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And now for your reading pleasure...

Everyone is allowed to gripe, if not more people would be sitting in asylums rocking back and forth muttering something about Kool-Aid and duct tape.  Therefore, I submit for your reading entertainment, my take on things that make me want to dump core.
Cranky EBay Sellers!!! - 3/7/2004
Here is the story - I found this killer little camera by Logitech and hunted eBay to find a bargain - well, I did.  I sent off my payment and eagerly awaited it's arrival.  Instead - I got his email:

Dear Mr.Bottaro, I apologize but we cannot accept your payment. We do not send to unconfirmed addresses. Your money has been returned. Sorry that our business was not able to go through, thank you for your time and hope to do business with you in the future.

dennisbottaro@comcast.net wrote: 
Dear <seller omitted>,

This email confirms that the Pending eCheck you have received for $92.00
USD from dennisbottaro@comcast.net has cleared.

Item Information for dbottaro

Item Title: NEW Logitech Pocket Digital Camera 130 FLASH! 
Quantity: 1
Item URL: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2989536150
Item #: 2989536150
Price: $80.00 USD
Subtotal $80.00 USD

Shipping & Handling: $10.00 USD
Insurance: $2.00 USD
Other Discounts & Charges: 
Sales Tax: $0.00 USD_________________________
Total Amount: $92.00 USD 

Dennis Bottaro's UNCONFIRMED Address 

Dennis Bottaro
26600 Ace Avenue
Leesburg, FL
United States

Important Note: Dennis Bottaro has provided an Unconfirmed Address. 
If you are shipping items to Dennis Bottaro please keep in mind that you 
will not be covered by the PayPal Seller Protection Policy.

The PayPal Team

Ok -  I goofed. I confirmed my Paypal address then sent the following email to the seller.

Oops! I did not know what the whole confirmed/unconfirmed thing was. I just confirmed my home address. Can we try this transaction again?

I got this reply.

Hey Dennis, I'm sorry, but the listing fee for the last transaction was $5, i already lost $5 because our transaction didn't go through because it takes $5 to post up the auction. I would have to repost the auction and it would cost $5 more. I'm sorry, i can't afford putting it back for $5 and lose $10 on it, i'll just take the $5 I lose and live with it. Hope you find another one of these.

So I, willing to correct this sent this email.

My real suggestion was that I send you the $92.00 for the camera, and you send me the camera. I really do not see the need for you to post the camera in another auction so I can bid on it again. If this is outside your eBay comfort zone, I understand.

Please let me know if we can do this outside eBay.

Reading it now, I can see where he got confused...  He shot this back at me.

I'm sorry Dennis, but I've been tricked a few times, so it's really out of my comfort zone especially after I've returned the money from paypal. I'm sorry, but we have been jacked one time by people because a case as such, so we don't take any more of those chances, hope you understand, thank you. 

I replied thusly:

Could I simply resend the paypal to you with my "Confirmed" address? In case you haven't guessed, I really would like this item - $150 retail camera for $92 bucks is a deal I most likely will not find again.

If your answer is still no, I will acknowedge and move on.

I got this reply.

I'm sorry, but i really can't take any chances. thank you. 

I got a bit ticked by this point - after all I was about to snag a $150 camera for $92!

Expect negative feedback. Thank you.

At least I warned the guy - then he gets all ticked and sends me this:

i already lost $5 b/c of this, and you want to give me negative feedback? are you cold hearted? I lost $5 in ebay posting fee and you THINK U GOT THE WORSE END OF THE DEAL??? Wow, i am so shocked and appalled by your email... Do you not realized I've been messed up before in EBAY through transactions like this? and you have the NERVE to tell me you going to give me FEEDBACK that's negative... have some heart for Pete's sake... and sympathy... you are really something...

Now - I got just a bit ticked - this was a simple transaction, then he starts to get personal with it?  C'mon.   I cooled my head for a minute or two and composed this reply.

Hey dude, no need to get nasty - it was MY error, I was more than willing to try again, but you weren't. I would have NO hard feeling in sending you a check for the $92 for item, and $5 bucks for your time. (Which is WAY outside of standard eBay practice). 

