Posts Tagged ‘Personal’

No wait!

January 18th, 2010 2 comments

I am a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, they’re the home team and I enjoy watching football.  I was excited when they advanced to the NFC Divisional Playoffs…finally some post-season success!  Kick-off was at noon yesterday, and we are never home by then on a Sunday, so I setup our faithful DVR to record the game along with an extra hour (just in case…learned this one the hard way).  We were careful and didn’t turn on the radio, bypassed the electronics department during a quick shopping trip and did everything possible to ignore the outside world.

We finally sat down to watch the game about 3:00pm, looking forward to zipping through commercials!  Five minutes into the first quarter a couple of the neighbors’ kids came over to play with our kids.  They walked into the living room and asked who we were rooting for.  Before we could stop him, his next words were “Yea, we were rooting for the Cowboys, too.  They lost, though.  Oh well.”

Google Chrome put it best:  Aw, snap.

Categories: Family, Personal Tags: ,

All Star Conferencing? Try AccuConference…

December 15th, 2009 2 comments

I had a recent need for conference calling, and decided to sign up for several services to try them out.  Conference calling is a very hot commodity in today’s market, especially during these economic times.  You can reach out to so many people for such a small cost, it is logical for many businesses, freelancers and even personal calls.

I decided to investigate several options, beginning with the lowest price.  There are several free options available, the most notable being Free Conference.  How can you go wrong with free, right?  If you’re using a service for internal use within your company, a family gathering or some other instance where you don’t mind a stripped down service then go for it.  It’s simple to use, but very basic and you have to pay your own long distance.  If you want toll-free service it’s 10¢/minute per person, and you also gain access to several features such as call recording and playback.

The next option I tried was AccuConference.  I love their product and feature set, it really is a great deal.  They don’t have a free option, but have inexpensive flat rate plans (you pay long distance to connect) or their toll free plan is only 9.9¢/minute per person.  You have access to the same feature set regardless of your plan, which is great.  They also offer free call recording, desktop controls, pre-conference and a ton of other features.

My final option was Star Conferencing.  At 3.9¢/minute per person they were one of the cheapest toll-free option and seemed to still have a nice feature set.  I later found out that they are a marketing site forPremiere Global.  The rate is definitely great, but there is a catch.  You prepay for 500 minutes per month, which amounts to a $19.99 monthly fee whether you use it or not.

I found out about this “catch” when a $ 19.99 fee appeared on my credit card statement.  I emailed Star Conferencing right away about the charge, I was sure I had not signed up for a  plan with a monthly fee.  I received a quick response that my inquiry had been forwarded to their billing company.  This was the first bad sign because being forwarded is similar to being transferred within an IVR: you are the hot potato that no one wants.

After no response for 2 days, I again emailed Star Conferencing and finally heard from their “billing company” the next day.  I was told that they only offered one plan, it is $19.95 per month and I am free to cancel at anytime.  Since I had never used the service, I asked if the fee could be refunded.  The response was “Per our Terms and Conditions, the monthly fee of $19.99, which includes 500 minutes, will be automatically charged to the credit card on file regardless of the number of minutes used. Charges will be applied each month the account is active including the month cancelled.

Well, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  I canceled my account and responded that I had never used the service or cost them anything, and would they please credit this amount.  Their final response was that they made a “one-time exception” and credited ONE of my fees…but the second fee will still be charged because I canceled after my billing date.

At this point I give up.  I’ve wasted enough time and Internet bandwidth, and decided I would rather blog about it then ask for my other $20.  I’ll just keep my AccuConference account and be happy.  They don’t charge me anything if I don’t use the service.

Categories: Personal, Travel Tags: ,

G2M3 Codec for Windows Media Player / GoToMeeting

November 24th, 2009 No comments

codec_missingI tried to view a recorded webinar recently, but was unable to view it.  I was using my favorite browser, Google Chrome, and realized that the Windows Media Player plug-in was launching but the video was not playing.  My next step is always to try the site in Internet Explorer, since there are still websites that haven’t found the decency to create cross-browser content.

When I viewed the link with IE, it launched Media Player which tried to connect to the media source.  It failed after several seconds, and a popup appeared telling me:

A codec is required to play this file.  To determine if this codec is available to download from the web, click Web Help.

I was not very optimistic, but clicked the Web Help button anyway.  The information was somewhat helpful, informing me that I needed the G2M3 codec.  At least I had a name!  The link to was of no help, and using their site search returned no results.

So I turned to my trusted friend Google, and searched for “g2m3 codec“.  One of the first  links referenced a GoToMeeting plug-ing, and linked to

I followed the link, installed the codec and presto!  I could now playback my media source!  It would have been nice if Windows Media Player would have downloaded the necessary codec automatically, but at least the help file referenced the name of the correct codec.  And as always, it’s Google to the rescue.  What did we ever do before Google?

Facebook Advertising Woopsie

August 7th, 2009 No comments

facebook_logoI must admit, I have a Facebook account.  I also must admit that I don’t do much with it.  I log into it from time to time to see what my friends are up to, but I just don’t “get it”.  All the games and quizzes and lists…it just feels like a time killer.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy relaxing and surfing the Internet, it’s just that Facebook feels strange.  Of course, writing a blog seems strange to me, too, but here I am.  And Twitter…well, I haven’t braved those waters yet.  And I really don’t see a benefit there, but that’s a whole other story.

The privacy implications with Facebook have always irked me.  People put their entire life history on display, from school to professional to personal life.  It’s staggering how much information some people put in their profiles, and it’s all at Facebook’s disposal.  As a free service, you expect it to be ad driven…they’re not exactly an altruistic company.  As Google has taught us, targeted advertising is effective advertising.  However, using members’ information and photos in targeted advertising is going too far.

As an example of targeted advertising gone awry, check out this article:

If I had seen that ad with a friend’s photo (married or not), my ears would certainly perk up.  And if I saw my wife’s photo, well that would certainly prompt a few questions!  According to Facebook, a third-party application is the root cause, but it sure seems fishy to me.

There is a security setting to (supposedly) prevent your photo from appearing in these “third-party application” ads, just go to: Settings -> Privacy Settings -> News Feed and Wall -> Facebook Ads.  After closing the propaganda-esque warning box, you’ll see the option regarding ads on platform pages showing your information.  Just choose “No One” in the drop down list, unless you want your likeness used to endorse products without your knowledge or approval.  Be sure to scroll to the bottom and choose No one for the social action ads as well.

Now I could swear that I modified this setting a week or so ago, thanks to a friend’s request, but when I returned this morning it was back to “Only my friends.”  A bit strange to say the least.  Maybe I’m just a private person, but if I’m going to be promoting a product or service, I would like to know about it.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , ,