightest were still baffled and baffling to the rest of us. By this time, there ought to have been some recovery that would have pushed inflation and prompted Ben to raise rates. But, now, Ben went into QE and more; savers, essentially, went from being slapped to being flayed.

    Guess what? Now, we're dealing with Janet. Things are still running amok. The investors want cheap money. But, why not? Some central bankers have gone negative. Makes it all the more apparent that there needs to be a redefinition. What this might look like is the task. 
This brief look back us of the work that remains to be done.

Remarks: Modified: 02/29/2016

02/29/2016 --

Friday, February 19, 2016


Still plugging along. Truth engineering covers the larger picture. Quora has been taking time and interest of late. There will be more about the discussion platform made available via Quora. I have attained a frequently-read writer status in several areas.

A couple of items. These will continue to be of interest as is safe computing.
  • . Businessweek had an article: Why Doesn’t Silicon Valley Hire Black Coders? One coder talked about his culture shock. Now, having lived in several parts of the country, I can relate. Some location transitions are more jolting that others. Now, this guy said that he kept hearing: I started to code at 7 years old. Turns out that SV is full of these types. Loose or non existence moral sense? Elsewhere, I mentioned that the financial mess is due in part to the young, best-and-brightest being let loose. As in, old guys with money not wanting to look at technical details. It's true, folks. One wonders how things will be when the current millennial mix gets older. To my view, this whole perturbation was a one-off deal. Technology came along causing (forcing) all sorts of changes. One prevalent view, that is troublesome, is that (real) people are in the way and unnecessary. We will get back to that. 
  • .The WSJ reported that BA has a deferred cost burden around $28B. Yes, billion. And, they are nearing the point where they can sell for more than they spend making the 787. Now, let's say that they sell 2,000. That would be a burden on each of $14M. Yes, million. Deferred cost? Just what exactly is that? Many would like to know. 

I will link this blog, and the other blogs, to Quora this year. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/19/2016

02/19/2016 --

Saturday, January 9, 2016

I'm back

Earlier, there was a not-back series. But, it's time to get involved, again.

Yesterday, I saw two attempts at taking over the machine. Now, why is this related to 7'oops7? After all, the 787 flies. Well, the whole cloud / internet is a mess. And, engineering is responsible for part of this. What ought to be done about the mess?

Too, the younger types are running after the internet of everything. They need to talk to some old fart, like myself, who sees things more clearly than their pursuit of money and fame allows them to see. Okay?

In one case, it was a survey that was presented under the guise of a legitimate company with whom I deal. Let's say the company is right in the middle of the stream. We cannot live digitally / virtually / cloudily / et-al without this type. But, they are not saints, to use one culture's view. The survey then popped up coupons, for trashy stuff. Sheesh. Of course, I did not follow the lead; til then, I had ignored this type of thing. But, this was from a core piece of the flow.

Then, later, while browsing / searching via Google a pop-up came on about the machine being in a state of a comprising nature. I happened to have the speakers on since I deigned to watch a video (crap, did not tell me anything of value, no one reads anymore? - sheesh, give me text to read) on the subject - technical, by the way. A woman's voice broke into my awareness with a supposed message of concern.

So, I have my ways and means; I got the process trashed before it could do anything. But, it gave me pause. As when one is working and focused, one does not expect that a coworker would set up an unsafe mode. Not usually. If you work in an environment that is unsafe, then process and caution will help. OSHA, for one, deals with the proper way there.

So, thanks brothers and sisters who are providing the internet. Nice job. Lots to say here.

Slogan: We stay safe as we practice safe computing. But, we, too, need to identify the idiots and not allow them to make so much money (by the way, those with the most money are, sometimes, the dumbest from one very old, and respectable, view - but, then, it is an age-old set of problems that we are dealing with here).

Remarks: Modified: 01/09/2016

01/09/2016 --

Monday, January 4, 2016

Summary, 2015

In 2015, there were 14 posts.

See Summary, 2014. The "All time" reads are the same as last year. The "Last 30 days" reads are all of this year's posts.

Top 5 posts 

Prior years: 201120122013.

See "4th December" in 2010 and "Last post for 2008" (for Truth Engineering, this same post has been popular). 

Remarks: Modified: 01/04/2016

01/04/2016 --