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Green Online… JUST SAY NO

Below is a note I sent to Willis Orchard Co about an order I placed for some tropical plants.


On 19-Mar I placed an order for three Medjool Palms (1.5′-2′) and a Drawf Cavendish Banana Tree with and expected ship date around 1-Apr… yesterday (11-May) I received the FedEx packages containing those items.

Roughly a week after the expected ship date I began calling approximately once a week for an update on the shipping status — to which (other than the last call) I was always told that the product should be shipping within a couple days…

Needless to say, my impression of your “customer service” wasn’t very high; in fact it was so low that I acquired the forty-seven other fruit trees, shrubs, and ornamental trees I used to begin landscaping my yard from local sources…

I understand that your shipping delays were caused by your vendor; however, the failure to realistically appraise me of delays is solely a fault your company and customer service people must bare.

While the shipping delay alone was enough to make me shy away from doing additional business with your company; the condition of the plants I received certainly indicated to me that I shall not put your company high on a list to consider again.

The committed size of the plants is stated to be the overall height; while I’d would have hoped that would be the height from the top of the root ball to the highest vertical point on the plant, it’s obvious that you intend that measurement to be the distance from the top of the root ball to the furthest point on a (stretched) frond of the palms.

In my case that appears to be two just less than 18″ (one of those I’m being generous with the “just less”) and one that isn’t even 16″… further the one closest to 18″ and the one less than 16″ are based on measuring fronds that are brown at the ends (dead) — which most likely didn’t occur in a single day of shipping from Southern Georgia to Northwest Florida.

I can’t say I was the least bit surprised… and certainly I don’t think any of these three specimens would have come home with me had I visually inspected them before purchase (at the prices you charge).

Whether these represent the plants you would normally ship to a customer or simply you feel you’re a victim of the volume of your orders verses the inability of your supplies to fulfill their commitments I can’t say… all I can say is that I’m greatly disappointed.


In retrospect, I’d say ordering plants online should be put in the same category as ordering produce online — what you get might not live up to your standards, and what others are happy with says nothing about the quality.

Originally posted 2010-05-13 02:00:35.

Separation of Church and State

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state.

The phase “separation of church and state” comes from a letter written in 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson to the Baptists from Danbury [Connecticut]; but the concept pre-dates the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and was largely championed in it’s adopted form by James Madison (the principal drafter of the United States Bill of Rights).

The ideological basis of the separation of church and state are often credited to English philosopher John Locke and his principle of social contract.  It can also be seen implicitly in the flight of Roger Williams from Massachusetts to Rhode Island.

Many in the religious right argue that our founding fathers did not intend fro the First Amendment to create a godless country; and they continue to argue that the United States is a Christian nation, and Christian beliefs are centric to the nation and the Constitution.  However, that argument is not supported by the verbiage of the Treaty of Tripoli.

The Treaty of Tripoli, (unanimously) ratified by the US Senate and signed by President John Adams (one of the founding fathers) in 1797 contains in Article 11 the following:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

It seems clear that it isn’t necessary to dig into the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, or read in depth biographies of the founding fathers to understand that they never intended religion to be a central pillar of United States and that it was in fact their intent to prevent religion (particularly organized religion) from exerting control on the government and it’s policies.

Why then, two hundred years later do Christians seems to have carte blance to have the precepts of their religion imposed on the country as law and policy?

One place you can clearly see the Christians exercising control is state and local mandated ordinances forbidding retail operations on Sunday (particularly as it relates to alcohol sales).  While perhaps not as flagrant as it was fifty years ago, it’s is still clearly an affront to the religious freedom and separation guarantied by the US Constitution and a fundamental founding principal of this county.

To [mis]quote Lewis Carrol … the time has come the walrus said to speak of many things …

My personal belief is that each and every time any governmental unit attempts to impose the will of an organized religion there should be quick and severe recourse.

Religious invocations should be forbidden in any governmental sponsored event (that includes public school events, local governmental meetings, etc); civil oaths should be the default in any judicial or administrative hearing; and laws which are based solely on religious fundamentals stricken down.

Christians now account for less than 75% of the adult US population, and that number has been decreasing at an increasing rate over the past two decades with non-religious individuals the fastest growing segment (currently over 15% of the adult US population).

The United States was founded on the principles of freedom of religion (including freedom from religion), it’s time we honor the core values of those who built the framework that has endured the tests of time by ending religious persecution once and for all.

