The coming (maybe) economic collapse

Filed under: General — russell @ 6:14 pm

There is a lot of talk here in the U.S. about the pending collapse of the of our economy. While bad news breeds bad news, there is a bit bit of Internet lore regarding survival skills in such conditions. It was written by someone with a nick of Ferfel. He writes about what it was/is like in Argentina after their currency collapsed in (1999-) 2001. Now that the first world is facing similar issues, his writing is getting quite a bit of traction.

Here is a link to a PDF of his (now) famous articles:

and his Blog Site: http://ferfal.blogspot.com/



Filed under: General — russell @ 12:28 am

Yesterday you said tomorrow.

Just do it.
-- Nike



Filed under: General — russell @ 9:09 am

Students should not come to school to absorb information from the teacher,
They should come to confirm their own ideas

--Toshihide Maskowa


Google Searching

Filed under: General — russell @ 3:31 pm

intitle:index.of + "extension" + "filename" -htm -html -php -asp -aspx

Nuff' said


How to get the media’s attention

Filed under: General — russell @ 3:07 pm

Recently I have been interested in how to get the media's attention and low and behold... lifehack posts an article. I found it quite interesting -- see it here:


archived after the jump


The crash of the economy

Filed under: General — russell @ 12:49 pm

I read a good piece on the demise of Wall Street (while I personally think it will be back... just in another form). Provides some great insight into the way things coalesced around missing moral conscience and greed. Read it from the source:


Archived after the jump



Customer service :(

Filed under: General — russell @ 9:39 am

I recently have had the pleasure of dealing with Sprint's notorious customer service. I really think that customers should be credited at least the CSR's hourly rate when they waste their customers' time. My experience with Sprint CS has been less than fruitful. While I will say when I don't have any problems with Sprint... I don't have any problems with Sprint, whenever I have had a problem, it has been horrible. I have spent more than 28 hours with Sprint CSRs trying to resolve issues. I have had only 3 issues in roughly 45 days with Sprint -- so that's about 10 hours an issue average, although 2 issues took the bulk of the time. IMO those issues could have been solved certainly in half that time. Here is a transcript of a chat (unedited, except for the various reference numbers or codes) I had with Sprint that makes that point blatantly clear.

Some things worthy of mention (to spare you reading it all):
1. The whole thing took 1 hr 30 minutes (on this one chat session) and only after saying I wanted to terminate my account did I get any traction at all.
2. 3 CSRs, including the "lead" who was supposed to be a supervisor REFUSED to give me a mailing address
3. Lead was supposed to "push" me (her words not mine) to a page where I can send an e-mail
4. The second CSR said the rebate center (my issue was about a rebate) was close. Yet the lead CSR was able to get them on the phone in less than 10 minutes. I had called in 2 hours earlier was kept on hold for 35 minutes while another CSR had difficulty reaching them. Eventually she said she would call me back in 15 minutes -- 2 hours later she had not called back, hence the chat session.
5. The lead CSR was able to get the issue resolved in about 10 minutes. Resolved sort of -- I was promised the rebate within 15 days (as of this writing 6 days later, no word or rebate -- we'll see.)
6. I was credited $25 for my inconvenience, but never given an explanation. The explanation was worth far more than the $25. I might add that it took (at that point) 27.5 hours with sprint CSRs to get the $25 -- 90 cents per hour of my time.

