Showing posts with label Feelings and Opinions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feelings and Opinions. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stay away from

How many do you use for image storage and sharing? I'd started using it lately and thought it was a good one. It turns out that it is disappointing. It forces unregistered viewers to register with them before they can view the images.

For unknown reason, I have no problem to view the page in the US and I am not required to log in before I view the images either. For some people, especially the ones who are living out of the states, most likely what they see in the page is a frozen frog saying Domain Unregistered. To view, register at It looks to me that forces unregistered users to register with them before they display the images.

I don't see the frog so I won't know if my friends didn't tell me. From their PDF files, every image in my page becomes a frozen frog! Therefore, I have to upload the same set of images to and then updated all image links on the pages. It took me a few hours to fix this problem.

If you are using for image storage and sharing, you would better move your photos to some place else unless you can ensure all your audiences can see your pictures. Otherwise, all your images may become frozen frogs that confuses your users.

Updated on Aug 23, 2011
I am currently travelling in Hong Kong. The above finding is 100% confirmed. All pictures stored in will turn to be frogs when the page is accessed outside the USA. All images are viewable only when the viewer has an account with imageshack and the viewer must log onto the account.

Friday, July 29, 2011

CarMax,, and IQ Auto Buyers Review


No emails or phone calls are involved in the selling process. Car owners must visit the office in person for physical inspection and a firm appraisal with an offer will be issued and printed after the inspection. The offer only lasts for 7 days. An extension for a few days is possible but re-visiting the office to obtain a new document is required. The inspection is about 30-40 minutes while extension could be around 15 minutes. If the offer is accepted, CarMax will issue a bank draft that guarantees the fund is ready for collection. The bank draft definitely provides peace of minds to people who leave the states or return to their countries. They can ensure that the money is available and waiting for them to collect when they are out of the states. After the selling process, you have to arrange your own transportation home.

IQ Auto Buyers

IQ Auto Buyers purchase cars nationwide and offers field inspection. But recently they have their policies changed without notifying their customers. They don't offer free inspection in the field until you are willing to drop off your vehicle to their local office. For the details, see this post. Thus, what the process advertised in their site is slightly different from what they promise. They will issue a company check to you if you accept their offer. originally bought salvaged/totaled vehicles that were still running and then sold parts to car dealers. And now they become a well known online auto auction site. They are also a publicly traded company, NASDAQ:CPRT. They do buy cars directly from owners. Their processing service is very simply and their response is very fast. There is no physical or visual inspection. Everything is based on your description of your car conditions. They take your words for it. Because of this, their offer is ridiculously low. It looks like you are selling them a salvaged car. Towing fee is not included. It means if you accept their offer, you have to pay the fee and they will arrange the service for you to tow your car to their office.

It is a brand new online office of Continental Automotive Group (CAG) which manages all online nationwide transactions. is less than 6 months old in the market. Every auto dealership belonging to CAG is currently based in Austin, Texas. As soon as you submit a request via their site or talk to them over the phone, they will send you an email to confirm your request accepted along with the sale agent information. The email will also go with the local dealership logo instead of The domain name used in the email address is from some place else (currently It looks like a spam mail! Then two subsequent follow-up emails will be sent within the next 4 days. The sale agent will contact you in a day or two. A verbal quote is usually given over the phone based on your description and the basic information collected from your VIN number so that you have a rough idea how much your vehicle is worth. If you persuade further, a visual inspection is required. You either visit their local dealership office or meet the sale agent somewhere for appraisal. Unlike CarMax, no written appraisal document is issued unless you ask for. Their offer currently is valid for 2 weeks. If you decide to sell your car to them, the local dealership will write you a company check right away. Unlike CarMax, no sale document is issued in print saying that your car is sold to them. The only proof document is your receipt of the check; it has a brief description of the purchase by them. The sale agent will then give you a ride home if needed. Currently the service provided by is as good as CarMax. The process is a lot simpler. The price may beat CarMax

Personal Experience

In some cities or states, certain types/models of vehicles are overstocked or cannot be sold. Thus, if you walk in a local small dealership and they tell you that they have # of vehicles like yours, they are not interested in having your car. They just put their words in a polite way and hint you out. The price for cash or trade-in offered by them is definitely unreasonable and low. You should walk away. I am unfortunate living in those cities or states. I tried to lower my price, nothing helped. isn't helpful either. Indeed, it is wasting subscription fee. I conclude that the problem is not the price but if there is someone who is interested in your car. In my case, I put a trade-in price offered by a well-reputable dealership for more than a month in my ads. I didn't receive a single query. Then I changed my price to what I cashed out from a dealership. The same situation remains unchanged. Therefore, if you can't hear any response from your ad for some time, you have to do some research and reach out some other options.


