Archive for March, 2009

After some encouragement from my wife, I finally bought an iPod. Granted, it’s a last-generation Shuffle, which is super basic, but that’s all I wanted right now. It’s funny it took me so long to buy one, since I work with software and other technology all day long. Perhaps working with this stuff for a […]

The last few years, I’ve been very impressed with the creativity of corporate “announcements” on April Fool’s Day. Typically, these are intended to garner some press and foster word of mouth through their humor or outlandishness. But I wonder: is there any room for serious announcements on April 1? Frankly, I have no idea how […]

A few days ago, I got a catalog in the mail from a website that I haven’t shopped at in months. On the cover was a prominent offer for “Free shipping”. I quickly scanned the rest of the front and back cover for any further discounts, like a $10 off $50 coupon. No luck. Seeing […]

With all the ads promising to save you money these days, I’m surprised that more companies aren’t talking up the old adage, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Actually, even those that do take this approach usually fail to point out the best part of it. Specifically, saving a penny is even better than […]

Most of the new construction near me was already close to completion when the financial meltdown hit full boil. Those buildings were so far along that halting work made no sense. However, there’s one building nearby that was only 20 or so stories into the 90 that were planned, leaving a stubby shell of a […]

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? – A doctor makes patients pay in full even if they have insurance, leaving the patient to file all the claim forms afterwards. – A routine claim gets rejected for an illogical reason, but instead of resubmitting it with an appropriate note, the doctor just sends an invoice […]

If you live in Chicago, you probably know that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has been doing construction on the train lines north of downtown for what seems like years. Typically, this has meant fewer, more crowded trains, along with longer travel times. With this in mind, I was very pleased to see a prominent […]

The state income tax rate varies a lot across the US, from as little as 0% up to 10% or more. I live in Illinois, which has historically had one of the lowest personal income tax rates: 3%. However, the new governor insists they need to raise the income tax rate to 4.5% in order […]

I’ve been having an occasional problem with my TiVo, so I decided to research the issue online. A web search quickly brought me to the official forums at, where numerous other people have experienced the same issue. Basically, the TiVo will sometimes record a gray screen instead of the program, and it doesn’t even […]

While waiting on hold with some random call center, I noticed something strange: I’ve actually become more patient over the past few months. Normally, I would have been rather annoyed with a 15 minute delay, but this time I didn’t mind. “They must be really overwhelmed,” I thought to myself, figuring that the company had […]