8:40:34 PM System System
Connected to Sprint Web Chat Server
8:40:34 PM System System
Session ID: 3218427
8:40:39 PM System System
Please hold and the next available agent will be with you shortly.
8:41:49 PM System System
Crystal W has joined this session!
8:41:49 PM System System
Connected with Crystal W
8:41:54 PM Agent Crystal W
Thank you for contacting Sprint. My name is Crystal. How may I assist you today?
8:42:34 PM Customer SR
I have a problem with my account
8:42:42 PM Customer SR
can you help me
8:43:14 PM Agent Crystal W
I will be more than happy to assist you. How are you today?
8:43:19 PM Customer SR
8:43:22 PM Customer SR
8:43:31 PM Customer SR
let me begin from the beginning
8:43:49 PM Customer SR
if you have access to my account you will see this issue
8:44:05 PM Customer SR
I am a new subscriber to sprint from verizon since August 15th 2008
8:44:05 PM Agent Crystal W
For account verification, may I please have the 6-10 digit PIN on the account?
8:44:14 PM Customer SR
8:45:13 PM Customer SR
are you ready?
8:46:26 PM Agent Crystal W
Yes please tell me your issue.
8:46:35 PM Customer SR
I am a new subscriber to sprint from verizon since August 15th 2008
8:46:44 PM Customer SR
I came to sprint specifically to get the Treo 800w phone
8:47:06 PM Customer SR
as you are aware the treo became available from best buy 10
days after my purchase from a sprint store in XXXXXXX
8:47:26 PM Customer SR
This phone was available for $50 less with a $100 INSTANT rebate
8:47:41 PM Customer SR
I called in and asked for the $150 to be credited to my account
8:47:55 PM Customer SR
which you should see there as a $50 credit
8:48:23 PM Customer SR
The customer service representatives were willing to lose me as a customer rather than provide the additional $100 credit
8:48:55 PM Customer SR
instead the CSR insisted that I send in the rebate form provided by the sales person at the sprint store where i purchased it
8:49:11 PM Customer SR
which I did, in sufficient time to receive the rebate
8:49:24 PM Customer SR
I received a letter today from the Sprint Rebate center stating
8:49:49 PM Customer SR
The rebate request cannot be processed because the terms and conditions require:
8:50:00 PM Customer SR
"The phone model purchased is not included in the offer"
8:50:15 PM Customer SR
I would like my account credited the $100
8:50:47 PM Customer SR
further I would like an address to mail a written letter regarding the quality of customer service I have received from Sprint
8:50:55 PM Customer SR
ok. Your turn.
8:51:20 PM Agent Crystal W
Thank you for the information you provided for me. This will take one moment.
8:54:11 PM Agent Crystal W
I appreciate your patience. I am still researching the information you requested.
8:54:18 PM Customer SR
8:55:31 PM Agent Crystal W
I can certainly understand how you feel.
8:55:49 PM Customer SR
yes, but I would like the issue resolved
8:56:24 PM Customer SR
it has cost me not only frustration but a significant amount of my time for which, unlike sprint CSRs I am am not compensated
8:56:58 PM Customer SR
Frankly I regret my decision to leave Verizon
8:59:40 PM Customer SR
Exclusive of the annoyance the $100 rebate is hardly worth the amount of time I have put into resolving this issue
8:59:52 PM Agent Crystal W
Now that this information has posted to your account you have the option of speaking with the retention team to resolve the issue or you can call the rebate team though I apologize they are not open at this time.
9:00:07 PM Agent Crystal W
One moment for the rebate team number please.
9:00:17 PM Customer SR
I dont want to waste any more of my time
9:00:24 PM Agent Crystal W
I apologize for any inconvienience this may have caused you.
9:00:34 PM Customer SR
please send me to the retention department
9:01:24 PM Customer SR
I would like to close my account
9:01:31 PM Customer SR
I have had quite enough now
9:02:02 PM Agent Crystal W
I apologize for this and I am very sorry to hear that.
9:02:12 PM Agent Crystal W
One moment for the transfer.
9:02:42 PM System System
You are being transferred to another queue. Please stand by...
9:02:42 PM System System
Crystal W has left this session!
9:06:58 PM System System
Jonathon has joined this session!
9:06:58 PM System System
Connected with Jonathon
9:07:03 PM Agent Jonathon
Thank you for contacting Sprint. My name is Jon. How may I assist you today?
9:07:03 PM Agent Jonathon
Please allow me just a few moments to review your previous chat session.
9:07:11 PM Customer SR
yes pleas
9:09:33 PM Customer SR
Tell me when you are ready
9:11:43 PM Agent Jonathon
For account verification, may I please have the 6-10 digit pin number on the account or could you please answer your security question for me?
9:11:54 PM Customer SR
9:12:38 PM Agent Jonathon
9:14:59 PM Agent Jonathon
I can understand your concern with this issue, however, I am unable to provide a $100.00 credit. For this inquiry you will need to contact our rebate escalation team at 1-800-477-4127. this team handles all problems with receiving rebates.
9:15:12 PM Customer SR
This is larger than the rebate
9:15:37 PM Customer SR
I would like a reason to stay with Sprint at this point
9:15:53 PM Customer SR
I have spent an enourmouns amount of time not only on this issue but 3 other customer service issues
9:16:16 PM Customer SR
This rebvate issue is indicative of a much larger problem
9:16:38 PM Customer SR
I would suggest even further that the full result was to get me beyond my 30 day period
9:16:51 PM Customer SR
I called in and asked for the $150 to be credited to my account noting that I was within my 30 days and could just cancel the account and get the phone from Best Buy