There is no doubt that it will be awesome if you can cash your car from a private party. But in some occasions, it may be impossible, especially for people who would like to get rid of their vehicle in certain time frame. To them, selling a car to a private party may not be a good option. In addition, nowadays it is very difficult to sell a car unless you own a decent Japanese car that everyone wants.

Depending on where you live, if CarMax is located in your city, it will be your last resort. For sure, they are happy to take your car regardless of its condition. Indeed, they issue a bank draft instead of a company check, which really gives everyone peace of mind. Before doing so, you should try other options first. is new. They are as good as CarMax but they may not have their local dealership or office to where you live. Since they just start the Internet service and still provide field inspection, you may consider giving them a call for details.

You may want to talk to IQ Auto Buyers if they have an office in your location. Otherwise, you can simply forget about it because they no longer provide inspection in the field unless you don't mind driving hundreds miles away to their office.

You should forget about selling your car to copart direct if you have a decent car because their price doesn't make any sense.

Good luck to everyone who is trying to sell his car.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I really wish there was a good alternative to Craigslist

If there is something better than Craigslist, I would rather not go Craigslist.

In the past, I liked Craigslist but not any more, least to say many spams. Fortunately, I am not an active seller or buyer. I only used it lately. For the past 4 years, I didn't go Craigslist at all. As soon as I used it, I found quite a few of problems with Craigslist and have begun to understand why a lot of people are getting frustrated. I would not recommend Craigslist to everyone if he or she could find a better alternative. If your neighborhood has a community Website, you all should promote your community site and try to use it first to eliminate frauds, especially frustration from Craigslist.

Recently I've tried to post something to Craigslist, their phone verification drove me nuts. Their application is not reliable. And Craigslist support is very poor. Most likely you won't get a solid answer or help from them. The verification may work for some people but some may never get through without a reason. It doesn't support VoIP, which kicks out a lot of honest and legitimate users. With the phone verification, Craigslist may eliminate some spammers from the seller-side but there are plenty from the buyers. All sellers are in great risk while the buyers are somehow protected. I also had to use Google Voice phone number for ad instead of email. Otherwise, my email account would be full of Craigslist spams.

Using Craigslist could make you more frustrated than ever. If you hang around their help-desk discussion forums, you would find that there are a lot of people posting the same issues over and over again such as phone verification, ads not shown, trouble with re-posting and something similar. Those questions could be easily resolved if Craigslist app could have alerted and explained why their posts fail when the users place their ads. Currently, Craigslist does nothing; instead, it lies and tells the users that their posts are successful and asks them to wait for a few minutes for update. Unfortunately, those posts are automatically ghosted or flagged as soon as the ads are posted; thus their ads would never be shown or displayed in the search due to prohibited content, violation, unsupported hidden characters or other issues. According to their forums, it is one of their ways how to eliminate spams. To me, it is wasting time and $$. Those supports are answering the same questions daily again and again. Why do I hire people answering the same questions over and over again while there is a better way to handle the issues? I could be wrong about it and don't see the whole picture. In addition, the languages used by those supports sometimes are very rude and offensive [see one of the thread discussions below]. The worst is that Craigslist forums don't welcome user discussions and discourage users to discuss any Craigslist issues while there are a lot of unresolved issues. If you do any discussion in their forums, you may be flagged with thread hijacking without a valid reason and then possibly reported to the staff. I wonder if the users would care about this when they get frustrated. Why not let them to vent the angers? Indeed I don't understand why user discussions becomes an issue to Craigslist. Or is it just a makeup rule by those supports who are running the show?

Luckily I don't have to deal with those issues but I feel the pain for the people who are still bothered by those issues, plus fraudulent activities are still active on Craigslist. Nowadays there are more and more negative comments on Craigslist than positives. I hope that there will be soon a better site than Craigslist or Craigslist begins to listen to their users.

