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July 28, 2005

Parking in NYC

Since Bloomberg came along, the enforcement of parking rules has become very ... intense. While people who break the rules should be ticketed, a little flexibility wouldn't be unreasonable. (The ticket for alternate side that begins at 8:30 shouldn't be half written at 8:29).

Additionally Bloomberg imposed parking meter regulations on Sunday throughout the City. However, thanks to the NYC Council, that's a thing of the past. Summary: (Having to feed the parking meter on Sundays is now a thing of the past. The New York City Council voted 41 to 3 yesterday to eliminate Sunday parking meter rules. However Mayor Michael Bloomberg ... is promising to veto the bill. [Yet t]he city council has enough votes to override the veto.) The NY Times also has an article on it.

Some rules to know:

4-08 (a)(1)(i) Sign placement. For purposes of this section 4-08, one authorized
regulatory sign anywhere on a block
, which is the area of sidewalk
between one intersection and the next, shall be sufficient notice of the
restriction(s) in effect on that block
.

4-08 (a)(7) Holiday suspensions of parking rules.
(i) Major legal holidays. Except as provided in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, stopping, standing, or parking rules that are indicated on official signs shall be suspended on the days on which the following major legal holidays are officially observed by the City of New York: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. In addition, if New Year's Day, Independence Day or Christmas Day is officially observed on a day other than January 1, July 4 or December 25, respectively, then major legal holiday rules shall be in effect both on the official day of observance and on the traditional day of observance.
(ii) Exception. Parking, standing and stopping rules that are indicated on official signs shall remain in effect on the dates of both official and traditional observance of the above - listed major legal holidays only in areas where signs indicate that parking, standing and stopping rules are in effect seven days a week, provided, however, that the activation of meters that are required by posted sign to be activated seven days a week shall be suspended on major legal holidays pursuant to subparagraph (i).

4-08 (n)(7) Unofficial reserving of parking space. It shall be unlawful for any person to reserve or attempt to reserve a parking space, or prevent any vehicle from parking on a public street through his/her presence in the roadway, the use of hand-signals, or by placing any box, can, crate, hand-cart, dolly or any other device, including unauthorized pavement, curb or street markings or signs in the roadway.

July 26, 2005

UPDATE: Building a Gated Community

We've been using the Hands Free Gate by The First Years for about 6 months now, and they've been great for us. I've found that they need to be tightened every once-in-a-while, but otherwise work great. The one gate installed at the in-laws tends to get looser more often due to the angled molding. Unfortunately this led to a loose, then lost, rubber pad. My friend who also has these gates suffered a similar problem.

I called The First Years (800-533-6708) to request replacements, assuming they'd probably be free. After a few minutes of hold time the CSR informed me that they were no longer made that way - the rubber pads were now attached to the mounts. From her explanation it wasn't clear whether this meant no replacements were available or whether they'd need to send the entire mount. It turned out to be the latter, but she needed to know whether these were top or bottom mounts. I knew my in-laws needed a bottom mount, but I wasn't sure what my neighbor needed, so I asked for both (for a total of 3). She complied, and I should receive them shortly.

In hindsight I realized it didn't matter which she sent - I could always move an existing rubber pad from top to bottom of vice versa.

July 25, 2005

Chase Kills LPG

It's been a known fact the Chase has been planning the demise of LPG for some time. Word has been floating around my FW thread for several months. Originally it appeared that 9/1 would be the end date, either for purchases or claims, it wasn't clear. Later 8/1 became the date. It seems that would/should be the last purchase date, but regardless, it's 1 week away, and yet no official notice has gone out to card members.

I called on Friday to file what could be my last LPG claim, which went relatively smoothly. I asked the claims administrator CSR whether the program was ending, and she indicated that it would end on 8/1, but claims would be accepted after that.

So I wasn't too happy when I had a message on my voice-mail this morning informing me that my card was no longer eligible for LPG. The message had no information, and from past experience they're pretty helpless, so I called Chase.

The CSR with whom I spoke was useless. She did tell me that Chase CHANGED MY CARD (without telling me) because they ended the CashBuilder card. I was really annoyed, pressed her for more information, which she didn't have. She recommended I call back Wednesday when their system update would be done. I recommended she find a supervisor for me to speak to. The supervisor didn't know that the CashBuilder card had been discontinued until my call, so she was going to start an investigation. They're supposed to get back to me.

I had been thinking of switching this card to the new Chase Cash Plus Rewards when LPG ends, but now I'm thinking of severing all ties with Chase.

