Satya's blog - 2006/02/

Feb 21 2006 08:22 Linkblog
My linkblog is now out there.
Feb 16 2006 13:19 Insurance shenanigans
I used to have Blue Cross Blue SHield (BCBS) for health and dental insurance. I now apparently have BCBS for dental and BlueChoice (BC) for health. What happened was, I kept going to either the BCBS or BC site and logging in to the same My Insurance Manager (MIM) site. That's right, the same site. Keep that in mind. BCBS and BC are separate 'entities' according to customer support.

Every time I went in I could log in and see my wife on dental but not health. So I called and they couldn't tell me why. So I sent them a couple of messages from within their craptastic MIM interface (which up-cased all my messages and broke the lines at weird places). Never got a reply.

My insurance has changed this year, and my number is slightly different. I can't change plans by going to "modify profile". When I called today I found out that BCBS and BC are "separate entities" and I need to create a new profile for BC. I had tried to create a new profile before and couldn't, and this time was the same. I need a different user name.

So. Different entities, same system. I can't have them both on the same profile because separate entities. I can't have two profiles with the same name (and they have different rules for the password format, too) because same system. People, if you want to be separate entities then have separate systems! Do not confuse your customers!

Tag: rant

Feb 15 2006 08:30 The Consumerist
The Consumerist is what this blog would be if I didn't talk about models so much. It's all about consumer rants but apparently only from their own point of view. I've had a long-standing negative feeling about them because they don't allow any kind of commenting unless you're somehow in their circle of friends. That's okay, their web site = their rules.

But one of today's articles was just stupid: They think that the internet is a visual medium. Maybe, but that's what alt attributes (not "tags" people!) and other alternative content are for. (They're not for saying "get a real browser/email program" either. Smeg off, spammers who want me to get a "real email program" to read their spam.)

These people have also never heard of Section 508. (Whatever that is. I don't have a cite. Go look at google your favorite search engine.) Basically it requires certain kinds of accessibility features. Like alt attributes.

It's just wrong.

"If he wants to use the internet so much why doesn't he use a text-to-speach program?" (sic) says one of the commentators. That's the point, isn't it? Text-to-speech won't help if the clueless wankers designing the web site don't have alt attributes! No amount of text-to-speech is going to help with an image.

Oh, and Consumerist? Target sells lots of other things besides banana hammock Speedos. PS: Your web site has 78 HTML errors.

Tag: rant

Feb 11 2006 21:43 Bewitched
Just saw Bewitched, the new (relatively) movie starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. Couple of observations. The original witch did a nose twitch, Kidman does an ear thing and some kind of hand thing. Also, Ferrel and Steve Carell, both Saturday Night Live veterans, both do the thing where an outside force makes them say gibberish on camera. Carell did it in Bruce Almighty, remember? Carell also shows up in this movie. (Hmm, Carell stars in an upcoming movie, Evan Almighty.)

Tag: movie

Feb 10 2006 07:56 Red Cross Phone Spam
Couple of days ago I received a recorded phone message from the American Red Cross talking about how important it is to give blood (agreed) and to press 1/call a number to schedule my next appointment. I've already given blood less than 60 days ago. They won't let me give more even if I wanted, until about two weeks from now. So why are they phone spamming me?

I pressed 1 to tell them to not call me, and was connected with a phone menu. I thought "forget that" and hung up. Next morning I received a call from some lady at the Red Cross. (Voice message; I was asleep, thought it was the alarm, and shut it off. It was about 9-ish and I was sleeping late.) She said there was an interrupted call from me (true), and I should call back to complete my call if I wanted to. I don't want to! I want to tell them to stop annoying me, as I'm going to be a regular donor at my local office anyway! That's why I pressed 1! So stop calling me!

Tag: rant spam

Feb 08 2006 08:37 Firefox print bug
I had this web page that should have printed three or so sheets of paper but would print only one -- or worse, print 2 copies of the first sheet if on an in-page anchor. The fix: set position to relative in the print style sheet.

Keywords: Firefox print bug causes repeated sheets, set position relative.

Tag: geeky bugfix howto

Feb 06 2006 08:11 Email stamps

That's just wrong.

All the messages that are paid for will bear a stamp saying they are authentic.

