Archive for November, 2005
I went to the MUS Class of 2000 reunion last night. It was a fun get-together. We had about 25 folks out of the 88 (I think) that graduated that year show up. Some of us are married, at least one I know of is divorced, some are working on PhDs, some still on the elusive Bachelors. I wouldn’t have been able to guess where all these folks ended up though. A lot of my classmates are “in business” in various ways. Investment banking and consulting seemed to be popular. Out of everyone, I think I’m the only one that actually that’s in an engineering position. Figures.
I had the same conversation at least 20 times last night:
Hey Man, what’s up? How’s it going?
[listen for a minute or two, nodding, and then proceed through the following paragraphs in any order]
Cool. Well I finished my Masters degree last year, and I’m down in Austin, TX working for IBM’s Systems & Technology Group. What do I do? I’m in a rotation position, and work for the “firmware” design group for mid-range and performance servers. What does that mean? I work on the software that makes the hardware work. What does that mean? … Look, I work on the design team for mainframes. Understand that?
Yep. Austin’s a cool place just like you’ve heard. Never been there? You should visit… Yep it’s a big million-person college town…
Yep, I got my Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering last year, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering in 2004. No, I didn’t go to Georgia Tech. I got both degrees from the University of Oklahoma. Yes, that’s random, but they paid me to go to school there… yes, it’s a great school… yes, I liked it… (why, oh why did everyone think I went to Georgia Tech? I think I know… because several of my friends went there.)
Good seeing you too!
A lot of the folks I figured would be hard-core academics are still in school, working on advanced degrees. A lot of the folks I had figured would be working for their daddy’s company are actually out doing their own thing without any handouts or maneuvering through the “good ol’ boy” network, which is very cool. It was fun seeing everyone, and comparing my experience to theirs, especially since I haven’t seen most of these people since graduation day.
In the past week, an online site / service royally tried to screw me over. Apparently fly-by-night, it offered a “100% 30 day money back guarantee” for trying out their product. I tried it, and it sucked. I asked for a refund… and stopped hearing from them completely.
<CENSORED>.com’s software / service sucks for these reasons:
- Data feeds are delayed by as much as 10 minutes, or are sometimes missing completely
- Local-PC Data Collection doesn’t work well, mostly because the software relies on a screen scraping method to grab player names. It gets at least 2 / 10 wrong.
- You can’t scan a table while “holding” a seat.
- You can’t scan a table at all unless you turn off Microsoft’s “ClearType” antialiasing technology.
I had a good experience all the way up to the point where I asked for my money back. Adam, the guy that seems to be the entire operation, promptly returned all my emails within hours (at first)! We actually held conversations about improving his software in near-realtime via email.
After a couple of weeks of trying his stuff out, however, I was unimpressed, and wanted my $40 back. I emailed him, saying, “Thanks, but no thanks, can I have a refund please?” and promptly stopped hearing from him.
At this point, I started to smell a fraud. I started to send daily emails, and then began calling. I even called several times throughout the day, each time leaving a message at their voicemail. Out of morbid curiosity, I sent a seemingly innocent email inquiring about the service from one of my other 10+ email accounts, and got a reply back in a few hours, when at the same time I got NOTHING back from my “real” email address. He’s trying to scam me! I sent a few more emails from this account, eventually asking him to call me for “technical support.” He replied that that service is only available for paying customers. I replied with the following:
Actually, that’s where we get into a fuzzy grey area… I’ve been trying The account is Now can you call? I wanted to verify that it was in fact Call ASAP, anytime tonight.
to contact you for a few weeks, and most recently called 3 times. My name’s Mike
Hollinger. I’ve emailed you from my personal account at firstname.lastname@example.org several times today and not
gotten a response. I’ve also called several times.
my email servers not talking to your email servers, and that you were
Actually, that’s where we get into a fuzzy grey area… I’ve been trying
The account is
Now can you call? I wanted to verify that it was in fact
Call ASAP, anytime tonight.
As a friend put it, “‘Ultimatum’ is read between the lines, in bold, italics, and underlined at size 24 font.” I even left him some possible “outs” with the e-mail server nonsense. As soon as I sent this reply, I stopped hearing from him once again. This guy’s seriously trying to swipe my cash! I ended up calling my credit card company to file a fraud charge, and dispute the payment. Thankfully AT&T Universal Card (run by Citi) was quickly able to help me with the problem, and gave me a conditional credit of $39.99 back on my card. I just have to wait 60 days to get a final solution.
Until I do, I’ve removed the company’s name from this post just to make my life a little easier, and avoid possible retribution. In the meantime, I’ve contacted his hosting company and his billing company for violations of their terms of service. I’ve yet to hear back from his host, but the billing company is “looking into it.”