Friday, February 29, 2008


Argh!  I was literally 2 edits away from being able to e-file my taxes tonight when suddenly my TurboTax file is somehow corrupted, and every time I edit one of my stock transactions to try to fix it, TT crashes!!  I've posted in their community forums asking for help, but I expect I'll have to call customer support tomorrow when I've calmed down a bit.  I just hope nothing else is corrupted and I don't have to start all over!  urgh.

Update:  On the phone with tech support now.  The problem is even stranger than before now.  Whenever I click "remove schedule D", it apparently succeeds without errors but makes no change to my file - schedule D is still there in its corrupted state!

So they're having me uninstall the CD version I bought and download a new copy.  I'll be shocked if it works.  They don't seem to understand that my file is corrupted!

Downloaded and reinstalled the copy (ignoring their suggestion to turn off antivirus and firewall and uninstall the .NET Framework).  Tried a different path to removing the data this time - removing a "speed entry worksheet".  From there, I removed all the individual cap gains worksheets.  When I returned to the schedule D wizard page, I now have 17 transactions listed with no data and the word "untitled" for each. 

As a Software Test Manager by trade, I have a strong suspicion of how this happened, and I understand how bugs can be missed.  What's completely inexcusable is that TurboTax's tech support seems to have no details for solving this problem nor any tools for cleaning up a corrupted tax file.  That's the first thing I'd be outfitting my support team with.  They also didn't realize that the memory dump files were being sent to Intuit, not to Microsoft.  So I really hope they have some engineer dedicated to analyzing crash dumps and issuing patches.  I hope.

Back to the drawing board...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Time Warner's Lost Opportunity

I got a call last night from Time Warner Cable with a "great offer" for existing customers to get a discount on VOIP service.  Previously, when I had their service, it cost me nearly $45/month for a decent package including unlimited long distance and voicemail.  According to the rep I spoke with, he was offering the same for $29.95/month for life. 

Given my history of having fun with sales droids, I pressed for clarification...  It turns out the "unlimited long distance" was really "unlimited local long distance", meaning calls to North and South Carolina were included and all other calls were $0.02 per minute.  Having discovered this, I was feeling frisky and pressed on...

"So, I was thinking of switching to Vonage.  They actually offer a better package for $5/less per month than the special deal you're offering me.  Can you match that on a feature-by-feature basis and match the price?"

That basically ended the conversation - the TWC rep told me they couldn't adjust their prices and thanked me for my time.

So, anyone out there have Vonage and want the free "refer a friend" credit when I sign up?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Zune Thoughts: Microsoft Giving Away Zunes!

Every day between now and March 31st, Microsoft is giving away a free 8GB Zune!  What are you waiting for?  Go register! 


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

PointUI, the definitive user interface for mobile devices.


I don't have time right to run down all the awesome features of this custom UI for Windows Mobile devices, but quickly:

1. it's free

2. it's awesome

3. it's free

For touchscreen devices, this gives you iPhone-like gesture control for key phone, PIM, and media player functions.  For non-touchscreen devices, it's still WAY slicker than the standard UI.

The current version (1.02b) has a few issues on the Blackjack w/ WM6, such as the screen being rotated 90 degrees, but I'm sure they'll work that out in an upcoming (free) version.  You have to love it when some independent developer comes up with such a great UI and builds an instant community of support around it. 

Try it and be sure to send this guy a donation for his efforts!

Pointui, the definitive user interface for mobile devices.

How a lost laptop could cost Best Buy $54 million

Now, I'm all for consumer rights and I've had my own laptop repair issues with Best Buy, but isn't this bordering on insanity?  I'm guessing her motive here is purely to cause pain for the retail giant in a sort of modern day David vs. Goliath sort of thing.  What cracks me up is that they're offering her a Best Buy gift card to buy a new laptop - not cash.  Like she'd even want to buy another machine there after the run-around she got. 

I've said it before... time for someone at Best Buy to read "The Cluetrain Manifesto".

CrunchGear » Archive » How a lost laptop could cost Best Buy $54 million

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Slide.Show open source photo gallery in Silverlight

I love this photo gallery control.  Best of all, it's free and the source is available so you can learn how they did it!  I'll be working on incorporating this into my blogs very soon.

Link:  Slide.Show (