Author Archive

Clever Sig on RFD

June 29, 2012 1 comment

I saw a clever sig on RFD, belonging to wayne74:

Can you believe it? They sent my income tax return forms back to me! In response to question # 4, “Do you have any dependants?” I replied – “2.1 million illegal immigrants, 1.1 million crack heads, 4.4 million unemployable people, 901 thousand people in over 85 prisons, and 650 idiots in Parliament.
Apparently, this was NOT an acceptable answer.

Who the hell did I miss?

I love the attitude here. If more people thought like this, it would be a different and better world.

Categories: Canada, rfd

I Walked Out of Hakim Optical – Here’s Why

June 17, 2012 5 comments

I’ve been looking for new eyeglasses. Being a smart shopper, I educated myself on how to read frame size measurements, and learned from CBC Marketplace about how Luxottica is so dominant in our Ontario market.

Trying to avoid stores owned by Luxottica, I paid a visit to my local Hakim Optical store. I tried on a few frames along the sidewall display, and then moved up to the counter of the store, where the designer frames like Prada were stored in the plexiglass showcase. I tried to look into the showcase to see the sizing information on the arms of the glasses to identify one that might fit me, but on each frame, a sticker was placed right on top of where the sizing information should be. I asked the employee about this:

Me: So why do they have a sticker on top of the sizing information? I can’t see if the frame is the right size for me.

Him: Well they have to put the sticker somewhere.

Me: Well they could put it anywhere on the arm and not block the sizing information!


He offered to pick out a pair of Prada frames for me, and he actually did pick out a very nice pair. No complaints about his skill. Total price with lenses: About $500.

I pulled out my phone, planning to take a picture of myself wearing the frames so I could use it for future reference in comparison shopping.

Me: You don’t mind if I take a picture of myself wearing the glasses, do you?

Him: Sorry, that’s not allowed.

Me: Really, I can’t just take a photo of myself?

Him: You can’t take a photos, but I can take a photo for you.

Me: What’s the difference between you taking a picture and me taking a picture?

Him: It’s because your photo leaves with you; My photo stays here.

Me: Sorry, that’s not acceptable. I’m leaving.

Him: OK, have a good day!

This doesn’t make sense to me. I have asked for permission to take multiple self-photos at at least four other optical shops, and never had a single complaint. The only place where I’ve had a problem is at Hakim Optical.

Why is Hakim Optical so secretive? Why don’t they want people seeing the sizing numbers on the frames? Why don’t they want people taking photos of themselves wearing sample frames? This kind of secrecy turns me off. If one retailer is being secritive when their competitors are quite open, I think it means there’s something the secretive retailer doesn’t want you to find out about their products or business. While the employee was completely polite during the entire encounter, I don’t like doing business under such conditions. I was happy to leave.

Commentary and Questions Regarding Inconsistent Application of Forum Rules on RFD

June 15, 2012 Leave a comment

This message is directed to oranr and the RFD Administration. I made this post to obtain clarification on forum rules that I believe have been applied in an inconsistent and nonsensical manner. I also made it because I think we need an intelligent commentary instead of apparently fake non-decisions, and because silence means consent. This post is cross-posted from the RFD Forums.

I have chosen to post rather than send a Private Message because the locking or deletion of this kind of thread would answer some questions and be, in itself, very telling.


Up until two days ago, my forum signature contained two (2) links:

  • A link to my blog
  • A link to third party real-time chat site, which has an affiliated outside forum created by an RFD member – I’m sure you know it well. (link added on my blog only: TinyChat)

Two days ago, I received the following message:

(…) Please be advised the following action has occurred to your signature.  As the title reads, I have removed the external link to the chat room. As you there are advertisements in the chat room, it is no longer allowed to be linked too. It is self promotion/advertising and this is against policy. It can not be put back into your signature. If you do put the external link back into your signature, you will lose all signature privileges. (…)

The issue:

Oranr, your justification is complete nonsense.