Here is one of the examples extracted from Craigslist forums. Those guys with channel names <FeatureNotABug_>, <__:)__> and < - > are the supports. The thread was posted and started by a user called < jo27 >

[ Full discussion on Craigslist forum ]

 Post Active not showing in Search < jo27 > 07/26/11 16:12  
      : . . your ad < - > 07/26/11 16:13  
      : . . : . . anybody else not as mean want to assist? < jo27 > 07/26/11 16:15  
      : . . : . . : . . your ad < - > 07/26/11 16:17  
      : . . : . . : . . : . . since this man is disrespectful, anyone else? < jo27 > 07/26/11 16:18  
      : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . so sorry for the troll, we < FeatureNotABug_ > 07/26/11 16:20  
      : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . anyone for real on here besides these 2 clowns? < jo27 > 07/26/11 16:22  
      : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . Ignore, Flag and ignore § < getaliferudeass_ > 07/26/11 16:24  
      : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . So can anyone help me with my post? < jo27 > 07/26/11 16:26  
      : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . Event services is for those < __:)__ > 07/26/11 16:30  

There are plenty of this example found in Craigslist forums. When I read it, I just cannot believe my eyes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Posting an Ad to Craigslist now becomes more difficult or frustrated

I haven't posted and purchased anything from or to Craigslist for a very long time. On my mind, Craigslist was a great service for local people to get good deals. Unfortunately, a lot of innocent people got spammed; sadly stories happened one after another. A few years ago Craigslist started implementing posting verification by forcing people who post classified ads to the USA or Canada for phone verification. And each successful verified phone number is good for 90 days. To consumers, it is a good thing; it certainly eliminates a lot of spammers, especially the ones from oversea. However, this control along with others makes a lot legitimate posters (like marketers) extremely inconvenience. A lot of them look for and turn to other alternatives such as,, and etc. Sadly the alternatives traffic is still not as much as Craigslist.

I am not a marketer but sometimes I may have things for sale or giving away, like everyone else. The first service pops to my mind is Craigslist. I was trying to post an ad since yesterday morning without success. None of my phones could be verified.

First, I was trying to use magic jack phone number for verification. It turns out that Craigslist won't accept any VoIP phone. It means I cannot use Magic Jack for verification. Then I entered my cell phone number. Unfortunately, the page kept sayingYou are submitting telephone verification requests too rapidly. To prevent abuse, we require users to wait 5 minutes between requests, use no more than 3 telephone numbers in a 12 hour period, and not use any single phone number more than 3 times in a 12 hour period. Please wait and try again later.” At first, I believed in the error message. But after having waited for a few hours and then tried again, I concluded that something must have gone wrong. Reporting an error to Craigslist is no use. I received the same explanation that I could find in their phone authentication help page. What could I do? So I put this aside for the day and tried again in this morning. The same error message re-appeared. It was more than 12 hours waiting period. I cannot believe that I still received the same error. It implies that their phone verification service is not reliable. It could be why it frustrates a lot of marketers, besides other issues.

Craigslist phone verification process is even more difficult to follow than using a ATM card at an ATM machine when you're trying to remember your passcord. For ATM, at least I could try 3 times physically. For Craigslist phone verification service, the 3 times attempts are very easily to exceed without your knowledge.

You cannot refresh the page or use the same URL to another browser window/tab. If you do, it will count once because the page itself will remember your previous phone number. I am not talking about the browser cache. It is nothing related to it. Your URL is tied to your email address. When you enter a phone number, it will automatically tie it to that phone number as well. It is done in the craigslist backend server, not from the browser. Thus, if you have an issue on this, don't refresh, or cut-and-paste the URL to another browser to try again. You will quickly lose your two counts. Unfortunately, my issue is not related to this.

In order to resolve this issue, I decide to sign up an account with Craigslist. From there, it automatically detected a problem saying “There is already an account associated with this email address.” and offered me a chance to reset my password. I have never signed up an account with Craigslist, so I guess it could be a temporary account for non-registered user when I tried to post an ad. Obviously such a temporary account is required for their phone verification service. I followed the link to request password reset. Then I received an instant email for password reset. I finally have my password reset and registered an account with Craigslist.

Having an account with Craigslist doesn't mean I exempt for phone verification when I post an classified ad. To me, this password reset or the registration process cleared all errors including every single field of my phone number stored in their back-end server. From that onward, I could re-enter my cell phone number for verification to the page. Unfortunately, my request was expecting a text message / SMS from Craigslist but somehow Craigslist failed to deliver. When I went to check the sending code status, it indicated that “the call has been placed.” Call? I was requesting a text message, not a call! So I waited for another 5 or more minutes and then placed a request for a voice message instead of text. My cell phone rang as soon as I hit the "send the code!" button. My ad was finally posted.

