Learning new tricks

Well, I’ve been trying to get the Gallery module to work with Drupal. Both of those don’t play nice. In fact, I think messing around one too many times resulted in a corrupt .htaccess file for my Gallery Installation. After much fiddling around, I think I’ve got both installs working fine … separately. I’ve also been having fun with an awesome (and free) tool called Help Maker. Ever wonder how those nifty .chm files are made? .CHM files are help files that are bundled with almost every application worth its salt. Another old Help file format is the .HLP file which is uglier (in my opinion) that a .CHM file. However way you like it, the Help Maker has got you covered and some because it has some other help applications like an Icon Maker, Button Maker, Image Maker, CHM Register, Graphics Converter and Map Editor. Now, I haven’t used all those but it’s essentially got all the tools you need to make the best help manual for your customers. The Help file helps the user to make sense of the application, explains concepts, you get the picture. I’ve tested Help Maker out and it’s so easy to setup that “a caveman could use it”TM. :)In other news, I’ve been busy re-igniting the flames of old friendships. In one day, I’ve managed to bring healing to myself with regards to one friendship that went sour and talk with 3 old friends. Life takes some seriously funny turns. I’ll be praying for the best for everyone. I’m thinking of resuming yoga starting tomorrow or today. If I can get up early… lol

Careless whispers and companies that could care less

This post is backdated because it was on my old Drupal site. I was a former Gas South customer and I was treated very badly. Enjoy my story.This song (Careless Whispers) was recorded on my Creative Zen Sleek Photo from a radio station. Matthew introduced me to George Michael and his songs. Apparently, this song was first released as a solo George Michael single, while he was part of the pop group Wham!. So, I fell in love with this one in particular. Enjoy the song. While you’re listening, I’ll take the time to burden you with some trouble I’ve been having or had (hopefully). When picking a company to provide a service say gas, please choose wisely. I didn’t and I tolerated this particular gas company’s service until when I decided to quit due to a change in my living situation. The first thing they did was hit me with a cancellation fee that I hadn’t been advised of. Naturally, I challenged this fee and it took them over 1 month to investigate and remove this $50 cancellation fee. Well, I didn’t pay the initial final charge with the $50 bill tacked on. In a little over a month after the matter was resolved, I got a letter from a debt collection agency about the account which was overdue. To say I was blindsided was an understatement. They sent my account over to collections without so much as a “Hey you — pay or collections-here-we-come letter”. I paid the bill the day after I received the letter from the external collections agency and then, called this company (it’s Gas South, for the record). I have all my cell phone records and distinctly recall asking the CSR (customer service representative) for a final bill to be sent to me. This never happened. During my call to Gas South this time around, I got the call escalated and it reached a lady who pulled all the tricks they teach them at customer service school. First, she claimed that during my last call to confirm if the case had been resolved, that I hadn’t requested for a bill to be sent. I should have requested for a call transcript, but it slipped my mind. Then, the next thing was my inquiry into their reporting procedures. Apparently, it’s 45 days from issuing the final bill and 30 days from when it’s due that it’s first sent to Gas-South’s internal collection crew. They’re supposed to get in touch with the customer and then, forward it to an external collections agency if the customer doesn’t pony up the money. I never heard anything from Gas South. The last time I called them was 06/08/2007 and I was so occupied with things like my parents coming down, my wedding reception, etc. I’ll be the first to admit that I should have been on top of things. Nevertheless, it doesn’t give a company license to fast-track things as they please without regard to due process. I’ve since lodged a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and I am in the midst of drafting up a letter to their headquarters. That way, I’ll have my complaints on the books and their system.