My thinking was it would be better for everyone (convenient for me and reducing churn and paperwork for Sprint), This request was denied and the "compromise" you should see there as a $50 credit

The customer service representative was willing to lose me as a customer rather than provide the additional $100 credit

instead the CSR insisted that I send in the rebate form provided by the sales person at the sprint store where i purchased it
9:17:10 PM Customer SR
please explain to me why I should consider staying with spring
9:17:12 PM Customer SR
9:17:42 PM Customer SR
The service I recieved from Verizon was far superior, in terms of the customer service
9:18:03 PM Agent Jonathon
I apologize that you feel we were not helping you. You must follow the procedures to receive your rebate. This can not be credited as it is a rebate through the manufacturer.
9:18:15 PM Customer SR
I am quite confident that I would be welcomed back and certainly would make a great testimony for the poor customer service i have received from Sprint
9:18:24 PM Customer SR
I did follow the procedures
9:18:31 PM Customer SR
THAT is the problem
9:18:34 PM Customer SR
I did as instructed
9:18:46 PM Customer SR
regardless of the rebate situation
9:18:52 PM Customer SR
the rebate was with SPRINT
9:19:02 PM Customer SR
the letter I received was from SPRINT
9:19:12 PM Customer SR
the time I have spent getting it resolved was with SPRINT
9:19:24 PM Customer SR
and the poor service I have received was from SPRINT
9:19:48 PM Agent Jonathon
I understand and I apologize for the rebate was declined, this is why I have provided you with the number to our rebate escalations team. This is the only way to receive the $100.00 you are requesting.
9:19:48 PM Customer SR
The people I send a check to every month is also SPRINT
9:20:04 PM Customer SR
I understand that you have some latitude to do thing to keep customers
9:20:22 PM Customer SR
however despite my claims regarding my problems with sprint
9:20:36 PM Customer SR
you and previous CSRs do little to offer me anything for my trouble
9:20:40 PM Customer SR
not even what is deserved
9:20:47 PM Customer SR
and entitled
9:20:56 PM Customer SR
please do not try to placate me
9:20:59 PM Customer SR
do something about it
9:21:06 PM Customer SR
let me guess
9:21:14 PM Customer SR
"there is nothing that i can do"
9:21:28 PM Customer SR
forgive me if I do not believe it
9:21:50 PM Agent Jonathon
I apologize that you feel this way, however, you must contact the rebate escalations team to receive your money for the rebate. This can not be given in the form of a credit on the account.
9:21:52 PM Customer SR
from my interaction with Sprint CSR I distinctly get the impression that my business is not welcome
9:22:29 PM Customer SR
so you are telling me I must spend more of my time (for which there is no compensation to me) to resolve a problem with SPRINTs processes
9:22:38 PM Customer SR
THAT is what you are saying
9:22:38 PM Agent Jonathon
We are very happy to have you as a customer, however, certain procedures must be followed in order to bring your issue to a resolution.
9:22:56 PM Customer SR
I am not trying to deviate from YOUR (not mine) procedures
9:23:28 PM Customer SR
I followed YOUR procedures before and it seems it does not help
9:23:40 PM Customer SR
why should I be assured this time would be anydifferent
9:24:35 PM Agent Jonathon
I am willing to offer you a $25.00 service credit. This is the most I can offer you for your inconveniences. You will need to contact the rebate escalation department to receive the rebate however.
9:24:49 PM Customer SR
9:24:56 PM Customer SR
Please let me as another question
9:25:15 PM Agent Jonathon
I have applied the credit. Please allow 48 hours for this to be reflected on the account.
9:25:21 PM Customer SR
since we seem to be "bartering" whay was this not offered at the start?
9:25:56 PM Customer SR
and more over you had just sent me off to deal with soem rebate center
9:26:13 PM Customer SR
I might even add for the record here... to indicate the quality of the customer support
9:26:24 PM Customer SR
that I called in earlier at around 7pm
9:26:38 PM Customer SR
was kept on hold for over 35 minutes
9:26:48 PM Customer SR
while a CSR tried to contact the rebate center
9:27:08 PM Agent Jonathon
You will still need to contact the rebate escalation team in order to receive your $100.00 mail in rebate. I apologize for your negative experience when calling in.
9:27:11 PM Customer SR
this CSR also promised to call me back in 15 minutes "because she could not reach them"
9:27:23 PM Customer SR
not because it was closed as you say
9:27:43 PM Customer SR
I might add that I still have not yet received that call-back
9:27:56 PM Agent Jonathon
I apologize for that.
9:28:00 PM Customer SR
care to explain about that?
9:28:17 PM Customer SR
I want you to have a full understanding of why I have no faith in SPRINT CSR
9:28:26 PM Customer SR
and this hassle is hardly worth $25
9:28:52 PM Customer SR
so if I decide to close my account today there will be no contract termination fees correct?
9:29:41 PM Agent Jonathon
You are past your 30 day period with both lines. There will be a $200.00 early termination fee for each line.
9:29:46 PM Customer SR
9:29:57 PM Customer SR
I am past my 30 days becuase of the poor customer service
9:30:23 PM Customer SR
so waht can you do about those termination fees... let cut to the chase without the bartering
9:30:41 PM Agent Jonathon
The termination fees will not be waived.
9:30:53 PM Customer SR
I am happy to regale you with tales of my poor customer service till we can reach that point in the barter
9:31:11 PM Customer SR
There are many in my < 60 days with sprint
9:31:46 PM Customer SR
The termination fee will not be waived
9:31:55 PM Customer SR
I am confident that you have some latitude with that as well
