Archive for the ‘Consumer’ Category

Ironic or not?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

“Ironic or not?” is a game I used to play with one of my cow orkers at Four Letter Computer Corporation.

During the Great Bobblehead Scandal of 2012, I bought a John Wilkes Booth bobblehead.

I had it on my desk at work until this morning, when I accidentally knocked it onto the floor and…


Yes, Booth broke his ankles. Much like the actual John Wilkes Booth did when he got his foot tangled in the bunting while leaping out of the presidential box at Ford’s Theater.

(Or maybe he broke his leg. Or maybe he didn’t break anything at all in the leap, but his horse injured him later. I’m a little dubious about that story; the evidence for that seems to be “he didn’t run like he had a broken leg”. Well, maybe, but given that he’d just killed the president and was fleeing the scene, adrenaline may have done a great job of hiding a broken leg.)

What really kind of totes my goat is that Booth fell maybe three feet (if that) onto a carpeted office floor. Note to self: don’t buy stuff from “The Bobblehead LLC”.

Ironic or not? Before you answer…

GMR 4×4 update.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Linoge has posted a follow-up on his dealings with GMR 4×4. In brief, he filed a complaint with the Vermont Consumer Assistance Program, GMR was given the chance to respond…and pretty much lied through their teeth.

And apparently Linoge isn’t the only person they’ve burned. Once again, I encourage you to read the original post, and Linoge’s update, and then carefully consider whether GMR 4×4 is the kind of company you’d like to do business with.

Consumer advisory: GMR 4×4

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

I have two sets of fantasy vehicles. Set number one is the ones I would buy if I ever won the lottery: something like a nice high-end BMW, or an Acura NSX, or a Mercedes sedan, or maybe a nice Audi…

Set number two is the more affordable set, and what I like to call “hacking around” vehicles. Sometimes I think it’d be nice to have something like a used Pinzgauer or Unimog. I’ve also thought about a real Land Rover; not one of those soccer mom vehicles, but an older model Defender, possibly a military surplus one. All of these are surprisingly affordable.

But if I ever do go looking for that surplus Land Rover, you know who I won’t be doing business with? GMR 4×4, aka GMR Imports LLC.

Why? Linoge has the whole story of how he got screwed over by GMR over at his site. In short, his “jump in and drive away” Land Rover has cost him over $11,000 above the purchase price so far, requiring a transmission replacement (it literally could not be driven off the transport) and an engine replacement within the first 100 miles of driving. Yes, yes, buyer beware when you’re buying a used vehicle, but based on Linoge’s summary, GMR substantially misrepresented the condition of the vehicle on their website.

I encourage you to go over to Walls of the City, read Linoge’s story, and then carefully consider whether you wish to do business with GMR 4×4.

Consumer advisory: iTunes 11.1

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

If you have not updated to iTunes 11.1 yet, don’t.


This is a screen snapshot from my iTunes 11.1 of one of the podcasts I listen to, the Accidental Tech Podcast. Click to embiggen.

In spite of what you see in the “Plays” column, I have actually listened to every episode of ATP. I delete podcasts from iTunes as I listen to them.

When I “upgraded” to 11.1, all of these podcasts I had already listened to, and deleted from iTunes, popped back in with that little “cloud” icon under the “Unplayed” column. Apparently, Apple wants me to know that these podcasts are available in “the cloud”.

That’s great, Apple, but if I want to find an episode I’ve missed, I can go to the podcast’s page in iTunes, or to the podcast’s website. How do I turn off the display of podcasts in “the cloud”?

Surprise! According to everything I’ve been able to find on Apple’s support sites, you can’t. You can’t delete them from iTunes. You can’t get rid of them. The “Show iTunes purchases in the cloud” option does nothing for podcasts.

You can use the “My Podcasts” view to show just the podcasts you’ve downloaded and not deleted, without the “cloud” podcasts. But I have sound reasons for preferring the “List” view over “My Podcasts” – “List” shows you more information and less graphics.

Bad job, Apple. May the person who decided on this develop a case of painful rectal itch.

Consumer note. (#2 in a series)

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader does not work with the iPhone.

Even if the clerk at the Apple Store tells you it works great with the iPhone, and you can use it to pull photos off an SD Card and onto your iPhone for further manipulation and uploading, it still doesn’t work. Plugging it in gives you a “This accessory is not supported by iPhone.” message.

I point this out here because it seems to be a common question without an answer on the Apple forums.

Much to their credit, the Apple Store gave me a full refund (no restocking fee) on the device, even though I was outside of the return period by one day. (I bought it a little over two weeks ago, but had not taken it out of the package until yesterday because I hadn’t shot any photos until Sunday.)

Consumer note: Pocket Hose.

Friday, May 24th, 2013

You know the Pocket Hose, right? Extensively advertised on television?

My mother moved into a smaller place at the end of March, and bought a Pocket Hose around that time so she could water her plants without bucking around a big garden hose.

It lasted about two months. The hose now seems to have some sort of internal break such that, instead of water coming out the nozzle, it flows out from just below the faucet connection. It isn’t leaking at the connection, like it is improperly tightened or missing a gasket, but leaking in the hose portion below the connection.

Of course, this being cheap Chinese made crap imported by Telebrands, it doesn’t have any kind of warranty. Luckily for her, she bought it at Home Depot with her Home Depot credit card, and they’ve agreed to refund her money when she brings it back.

Seriously, guys, less than two months? Put that in your social media pipe and smoke it.

And just in case you think I’m being a crank, it sure looks like the Amazon reviews support my position.