Here is the text I put in the feedback: "My Error using Paypal, Inflexible Seller. Rejected Payment b4 communication"

In it I acknowledge fully that it was MY error. Had you simply contacted me prior to rejecting payment, we could have worked something out where we BOTH would have been happy.

But... rather than contacting me, you rejected my payment. Once I did contact you, you were of NO help whatsoever, despite my multiple offers to set this right. That alone merits negative feedback in my opinion.

Now, after letting you know my intentions you blast me. Yeesh.

I realize that you have been "messed up in transactions like this" -- sorry welcome to the real world. I however, am not a crook, a charlatan, a thief, nor am I bad buyer. I simply goofed using paypal. I was MORE than willing to correct my error, but you wanted nothing to do with it.

Considering the fact that you claim to accept personal checks and money orders, I would expect that you could have been more flexible in accepting payment. However, you never asked if I could pay in some other way, nor did you offer any option other than ending the transaction.

Sorry about trying to buy from you. I will not do it in the future. Thank you, and have a nice day.

That is the end of the story, as I have not heard any reply back.  In the future, I will be more careful about paying with Paypal.  I had never had any problems in the past, and quite honestly had NO CLUE what the deal with Confirmed/Unconfirmed addresses was.  So I acknowledge that it was my error, but he was of no real help at all.  With any luck I may find the same camera model on eBay in the future, but the outlook is quite bleak.  When searching for "Logitech Pocket Digital", you will find TONS of the low-end version of the camera, but very rarely do you find the good one with the flash and REAL 1.3 MPxl CCD.  Oh well, the hunt continues.

Here is the eBay Feedback I left him and his comment:

My Error using Paypal, Inflexible Seller. Rejected Payment b4 communication.   Buyer   dbottaro ( 12Feedback score is 10 to 49)   Mar-05-04 19:11       2989536150
  Reply by jdpcstore: I don't send to uncomfirmed addresses, this guy wanted me to send regardless.


  Mar-06-04 17:13  


Idea Pirates!  -  2/19/2004
Perhaps the one thing that roasts my ass more than all others are "Idea Pirates"...

I would dare to say you know one of them, perhaps more. They tend to feed on the ideas of others, then pawn them off as their own.

I classify such mental-plagiarism as a plague. Credit belongs in the hands of the creator for ideas - period. This mind set works wonders in the Open Source community, allowing lots of developers to work together on a project. While allowing anyone of them to take bits of logic and source code for use in their own applications. Under the GNU license, all "Intellectual Property" is still really in the hands of the creator, but the only payment required is credit for it... Simple public acknowledgement of the source of the idea.

Is that really to much to ask? In the eyes of an idea pirate - yes... Nay, hell yes it is! Any moderate idea spoken near them becomes instantly their own, to be touted as personal achievement.

I dare say I work with a few idea pirates. Often have my and my co-workers plans, ideas and schemes been snatched away only to be returned bearing someone else's name.

My days of feeding these pirates are over.
M$ FrontPage - 2/18/2004
Bah!  And Double Bah!!!

I just did the silly thing of adding FrontPage support to this here website.  I had it setup with FrontPage long ago, then I moved my home computer to Linux, and remove FrontPage support.

Well, I have a new machine and am enjoying the bounty of Windows XP - so I figured I would get into the 20th century and use a GUI to edit the website again.  I hopped over to the management section of the site and enabled FrontPage.  Seemed like something rather safe and innocuous to do...

WHAM!!!  I lost all my navigation.  Luckily it was not much of an ordeal to set it all backup, but jeez that was the last thing I expected while moving to a "better way" to manage my website.

File Management on Tripod - 2/18/2004
Perhaps I am smoking crack... Not highly likely, but it *could* happen, perhaps sleep deprivation... Ah who knows...

I went to Refer my Godparents to my Mom's Memorial site. I filled in the really spiffy form I made, oh so long ago... Click submit after entering a nice heartfelt message, and I get a Tripod 404 error! Man... where did my cool code go!?

I actually learned some PERL in order make that thing work, not to mention Tripod's special API to send mail. Bah!

Perhaps with any luck I can find the code in a local backup somewhere.

** Sigh.. **
Sears vs. Credit Card Payments
I have noticed there is a general lack of real customer service in the retail world.