This whole verification process with Craigslist negates my impression with them. I hope that Craigslist will improve this process. When the alternatives begin improving their traffic, people may leave Craigslist if this verification process is still a headache. Right now, Craigslist still holds a solid position in the market place.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Passed 70-515

As of today, I am certified for ASP.NET 4.0.

Learning from my previous experience, yesterday I drove to the test center and checked it out first. I don't understand why the same test center keeps moving from place to place! Every time I take an exam with them, they move. This time I ensure I know how to get there so everything was smooth. As usual, I was there an hour ahead and waiting outside for the time came.

There are 51 questions in total for 2.5 hours. I finished them about 1.75 hours. I am happy with my score. I could miss 1 or 2 questions. That's. My score is 970 out of 1000. The passing mark for this test is still at 700.

For some reason, I feel 4.0 is a lot easier than 3.5. But I am surprised to be tested by some jQuery questions. There were at least 4 questions in my test. Frankly, I don't find them related to ASP.NET. To me, it doesn't make any sense to have them in the test. jQuery is not mentioned in MS testing objective. Why am I being tested with jQuery syntax? Luckily I use jQuery and am able to answer them. Otherwise, it could be doomed. Besides MVC 2 and dynamic data stuff, I don't see any new stuff in the test. If you know 3.5 (including SP1) well and put some effort to learn more about MVC 2 and dynamic data, for sure you will be ready for the test.

Good luck to everyone who is preparing or going to take this test!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Registry Mechanic vs AML Free Registry Cleaner

Despite all the good reviews about PC Tools Registry Mechanic, I am disappointed by it.

I don't use registry cleaner but lately I would like to try it out and possibly find one to add into my collection. Under google search, Registry Mechanic by PC Tools is highly recommended by most reviews I have read. Unfortunately, I would not recommend it.

I did a very simple test myself a week ago on one of my virtual machines. This machine is always abused to use for bit torrent, software tryout, far-sites movie watching and etc. Thus I know its registry could be a mess. Because it is a virtual machine, it will be easy for me to recover it if something goes wrong during this registry test. In the course of searching good registry cleaner, AML Free Registry Cleaner is another good one on my mind. Thus, this test is Registry Mechanic vs AML. If you seek for professional opinions on registry cleaners, you may have to go some place else. Here is simply my opinion.

Registry Mechanic vs AML Free Registry Cleaner:

Test Targets Registry Mechanic AML Free Registry Cleaner
Version 10.0.134    (currently also known as
Registry Cleaner 2011)
Price Free to try
(First 6 sections repairing trial);
$29.95 to buy

Test machine: Windows XP SP3.

Test Results based on problem found and detected:
Registry Mechanic 2011: 150 problems found
AML Free Registry Cleaner: 327 problems found

I went ahead to fix all problems found by AML and run the test twice (before and after reboot). Both results are the same and shown below:

Registry Mechanic 2011: 17 problems found
AML Free Registry Cleaner: 0 problem found

I don't find any abnormality after the fix by AML. Everything is working fine.

I cannot use Registry Mechanic to fix all problems it found because of its trial version restriction. However, I did something else interesting that may be an interest to you.

At pctools site, it features Registry Mechanic 2011 supports 17 languages but there is no further information about which languages it actually supports (or I could not find this information nor separate installers for other languages). When I installed it, it would not present me a language selection. I was curious how well its language detection was. Since that XP installed in this virtual machine is a multilingual version, I started fresh and switched to Traditional Chinese to test its language detection.

Why Traditional Chinese? Most software cannot handle well Traditional Chinese. They usually mistake the OS as Simplified Chinese if they try to be smart without letting the user to make a choice. Registry Mechanic suffers the same problem.

Similar to AML, the installation of Registry Mechanic is simple and straightforward. AML supports English only while Registry Mechanic claims to support multiple languages. Unfortunately it won't present you a language selection and it tries to be smart to use the language to match your OS. Sometimes it is not what you want. The worst is that it could present you a wrong UI language. Registry Mechanic mistakenly presented me everything in Simplified Chinese while my OS language is in Traditional Chinese. Because of this problem, some characters on screen are garbags.

