Rio, Real, Reel

Xyon and I were talking about mp3 players and I brought up that “Rio” used to make mp3 players and he said he didn’t think “Real” made mp3 players. It later occurred to us that we were talking about different Rios/Reals. When I spelled out Rio (R-I-O), Xyon goes, “Oh, RIO! Nope, never heard of them.”

So I tried enunciating rio and real, but it kept sounding the same to me and Xyon agreed I was repeating the same word over and over again. He tried enunciating the difference to me, but I keep hearing the same word.

Xyon then tries to describe to me the difference. Rio ends in a long o (oh) sound. Real ends with an ul sound, which I couldn’t really hear a difference.

When I got home, I talked it over with RayAlome and still got nowhere. I also realized there was a 3rd word I wouldn’t be able to distinguish without context: reel.

I looked up the pronunciation keys:

  • rio: ree-oh
  • real: reeuhl, reel
  • reel: reel

Apparently there’s 2 pronunciations for real, one which matches exactly to reel. The only conclusion I could come up with is the rio ends with a higher O sound and real ends in a lower O sound.

Weekly Top Posts (7/20/2008 to 7/26/2008)

Here’s this week’s top post:

  1. How to download HD Trailers from Apple.com
  2. Six Flags Discount (~50% Off)
  3. Last Week: #4 4 Free Xbox Live Arcade Games
  4. Last Week: #5 Windows Update Error: 80070490
  5. Last Week: #6 Free AutoCheck Report (Similar to Carfax)
  6. Last Week: #3 Print USPS First Class, Media Mail, Parcel Mail Postage for FREE!
  7. Last Week: #10 Reindexing Media Center Library
  8. Last Week: #7 Lenovo Thinkpad X61 Tablet – Review
  9. Six Flags Discount (One-Day Adult Admission at Child’s Price)
  10. Last Week: #8 Missing Codecs in Firefox to Play Video in Gallery2

Previously…

Nothing outstanding this week.

New Music I Enjoy

So it’s been awhile since I posted new music that I’ve started listening to. Recently, I’ve become much more interested in alternative music and have been listening to 107.7 The End a lot more. I never did really understand what the alternative genre encompasses. Is it just any song that doesn’t fit under any category? But typically punk rock and similar music gets place into this genre.

Ah… I just looked it up on Wikipedia (Alternative rock):

Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock or simply alternative; known primarily in the UK as indie) is a genre of rock music that emerged in the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s. The term “alternative” was coined in the 1980s to describe punk rock-inspired bands on independent record labels that did not fit into the mainstream genres of the time. As a musical genre, alternative rock consists of various subgenres that have emerged from the independent music scene since the 1980s, such as grunge, Britpop, gothic rock, and indie pop. These genres are unified by their collective debt to the style and/or ethos of punk, which laid the groundwork for alternative music in the 1970s.

Before when people asked me what music I enjoy, my usual reply would be any music besides rap and country. But now I think the top of my list would include soundtrack, trance, and alternative in no particular order.

Anyway, here’s my new list of songs I enjoy:

As mentioned earlier, most of these songs I got from 107.7 The End. In fact, I had browse through their playlist and looked up the songs on YouTube to figure out the ones that I liked.

There are a few ones that I discovered through different means.

Scars On Broadway – They Say was a free song of the week on iTunes a week or 2 back.

I actually first heard Smashing Pumpkins – The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning on the new Watchmen movie trailer and like Lsiymle, I’ve played the trailer over and over again listening to that song. The main chorus/melody part is just pure awesome.

I’ve actually heard of Red Hot Chili Peppers – Snow (Hey Oh) a long time back, but while browsing iTunes and I somehow landed on Red Hot Chili Peppers page and looking at their top downloaded songs, I discovered Snow. Given that I still have $10+ of iTunes credit, I decided to get it.

The Ting Tings – Shut Up and Let Me Go was actually introduced to me by RayAlome.

Finally, Linkin Park – Hands Held High was a Digg article. Linkin Park music is usually a hit or miss for me. Some are just very repetitive, while others I really dig the beat. This one was actually social commentary done in slow rap. Similar to Flobots – Handlebars, the message was heartfelt.

Weekly Top Posts (7/13/2008 to 7/19/2008)

Here’s this week’s top post:

  1. How to download HD Trailers from Apple.com
  2. Six Flags Discount (~50% Off)
  3. Last Week: #4 Print USPS First Class, Media Mail, Parcel Mail Postage for FREE!
  4. Last Week: #3 4 Free Xbox Live Arcade Games
  5. Windows Update Error: 80070490
  6. Free AutoCheck Report (Similar to Carfax)
  7. Last Week: #10 Lenovo Thinkpad X61 Tablet – Review
  8. Last Week: #7 Missing Codecs in Firefox to Play Video in Gallery2
  9. Six Flags Discount (One-Day Adult Admission at Child’s Price)
  10. Last Week: #8 Reindexing Media Center Library

Previously…

Nothing outstanding this week.

Snapmat!

So I finally got my new chairmat. For those who missed my rant on my previous chairmat, you can read it here: ES Robbins Chair Mats – Lifetime Warranty?

While digging through my Costco receipts, I finally found my chairmat receipt dated 7/25/2006. I loaded the chairmat into my car and headed off for my biweekly Costco trip.

