Archive for Miscellany

LensCrafters, or, How Not To Make Glasses

[ music | Nine Inch Nails – I Do Not Want This ]

I went to LensCrafters on Friday, November 4. The eye exam went fine. The production of glasses went less well. I do not claim this goes for all LensCrafters locations, but I’m sure as hell done with this one. But first a little backstory.

I have 20/10 visual acuity. “Then why do you wear glasses?” Because your visual acuity is not necessarily the same as your uncorrected vision. Your visual acuity is the measure of your ability to discern objects according to a measurement standard. You uncorrected vision is measured by the same standard, but once you get glasses that correct your vision, you achieve your optimal visual acuity. Or at least you’re supposed to.

When my glasses are made properly, my 20/10 vision is attained quite nicely. The up side is I can read road signs from half a mile, and my phone with small text for privacy. The down side is that if the glasses aren’t made properly, I notice things most folks might not, and it drives me nuts. It can be so bothersome that I’m unable to wear the glasses at all. Three years ago I went to another spectacle vendor who were so sloppy that the eyeglasses they made were off by 14% from the designated prescription. This mistake happened three times in a row, the original pair and two remakes. I demanded a refund, and went to Walmart Optical who nailed it on the first try.

This year I have vision coverage with my insurance. So, given the discount, I decided to go to LensCrafters and get new glasses quickly. They don’t have their own optometrists, they partner with local doctors, leasing out part of the space so that it’s a one-stop-shop. Going in I explained to the optometrist the degree of my visual acuity and the need to go a little further with the exam. At a certain point the optometrist declared us finished, having achieved 20/20 vision. I said, “yes, but as I said I normally get back to 20/10 vision.” The doctor claimed not to know what I was talking about. “Those numbers don’t mean anything, you can see here your prescription is…” At this point I should have seen the writing on the wall. I literally explained what the whole 20/20 thing meant to an optometrist. After doing so, she stopped playing an idiot and said, “Well, I don’t normally test beyond 20/20.” I replied, “So I guess those numbers make sense after all.” So she hit a button on the testing machine, and we continued the test right back to 20/10 where I normally am. She was flabbergasted that I was right, that I actually had the visual acuity that I claimed! Amazing! A non optometrist knowing their own visual potential! It’s almost like I’ve been wearing glasses for 30 years!

Now I get to LensCrafters proper. I picked frames (I really liked them), sat down with a very nice optician, and with her help we went through the lens options, placed the order, and paid. I made sure again to mention the specificity that I need in the manufacture of my glasses. A little over an hour went by, and I was notified the glasses were ready. I went back, and tried on the glasses. Something was wrong. I looked around and except for the center, weird distortions and blurriness were all I saw. Even in the center something was wrong. The right eye was fine, but the left eye was blurry in the center. Then I looked to the left a bit with the left eye, and noticed things were perfectly clear. So if I looked straight ahead the right eye was clear, and if I looked to the left then the left eye was clear. Were I walleyed I’d be in fine shape, but alas I am not. My eyes both point in the same direction at the same time. Except through these glasses.

Before remaking them, I came back the next day to have the optometrist double check the prescription. It was a different doctor, but her exam agreed with the first. And the prescription itself was actually the same as my old ones in the left eye, and only very slightly different in the right eye, which is interesting because it’s the left eye that is giving us problems at this point in the story. So at this point I try to talk with the LensCrafters folks about the lens material; I had picked a high index material and I thought maybe that was causing some of the distortions I had noticed. I asked to go over again the lens options. I was told, “I don’t know what other lenses we have.” I said, “Well, let’s find out, we went over it when I was purchasing them yesterday.” Again I was rebuked, “Well, [the lens technician] has been doing this a long time, and he said just send it back for a remake.” Again I said, “Yes, that’s good, but I’d like to try to avoid a repeat of this issue.” “Well, he’s the expert so we’ll just send them back as he said.” It was Saturday, and they were busy, so I said that they could do it Monday when they’re less busy.

I went back today, Monday the 7th, and they were finishing them up at that very moment so I came back half an hour later. They were done. I tried them on, the only difference was the lack of a blurry stripe in the center of my left eye. The distortions and blurriness everywhere else hadn’t changed, not one iota. I explained this, and again said we need to go over the lens options. I again was told she didn’t know what they were. How can someone who rattles these off 8 times a day every day for years not have these options memorized? So again I said, “we went over this when I bought them, why can’t I just see a list of the options so we don’t keep repeating the same mistake? Why can I just get that question answered?” She looked at me and said, “I don’t know why you can’t just get that off the website.” I replied and said, “I didn’t know you HAD it on the website. I’ve asked for this half a dozen times and only now you tell me that? Besides, you showed me the list three days ago, why can’t I see it again now?” She said, “Well, I don’t even know if he’s going to want to remake them again,” and began to get up to go talk to the lens technician.

