Monday, December 31, 2012

My Stolen FexEx Package Showed Up

You've most likely read recently about how I had a FedEx package stolen from me. After the driver insisted to me that he dropped it off at my house and that it must have been stolen, I chalked it up to bad Christmas Karma and had Macy's re-ship me the order (free of charge). Well, the original package just showed up at my doorstep today. It hadn't been opened, so I doubt someone took it off my porch, and it showed no signs of rough wear, so I doubt it was sitting at the bottom of a FedEx truck. So, what happened? If the driver lied to me and delivered the package to the wrong house, then why did it take so long for the person to return it to me? If it was lost in a package sort or lost on the truck, why did the FedEx guy say he delivered it to me? If someone stole it, why didn't they open it and why did they return it?

I guess it doesn't matter what exactly happened. What matters now is what do you do when you report a package stolen and it shows up anyway? I called both FedEx and Macy's to explain the new developments, thanked them both again for their great customer service and prepared to return the shipment. Macy's told me to keep it. But, I have no use for two extra dress shirts. So, I returned them anyway. It seemed like the right thing to do.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Minecraft PE

Kiddo and I have been playing Minecraft Pocket Edition a lot lately during Christmas Break. Like me, she's got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, and since she's off school and I've been home from work fighting a nasty cold, we've been playing Minecraft PE together via Wi-Fi. I'm nowhere close to being an expert on the game. That's my daughter's department. I think it's fun to mine resources, build structures and fight monsters with my daughter, so I'm always delighted to play when she asks.

The big accomplishment this morning was the creation of the Nether Reactor which, when turned on, created  a huge room made of obsidian and spawned a few zombie pigmen.

The Nether Reactor

The Obsidian Room Generated By The Reactor

Friday, December 21, 2012

The World Didn't End

I did it! I just saved the world from the Mayan Apocalypse. The world was supposed to end at 11:12 GMT time this morning (the exact time of the Winter Solstice). At 11:11, I wished for the world to keep on going. We're still here, so it obviously worked.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

For The 80's Fan Who Has Everything

Wondering what to get that 80's fan on your Christmas List? Tired of picking through a bunch of Rhino re-issues in the cut-out section of Wal-Mart just to find a vaguely appropriate gift? Well, I have the solution for you. 

I was shopping for gift boxes at Big Lots recently when I happened upon this little gem. It's a Joan Jett and the Blackhearts semi by Hot Wheels. Apparently, the Tour Haulers line also boasts semi trucks for AC/DC, KISS and The Who, so you can match the band to the fan you're buying for.

As a child who spent most of his formative years listening to music in the 80's, I appreciate the kitsch value in these things, especially the Joan Jett one. The thing is, the product is recommended for children from 8-13, most of whom probably have no idea who Joan Jett is. It is also heavily marketed to "Joan Jett fans who are also Hot Wheels collectors" which you would think would be two parts of the population that seldom intersect.

The Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 vs Nexus 7

I recently chose to ditch my Nook Color. It was a good little tablet, especially since I rooted it and installed a better version of Android on it. In the end, the proprietary charging cable and its overall sluggishness. As great as the Nook Color is as an e-reader, it sucks as a tablet, even with a customized version of Android on it.

I soon found that I was wanting more from a tablet, and I narrowed down my search to the Nexus 7 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. I would consider both to be the top contenders in the 7 inch Android tablet market. Ideally, I'd like to have a hybrid of those two devices, but, that's not an option. So, for those of you who were on the fence like I was, here's a nice comparison of features of the Nexus 7 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.

Please Note: I am declaring "winners" in various categories based upon how certain features fit my needs. Your mileage may vary. Compare the technical specifications for the Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and decide for yourself.

Screen Resolution:

Nexus 7: 1,280 x 800 Pixels
Galaxy Tab 2:1,024 x 600 Pixels

The Nexus 7 is the winner here boasting a slightly better screen resolution than the Galaxy Tab 2.


Nexus 7: 1.3mp front. No Rear-facing camera
Galaxy Tab 2:0.3mp front. 3mp Rear. 

Personally, I don't have much use for a rear facing camera on a tablet, so I'll give the win to the Nexus 7 on this one because of the better front facing camera.


Nexus 7: 1.2 GHz Quad Core
Galaxy Tab 2:1.0 GHz Dual Core 

Even though I've been able to overclock the Galaxy Tab 2 to 1.5 gig, the Nexus 7 is still the clear winner here.

Expandable Memory:

Nexus 7: None
Galaxy Tab 2:Up to 64GB via microSD slot  

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 easily takes the prize on this one.

In the end, if you have to choose between the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and the Nexus 7, it's all going to come down to  what you're intending to use the tablet for. Personally, I need a lot of expandable storage because I take a lot of movies and music with me on trips and don't expect to have access to the cloud during travel time, so abundant local storage is a must have for me. This, along with the price (you can get the Student Edition of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 via Best Buy which includes a keyboard and dock for a lower price than the Nexus 7) sold me on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. If you're looking for a state-of-the art, cutting edge Android experience, then the Nexus 7 is the one for you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shopping As A Game

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of DealDash. All opinions are 100% mine.

