Reminder: Customer service and human dignity — Jon Udell

It’s been a decade since I interviewed Paul English on the subject of customer service and human dignity (audio). He was CTO and co-founder at kayak but in this interview we talked more about GetHuman. It had begun as a list of cheats to help you hack through the automated defenses of corporate customer service […]

via Customer service and human dignity — Jon Udell

I remember the links and postings some years back that Jon mentions in this posting. All the phone trees were slightly different, but people were way more interested in getting to a person at their bank. So that was my first introduction for the customer service tree workaround. Now it seems like things are even more elaborate than just getting to a customer representative. If you’re willing to pay you can do all sorts of creative things to get in touch with a customer rep. I think something similar to this might have been posted on prior to it being folded into the Consumer Reports enterprise.


An ounce of follow-up is worth a pound of cure.

You just found out your credit or debit card info has been used by someone else to make a fraudulent purchase. There are so many different people you can call, each involved in some aspect of this theft. There’s your bank that issued the card, the credit card network the issuer uses for that card,…

via Who Am I Supposed To Call When My Credit Card Info Is Stolen? — Consumerist

Work with your bank first and foremost and do it immediately. Time is not on your side when disputing a fraudulant charge to a credit card. Once you got the wheels rolling with your credit card issuer, at the very least add your incident to the FBI list of Internet Crimes. They may not investigate  your individual incident but use it ganged up with others to link related incidents. If they don’t know about  yours, they may not have enough info to link up. So at the least report it to the FBI too. Then take necessary precautions to protect your personal identifying info.

CORNAMI’s sea-of-cores solution may defuse data explosion | EE Times

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a company called SVIRAL that appeared to have cracked one of the toughest problems in computing today — that of creating software programs that can effectively use multiple processing cores and threads without requiring programmers to have PhDs in computer science (see Startup Cracks MultiCore, Thread Programming Problem).via CORNAMI’s sea-of-cores solution may defuse data explosion | EE Times

Boy howdy, it seems like the ghosts of massively parallel multi-core architectures is back in teh nooz’s ;^)

And by that I mean the likes of companies past like Tilera perhaps?

A little insight to a japanese dining custom…

Our Japanese-language writer used to give himself a pass, until he encountered a woman who changed his mind. If you’ve watched many Japanese TV drama or anime series, you’ve no doubt come across a scene where someone sits down for a meal and says “Itadakimasu” before beginning to eat, often accompanied by an awkwardly phrased…

via Should you say “Itadakimasu,” Japan’s pre-meal expression of thanks, when eating by yourself? — RocketNews24

New Yorkers go crazy for taiyaki fish ice creams — RocketNews24

This New York store has only just opened and already the Internet’s gone into meltdown over their unique Japanese-influenced ice creams! One of Japan’s most well-known sweets is a fish-shaped cake called taiyaki, which literally translates to “baked sea bream”. Made with a rich waffle or pancake batter and traditionally filled with a sweet adzuki red bean…

via New Yorkers go crazy for taiyaki fish ice creams — RocketNews24

Andrew Gelman-What has happened down here is the winds have changed – Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

via What has happened down here is the winds have changed – Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

Very interesting rebuttal to a Susan Fiske editorial criticizing the criticizers in her field of Social Psychology. Lots of history and current practices are taken into account. And you have to read all the well written comments, too. I will say it gives me hope that Academia can police itself well when it comes to research and rigor. Kudos to all the contributors. This is what the Ineternet was intended to do, further dialog and maybe, hopefully foster progress.

Salary vs. Hourly (how I manage email)

I thought it might be interesting to look at my last chunk of emails by what hour they were answered. It does seem to show some patterns. Some that may not be healthy for any real separation between on/off work hours. It is good that I’ve got no email in the 1AM to 5AM zone.…

via Email Support Data — Bionic Teaching

Around the time I was busted down from salary to hourly employment, I too spent my free hours doing “work”. Checking email, occasionally answering it outside regular business hours. But 1 year ago (more like 10 months ago), we all got reclassified where I work so that we could “earn” overtime. My solution was to not do anything worthy of overtime and that soaked up the worry I had of not doing enough to earn my wages. So outside regular business days and hours, I don’t check mail because if I reply to it, that’s “work”. So the easiest thing is to just not check it until start of business the following day. That’s how punch clocks work, whether they are real or virtual.

Famicom Titler — Jean Snow [.net]

Just look at this gorgeous machine. Released in 1989 by Sharp, only in Japan, its purpose was to allow better video capture of Famicom (NES) games. Read more about its history in and use in this Kotaku post. I mostly lust for those controllers with the big “1” and “2” graphics on them.

via Famicom Titler — Jean Snow [.net]

Kudos to Jean Snow for sharing this from Kotaku website. I love little obscure product back channels where engineers worked really hard on a product that got little marketing or sales. It’s beautiful to look at, but the idea that people would want to record their game play on Famicom is very interesting.

Scaffolding Coming Down from U.S. Capitol

Last year I took a trip to Washington DC, and I was disappointed to see all the work being done on the Capitol. Now it looks like all that was for the good and it’s starting to wind down and finish finally.

Preservation in Mississippi

Last week, a friend who lives in Washington DC posted a picture of the U.S. Capitol and was excited to see the scaffolding that has obscured the beautiful dome for two years coming down.

For those who have been to DC in the last couple of years, it’s been disappointing to not be able to see the dome, and also to realize that the Rotunda is obscured too behind safety netting. But it’s been for a good cause, the preservation of the cast iron dome and the murals in the Rotunda, according to the Architect of the U.S. Capitol:

Why is the Capitol Dome under restoration?

Because the Capitol Dome is predominately made of cast iron, exposure to rain, snow, sleet and sun causes damage to its exterior. Water infiltrates through pin holes in the Statue of Freedom, and through cracks and open joints throughout the exterior shell…

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ACLU’s principal technologist reacts to NSA hack with the perfect tweet about Apple/FBI battle — 9to5Mac

It’s just ten days since I pointed to a Microsoft security leak as proof of my point that any iPhone master key created by Apple would inevitably fall into the wrong hands in time – and even more powerful support for that position now exists. It was revealed last week that powerful hacking tools created by…

via ACLU’s principal technologist reacts to NSA hack with the perfect tweet about Apple/FBI battle — 9to5Mac

I’m  relieved there’s now anecdotal evidence that single keys to allow security services access to devices is bad. Apple was right to defy the FBI in court and knowing NSA cannot keep their tools under wraps further emphasizes how bad things could get. The war on the Internet is just beginning I fear.