Lazysupper

Koenji, the world and elsewhere


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Hey Cortana! You kinda suck.

Cortana could be–and should be–so much more. But instead, it–sorry, she–is just another blown opportunity by Microsoft.

She is very limited in what she can do, and a lot of the time she doesn’t even do that right. When I instruct her to open my Line app, she also brings up the Line Uninstall program, as if that’s really something I’d want to do with a voice command.

Cortana_Line

Cortana knows how to flip a switch up but has no idea how to flick it down. While I like being able to say “Hey Cortana, open weather” and she opens my weather app. It would be great if she possessed the minimal intelligence required to close it as well. I’m not an AI engineer or researcher, but I tend to feel that ON/OFF are pretty fundamental basics. Cortana can’t close programs and can’t shutdown the PC. However, she can tell me how to turn off my PC. Thanks Cortana.

Cortana_shutdown

Add to this lack of … almost everything, there is also the fact that numerous times throughout the day she’ll just pop up uninvited and say “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.” Well, at least Cortana–unlike Microsoft– can admit when she drops the ball.

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Selective Android: Missing Files & Folders

One of the (many) things better about Android over iPhone is the ability to plug in a phone and access its files quickly and effortlessly through a PC’s file browser (such as Windows Explorer).

With the new Nexus 6P that simplicity seems to be … less so.

Not sure why, but I cannot access 5 of the 6 photo folders (ex: screenshots) on my phone. Nor can I see over half of my music folders. I would be less perplexed if it was a zero-sum situation, but the fact that I can see some but not others (especially when they are all in the same main folder) is a mystery. As far as I can tell, I’m ticking off all the to-dos on the checklist…

  • USB Debugging is enabled.
  • Use the USB for … File Transfers is selected.
  • Using the official/stock USB Type-C cable that came with the Nexus 6P.
  • Have a Gigabyte Z170XP-SLI motherboard (which has USB Type-C) so no adapters in play

 

Android-music-screenshot

11 on the phone

 

Android-Music

5 visible through PC


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Why Base CRM does not suck

basecrm_logo
With risk of looking like a prick to Customer Service workers everywhere, I feel this incident makes a nice follow-up to this morning’s earlier post. I recently signed up for a free trial of Base CRM’s Professional service plan, which is $45/month. Because they have (what has become a business standard) an “Opt-out” free trial, I determined the cancel-by date and marked down the day before on my calendar. It is something I always do (and something everyone should make standard practice) lest I find myself paying again for a year of e-greetings I don’t really want.

Well, my two week came and went and I didn’t really get to use Base CRM as much as I had wanted to. So when I went to cancel my trial the site recommended I downgrade to the $15/month plan for a two-week trial. I figured Why Not? So I cancelled my $45 subscription a day in advance of its automatic billing date and signed up for two weeks of the $15 plan.

The next day I received an email from Base CRM stating they had billed me $45 for my new Professional Plan. Still in the aggravated midst of getting shafted by Synology I immediately replied with the following email:

baseCRM001a

I had tried to be as pleasant as possible in my angered state… the whole “catch more bees with honey” thing and all. After pressing SEND, I had a moment of worry as I ran through last month’s sign-up process in my head. Like a murderer going over the crime scene, hoping he didn’t make a mistake. I realized I hadn’t taken a screenshot of my registration page (something I also try to do when signing of for Free Traps Trials). Still, I was ready to go battle. It’s not about the $45. It’s about the principle. I’d do the same for 45¢. I received an email reply from Victor at Base CRM within the day:

baseCRM001

I was taken aback, horrified almost. Was I on Hidden Webcam? With slight trepidation I decided to continue my trial. And thank Victor for not going to war.

baseCRM001c

Victor agreed. It’s not about the $45. He also followed up with a detailed, non-scripted, non-boiler plate reply to explain what had happened.

baseCRM001d

It is so nice (yet sadly uncommon) to encounter a business nowadays who does not treat their customer like the enemy.

It also helps that Base CRM makes a great product that lives up to its marketing.


