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April 28, 2007

UPS Sucks!

I find UPS service offerings significantly lacking compared to their competitors, and even compared to the postal system. In my experience, packages received via UPS are more damaged than any other delivery method. They charge significantly more fees to clear a package through customs. Their policies contribute to a lower class of service. For residential deliveries the overall speed of delivery is quite slow, the post office can beat them on occasion. Its nice they try to deliver 3 times, but trying to deliver to my house at some random time between 9am and 5pm isn't going to do much good most of the time. If they can't deliver I have to pick up the package across town at the depot thats open 9am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday, which means I have to leave work early just to get my package. (No I can't really get the package delivered anywhere else) I've never been able to get them to hold the package before attempting delivery. In the past they also needed 48 hours to stop successive delivery attempts and hold the packaged at the depot. Which generally means you're waiting a couple extra days to get the package. Yet, with all these deficiencies, they are just as costly as the other couriers and much more expensive than regular old mail.

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April 21, 2007

A New Blackhole is Created

I'm very fond of using e-mail for communication as much as possible. Unfortunately, the usefulness hasn't been that long lived. It took a while for people to start using email and now its too popular and spamy. I don't know if its the general volume of e-mail people receive, over zealous spam filters or some other reason that keeps people from answering my e-mail. It really feels like every message I send out gets sucked into this newly created blackhole and I'm lucky if one manages to escape and get a reply. As a result I find I'm doing a lot more 1) send and forget 2) send, timeout and resend 3) shotgun send. Not very efficient, but it gets stuff done, sometimes. I might just have to start picking up the phone again.

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April 14, 2007

Eneloop Success

I bought a couple of Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries to try out their claims. Thus far, I've found them to be true. The Eneloop technology claims to sustain charge longer as well as a higher voltage level. Which means they should last longer while being used and while being stored. My geocaching bag has been sitting fairly idle for most of the winter months and the extra batteries I kept stored in it had idled the whole time. When I went to use them this week, 2 sets of regular Ni-MH batteries were discharged beyond usable levels, while the Eneloop batteries were still showing full voltage. Using the batteries as well, I've noticed they seem to last a bit longer than others. No quantitative measurements here, but my impression is that they are doing better than others I have. Pricing is comparable and they can be charged just like a Ni-MH in the same chargers.

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Canadian Mileage

I've found that in Canada a vehicle's mileage is posted in metric (Litres per 100km [L/100km]) and imperial (Miles per Gallon [mpg]). The metric form doesn't mean much to me or many other people it seems (Why isn't it km/L?) and imperial is the de facto measurement. What everyone has noticed and joked about is that a vehicle never seems to obtain its rated mileage. While this is generally true based on the testing methodology, an important factor is that the imperial measurement in Canada is based on imperial gallons and not US gallons. Normally I assume our imperial system is identical to the US system, in this case its not and threw me and many others off. A US gallon is ~3.785 litres, while an imperial gallon is ~4.547 litres, resulting in ~20% difference in mileage.

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April 07, 2007

Cutting-edge Consensus

John C. Dvorak wrote The Consensus on Vista in PC Magazine:

There are two basic types of computer users: the cutting-edge type and the consensus type.
The explanation sounds pretty good to me. I've noticed myself falling further back into the consensus crowd, not just in the computer world, but in general. I don't have any patience for beta testing and bugs, I just want it to work. The feature set has advanced far enough that I'm comfortable with whats already in place and don't find much need for the newer stuff. I've simplified how I use things so that I don't need advanced features or custom configurations for the most part. I think I've always been in the consensus crowd, but being one of the early consensus types to leap into the cutting-edge. I still do that, but only on specific carefully selected items and with a planned approach to it as well.

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Wisdom Teeth

I had my wisdom teeth pulled in February. It went remarkably well. I was lucky that I only had 2 and that they had already erupted and come in straight. They were rotten and contributing to the existing crowding problem. It was bad enough that I would get aches as a result of the extra crowding. It was affecting my sleep as well. It was a pretty nerve racking process to get the 2 wisdom teeth out plus an additional tooth that was crowded into no-mans land. The procedure itself, including the freezing, took no more than 20 minutes. Pulled out all the steps after the procedure, applying gauze, cold packs and Tylenol-3 early on. I'm not sure how necessary it all was, but after the freezing wore off a few hours afterwards, I stop taking pain killers and there was only some minor discomfort. Started with the salt-water washes the next day. The removal took place on Tuesday, by the weekend I was already eating normally again. I was surprised at how well it all went.

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