As I mentioned before, I could not find the details of which 17 languages Registry Mechanic supports. Based on my test, it doesn't support Traditional Chinese but Simplified. To me, it is a serious problem for a software (which claims to support multiple languages but provides no language selection) to present the wrong UI language. Indeed, a lot of users would prefer to choose their languages.

There is one thing that annoys me most I found with AML Free Registry Cleaner. When it starts, it is always in a maximized mode. I personally don't like it. There is no way to configure AML to remember my preference. Other than this, I am fond of AML.

AML Free Registry Cleaner comes with free Disk Cleaner option. At first, I was surprised it found a lot of tmp files while CCleaner reported nothing about them. Later, I found that those tmp files are created everytime I reboot. Thus, I won't be able to get rid of them because they could be used or created by the system or the software (like anti-virus) you installed. They are needed whenever the system restarts. Thus, AWL Disk cleaner at this case is no use.


Between Registry Mechnanic and AML, I would highly recommend AML Free Registry Cleaner. The most importances are that AML detects more problems than Registry Mechanics and it is free!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Impressive PDFCreator File Size Optimization

I have been using both PDFCreator and PrimoPDF for 3+ years. I mainly use them as a PDF converter and a virtual printer. I personally like PDFCreator most. But PrimoPDF can handle/convert some Web pages that PDFCreator cannot. To me, they both compensate each other. However, I have never paid attention to the PDF file size generated by them until recently. PDFCreator definitely is the winner. If anyone looks for a good PDF compression tool, I would highly recommend PDFCreator.

The following table presents you the file sizes generated by PDFCreator, PrimoPDF and GIRAC freewares from Microsoft WORD 2003 which doesn't contain images.

MS WORD 2003 with no image73KB

As you can see, PDFCreator file size optimization is the champion.

Updated on Jan 27, 2011:

Today I need to convert a document from WORD to PDF. The document is embedded with a tiny image. I used both PDFCreator and PrimoPDF for comparison to see which one does a better job. As expected, the PDF by PDFCreator results in very small size. But this time, the PDF made by PrimoPDF is a bit huge.

MS WORD 2003 embedded with a tiny image69.5 KB (71,168 bytes)
PDFCreator47.2 KB (48,388 bytes)
PrimoPDF1.18 MB (1,245,833 bytes)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Free calls to US by gmail is NOT available to anywhere yet!

In Aug, 2010, I was very excited to learn the newly added gmail's phone call feature and wonder I could make use of it when I travel to Asia in September. Unfortunately, this feature is not available when I was out of the USA. Luckily I have my MagicJack around.

Re-visiting the gmail official blog, I found that they have an update on Aug 26 saying this feature is only available in the US. Thus, this feature is not useful to me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

BIOSAgent is no longer available

I have been using BIOSAgent since 2007 when I was working in a project that extensively dealt with system detection. It helped me to fix a lot BIOS issues by providing me every single piece of information stored in the BIOS. Sadly, this wonderful desktop, standalone BIOSAgent is no longer available for download now. The last version is 3.66. I don't have the last version but up to v3.61.

BIOSAgentPlus is the successor or the replacement. The current version I tested is 2.2010.1.8. Unlike BIOSAgent, BIOSAgentPlus requires Internet connection for data interpretation. It doesn't scan your system over the Internet; currently you still have to download an EXE file to do the scanning and then interpret the scanned data at their online server.

Basically, there are two ways to submit the scanned data:

  • Default: Run BIOSAgentPlus while you are connected to the Internet. After the scanning, BIOSAgentPlus will auto-fetch the data.
  • Offline: Set "Work Offline" (see my offline section below to see how) and manually submit your data to DriverAgent (another tool by eSupport).

If the scanned data is auto-fetched by your local copy of BIOSAgentPlus, the result page will display not only the information of the BIOS but also every driver of your system. Any new driver(s) available to your system will also be shown in that page. If you post the data yourself, the BIOS information will not be displayed but you are still able to view the information of your existing and new available drivers online. Thus, the manual method at this point is useless. After all, the data is actually interpreted by DriverAgent, which won't interpret BIOS data.

If you scan your system offline, BIOSAgentPlus will automatically open a text XML file for you. Do a search on <D:smbios> in the file and you should find all the BIOS data. On XP, this file is stored in the folder of %TEMP%\DriverAgent.