UPDATE: 1 in 100 Chance for a 26" LCD TV

No, I'm not posting that I've won (yet), but rather, that the game is now over. Visit the website and you'll see this message:

This Promotion Has Ended

Thank you for visiting Dell.

The 1 in 100 Sweepstakes ended at 11:59:59 ET on July 28, 2005.

Please click the Continue button to go to Dell's home page.

It's good to know that it's already July 29th. Presumably they just hit 70,000 respondents early. Now it's just a waiting game. Of course the fact that the Official Rules link is now dead is of slight concern.

Now I just have to wait until "On or about August 25, 2005" to find out if I won.

The rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. VOID IN FLORIDA AND PUERTO RICO AND WHERE PROHIBITED.

1. To Enter: Make any purchase of any Dell Dimension or Inspiron notebook computer at www.Dell.com between 6:01 CDT am on July 22, 2005 and 11:59:59 pm CDT on July 28, 2005 and be automatically entered to win a Dell W2600 26" LCD TV. To enter without making a purchase, click on the "enter here" button on the Sweepstakes page and enter the requested information. Entries must be complete to be eligible. One entry per person, one entry per household, and one entry per email address, regardless of method of entry. Entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned. Sweepstakes ends July 28, 2005, or when approximately 70,000 eligible entries have been received, whichever occurs first.

2. Eligibility: The sweepstakes is open only to legal residents of the U.S. (except Florida) who are 16 years of age or older at the time of entry. Employees of Dell Inc. and its affiliates and agencies and members of their immediate families are not eligible. Entrants agree to the release of their name, address, phone number, and e-mail information to Dell's designees for winner notification and fulfillment purposes only; otherwise, please refer to the privacy policy governing this sweepstakes and for more information on how Dell uses any personal data collected from you. Void in Florida, Puerto Rico, and where prohibited by law or regulation. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.

3. Drawing: On or about August 25, 2005, one out of every 100 entries will be selected as a potential winner in a random drawing conducted from among all eligible entries received, by Dell or an independent judging organization whose decisions in all matters relating to this promotion are final. (Until maximum prizes are awarded, prizes will only be awarded among full increments of 100 entries.) Potential prizewinner will be notified by e-mail to the address provided during entry with follow-up documentation, including an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release, sent by registered mail. Potential winner e-mail response to e-mail notification must be received within 8 days of receipt, or prize will be forfeited. The follow-up documentation must be completed, notarized, returned, and received by Dell or its agency within 7 days of the date mailed to the potential winner. If the completed documentation is not received within those 7 days, prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected in a random drawing conducted from among all remaining eligible entries. If prize notification is not responded to or any prize is returned as undeliverable, prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner selected. (If prize is returned or documentation not completed from winner and two alternates, that prize will not be awarded.)If the winner is a minor in his/her state of residence, prize will be awarded to the winner's parent/legal guardian, who will be required to sign all necessary documents.

Entering an incorrect or incomplete e-mail address in the registration process, or failing to meet the eligibility requirements above, will result in sweepstakes disqualification. Except where prohibited by law, by accepting prize, winner grants Sponsor the right to use his/her name, likeness and biological information in any and all media for advertising/promotional purposes without additional compensation.

4. Prizes and Odds: A maximum of 700 prizes will be awarded, provided sufficient entries are received. Prize is a. Dell W2600 26" LCD TV Approximate retail value, $1499. Maximum total approximate value of all prizes available is $1,050,000. Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash. Taxes on prize are the sole responsibility of winner. Prizes will be shipped within approximately 6 weeks after receipt of all prize verification documentation. Odds of winning are 1 in 100.

5. Limitation of Liability: Sponsor and judging organization and any agency contracted by Sponsor in connection with this Sweepstakes are not responsible for lost, late, postage due, illegible or incomplete entries/email, whether due to computer, Internet, or electronic malfunction, mailing or any other human or other error. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify sweepstakes and award the prize through an alternate means if fraud or technical failure compromises the integrity of the sweepstakes, as determined by sponsor in its sole discretion. Entrants agree that Sponsor and its affiliates and agencies, and their respective employees or officers shall not be liable for injury, losses, damages, or costs of any kind resulting from participation in this Sweepstakes, or with respect to receipt, use and/or misuse of prize. By entering, participants agree to be bound by these Official Rules. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person submitting an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the person in whose name the e-mail account is registered. In the event any prize becomes unavailable, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

6. Winners List For Prizes/Official Rules: Winners list for prizes or a copy of the official rules may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to “Dell 1 in 100 Sweepstakes Winners List/Rules Request”, c/o ePrize, LLC, P.O. Box 8070, Royal Oak, MI 48068-8070. Requests for winner’s list must be received before November 30, 2005. Vt. residents need not include return postage for a copy of the official rules.

