darkoshi: (Default)
Remember that song I bought on iTunes, which was so much trouble to buy?

Not only that, but in addition to the price of the song I bought, iTunes charged me an extra $1 which they are now refusing to give back. When I initially contacted them about it via their Report a problem link, they replied by email that it was only an "authorization hold on my credit card" and that it would automatically drop off in an unspecified amount of time. I was dubious, as the $1 had been taken from my PayPal balance (which I told them), not from a credit card. However, I found a PayPal page which indicated that those kind of charges might take a month to get refunded, so I decided to wait that long to see, before bugging iTunes about it again. The $1 never got refunded.

After the month was over, I tried contacting iTunes again via the same link (twice!), but even though upon submitting the report, the confirmation page states that they'll get back to me within 48 hours, they haven't, either time. I didn't even get the immediate "We'll be in touch" email response like I did the first time. So it seems like their system is purposely ignoring me now. (Why? I can't figure that out.)

I had also tried disputing the charge via the PayPal site, however none of the choices PayPal provides for the reason of the dispute seemed applicable. I clicked what seemed the most relevant one and chose answers to the remaining questions that were presented to see what would happen, even though none of the answers were applicable. I thought I'd be given an opportunity to either Submit or Cancel at the end, and that I'd choose Cancel and maybe then try a different initial option. But after selecting the answers, I was only shown a message like "Well, you said you received the thing you ordered (ie. the song), so you can't dispute the charge."

Now when I try clicking the link to dispute the charge again (thinking that maybe I'll select a different initial reason this time), the link doesn't work ("Sorry — your last action could not be completed"). I suspect it is because they previously decided that I have no grounds for dispute.
ARGH.

I do still have the option of calling the PayPal customer support phone number. Maybe I could find an iTunes phone number.

It is only $1 they stole from me. It's not worth the hassle. But it's not right.

Update, 2017/08/19:
I still wasn't getting any response via Apple's Report a Problem page. So instead I contacted Apple support via chat (from that support page, I selected the links for: iTunes - iTunes Store - Purchases, Billing & Redemption - iTunes Store Account Billing - Chat). During the chat, the Apple rep reiterated that the $1 charge was only an authorization hold, and told me to contact PayPal; that PayPal should credit me the $1 back.

So I disputed the charge via the link on the PayPal site again (the link was working ok now - maybe there's a time-out period for how often you can click it?) This time, I selected the option for reporting a Billing issue, and an "issue that's not described". I attached a copy of my Apple support chat, and submitted the report. Within 24 hours, PayPal sent me a reply that they had accepted my claim and credited the $1 back to my account.

So finally, the problem has been resolved.

iTunes and DRM

Sunday, June 4th, 2017 11:21 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I finally managed to buy that song I wanted from iTunes.

I never want to go through that much trouble to buy a song again, even if, like this one, IAMX's I Come With Knives, I really want to support the artist for making such a wonderful song and video. Maybe, if an MP3 of the song had been available to purchase on the band's website, or on Amazon, it wouldn't have taken me over 4 years to buy it.

The band's website only has the full album available, and only as a CD, not MP3s. Some of the other albums are available as MP3s, but not that one. Likewise, Amazon only has the full album on CD. The MP3 version seems to be a single instead, as it only has 4 songs, of which 3 are different versions of "Unified Field". The only place I found the song I wanted was on iTunes.

The plus of it was that the iTunes price was in GBP, not dollars. So I got to use up some of that GBP balance I still had left over on my PayPal account.

The 2 TV show episodes that I wanted to buy are also priced in GBP, which would have been another plus. But after doing some research, it seems that if I bought them, they'd be in MV4 format, which I'd only be able to play on that desktop computer from inside iTunes. Because of the DRM, I wouldn't be able to play them on my normal laptop (without iTunes), nor even on the TV (no, that computer doesn't have an HDMI port). So I won't be buying them after all. There's only so much I'm willing to put up with. Sure, maybe I could use some software to strip out the DRM from the files in order to play them on my other devices without iTunes, but that would defeat the whole point of buying them legally.

10k

Thursday, March 31st, 2016 11:29 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
On Tuesday, I surpassed 10,000 steps in a single day for the first time since I started tracking my walking. At 11:45pm, the pedometer showed 9900. Naturally, I decided I had to do at least another 100 before midnight arrived.

The sky was very beautiful while driving home this evening. Awesome layers of clouds and light that make you want to look up rather than down at the street. The sun was setting, orange.

