April 2010 Archives

Your railing needs help

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Found walking through town:

railing1.jpgrailing2.jpgI especially like the nice pointy screws sticking up where the handrail ought to be. A week later they're still like that. And I wouldn't lean too hard on the identical railing on the other side of the steps.

They're the steps to a chiropractor's office, so maybe you get a free adjustment if you fall down the steps...

Champagne Mystery

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I wonder what the circumstances are behind three tiny bottles of really cheap champagne (well, technically, California sparkling wine) sitting on the front steps of the telephone company...

I'd say it would rank as one of the least romantic locations in town if more than one person was involved...

And if it was only one person, still why would you choose that to drink, and still, why would you drink it there?


Recording calls to customer service

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It all started with a blog post at the New York Times about recording calls to customer service.

It seemed like a good idea, and fits in well with my obsessive need to scan every piece of paper that crosses my desk, just in case I might need it later. And my house burns down.

I have ye olde device that goes between the phone handset and the phone and also plugs into a tape recorder to record calls. I think I got it in the early 1990s. It would be more useful if I still had (1) a phone with a handset cord and (2) a tape recorder. New technology was in order.

I researched all sorts of devices like Bluetooth call recorders and finally settled on something cheap, and really quite cool:

ecamm Call Recorder for Skype ($ 19.95)

It's only for the Mac, though there's a similar product from another company for the PC. I can't vouch for that, however.

I have Skype and Skype Out (I can call regular phone numbers from my computer) and a Bluetooth headset for my computer, so this seemed like a logical choice.

You can configure it a number of ways, though I have it configured to record everything as soon as I make or receive a Skype call. I can just click the Stop button if change my mind and don't want to record.

Now when I need to call customer service I put on the Bluetooth headset that's paired with my computer, call them on Skype, and the entire call is recorded! Then I can file the mp3 file in appropriate folder for the company, along with my scanned statements and such. Very cool.

And calling a toll free number does not count against your Skype Out minutes. Much better than using a cell phone. Of course I can only wander 30 feet from my computer on Bluetooth, but it's still better than the old wired phone days.

It apparently also works with Skype video and can make QuickTime movies, though I haven't tried that.

I've only used it once so far, but I was impressed enough to move past the free 7-day trial to the paid version.

Drywall installation idiocy

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I had previously done an electrical rough-in for a friend. The drywall was done by a "professional" and the painting was done, as well, so it was time to go back and trim out the electrical.

All of the boxes were plastic, except for one. There was some blocking in the way so I put in a shallow metal box for a wall switch in one location. When I went to install the switch, I noticed something was missing:

The drywall installer was apparently offended by the screw tab sticking out from the box, so he broke them off. Well, he only succeeded in breaking one off. The other one he just bent over.

Now any normal person would have just roto-zipped around the box and the result would have been perfect. I even had already removed the front plaster clamps from the box to make this super easy.

Any person with half a brain would also realize that if you remove the screw tab, there's absolutely no way to mount a switch in the box anymore since there's no longer anything to screw into!

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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