A TV so big it needs to go on the outside of your house


via DVICE by Adam Frucci on 2/7/08


At this point, having a 60-inch TV won’t win you any neighborhood mid-life-crisis contests, as everybody is getting giant TVs these days. Now, you need to take it to the next level if you really want to prove to everyone how desperate you are to distract yourself from the looming shadow of death’s cold grip.

What could be better than installing a gigantic drive-in theatre screen on the side of your house? You can’t get a TV much bigger, and it shows that you’re in touch with your childhood in the era of drive-ins while staying rooted firmly in the present. Wait, you were alive when drive-ins were still popular? Man, you are old! No wonder you’re freaking out.

The Cool Hunter, via BornRich

Capital One Pockets Traveler’s $6000, Ruins Vacation

via Consumerist by Chris Walters on 1/2/08


Mike and his wife are backpacking their way around the world, and like a smart consumer, before they left he looked around for a credit card without a currency conversion charge. Capital One is fee free, which in theory makes it ideal for travel. In reality, there are hidden costs, and they’re called human stupidity and random interpretation of the rules. As a consequence, he’s “pre-paid” $6,000 onto a Capital One card that has been red-flagged and frozen, and Capital One refuses to budge—even though they acknowledge there are notes on the account that indicated he would do this before he did it, and even though they’re the ones who told him to pre-pay.

Before he did any of this, he verified that he could, first via the enrollment agent when he applied for the card, then again when he called to activate it. But when he tried to pre-pay online, the transaction was rejected, telling him: “You are only allowed to transfer up to 110% of your current balance. Your current balance is $0.00.”

I once again called Customer Service, dreading the hold times and quality of service that I would surely be in store for on the day after Christmas. I slowly and carefully explained everything: the trip, the limit, the conversations with earlier reps. The agent told me that if I wanted to pay an amount that was more than 10% over the current balance, I would have to mail them a check. It couldn’t be done on the website or over the phone.

I again asked for a higher limit, and was told it would come naturally when the time was right. When would the time be right? “Oh, that varies.” Varies? Like what? Months? Years? “Oh, it should probably happen within a year.” Giving up hope of a higher limit and now wary of believing what the reps tell me, I went over the plan step by step: I would write a check for $6000 and mail it to the address he had given me. A few days after it arrived, I would be able to charge up to $7000, using my credit card like a debit card. He confirmed all of this, but I still insisted he make a note on my account and read it back to me. I also spoke to the Fraud Department, repeated my whole life story, and begged them not to place a hold on my account if our travel looked like suspicious activity. I started to enumerate the dozens of countries and expected dates, but he cut me off and said he would make a general note that we were traveling. Not the most comforting CSR interaction, but Mike mailed in the check and hoped for the best. A week later, his card is rejected in Costa Rica. The reason?

[The account specialist] told me that a $6000 deposit on a zero balance was a huge red flag, and there would be a mandatory hold on my account. I started to explain everything, but he cut me off: “You have to understand, there are rules. I know you wish you could make the rules, but these are Capital One’s rules.” I was rather upset at being talked to like a fifth-grader, but I set that aside to focus on the matter at hand: how could I get the hold removed as quickly as possible?

I spent the next hour talking to him, his boss, the guys in Fraud, and even the fancily-named Account Supervision department. They all confirmed that: (1) Yes, the notes from the December 26 call clearly show that I did exactly what the rep had told me to do, (2) Despite that, this was still my fault because I shouldn’t have listened to him, and (3) There was absolutely no way the hold would be removed. Mike’s biggest problem is that he got the Capital One card at the last minute—which is one reason he wrote in, to make sure other people who attempt the same money-saving tactic give themselves six months or more after opening the card before they try to pre-pay:

    Some final tips for anyone who might be planning a similar trip:

  • Definitely shop around for a card with a low or nonexistent foreign currency fee; it adds up!
  • Get the card as far in advance of the trip as possible. I was told multiple times that if my account had been more than six months old, they might have been able to work with me, but as a new customer I was screwed.
  • Once you get the card, use it enough that they raise the limit, so you can avoid everything I’m going through.
  • Add someone back home to the account so they can act on your behalf.
  • Consider doing all of the above with multiple credit cards; it’s not likely that they’ll ALL leave you high and dry on New Years Eve.