Originally posted 2010-08-30 02:00:51.

Bluetooth Headsets

Today (1 July 2008) California finally has a law on the books requiring the use of hands free devices when using a cellular phone and driving (rather than relying on the “distracted driving” law that has never really been enforce).

Since most of us responsible people have used hands free devices for years, and switch to Bluetooth for even greater safety and convenience as soon as phone were plentiful (and affordable) it doesn’t effect us.

However, since most Bluetooth headsets use non-replaceable Lithium-Ion or Lithium-Ion-Polymer batteries there is a problem that effects us.

Lithium-Ion batteries have a limited life; and unlike Nickle Cadmium or Nickle Metal Hydride the life of a Lithium-Ion batters is established (primarily) by it’s manufacture date (not it’s use pattern).  That means ever Bluetooth headset made three years ago is on it’s last leg (regardless of when you bought it).

Many of use have the Motorola H700 headset (which has been discontinued), it’s a great headset, good sound quality, a Bluetooth implementation that seems to work, and a mini-USB charging port so you can (likely) use the same charger as your handset (which is most important in your vehicle, where you probably don’t want multiple chargers).

Motorola headsets come with a 1-Yr warranty from the date of purchase; and interestingly enough the last headset I “purchased” was in February for my AllTel MotoQ, its the first of my three to become un-usable.

The symptoms you’re see are:

  • Talk time is substantially less than what it was when the headset was new (or just a week before for that matter);
  • The quality of the your voice (transmit) may be poor (it might sound garbled or clipped);
  • The headset will indicate fully charged quickly (it will go from red, to yellow, to green in five minutes or so).

Maybe you can replace the battery; but it’s not going to be easy to open up a unit like this, and probably most of the cells this headset uses was made three years ago (or so); which means a new cell isn’t guaranteed to fix the problem.

You can throw it away and purchase another (Bluetooth headsets are relatively inexpensive).  Remember, you can’t throw electronics in the trash, they contain hazardous materials and need to be properly recycled.

Or you might be able to get a replacement from Motorola (provided you have an H700 receipt that’s less than a year old).  You can get RMA information for Motorola at:  Contact Motorola Customer Support

The real issue is that newer Motorola headsets us a micro-USB power connector, not a mini-USB power connector like your handset probably has.  And at this time I’m unaware of anyone who makes an adapter or a Y-cable.

Also, just to be clear — this has to do with ALL headsets that use Lithium-Ion battery cells, not just Motorola, so don’t feel smug if you have another vendors headset.

I would suggest that you view your headset purchase as “disposable” in the future, since it’s unlikely manufactures will go back to replaceable cells.  My Nokia Bluetooth headset actually has a replaceable Nickle Metal Hydride battery — which probably costs more than a new headset, and I don’t have Nokia phones any longer so there’s no motivation to use it (it uses the same charge as Nokia headsets).

 

__________

To replace a Motorola accessory, use the following URL and phone number to get information. 

http://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/nss/replace_an_accessory.asp

1-866-289-6686

Originally posted 2008-07-01 00:00:38.

Vista Sidebar Gadgets

There’s a ton of sidebar gadgets for Vista (just open up the gallery with “add gadgets” and select the “Get more gadgets online” link at the bottom right hand corner to have a look at the ones on Microsoft’s gadget site…

Needless to say, most of the gadgets are CRAP, in fact, most of the gadgets that ship with Vista are lame — and to illustrate that, I don’t use ANY of the gadgets that shipped with Vista.

The clock in Vista takes too much room and only shows the time.  A better solution is the 12HourTime gadget, it shows the time, day of the week and date in about 2/3 the space.

The CPU meter tha ships with Vista is also lame, the mCPU meter seems to do a good job (especially for multi-core CPUs).

And because we’re all too lazy to get up and look out the window… the Weather Channel gadget does a great job at telling you the current conditions (at a reporting station near you).

There are several other gadgets that you might enable from time to time when you’re doing something… the uTorrent monitor, MSNGasPrice, AstronomyCenter, etc all could be useful — and of course that also depends on your interests.

One of the nice things about gadgets is that you can remove them fairly easily, and unlike lots of software they don’t pollute your system.

Originally posted 2008-05-15 11:34:01.

Autumnal Equinox 2014

September 23 2014 02:29 GMT