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Hands-on first impression of Windows 8

I was meandering through Shinjuku’s massive Yodobashi Camera complex yesterday and obviously could not avoid the fifty million posters, signs and other various adverts informing me that Windows 8 is to be released this Friday (October 26, 2012). I have actually been looking forward to it as I am a “Windows Person”. I don’t like Macs and never will. And I’ve never had much interest in Ubuntu or any other OS my techie friends tell me is “kind of like Windows but a billion mega-times better because Linux fucking rules.”

I’ve also had Vista for the past three years, three months and 15 days. And yes, it feels like I’m confiding a disease when I write that. It was the early days of Summer 2009, I was in desperate need for a new laptop, and could not put off the purchase the few months required to wait for Windows 7. To make matters worse, the laptop I ended up buying was an HP Pavilion dv7. I had no idea that “HP” was an acronym for “Hot Plate”, but that’s what I get for not doing enough pre-purchase research. It’s my fault and has nothing to do with HP selling me a piece of shit. So, here I find myself again, three years down the road, looking for a new PC. However, through a lot of time, personal effort and anguish on my part, I’ve managed to keep the Hot Plate running and can wait for the stable retail release of Windows 8 before I buy my next disappointment.

Hearing that Windows 8 is a brand new operating system, built on some kind of Super Kernel for all platforms – desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc. – I must admit I’ve waited with slight-to-mild anticipation for its release. I was therefore pleased to see that Yodobashi had a version installed on the floor model of a touchscreen laptop, even if it was in Japanese. I gave it a touch here and gave it a touch there and then I looked for the button to touch to Go Back. I could not find it but I kept my cool (in spite of being mildly OCD when it comes to UI) and asked a nearby staff how to go back a screen. She then pointed to the button. On the fucking keyboard. Replete with a sticker pointing to it. And I felt all the hope I had for this OS and for Microsoft go out of me like air out of a whoopee cushion. I hope this was just due to the staffer not knowing anything about Win 8. If not, where can I download Ubuntu?


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61 Ways to Screw the Customer (by Hewlett-Packard)

This weekend I decided to tackle a problem I’d been having for quite some time. As I have an HP Pavilion laptop (DV7) that problem was obviously one of overheating. It could only run a game for about 30 minutes before its temperature sensor flicked the kill switch. As I don’t do much gaming this was never a major concern (until I found myself bored stiff in a hospital bed). However, recently movies have been burning it up and it can’t play NFL Gamepass with any worthy quality. So it finally became time to deal with the problem.
image
I’d been avoiding the task because HP hates its customers. That’s the only reason I can think of for them designing their laptops the way they do. I found out post-purchase that the Pavilion laptop is notorious for overheating. And it took me about a year to discover that. The fan is located in the rear corner of the laptop with vents on the back and bottom. These vents are conduits for dust and lint and all the crap in the air that wants to snuggle up in the heat of its CPU. All this unwanted stuff clogs the fan and the heat sink, and rather than having a little latched door at the back of the laptop to allow for easy cleaning, HP requires a near-total disassembly of the laptop in order to perform what should be a simple task. My Pavilion DV7 required the removal of the top casing, the screen, the keyboard, the hard drive, the motherboard and 61 screws to remove a clump of dust.

Some conspiracy lovers say that HP does this to keep the computer shops in business. I don’t think HP is so altruistic to their retail partners. I think it’s much more likely they keep it in family and do it to sell warranties and give their laptops a shorter lifespan.

After three hours of screwing and unscrewing and ensuring I didn’t strip or lose any screws I finally managed to clean my laptop. The core temperature which used to be an astounding 90-101 degrees Celsius is now running at 47-65 degrees Celsius. I can watch HD movies and NFL Gamepass again but the damage is done. It doesn’t run as fast as it did before and the overheating is likely responsible for the all-dead-all-the-time battery. Well, Windows 8 will be out in a month and time to buy something new anyway. I got recommended the HP TouchSmart but it seems to have overheating problems as well. So with HP and Toshiba on my blacklist it looks like it’s time to check out Acer. Regardless, next time around I’ll be sure to hit my fans with compressed air once a week.

The offenders removed: