April 24th, 2008


Need a phone for an AT&T account?

Thanks to Heather for pointing out the one cent sale on any AT&T Wireless phone through Amazon when you sign up for a two-year service plan. Today only. There are even some phones with extra rebates that bring the price below free.

No, tragically, you can't buy an iPhone from Amazon. :-) But there are a heck of a lot of nice phones available in this deal, including the Palm Centro I've been evaluating. It's not real attractive, but if you like Palm OS and need an inexpensive smartphone/PDA, it's slim and functional.

Dear Forbes,

I subscribe to a Forbes.com alert to stay current on a topic of interest to me. However, the user experience has declined precipitously since I started reading Forbes.com content.

First, I frequently get multiple e-mails over the span of a day or so with alerts about identical (or nearly so) articles. Please stop doing this. One alert e-mail per topic is plenty; I don't need to be alerted when you've fixed a typo.

Second, when I click a link to take me to an article, I'm almost always taken to a massive advertisement first. Calling this a "welcome screen" doesn't make it welcoming, it makes it condescending.

Third, when I manage to get to one of your articles, it's almost always suddenly obscured by a large graphical advertisement or plea to take a survey that slides across the text I am trying to read.

Your article pages already had plenty of advertising content. Making it harder, more inconvenient, or less pleasant to read your feature, news, and editorial content by increasingly interrupting readers with more (and more obtrusive) advertising isn't going to make your site earn more money; it's going to drive away readers.

Verizon shenanigans

After my Verizon landline account was cancelled last fall, soon after I'd made a payment, they mailed me a check for the credit due to me. Clearly, they didn't think I owed them money at that time. But I just got mail from a collection agency insisting that I owe them $133.16.

I just called the collection agency, and had a really pleasant conversation with the agent I got. She was friendly, clear-spoken, polite, and even funny. After I explained that both Verizon and I had seemed to agree I didn't owe them any more money, she said with a smile in her voice, "Now, I have to lay out all your options, and I'm going to guess you're not going to take this one, but the first choice is to make a payment right now for the amount listed."

She took down my info, and said since the debt was disputed, they'll send it back to Verizon, and I should get a letter in a few weeks. After I thanked her and hung up, I decided that wasn't enough, so I called back and asked for a supervisor, who I told exactly how helpful and pleasant Shirley had been. I can't imagine a collection agency gets a lot of compliments for their staff, and she impressed me enough to deserve one.

Tweets for Today

  • 23:27 OK, the trouble with trying to find a snake veterinarian in Ithaca is that half the veterinarians on the planet came through Cornell. #
  • 12:14 Sick of the poundy nonsense outside my building, but glad I'm not even closer to the pile driver than I am. Some coworkers are. #
  • 12:45 Whoa! Passover-friendly carrot-cake muffins, too! #
  • 13:28 What part of "You empty it, you brew the next pot" are you having trouble grasping? #
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Thanks for asking!

In a matter of minutes after my Twitter posts landed in LiveJournal, three people asked if Charlie's sick. Thanks for everyone's concern. :-)

I think she may be sneezing. (I'm not sure what snake sneezes sound like, but I'm not sure what else it could be.) But Michelle also suggested recently that it's been a while since she's seen a vet at all, so I figured it was worth a visit regardless.

No luck finding an obvious vet, though I've discovered there's a Cornell Herpetological Society. I may ask for their advice, but was also thinking of trying to call the Cornell Vet School next.