I asked her to stop, “Please, let’s get the question of the lenses sorted before we ask him because there’s no point in even asking if we don’t know what we’re asking for.” She replied, “well, I’m not sure there’s a point if he won’t remake them.” I said, “there isn’t a point if I can’t get a simple question answered.” She replied, “Maybe you should just get a refund.” I agreed, “if I can’t find out what my options are, then yes, I should.”

She processes the refund, but only for the regular glasses. I had ordered sunglasses as well, paid for out of my own pocked, eithout any insurance discount. I said, “This is only for the one pair.” She said, “yes, did you want to refund the other pair?” I said, “Since I can’t get an answer to a simple question to help ensure those don’t come out the same way as the first pair, then yes. I don’t want to keep going through this.” She still refuses to tell me my lens options again, and processes the refund.

I purchased two pairs of glasses, put the protection plan on both (where I get lenses remade should there be an accident for only $25 per incident, and she even recommended doing that before the year was up to ensure the lenses were in perfect shape), and because I had a problem, rather than discussing the problem with me, I was told to go away and take my money back.

So I’ve wasted six hours across four days only to be treated as though I hadn’t just spent a good deal of money on a product, and treated poorly because I dared try to ensure the product was functional for the purpose.

I work hard every day to do my job to the best of my ability. If someone asks me a question (much less eight times) I try to find an answer. Am I really so off base to demand the same thing when I drop hundreds of dollars on glasses?

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VMWare, BSODs, and video drivers

I had a customer who upgraded to an SSD in his MacBook Pro, and had heard about VMware Fusion. Not by name, but by feature, from a friend. “He can run his Windows right along side his Mac.” He had a Boot Camp installation and VMware Fusion helpfully can import that. However, after VMware Tools were installed, the VM would BSOD on boot with a SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION, error code 0x0000003b. Oh joy.

Much testing later revealed that it seemed to be the VMware SVGA driver that was causing these issues, which made little sense as its one of the most tested parts of the VMware tools, being so critical. It turns out the client had a specific external video device that clearly VMware never tested with. In this case it was the Tritton SEE2 Xtreme USB to DVI adapter unit. While the unit wasn’t attached and hadn’t been used in ages, the drivers were still installed, and when these two drivers were initialized, we’d see that BSOD exception.

The solution was clearly to find and remove the driver for that video unit. Once that was done everything was aces. The moral is search very closely in the driver set of your guest OS if you’re having errors like this. I let VMware support know the details of this particular driver so they can test against it, and presumably devices like it.

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You’ve got to fight for your right to party poker!

While online poker is the scourge of America, causing gay marriages and ruining our schools, Europe seems to have no problem with online poker.

For example, take a look at the Germans. In Germany they’re living life like normal despite the fact that one of the best online poker sites has a German specific area over at de.partypoker.com. This site is the all-German language section of PartyPoker.com, which is a rather famous online poker company that you may have seen on shirts worn by players at the World Series of Poker. Millions of people play there and love it. Were I German, I’d play there too. So, if you’re German, or Swiss, Austrian, live on the eastern border of the Netherlands or Belgium, or you just speak German, go check out the best online poker site that’s all auf deutsch all the time.

Unless you live in America, then you should just hide.

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Via Dylan

I took a tour, I rode the wind,
I went to find, Went around that bend.

I saw brilliance, a thousand little lights,
they crashed to earth and lost their fights.

We looked around to see what we could see,
we saw the things we wished could be.

We dropped our guard, and let out a yell,
decided we’d all rather reign in Hell.

We were young a dumb, like lambs of the spring.
We drove off a cliff, we done a damn dumb thing.

We had it all in the palm of our hands,
we threw it away and ate the plans.

There were a million men with ideas of gold,
we’ll be lucky if fifty can grow old.

We tried drugs and sex and rock and roll,
and told ourselves we weren’t just foals.

We wandered west from the Island to the Beach,
To discover what the world had to teach.

But we couldn’t hear what the world had to say,
we yelled and screamed and got in the way.

Then we took up arms against the men of the old,
we wanted to heat up the long dark cold.

