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


Possio GRETA Combination Printer, Scanner, Fax and Cellphone


Possio used 3GSM to launch the GRETA GSM Fax & Printer. This all-in-one unit combines, you guessed it, a fax machine, printer, copier, scanner… and a cellphone? Well, you can make cellular calls with it, but it’s not exactly the size of most cellphones. What Possio was smoking when they came up with that idea we’ll never know, but it could be useful for all those so-called road warriors, busily working from the road. The device hooks up to a PC via a USB connection and, in the words of Steve Jobs, boom! instant office.

And people complained that all they wanted was a cellphone that works. Indeed.

Possio GRETA [Possio via Newlaunches.com]

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Man arrested in Boston marketing ploy

BOSTON – Several illuminated electronic devices planted at bridges and other spots in Boston threw a scare into the city Wednesday in what turned out to be a publicity campaign for a late-night cable cartoon. Most if not all of the devices depict a character giving the finger.

Peter Berdovsky, 29, of Arlington, was arrested on one felony charge of placing a hoax device and one charge of disorderly conduct, state Attorney General Martha Coakley said later Wednesday. He had been hired to place the devices, she said.

Highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River were shut down and bomb squads were sent in before authorities declared the devices were harmless.

Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc. and parent of Cartoon Network, later said the devices were part of a promotion for the TV show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” a surreal series about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball.

Authorities are investigating whether Turner and any other companies should be criminally charged, Coakley said. It wasn’t immediately clear Wednesday who might have hired Berdovsky.

“We’re not going to let this go without looking at the further roots of how this happened to cause the panic in this city,” Coakley said at a news conference.

Those conducting the campaign should have known the devices could cause panic because they were placed in sensitive areas, she said. Turner did not notify officials of the publicity campaign until around 5 p.m., nearly four hours after the first calls came in about the devices, she and others said.

At least 14 of the devices were found, Coakley said.

“The packages in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger,” Turner said in a statement.

It said the devices have been in place for two to three weeks in 10 cities: Boston; New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Atlanta; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Philadelphia.

“We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger,” the company said. As soon as the company realized the problem, it said, law enforcement officials were told of their locations in all 10 cities.

The marketing firm that put them up, Interference Inc., has been ordered to remove them immediately, said Phil Kent, Turner chairman.

“We apologize to the citizens of Boston that part of a marketing campaign was mistaken for a public danger,” Kent said. “We appreciate the gravity of this situation and, like any responsible company would, are putting all necessary resources toward understanding the facts surrounding it as quickly as possible.”

Interference Inc. had no immediate comment. A woman who answered the phone at the New York-based firm’s offices Wednesday afternoon said the firm’s CEO was out of town and would not be able to comment until Thursday.

There were no reports from police Wednesday of residents in the other nine cities spotting similar devices.

Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke praised Boston authorities for sharing their knowledge quickly with Washington officials and the public.

“Hoaxes are a tremendous burden on local law enforcement and counter-terrorism resources and there’s absolutely no place for them in a post-9/11 world,” Knocke said.

Authorities said some of the objects looked like circuit boards or had wires hanging from them.

The first device was found at a subway and bus station underneath Interstate 93, forcing the shutdown of the station and the highway.

Later, police said four calls, all around 1 p.m., reported devices at the Boston University Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge, both of which span the Charles River, at a Boston street corner and at the Tufts-New England Medical Center.

The package near the Boston University bridge was found attached to a structure beneath the span, authorities said.

Subway service across the Longfellow Bridge between Boston and Cambridge was briefly suspended, and Storrow Drive was closed as well. A similar device was found Wednesday evening just north of Fenway Park, police spokesman Eddy Chrispin said.

Wanda Higgins, a 47-year-old Weymouth resident and a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, heard about the threat as she watched television news coverage while preparing to leave work at 4 p.m.

“I saw the bomb squad guys carrying a paper bag with their bare hands,” Higgins said. “I knew it couldn’t be too serious.”

Messages seeking additional comment from the Atlanta-based Cartoon Network were left with several publicists.

“Aqua Teen Hunger Force” is a cartoon with a cultish following that airs as part of the Adult Swim late-night block of programs for adults on the Cartoon Network. A feature length film based on the show is slated for release March 23.

The cartoon also includes two trouble-making, 1980s-graphic-like characters called “mooninites,” named Ignignokt and Err — who were pictured on the suspicious devices. They are known for making the obscene hand gesture depicted on the devices.

Sony’s Blu-Ray Gives You Blu-Balls, No Hi-Def Porn

As if Blu-Ray wasn’t in enough trouble as it is, Sony has said that it won’t allow its Blu-Ray disk reproduction subsidiary, Sony DADC Global, to reproduce adult content. Being that DADC is far and away the largest Blu-Ray disk factory around means that there will essentially be no porn on Blu-Ray.

While we’re sure Sony is standing on some sort of moral ground here, its also making a big mistake. Besides just placing all of its eggs in one proprietary basket, Sony is locking out the one genre of content that drives media adoption. Laserdisc did the exact same thing in the 80s, and suffered because of it. The disks did finally allow for adult content, but by that time it had already failed as a popular format.

This does not mean that we will have HD porn, though, as HD-DVD is remaining mute on the issue. That being said, Hi-Def porn will decide once and for all which format will come out on top. (haha!)

Sony Says No to Porn on Blu-Ray Disks [ComputerWorld]