The wisteria/kudzu smells lovely.

Azaleas in full bloom. I still have some azalea photos from a year ago that I never posted. Still haven't finished going through all of last year's photos.

I have some photos of the cute budding fig leaves from a week or 2 ago... Now the leaves are already full size. Last year, I took photos of the young fig leaves too. I'm sure I'll get to them eventually.

I ordered 7 small items from Amazon last night. Button batteries and a couple other items which I've had trouble finding in physical stores. Already got shipment notifications on 5, and USPS tracking emails on 2 of them. California and New Jersey. Interesting to think that around the country, stuff is moving just for me.

When ordering Amazon Marketplace items, the credit card charge may randomly show up from either "AMAZON MKTPLACE PMTS" or "Amazon Payments". Because of that, it's no longer convenient to use Shop-Safe credit card numbers (which for security purposes allow purchases from only a single seller) for those purchases. Half the payments have been getting declined, and I've had to submit them again using a different credit card number. The weird thing is that when Amazon resubmits the ones that were originally charged to "Amazon Payments", the 2nd time they actually charge them to "AMAZON MKTPLACE PMTS".

foot warmers

Saturday, January 30th, 2016 02:44 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Qiao could use something good to keep his feet warm.

This Medisana Foot Warmer looks good to me, but is from Germany and requires a 240 volt power supply. My German grandpa always had a single-houseshoe-for-both-feet like that under his desk, except his wasn't electric. The Medisana one is for sale on eBay, but for it to work over here, I'd need a 110-to-240 volt transformer too, and I'm not sure it would be worth it. The reviews for this product on the German Amazon site are mostly positive, but as with many American products, some purchasers got ones that didn't work to begin with, or which failed after a certain amount of time.

There are some USB-powered ones from China that don't sound very good.

The only similar American products I can find for slipping both feet into, don't cover the heels, and/or are only made for small feet, and/or don't warm well based on reviews. And they mostly include vibrators/massagers too.

A few weeks ago, I had the great idea of taking my old electric blanket, folding it over and placing it at the bottom of the bed under the top sheet and blankets. That way, with the blanket heated up, we could slip our feet inside the folds and warm up our feet. It was so nice to get into bed and feel that warmth on the feet, rather than waiting for my feet to warm up the slow way, which sometimes took hours (even with our fleece sheets which are much warmer compared to cotton sheets).

Yesterday, the electric blanket control unit started making a buzzing noise, so it probably isn't safe to use anymore. The blanket must be over 10 years old, even though I hadn't been using it for most of those years.

I checked for alternatives to put at the foot of the bed, but it seems that my original approach was best - I'll get a new electric blanket and fold it over again. I only found a single product, this Serta Foot Warmer, which has a pocket for the feet. But the top layer of the pocket isn't heated - it's plain fabric. Pah. I'm spoiled now, and want heat on both the top and bottom of my feet.

Then I looked for heated slippers for Qiao. I thought that plug-in ones would be simplest to use, for when he's sitting down. But I couldn't find any good electric corded ones (only some flimsy USB ones again), so maybe we'll try some that heat up in the microwave instead.

The whole time I've been doing the above searches, my feet have felt cold to me, even though when I reach down to touch them, tucked in under my legs as they are with me sitting cross-legged, they actually feel warm.
darkoshi: (Default)
Forestfen lost her camera, so I decided to buy myself a new one and give her my old one. (When her old one broke a few years back, I bought her a new one as a gift, and was slightly envious over the extra features it had compared to mine, although mine was still perfectly good and still is.)

As I've had audio problems in the past when recording videos, the main feature I was looking for in a new camera was an external microphone port. There aren't many compact point&shoot type cameras to be found with an external mic port. But snapsort.com had a listing of cameras with this feature. I finally decided on one - the Canon N100 - which was only slightly larger than my current camera.

I then ordered it from the website of a local store so that I could pick it up at the store without having to deal with shipping and delivery. Today while inspecting my new camera and reading the manual, I find out that it doesn't actually have an external mic port! Snapsort.com was DEAD WRONG about that, and also wrong on my 2nd choice, the Canon SX700 - apparently that one doesn't have an external mic either.

I thought I had seen the external mic port mentioned in other reviews, but that must have been when I was still researching other cameras, not the Canons. Why didn't I think to double-check the specs on Canon's website? Doh!

