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Friday, December 19, 2008

kisc gmail gadget

If you loved the Kandersteg International Scout Centre Webcam Gadget for iGoogle as much as they did in Switzerland to even mention me on their webcam page:


Use this fantastic widget to keep an eye at the Centre from your own personalized Google site! To insert the KISC Webcam to your iGoogle, click here! (thanks Darran for creating this widget!).
Well the you will love this! (Thanks for the kudos too!)

K.I.S.C. Webcam in your Gmail!

As you can see, a little version of the Webcam right there in your Gmail, which I have open way more than iGoogle! So here is the step by step guide on how to add it:
  1. Click on Gmail Labs in Settings
  2. Scroll the the bottom and enable: Add any gadget by URL
  3. Click Save
  4. Click on Gadgets in Settings
  5. Paste in the address for the gadget:
    That's it! If you want to move it around, like above chat, go back into Labs and enable: Navbar drag and drop.
      Met √Čireann Gadget
      On the topic of Gmail Gadgets, Peter created a nice Met √Čireann Gadget to keep track of the weather!
      Add this line to the Gadgets page:

      Thursday, December 18, 2008

      my opinion of irish opinions

      Over two years ago I signed up for Irish Opinions. They take all your details and areas of interest and in turn send you surveys to complete online. Each survey has an estimated completion time, cut off date and reward. They usually last anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes and the reward is usually from €0.50 to €2.50.

      This has been an easy deal with the amount of surveys increasing from 1 in 2006, 10 in 2007 to 15 so far this year. I have earned about €40 which I can redeem for HMV, Tesco or Amazon vouchers.

      The last few surveys had really annoyed me. I got one this morning that was the final straw!

      I received an email as usual telling me there was a survey waiting for me. I clicked on the link, nearly as soon as the email appeared in my inbox. Standard first question pops up; Age and Sex. When I fill it in I get this response.
      Thank you for coming through to our survey, unfortunately we already have enough responses for this survey.
      We hope to invite you to other surveys in the very near future.
      Please wait whilst we register your participation...

      This wasn’t the first time this has happened to me, several surveys in the past couple of weeks I didn’t fit the criteria or the quota was already reached. I fired off an email to them asking why they sent me a survey they knew I wouldn’t be able to complete due my age and sex (which they already know). I was fobbed of with a generic reply about sometimes the quota is reached on a survey.

      I’m fed up with them wasting my time asking me to do surveys that they would know I can’t complete if they looked at the details and surveys about myself I’ve filled out.

      I have decided to cash in my rewards and just stop. Once I receive them I’ll be closing my account. Thanks for Isabel… if that is your real name!

      P.S. I sometimes lied on those surveys when they got too long and I just wanted to finish!

      Monday, December 08, 2008

      dell laptop repair

      Yesterday, the graphics card on my laptop went again for the second time. I bought it in September 2007 and I got 1 year next day on site repair and 2 years complete collect and return repair.

      Last June I had a similar problem and it was fixed the next day by an engineer who came around to the house and replaced the motherboard. Great stuff!

      This time around I’m not covered by the on site repair. So I rang support and went along with the various checks they did over the phone. He then said he would send an engineer out to repair it. Great stuff again I thought! So he booked me an engineer for Tuesday.

      Photo owned by refeia (cc)

      Today I got a phone call from Dell and the conversation went something like this:

      Me: Hello
      Dell: Hello Mr. Crowley. This is [Subject Name Here] from Dell.
      Me: Hi. How’s it going?
      Dell: Good. I’m wondering if you are willing to have your laptop sent to us for repair?
      Me: Didn’t you organise an Engineer to come tomorrow and fix it at my home tomorrow?
      Dell: Yes we did. But it looks like your warranty doesn’t cover the next day on site call.
      Me: How long would it take to get my laptop repaired if I sent it to you?
      Dell: About 5 working days.
      Me: So I could have it fixed tomorrow or wait 5 more days?
      Dell: Yes. We would prefer if you sent it to us.
      Me: Right. I prefer the engineer to come tomorrow.
      Dell: Ok. You are aware in future you are only covered by our collect and return service.
      Me: I know. That’s why I was surprised you were sending someone tomorrow.
      Dell: Ok. Thank you Mr. Crowley.
      Me: Thank you, bye now!

