New Year’s Eve Eve

Family Circus

Family Circus

We took the Christmas decorations down though…

Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 397

Smart Marketing

Part I:
Bought a laptop from Dell recently. They are forever running special promos; free this or that or free upgrades in an effort to entice a sale. I bit on the slightly above basic laptop and what contributed to it was $150 savings, free printer, free internal wireless and upgraded shipping. The same unit is $100 more without the printer or wireless right now, but maybe cheaper next week or at the small business store or by checking the /tv store.

I hooked up the free Dell 720 color ink jet printer tonight to replace my old Lexmark Z12 which was like $30 when new several years ago. Of course the free printer included the trial size ink cartridges which made me leery about running the alignment test and sample page for fear of using most of the ink up. Dell was nice enough to include some software that will let you know when your ink is low and instead of just popping a warning from the task tray it will launch IE and take you to the Dell supply page…

Part II
Last couple of years at tax time I have used H&R Block’s Tax Cut. I used to use Turbo Tax but switched after reading about Intuit’s digital rights management features that were crashing PCs of a couple years ago. I am happy with Tax Cut and was thinking about getting it again this year. But I don’t have to think anymore, in today’s mail was a silvery looking DVD sized case with Tax Cut Deluxe and one standard state program. Plus all the usual free with rebate software and/or electronic filing you normally get. I just have to load the CD and give them $29.95 off of my charge card. No going to the store and maybe choosing a competitor’s product…

Started up, went down, still down.
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I’m Free, I’m Free

Wire free that is. I have managed to muddle my way through setting up my own wireless network at home. I got the cable internet into and through the router no problem, but was having trouble getting the laptop to connect.

Tonight to make sure there was nothing wrong with the laptop’s wireless card we cruised downtown Aiken looking for unsecured networks. The Hotel Aiken was wide open, but the signal strength was not too hot. Connected to their network no problem, but internet access was iffy at best. The Holiday Inn Express near my house house was much better, wide open and could surf the net better. Using the Holiday Inn Express network they start out IE with it going to the main Holiday Inn web site, but after that you can go where you want to go.

When we got home I disabled the security on the router and sure enough I could connect. I really didn’t want to live that way, so I re enabled security with different settings and BINGO we were in.

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 394

That Wasn’t Easy

Decided to spend the last of the Christmas cash on some newly required essentials. The new $500 laptop has beget a couple of required purchases, a carrying case/bag and a wireless router.

I started at and quickly filled my shopping cart. A cheap-o polyester computer case for $29.99 and a Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router (Model# WRT54G) $57.94. The router came with an instant $3 off coupon and a $15 mail in rebate bringing its cost to under $40.

Six hours later I received an email:

Please be advised that due to the high demand and current “Special Buy” our stock has been depleted and cannot be re-ordered, back ordered and no substitute is offered. The quantity ordered will not be shipped and please note that you have not been charged for this item. The item may not be returning to stock. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

So I figured seeing as I was actually having to leave my house and go shopping, I’d cancel the computer bag too. There is no way to do that online, you have to dial the 1-800 number (how so last century.) The CRS who answered after a short wait was friendly, efficient but no so helpful. Through no fault of his own, mind you, but because the computer bag was direct ship from the manufacturer he said he would try to put a stop order on it. Because the order might be to far along to stop, I’m thinking that is doubtful because the estimated delivery date was 1/9, I had two options; refuse delivery when it arrives or accept delivery and return it to the closest Staples.

On a whim and because we were going out to get a gallon of paint for the bathroom tonight we swung by Staples the store. I thought for sure they would be out of the router as well, but there were 4 on the shelf. I picked one up and headed for the check-out figuring the worst could happen was I was going to miss out on the $3 instant coupon, but when the cashier rang me up it came to the same price as I had online. The three bucks off was listed right there on the receipt. Now I just have to fill out the rebate form online – again.

Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 393