Jenenne and I went to Sears to make a payment on her card.  She did not have her card with her so the lady at the counter looked up her account for her.  I pull out my bank debit card and am told you cannot pay with that.  I explain to her that this is a bank card, not a credit card.  She explains again that I cannot pay with that.  I let her know that using this card comes directly from my bank account, just like a check, she gets snippy letting me know that it costs Sears a $2 charge from MasterCard when someone pays with a card.

Call me a jerk, but I do not care what you have to do to get paid.  With the interest rate I am charged, I think they could spare me the $2 pity party song.  After all, they, just like me, signed knowingly with MasterCard for credit services.  C'mon spare me the news and let me pay my bill. 

Microsoft vs. Enterprise Backups
I like backups.  Let me restate that -- I LOVE BACKUPS!!!!  A backup can save your hide, many times over in a network environment.  In order to bring a bit more efficiency and capacity to backups at the office, we built a new backup server - with 750GB of RAID storage.  This baby is huge!  I can backup the entire network, including client machines if I wanted to and still be able to keep multiple iterations in online storage on this box for super quick restores.  Sounds like a great fix doesn't it?

That is what I thought.  Did I mention we are a M$ shop, we have Win2k servers all over the place, so the logical choice for a backup platform is Win2k.  We pump about 100GB of data to it every night, and dump it off to tape during the next business day.  This plan works great.  Until the other day, when I noticed the backup file sizes were just a bit small...  the file for our main file server is usually 55GB, it weighed in at a paltry 285MB.  Uh oh!

After thumbing through logs on the servers that pushed their backups to the backup server, I found "Lost Delayed-Write Data" warnings in the logs.  Oh boy.  A quick check with M$ Support on the net told me that I need to contact M$ for a patch, a patch that "may receive additional testing."  Oh jeez, I get to beta test a M$ hotfix on my entire network!  Ack! 

Allow me to qoute M$:
A supported fix is now available from Microsoft, but it is only intended to correct the problem that is described in this article. Only apply it to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This fix may receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, Microsoft recommends that you wait for the next Windows 2000 service pack that contains this fix.

OMG!  I am scared.

Vendor Communications (Mini-Rant)
At the office, I maintain servers and network hardware.  We keep a lot of our equipment in nice slick rack cases from vendors like Compaq and APC.  Each rack has a key, and in the office each DOIT has one of those keys.  Sounds simple right, well, I never had one, but need one.  So we call up APC and ask them to ship us a copy of the key. They tell us to go get the serial number off the bottom of the rack case.  OK.  We call them back a day or so later with the number and they say no problem, you should get your key in a few days.

A week later, a box about 3" x 6" x 10" shows up on my desk.  I am puzzled by the sheer size of this thing...  I pull of the packing slip and notice it says:

"Incorrect or Missing Items - Needs New Keyword"

I open the box to find a big roll of bubble wrap crammed in the box, bent in the shape of a smile.  After much on rolling we find they shipped us a new lock for the case.  Oyez!

Communication, ya can't live with it, ya can't live with out it!

Direct Merchants Bank "Customer Support"
I recently divorced, and my ex took the DMB card. She was to be responsible for the payments, etc... We had come to a new agreement, and now I have this hellish nightmare.

I called the company to explain the situation, she ran the card over-the-limit, could not make the payments, now the burning ball was in my court. I explained that I simply wanted to sign up for online account access. That is all, not anything major, after all I AM the primary person on the account.

I contact the "Customer Support" number, am told that I must have the 3 digit code from the back of my card. I DO NOT HAVE THE CARD. I kindly explain this to the moron on the other end of the line. He informs me they cannot send me a new card until the account is below the credit limit. I explain the situation again and am told the same. 

I asked to speak to the supervisor. After a short time on hold, I am treated rudely, like an unruly child by the dolt on the other end of the line. I explain, yet again, the situation and am told that I must pay the card under the balance before they will send me a copy of the card so I can manage my account.

By this time I was getting a bit ticked off. I asked, so, what do you suggest I do? I was told I can do payment by phone. (Yippee!) for $15 I can pay with a rep, or for $8 I can pay via "Phone Payment." I grudgingly accept the cheaper alternative, and dump $258.43 at the card.

This was 4 days ago. The payment has still not posted to my as yet unmanageable account. I have not been treated in such a crappy manner by any creditor.