      Score one me not Dell :-)

      Friday, December 05, 2008

      screw u xbox live

      Microsoft really knows how to rub some people up the wrong way. This week, my friend Brick got first hand experience of how ridiculous their online gaming system (Xbox Live) runs.

      Quick introduction to Xbox Live: When you connect your Xbox to the internet, you register your gamertag (nickname). This gives you a gamercard (like an account id) showing your gamerscore (how many points you earned playing different games). There is two types of memberships; Silver and Gold.
      A Silver Account is free and allows you to chat with friends, download content from the marketplace. A Gold Acount allows you to do all that plus play games online with other people and friends. Currently the price for 12 month Gold Membership is €59.99 in Ireland and Europe. However in the United States, this is only $49.99 (~€40)

      1. When Brick was in the States he signed up for a free Silver Account. He created his gamertag and built up a gamerscore playing games. When we returned to Ireland he transferred his account over to his own Xbox 360 and continued to play and earn point on his gamertag.
      2. This week he decided that it was time to get a Gold Account so he could play with his boyfriends friends online. But since he signed up with a US account, it would not be possible for him to pay for it unless he has a US credit card billing address.
      3. He rang Microsoft at Xbox Live to change his account to an Irish one so he could pay for Gold Membership.
      4. He was told: no. It was impossible. They didn't even want to listen to his problem or reason for the request. 
      5. The only way he could pay for a Gold Account was to registered a new gamertag. He would loose his gamerscore, stats, friends list and current gamertag (which he was quite attached to).
      6. So Microsoft were refusing to accept €59.99 off him, right there.
      7. A little bit annoyed at them he ploughed on with the online payment system on the Xbox, hoping they wouldn't notice that the billing address for the credit card wasn't in the US.
      8. After his second payment attempt his phone rang. It was his bank wondering about the suspicious activity on his account. He explained his problem to the nice lady on the phone and she turned off all security for his credit card. He then put through the order, this time it was manually authorised, billing his credit card the US amount for a US 12 month Gold Membership, about €40!

      So Microsoft wouldn't take the whole €59.99 off him when they had the chance. Instead he ended up paying two thirds that, and next year won't even think about getting in touch with Microsoft when renewing his account! They will keep losing about €20 a year all because they wouldn't play nice on the phone and accommodate him by changing his address!

      Note on US accounts: There is more free downloadable content in the marketplace than you can get on an Irish account. Brick can access this straight away, but there is no reason why you can't sign up for a free Silver US account and avail of the free stuff. Most of my friends have two accounts!

      Tuesday, December 02, 2008

      fake christmas tree

      Following on from Dec's post on Christmas Trees, I thought i'd share my thoughts. We have always had an artificial/plastic Christmas tree and I don’t see the problem really. There are many advantages to a fake tree:

      • They pay for themselves the following year
      • They are safer. They are made with fire resistant materials they don’t go up like dried out trees do
      • They don’t loose their needles
      • There isn’t an issue with sap (sticky stuff not anything here)
      • It is environmentally friendly. And don’t listen to those people who tell you that are from a controlled forest. What happens to your real tree when you’re finished with it? You gotta pay for a wood chopper, or chuck it in a car park/recycling centre and it will set on fire? Right?
      • They save time. No need to search for a nice tree
      • They are allergy friendly. Nothing on a fake tree will cause you to sniff your way through the month of December if you suffer any allergies!
      There are a few advantages to having a real tree (so my argument is kinda balanced):
      • Help the local economy
      • Cheaper to produce.. yes it is true.. 
      • The smell of a real Christmas tree.
      That last point would be a very strong reason to have a real one. This however can be artificially created too! Just buy a load of Royal Pine car fresheners and stick them around the tree, out of sight. This will give you the real smell you were looking for, without having to go get a real tree!
      Anyway, with trees like the following video ... why would you ever consider a real tree again!
      P.S. I notice from a comment that they were first invented by those who make toilet brushes! Classy!