Why I’m Quitting Disqus in 48 Hours

I tried Disqus a few years ago.  Didn’t work out for me.  So when @LeoLaporte talked it up on This Week in Tech while discussing blogs vs Twitter I decided to give it another try, even though he was actually recommending JS-Kit Echo.

A few weeks earlier I tried out IntenseDebate, which was buggy as all hell so the idea of a fresh start with a more established system was a great feeling.

The switch wasn’t so easy.  ZERO of my comments imported into Disqus, despite increasing my MySQL memory.  Disqus is pretty good about checking on things through Twitter however.  I tweeted my frustration and posted a formal complaint on their customer service system and within a few hours I had a response.

But over a week passed and nothing was resolved.  Eventually, @giannii was able to take my emailed WordPress database and upload it to Disqus for whatever they had to do at that point.

But only a handful of nearly 1,700 comments actually imported! All added up over the past year or two, only 14 comments made it in!  And that is still the case (beyond what have been added since October 21 by way of new comments to the blog).

I got a tweet from @Giannii that @Disqus would take a look at the problem last week. But another problem sprung up!  Missing old comments was one thing but missing comments that were new?

Unacceptable.  One person commented on my blog about being blacklisted by Disqus.  Hello, what?! I’m sorry but did I hear that someone can be permanently blacklisted? I can understand this for robot spammers but this was a human with a cogent argument. Their comment can show up in my WordPress comments through the dashboard but not actually on my site?  Even if what he/she is posting is relavent, which in this case it certainly was?

What about someone that posted a comment earlier in the day, which was given the “thumbs up”, and when he comes back to post a reply his comment disappears?  This was the case for @Vortex_Bits.  He left a reply to my reply on his comment.  I value his opinion greatly and considering the fact that this was a sort of debate between the two of us, not posting his comment makes ME appear as childish, sending his comment to the abyss.

On my WordPress Dashboard his comment shows up, I can even view the comment in WordPress’s editor.

So WordPress says it’s approved.  It shows up in the dashboard but it’s missing from Disqus and the blog entirely?! Doesn’t Disqus advertise the sociability of their service to create conversation within your site and the internet?  A conversation that permeates through what we typically understand as individual networks?

Unless Disqus can actually fix this by this time Saturday I’m quitting Disqus, recommending to all my friends, readers and followers that they do the same and trying out the third player in the game, JS-Kit Echo.  I love the idea of Disqus.  They have been really nice and helpful and even as late as early this week promised to look into fixing my problems. However, in the end, it is the results that matter.  You can be super nice over email, twitter and the like but if your service can’t deliver the results, I’ve gotta say see-ya-later.

If Disqus is able to fix this, and I have my nearly 1,700 old comments imported into the service and the ignored new comments published, I will sing their worthy praises.  I’m one of those people who is actually willing to pay for a service.  I’d pay for Disqus but not if it is this buggy, as bad or worse than IntenseDebate.  At least ID managed to show all my comments.  JS-Kit Echo is only $12/year, that’s looking awfully tempting.

I’d love to get your thoughts on this.  Horror stories or success stories.  Though, good luck getting them to actually post.  :-\

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Cash for Clunkers Return on Investment

Most of my family is pretty extreme right-wing, conservatives that seem to refuse to open their minds to reality.  I’m not someone that is extreme left or right.  I feel I’m center-left.  I vote for who I think is best for my country, no my party.

That being said, I get a few emails, every single day, from a family member illustrating their blind following of the talking heads of the right wing.  Sometimes it’s racist, sometimes it’s anti-healthcare, anti-environment, anti-human rights… it’s really upsetting for me.  I wonder how someone I love so much can be so against the things I believe in and against me.  I want to get married some day, most in my family think I should be able to marry but that gay marriage shouldn’t be legal.

Conflict much?

The latest email came in today regarding the Cash for Clunkers program.  Here’s how it went.

Subject: Did anyone do the math?

A vehicle at 15 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons a year of gasoline.

A vehicle at 25 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a year.

So, the average “Cash for Clunkers” transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.

They claim 700,000 vehicles – so that’s 224 million gallons / year.

That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil.

5 million barrels of oil is about ¼ of one day’s US consumption.

And, 5 million barrels of oil costs about $350 million dollars at $70/bbl.

So, we all contributed to spending $3 billion to save $350 million.

How good a deal was that ???

They’ll probably do a great job with health care though!!

I’m sure you’ve already figured out what’s wrong with this email.

  1. The return on investment is expected after and calculated only for a single year
  2. Cost of ownership for these new vehicles is not considered
  3. Constantly increasing cost of oil is ignored
  4. Longer life of these vehicles ignored
  5. Environmental benefit overlooked
  6. etc

So, in my response, I decided to calculate in some of these oversights.

