Search This Blog

28 May 2009


As many of you know, I have a tendency to have way too many projects. I decided I needed to do something about that.  I remember using the old java-based mind mappers to solve this problem in the past, so I thought I would try one of those out.  I have also had multiple machines die on me and loose my data recently, so I decided I wanted a hosted one.  Cheap is good, free is better -- but... it has to be able to work for me.

So I started looking around.

I found a high level overview of options here

This place had a detailed list of options here

And now some really quick (and most likely unfair reviews):
looks really good. very easy to use.
unfortunately doesn't have 1 feature I require -- crosslinking
all the reviews said it was unreliable and they lost data, so no go
didn't work
looked nice but was kinda annoying
took 4 tries to get it to let me edit the text in a box
linked 1 node to 2 cousin nodes and the arrows disappeared behind them
the "try it live" had editing disabled so couldn't test it
have to register to try it, so didn't do either
pretty.  nice connecting links.
kinda annoying.  try to move a couple nodes closer to each other and they
kept jumping off the page. seems impossible to move an element further away --
ie: using their demo, I dragged a new link to the other side of that huge
section on the left and there was no way to place it without it disconnecting
from the center and reconnecting over there.
best ui so far - but also most buggy
the demo on the front page didn't have the same ui problem... but functionality
was fairly limited in it so I was unable to attempt cross-linking
I was going to skip this one by since I'd have to sign up to test it... but since
they are just down the street from me, might as well try it...
Overall pretty simple to use. I've submitted a few suggestions already. Overall,
I'd say doable.  So I am trying this one.

22 May 2009

Fraudulent Company: American General Finance

Last year, I bought some furniture from America: The Beautiful Dreamer. I signed up for the payment plan through American General Finance. I told them to send all my bills to my billing address, and scheduled weekly payments until it was paid off. They never did send any bills to my billing address.

Feb 6th, the billpay service sent the last payment as it was paid in full.

April 2nd, I got a bill stating that I still owed $95. That didn't seem correct, since I doubt Intuit is incapable of calculating when the bill was paid off, but didn't want to deal with it so I sent it. They received it on April 3rd.

Mid May, their telemarketing department contacted me, told me I was such a great customer and that they wanted my business back. They offered me a $10k loan. I turned it down.

I had been getting a lot of calls from 812-475-4018 that kept hanging up as I answered. On May 22nd, I finally got tired of it and tried calling the number back. I got ahold of American General Finance's collections department who told me I owed another $106 because I had not paid the loan in full by mid March. I argued quite awhile with the rep, then asked to speak to a manager.

The manager kept saying things like "We won't work with 3rd party billpay services" and "Well, of course we will cash their checks". She said it was my fault I didn't get and open every bill from them, even though they refused to send them to the billing address.

In the end I told them I would send them their money and if anyone from their company ever contacted me again, I would file a complaint with the FBI and sue them for fraud and harassment. She tried to tell me that their telemarketing department might still call me and try to sell me service, and I repeated that if *anyone* from their company contacted me again.

NEVER trust this company because of their unethical business practices, spamming and scam-like behaviors:

American General Finance

Payment Processing Center
P.O. Box 54770
Los Angeles , CA 900540770

Phone number:1-800-453-2017

19 May 2009

Wired: What's Inside WD-40? Superlube's Secret Sauce

Check the link for the full article.... This sentence is the most revealing:
Seriously. WD-40 is mostly a mix of baby oil, Vaseline, and the goop inside homemade lava lamps.

03 May 2009

Omni Dual Saw

I was flipping through channels tonight and saw something called Pitchmen. This fireman had designed a circular saw that had two counter-rotating blades. Conceptually, I was like "yeah, that's kinda kewl... I like counter-rotation"... then I saw him cut a non-boiled egg without any kickback. Ok, that's pretty friggin kewl. Maybe I should get one for my home repair bag... $220 though?