Portal

Apr. 20th, 2011 10:35 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
A couple of days ago the closing song "Still Alive" from Portal popped up on my main Pandora station. I liked it so much that I looked into buying the game. Best Buy didn't carry it, according to their website. Game Stop did, and had it available as an instant digital download - for $20, plus a mandatory $3 surcharge for being able to download it again (if it got erased) for 18 months from the date of purchase.

So I went directly to Valve, the company that makes Portal, and downloaded it for $9.99. Game Stop are crooks!

Catch-up

Oct. 24th, 2010 11:47 pm
bobquasit: (Sebastian Riding)
So much to catch up on, but I'm too tired - I'll probably miss some of it.

  • Sebastian and I finished the seventh book in the Great Brain series. There's one more, but it wasn't written by John D. Fitzgerald; I suspect it will be a letdown. But the seventh book was a perfect bittersweet ending to the series. Sebastian found it a bit embarrassing, but all in all he loved it and the whole series. I hope the library has the eighth book in stock somewhere!

  • Teri and I were doing some shopping today. One of the places we stopped at was the Wal-Mart in Attleboro. It's a "Super" Wal-Mart, with a complete grocery section. We weren't buying groceries, but I was curious so I looked through it a bit - and was stunned. I've been looking for Underwood Deviled Roast Beef spread in supermarkets for over twenty years now. I haven't seen it in New England for decades. I'd resorted to the internet, buying a case of the stuff (two dozen cans) once a year for about $60. But Wal-Mart had them for $1.72 each! I bought ten. Guess what I had for dinner?

  • We went to a "Books are Wings" party at the Library on Friday or Saturday. The audience seemed a bit young. But when we were looking through the books (each child gets a free one) I let out a gasp of amazement. They had a copy of Mr. Penny! But we'd already picked out another rare book, and weren't allowed to make a second pick. Still, it's amazing that they'd have such a wonderful book.

Netflix

Aug. 23rd, 2010 10:44 pm
bobquasit: (Laszlo Late)
So we signed up for Netflix a few days ago. I hadn't realized that we could stream movies to the Wii and my computer! Pretty cool...
bobquasit: (Daffy)
Snow TreasureSnow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I loved this book when I was a boy. It really captured my imagination, and stayed there. Nor was I the only one; I know several others who also loved that book. That's not too surprising; it was very popular in schools when I was young, and there were a lot of copies floating around.
Read more... )
View all my reviews »
bobquasit: (Default)
We got a new bill from Cox on Friday. It's about $65 less than the last one. No one has called us or explained this to us. We're really confused. Is someone at Cox just making up our bill every month?

"This month, let's charge them $200. Then next month $135. After that, in order, $179, $209, and then $196.93 to really confuse them. They'll never question their bill again!"

By coincidence (I presume) we also got a mailing the same day from Verizon. They're offering FIOS service in our area - we think. But it's a bit confusing, because their TV is apparently via DirecTV. They didn't quite spell out if it was FIOS or not (that's the implication I get, though), and there are various tiers of service which don't include a price. I don't like it when an offer isn't clear, and I don't care for low introductory prices that are followed by unspecified increases after the introductory period ends.

Status

Oct. 27th, 2009 12:06 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Lots to tell about.

My hand still hurts, so I'm taking a regular dose of ibuprofen twice a day. The bruising has faded somewhat.

I still can't put pressure on it in the direction I fell; it hurts too much. I called the urgentcare clinic where I had it x-rayed, and they confirmed that it's not broken. I may call my doctor if it doesn't feel a lot better soon.
Read more... )
bobquasit: (Default)
"Have an HP printer set to greyscale to conserve the color cartridges. Color cartridges are still being depleted. Why?"

Because HP's printer software is designed to lie to you. This is pretty much an industry-wide problem; almost all printer companies sell their printers at or below cost, and make their profits by selling grossly overpriced ink cartridges. They deliberately design the printer software to tell you that you're out of ink long before you actually are. Some of them will actually stop the printer from printing, even if it has enough ink!

The printers also have sponges inside which are solely designed to soak up ink and waste it. Every time you clean the printer head(s) (as the software often recommends), it simply squirts a large amount of ink into those sponges.

I have an Epson printer. I hardly ever use it. Because when I do, it tells me that I'm critically low on ink, and tries to force me to buy new ink - from Epson. There's a box to turn off the low ink warning, but it's purely an exercise in frustration; it turns itself back on EVERY TIME! I hate Epson (which is ironic, since I used to be a fan).

