Magazines

August 14, 2012

See an interesting articles on NY Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/business/media/wondering-how-far-magazines-must-fall.html?_r=1

I’ve always been a magazine reader. I don’t buy them anymore. If I read things published by what were magazine publishers, they are on my iPad. I’m happy to pay for quality publications even if not paper. But I’m more fickle now. For example, I read New Scientist and Scientific American for the longest time on dead trees; but in the 21st century both publications have gone downhill and are now just political advocacy publications. They don’t garner my attention anymore, even if electronic.

It still is about content.


Jambox

August 14, 2012

I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY like this little box. Terrific sound. Connected wirelessly to an iPad or computer–terrific.

But last night it was infuriating! In the middle of the night it decided to run out of battery power. At that point it started to talk to us saying something like Hal did in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” that “i’m going to die” or something like that. That voice in the Jambox woke up everyone in the house.

Why oh why do people make machines which talk to people as if they expect people to believe the machine is a people?


Is this a fishing attempt?

August 12, 2012

We received the following letter addressed to us at our address and correct postal code, but to “Occupier”, from an “electronics” company in Midlothian who provides their phone, fax, mobile number, and email on the letter:

Your annual intruder alarm system service is due. As you know from your insurance requirement, it should be inspected every year. The cost for a service check is £60 pounds plus VAT. Total £72. Should the system require any parts, this will be charged as an extra. You will note that this correspondence is addressed to the occupier. If this causes any offense we apologize. But if the occupier has changed (unknown to us) the mail is returned.

Well,

  • We know the previous owners (left more than 10 years ago) did not have an alarm system
  • We have an alarm system, and this is no secret as there is an alarm bell mounted on the outside wall of the house.
  • The alarm system was installed by another company and they hold the service contract. They perform annual maintenance and they know when it due.

This Midlothian-based electronics company cannot know that our “Annual Intruder Alarm system is due.” If they did know, they would have been able to contact us by name.

This just feels like they are are writing letters to “occupiers” of houses they notice have exterior alarm bell, hoping at worst (their perspective) to get £72 or more out of them. At best, gain access to the house to “case the joint” and perhaps disable the intruder alarm before leaving.

We informed the police, but they were not interested. They suggested we inform Trading Standards. We also informed our own alarm company. They told us other customers have received the same letter. Trading Standards makes the point that they don’t receive complaints from consumers and referred us to some charities that only take phone calls. Oh well. We tried.