Archive for June, 2002

The IBM Saga Continues, again.

Laptop arrived today from IBM repair in Memphis.

Put in my production Linux drive, powered it up, logged in, and it powered off on me again without warning about 8 minutes later.

Closer inspection of the included notes with the returned unit show a mention of:

“Unit was sent back as ‘No problem found’..”

The random power-off happens while exclusivly using AC (No battery) as well as exclusive DC (not plugged in). Problem doesn’t appear to be adapter or battery-related.

It’s going back to IBM tomorrow.

This is putting a serious dent in my productivity.

The Ineptitude of the Masses

  1. The United States Postal Service lost a package I sent on 6/8/2002 which contained legal US Copyright documents awaiting 8 signatures from our team dispersed around the globe.

    I specifically sent it Certified and Registered with all the bells and whistles. When I sent it, I specifically asked them what I needed to do so that it was trackable and to make sure it didn’t get lost in the ocean somewhere.

    Now they can’t track it, and can’t tell me where it is.

  2. My laptop was sent to IBM service, under warantee for a repeated random power-off problem. The technician I spoke with when I reported it said it’s a rare, but reported problem. He also recommended I “upgrade my Win98 APM drivers first”. I calmly mentioned I didn’t run Windows and that it happens even when I hit F1 and leave it in the BIOS screen. He told me to install Windows and upgrade the APM drivers anyway. Uhm..

    The laptop arrived safely, and they now tell me that they can’t reproduce the problem and are going to send it back to me.

.oO(Why do I always get the idiots?)

Latest news and famous quotes


The GPL case continues

    “If we end up in court, I will bankrupt these guys.”

    That’s the latest we’ve heard from James Fisher at $COMPANY. It was the first of two official threats from them. Apparently because they have “investor money”, they think they can just ignore US Copyright Law and the GPL. I can’t say more on this right now, pending our investigation. Lawyers and the community is involved, backing us up 100%.

Laptop Death

    After all that mess with eBay and my shiny new laptop, now it’s dead and needs to be serviced. Luckily for me (so far), in the absence of a receipt, the warantee is still valid for 3 more years.

Plucker News

    The new Plucker site is coming along very well, now that I realized I needed to manually load Apache::Table. Without it, Apache::Request and mod_perl would randomly “forget” %vars, and cache data between requests. Now it’s all working well. Version 1.2 is being beta’d now, the new site launch should be soon before the official announcement of the 1.2 Plucker release.

    We will be selling some shwag from the site soon to show our support of the community, and in the hopes that they can show their support of us. We may also need the funds to help fund attorneys in our defense of the GPL violations we’ve been dealing with.


    Status: None.

Triathlon Training

    Training goes well, but deadlines have slowed this down a bit. I need to get back on the road, with a road bike soon. I’m addicted to the mileage now. I feel the years of mileage coming back, legs and lungs feel more powerful than ever.

    I’m very impressed with how much E has taken onto the sport, having never bicycled competitively before. It’s going to be my turn soon.. competitive running. Ug.

Something (blue)Fishy

“What color does a fish get when you take away their oxygen?”
B L U E(fish)

Laptop Repair

    Several days ago my shiny new IBM T23 laptop died with a very rare, but “seen” problem. It would randomly just power off in the middle of whatever. Host OS didn’t seem to matter (native Linux and native Windows had the same exact symptoms), and it would do it if I left the laptop in the F1 BIOS screen.

    I called IBM, they overnighted a shipping box for the laptop, all pre-paid. As promised I received the box yesterday afternoon from Airborne Express. I promptly packed the laptop as instructed, filled out the proper manifest and inventory control forms, and taped the box shut.

    I called Airborne Express to schedule a pickup, which was scheduled for today between 9am and 4pm EST. It is now 3:40pm EST. I just called Airborne Express to inquire as to the status of my pickup…

    Apparently the driver said he called 5 TIMES, and the phone was busy every time he called. He also said he showed up at the house, saw two doorbells, didn’t know which one to ring, so he got in his truck and drove away.. without ringing any of them!

    My shipping order clearly stated “Second Floor”. I’ve received telephone calls today without any problems. I can believe that he called once, and got a busy signal, maybe twice.. but 5 times? No. I’ve been here all day, the phone has ringed a total of three times, two were wrong numbers.

    Why do I always get the inept, downtrodden, idiots, and why are they almost always responsible for my stress and delays in my productivity?

Thanks, gratitude and CSS

use strict;
use CGI qw/:standard start_diary end_diary/;
use Env;

print start_diary();

thomasvs: Thanks for the automake help the other day. It’s all voodoo to me, but I’m picking it up slowly.

movement: Thanks for giving me a hand with oprofile on Monday. I still haven’t tracked down those bugs we discussed. I’m also tinkering with valgrind. Very useful tool. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to
squeeze out the last of the bugs in their code.

I’ve also found lots of the fellow monks at to be incredibly useful lately. I’m running into very weird Perl issues the deeper I get into some code I’m working on. Lots of helpful folk there.