Kodak recently started trying honesty with their customers (http://printandprosper.com). Their printers are now more expensive, but the ink is reasonably priced - about $10 per cartridge, I believe. That makes a lot more sense to me. I hate not letting my son print out his pictures because I'm afraid of running out of ink. The whole point of having a printer is to USE it! So when the ink finally runs out of my Epson, I'll be buying a Kodak.

By the way, someone may suggest that you take out the ink cartridges and reinstall them. Unfortunately they have magnetic codes built in which your printer will recognize; it will not reset the cartridge life, and will probably refuse to print altogether!
bobquasit: (Default)
Petro left a voicemail for us yesterday. They want us to call them to discuss our account. I hope they're not going to try to hit us for a cancellation fee, because our contract expired.

Incidentally, when we cancelled Teri told me to ask them to send us a hard copy confirmation that our account had been cancelled. The operator got annoyed and said "Your account is cancelled. I just cancelled it."

I wonder what they're going to say? I'm not going to be calling them, of course. As far as I'm concerned, I'm done with them. If they want to talk to me, they can call when I'm in. But they're not going to get any more money out of me.

Petro screwed us once, and stole a thousand dollars from us. That's it, as far as I'm concerned.
bobquasit: (Default)
We signed up with a new heating oil provider and dumped Petro. Boy did they fight hard to keep us from canceling! By the end, she was pretty mad at me - although I was very polite.
bobquasit: (Default)
We're going to Pennsylvania tomorrow, and won't be back until Sunday. I'll be reading The Hobbit to Sebastian in the car, thus the title of this post.

Tomorrow morning will be busy, though; before we go, we're going to sign up with a new heating-oil provider. Petro screwed us over, and now I'm dumping them. I think we'll save money in the process, too! I researched things rather carefully.

WoW

Aug. 17th, 2009 01:36 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Well, I picked up the World of Warcraft Battle Chest (including both WoW and WoW: The Burning Crusade, along with a couple of strategy guides that I didn't particularly want). By combining some gift certificates, a 10% off coupon, and a $5 off coupon I was able to get the whole thing for five bucks cash.

(I've also downloaded the Guild Wars trial; I'll install it and give it a try before too long.)

So now it's time for me to ask, though: Who here plays WoW? I'd like to add you to my friends list. And if you know of a good (and "good") group for the Horde, specifically the Tauren, please ket me know!

I can see that it's definitely a good idea to adventure with a party if you possibly can - some quests are just hell to do solo. What's a good way to get a party together quickly on WoW? Just look for PCs that are the same level as you, maybe?

Cell phone

Aug. 13th, 2009 09:08 am
bobquasit: (Default)
Our AT&T cell phone contract expired a while ago, so we can upgrade our phones and make some changes. I recently discovered that as a Blue Cross employee I get a 19% discount on AT&T cell service; we'll have to put our service in my name instead of Teri's, but that's no problem.

Here's the question: Should I get an iPhone? I'd get a Google Android phone if I could, but AT&T doesn't have a Google phone. I got a demo of sorts from a co-worker of the iPhone, and it looked pretty cool (even though I hate Macs). Anyone out there have an iPhone? Or can you recommend a better alternative?

Saturday

Aug. 2nd, 2009 12:53 am
bobquasit: (Default)
Let's see...Teri and Sebastian picked me up on Friday, and we stopped at L.L. Bean. We spent more than I'd planned. We got a reasonably-priced backpack for him, and got it monogrammed with his initials for an additional $6; Teri hated the style Sebastian picked, and I have to admit that it's fairly awful. But he needs to be able to make his own choices and his own mistakes at least some of the time.

We also bought sneakers for him. And when I saw that I could get a good pair of sneakers for myself for $54...well, that's about as good a price as you'll find outside of Wal-Mart or Payless. And those ultra-cheap sneakers fall apart incredibly quickly. These sneakers have the L.L. Bean guarantee.
Read more... )
Lastly, we stopped at a DVD store. I wanted to see - just to see - how much season 2 of Saturday Night Live cost. I assume it would be $60-$70, the same as season 1. And that was the original marked price. But it was on sale, marked down to $24.95. So were season 3 and season 4. I went a little crazy, so I bought season 2 and season 3. I'm looking forward to seeing some of those classic Franken and Davis sketches, among other things.