___________________________________________________________________

Howdy! Hope all is well in Kerrville. School and work has me burning the wick from both ends but I think it will be worth it in the end.  Remind me again why I chose Physics as an elective?!  Probably should have rethought that one haha.

Anyways, I thought I’d go ahead and do the math for that email.  The original math is flawed, big time.  Here’s the real deal.

At crude’s highest,  June 2008, we were paying $126 per barrel.  October 2008, crude was at $68 barrel, after the election it dropped to $49, then into the low $30s before heading back up in the last months towards $72.

Over the last 18 months, the average price of crude has been $73.36 barrel.

73.36 * 5,333,333 barrels = $391,253,308.88

By rounding down 333,333 barrels, and ignoring the oil trends, the email is misleading by $41,000,000.

While that might seem like a drop in the bucket of $3,000,000, this price benefit lasts for over one year.  Cars from this program don’t stop working after one year.

The most popular cars from the Cash for Clunkers program were Toyota and Honda cars.  These cars have an expected life expectancy of over 200,000 miles and a cost-of-ownership that sits significantly lower than the most popular cars turned in.  Ford trucks, Jeeps and Chevrolet SUVs and Pickups, which have a significantly shorter life expectancy.

Using the average distance traveled per year format the email, we can figure how long these cars should be on the road, and thus calculate the long term costs.

Using the 18 month average of oil, ignoring inflation, depletion of oil reserves and the lower cost of ownership, here’s how it works out.

200,000 / 12,000 = 16.667 years of use

16.667 * $391,253,308.88 = $6,520,888,481.33

We have more than doubled our money.

Looking at the attached graph, the idea that crude would stay at its current value is comical.

Cost of a Barrel of Gas from 1946 to 2008

Since 1972, crude has gone up over 2441%

Again, ignoring the fact that oil goes up in price every year, on average, by quite a bit, we still more than double our money back.

So yeah, making back the money in one year is ridiculous and I haven’t heard a single person behind the Cash for Clunkers program claim in a single year $3billion would be recouped.

But over 16 years, we’ll double it.  In just over 7.5 years, if crude oil doesn’t go up in price, contrary to historical data, we would pay off this program, dollar for dollar.

And then, there’s the environmental benefits.  Not only do these cars use less gas, they put out fewer emissions.  The Honda and Toyota cars, which made of the vast majority of Cash for Clunkers cars are Zero or Partial Zero vehicles.  The amount of emissions released is substantially lower.

I’d have to spend a good bit of time to calculate the total, speculative return on investment for this program.  I would have to include a reliable futures for the price of oil, calculate the cost of ownership for the cars new and old and compare the life expectancy of these new cars to the ones they replaced.  However, this information would only INCREASE the measured effectiveness of the program.

So, yes, someone did do the math and the original math was terribly misleading.

-justin

___________________________________________________________________

If anyone wants to do the stats on this and give me the true numbers of return on investment over 16 years (the life of the car) including cost of ownership and likely oil futures, I’d love to forward it on.

It sure felt good to get all that off my chest, though responding to these emails all the time is tiring. Do you find yourself doing the same thing with your family?
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Not Bjango’s Fault

Bjangos iStat for the iPhone

I have gotten so fed up with Apple‘s App Store approval process and the people that review all the products in the iTunes Music Store.  The latest comes with Bjango’s latest release of iStat for the iPhone.  Definitely one of my favorite apps, it not only provides you with vital information about the state of your iPhone, it also had this nifty feature that let you clear up wasted memory.

Apps on the iPhone have a terrible tendency for memory leaks and not really quitting when you return to the home screen.  The solution?  Either force quit every app on your iPhone/iTouch, restart the device or use this nifty app to clear up the wasted memory.

In the last few months we’ve seen all sorts of crazy going on in the iTunes App Store.  Most notably, the GoogleVoice application being rejected and all other Google Voice applications from third parties actually being KICKED out of the store.

The newest thing to itch Apple is this amazing feature in iStat that clears up memory leaks.  What’s more, I can’t tell you how many Apple Genius’s that have told me or other Apple Store customers to install iStat which has this nifty feature.  Restarting an iPhone takes minutes and in this world of living for the instant, seconds to minutes isn’t an acceptable wait period.

So when I went to the App store today to check out what’s new, I decided to see how Bjango was storming the latest App Store Storm.  I learned about this issues at least a week before Bjango made the change in their app and took the proper measures to prevent losing this incredibly useful feature.

Here’s the App Store customers’ reaction, to vote the app one and two stars and in their reviews bitch to Bjango about the lack of a memory feature and demanding refunds.  Nevermind the actions taken by Bjango to prevent this backlash.

Click for More of this Image

And then, my response as a review in the store.

They warned you ahead of time on their site and in the App Store.

They even have on their website a way to get your old version of the app back if you actually read the site ahead of time, and perhaps afterwards.

