May 09, 2006

Latest Shopping Rant

I have been shopping around for computer stuff lately. In particular, I wanted to add a bigger hard drive and some more RAM to my desktop. I also wanted to get a lock and a padded sleeve for my laptop. I did some pricing at Futureshop, BestBuy, some local small shops, and online.

The best deal on a hard drive I found was at Dell. They had a 320 gb Western Digital drive on sale for $128 Canadian.

The only place I found a laptop sleeve was on eBay. I was hoping to get a neoprene sleeve, but there weren't any that were the right size. It was a surprisingly cheap purchase - the sleeve itself was $5.50 US and shipping was $10.30 US so it worked out to be under $20 Canadian.

Laptop locks seemed to be a standard $50 at every place I looked. Dell surprised me again with a Targus Defcon combo lock for $31 Canadian.

Memory was a bit of a disappointment. I'd ideally like to put 2 gigs in my computer, but would settle for 1 gig. Futureshop had 512 mb sticks of Kingston DDR RAM on for $50 after mail-in rebate, but the mail-in rebate offer is restricted to one per household and I'd like to add at least 2 sticks to my computer. The sales person's suggestion was to put them on separate receipts and mail the rebates in separate enevlopes with different addresses (friends or relatives). He couldn't understand why this was an inconvenience. Also, $200 is more than I'd really like to pay for 2 gigs of RAM.

The sleeve that I ordered on eBay arrived within three days and fits perfectly. I expected it to be a no-name thing, but it was actually made by Targus and is pretty darn nice. It will allow me to toss my laptop in my backpack without it getting all scratched and dirty.

While Dell had great prices, they lose serious points on shipping times and communication in general. I ordered the lock and the hard drive in the same transaction on May 1. The estimated delivery date that showed up when I placed my order was May 4 (great).

It's now May 9 and when I check the status of my order online, it says "In Production" with an estimated ship date of May 5. There is a blurb that says "Although we do not anticipate a delay in your order, we occasionally run into unexpected delays in the manufacturing process. If this should happen, we will notify you and provide a revised estimated ship date."

Since my hard drive is manufactured my Western Digital and my lock by Targus, Dell's manufacturing process should be non-existant. I called Dell to see if I could get more info on when it will ship and was told that both items are back ordered until May 24, so they should ship then. It's interesting that they have the same back order dates when they are coming from different manufacturers. When I look up the lock online, it "Usually Ships: Same Day" and the hard drive "Usually Ships: 5-7 Days".

Why can't Dell put the updated info on the web site?? When I look up my order status online, I expect to see the same info I would be given over the phone! They state that they'll contact me with a revised ship date if there are any delays, but I have yet to get an email about the back order status.

March 27, 2006

Off to Zurich

This is much more exciting than my library fines... I promise.

I will be spending the summer working at IBM in Zurich. My passport is thankfully up to date, but there are so many other things to think about...
- Do I need a Visa?
- Do I need any immunizations?
- Can I find a subletter in Ottawa?
- Where will I live in Switerland?
- I need to buy laptop!
- I need new luggage!
- Will my new laptop work in Switzerland?
- How do I put my NSERC funding on hold?
- Is there anything I need to put on hold at Carleton?

So scary, but so very exciting!
I think living in Zurich will inspire me to update more, with details of all sorts of Swiss curiosities.

Lindy vs Li ... on library books

Back in February... the 25th to be exact, I dragged Li to the library so I could get an article out of a journal that I couldn't get online. The journal in question was shelved with the regular science texts and I could actually check it out. So I took it, along with 5 other issues of the same journal, and proceeded to checkout. I figured I would be able to keep them for a few days at most, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the due date was a month in the future.

For the next few weeks, Li would periodically mention that my books were probably due and that I should return them. I would say "No, it's towards the end of March", or "No, I always get an email the day before they're due". He would try to scare me with horror stories library fines, but I would brush him off.

Last week I finally checked the due date on my books and decided I would easily remember it because of its relation to my Crypto assignment due date. My Crypto assignment is due March 27th so on the 26th, when Li mentioned my books again, I assured him that they were due the next day and that I would renew them.

Well, I just logged into the library site and it turns out that my books were due on the 26th (a mere 2 hours ago). I was supposed to remember that they were due the day BEFORE my Crypto assignment. I was able to renew them but was fined 50 cents a book ($3 total). Not a big fine, but enough for judgement to fall in favor of Li.

I'll spare you the story of my $20 UPEI library fine.

March 09, 2006

Rant of the day

WB decided to release two different versions of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
  • Regular Edition in choice of Full and Widescreen with no bonus features
  • Special Edition in Widescreen only with bonus features
At Future Shop the special edition is $5 more expensive. ($24.99 vs $29.99)

The first three Harry Potter movies all contained two discs - one with the movie and one with the bonus features. I'm not sure why they decided to change this time. Most dvds come with bonus features now and there is no additional fee (at least outright). For movies like these, I love watching the interviews and other bonus features, but I don't necessarily want to pay $5 extra bucks for them.

I used to be a big Fullscreen fan during the transition from vhs to dvd, the black bars at the top and bottom of my tv drove me nuts. Then I clued in that parts of my movie were being cut off from the original version and I became a Widescreen convert. I started buying the Harry Potter movies in Fullscreen and continued to so they would match. When the first three went on sale for $12.99 each this week I thought it might be a good time to pick them up in Widescreen. Then I noticed that I could get all four movies in a widescreen box set (including the bonus disc for Goblet of Fire) for $59.99.

Earlier this evening I picked up the $59.99 box set. I scrutenized the box carefully in store to make sure I would be getting the bonus for GoF. The binding looked like that of the single disc edition, but it clearly said on the back that the bonus features were included. When I got it home I was disappointed to find that my 8 disc boxed set only contained 7 discs :-(.

I did some online searching and came up with a number where you could call to get the bonus disc mailed to you. Apparently it was a WB packaging problem . I tried the number, but it must have been closed for the night. I expect they send you the bonus disc in an envelope and you won't even get the proper 2-disc case. Li convinced me to go back to Future Shop to see if they'd just swap the movie for me. The customer service girl were awesome and swapped it for me so I have the right cover and case :-). Happy ending.

February 05, 2006

get 'em while they're hot...

With Valentines Day around the corner, websites are filled with reminders and present ideas. I was checking out the Sears website and decided to see how accurate their listings of gift ideas "For Her" were (i.e - would I like it).

Under "For Her", there were three links: one for necklaces, one for intimates, and one for collectables. Following the page link to collectables, you can find a beautiful figurine of Homer Simpson - passed out on the couch with a donut in his hand.

Nothing says I love you like Homer Simpson ;-).