9:32:06 PM Customer SR
if not... I would be happy to chat with your supervisor
9:33:02 PM Agent Jonathon
These early termination fees will not be waived. The only reason we every waive an early termination fee is if you have moved out of the country, are deceased, or are on military deployment.
9:33:18 PM Customer SR
9:33:31 PM Agent Jonathon
That is correct.
9:33:44 PM Customer SR
may I speak with your supervisor
9:34:22 PM Agent Jonathon
Sure, no problem. Please allow me just a few moments to inform my supervisor of the situation. Thank you for your continued patience.
9:34:41 PM Customer SR
thank you
9:38:58 PM Agent Jonathon
It may be a bit. My supervisor is currently assisting another customer. Thank you for your patience.
9:39:23 PM Customer SR
I have spent over 27 hours with SPRINT CSR (yes I have kept track)
9:39:34 PM Customer SR
I can wait here...
9:39:59 PM Customer SR
please provide a mailing address where I can send a letter and this transcript
9:40:17 PM Customer SR
while I wait, I can begin a draft
9:41:16 PM Customer SR
perhaps my experience will help SPRINT understand it high churn numbers
9:51:00 PM System System
Brandee has joined this session!
9:51:50 PM Agent Brandee
Hello SR, my name is Brandee and I am an Account Services team lead. I have reviewed your past chats. How may I assist you?
9:52:35 PM Customer SR
well.. to begin with I have not been provided a mailing address to send a written letter detailing my experiences with SPRINT CSR
9:52:52 PM Customer SR
lets start with that
9:53:14 PM Customer SR
and if you reviewed the chat I am sure you have some indication of how you might assist me at this point
9:53:36 PM Agent Brandee
I apologize, we do not have that available to us to give out, I am push you the page to the contact us page where you may e-mail if you wish.
9:53:49 PM Customer SR
I do not wish to e-mail
9:53:52 PM Customer SR
I wish to send a letter
9:54:08 PM Customer SR
I might point out that my request has been ignored by the CSRs in this chat
9:54:20 PM Customer SR
and this is yet one other indication of the level of support
9:54:36 PM Agent Brandee
We do not have that information, I apologize I am only able to offer you what I have to offer.
9:54:39 PM Customer SR
I am sure that you have a proper mailing address where I can send a letter
9:56:02 PM Agent Brandee
As to the rebate issue I apologize that you were not given this. I can offer to give you the rebates team number I can also offer to make the call to this team also for you, to find out what the issue was.
9:56:17 PM Customer SR
that would be fine
9:56:37 PM Customer SR
although a CSR has already offered to do that and said she would call me back in 15 minutes
9:56:42 PM Customer SR
but I have not heard from her
9:57:01 PM Agent Brandee
I will chat with you while the call is made so you are aware of what is going on if that works for you.
9:57:20 PM Customer SR
So for the record once again... you cannot give me a mailing address to send a letter?
9:57:58 PM Agent Brandee
This is correct, I do not have one to offer you. I apologize I can offer again the e-mail information from the contract us page.
9:58:23 PM Customer SR
can you confirm this one for me while we wait on ther rebate center
9:58:36 PM Customer SR
6391 Sprint Parkway Overland Park KS 66251-4300
9:59:19 PM Agent Brandee
I apologize I do not have an address to Match it from I apologize.
9:59:55 PM Customer SR
I see
10:00:09 PM Customer SR
let me ask... don't you see that as a problem?
10:00:14 PM Customer SR
I mean while we wait
10:01:05 PM Agent Brandee
I don't have an option on this
10:01:11 PM Customer SR
I understand
10:01:15 PM Customer SR
I was asking your opinion
10:02:53 PM Customer SR
Are you still there?
10:03:01 PM Agent Brandee
I am hearing that you should receive your rebate as of 9/17/08 but I am going to speak with a rep to verify this.
10:03:22 PM Customer SR
that would be fine
10:03:55 PM Agent Brandee
Please allow me a moment to get this taken care of for you.
10:04:07 PM Customer SR
so tell me why did I have to spend 1;20 minutes and 2 CSRs + 1 supervisor to get this resolved?
10:04:28 PM Customer SR
Again I think this is indicative of the problems I have experience in the past
10:04:40 PM Customer SR
and that was 1 hour and 20 minutes?
10:05:19 PM Customer SR
I find it quite amazing that it takes you 10 minutes and I had to spend almost an hours and a half
10:05:26 PM Agent Brandee
I apologize for that, just a moment please
10:05:45 PM Customer SR
I really dont want any more apologies at this point I owuld like an explanation
10:06:05 PM Customer SR
I beleive 120 minutes of my time warrants one
10:06:19 PM Customer SR
you are being compensated for spending your time here
10:06:32 PM Customer SR
I am paying SPRINT for this same pleasure
10:06:37 PM Agent Brandee
Thank you for waiting I apologize for my slow typing as I was trying to get information on your rebate.
10:06:55 PM Customer SR
your typing speed pales in the face of my time that was wasted
10:07:47 PM Customer SR
10 minutes is far less than 120 on this one time (I have spent 28.5 hours working with sprint CSR on 2 issues -- thats right 2)
10:08:06 PM Customer SR
and that is just so far
10:08:17 PM Customer SR
I am not certain the issue will actually be resolved
10:09:29 PM Agent Brandee
Here is what I have found out for you based on this issue. It is going to be 15 business days from today for your rebate to be to you. The reason that it was rejected to begin with was you included your other phone on the account and this one didn't have any rebates. I have spoken with rebates and they have fixed this issue and I have a tacking number for you to use to track this it is XXXXXX.
10:09:54 PM Agent Brandee
I apologize again for the wait and the time you have spent trying to get this resolved.