The justification for deleting a link because “there are advertisements in the chat room” is highly illogical. This is true because:

  • RFD’s Forums contain countless of posts with links to outside sites with banner ads. These sites promote themselves or other products and services for financial gain. If you did not permit linking to sites with advertisements, you would have deleted all of these posts. (Examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 )
  • Nobody on RFD makes money from the chat room I had linked.
  • Nobody on RFD makes money from the chat room’s affiliated forum – banner ad revenues were disabled months ago (verified with forum owner).
  • If RFD was bothered by external banners, you would have deleted the link to my blog many years ago, yet you actively chose to not do so when you edited my sig, implicitly showing that some advertisements in linked sites are OK, and that you don’t see a link to my blog an RFD rule violation. (Note: I do not and have never made financial gain from my blog.)

Perhaps you could clarify RFD’s position on linking to sites containing banners if you could please answer the following questions:

1. Does linking to a site not affiliated with anyone on RFD, which has revenue-generating banner ads, qualify as self-promotion / advertising? (i.e. Reddit, Google, ArsTechnica, Facebook, Engadget, HardForum, Youtube, Globe & Mail)

2. Does linking to a site affiliated with someone from RFD, which is non-commercial and without banner ads, qualify as self-promotion / advertising? (i.e. Flickr, Instagram, personal Twitter, personal hobby website)

3. If the answers to both of the previous are YES, then what is wrong with an RFD user’s non-commercial site, where the service provider adds banners and keeps the revenue for themselves? Am I missing something here? Doesn’t my blog, which you, oranr, have ACTIVELY chosen to allow in my forum signature, fit this exact description?

4. Are you afraid that the outside forum affiliated with the Chat Room will pull some of RFD’s audience away? I think you should be thankful for this kind of thing because it acts as a catch-all for the kind of conduct that seems to be deleted from RFD these days. RFD actually benefits from having Off-Topic conversations channelled elsewhere. Furthermore, the greater the audience, the more off-topic chatter will be directed offsite. (Note: A general decline in the quality of deals posted on RFD is now inevitable, with many users gradually drifting to other competitor deal forums. I am planning a separate blog post on this topic.)

5. Do you think that RFD members are making affiliate revenues or other benefits from the chatroom or affiliated forum? As mentioned earlier, neither case is true. (OK, well there is a “little” secret. In all fairness, I should let you know – we’ve had some awesome Unofficial RFD meetups at restaurants, bubble tea, bowling, coffee, karaoke, ramen, pho, go karts, board games, and are planning an awesome Toronto beach fun day. Please do let me know if deriving this kind of benefit from signatures or links qualifies as “self promotion.” If that’s the case, I guess I’ll have to acquiesce to your point.)

Reminder: Nowhere in this post have I asked for the chat room link to be reinstated.

I hope you realise that this post contains advice made in hopes of helping you run RFD more smoothly.

Oranr, I do not think you are stupid.

What is the real issue here? You aren’t stupid enough to actually believe your own excuses. Are you trying to marginalize that particular chat site because some of the people who use it get their posts deleted on RFD? If that is the case, then you should say what you mean and face the real issues instead of making childish pretend-excuses. As Judge Judy said, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” It leads to the loss of others’ respect.

I should also remind you: Great leaders in community and business know that “Conflict is a dish best served fresh.” If you pussy-foot around the real issues and make fake excuses, you fail to truly resolve issues. Conflict starts to grow mould and becomes really stinky, creating a putrid and conflicted air in the community. That’s what’s beginning to happen on RFD. It creates more drama and wastes everyone’s time, turning off some users permanently from the community. This kind of action just causes you to lose respect from other senior members of the forum who aren’t habitual offenders, and who actually come in making helpful threads, posting deals, etc.

This means that users who keep breaking the rules — the REAL rules, i.e. not something your imagination cooked up, which conveniently fit the situation — should be banned from RFD instead of you making up silly non-arguments for removing links. Oranr / RFD, please serve this community by clarifying your position; Stop making fake excuses and take care of business.

* * *

The follow-up article is here: Comments On’s Direction and Eventual Decline

Categories: rfd

The Rule of Forum Drama: Exit Clause

I didn’t make up this rule. It emerged many years ago on a now-nonexistent forum.

