Monthly Archives: November 2005

Can’t Get Here from There: Shipping to Hawaii

A barrier to more people in Hawaii shopping on-line is the
problem of shipping. Up until a year or two ago, UPS provided
Ground Shipping rates. However, they decided to stop such service
and provide only one or two-day service. As you might guess, the
cost of next day or second day air delivery is substantial. By
substantial I mean more than $20 for even the lightest
shipment.

So when I find a website like Amazon that provides reasonable
shipping costs, I will order things from them. On the other hand,
I recently tried to buy something from New Egg. When I went to
the checkout page, I was surprised to see an option of UPS ground
for shipping to Hawaii. I was over joyed! Ground shipping to
Hawaii was back! So I picked that option and finished checking
out. But a day later, much to my dismay, I got an email from New
Egg saying they didn’t really have UPS ground shipping and that I
had to pay for first or second day air (which was almost double
the cost of ground).

Now, I am not a lawyer but it seems to me New Egg made an
offer to sell me an item at a certain price and then offered
various shipping options. I accepted that offer and submitted
payment in the form of a credit card. In a court of law, that is
one definition of a contract. Break that contract, and I can sue.
Although I don’t actually plan to do so because it’s just not
worth my time and money, a class action suit might be
workable.

In any case, one must wonder why the people who put the New
Egg site together didn’t program the shipping so that delivery
addresses in states they don’t serve are locked out. For example,
Sears.com does that by making sure you can’t enter the state of
Hawaii in the address field. While I deplore Sears for ignoring
my state, and Sears obviously by making such a decision will get
zero business from 1.5 million potential customers, at least they
are up front about it. New Egg, on the other hand, appears, in my
opinion, to be pulling a bait and switch.

So, I will be ordering my Antec Aria case, AMD 64 3200+ CPU,
ASUS A8N-VM CSM motherboard, Seagate SATA NCQ 160GB hard drive,
and other assorted bits and pieces from someone else (I’m putting
together a Windows Media Center PC. Yes, I know, it’s Windows.
But the Linux equivalents aren’t. Equivalent, that is. You have
to do too much compiling and hand tuning to get these things to
work, if you can get them to work at all and hardware support,
especially for HD, is rather sparse.).

Aloha!

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Laptop Drive Comparison

For those looking to boost laptop performance, one area to
upgrade is the hard drive. Due to battery power consumption and
price considerations, laptops use relatively low capacity and
relatively slow hard drives. Indeed, on the budget end of most
laptop lines you will most likely find cheap 4,200 RPM disks with
small 2MB buffers. Upgrading one of these drives can lead to
substantial speed gains when working with a typical office suite
of applications according to tests reported by Storage
Solutions of several laptop hard drives
. The downsides? Cost
and shorter endurance times before you have to recharge the
batteries of your laptop.

Only you can decide what tradeoff you are willing to live with
but if you choose to upgrade your hard drive the Storage
Solutions review seems to indicate it may be worthwhile. Although
no test can be exhaustive of every type of drive available, I
think the Storage Solutions test covers the major players:
Fujitsu, Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate, and Western Digital.

As one would expect, for the most part, the faster the spindle
speed, the higher the performance. Hence, it should come as no
surprise that the Hitachi Travelstar model 7K100 7,200rpm disk
comes out on top for most of the tests.

The problem is, the Hitachi costs about $200USD for 80GB of
storage. As a comparison, in the desktop world you could get a
300GB drive for about the same price. So, although you can gain a
speed increase by switching from a 4,200rpm drive up to a 7,200,
the cost will also be relatively substantial. If that equation
works for you, then the Hitachi is probably the way to go.

Black Friday

Well, another “Black
Friday”
came and went. I didn’t get anything for myself but we did get
a bunch of stuff for the grand kids. I won’t say how much we
spent but look for the Disney(tm) store earnings to go up this
year 🙂

Mac vs. Linux: Which is Better?

I happened upon a blogger who wrote about his experiences in
switching from
Linux to a Mac Mini
. Although most people who buy Minis are
probably Windows users, it is interesting to see the perspective
of someone coming from the OpenSource world to the closed and
very proprietary Apple Mac operating system.

You can read his review but the author’s bottom line? Thumbs
up on the Mac GUI but he hasn’t given up on Linux.

Codecs R Us

One of the problems in the wild world of computing is the lack
of standards. But sometimes, the problem is there are too many standards. A reflection of this is the number of codecs you may need to install to view/hear the content that is out there. I came across the Free-Codecs.com
site recently. It haven’t tried to use any of what they have but if you need a codec, you may want to check this site out.

Pat Morita, RIP

On a sad note, actor/comedian
Noriyuki “Pat” Morita
passed away last week. I have no doubt
that his life story will be made into a movie, someday. It is an
inspiring tale of overcoming both physical and soul draining
obstacles. From spinal tuberculosis to being “intered” in an
Arizona camp during World War II. From working in the computer
industry to the early days of trying to break into an
entertainment business that was/is mostly white skinned to being
nominated for an Academy Award(tm). His life is an inspiration to
all and reflects the best of the human spirit. May he rest in
peace.

Aloha!

Slugging It Out

So, just how hard is it to shoot a lock off? You
know, like in the movies when the someone needs to get through a
locked fence. The actor pulls out his/her pistol and shoots the
lock. Well, the answer, according to The Tactical
Solution
is: Very hard. They tried a 9mm, .45ACP, .223 (5.56mm), .308
(7.62mm), and a 12 gauge Brennke slug. The
only round that was able to do enough damage to blow the lock
open was the slug. None of the pistol rounds even penetrated the
outer casing of the lock and the rifle rounds either bored nice
round holes or actually blew parts off the lock but the lock
still held. Only the slug did enough damage to open the lock. Of
course, as the site notes, there are different was of shooting
the lock (rather than hitting it in the center) so your mileage
may vary. Don’t do this at home. Insert disclaimer here.

Shooting at the lock.

The lock after being shot.

With that, tomorrow is the Thanksgiving holiday here in the
U.S. so I will be off. In addition, I will be taking Friday off
to do my part in keeping the Hawaii economy robust and growing so
no post on Friday either.

Have a Great Thanksgiving and Weekend, Everyone –
Aloha!