It might end up being a great camera in spite of that, but that's a lesson for me. Never trust the specs listed on a single website! As it was my own mistake, and not the store's, I'm not going to try to return it. At least the built-in microphone is in stereo.

This is almost on par with my great vacuum cleaner debacle of 2007.

Hrmm, re-reading that first post, I never did get around to painting any of the rooms in this house. All I painted was a closet and a doorway. I still feel proud about that closet.

Oh, and speaking of carrying a heavy vacuum cleaner up the ladder into the attic, I was doing that just this last weekend to clean out the remaining rat droppings from up there.
darkoshi: (Default)
A benefit of buying a label online for mailing a package is that you can select to get tracking info sent to your email address for free. The page indicated that the tracking info is only available when purchasing the label online.

One can pay with credit card or Paypal.

Use Internet Explorer; I had problems with Firefox - for some reason I had to enter stuff twice and then I was redirected to the Login page again. So I switched to using IE.

I have a USPS user account already. Sign in to begin with, or else you'll have to do it later anyway.

You can click "Calculate a Price" to determine how much the postage will cost. But if you do that, don't click the "Customs Forms and Extra Services" button, as the customs form will be printed automatically as part of the label anyway when you print your label.

To actually buy/print a label, click on "Print a Label with Postage" from the main USPS page.

.

Hopefully next time it won't take me 2 hours to print out a shipping label.

Anxiety over not being able to think of a succinct easy-to-remember tag to use for "mailing/postal/shipping/delivery" type posts. I wonder if "postal" can be used to describe companies like UPS and FedEx, or if it only applies to official government postal services? What does UPS stand for.. oh, Parcel Service.

Ah, I already had a tag that I could use: mail
darkoshi: (Default)
If you're looking to buy a calendar for next year, there are some truly excellent ones at deviantart.com.

Most of the calendars are priced between $20 and $30. If you click on the "Buy This Print" link for a specific calendar, it will let you see the price and the images for all the months.

This page explains that even calendars whose front cover art or name indicates a past year will have the contents printed for the current/coming year.
darkoshi: (Default)
In February of this year, I posted about a song I was trying to find for purchase. At the time, Amazon did not have it available as an MP3 on the U.S. site. I found it on the U.K. Amazon site, on one of a series of "Disco Discharge" CDs. Then I found the same CD on the U.S. site too. At the time, I considered buying the CD. I made a note of it on my "maybe sometime later" list.

Fast-forward to November. Now, the CD that I had found before is no longer even listed on the U.K. site. It is still listed on the U.S. site, but from only 3 sellers, each of whom is asking over $100 for it. I didn't like the CD enough to pay that much for it.

However, now the song is also available on the U.S. site in MP3 format, in several versions. There's even a remix!

advertising fails

Sunday, March 17th, 2013 12:06 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Most of the time when I click on an internet ad, the page that opens does NOT display the item that was advertised in the link. Often, I am forced to enable JavaScript for the domain, in order to see anything at all. But even when I do that and re-open the page, most of the time, it shows a "sorry, page not found" message, or simply a top-level page with no mention of the specific item I was looking for. Or it shows a page full of various items, which may or may not contain an item like the one I was looking for.

What's the point of these companies even paying for advertisements, when their links don't work?

Even Amazon! I searched on a computer model, and the ads at the top of the Google page have a link to: http://www.amazon.com/Computers (not even specific to the model I was looking for), and yet the page at that link displays: "Looking for something? We're sorry. The Web address you entered is not a functioning page on our site "

Update: Part of the problem must be related to my browser security settings. The Google search results show the same Amazon link in IE. But when I click the link in IE, it opens up a different URL including the specific search string. Google must be manipulating the URL behind the scenes. Oh well, too bad. I don't care to change my security settings just to make some ads work.
darkoshi: (Default)
I wanted post reviews of 2 items I had bought from Target.com.

After writing the first review, I was informed that it was over 1800 characters, but only 1000 were allowed. So I had to figure out what to cut out while keeping the important parts. Then, after submitting it, it didn't even show up with the other reviews! Hopefully that is only temporary.

Now, after writing the 2nd review, the page keeps giving me an error message "Please modify your submission before continuing." It doesn't even say what is wrong with the submission! If I change the review to just "TESTING TESTING this is a test", then I don't get the error. So apparently, it doesn't like what I wrote in the review. But it doesn't say why!

I spend my precious time trying to be helpful by posting authentic reviews, and this is what I get for it.