Also, I must give credit to Dorward and tomg on Efnet’s #html channel. They are very strict HTML/CSS purists
like myself. Birds of a feather, I guess. They’re also keeping me in line with some of my code.

The new Plucker website layout is coming along very well. It validates as XHTML 1.0 Transitional, the CSS is 100% validated in two separate parsers, and it works in 11 browsers. No tables, nothing fancy in the formatting, all CSS. The only browser that seems to have problems at all is Konqueror. To date, it is the least compliant as far as CSS goes. Horrible results.

print end_diary();

Banging the Tin Cup

Tags: ,

I see lilo is up to his “banging-the-tin-cup” again in his latest antics on OPN. Let’s review some history of when I caught him doing this well over a year ago:

**** BEGIN LOGGING AT Sun Apr 15 16:02:17 2001
16:04:30 <lilo> listen, I am not paid to talk to perennially angry 
16:04:39 <lilo> such I judge you to be at present 
16:04:55 <setuid> Are you saying you draw a salary based on 
   donations from the community?

dopey…and let’s not forget that OPN is a private network, not a public one.

**** BEGIN LOGGING AT Sun Apr 15 16:02:17 2001
16:07:10 <lilo> please see paragraph 2 of the motd 
16:07:19 <setuid> I've seen it, which you are legally violating.
16:07:23 <setuid> Which has also been noted. 
16:07:28 <setuid> Next? 
16:07:28 <lilo> this is a private network
16:07:37 <lilo> your access may be revoked at any time
16:07:40 <lilo> that part
16:07:44 <setuid> That's fine with me.
16:08:33 -lilo- lilo is ignoring you

What’s funny about this particular interchange (one of dozens lilo and I have had) is that I was g-lined from OPN for putting lilo on /ignore awhile ago, but he sees fit to put me on ignore.

Sorry, OPN is not “open”, nor friendly, nor does it in any way contribute to the furthering of any community spirit. When it ceased to be Linpeople, it become another entity entirely. Looking at all the suspicious things going on behind the scenes at OPN, I’m definitely directing people away from it. There are dozens of other freely available irc networks that cater to specific tastes, including my own server, that don’t force this level of “management” down on it’s userbase.

lilo, really. I’ve personally been out of work for over six months, and I’m not begging for money from anyone. I could always break down and work at McDonalds or as a school janitor, or mowing lawns. Drop the ego, and do what you must to support your family. This is getting ridiculous.

You don’t “deserve” a salary for setting up OPN, just as I don’t “deserve” one for all the unselfish giving I do for the community, in mailing lists, CVS hosting, gratis web development, IRC servers, and so on. I do it because it needs to get done, and it benefits the community as a whole. You also don’t have to personally micro-manage the network. An irc network, properly configured, runs itself. Delegate out the responsibilities, if you must. Let it be what it needs to be.

Enough already.

The Ebay Laptop Auction Fraud Continues


All I wanted was a laptop so I could work on the road.

  • 1/18/2002
    I won a bid on an IBM Thinkpad T23 laptop on Ebay, sold by
    a one “Brian Silverman”, aka “electro_depot”, and overnighted the payment to him in certified funds (as required by his terms) within 5 days of auction close.

  • 1/25/2002
    The payment was received on 1/25/2002 and signed by one “Jena/Tina A. Waterman” and immediately deposited. Based on the terms of the auction, this
    individual had 2-4 weeks to ship the laptop from this date.

  • 1/31/2002 09:50:31 -0800 (PST)
    Received an email from Brian acknowledging the receipt of the payment.
  • 1/31/2002 10:19:13 -0800 (PST)
    Requested a tracking number for the shipment.
  • 2/18/2002 16:41:26 -0800 (PST)
    Received email from Brian asking for the ebay tracking number. This number was clearly written on the cashier’s check, and on an
    included note that was shipped with the check, which he recieved and signed for on 1/25/2002.

  • 2/18/2002 17:11:28 -0800 (PST)
    Responded with tracking number within 30 minutes.
  • 2/19/2002 16:47:17 -0800 (PST)
    Received an email from Brian stating that my Sony Vaio 300 series (PCG-FX370 or PCG-FX390) laptop was no longer available, and asked that I select another model.
  • 2/19/2002 17:11:28 -0800 (PST)Responded to this email, clarifying that my auction was for an IBM Thinkpad T23 laptop, model 26479LU, not a Sony VAIO.
  • 2/19/2002 17:53:04 -0800 (PST)Received an email acknowledging the error, and stating that the item would ship “shortly”.
  • 2/20/2002 04:57:56 -0800 (PST)
    Responded to last email from Brian, stating that it was now a month after the date of the auction close and over three weeks since he
    received and deposited my payment into his account. “Where is my laptop?!”

  • 2/20/2002 06:30:59 -0800 (PST)
    Received email from Brian stating that they’re “running the full shipping time” on this item, and that I should be glad to wait the
    extra time to save the money on the hardware.