A little commentary on Hillary’s suspension of her campaign

Filed under: General — russell @ 5:23 pm

I found a very good article over at NJ Voices in the opinion section. The author paints an interesting picture of Hillary Clinton's campaign and John McCain's future issues. Its a good read. Here's a quote (originally written by Paul Mulshine and the link to the original article is below the quote):

I confess I had no idea until the next day when I had a chat with G. Clotaire Rapaille, a French-born medical anthropologist who has done well in the United States thanks to a system of marketing research he calls "archetype discovery." I had called him to chat about automotive design, but when I mentioned that I had seen Hillary in New York, the talk turned to politics.

Like his French forebear, Alexis de Tocqueville, Rapaille has an intriguing analysis of democracy in America. It is his perception that we Americans, despite our claims to seriousness, are really a nation of adolescents. What we demand in our politicians is not competency but entertainment value, a fact that explains the success of Hillary's husband, Rapaille said.

"Bill Clinton is a comedian," he said. "He is the entertainer-in-chief, with a girl in the Oval Office and a cigar."

The Republicans made a big mistake in impeaching Clinton, said Rapaille. They thought we Americans wanted a serious president when we really want an amusing president. And the impeachment process just made Bill Clinton more amusing.

As for his successor, George W. Bush was loved by the American people when he was seen as an amiable bumbler, said Rapaille. But "the big mistake from Bush was that after 9/11 he thought he had a mission."

Now "Bush is rigid and boring and is surrounded by people who are boring and rigid," said Rapaille. And that explains his unpopularity.

This analysis may be a bit hurtful to my national pride. But it explains both why Obama beat Hillary and why she is so bitter about it. It is not merely that Obama is more entertaining than Hillary. It's that he is the second coming of the man to whom she's been playing second fiddle for all these years. There's the irresponsible father, the rise of a poor boy through the Ivy League, the incredible glibness. Most of all, there's the absence of any ideology other than a love for power and an understanding of how to acquire it.



One should always question

Filed under: General — russell @ 12:24 am

Think the U.S. media outlets are fair and balanced... consider:


Once I get this dissertation done…

Filed under: General — russell @ 10:50 pm

Man, I have a list of things to investigate once I get this dissertation done.... anyway I post them here so I can find/remember them again


and a couple of keywords: crowdsourcing, crowds

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