Showing all entries for rant

Jan 23, 2012

 
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PSA: DNS Hijacking (aka: CenturyLink web helper my ass) firefox edition


CenturyLink thinks I need their help

WTF with ISPs and DNS "redirects"? If this is their idea of customer service, they need to seriously rethink that idea.

I moved from Cox to CenturyLink (formerly Qwest, I guess) right before I left for LA and when I got home I discovered that Google's browse by name/I'm feeling lucky no longer worked. For example, if you type "google" in your location bar it should just forward you to google.com, but CenturyLink ever so kindly (not) hijacks that and sends me to their ever so helpful (not) "web helper" (my ass). There is, of course, a teeny tiny link at the top of that page that asks "Why am I here?" - YES, WHY AM I HERE? - and when you click that link you are given the option of opting out of this most annoying service.

Except it doesn't work.

So, for my Firefox/CenturyLink friends, here is a fix.

First, download the Redirector 2.7.1 add-on

Once installed, goto Tools > Redirector and click New Redirect.



For Example URL enter:
http://webhelper.centurylink.com/index.php?origURL=

For Include Pattern enter:
http://webhelper.centurylink.com/index.php?origURL=*
(same as above but DON'T FORGET that * at the end)

For Redirect To enter:
http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=$1
(go here for more info on location bar searches. Also, you might need to edit your keyword.URL)

Select Wildcard for your Pattern Type and click save. Viola.
 

Apr 18, 2011

 
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Goodbye Cook's Illustrated

tags: rant
Once upon a time, I had a subscription to Cook's Illustrated magazine. I really liked the idea of it; I liked that they didn't accept advertising, I loved the product reviews, but the magazine only came, like, six times a year or something, and was primarily meat-tastic, so I let the subscription expire. Then in 2007, I discovered that I could buy a membership to their website, which, at the time, was $24.95 a year. It was a way handier resource because not only did you have access to every recipe ever, you also had access to every review ever. I totally thought it was worth the money.

Then, in 2009, the yearly price went up to $34.95. To be perfectly honest, I probably got an email informing me of the increase, but I didn't notice til it auto-renewed at that price. I wasn't exactly happy about it, but I wasn't so bummed out that I canceled my membership either.

Since 2009 they've added some new features to their site like videos and... yeah, that's about it. And the once handy recipe box got jquery-ed to death into this modal popup pain in the ass. And then somewhere along the line I noticed that I didn't have access to every recipe ever, now I only had access to some recipes, others were part of some extra special something-or-other that (you know where I'm going with this) cost more money.

Meanwhile, through all of this, I'd get related-but-not-quite CI spam. Like, here are some recipes from America's Test Kitchen, but oops, you have to pay for those. And here is some info from Cook's Country, but, guess what, you have to pay for that too. If I wanted access to everything, it would be $34.95 for the CI membership, plus another $14.95 for the extra special recipes, plus $19.95 for access to the America's Test Kitchen site, plus another $24.95 for access to the Cook's Country site - who the hell do they think I'm cooking for, the Queen?

Now, if you're thinking, but Elle, they're totally different sites, well, actually, they're totally not. If you write customer service from CI, you get a reply from America's Test Kitchen. And at the bottom of their newsletter (right above the ads from their TV sponsors) it says that that it combines recipes, equipment reviews, taste tests, original videos, and cooking tips from all three.

I mean, yes, the recipes are well tested and have never failed me, but neither have the recipes from 101 Cookbooks or Smitten Kitchen and I get those free in my RSS feed. And yes, the reviews are handy, but I'm not entirely incapable of doing my own research and it's not like they ever link to the product they recommend, so if you actually wanted to follow through and buy it you'd have to search for it anyway - and more than once I've found that the recommended item had been discontinued or upgraded to a new model. So gee, CI, that's great that you love that food processor, but Kitchen Aid doesn't make it anymore.

In December I wrote them to tell them how unhappy I was to discover that my $34.95 a year didn't get me access to their extra special recipes and they wrote me back to explain that they were extra special because our editors selected the very best recipes from our bound cookbooks, which just made me laugh because you can find most of those cookbooks in the cheap books section of any bookstore. I know this because that's where I found my copy of The New Best Recipe for $9. Not to mention, if their editors picked the very best recipes, then doesn't that mean that all the other recipes in their bound books are not the very best? And if I have to pay extra for the very best recipes then the ones included in my $34.95 must just be mediocre, in which case, why am I paying for them at all?

