I hate usernames!!!

I am trying to log into my frequent flyer account with SAS. I cannot recall what my username is. I use two for the most part; usually one or the other will work. But sometimes they are already taken or for some inane, pathetically stupid reason the site requires numbers, characters, etc. in the username. Freaks.So… I cannot recall my username. Password will also be iffy, but hey, I can always click the “forgot password” button and get the password. But no. SAS in their wisdom requires your username, first name, last name, and birth date to get your password. And there is no link to recover the username.So… I need to call customer service. I know, how about I just take my business elsewhere? Or try this… what about using my email address as my username? Several other sites do this and it (gasp) seems to work just fine. For the most part we all pretty much stick to a single personal email address. Oh sure, I need @gmail.com and @hotmail.com and @yahoo.com for all of this stuff which bugs me (kudos by the way to MSN for letting me do @bricin.net for Passport, minor demerit for crippling many of the most useful features when running like this). But most sites that aren’t trying to rule the world let me use @bricin.net and just move on. disclosure: I worked on technology related to Passport at one point. I’m no expert here and I know this is a tricky situation and yes I know Open ID is out there and accepted by at least 2 web sites but c’mon, this shouldn’t be this difficult and I am not even asking for a universal ID, just universally allowing me to use something that I have a prayer of remembering to log in and give people money.Sept 28: hoist on my own petard. Both wordpress and my custom bricin.net stuff uses usernames. Argh. So I am rewriting the code for my custom site but it will take a while.

Making International Characters on the Mac

Making International Characters on the MacAs we prepare to move we’re learning German. And we bought a new MacBook so we have a computer in Zürich. It took me some time to figure out how to get umlauts on the letters though. On a PC it’s very easy — you just hit Alt+ some random 4-digit code you look up.I figured there was an easier way on the Mac (there always seems to be) but Mac Help is terrible. But the InterTubes came to the rescue and it turns out to be simple. Alt+u+letter. Nice.

Zurich-bound

Two days ago I accepted a job with Microsoft’s Zurich Development Center. Wow. I’ve lived in Washington for the past 20 years plus extra on-again/off-again time as a kid. Susan has lived in the Northwest her entire life. And now we’re packing up the kids and moving across the planet for a few years. What an adventure!I intend to post as I can about this experience. Before I accepted the job offer we spent a ton of time reading books and surfing the Internet for information. There is a ton of information out there but I couldn’t find any one source with a narrative of moving precisely like this. Sure, there were tons of examples that were very similar but nothing quite the same. So here goes…What we’re doing now: we are getting the house ready to rent, closing down services like the telephone, gym membership, etc. We are getting the truck ready to sell (I hate selling vehicles). We are starting to pack up the things we care about to store them at my mom’s house. Our plan is to take only the most critically important things with us. For us this means skis, bikes, outdoor gear, clothing, one laptop, iPods, a few books for the kids, and not much else. We figure we can buy anything we need there and frankly most of our stuff here isn’t so nifty that we cannot live without it.

In-Sink-Erator

The hot water dispenser in our house stopped working. Like most things we’ve let it sit for a few weeks but with all the Zürich ramping up we’re doing I thought I’d take a look. First I verified power to the device, then I hit the reset button. No luck. Since I hate telephones I decided not to call the service line. But kudos to In-Sink-Erator, they have 3 stickers on the dispenser with the phone number so no hunting around. It’s almost as if… gasp… they want someone with a problem to call them. Weird.But I found an online chat with them. The transcript is below the fold. But the key points:

  • I have an old model with a 1 year warranty
  • My dispenser is at least a year old, maybe two. I don’t keep records or receipts so who knows
  • They stand behind their products, apologized, and offered to send me a replacement (which is a slight upgrade over what we have now) for free.
  • It took 5 minutes total.

All said, what a pleasant experience. And when, inevitably the new unit dies or our garbage disposal goes, these guys are top of the list for a return customer. Continue reading