Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wave Embassy Security Suite is teh total SUCK

How does this company stay in business?  Oh, wait… they’ve got a contract with DELL.  Too bad there are more complaints registered about this software on DELL’s site (and related help forums) than ANY OTHER SINGLE COMPLAINT.

When I was running XP 64-bit, my fingerprint reader worked about 80% of the time.  I upgraded to Vista and it didn’t work at all.  Months later, I upgraded to Windows 7, and it still didn’t work AT ALL.  I finally had a little spare time and decided to see if I could get my fingerprint reader to work.

I updated my drivers and updated the firmware via Dell’s Support site.

I rebooted and then opened the Wave Embassy Security Suite.  After trying to enroll my fingerprint, the software told me it would be a good idea to enable the TPM in order to enroll fingerprints.  I did so, it told me it would need to adjust the BIOS on reboot and that I should go ahead and approve the change when asked to do so.

Instead, my computer reboots into a pre-boot authentication screen asking me for a password (that I obviously never registered) so I am COMPLETELY LOCKED OUT OF MY F*CKING COMPUTER.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chopping Off the Number Pad (Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000)

hack the keyboard! Well, I finally got fed up enough with the pain in my right shoulder to take the time and effort to cut off my keyboard’s number pad.  I’ve never understood why an “ergonomic” keyboard would dedicate so much physical real estate to a number pad, when that’s obviously where the mouse needs to be used.  Ideally, the number pad would be on the left side, or moveable and attached by a flexible cord.

By cutting off the number pad, you can bring the mouse closer in to your body and avoid the strain of holding your arm and hand out to the right side.  This will greatly reduce the amount of stress incurred over the course of a day in front of the computer.

The process of removing the number pad is quite simple, and rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll point you to this webpage outlining the process.  The only real difference between the older keyboard on that page and the newer 4000 series is that there are a couple more screws to deal with on the top side of the keyboard, and the Microsoft Ergo 4000 keys “faceplate” of the keyboard is built to hold onto all the keys so they don’t fall out.  Because of the way the keys are incorporated into the top side of the keyboard, it’s actually an easier process.  As to the extra screws, there is one screw (like the coarse-threaded black ones on the back of the keyboard) under each palm pad, and then two small silver screws under the space bar (you just have to pop off the space bar to unscrew these very obvious silver screws).  Once you do that, it’s as easy as lifting the top off the bottom.

I have run into some issues with the right “ctrl” button being permanently active when wrapping the number pad membrane around the back of the board, so for now I’ve just placed a mouse pad over the membrane and it works fine.  Don’t forget to put tape over the exposed metal areas in between the three sheets of plastic.

CIMG1628I’m sure anyone with some soldering skillz could figure out how to actually solder wire to the circuit-board-like membrane that would allow you to keep using the number pad, separated from the keyboard with a cord.  Maybe some day I’ll get ambitious and give it a shot.

For now, the mouse is closer to the keyboard and my shoulder is thanking me.

eSata Will Not Last

While the transfer speeds of eSata are fantastic (for today’s standards) I predict that the standard will fail on form factor alone.  Who designed an interface that just barely stays plugged in?!  I’d say that 98% of the time that I use an eSata interface, the cable has to be fiddled with (on both ends) until it finally works and then often comes unplugged during use.


I guess I’m really looking forward to USB 3.0!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why the United States Postal Service is Failing

usps_parcel_image Man the US Postal Service drives me nuts.  There is simply NO accountability.  If you have a complaint or if something is wrong, they just shrug and say, “Sorry, there’s nothing I can do about it.”  If you ask to talk to a supervisor, they tell you the EXACT same thing.  If you call the national customer service number at 11am on a Friday… THEY’RE CLOSED.

W. T. F.

It’s no wonder the “business” is failing.  It’s run by a bunch of idiots.  Surely the USPS is the only multi-billion dollar organization that promotes on seniority alone.  Do they not realize that you need to promote people who can actually accomplish things, not just whomever has been standing around the longest?! It freaks me out when I ask to speak to a supervisor, and some mouth-breather waddles out from the back.  I mean, this person can barely tell you what DAY it is, let alone get anything done or give you any meaningful information.

On Tuesday I paid $37 to overnight a small package to Chicago.  It was extremely urgent and important, so I used the USPS’s Express service (the only service which “guarantees” anything and actually offers real tracking --did you know that NONE of their other services offer tracking?).

Evidently the last two numbers of the zip code were mismarked.  However, the label clearly stated the BUSINESS NAME, the REST OF THE ADDRESS, and TWO TELEPHONE NUMBERS.  So first of all, if this is a premium service, why in the HELL can’t they call at least ONE of the phone numbers listed on the label before sending the package into “return to sender limbo” (more on that later).  Second of all, if you type the business name into any computer search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Google Maps, Mapquest, etc.), it comes up first thing.  Third, if you type the ADRESS ON THE LABEL into any search engine, it also comes up first thing.

In other words, NO EFFORT was made to deliver the package once someone saw that the zip code was (only slightly) incorrect.

And now… the package is “unfindable.”  No one in the entire US Postal Service seems to be able to tell me where my package is.  “Well, it should be on its way back, but I can’t tell you when it will arrive.”  What the FUCK is my tracking number for and why in the HELL would they be leisurely about returning a package that was sent with what was SUPPOSED to be their fastest and only GUARANTEED service?!?!?!

</vein popping out of neck>

Saturday, March 6, 2010

OK Go! Does It Again (amazing Rube Goldberg machine)

No words.  Oh wait… how about 5 million views in five days?


I love it when the sledge hammer hits the TV playing their treadmill video.