Regardless of which method you use to submit and interpret the scanned data, you can always be allowed to choose to "Save Scan Data" for future use. This simply saves the reference data in a HTML file. Next time, you double-click on it and the data will be fetched and viewed from their online server. Again, Internet connection is absolutely required. With this, the BIOS data is always interpreted and displayed in the page.

I personally don't like the BIOSAgentPlus because I am not interested in the driver information or its upgrade. I just want to instantly see what data was written in the BIOS. In addition, when I am doing this, most of time the Internet connection is not available or the system has not completely configured well yet. With BIOSAgentPlus, I have to do more steps to view the data or I interpret data myself. I really miss the nice and simple BIOSAgent.

How to Run BIOSAgentPlus Offline (for version: v2.2010.1.8)

As usual, the downloaded EXE file doesn't require to install; simply download and run it. When BIOSAgentPlus runs and performs the scanning, on XP, the BIOSAgentAgent icon will be displayed in your system tray.

Right click the icon, select "Work Offline" if the Internet connection is not available. If you need scan again, then click "Scan". Note that The Scan button will be grayed out while BIOSAgentPlus is scanning.

As soon as the scanning is done, a text file named DriverAgent.xml.txt will be opened for you. Follow the instruction in that file and submit its XML content to As discussed before, the BIOS information will not be interpreted when you manually submit data to DriverAgent.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Will Hong Kong be no longer to call Hong Kong?

Next month I will go Hong Kong for visit. At the same time, I may go Shanghai for a few days if possible. I found that quite a lot of people now go by train instead of flight. Thus I started my research on train. There is a direct train traveling between Hong Kong and Shanghai. Each way operates every other day.

I am surprised that a lot of people emphasized in their blogs to look for the word Jiulong for buying return train ticket in China. Huh? Jiulong? Where is it? Should it be Hong Kong? Some place in Hong Kong? Or the train station in Hong kong?

The train station in Hong Kong to Shanghai is called Hung Hom Train Station and located in Kowloon, Hong Kong. There is no place or a train station in Hong Kong called Jiulong. Then where is Jiulong?

After having done some digging, I finally reach my conclusion. Jiulong is the direct translation from Mandarin pronunciation to English. It is actually referring to Kowloon, the official name in Hong Kong. Why did China make this new name to Kowloon, Hong Kong? Has Kowloon already had a name in English? It is extremely confusing. This makes me wonder that Hong Kong may have a new name in English soon. 50 years unchanged? Certainly something have been changed on their ways. Look! The name is one of the changes. Would Hong Kong be called Xiang Gang in English in the future or whatever name in Mandarin? Note that Xiang Gang is the Mandarin pronunciation in English for "Hong Kong" according to one of the online dictionaries. Please correct me if it is incorrect.

Will Hong Kong people accept this new name? Unfortunately, a lot of people don't even know.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm certified - MCTS

keep smiling

Today is my lucky and happy day. I finally got certified with ASP.NET 3.5. I was preparing it for the past few months. Today I finally get an award of it.

My exam time was scheduled at 11:30AM today. I left and headed to the test center an hour ahead of my exam time. It was just about 10 minutes drive but I was almost late and missed the time because of the incorrect Google map. I kept calling the test center but I could not reach anyone. I was panic and even thought that I might be doomed today. The time was ticking and I had only 10 minutes left. Finally, my call got through and I arrived just right on time. Still, my feeling was not so good that I was afraid what happened before was to give me some sort of symbolic or indication that I could fail my exam. However, the result turns out fantastic (a perfect one) and it makes me keep smiling.

The actual exam time lasts 180 minutes (3 hours) for 45 questions. But my confirmation sheet (from Prometric registration) said 4 hours because the additional hour was used for reading instructions, answering questions for survey (compulsorily) and leaving comments to questions after test (voluntarily). When I started taking the exam, the time was set to 180 and then counted down. I spent about 2 hours and read twice. The full score is 1000 and the passing mark is 700.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Changing account info with yahoo is difficult

I have seldom used yahoo email account since they no longer support POP. Recently, I have logged on to it and was forced to add new security questions due to their new design and interface. Then I found that there is an error in my birthday and would like to amend it. Unfortunately the field is not available. I sent them a question asking about how to update it.

The answer is that I have to wait for 35 days in order to edit the field since my security questions are newly added/updated. The other ridiculous thing is that this field will be public by default (see the email exception below). I can't hide it until 35 days. How difficult to make the personal account information becomes editable immediately since they have already had the interface? Why do I have to wait 35 days? Anyway, I simply hide my entire profile since I am not using it for connections.