  • 2/27/2002 12:18:48 -0800 (PST)
    Sent email to Brian clarifying his violation of his own auction terms. It is now 40 days past the close of auction. After researching
    his feedback profile on ebay it became clear that this person has a real problem with
    shipping dates and times.

  • 2/27/2002 12:18:48 -0800 (PST)
    Made it very clear that if he could not ship the laptop to meet my deadline of March 4th (I had a speaking engagement in Berkeley,
    CA), to overnight me a full refund, so I could use the cash to purchase another laptop in time for my speaking engagement.

  • 3/1/2002 09:15:25 -0800 (PST)
    Sent email to Brian with my telephone number requesting that he contact me directly to work out issues related to shipping and delays.
  • 3/1/2002 18:20:34 -0800 (PST)
    Receive an email from Brian asking for my shipping name and address. He stated that he sent me an email “several days ago” asking for
    this information.

  • 3/1/2002 18:58:14 -0800 (PST)
    Requested copies of the original emails sent “several days ago”, to try to track down what may have caused the disconnect. Never
    received copies of his emails. I receive over 400 emails a day, and never lose a single one. Brian never emailed me, this was a delay tactic.

    Demanded refund or laptop by Monday 3/4/2002, or I would initiate an investigation. Also requested a full receipt for the item, if it shipped. Brian’s feedback profile led me
    to believe that he does not provide receipts, and hence no way to secure the manufacturer warantee.

  • 3/1/2002 19:27:36 -0800 (PST)
    Received email from Brian stating that the “warehouse” was closed on the weekend, and the best way to proceed was to refund my payment
    by wire transfer.

  • 3/1/2002 19:30:30 -0800 (PST)
    Received email from Brian stating that a “printout of the ebay auction webpage” is a valid receipt. He also states that he is not late
    $in delivering the laptop (he’s 42 days past the close of the auction at this point). He also states that he does 1,000,000 annually in sales, and asks me not to start quoting him
    $federal infractions and IRS tax laws regarding his questionable business practices.

  • 3/1/2002 19:52:09 -0800 (PST)
    Received email from Brian stating that he could come in on Saturday (3/2/2002) to check on his email, presumably in anticipation of my
    rapid response.

  • 3/2/2002 09:07:03 -0800 (PST)
    Sent email to Brian: “Do you have the laptop or not? You’ve had 42 days to obtain the merchandise. Do you have it or not?!”
  • 3/2/2002 14:29:51 -0800 (PST)
    Received email from Brian stating that these items ship “warehouse-direct” and that they usually have no problems shipping on time
    (another lie, since his feedback profile has 60% or more of his buyers complaining about incorrect or “epic” shipping delays). He states that he thinks the T23 is in stock, and
    could ship in 1-2 days. He also states that he can upgrade it to overnight shipping “..if that helps”.

  • 3/2/2002 14:39:34 -0800 (PST)
    Responded to Brian stating that even if he shipped the laptop on Monday, it wouldn’t get to me in time for my departure to Berkeley and
    my speaking engagement. The delays and the transaction in general have caused me to miss two speaking engagements already, and will now cause me to miss a third.

    I request that he upgrade it to overnight shipping, and if possible, upgrade the RAM in the laptop as a complimentary compensation for my troubles.

  • 3/3/2002 12:45:23 -0800 (PST)
    Received email from Brian stating that they cannot help me, and that he will be sending me back my money.

At this point, the scam becomes abundantly clear. He’s had my $2350.00/USD in his bank account for 37 days, gaining him interest on my money. In this time, I have seen
Brian put identical laptops up onto ebay for sale, and seen other bidders bid, win, and be successfully shipped their laptops, all in less time than I’ve had, and I still have no
laptop, and no money back from Brian.

Based on his current auctions, and this scam he’s got running, he’s making literally thousands of dollars a month in interest alone on these “sales”. I’ll bet he double and triple
sells the same laptops to different bidders, gains the interest from all of them sending him their money, then cancels out on all but one bidder, refunding their payment, minus
the interest he’s gained on their money in his account. Some bidders have even waited up to 8 weeks to receive their purchases, all the while, Brian states he’s still within his
auction terms of 2-4 weeks. Where? On Jupiter?

If I do not receive the exact funds in return on Monday, I will be calling the FBI and the IRS on Brian Silverman. Perhaps they’d be interested in his “$1,000,000 in sales
annually”. If he’s doing that much business, why is it so hard to ship a single laptop 100 miles away? Why is it so hard to provide a valid receipt? Why is it so hard to keep your
word without excuses and lies? Well, I’ll let the FBI and IRS figure it all out on Monday.

Meanwhile, I’m out one laptop and $2350.00/USD.

I’m pissed. Why does so much “dark cloud” always come my way. I’m a vortex for bad luck.

Bad Behavior has blocked 104 access attempts in the last 7 days.