Christmas time is getting closer, but it's still not too late to take advantage of a fun, inexpensive way to take care of that last minute Christmas shopping. You can even make a game out of it. I'm talking about DealDash, of course.

I'm sure you've heard about Deal Dash before. It's the best of all those new penny auction sites you see popping up lately. The thing is, with all the rest of those penny auction sites, you lose all the bids you've bought even if you don't win the item. Where's the fun in that? Even better, shipping is free within the United States and Canada. So, not only is Deal Dash the fun way to Christmas Shop, it's also going to save you money.

I'm sure that you're thinking to yourself that there must be some sort of catch. There isn't. But, you don't have to take my word for it. Check out this great DealDash Review and then decide for yourself. What have you got to lose? Go out there and see what you can win today!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My FedEx Package Got Stolen

With Christmas quickly approaching, I have been getting a lot of packages delivered via UPS, FedEx and the USPS. Nearly every day, I have something waiting for me on my porch that won't fit in my mail box. Late last week, one of my deliveries turned up missing. I live in a neighborhood that doesn't see much traffic and is inhabited by a number of elderly shut-ins, so I have never given much mind to the thought of someone snatching a package off of my porch. Still, when I know a delivery is coming, I try to be there in order to pick it up. I was at my house within 15 minutes of the time that FedEx listed the package as "Delivered" and it was nowhere to be seen. Thankfully, it was just a few dress shirts from Macy's and not an important Christmas gift. But, this begs the question, "what do you do when your package gets stolen?".

The first thing you need to do is call the delivery provider. I rang up FedEx right away and they asked me a few basic questions like "are you sure nobody else in the household has it?" and "could the driver have delivered to the wrong house?". I assured the FedEx rep that the driver knew my house well, as he had just delivered a package to it two days prior to the incident. FedEx contacted the driver directly, who showed up to my house to show me where he had placed the package before it was stolen.

So, the package somehow disappeared into the abyss. I can hardly expect FedEx to conjure up two new Macy's dress shirts from the ether. At this point, it was time to contact Macy's to let them know what had happened and inform them that I had already tried to resolve the issue via FedEx to no avail. Macy's quickly arranged to ship out two new dress shirts. This time, via UPS.

I want to stress here that the reps from FedEx and Macy's provided stellar customer service during this incident. The FedEx rep was kind enough to even call me a few days later to make sure everything was resolved to my satisfaction.

So, to recap, here's what to do when your FedEx or UPS delivery gets stolen:

  • Be aware of when things are being delivered and try to be there to meet the driver. The USPS and UPS and FedEx all offer electronic package tracking, so you should have a pretty good idea of when your package will be delivered. If you can't be there, you can always leave a note asking the driver to leave the package in a more secure place around your home. 
  • If your package does end up missing, try to resolve it through the delivery service first.
  • Once you have exhausted all the options via the package service, contact the store that shipped the item. It's their responsibility to make sure that the package gets to you. If they don't re-ship, then file a dispute with your credit card company (or PayPal if you used that).  
  • File a police report. The boys in blue aren't going to tear the town apart looking for your stolen merchandise, but, it's possible that your theft may have been one in a string of many, so you'll want police to be aware and keep an eye out. 
UPDATE: The original package eventually showed up which casts some doubt on the FedEx carrier's story. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Legend of Zima, Part III

When I played The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past back when it came out, I always wondered about the Chris Houlihan room. It was a room full of rupees that Link would access via a number of different odd means. The talk box in the room identified itself as Chris Houlihan's secret room. Turns out that Mr. Houlihan had won a contest in Nintendo Power and the prize was getting his name in the game. Kinda lame, if you ask me. I would have much preferred having an NPC named after me or something.

Anyway, this next part of my Legend of Zima saga is a take on the Chris Houlihan room.

Friday, December 7, 2012

But....That Would Be Awkward For All Of Us.

There is little more disturbing during the holidays than running into a display saying "Delicious Nuts: Share  With Friends & Family".

No, thanks. Let's keep our nuts to ourselves.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Full Sail University Is Not A Nautical Experience

The fine folks at Full Sail University called the other day hoping to talk to Clovis. Clovis was excited to hear from them because he had been hoping to become a ship's captain. Clovis thought that the name "Full Sail" was misleading as it does not offer and nautically based degrees. Turns out that Full Sail University is an entertainment media university, but, Clovis was willing to change and adapt. Clovis wondered about becoming a singer, but was told that the recording industry curriculum handled the "behind the scenes" aspects. This rubbed Clovis the wrong way and Clovis insisted he didn't swing that way and he liked girls.

All in all, the rep was a really good sport and seemed to enjoy the call.