The following is excerpted from the email answered by Yahoo:

"Once the 35 days has passed, you will be able to edit your age from the "Edit Profile" link in your Yahoo! Profile. Edit fields for your birth date will be available on that page after the 35 day period. You will also be provided a field that will allow you the ability to hide your age from other users."

September 28, 2009
The 35 days have already passed. I still don't see that there is a field for age or birthday available at the Edit Profile page. Everything is the same as before only showing Full Name, Display Name, Location, Verify and two buttons (Save and Cancel) - that's! The page with the birthday info I found is only available at Account Info page. Unfortunately it is not editable at that page. I have never seen Age field that Yahoo keeps mentioning. They should have posted the screenshot at their support page to guide people. Such a question has been asked several times if you do a search on Google, but no one is fond of their answer. I have been talking to Yahoo back and forth 4 times. I can see that it is wasting time. Wait for 35 days? Then what? The information is still unavailable. Yahoo support just wants to dismiss you ASAP regardless of your satisfaction with their answer. Luckily, I don't subscribe their pay service. It is totally not worth it! Although it is free, Users should have the right to make corrections on their personal data. It seems to me that Yahoo promotes false information and discourages users to make amendments!

Side note:
  • A few years ago, a friend of mine's email accounts were hacked. She successfully had her Hotmail back but not Yahoo. She was extremely furious with Yahoo and advised everyone to reconsider if he or she chooses Yahoo's service while there are better services in somewhere else.
  • If you lose your password, you probably will be out of luck to get your account back from yahoo. I lost once in the past but luckily I remember it a month later to have it back. Their service support is very poor regardless of how much information you provide them. Their answer is always the same, "Sorry, your data doesn't match with their file." So the case is closed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blogger fails to identify users

Some people are unable to provide comments with their own identities using their Google accounts, because blogger always mistakenly tags them with someone else. Clearing cookies and cache for the browser won't make a difference. I am one of them. Thus, I won't comment friends' blogs with my Google Account identity because it will never be me. Luckily most of them allow visitors to sign with Name/URL.

I just did a little bit experience using a public computer where I have never been before by posting a comment back to my own blog. When I posted a comment, I logged in with my Google account, hoping my name will show up correctly. No, never! Instead, I became someone else. The worst is that I don't even know who that person is. Obviously, it is not the issue of you possessing many Google accounts as blogger claims. Unfortunately, blogger has never admitted the fault and has no plan to fix it. In looking back the complaints posted to the blogger user communities/forums, this problem has existed for a few years already. To be safe, if you have already experienced this problem, it would better not use Google account when you post a comment to blogger, use OpenID if you have another identity with some other sites, or use Name/URL if the blog allows anonymous posting.

Blogger cannot correctly handle their own Google account for comment posting. Why not put Google account under OpenID category and handle it the same way as other OpenIDs? This problem discourages people using (or signing up) Google accounts and also degrades user experience.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Disappointed Again

Yesterday I spoke with my brother about my friend's condition, who is currently fighting for the fatal disease, brain cancer. I am extremely worry about him, especially I can't pay him a visit due to geographical living locations. His radiation therapy is not doing well and he could lose his battle.

My brother immediate reaction makes me even sadder. He shows no compassion. Instead he said, I should prepare to deal with this thing to happen in my life when I get older. Who doesn't know this? No one needs him to remind of this. A person will leave the world eventually. Especially when we get older, such a sad story will echo to our ears and/or surround us more often. However, could he pretend to show some sympathy by simply saying "I am sorry to hear this"? He is disappointed me again!

I've seldom shared any feeling of mine with my family although we try to remain a good relation. Unfortunately, none of my family members understand me or even know what I will feel and think. Since a friend always encourages me to try/share my feeling with my family, it still fails and makes me even more upset. It was not the first time, the second time or the third. I can't remember how many times my families did to me. This episode is just a simpe example from my brother. I am not going to try again. They always hurt my feelings. I would rather keep all to myself or share with strangers who don't know me. Speaking to no one here, I will at least feel a lot better inside.

Health or Job?