Update: I’ve found a Youtube video of his performance of the song so enjoy it!

and here’s just the mp3 of the song:

My computer’s playing possum

Well, well, well. The day began innocently enough. I fired up my computer to rip a certain DVD. My PC refused to get online so I shut it down via the power button. I restarted the pc and it got stuck at the “HP Invent” blue screen and the “Intel Inside” logo. I had to call HP Support and thankfully, my PC’s still in warranty so they exhaust all options and declare that I’ll have to have it sent to them. The best part of that was hearing that it would be of no cost to me. After that, we left for Julie’s place and ate till our stomachs were bursting. Then, just for kicks, I fired up my computer expecting it never to leave the Blue Screen (not to be confused with the Blue Screen of Death or BSOD). The darned thing booted up properly and allowed me to login! Well, I instantly began retracing my steps and undoing certain “tweaks” that had been made. I will cancel the work order on my PC but will forever remain wary that it’s a ticking time bomb. In other news, I see that Google Analytics is finally recognizing its own damned code! I kept wondering if I’d done something wrong, but the code was exactly as it was supposed to be. I finally let things be and voila! Still, I’m not totally ditching StatCounter because they have upped the logs to 500 from 100. That’s fabulous. 🙂

Family cookout

Matt, mom and I are heading to my sister-in-law’s house to grill out along with Matt’s dad. It’s sort of an informal send-off party for my mom who’s leaving for Nigeria tomorrow. I’ve had such a blast with her at my place this week and I’ll be sad to see her go! It’s time to dust off the camcorder and get some farewell pictures, etc.

Working with Nero and Grandcentral Beta!

Well, Google acquired GrandCentral awhile back and I signed up to be the recipient of an invite. I just got mine today and signed up. It basically gives you a number that you can be reached at which will also call your phones. It aims to be a central repository for your voice messages and voice calls. Go ahead and visit GrandCentral & don’t forget to sign up for an invite or simply ask yours truly by dropping a comment. 🙂 Meanwhile, I’ve got video of my reception that was on the 23rd of June. My dad took it to Circuit City to get it recoded to DVD (directly from his Hi8 camcorder). Well, I’ve been having some trouble creating a good .ISO file (using ImgBurn at first and then, Nero Recode). Now, Matt bought some Maxell DVD-R’s with “Sequential Recording” that don’t seem to be compatible or working. I’m pissed and I hope he saved the receipts so we can return them a.s.a.p.Update: The fake DVD-Rs from Maxell (never even heard of them!) were returned for the tried-and-true Memorex 16X DVD-Rs. They are working fine and I’m burning up a storm over here. I just read a note by a former college alumnus and it left me feeling heartened. It is definitely a suit-to-scrubs story in this alumnus’s terms. I’m just going to count my own blessings in this corner of the world.

I have a wiki! Now what?

Well, after several hitches, I finally found a solution to the problem of installing MediaWiki on my Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS) from Jumpline. I had to convert the database created from UTF-8 encoding to Latin1. The error I’d been receiving was about the maximum key length being exceeded (the max. key length for MySQL is 1000 bytes). From my reading, the problem dealt with the differences between chars and bytes with sometimes, 3 bytes making up a char. Well, long story short, it’s up and running at the Whisperpedia. I’m thinking of somehow putting all the previous static html pages I had into a dynamic wiki-like thing. Well, I’ll be getting comfortable with the preferences/settings and try to get at least, one page up and running. I’ve created my user account and will be getting busy. In other news, my mom will be coming to visit me for a couple of days after spending close to 2 weeks at my aunt’s place in MD. I look forward to the time we’ll spend together. I’ve also rustled up something nice which I hope she’ll be approving of. Lest I forget, I also managed to add another video to my gallery and this time, it was about how we got my wedding ring. It contains footage of Lily, Matt’s dad’s terrier also. Now, I’ve been fairly restrictive with who can see what in my Gallery. So, I’m thinking of creating a user account for those who care about really viewing the pics but don’t honestly want to sign up. Right now, signing up depends on my approval and I do check my gallery daily. In addition to that roadblock, you are automatically assigned the role of “registered user” which is no better than an anonymous user. Why? Because I’ve got another level of membership which is “friends”. Friends have all the access. I’ve had such a bad experience with scores of bot signups when I had a phpBB forum. Once bitten, thrice shy with me. Oh well, leave me comments on your thoughts. For the heck of it, I’ll put up a poll.