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Shortened forms of short words (6) Thu, Mar 13, 2008
My sister likes to use "ck" as a shortened form of the word "check", as in, "I'll ck on that as soon as I can."  It's annoying.  Please stop. 

For one, the word "check" is already short enough.  It's five letters long.  Did we really need to invent a word to shorten a five-letter word?  I don't think so. 

Second of all, you're the only person in the universe who uses this shortened form.  It's not common among the general population like "IRS" or "CNN".  It's not even common with the young kids with their "lol" and their "cya".  Nobody knows what "ck" means.  Every time we read it in one of your emails, we have to stop and analyze the context clues in the sentence to determine the word's meaning. 

Third, it's the only word you chose to shorten.  It's not like you made up this whole shortened language where every word longer than four letters has a shortened form.  Nope.  You write everything normal, and then spring a "ck" out of nowhere.  This is unacceptable.  Please stop. #language

Churn Thu, Mar 13, 2008
Interesting interview with Ron Burley, author of UNSCREWED: The Consumer's Guide To Getting What You Paid For
"The mentality of companies and customer service departments these days is definitely that customers are the opposition. And this is [in] large part due to the new business model that I uncovered at the Harvard Business School. It's called churn. It's represented by the fact that the three largest cellphone companies in America last year had 1/3 of their customers leave."

"This is the thing, don't call customer service. Well, call them first. If you don't get help in 5 minutes, hang up. I mean, in the middle of the music, hang up. You can increase the chances of getting customer service 400% just by changing the phone number you call. The next number you call is the sales department."
I didn't read the whole article because it was too long, but there was some pretty interesting stuff.  I've definitely come to the same conclusion about customer service phone numbers:  Don't call them.  It's never worth it.  Do everything possible to fix the problem yourself.  I consistently have good experiences with customer service by emailing someone instead of calling. #business

WinXP .mov thumbnails (61) Thu, Mar 13, 2008
My Panasonic digital camera records movies in .mov format.  I don't know why, and I can't change it.  The problem is that Windows XP doesn't show thumbnails for .mov files, which is an issue when I want to look through my pictures and videos with the whole "View → Thumbnails" option selected.  I searched the internet for a solution several months ago and didn't find anything.  I just searched again this morning and found a pretty simple solution, though I'm surprised at how relatively obscure it is and how hard it was to find.  Here's what you need to do: 
  1. Download QuickThumb.dll from here.
  2. Copy to C:WindowsSystem32.
  3. Go to Start → Run and type regsvr32 QuickThumb.dll.
  4. If there's an error, download msvcr70.dll from here and repeat steps 2 and 3.
  5. Go to a directory with .mov files, switch to thumbnail display, and possibly press F5 to refresh.
I can't believe I didn't discover this sooner.  That really annoys me.  And it annoys me that the internet wasn't much help for a while. 

(I'm hosting all necessary files here.) #technology