Now I'm not going to trust any reviews I read on their site. Surely any other real reviewers like me would be similarly off-put by all this BS.

... after more fiddling around with my review, I've determined the error is shown whenever I include the word "pipe" anywhere in the review. If I remove the "pipe" word, no error. WTF???
The product has metal pipes! What is so bad about me mentioning something about the pipe!!??

After some thinking, I thought the problem might be because I used the words "knob" and/or "rubber" (as in "wood knobs" and "rubber band"). But "pipe"!?

Oh, looky. "Pipe" is not accepted, but "pipes" is. Well, maybe "pipe" should be my new 4-letter word. That pipe-dammit pipety piping site wouldn't piping accept my piping wonderful review.
darkoshi: (Default)
I was looking to legally buy an mp3 version of a particular song (Margherita by Massara) which was popular when I was a kid.

(I had stumbled across Boney M's version of the song, which subsequently led me to discover the name/artist of the original song which I was familiar with.)

I didn't find the song on Amazon.com - it is only available there on vinyl (used). The song must not have been much of a hit in the U.S.

Since I lived in Germany when it was popular, I then checked the Amazon.de German MP3 site. But again, the only results are on vinyl (used).

Then, since it was an Italian band, I checked the Amazon.it Italian MP3 site. That site didn't have any results for it.

Now, I just thought to check the UK Amazon site... it doesn't have the song for sale individually, but it *does* have a EuroDisco MP3 album for sale with that song included! The other songs on the album sound good enough that I'd consider buying the whole thing.

I wonder why there isn't an Amazon page that lets you search all the country-specific Amazon sites at once...

While browsing other songs on the German site, I couldn't help but notice the Terms of Use link. The Terms state that based on agreements with the music content providers, the German site only sells music to people living in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. ("Wie von unseren Anbietern von Musikinhalten vorgeschrieben, sind Musikinhalte nur für Kunden in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz verfügbar.")

Furthermore, all the other Amazon MP3 sites, including the U.S. one, have the same restriction in their Terms of Use. It is the last sentence of section 2.2:
2.2 Restrictions. You must comply with all applicable copyright and other laws in your use of the Music Content. Except as set forth in Section 2.1 above, you may not redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, modify, adapt, edit, license or otherwise transfer or use the Music Content. We do not grant you any synchronization, public performance, promotional use, commercial sale, resale, reproduction or distribution rights for the Music Content. As required by our Music Content providers, Music Content is available only to customers located in the United States.

What a let-down.


Well, let's see. The MP3 album from the UK site is sold in CD-format on the U.S. site. The name of the Margherita song is spelled differently on that page, which may be why it didn't show up in my search results before.... Nope, doing a search on that alternate spelling brings up nothing at all, not even this album. Weird.

So, I could buy the CD, and then rip the songs to MP3. It would be a lot easier if I could simply buy & download the songs in MP3 format to begin with.

(no subject)

Friday, August 10th, 2012 12:56 am
darkoshi: (Default)
What does the Amazon sign-in page use the Adobe FlashPlayer plugin for?

silly security

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 03:31 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Apparently, BestBuy.com doesn't let you include special characters in your account password. I tried 4 different passwords, all of which followed the stated guidelines (6 to 30 characters, must include at least 1 number), and yet were rejected. Then I tried one without any special characters, and it was accepted.
darkoshi: (Default)
I watched the season premiere of "The Voice" with Qiao tonight. I was quite impressed by several of the singers. There's one song (a cover of Nirvana's "Come As You Are") that I would even pay to download... the show's website has it for sale on iTunes. Hmmm.

After a bit of research, it seems that all music currently being sold on iTunes is DRM-free, and that it is in the AAC format, which can be converted to MP3. So I should be able to download it and play it on my music player of choice. However, in order to buy a song from the site, you need to have iTunes installed, and I have no intention of installing iTunes on my computer. So I'll just post a YouTube video of the song here instead. It seems silly for a site to require you to have a program installed, in order to buy something from them. Back when the iTunes songs included DRM, it made sense that you needed a special player for them. But I don't understand why buying music from iTunes still requires having the iTunes program installed.