If you live in a state where it’s legal to record your customer service calls, you should consider that as well, so that you’ll have evidence to help persuade the company to take responsibility for their CSR’s promises.

(Thanks to Mike!)

“Is It Legal To Record My Customer Service Calls?”

Richest Man in India Building a 60-story Home


If you thought a 205-inch TV was a symbol of conspicuous consumption, wait ’til you see this. The richest man in India is building a 60-story home for himself and the 600 people who serve him. Yeah, 600. It’ll include 6 floors of parking space for his cars, 3 helipads, elevated gardens, and a health club. The square footage is greater than that of Versailles, and while the architecture looks pretty cool, it’s excessive to the point of being really disgusting.

It’s seeing things like this that make me admire Bill Gates and his foundation even more. Talk about contrast.

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Sleeping pod lets you take napping way too seriously


With science having recently determined the health value of midday siestas, no self-respecting power-napping exec will want to be without the Transport from architect Alberto Frias, an elliptical pod equipped with speakers, subwoofers and a bevy of LEDs that pulsate to whatever sleep-inducing music a tired soul chooses.

On his overly minimalist website, Frias declares the cocoon-like transport to be a “personal light, sound and space environment,” which makes it sound more like a setting for a private rave than a nap, but hey, nothing a few Ambien can’t cure. The Transport isn’t the first sleeping pod on the market — a company called MetroNaps offers pods for installation in public places such as universities, gyms and offices, but minus the light and music show.

The Transport’s $10,000 price tag notwithstanding, its mere existence is good news for the nap nuts of the world, who are busily trying to raise awareness of the value of a few Zs. You may be saddened to learn the Transport doesn’t ship with the long-legged beauty pictured here. That would be too much of a distraction from the task at hand anyway, though she’d certainly be a welcome sight upon waking up.

The New York Times, via Gizmodo

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USB shot glass: from where else but Russia?


Russians love their vodka, but unfortunately there’s a big social taboo on drinking alone. Well, I guess it’s not that unfortunate, as drinking alone tends to be kind of pathetic. Unless you’re in the shower. Drinking beer in the shower is awesome, am I right guys? Guys?

Anyways, in order to allow thirsty and sober Ruskies to enjoy their vodka without shame, designer Sergei Mikheev has created the USB shot glass. It tracks how much liquid is in the glass and then, while online with “drinking buddies,” reports the info online. That way your friends can peer pressure you to finish your drink in one go while allowing you to vomit in the comfort of your own home. Ain’t technology grand?

LOL – Eminem can’t get his small dick hard enough to satisfy wife

eminemandkimmathers.jpgForget those rumors you heard a couple of weeks ago about Eminem potentially re-marrying ex-wife Kim Mathers. Judging by Kim’s less-than-kind words on a Detroit morning radio show, it doesn’t look like that will be happening anytime soon. From Idolator:

“I can’t stand him. (He’s) an absolute horrible person,” Mathers said. “I vomit in my mouth whenever I’m around him or whenever I hear his name.”

She categorized sex with her twice ex-husband as “bad,” and said “he’s not very well endowed.” She added when it came to sex, “(you better have) a little blue pill, or else it does not work.”

And suddenly, we kind of understand why he wrote all those songs about killing her.

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FW: Xbox Live Billing Notification

Did anyone get this from Microsoft? What does this mean anyway? Will i be getting a credit for like 12 cents?

Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 23:40:08 +0000
From: xbox@email.xbox.com
To: xxxx@hotmail.com
Subject: Xbox Live Billing Notification


Our address has changed. Please add Xbox@email.xbox.com to your address book to ensure delivery.
Can’t see the images? Read this issue online.
XBOX 360 Update
Dear zxo2000,

It has recently come to our attention that some consumers who purchased Microsoft Points through Xbox Live® Marketplace have received incorrect tax charges. We have identified those affected and are processing refunds on the credit card used for the purchase. This refund should appear on your credit card statement within 1-2 billing cycles.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Thank you,
Xbox Live Team