The Rule: “People who announce they’re leaving the forum never really do. The only ones who truly leave are those who fade softly into the night.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Posting Milestone

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment

How in the world did I rack up eleven thousand posts on the RFD Forums?

The mind boggles.

Categories: rfd

AmEx Cash Rebate – Another Big WIN At Costco

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

The Costco American Express Platinum Rebate. January has come and gone again, resulting in the much-anticipated mailing of Costco AmEx yearly rebate cheques. This, in turn, leads to the also anticipated but much less cherished long line-ups at the check-out, as we wait for the cashiers to process everyone’s personal rebate cheques. I’ll bet these things reduce each person’s bill by an average of $7.29 or so.

Trying to be smart, I brought my cheque in with me on a weekday night. Hopefully, I would be able to load up on Costco rotisserie chickens and a bucketload of hummus without braving the massive rebate-cheque-toting crowds. My gamble to avoid the excessive line-ups was a success.

I, unfortunately, was not.

During my typical brainless march through the checkout, I forgot to hand them my rebate cheque. As usual. Damn. My $6 rebate would have to wait. Or so I thought.

Turns out Costco is a lot more aweome than I am.

I queried the cashier, asking if I could apply my rebate cheque after the fact. She took my membership card, rung the cheque through, and handed me the value in cash.


Another big WIN when shopping at Costco!

TinyChat Pro Sales & Marketing – Ineptitude By The Seat Of Your Pants?

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

I noticed that TinyChat offers a Pro feature that claims to give higher quality video and 16fps video playback. At first glance, it’s tempting. But I have some concerns.

Looking at the way this feature is pushed, it makes me think the TinyChat staff are running some kind of social experiment to see how much they can confuse and annoy their users, and how inefficiently and confusingly they can advertise a product. It’s like TinyChat’s administration is trying as hard as possible to advertise a product that people will be afraid to purchase. Hanlon’s Razor comes to mind.

Here are some examples of why I think this is true:

Unclear Description of Features and Their Implementation

The information on what you exactly get when purchasing TinyChat Pro is extremely unclear. I can think of a number possible explanations for the features that are bestowed upon Pro accounts:

  • Do the Pro features apply to any chat room you visit, as long as your logged in?
  • Do the Pro features only apply in the chat room from which you bought the upgrade, even if you are not the owner? (And are the Pro features usable even by other users who did not pay, as long as they’re in that room?)
  • Do the Pro features only apply in the chat room named after your own account? (And are the Pro features usable by anyone who visits your room, even if they did not pay?)

The very unclear description of what $9.99 / month actually buys already completely turns me off this product. Why would I spend $9.99 on something when the people marketing it don’t even bother explaining what it is?

Inflexible Payment Options

The only option available is a $9.99 / month recurring fee. This is scary. I think a lot more people would give this a try if a one-shot $9.99 for one month payment was available. I’m not particularly comfortable with getting into a recurring payment with a constantly morphing and somewhat buggy service like TinyChat.

Payment Security

The payment page that takes your credit card information appears, incredibly, to be INSECURE! The URL does not begin with https. Insecure pages are easily snooped, meaning that any sensitive information like credit card numbers could be stolen by anyone! Astonishing!

Clearly, the TinyChat administration needs to rethink the way they’re advertising and pushing this product. The whole “hawk an internet service by the seat of your pants” approach is really like shooting yourself in the foot.

Categories: tech Tags: – Raging Against Empire (Bell, Rogers, Telus) – Mobile Freedom

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

“On the eve of a critical new wireless spectrum auction, we have reports that the Big Three cell phone giants (who already control almost 94% of the market) are trying to trick the government into shutting independent competitors out of the market. They’re trying to block competitors from being able to use essential wireless spectrum. These giant phone companies are going so far as to use high-priced lobbyists and one is even using a fake grassroots campaign.” - Stop The Squeeze

Categories: Canada, tech

Does It Blog: 2011 In Review

January 1, 2012 Leave a comment

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I bought a new Samsung / Google Nexus S. My first real Smartphone.

And I really want to carry it around with me as my primary phone. I am prevented from doing so because my screen protector and case are taking ages to arrive. That’s international shipping at Christmas.


Categories: tech Tags: , , ,