August 23rd, 2007


Amazon Traders Anomolies

I ordered two LMB books on the same day (7/6) from two different sellers on's "buy it used" service. This weekend when neither had arrived (they both had due dates of 30 days from order date) I emailed both vendors asking if they had shipped.

One vendor replied immediately, saying they should have been there by now, and gave me a refund, saying the book was mine to keep if it showed up. The other vendor did not reply.

Both books arrived via Media Mail today. Both wrapped identically in really cheap-looking fibrous brown paper constructs big enough for a hardcover book, kind of vacuum packed - the process looks like glue is applied to the edges of two flat pieces of heavy paper, the book is placed on top of one piece, in the center, and a press frame pushes the other piece down on it from the top, sealing the pieces and possibly pushing out excess air. Cheap and artless.

Looking at the invoices, the one which gave the refund says they received the order on 7/6, but did not ship until 7/17. The other lists the order date as 7/17, which is bogus. In any event, both sellers waited 11 days to ship a book, media mail, knowing it can take a month for the USPS to deliver. Shoddy.

Binary Sudoku

mastersantiago posted some funny cartoons a few days ago, one of them was a cartoonist's idea of what binary sudoku would look like. It had me all ROFL. So of course I stole the idea, making it a Rumor of the Week entry at Monday's basfa meeting. The rumor was "Future issues of the Drink Tank will feature binary sudoku. There was an epidemic of lights going on over people's heads as they Got It. It is one thing I love about this group - they are sharp, especially when there's an esoteric punch line to figure out.  It would have won, except johnnyeponymous threw money at it, and since Drink Tank is his baby, and there was an equally funny rumor about him further down the list, I let it pass.

This morning at work I had some spare cycles as my test machine's database was being scrubbed, so I built the series of binary sudoko puzzles (there are 8 of them) and mailed them off for Drink Tank use. While the original idea was not mine, turning them into a legitimate-looking series of puzzles was. I'm waiting for my Best Derivative Artwork award... 

Yet another fine Sci-Fi web site

kevin_standlee posted an announcement of this fine web site which is all about sci-fi awards, and he posted with comments turned off, suggesting we leave comments on the site itself. Fine idea, except I don't see how to leave a comment there. One of the pages mentions a blog, but there are no links I can find. Like his recent Hugo Awards site, it's a clean, readable layout, tons of great info and more to come, and the writing style is friendly and educational at the same time. Check it out.

WTF de jour

Installed the TivoHD only to find out that it requires Comcast to come out and install a decoder card. They said nothing about this on the marketing page - in fact it said I could just plug it in and see my HD channels, except for the premium ones, of which I have none. So I put the cable box back in place, and Comcast will send someone out to do something I do every day at work, and will charge me for it no doubt.

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