Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Status Bar in Chrome

I switched to chrome a long time ago but for a while I've noticed that the status bar on my laptop never shows. It's been bothering for a few months but never really found the solution. I google'd it but no quick solution came up. Today, I stumbled on the solution. If you have the same problem, just press F11 (switches to full screen mode). You should now see the status bar. Press F11 again to switch out of full screen mode. Don't know how long it's been broken since I installed chrome about 2-3 versions ago (have since been upgrading instead of full installs).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Repeated sex abuse by priests: Help me understand

I don't understand it. I know there's probably no grand conspiracy by the Catholic Church to abuse kids but what I don't get is how the Church did not immediately defrock accused priests and remove them from the Church? How can they allow these guys to be transferred from one parish to another where they are guaranteed to be in contact with innocent children? I understand that organizations don't like bad publicity or exposure to lawsuits. So even if you didn't want to hand accused priest over to the police, I get it. I don't condone it but I understand how someone might think dealing with the issue quietly is the way to go. But why not defrock these priests? Why allow them to keep working for the Church and keep exposing the Church to future legal problems?

I understand forgiveness but I also understand human nature.
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Repeal & Replace; $2000 strip club expenses

Search the web for "repeal and replace" and you'll find that it's the GOP's latest mandate. They want to repeal and replace the healthcare bill. Ignore the merits or lack of merits of the law for a minute and think about this: there's no mathematical chance that the GOP can get the law reversed. They just don't and won't have the numbers. And that's not coming from me. That's from those who know. People like David Frum, a right-wing republican who has since been disowned by the right-wing movement. So why then are the GOP using that phrase as their rallying cry? Because people are inherently stupid and will believe anything. Provided you shout loudly enough. So yeah "Repeal & Replace" has no legislative legs but it'll get some republicans into office.

Second, recently GOP chairman Michael Steele came under fire for some spending by the GOP. Specifically, because the GOP paid out an expense claim for less than $2000. Turns out the money was spent at a strip club. Everybody (on the left) had a field day lambasting Mr Steele. Jay Leno did a joke about it for 3 days in a row. The Today Show had a segment on it. But what nobody stopped to think about was this: do you really expect someone in charge of millions of dollars to know that a junior staffer approved a $2000 expenditure? Come on, give me a break! I am a liberal and I think Steele is a moron but even I don't expect him to track every dollar spent by the GOP.

As to the claim that the GOP spent money on luxury hotels, private jets etc. So what? How else are they supposed to entice and attract big donors? Imagine someone is begging you to donate huge sums of money, the least you'll expect is to be wined and dined.
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The stupidity of systems

A couple of weeks ago, I called the customer service at PayFlex. PayFlex is the company used by my employer to manage our Flexible Spending account. Usually the threat of losing unused money kept me away from participating in the plan. But since I was gonna have kids last year, I participated. So on December 31st, I realized that I had some money ($43.34) left over in my account. Well it was 10pm and everywhere was closed on New Year's eve. So I went online to CVS and bought qualifying items using my PayFlex debit card. The receipt was time stamped 10:49pm. Boy was I lucky to have remembered before midnight.

Forward several weeks later and I get an e-mail from my company's HR person saying I still had $43.34 left over. After I got over the shock, I searched my hotmail account and luckily I still had the order confirmation from CVS. I pdf'ed it and uploaded it to PayFlex. Thinking that was the end of it, I checked this morning and low and behold I still had $43.34 left over. Turns out they paid the CVS claim from this year's plan.

I called their customer service said their system shows CVS processed the payment on 1/6/2010. I said that's great but I have a receipt that shows I bought the items on 12/31/2009. Anyway to cut a long story short, her position was this:
  • If I had used any other credit card, merely submitting a claim with my receipt showing 12/31/2009 would have been good enough to get the claim processed in the correct year
  • However, since I used my PayFlex MasterCard, they have to go by the processing date from CVS. So essentially, by using their debit card I am subject to the whims of CVS.
Took me a while to explain the absurdity of that point of view. Eventually, she left, consulted with others and came back with "You have to file an appeal by fax". Yes by fax. In 2010.

I understand the need for organizations to have systems but I hate that people seem to surrender their ability to think. At least in this case, they had a procedure, albeit one that relied on archaic technology, in place. The last time this happened to me, I spent an hour on the phone with VA's DMV trying to make the woman see that their system was wrong. In the end, I got a letter of apology, a free record of my driver's license history and a massive headache.
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Retirement of the baby book

Several months ago, I wrote about the baby book and how it's become ubiquitous in our living room. What's the baby book? Read all about it. Anyway, a few weeks ago we decided to conduct an experiment (I suppose a hazard of having both parents with science background is being subjected to numerous "experiments") to see if we can go a day without using the baby book, keeping the babies alive and managing to remember who's pooped and who hasn't (seems like the first few months of parenthood is consumed with tracking your babies poop schedule. And of course taking photos). Well the experiment turned out to be a success for 3 reasons:
  • the babies are old enough now to convey hunger (the ceaseless crying is a big clue in figuring this out)
  • Toni is super regular with his #2 activities. Every morning after the first meal...let's just say Toni requires 2 diaper changes each morning
  • both babies have started switching from baby formula to craving for finger foods. In fact, Toni's sense of smell is so well developed all you have to do is bring food into the living room and he's on you like white on rice. And of course, where Toni goes, Dara follows. 
Since then we've stopped using the baby book. All in all, we went through about 4.5 notebooks and I am really glad we kept those records.