Rebecca Loebe - Come As You Are

Video title: Rebecca Loebe - Come as you are Nirvana cover
Posted by: slowpacedrecords
URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5srJL_HQ_I


Her website (with other songs available for purchase):
http://rebeccaloebe.com/
darkoshi: (Default)
I recently bought scent samples from The Mad Poet's Perfumery Menace. Because all of the descriptions sounded intriguing, I got one of each available scent. They are made with essential oils... I've got a nice collection of essential oils of my own, and sometimes use them to make a room smell nice. I enjoy sniffing new scents and combinations of scents; it's like opening a present to discover what's inside. So now I've got a bunch of little presents to open and sniff. So far, most of them have been quite a wonderful experience. I might even take to wearing them on my skin once in a while.

There's some underlying ingredient (I suspect artificial musk) in many commercial perfumes which is off-putting to me, but I don't have the same reaction to essential oils.

I got to wondering about the logic in having some scents marketed as "feminine" and some as "masculine". I'd expect heterosexual people to choose scents for themselves to wear, which are pleasant to both themselves and their existing and/or prospective partners.
Therefore a "feminine" scent should be pleasing to both women and men, and a "masculine" scent should also be pleasing to both women and men. So why are the scents marketed by gender? Why do women prefer a certain type of scent on themselves versus on their partners, and vice versa? If they like a certain scent on themselves, why wouldn't they like it on their partners too?

Or is there a non-cultural bias of men towards favoring certain scents, and women towards favoring other scents? As long as either group of scents isn't off-putting to the other gender, that could lead to a scent divide along gender lines. But that wouldn't explain why a woman would prefer one scent on her and a different scent on her masculine partner.

That seems to simply be cultural... certain types of scent have been deemed more acceptable for women, and other types have been deemed more acceptable for men.

Based on traditional divisions of work by gender... Food scents may be associated with women, because if a woman smells like nice food, that may indicate that she is a good cook. Woodsy scents may be associated with men, because if a man smells woodsy, that may mean he's been hard at work in the woods. Or if he smells spicy, that may mean he's been hard at work in the spice-mines. :-)
darkoshi: (Default)
Oh boy. The delivery of the tech item I had ordered for Forestfen somehow got badly botched. Instead of receiving a printer/scanner all-in-one, I received a big box full of paper shopping bags! The bags were presumably intended for a certain large chain store whose name is shown on the bags, yet how they got mixed up with a printer/scanner, I have no idea. The store I ordered from was apologetic about the situation and will be sending me a new package.

.

More info on debit cards vs credit cards, from earlier this year -
Debit vs. Credit Cards: How They Stack Up
I like it when articles show dates on them like that one does. Otherwise it is hard to tell how outdated the information may be.

.

If you are paid by someone with a paper check, and you are not certain of the check's veracity, it is apparently safer** to try to deposit it at an ATM (even though it may bounce), than to try to cash it in person at a bank. If it is fraudulent and you try to cash it, you may end up handcuffed and in jail. That incident happened 4 years ago, but I assume the same kind of thing could still happen now.
** All I've been able to figure from reading comments on that story is that depositing a bad check is less incriminating than trying to cash it. Otherwise, how could anyone feel safe accepting checks for payment from people not known to them?
Curiously, young people commenting on the story seem to be of the opinion that using checks at all is old-fashioned and idiotic.

hard to believe

Sunday, November 21st, 2010 03:26 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
This shop on Amazon.com is selling batteries for various cordless phones for only 1 cent each! How can they do that? Are they trying to get rid of stock? Do they make their money off of the standard Amazon shipping charge?
Elsewhere one of the same batteries I was looking for costs between $7 and $16 each.

ETA: After posting this, I recalled a bad transaction I had with the company in question (EMT company) a few years ago... I had ordered a cell phone battery from them, but what they sent to me turned out to be a used battery that wouldn't even hold a charge. So I won't be dealing with that company again.

(no subject)

Sunday, December 13th, 2009 02:10 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Huh. Amazon's mp3 prices are all about 99 cents, even for 74 minute tracks, like the ones from one-track nature sounds/relaxation CDs.
darkoshi: (Default)
Don't ever order anything from "Home Trends" or "QCI Direct". They will start sending you a paper catalog every month, and they won't stop sending them no matter how many times you email them requesting to be taken off their mailing list, nor no matter how many times you call them.

The only reply they give to the emails is "What you received is a promotional catalog. As long as no orders are placed out of the catalog, the catalog will stop on its own." It's been a whole fucking year, and they are still sending me their goddamn catalogs. I don't care how nifty some of the things they sell may seem, I will NEVER EVER order anything from them again and I hope no one else does, until they learn to respect their customers' wishes.