This is a fantastic application that does everything it says it does.  It’s a shame that Apple decided the memory clearing feature needed to be removed, yes, but rating an application poorly because of something Apple has done is not fair.

Furthermore, they held a vote for their customers on how to handle this issue.  Two options were proposed, update the app and lose the memory feature or create a new application that customers would have to buy, all over again, that would have the new features and leave the original iStat untouched.

The overwhelming majority of people who voted on this issue voted to update the app and lose the memory feature.  You had your choice, you ignored or simply didn’t take the time to read before you bought/updated and now you’ve gotten yourself in this mess.

It is not Bjango’s fault.

If you need an application to monitor your iPhone’s state, from memory used (that still works), drive space, network, battery (new) and others, this is your app.  If you need to remotely monitor other computers running their free server monitoring software, this is the app for you.  If you want to support a fantastic company, Bjango, this is the app for you.

They warned you ahead of time on their site and in the App Store.

Finally?  They lowered the price of the application by $1, or by 33%, for new customers.  Primarily because of the memory feature removal, I’d presume.

So there you have it, my rant to stupid people who probably won’t read what I’ve said and are so indoctrinated in their own idiocy that they won’t get it. I’m done ranting, it’s time for class. Catch you later.

Oh yeah, and check out their software for your computer and the iPhone.  It’s great stuff!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tricky, MU Bookstore, Tricky…

UPDATE: The Bookstore read my blog post, kinda incredible, and is editing the banner. That’s pretty sweet.  Incredible customer service is more valuable to me than a few bucks.  Especially when they incorporate social media into the mix…

MU Bookstore Rocks the Social Media

MU Bookstore Rocks the Social Media

Now back to the original post:

University bookstores are famous for ripping off students with their prices for required texts.  For instance.  To buy all my books, this semester, new, from the University of Missouri Bookstore, it would cost me $266.85, $287 with tax.  So how does that play out against Amazon.com?

NewUsed
MU Book Store$287.00$226.55
Amazon.com$175.14$143.68
Savings using Amazon$111.86$82.87

I normally wouldn’t have felt the need to post this, but today I saw an ad on the MU Bookstore website that got me going.

MU apparel, Mizzou clothes, gifts, accessories and textbooks

First off, it does its due diligence and shows Amazon.com’s cheaper price.  That was a good move.  However.  While the Bookstore felt the need to add shipping to the Amazon.com price, they sure didn’t feel the need to add sales tax to the Bookstore price.

Do the math and you find that Amazon.com is still cheaper.

New
MU Bookstore$19.95
+ Sales Tax$1.50
MU Total$21.46
Amazon.com$20.16
Savings using Amazon$1.30

Now, what if you already bought something from Amazon like, your textbooks, a CD or nearly anything else that costs $3.83 or more?  Or if you are like me and have Amazon.com Prime… What the cost of the book?

New
MU Bookstore$19.95
+ Sales Tax$1.50
MU Total$21.46
Amazon.com$16.17
Savings using Amazon$5.29

So, there you go.  The Bookstore can charge all they want for books as long as Half.com, Amazon.com and the rest are still around.  And I’ll probably still buy my book from the Bookstore because I know at least SOME of the money goes to help my academic experience be the best it can be, like the new amazing new Bookstore facilities we just got.

Just please, don’t advertise something that’s so misleading like this.  Ok, time to get off this rant and… go to the Bookstore to buy my text books 😛

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

One Time, Too Many

Music these days sucks.

Seems that with every new generation creating music, the previous generations rise up against it.  Our grandparents didn’t understand rock music.  Our parents’ generation didn’t understand grunge, hip-hop or pop music.

Our generation?  Well, I think I speak for all of us here when I say, we don’t “get” or maybe even stand for, this new craptastic music coming out by kids purporting to be rap artists, divas, hot shit… etc.  These kids, five or ten years ago, would have been in Nabisco advertisements, a Sunny Delight ad or skateboarding in a CapriSun commercial.  But singing and rapping? Acting like they have these grand parties with questionable/notable music artists (in this case Usher), that’s total bullshit.

Where has the talent gone?  What is this shit and what the hell do the parents of these kids think? Oh yeah, $$.  Girls dancing and singing like adults, wearing skimping clothes and makeup, how did that idea ever get into their heads?! (cough cough, Bratz Dolls anyone?)

Well, to add on to that list, Justin Bieber.  Now, I normally support anyone sharing my name but holy mother, this is just awful.  Not only is he 15 going on 22, his music just plain sucks.  Sucks so much that I thought I’d go ahead and let you enjoy some of it. Cause I’m nice like that.

Seriously Justin Bieber. You have a “shorty”? You’re 15 and in love?  This video verges into some warped pedophiliac world of young kids partying together in a genre of music where this inevitably leads to sex, drugs and alcohol.

