Category: "Miscellaneous"


  20:56:00 by Joe, Categories: Miscellaneous, Miscellaneous, General, Miscellaneous , Tags: 1st amendment, asuci, flag, uci

The recent hubbub about banning all flags from a small portion of the UCI campus, not surprisingly, brought out all the xenophobic, racist, and ignorant trolls in the country.
These idiots obviously have never attended a university.

And not surprisingly, a state Senator (Janet Nguyen, a Republican, predictably) couldn't resist exploiting this issue for political grandstanding. She said she would sponsor an amendment to the CA Constitution to prevent such banning of the US flag.
As a politician, she really should know that the US Constitution prohibits such an amendment. I am sure she has heard of the 1st. Amendment. If not, she would obviously be unqualified for any public office.
She obviously just hopes that her constituents are sheep who don't know nor care about the US Constitution. In other words, Mrs. Nguyen is anti-American! Shame on her!

The students exercised their Constitutional rights to free speech. They should be applauded, not condemned.
But in Republican-controlled Orange County (where the racist "Minutemen" originated), even the UCI Chancellor caves in to racists and xenophobes. Shame on Chancellor Gillman!
Of course, current UCI Chancellor Gillman isn't the first UCI Chancellor to cave in to the Republican donors of Orange County. Former Chancellor Drake did the same when he rescinded the appointment of the first Dean of the UCI Law School (he reverted course later.) That was the beginning of the end of Chancellor Drake. I hope that the current display of a lack of a spine is the beginning of the end for Chancellor Gillman!
UCI needs a real Chancellor, one who stands up for the students, one who supports the students, not these spineless appointees!

There is a resolution out to support the students. I signed it and I urge everybody to sign it as a voice against racism, xenophobia and bigotry!


  20:05:00 by Joe, Categories: General, Miscellaneous

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but grinding they do...

Background: Back in late Sept. 2013, somebody drove into my car in the parking lot of the building where I live. My rear bumper was damaged and ultimately had to be replaced.
I thought, not a big deal, that's what insurance companies are for. As it turned out, the car's owner, the driver's mother (the driver was a minor) didn't pay the car insurance bills, so the insurance company had canceled the coverage. Talking with the car's owner proved to be useless, she was just screaming at me over the phone, and said, there are no witnesses, and it was my fault, anyway, etc.
So, I ended up filing a lawsuit against the car's owner, in small claims court. I won that case easily, on Jan. 29. The driver admitted to driving about 25 mph, and that in a parking lot. Way too fast, of course. And she contradicted herself several times, etc. It was obvious that the mother attempted to speak for her daughter (because she's a minor), but the judge shut her off pretty quickly (it would have been hearsay, and there probably had been some coaching, anyway.)

Of course, winning a lawsuit is just half the battle. Collecting the money is the second half...
The car's owner said she doesn't have the money, and even when I said, "installments are fine", she said she wouldn't be able to pay $250 a month, she could only pay $50. At that rate, it would take 1 1/2 years to pay it off, which I couldn't accept. So this went back and forth, with her screaming at me, throwing insults at me, and me staying cool ;)
At some point, out of the blue, she proposed two installments, each being more than the $250 she earlier had said she couldn't afford... She had just gotten a nice Mercedes, so she must have realized that neither I nor a judge would take her claim of "not being able to pay" seriously.
So, we sign a contract stipulating the two installments, one in mid-April, one in mid-May.
Come mid-April, she doesn't pay. I was out of town the weekend when the payment was due, I contacted her when I came back, and she promised to pay the following Friday. And she actually did, to my surprise.
Come mid-May, she again doesn't pay. I contact her via SMS, she insults me, and says "it's only 2 days late." As if that was an excuse for her insults. The following day, she sends me an SMS saying she'll pay the following Friday. Of course, she didn't. She ended up being two weeks late on that payment.

I had some additional costs, e.g., for the process server, that I had intended to pay out of pocket, in the interest of a speedy resolution of the case. But with her paying me late, and insulting me when I inquired, I was not inclined to let go of these costs.
So, I filed additional paperwork with the court, claiming these costs, as well as interest. As was to be expected, getting her to pay these costs didn't come easy, either. It took another one and a half months for her to pay that.
But finally, all got paid today, and the case is finally, after 10 months, closed.


  14:59:00 by Joe, Categories: General, Miscellaneous , Tags: at_t, ipv6, u-verse, uverse

I have had AT&T's U-Verse service for a couple of years, and before that, the older-style DSL service.
While back in 2009, I had some problems setting up IPv6 tunneling due to crippled DSL modems, it has been working fine since then.

Fast forward to October 2013. AT&T rolls out a firmware update to their U-Verse routers.
And immediately, there are reports of this firmware update breaking IPv6 tunneling.
I had an online chat with AT&T support shortly after my router got the broken firmware, and they claimed that they are aware of the issue and "the technical team is developing a patch, which may remove the restriction."
Well, it is three months later, and still no patch forthcoming.
I called them again today, and in the 2 hours or so, nothing of substance was achieved. The AT&T support guys seems to know less about IPv6 now than back in October, much less about tunneling.
Like back in 2009, I may have to look for other, non-AT&T routers that actually work.
Not surprising, yet another AT&T Fail. These guys can only stay in business because they have a monopoly in their market.


  16:22:00 by Joe, Categories: Miscellaneous

I know that lots of European expats, in particular from German-speaking countries, have continued to use products they know from their old home country. For me, that includes the Aronal and Elmex toothpastes produced by Gaba in Switzerland (Gaba was bought by Colgate-Palmolive in 2004.)
They are a big player in Europe. They have the second-highest toothpaste market share in Germany, for example (>30%).
Several European Delis and online stores used to sell the toothpaste products from Gaba. I recently noticed that one of them,, where I used to buy this toothpaste from, doesn't have it in their product line anymore.
So, I sent them an email asking about it. Here is their answer:

Unfortunately we were forced to stop carrying these products due to an ingredient used in both products. We are not capable of importing them anymore so we had to discontinue the line.

Update: A couple of days after I posted their answer, the company seems to have it back in their offerings. Not sure what to make of that...

Update 2: I have found other companies that offer Elmex and Aronal in the US. One sells through Amazon, another one is here.


  08:30:00 by Joe, Categories: Miscellaneous

I just came across a blog post from somebody who survived a horrible crash with a 18-wheeler truck in his Mazda Miata (MX-5).
Driving a Miata myself, I always get this "is it safe" question...
As that crash shows, the car, as small as it is, has some surprising qualities.
I actually have a rollbar installed in my car, to help protecting me in case of a flip-over.


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