7. Sponsor: Dell Inc., One Dell Way, Round Rock, TX 78682

July 22, 2005

OT: Hollow Face Illusions

If you've never heard of these, like I hadn't as of about a week ago, prepare to be amazed. This type of illusion is quite possibly my newfound favorite. Courtesy of Reader Lippy, I encountered the Dragon Optical Illusion. They have both JPG and PDF versions that you can download and build yourself. To get an idea of what you'll see, watch the video.

1 in 100 Chance for a 26" LCD TV

Dell is giving away 26" LCD TVs. Up to 700 of them. Odds of winning are a decent 1 in 100. In my opinion, it's definitely worth entering.

Rant: Produce Stickers

Produce stickers are the devil. I hate them - especially the ones designed not to be removed. The worse I've seen have slices in them, designed to tear when you pull them off. Made of the worst kind of paper that has no structural integrity, with an adhesive strong enough to hold a man to the ceiling, they break apart leaving irremovable sticky residue on the fruit as soon as you try to pull them off. I have encountered some well made ones - plastic instead of paper, with an adhesive-free tab to remove the label. But regardless, it's bad enough I have to wash pesticides and unknown bodily fluids off my fruit - why do I need to peel a label as well?

Technology to the rescue. On Tuesday, the NY Times reported that Tattooed Fruit Is on Way (alt link). The article appears below.

Tattooed Fruit Is on Way

By JULIA MOSKIN
Published: July 19, 2005

A pear is just a pear, except when it is also a laser-coded information delivery system with advanced security clearance.

And that is what pears - not to mention organic apples, waxy cucumbers and delicate peaches - are becoming in some supermarkets around the country. A new technology being used by produce distributors employs lasers to tattoo fruits and vegetables with their names, identifying numbers, countries of origin and other information that helps speed distribution. The marks are burned onto the outer layer of the skin and are visible to discerning consumers and befuddled cashiers alike.

The process, government approved and called safe by the industry, may sound sinister. But it was designed with the consumer in mind: laser coding could mean the end of those tiny stubborn stickers that have to be picked, scraped or yanked off produce.

Sticker-removal duty took Jean Lemeaux of Clarksville, Tex., half an hour one day last week.

"I was picking all the little stickers from the Piggly Wiggly off my plums and my avocado pears and my peaches," said Ms. Lemeaux, 76. "Then I had to make fruit salad out of the ones that got hurt when I took the stickers off, and then I had to wash the glue off the other ones before I put them in the fruit bowl."

"One time," she said, "I got up the next morning and looked in the mirror and there were two of them up in my hair."

The stickerless technology has a broader purpose, too: it is part of the produce industry's latest effort to identify and track, whether for profit or for security, everything Americans eat. Since 9/11, the industry has been encouraged to develop "track and trace" technology to allow protection of the food supply at various stages of distribution. In addition, next year federal regulations will require all imported produce to be labeled with the country of origin.

The tattooed fruit is being sold in stores nationwide as other tracing methods are also being tested, like miniaturized bar coding and cameras with advanced recognition technology that can identify fruits and vegetables at the checkout counter. In Japan, apples have been sold with scannable bar coding etched into the wax on their skin. No one knows exactly when every piece of fruit will be traceable, but the trend is clear: Wal-Mart is already requiring all pallets delivered to its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to be fitted with radio frequency identification tags, so that they can be tracked by a satellite.

But the carrier of information about fruits and vegetables in America remains the tiny sticker called the P.L.U., for "price look-up." It is unpopular not just with consumers but with the industry itself.

"If they are sticky enough to stay on the fruit through the whole distribution and sales network, they are so sticky that the customer can't get them off," said Michael Hively, general manager of Bland Farms in Reidsville, Ga., the country's largest grower and packer of sweet Vidalia onions.

But apart from the occasional crate of locally grown produce, "most supermarkets no longer accept fruit and vegetables that are not stickered," said Francis Garcia, a vice president of Sinclair Systems in Fresno, Calif., a major manufacturer of the stickers and of the automated systems that blow them onto fruit at centralized packing houses.

To producers, the stickers are messy, expensive and inefficient. "The industry knows that the days of the P.L.U. sticker are numbered and that there will have to be new systems," said Don Harris, vice president for produce at Wild Oats, a national chain of markets, and chairman of the Produce Electronic Identification Board, an industry group. "Customers do not like them, and they don't hold enough information anyway."