So, long story longer, between magazines and cookbooks and website memberships, CI has got all the money out of me it's ever going to get. My subscription is up in a week and I'm canceling. Goodbye.
 

Mar 14, 2011

 
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Stupid is as stupid does...

tags: rant, wtf?


For the past few weeks I've been working furiously on a new website for my friend Anne, who's about to launch her own business. Anne does flowers, more specifically, ikebana, and she she's awesome at it. And as such, I want her to have an awesome website. The blog portion is basically a more fancy pants version of this one, and because we're dealing with beautiful flower arrangements, we need beautiful photos, and beautiful ways to display them. So yesterday we spent hours at her house, rearranging all her furniture to create the best staging possible for each arrangement, and discussing various gallery options. (And eating pizza.)

But that's not why I'm stupid. I'm stupid because today while working on her site I spent, I SWEAR, an hour fighting with this little function, all for the purpose of determining whether or not someone was already on her mailing list. After many many WTF?!?s I realized that ALL ALONG the variable I needed wasn't FALSE, it was NULL. In other words, the problem wasn't the function, the problem was I FORGOT TO RETURN THE VALUE.

Durr.
 

Feb 23, 2011

 
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Grrrr...

tags: rant, wtf?


Yes, I'm having one of those days.

Actually, it started yesterday when I discovered that we have an outstanding speeding ticket in Portland from last February. The reason I didn't know about this, say, last February, is because they sent us the ticket after we'd moved. Apparently, in OR, tickets are marked DO NOT FORWARD, because really, why would you forward me the ticket so I could pay it when it would be so much more awesome for it to be returned so that you could sent it straight to collections? So now we owe something like $4.2 BILLION dollars for what was initially a $100 ticket. Yay!

Then last night, until the wee hours of the morning, and again all this morning, I found myself neck deep in Joomla. No, that's not another word for shit, but it should be. Somebody got their website hacked. Twice. Elle to the rescue!

Today hasn't really seen an increase in clusterfuckedness (otherwise known as elletropy) - I think it's more like lack of sleep because me and focus have nothing to do with one another. I'm cooking, no wait I'm sewing, no wait I'm coding, no wait I'm unpacking. YES, unpacking! I found 3 more office boxes! Luckily for me, I have a big fat cat that is a professional box inspector, so I put him in charge and went to make myself a latte...

...at which point I discovered I was out of milk.

Grrrr...
 

Jan 25, 2011

 
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Per Serving

tags: food, rant


This article in yesterday's NYT kinda makes me laugh. Honestly, I don't know where to begin, with the idea that proposed food labeling could be so confusing that one might think ice cream is good for you, or that ice cream, and not lack of moderation + lack of exercise + who the hell even knows what is in processed food, is what is bad for you.

The food industry isn't about food, it's about marketing food. That's why the picture on the front of the package looks like art compared to what is actually inside the package, and the ingredients on the back are in 3 point type. They don't want you to know what's in your food, they just want you to buy it.

My favorite part though, is this:

The F.D.A. has said it was interested in a British labeling system using a traffic signal logo to show favorable (green) and unfavorable (red) nutrient content. Industry, however, has resisted such a display, which it fears might drive away consumers.

Drive them where?

I can't lay this entirely at the feet of the food industry. People could make better food choices if they wanted to. They could educate themselves about where their food comes from, and how it's made, if they wanted to. They just don't want to. This applies as much to people who buy open and heat food as those who think free range chickens are actually free.

People are so far removed from where their food comes from, and the food industry really, really likes that. So if the administration wants to do something useful, I propose this for the new labeling system: if it contains actual food, you can label it FOOD, otherwise you have to call it what it is: CRAP.
 

Jan 12, 2011

 
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Oh Epicurious, why you gotta be like that?

tags: rant
So, the other day, I was going to post an open letter to Epicurious wherein I planned to scold them for taking an otherwise not too bad iPhone/iPad app and adding an excessive level of completely unnecessary sucktasticness to it. In other words, I was gonna rant. And then, I don't know, I got distracted or something. It happens.