And now I should get some sleep. Whew! It's late!

Trial WoW?

Jul. 29th, 2009 02:26 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Best Buy is selling a 14-day trial edition DVD of WoW for $1.99. Should I try it? Would it be a mistake? The price seems right.

Oil

Jul. 23rd, 2009 12:24 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I need to find us a new heating oil company. As I've mentioned before, Petro screwed us royally a few months ago. Now it's time for a new contract, and I won't go with them again. Petro sucks.

We bought our furnace through them, and it has a lifetime warranty. I'm guessing that we'll need to arrange maintainance through our new oil company, but repairs should be covered by Petro. That complicates things.

Anyway, I've started Googling for heating oil, and I've talked to one company. The problem is that the terms are kind of confusing. Has anyone else had to deal with this sort of thing? Anyone know a good oil company that delivers in northern Rhode Island?
bobquasit: (Default)
Damn. Kate's Mystery Bookstore in Cambridge (MA) is closing at the end of the month. Another wonderful old bookstore lost. I didn't go there as often as to some other used bookstores - it was more out of the way for me - but I never failed to find some great books whenever I went there. And its ambiance was simply outstanding.
bobquasit: (Default)
My mother-in-law is going to buy a computer, and she asked for my help. She mentioned Wal-Mart; Best Buy and BJs also came up. She wants to spend $600-800 and for the system to include a decent-sized monitor and a DVD burner. Other than that she's not going to be a power user at all. Desktop, Windows (I recommended XP, but she may not have the option), and definite not Dell - we know too many people who've gone through Dell hell.

I did some research and printed out systems from the three stores I mentioned, plus a system from PCs for Everyone. Two of the systems are HPs, as I recall. The superstore prices range from $540 - %590, and PCs for Everyone is $691 (I customized it online). My gut feeling is that the PCs for Everyone system is worth the extra money because A) they use good component, B) they don't sell anything else BUT computers, C) they've been around for a long time now - around 25 years, and D) their service center is in Norwood (MA). From what I've heard, with computers from the three big stores you're more likely to have a problem, and when you do it's more likely that they'll have to ship the system to the manufacturer across the country somewhere.

Thoughts, anyone?
bobquasit: (Default)
My computer has been getting slower and slower and s l o w e r over the past three or four months. Boot-up took forever, and response time for anything kept increasing.

No wonder. It turns out I had only 1.6 GB free on the hard drive! So yesterday I went to Best Buy and grabbed a 1.5 TB external USB drive. I've already freed up over 60 GB on the system by moving over music and videos that aren't critical to me, and the system is doing much better.

I've backed up all of the family photos and videos that I've actually taken, but I'm not going to take those off the C drive; it would be a disaster if we lost those. But there's a fair amount of other video and music - probably another 60 GB at least, maybe more - that I can move onto the external drive instead. I should have done this a while ago. While I'm at it, I'm going to rip more of my CDs, too.

I used $10 worth of Best Buy coupons that I'd received to buy the drive (which was on sale), and was amused that I got a $10 from Best Buy instantly for buying the drive. It was still more than I should have spent, but it was necessary.
bobquasit: (Default)
I gave in and bought Motorola Phone Tools today. Had to spend an hour or so on the phone with Motorola support, trying to figure out why it didn't work. Finally I got it fixed up, and was able to download a year or two worth of pictures and videos from my phone.

The videos are of surprisingly poor quality, but the photos are decent. And now I can take as many photos as I want with my cell without worrying about filling it up or paying $$$ to send them to myself via the net.

Now I can sleep.

Honey

Feb. 17th, 2009 09:53 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Not too long ago we bought a medium-sized jar of local wildflower honey. As I think I've mentioned here before, I'd heard somewhere in the news that many nationally-distributed and supermarket brand honeys originate in China, and despite claiming to be pure honey they're actually heavily adulterated with high-fructose corn syrup and other nasty stuff.

As it happens, we have a teddy-bear container of Stop & Shop honey in the same cupboard where we put the local honey. They're literally next to each other. And for some reason, that cupboard is cold.

The local honey has turned solid. It has the consistency of a moist granulated apple butter; a little difficult to spoon out, but it can be done. It melts incredibly quickly in hot tea, and it tastes great.

The Stop & Shop honey is still liquid, golden, and clear. I'm not planning to have any more of it.

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