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2011/11/30 Amazon Extreme Fail
π 2011-11-30 01:01 in Public
The Email I sent them is probably a good summary. But basically Amazon has gotten so big and corporate that you can't report fraud to them without an account and when I did they closed my account instead of the one I reported and it took hours of wasted time (and over a week of waiting) to get my account unlocked. Pathetic Amazon...

This issue started because you do not publish an Email to receive concerns or in my case a fraud report without me being logged in from my own account.
As a result, likely some underpaid overseas employee who clearly doesn't understand english closed my own account as opposed to the one I was reporting for fraud while thanking me for my report and telling me the issue was now taken care of.

A few days thereafter, I started experiencing problems with logging in, and reset my password successfully a few times, but could not log in. You guessed it: your rep had locked MY account while leaving the bad one active and worst: your login page says nothing about my account being locked.

Then after I spent >1h on the phone to explain the problem, your reps agreed it was a mistake but they told me they had no way to fix it and had to escalate to a fraud review board. Really?

They promised a reply in 48H and assured me I would get called and it'd get fixed. No one called me and no one fixed the problem.

I called again for another >1H conversation and finally your supervisor fixed it instead of throwing the hot potato to someone else. Note that I had to effectively steal the account at amazon.co.uk that used my Email adddress for him to believe me.

He was so embarrassed that he gave me a $20 certificate for my time which doesn't begin to compensate for what I went through and how you "thanked" me for my help. He promised he'd try to do better and I'd hear back for something better due to the extreme way you underperformed in this matter (at least an amazon prime membership, or more). I have yet to hear back of anything better.

Moral of the story, if someone is stealing money from you and I find security flaws in your web site (I found one of each this time), I'll make sure not to report them to you.

Oh, and you want the best part? The account I reported for fraud is still being used for fraud now and I'm still getting Emails of new purchases that are being declined. Great job Amazon!

2011/11/30 Miracle on Hudson with Captain "Sully" Sullenberger
π 2011-11-30 01:01 in Flying, Google
Captain Sullenberger came to google to tell us about his famous flight where both engines of his plane died after they hit a flock of 7lbs canadian geeze, and he had to land in the water. The crew performed admirably and the captain demonstrated superior airmanship.
It was a pleasure to have him talk to google about that day and his general thoughts, and he answered my questions on why can't you just put grills in front of jet engines to prevent big objects from getting sucked in (apparently it spoils the airflow going to the fan) and what he thought of the airvbus fly by wire system in that situation (in his opinion it prevented him from putting a bit more nose up before touching water, but otherwise it worked ok in that unexpected siutation).

What was interesting in his story was when he said his resting heart rate stayed at 100 bpm and his blood pressure at 160 for quite a while after the accident day. Also, he had terrible time sleeping for a long time after, despite how well everything went.

But if you go to the video below, you'll see how much they went through in barely 2mn, they went through their checklists, tried to restart the engines, looked at what they could glide to and then made the best choice to end up in the water. All pilots still applaud the crew's superior performance.





This is the best video showing what happened, an NTSB reconstruction with the inside cockpit conversations and warning annunciations from the plane computers (they were kept running by the APU, backup generator, they started right away when both engines died:

If while it's less accurate, someone made a simulation of the flight. It's still nice to see:

2011/11/26 Going to High Negative Tide at Half Moon Bay
π 2011-11-26 01:01 in Public
One of my coworkers told me about the forecast for We parked a bit far since I did not forsee any close parking being available that late, and we used the pocket bikes I had just bought to get to the reef. We had a nice little ride by the sea to get there:


We however got there quite late, not much before sunset:







After sunset was quite nice, forever brief it was:






We got there way too late to see crab, the few that got stranded were picked up by the many people who came that day, but there were plenty of defenseless mussels which Jennifer made sure to pick up :)



After sunset, people left quickly with the little twilight we were going to have, but I had brought my 4000 lumen firesword and made daylight out of a moonless night for us to enjoy the tidepools a bit longer:






We got a few bonus craps with the mussels we brought:



And got a nice dinner out of it:



2011/11/19 Jennifer's Birthday 37th, at avoid now, Chez TJ
π 2011-11-19 01:01 in Dining
For Jennifer's Birthday we went to chez TJ for their 8 course tasting menu.

The place was still nice, the dishes were enjoyable, unfortunately it took 30mn to get each dish, which is way way too long (4.5H for the whole meal), also we both kind of got stomach sick afterwards, so we likely both got food poisoning there.
That's pretty sad, it was a good place we used to enjoy. What's also more sad is that they don't answer their info@cheztj.com Email, nor did the manager replied to me when I called and Emailed him directly with my concerns...

Oh well, here are the photos, at least those were nice:








2011/11/15 IBM Watson talk at the Computer History Museum and Jeopardy Game
π 2011-11-15 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
The Watson team came to give a talk at the computer history museum, and it was interesting to learn about how it was planned and the challenges they faced.

After the talk, they had Watson play a game, and it kicked ass. Despite severely helping the humans (see the video below), it won by a lot.
It was also interesting to see the top choices that Watson had found and its confidence level for each answer it gave:


A few pictures and video of most of the game:





2011/11/11 Recent Power Monitoring and Misterhouse Talks
π 2011-11-11 01:01 in Linuxha
For the benefit of my linuxha blog, I should add a couple of links about relevant talks I gave this year.

At linux.conf.au 2011, I gave a talk on Saving Money with Misterhouse: Running Your Lights and HVAC system, and other home automation tricks.
The video can be seen here.

Later, I gave a talk on Power Monitoring with Linux (including how to use the ECM1240 and graph its output with cacti) at Linuxcon 2011.

2011/11/03 3rd Coworker Organized Track Day at Thunderhill
π 2011-11-03 01:01 in Cars
We had no idea how the weather was supposed to turn out today. Forecasts were not encouraging, and in the end calls of thunderstorms in the bay area for the afternoon/evening dissuaded me from flying: while I could likely have made the return flight ok, it looked like potentially too much hassle, so I just rode up with Bill who was driving anyway.

We had all kinds of interesting skies, but in the end only got a tiny bit of rain and the track never really got wet, so it was a great day.



This was my first time with Toyos R888, so I was anxious to see how they'd do since they sure sucked on the street when they had not been heat cycled yet. Well, my first session was quite of bad as they warmed up, but after that they did quite well. I got many laps under 2:10, and several 2:08s, which is good for me.

On the minus side, I drove the car much harder and first got the diff fluid too hot (although that's just a warning), and then found out that I toasted my front rotors on my last session as I ran through my brand new track pads and wore them to the plates on the last session, doh! (they used to last at least a day, so I didn't check them carefully enough after each session).

argh, this is going to cost me...
argh, this is going to cost me...

Anyway, good time was had, everyone drove home, and despite the upcoming service bill, it beats a kick in the nuts :)




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