What made it sucktastic? Well, I wasn't real happy with the idea of paying $1.99 to sync the app with an account I've had online for free since, basically, the beginning of the internet. I didn't pay for the sync, mostly because of the negative reviews at the app store, the number one being a password problem - apparently the online account and the app login had different character length requirements. But whether you paid or not, you still got an updated app that introduced this Gourmet Live ad that overtook the app and had it's controls backwards. That is to say, when you clicked the X to close the ad it closed the app and launched the app store, and when you clicked the "tap here" to take you to the app store it closed the ad. Oops.

Anyway, obviously they were reading my mind because today they posted A Note to Our App Users where they were "thrilled to report that any password or syncing issues have been resolved, and the ad that blocked some users from accessing the app's content has been completely removed." w00t!

All is well, right? Well, not so much. Apparently it's an update that's not really an update. As in, you don't go through the normal app store update process, you have to delete the app and reinstall it. Which means if you had any favorite recipes saved, you don't anymore. Other people are reporting that syncing now works, but the app crashes. And then there's just plain old: nope, still doesn't work. But hey, at least they got rid of the ad, right? w00t?

So Epicurious, here's A Note from One of Your App Users:

I haven't given you my money because since you introduced syncing the reviews of your app have been so awful it's not even worth the $1.99 to find out for myself. Maybe if you hadn't paid someone, probably too much money, to build you the most sucktastic update ever you wouldn't have to charge me in the first place. Also, because I have an iPad, I can open Safari, goto your website, login, create a shortcut to my account on my home screen, and then access said account, see all my saved recipes, not have any crashing problems, and not pay you any money at all. Oh, and also: not use your app. w00t?
 

Jan 3, 2011

 
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Happy Salad is Happy

tags: rant, wtf?
Seriously now, has salad ever made you this happy? Check out Women Laughing Alone With Salad for the rest. And then someone please point me to Women Barfing Into Barf Bags While Looking At Photos Of Women Laughing Alone With Salad.

Oh stock photography, you're so silly.

Via The Hairpin
 

Dec 28, 2010

 
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Beam me up, Scotty!

tags: rant
For the third time in as many years, we are moving. This is so much not fun I don't even know where to begin. I swear, I'm at the point where if someone gave me the perfect house I'd be like, you know what, just keep it.

The thing is, it's not like I'm not excited about moving. I truly hate the house we are currently renting. It's a long story, but we were moving states (that sort of makes it sound like Liquid -> Solid, but what I mean is: Oregon -> Arizona) last year and had to rent a place online. Can you say: bait and switch? Or: lying jackass managment company? The pictures online? Beautiful. The house we moved into? Rathole with the bogs of Mordor in the backyard. So yeah, we pretty much decided we wouldn't stay longer than a year the week we moved in. The new place is nice, clean, almost double the size, lovely pool, a hot tub... I have such an enormous dining room I've already called dibs on Thanksgiving next year (and don't kid yourself, I've even started menu planning) - so really, I'm looking forward to this.

Or, I guess I should say, I'm looking forward to already being there. The whole packing my stuff up and moving it? Not so much. We sign the lease in 2 days and I haven't packed one box yet. I haven't even thought about it except to think about how much I don't want to do it. I could really use a transporter about now. Beam my crap over Scotty! Please?
 

Dec 19, 2010

 
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Meat-tasic Christmas

I've been a vegetarian for 20+ years. I don't expect anyone to cater to me. I don't roll my eyes, or wrinkle my nose, or sigh loudly, or lecture. If the only thing I can eat is potatoes, then I just eat the potatoes. It's not like I'm going to starve to death.

That said (rant on) I know from experience that 20+ years ago when I said "I'm a vegetarian" people looked at me like I had a 3rd arm growing out of my head. Today, however, I'm more likely to get: "Oh, my (sister, brother, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, mom, best friend, roommate, neighbor, girlfriend, boyfriend, I) is/am too!" So I found it just a little bit surprising that I went to TWO Christmas parties this weekend that were both straight up, top to bottom, 100%, all out, meat fiestas. I mean, like, not even a piece of lettuce. Come on people, it's 2010. (/rant off)

(Ok, I never said I couldn't roll my eyes, or wrinkle my nose, or sigh loudly, or lecture on my own blog. Also, there were saltines at the first party.)
 
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