I remember when Bill Clinton was in office, there was a study conducted that discovered or elaborated on the importance of music to children and their development.  That study recommended parents have their children listen to at least 30 or 60 minutes of classical music everyday, prenatal and onward.  I’m pretty sure it never mentioned this.

Someone in the music industry, please put a stop to this shit.  I might fall victim to liking some auto-tuned music, that’s one thing, but this?  I think the RIAA needs to stop worry about people sharing music, ruining the music industry.  Clearly there is some sort of self-destruction going on in there already.

UPDATE:

I did my due diligence and looked further into Justin Bieber.  Turns out, he really is talented, doesn’t need auto-tune and could someday be a recognized singer with a good, if not remarkable voice.  This clip of him singing a Christmas song when he was… 12 (?) reminds me of early Michael Jackson videos, Jackson Five days.  It’s really the kind of music he should be singing, at his age, along with the covers of Justin Timberlake etc, in his YouTube channel.

What I find disturbing in the earlier video is the way the video portrays him and the other kids in the video.

It gives an impossibly illusion to an impractical and largely unattainable lifestyle; perhaps one that kids shouldn’t desire anyways.  The scenes are full of innuendo, the lyrics do not fit the age of the singer or the actors in the video.

It’s an adult hip-hop video with the boobs, booze and blow.

So Justin Bieber, keep on singing, clearly you’ve got talent.  Just, don’t let fame, money and influence change who you are, a 15 year old, talented kid and dilute your future as a serious singer, songwriter and performer.

Wow, since when did I become a child psychologist?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KATG – Gay Marriage

Keith and The Girl logo
Image via Wikipedia

Keith and the Girl is one of my favorite podcasts, definitely my favorite comedy podcast, everyone, subscribe to their podcast now.

Ok, with that outta the way, Keith and the Girl (KATG) have gone to the airwaves to defend gays and advocate for gay marriage twice in a row.  Their commentary is not only hilarious, but also straight forward and honest.

[audio:KATG_Gay_Marriage.mp3]

I really couldn’t have put it better, or at least couldn’t have been as funny.  It’s one thing for a group of gay people to get together and stand up for their rights, or lack thereof.  To have four people regularly stand up for gay rights, 1 bisexual woman and three straight guys, means a lot more, at least to me.

Thanks for sticking up for us Keith and Chemda!

Disappointed that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will seem to continue under Obama along with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).  Both of these were major issues Obama fought for during the campaign.  I really want to get married some day.  Not for tax benefits but because I love someone and my church recognizes that love.

Sometimes America just disappoints me, but maybe this “Federal employees will get domestic partnership benefits” thing is an olive branch…

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Damn You Olympus

It wasn’t really news per say that Olympus was going to release a new camera this summer.  Not newsworthy at all.  In fact, I wouldn’t even be writing this paper if Olympus has released any other camera.  They could have released a 1080p camcorder for $400 and I wouldn’t have been excited.  They could have released a 16mp ultra compact and I’d say, bleh.  They even could have gone as far as to release a 28mp full frame DSLR for $1200 and I’d continue to proudly shoot with my Nikon D700.

So what did they do?

A little over a week and a half after I order my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, they have the gall to not only release a competing camera, but to do so in the nearly non-existent digital range finder form factor and with a motherfucking pancake lens.

(I have a bizarre love of pancake lenses…)

That is to say, it’s got a much larger sensor and it’s got interchangeable lenses.

Olympus PEN E-P1

Olympus PEN E-P1

And to make things worse?  My favorite camera site asks the question

So is this the camera we’ve been waiting for? After years of hectoring all the manufacturers to give us what we had in the days of film (a small camera that takes pictures as well as an SLR) is the E-P1 a camera we’d actually reach into our own pockets for?

Followed by a picture of the Olympus next to the camera I just ordered!  Salt in the wound.

Olympus PEN E-P1 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Olympus PEN E-P1 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Finally, the last straw in this whole debacle?  Olympus and Panasonic are the two companies that (re)started this whole 4/3 camera style, the Olympus PEN E-P1 is a “micro” four-thirds camera.  Chances are, Panasonic is working, and possibly soon will release, it’s own micro four-thirds camera.

So what do I do?

  1. Cancel my order for the LX3 and wait for Panasonic to come out with competition for the Olympus
  2. Get the LX3 and be happy, I still have two Nikon DSLRs that would best either of these cameras
  3. Cancel my order for the LX3 and get the Olympus PEN E-P1

Honestly, I’m probably going to go with option number two.  Panasonic has said that they will not replace the LX3 until some time in 2010, probably around July.  So I could potentially have 13 months of e-joy (the period of time before what I buy has become obsolete).

Still… kinda mad about the whole deal haha.  And… really, it’s that damn pancake lens that got me started.  I have wanted a 35mm equivalent pancake lens for a long time now and here it is, not on a Nikon.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]