Internet


Can You Zattoo?

I got an email a couple of weeks ago from a friend in Switzerland who recommended that I try out a Zattoo.com. Zattoo offers live TV on your PC for Europeans. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work in the U.S. (It must be restricted by IP address.)

Zattoo Screenshot

The programming on Zattoo, frankly, looks like an ex-expatriate’s dream, with channels including BBC Prime, Eurosport, TF1, ZDF, France2, Sat 1, and Rai Uno. I will have to wait until this spring when I visit to see it myself. If anyone has given it a try, please let me know.

Juiced?Then the other day I was reading about a friend of a friend who has just published a book entitled, The Royal Nonesuch. In that I had not seen the fellow for a couple years I checked out his blog and read about Joost, which I’d heard rumblings about in the past. Joost is a venture by the guys who created Skype, Niklus Zennstrom and Janus Friis.

I’ve applied for the beta testing of Joost and am waiting to get access. The technology uses the same peer-to-peer connection that is used in Skype. It sounds interesting and I will let you know what it looks like.

If anyone has experience with Joost, please let us know.

Libya is buying 1.2 million laptops for its children. The agreement for the purchase is through the One Laptop per Child project, which is run by Nicholas Negroponte, brother of John Negroponte.

I have a two things to say to this purchase:

  1. Hooray for Libya! Hooray for Libya’s kids!
  2. WTF USA? WTF England, France, Germany, Canada, et al? Way to take care of your kids.

More on OLPC later. I have opinions on that I urgently want to share, but not to day.

Think that $250 million is a lot of money even to a G-8 country? $250 million represents almost exactly what Halliburton was reimbursed when the U.S. Army decided, in February 2006, not to dispute the company’s cost accounting, even though the Pentagon’s own auditors had identified those costs as potentially excessive.

Alright. The world is ending. I’m tired of giving my blog the silent treatment. And Internet Explorer 7 is expected to be pushed out to all Windows Update and Microsoft Update subscribers tonight.

Can I just say that IE 7 was kind of a bear to deal with when blogging because of the safety features? Oh well. I’ve committed now. I’ll continue to show Lebenzeichen.

AWW! Crapola. IE 7 doesn’t come with tonight’s smorgasbord. Rather it’s coming later in October. or something.

I’ve been playing around with Tor and Vidalia for a while now. Tor is a tool for hiding browsing information and Vidalia is the management tool for the “onion skin” routers that one bounces through when using Tor.

The Tor/Vidalia and, now, Torpark, remind me a little bit of TriangleBoy, which was a tool developed in the to anonymously surf the web. TriangleBoy was developed with money from the NSA.

Anyway, Torpark is really cool in that it is less of a hassle than Tor/Vidalia bundle. I will give a more thorough review later, but for now there seems to be a few sites that have picked up on its release.

So, this morning Aug 10, 2006, I opened a “dispute” on PayPa at about 8:30 am, which amounts to sending the seller an email of limited length telling what you think is wrong and what you want done.

Reviewing the interactions so far, and the seller’s inability to send anything at all, I concluded with:

At this point, I would like my payment returned. I will follow this dispute through the channels provided by eBay and PayPal. From there, I will pursue other options including, but by no means limited to, Small Claims Court, and other legal instruments and codes governing interstate commerce and contracts.

Low and behold, less than two hours later the seller emailed me.

Aug 10, 2006 10:15 AM: Sorry he wrote. My internet has been down, the bike will show up on UPS today. Call me after 5 pm today.

I wrote back quickly that it was cool. I would call him. (This was probably dumb and accomodating, since he had my money. But, what can I say? I’m a nice guy.)
Aug 10, 2006 10:39 AM: Seller apologizes again and offers to refund my shipping money.

I said, I don’t care about the shipping money. Let’s just get the bike in the mail or all of my money back.

It’s now, 3:46 pm and the bike has not yet shown up in UPS. We’ll see.

A couple of weeks ago I was the winning bidder on an eBay auction for a mountain bike, because we wire heads need to get out, and I wanted a better solution than walking or driving to work.

Now, I’ve been wary of being schemed on eBay. It’s apparent that some individuals do not act in full faith when selling their goods. Some even don’t intend on actually paying the right amount when buying. But I placed my trust in the company and my ability to discern, against the warnings of my wife, who said I should just go buy a new bike down at the local dealer.

Unfortunately, my experience this time around has not gone so well. At this point, I am hoping that I do not get completely ripped off. However, PayPal and eBay’s policies are not too promising, from first glance.

Here’s the timeline so far:
Jul 27, 2006: I won the bid and sent off my payment via PayPal.

Jul 29, 2006 11:45 AM: The seller contacted me via email and told me that he would “be emailing you the conformation # later tonight.”

Jul 29, 2006 8:57 PM: I responded, “Great!” and told him how excited I was.

Jul 31, 2006 1:58 PM: I wrote a follow-up email asking for information on the tracking number, which hadn’t arrived yet.

Aug 2, 2006 1:49 PM: I inquired again about whether the bike had been shipped yet.

Aug 2, 2006 4:02 PM: Seller responded by apologizing for the delay. He provided me with a UPS shipping number and wrote that he was going to throw in a large helmet.

At this point, I checked the UPS tracking number and saw that the billing information had been received, but that the item had not yet been picked up.

Aug 3, 2006 1:25 PM: I replied thanking him for the info. Have I mentioned I have a large head?

Aug 6, 2006 3:01 PM: With the tracking number still in UPS’s system and the bike not yet shipped, I wrote again. This time, I mentioned that UPS was showing that the item had not yet been shipped and I wrote that I would like to know when he intended to ship the item.

Aug 7, 2006 7:03 PM: Growing ever more impatient, I wrote again, explaining that I was looking forward to riding bike the coming weekend.

Aug 8, 2006 8:31 AM: In a fourth consecutive email I wrote that if he was having problems, I understood, but that I was concerned.

Aug 9, 2006 10:28 AM: Completely frustrated, I wrote today that if the seller wanted to keep the bike, I would be happy with my money back, but that if neither the bike nor the money was sent by today, I would contact eBay and PayPal.

Then, this afternoon, I used eBay’s site to request the seller’s information. His cell phone was listed. I called him and said that I wanted to resolve the issue.

Ok. Ok.

Let’s see what the Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference is all about. It begins today.

Live coverage at MacRumors.
Many of you are ready for a .Mac update. We’ll see what happens shortly.

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