I have felt extremely sad lately. But there is nothing I can do. A friend of mine passed out and rushed into the hospital in March. Then he had a brain surgery almost immediately next day and was diagnostics to brain cancer stage 4. The recent radiation seems not helping. According to a friend's messages, he also loses his confidence to survive. Right now, he cuts off people contact or visiting. Since we both are not living in the same country, I am unable to visit him. Instead I am thinking him a lot daily. I am afraid of losing him soon. He is one of my best friends I've ever had. His patient, listening, caring and consideration manner makes me/everyone feel comfortable to stay with him all times. He was "never" sick; he was very health conscious and always kept his health in a good shape. I can't imagine he ran into this fatal disease. Can he survive through this? No one is sure to tell. I cannot deny that the chance is less (although there are plenty of successful stories), especially when he loses his own confidence to fight this. I am not a Christian but I would like to pray for him to re-get his health over. Please, God bless and help him!

For those people who are currently losing jobs, please don't give up. You all definitely will receive a second chance (and more chances) to start your career and life again, and then stay happy. Remember, your life is much, much better than someone's, who is fighting for a fatal disease, losing health or life. No health means no life and no second chance. Please precious what you have now and make wise use of your free time to prepare yourself for your next career.

I also wish everyone healthy and no worry of sickness or disease.

Again, God, if you can hear me, please help and save my friend. Show me your mercy and the miracle. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cyberbully and MySpace

MySpace Mom:
The first felong charge case in Missouri. A 49 years old woman Lori Drew posing as a 16-year-old boy on MySpace befriended with a 13-year-old girl Megan Meier first, and then suddenly sent Meier hateful messages and even published her private messages online that led Meier who had a history of depression commite a suicide. Drew was found quilty of three misdemeanors by criminal laws, which have been recently overturned by arguing that violating a Website's terms of service (TOS) is not a federal crime. Although Drew's actions or motives disgust me, I don't agree that violating TOS constitued "unauthorized access" that induces violating federal anti-hacking laws. Harassment may be a better term. Missouri has changed its anti-harassment laws to cover cyberbully.

Craigslist's Casual Encounters:
A 40-year-old woman Elizabeth Thrasher posted a fake "Casual Encounter" ad on Craigslist for a 17-year-old girl with whom Thrasher argued over the Internet (MySpace again). Thrasher was currently out of jail on a $10,000 bond and prohibited from accessing to the Internet. She could face 4 years in state prision in addition to $5000 fine maximum if she was convicted.

Two cases are done by women. What was in those two women's minds? Are they sick or full of retaliation?

Moreover, two cases are somehow related to MySpace, one of popular social networks. Nowadays, the social network gathering has become "real" although we are not physically face-to-face. Conversations and/or arguments without geographical barriers happen every minute or any moment. These two cases are just a simple reflection of real-life scenarios. Whenever there are humans group together in a place, there may be a crime or evil thing to be conducted somehow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Annoying JavaScript Error on IE7

There is nothing wrong with IE. It is the bad work done by the Web developers who did a very bad job. Even Google is not doing a good job either. See its and most sites where installed Google Ads.

Since using IE 7, I keep getting javascript pop-up errors all the time. It is very annoying. "Disable Script Debugging" on your IE Internet settings doesn't mean you can eliminate all JavaScript errors. Some errors still continue popping up without your consent. I wish I simply put IE to retire but IE is still one of the popular browsers. I still have to use it for testing.

I am not a IE lover. I personally like to use Mozilla or now called Sea Monkey instead. Unfortunately, most sites don't support Mozilla but IE. Somehow I believe that IE popularity is related to its default distribution by the OSs. It induces users using it regardless of things users dislike.

Would this JavaScript problem be fixed soon? Unlikely, I think. IE 8 has already in the market. Later maybe IE 9, 10, ... Most sites focus on the latest technologies and have never bothered to fix things for the old browsers. Too bad for you if you're still using it! So don't count on them fixing it. Instead, users have to find their ways to deal with it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Share or Trade?

I am reading news about "Rhapsody connects to Facebook, Twitter." You go and listen to a song you like at Rhapsody, then you post a link into your Facebook profile for sharing. Your friends see it and click on it; the link will bring them to Rhapsody site for further exploration.

Actually you're helping them to do advertisement for free and helping them to get more exposure in public - similar to the effect of "the word of mouth." The more people visit their sites, the more chances for them do business. It is just a marketing tactic. It looks like more and more business going to this direction.

Nowadays, sharing has another meaning attached to it - free advertisement - yeah, you share their content and they will make profit from your "sharing" - fair deal, huh? Or it may be called a trade!