Opinion


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.

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It may not be technology, but maybe we’re all toast.

Okay, taking unsecured Highly Enriched Uranium out of Poland is probably a good thing.

But, the uranium-filled “flasks were then loaded onto a battered Russian transport aircraft.”

Nie dobrze. Read on.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4778651.stm

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.

Romancing the Screen

It’s official, according to the BBC. Women prefer a love letter to a romantic text or email.

I gotta say, I was much more successful over the years sending letters than emailing. Women, at least the type I was attracted to, didn’t find much in a text message, either. Ok. I don’t think I ever texted much. I’m a little older than that.

And I’ve had a hard time believing that anyone could be romanced by a 1 1/2″ screen that reads

“Wat Lit Frm Yondr Wndw Brks… ”

Ahh. Romance in a digital age.

Thanks! This is new Web 2.0 stuff is fun!

Best thing is people, on aggregate, make their own news.  And they get to understand that they aren’t alone in their aggravation.

Now, if only Steve Jobs will listen. . ..

I’m massively disappointed in .Mac Mail’s lack of anti-spam tools. I primarily utilize the website and over the last few months I have seen a huge increase in the amount of spam in the account I use. I’ve noticed on your .Mac discussion boards there are numerous and voiciferous complaints regarding the increased rate of spam in .Mac accounts.

As a systems administrator, I am very mindful of avoiding spam and know how best to avoid spam. I have been a .Mac member since it was free. Now, I understand that it is foolish to pay $99 for the right to have a year’s worth of email, a website, and an iDisk account, when I could get more robust versions of most of this stuff for free somewhere else. It is particularly for me to pay for this since I don’t use a Mac much anymore. I support Macs some, but they’re no longer my bread and butter. Still, I have been a long-time user of your products and I enjoy having the same address and being associated with Apple in some way.
If there is not some work done to address this, I will think twice before renewing my subscription. I think there are others out there who would agree, after some of these complaints on your discussion boards are the kinds of things one has been able to find on Dell customer service discussion boards for some time now. And that part of their business isn’t going so well, now, is it?

I recognize that .Mac represents these days just a tiny portion of your overall revenue stream. It’s not sexy like iTunes or the iPod. Or at least it isn’t anymore. .Mac is becoming more and more like my old ’93 Honda Accord. Useful, but definitely showing its age.

Of course, .Mac isn’t a ’93 Honda Accord, it was, at least, an initial cornerstone to the whole Mac lifestyle idea you had envisioned. Now, Mr. Jobs, might I respectfully suggest, some upkeep be performed on .Mac.

Thank you for your time.

Yours, for now,

Jon Strand

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