I wonder how easy it will be to forge? All these solutions are run *by* some random company *for* the big names. What happens when random company commits various acts of corporate stupidity? Or doesn't like your company (your company shouldn't be running through a Big Name webmail provider anyway)? Or doesn't like your ideology, or holds your ISP to ransom for "bandwidth charges"?

Tag: harmful email

Feb 05 2006 21:07 Foggy
Last month, January 13, was very foggy. I took some picture of the lake behind my apartment as well as on the Ravenel Bridge across the Cooper River. Many muscle cells died to bring us this information; the climb up from Mount Pleasant is steep.

Here are some ducks and the gazebo(?). The ducks seem unconcerned.
Ducks on foggy lake Ducks on foggy lake

The bike lane and the bridge float in whiteness. Cars appear out of nowhere. Note the wet pavement. The water fogged up my glasses on the way down the other side.
Ravenel Bridge Ravenel Bridge in fog

The suspension cable and pylons rise out of the fog. The second picture shows a faint blur to the right near the widest point of the pylon. That is an antenna mast in Mount Pleasant. That picture was taken while looking back the way I came.
Ravenel Bridge pylons Ravenel Bridge and Mt Pleasant

Here's a rare picture: The old Pearman bridge truss, soon to go away, is barely visible through the fog in the background.
Ravenel and Pearman

And the last picture. Downtown Charleston and the East Bay onramps, Meeting Street interchange, all invisible in the fog.
Ravenel Bridge and invisible downtown Charleston

Last updated: Feb 05 2006 21:21

Tag: charleston weather

Feb 05 2006 09:21 New building kits
I bought the Megabloks Probuilder Master Series kit number 9778, the Steam Express, for $30 from a ToysRUs liquidation sale. The thing goes for $40 anyway. It contains 1300 pieces. A similar LEGO kit would cost upwards of $150 (The Star Wars Ultimate Collection Series kits, granted, are probably marked up due to branding, but cost about $10 per 1000100 pieces). Megabloks is cheaper and made in China but you can't beat the price. Wish LEGO kits were cheaper.

Also bought two kits branded "Best Lock", which seem to be cheaper clones and say that they're compatible with "other brands" (i.e. LEGO). These two cost about $5 each and contain about 210 pieces each. One's an A-10 warthog and the other is something like a Bradley or half-track or something. An APC-type thing.

Update: The SW LEGO kits cost ~ $10 for 100 pieces, not 1000.

Last updated: Feb 05 2006 09:24

Tag: model

Feb 02 2006 22:50 Biking in the rain
Got home just in time today. At work, someone went "whoa..." so we checked the radar map which showed much nastiness. About 3PM it started getting dark so I decided to leave, and did.

Went to the library. Waffled about riding the bus or riding across the bridge by myself. Took too long, missed the bus.

Biked up the incline at 14+ miles/hour, quickly spooling down to the usual 4/5. Wind in my face, slowed me down badly. Took almost twice as long as if the wind had been behind me. Felt a drop as I pulled into the parking lot. The sky opened up when I got inside the house.

Probably hasn't stopped since. Was raining bad when I went to get the mail. On a positive note, I can file my income tax return now.

Tag: self

Feb 02 2006 21:19 Next Star Wars movie
I heard that in the next Star Wars movie, Obi-wan dies!

Tag: starwars silly

Feb 01 2006 18:03 Keto-Enol
So ST: Enterprise just had a planet called Keto-Enol. Is that like ketones and phenols? (Go google, I'm not going to link it for you.)

Tag: startrek

Feb 01 2006 17:56 Star Trek: Enterprise
The Star Trek: Enterprise opening credits/title sequence is nice. Nice song, nicely sung, and nice images of human transport -- a sailing raft, HMS Enterprize, aircraft pioneers, various shots of the US space program, segueing nicely into the "future" scicen fiction, ending with the NX-01 warping off. I would reproduce the lyrics here but I don't want to get done for a copyright violation.

And now for a DVD complaint. Why the HELL can't I fast-forward or skip the crap at the beginning of the DVD? Each of them contains four episodes. If I don't watch them in one sitting, I could have up to four sessions (more if I don't mind coming back in the middle) but I have to sit through the CRAP EVERY TIME! DAMMIT@! VIACOM, YOU SUCK! Is it any wonder no one's buying your crap, *AA?

Tag: startrek tv