We decided to find out what if life was worth living,
to find what she had, to take what she’s giving.

We rolled up that hill, and fell off that line.
got in a fight, paid the damn fine.

After the spring, that flower done bloom.
That beautiful son, it filled up the room.

It lasted all day, and all night, and all year, and thousand more like it.

I don’t wanna look to deep or too long,
if push it too hard then the feeling is gone.

I have to collapse and roll around in the mud,
there’s no wolf at the door, this joint is a dud.

But there’s crazy shit happenin’ here in my head,
we’re all swimming in honey and lead.

There’s ten, and there’s twenty, and thirty, and more.
We’re with you in Rockland, we’re the wolf at the door.

But there’s no use in knockin’, we’re on the watch tower, watchin’.

You’re a fool, so am I! Ain’t it great? Never die!
We’re with you in Rockland, here’s a cot, have a lie.

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Merry Christmas, every one!

[ music | Michael Buble – Let It Snow ]

Merry Christmas, folks. Another year is nearly gone, and 2010 is right around the corner.  This year started like crap, got worse, and the past 4 months has shown me instead that life is still awesome, and I’m happier now than I may ever have been. I hope if nothing else, the new year is something to make all your lives brighter. Merry Christmas to everyone.

Waiting for Santa

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I’ve been a bad blogger…

[ music | Rilo Kiley – So Long ]

I’ve been neglecting my blog all year. For this,my dear readers, I apologize. I shall endeavour to be a better blogger in the new year. Between a really busy real life, and Twitter, I’ve just neglected to sit down and write up much. Even my previous post is a half-assed attempt, and I dislike doing that. For my day to day crap, check out my twitter feed.

However, to help make up for it, I’ll soon be making a kick ass end of year wrap-up post covering the best and worst everything from my viewpoint. Unlike some year-end wrap-ups, this one will be at the end of the year, between Christmas and New Years. I like to wait till the year is over to recap the year. 😉

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Solidarity

[ music | U2 – Freedom for My People ]

Communication is key to a free society, and instrumental in helping a people liberate themselves. Radio helped win World War II. Television and helped bring down the Berlin Wall, and the Iron curtain. Right now, the Internet is helping the people of Iran try to take back their country. The Iranian government is cracking down on all forms of communications media, such as TV and the Internet, but the people aren’t taking it lying down. In America, many people think of Iran as a nation that hates the US, but that’s not true. Just like in other countries, Afghanistan, Cuba, North Korea, etc., extremists seized the government and that’s all we hear. The people of Iran are people just like you and me who want to have their own peaceful lives. And right now they’re fighting an obviously slanted election.

Amazingly, Twitter is a huge part of it. I scoffed at Twitter at first, then I started to use it, and now I can see it’s merely a new method of leveraging the world wide nature of the Internet with the local nature of telephones and mobile devices. Twitter is helping the Iranian people circumvent their oppressive government’s crackdown on communications, and helping organize protests as they fight for their freedom.

If it sounds grandiose and over the top, think of it this way, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Today’s pen is electronic. And it reaches far more people than paper ever could.

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Why APNG?

APNG is a good thing. Some people think it’s not, that it’s just Mozilla carving its own course. It’s not Mozilla just being difficult, it’s that MNG missed the mark by a mile. Don’t believe me? Turns out other companies have encountered similar situations, as Raymond Chen explains why it’s ok to reimplement a subset of functions as a simple solution to a simple problem.

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Thieves, they’re everywhere!

[ music | Depeche Mode – Wrong ]

I fell asleep in a chinese restaurant, and woke up in a tub full of ice. They stole my hair!

Like a thief in the night...

Like a thief in the night...

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Reflections so far

I’m in a hotel room in Pittsburgh, waiting to go north for the funeral. Waiting on anything gives one time to think. One thing all of this ordeal over the past few years has taught me is that I’m not as much of a lone wolf as I used to be. I have found that I actually enjoy the whole “family” thing much more than I ever thought I would. I always knew I wanted to eventually get married, and have kids, etc. But I never thought I’d enjoy the thought of helping and caring for people as much as I do now.  As a friend said to me, “you’re discovering your true self.”  It’s as though I went to sleep one night and someone switched me with someone else while I wasn’t looking. It’s odd to discover big things like that about yourself beyond your teens. I don’t just want to do big things, I want to have a positive effect on the world around me. I’m not satisfied just succeeding, I want to die knowing I changed someone’s life as positively as my mother changed mine. I hope I manage it.

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