My sporadic offering of cool technology tools or gadgets I find useful in life or for the moment.
Square: Do you have a need to accept credit cards? Then this is for you. Via your smartphone you can accept credit cards for payment. You can enter the credit card number from the keypad or swipe the card by using a hardware add-on provided by square (for free) that plugs into your headphone jack. You are charged a transaction fee and a higher rate if you enter the credit card number manually. If you have the credit card, there is less of a fee.
Ting: Brought to us via Tucows, a la carte cellular service that has no contract and you can cancel when you want. You will pay full price for your handset however. You pick the amount of minutes, text messages, and data plan that fits your needs and pay $6.00 per handset. Ting resells Sprint service, so if you don’t live in an area well serviced via Sprint, stop reading. But if you do, you might take a look to see if it would safe you some money in the long term.
Since October of 2010, I have been trying to solve an issue with a bedroom set my wife and I purchased for our home. The story is long and filled with horrendous customer support issues, among other things. I’d love to tell the story (if prompted via telephone or email), but frankly, I am sick of the entire situation and would prefer not to revisit it as my keyboard would likely feel the brunt of my anger.
I have come to terms that I will not get what is fairly owed to me and will no longer do business with the “Warehouse – Mattress” store; however, during my efforts to resolve the issue, I turned to a number of consumer advocacy organizations to assist me, to my surprise, they were completely worthless.
Consumeradvocacy.com: I posted publicly my issue on their website, they promise to reach out to the company and resolve your issue. After a lengthy wait, I receive an email with the response from the company. The response is posted on their website and the issues is posted as “resolved” for everyone to see. The issue was, the response from the company is question was inaccurate. A person visiting the site, reading my complaint would likely assume that the issue was resolved to my satisfaction; however, it was far from resolved and the statements provided in response to my complaint were far from the truth. I did not have a course for corrective action, I couldn’t reply or request further investigation. Fail.
Better Business Bureau (BBB): I’ll paraphrase, I filed a complaint, email correspondence from the BBB was great, kept me informed, assigned a case manager. After a lengthy wait I received a response similar to what was provided to consumeradvacacy.com; however, at least I could respond to this one! I did, and promptly received an email stating that my response did not meet criteria worthy of continuing to pursue corrective action. My case was closed.
Pennsylvania Attorney Generals Office: Surely my tax dollars will save me. I’ll paraphrase again. Submitted an online request, after a few weeks I received a letter requesting I provide them (in writing) updates about my efforts to solve my issue. I do this on numerous occasions, write detailed letters, provide copies of emails, photos, etc. I never receive an update, a call. Three month later I receive a letter telling me that may case cannot be resolved but would be kept on file for future reference.
Moral of the story, I have no faith in any consumer advocacy organization; they have proved to be most useless.
I am always looking for a better deal, who isn’t? Most companies aren’t looking out for your best interests that is something we must relegate to do.
Last year, in Pennsylvania, power rates were deregulated which opened a free market to purchase power from any company while transport duties remained with your primary incumbent power company.
At the time, I reviewed the rates and chose a company that offered competitive, non-variable rates that met my risk appetite.
In the last two months I received a letter from Dominion, the company that we purchase our power from, and a letter from PP&L (Pennsylvania Power and Light). The letter from Dominion stated that they were going to be lowering my rate. The letter from PP&L stated that they could offer me a competitive rate, which was 1/100 of a cent less than the rate offered by Dominion.
This prompted a thought, would either company be willing to provide an even more competitive rate if asked?
I called Dominion, mentioned the letter I received and asked if I was obligated via contract to stay with their company? I knew when I chose them to begin with; I had no contractual obligations or termination fees. I continued the discussion mentioning that I received a letter from a competitor offering me a more competitive rate and that I was thinking of switching.
I’ll cut to the chase, I was quickly offered a rate that was $.20 less per KwH than either rates mentioned in the letters. It took me all of 4 minutes to make the call and will likely save us enough money to recoup the four-minute investment.
Although the Dell Latitude ST was designed for Windows 7, the OS was never designed for a slate/tablet enabled device and interface. Therefore, any enthusiast is going to want to update to Windows 8, given the tablet optimized interface.
I want to set a baseline, the reason I am writing this post is that I have had numerous issues with the QualComm – Atheros (a.k.a. Dell Wireless 1535C Half MiniCard) wireless LAN (WLAN) maintaining a connection. I am using Windows 8 RTM, I’ve flashed the Latitude ST (noted as ST for the remainder of the post) to version A05 of the BIOS.
The issue both I and many others have run into (based on many Google searches) is the lack of driver support for the hardware, specifically Windows 8. Most of the drivers provided by Dell via, http://support.dell.com work just fine,(they do install in compatibility mode) but the wireless Atheros drivers have functioned less than adequate. The original (Wireless) drivers provided when the ST was released work, but for some reason Window 8 decides to disable the drivers after some use. The user must re-enable the driver (in Device Manager) and (at times – based on my experience) it may work, at times I need to reboot and sometime I need to reload the drivers.
The original Atheros driver pack had a file name of, “R316053.exe” from Dell. Version information was A03. The latest and greatest provided by Dell is, “ST_Network_Driver_GTTFD_WN_22.214.171.124-7.4.0_A06.” The issue arises when you attempt to install the drivers and the install pack fails as it states it only supports Windows 7. You have two options upon running the executable, install the software/driver or extract it.
To solve this issue I found a number of suggestions, the solution doesn’t appear to be fluid as one may work for user a, but not for user b. Solution 2 (noted below) worked for me. As I started to explain above, Solution 3 leverages the Dell drive pack, but extracts specific drivers from the MSI.
In all, I’ve listed the solution below as a resource.
1. Leverage the old A03 Atheros driver. This resulted in sporadic wireless connectivity for me.
2. Pull the driver pack from Motion Computing (LINK) and installing them per the instructions.
- Motion Computing offers a similar slate to the ST, the hardware is similar and the wireless drives (specifically) has worked flawlessly for me. Note that I installed the driver via device manager, so I do not have additional software to manage the wireless connections as I had with the driver/software via solution 1. The download filename is: “CL900_Windows 8 Drivers.zip”
3. Extract the drivers from the Dell driver pack, noted here: here and manually install them via device manager. I tried this, but still had sporadic wireless connectivity.
I hope this is helpful to the next person whom runs across this issue. #IWork4Dell