When I was returning the chairmat, I mentioned how I was ready to purchase a new one a few weeks ago until I noticed how the chairmat was supposedly crack-proof and had lifetime warranty. But after going home and looking up the warranty information, I found out I had to pay $20 for shipping which was moot since I can pay $18+tax at Costco and get a brand new one right then and there. He agreed that it was ridiculous for them to charge $20. He was cool and accepted this 2-year old return.

I ended up picking up one of the nicer chairmats that they carry: Snapmat. It did cost an arm and a leg. Considering that the regular plastic chairmats cost $18, this one cost $70, but I’m expecting this to last a REALLY REALLY LONG TIME.

The previous one always had problems with creating potholes and the wheels would always slide into those making it hard to maneuver in my chair. Let’s just say I’ve been enjoying sliding my chair back and forth for the past few hours.

The funny thing was that this chairmat was unfoldable, making it not fit in my trunk, I had to do some weird configurations in my car to actually get it to go in, with a series of steps of folding down both chairs, sliding the chairmat in, and then flip it into the back seat and the pop the driver seat back up. Unloading it required the same steps in reverse.

Later on, I decided to send the following email to Costco:

Hi,

I would like to bring to your attention of an item that you sell: ES Robbins Chair Mat (122164)

As noted on the sticker, it comes with a Lifetime Warranty, but I think your customers may be fooled by this. The chairmat costs $18 at Costco. In order to get a replacement via ES Robbins, there’s a $20 shipping and handling charge, therefore rendering the warranty useless as I can go to Costco and pick up one quicker and cheaper than getting it through the warranty service.

I know Costco sells quality products and I’m just making sure you weren’t tricked into believing their quality with their lifetime warranty service.

My chairmat had started to crack about 6 months prior and I was able to return my chairmat to Costco even though it has been almost 2 years. I ended up upgrading to one of those wooden chairmats and have been pleasantly surprised on how great they are.

Fake DVDs

I ordered some Xbox 360 green replacement cases off eBay, because some of mine were damaged and I’d like to keep the same green look in my library collection. I received my package today and I was surprised to find out that in every single case, there was a DVD movie. The first thing that popped into my head was seller mistake? Then I thought maybe that’s why green dvd cases are more expensive than regular dvd case, they’re code for bootlegs!

Fake DVDs

At first I didn’t realize these were fake as they looked quite real. The DVD cover art was nice and the back of the DVD was silver. However upon further inspection, you can tell that the cover art is actually a DVD sticker label.

Fake DVDs

Not only were these not bootlegs, these were not even real DVDs. I tried placing a couple into my DVD-ROM drive and none of them were readable. Looking closer at the back of the DVD, they did look funky:

Fake DVDsFake DVDs

Anyway, I’m not sure why these were included with my shipment. Maybe they were there in case you weren’t sure how to use a DVD case. I just know I now have a stack of coasters.

Safeway Gasoline Visa $75 Limit

safeway gasoline visa limit So I was pumping gas at my local Safeway gas station and I noticed the sign to the left. I’ve seen limits before, but they generally have 1 single cap for any type of credit cards. I found it extremely peculiar that ONLY Visa had a lower cap of $75 when all others had a higher cap at $100.

I’m not sure if this is true at other gas stations, if it’s just a Safeway thing, or maybe these limits are set by the credit card companies themselves. Maybe it’s just this particular Safeway. Typically Visa and MasterCard are neck to neck on these policies.

Update: Thanks to Ungsunghero for pointing me to this article: $75 limit on credit card charges at gas pump causes frustration:

Station owners say they simply are passing through policies of Visa and MasterCard, which won’t reimburse them more than $75 per transaction at the pump if there’s a disputed charge or a fraudulent card is used.

However, this article does state that both Visa and MasterCard has a $75 per transaction limit. Ungsunghero’s guess is that since Visa is the most common credit card out there, making it the most common one to commit fraud with, Safeway may be trying to lower their risk, which I can agree with.

Update #2: The thing as Ungsunghero later pointed out (which I also already knew) is that profit margins are very slim for gasoline. Before they would make 10 cents in profit per gallon and if you used your credit card, half of that probably goes to paying the transaction fees. And the thing with credit card fees is that there’s a base fee per transaction + a percentage of the total transaction. So as gas prices go up, so do the fees. If I recall correctly, the fees have now gone over the 10 cent profit margin.

“It’s the merchants’ decision to limit purchases,” says Visa spokesman Paul Wilke. He adds: “Customers always have the option of paying with the card at the cash register” where its policy differs from the pump.

[…]

Station owners say they don’t like the limits. If customers reswipe their card to fill up, it forces retailers to pay the card issuers more transaction fees. If they drive off without a full tank, the station lost revenue.

The reason why everyone swipes at the pump is because it’s more convenient. Who really wants to go into the convenience store, wait in line, pay a set limit, and then walk all the way back?

What I find completely ridiculous is that credit card companies are only covering a set limit per transaction, but they’re allowing customers to reswipe their cards multiple times?!?! I have to side with the gas stations on this one. Why not only allow the customer to swipe once and give a higher protection limit. I know the answer, you don’t have to tell me. Credit card companies are greedy bastards.