In 2002 Durand-Wayland, a fruit grower and distributor in Georgia, bought the patent for a process that etches the price look-up number and any other information the retailer or customer might desire directly into the skin of the fruit. Greg Drouillard, who originally patented laser coding for produce and who now works for Durand-Wayland, said the process permanently tattoos each piece of fruit, removing only the outer pigment to reveal a contrasting layer underneath and make the tattoo readable, even scannable.

"With the right scanning technology the produce could even be bar-coded with lots of information: where it comes from, who grew it, who picked it, even how many calories it has per serving," said Fred Durand III, president of Durand-Wayland. "You could have a green pepper that was completely covered with coding. Or you could sell advertising space."

Bland Farms, the Vidalia grower, started using the technology this year, shipping laser-coded onions to customers including Wal-Mart and Publix. Sunkist has used it on oranges sold at Stater Brothers markets in California and is testing it on lemons, using blueberry-based ink to create greater contrast.

Henry Affeldt Jr., director of research for Sunkist, said the technology worked the same way lasers work in surgery, cutting and cauterizing almost simultaneously. The skin of fruit that has been etched with a laser is still airtight, Dr. Affeldt said, and the mark is as permanent as a tattoo.

Whether on a sticker or in a tattoo, the numbers serve a purpose. The Produce Marketing Association and the International Federation for Produce Coding have established global standards for the price look-up numbers associated with all produce. Four-digit numbers denote conventionally grown produce; five digits beginning with a 9, organic; five digits beginning with 8, genetically modified. A conventionally grown ear of corn, for example, may be marked 4078; an organic one, 94078; and a genetically modified one, 84078. The numbers can also vary with the size of the fruit: 3069 indicates a small Gravenstein apple, and 3070 a large one.

"When there was only one kind of apple at the supermarket it was easy," said Mr. Harris of Wild Oats. "But now at some markets you will have 12 different kinds of apples. You might even have lots of the same kind of apple: conventional Fuji, organic Fuji, fair trade. You can't expect cashiers to know them all, much less to recognize a cherimoya when they see one."

Ashley Little, who is working this summer as a checkout clerk in Great Barrington, Mass., agrees.

"When I started, I didn't know the difference between a Bartlett and a Bosc pear," she said. "How would I know that? But the customers would get very impatient."

But can laser coding and beautiful fruit bowls coexist?

"Anything that permanently changes the fruit is going to be a hard sell," Mr. Harris said, "especially to buyers of organic produce."

Students of still-life painting might agree. "For literally hundreds of years, artists have immersed themselves in the color and curvature of the perfect peach or apple," said Joseph Rishel, a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art who specializes in Cézanne. "So a tattoo sounds like a desecration."

"But then again," Mr. Rishel said, "there are those who say that Cézanne himself used artificial fruit."

Whatever its advantages, the laser system is far from perfect. The blueberry-based dye Sunkist uses on lemons, for example, tends to run when exposed to moisture.

"Mother Nature isn't interested in making it easy for us to label her, I guess," Mr. Durand said. "If she was, all fruit would be red Delicious apples."

July 19, 2005

UPDATE 7: 1 GB SanDisk Cruzer Mini USB Drive @ Circuit City

Last night I realized that today would mark 30 days since the original order was placed. Not wanting to miss out on a PM opportunity, I made sure to stop by CC on the way home tonight. I PMed B&H Photo's price of $74.99 as planned, getting back 110% of the difference ($17.64) + tax = $19.12. That means the final price works out to:

$104.99 (regular price) - $14 (sale) - $78 (4 rebates) = $12.99 + $7.62 (tax on $90.99) - $1.81 (FatCash) - $19.12 (PM) = -$0.32!

UPDATE: Wireless Money

In the 3 weeks since I placed my 4 orders for 10 Linksys WPC11 Wireless-B Notebook Adapters, I heard almost nothing from Amazon. Many FWers reported cancellations for various reasons, but my orders were left alone. About a week ago one of my orders of 2 cards shipped (I had actually chosen the non-free shipment method). The other 3 orders were scheduled to ship by yesterday, but didn't. Today the cancellation emails came. I called to complain, and did coerce a $10 GC out of them. It's not the $50 I would have made had they shipped the cards, but it's something.

July 18, 2005

Toner Refills

My neighbor was running low on toner in his Samsung ML-1740. He went to Ebay to look for refill toner, and found a seller that offered a discount when you buy 2, and he asked if I was interested. I was game, since I also own a 1740, and for ~$8 each should get several thousand more pages out of our printers, thanks to TonerKits.

UPDATE: Free Website!

In the category of if it sounds too good to be true ...

Bad News (first posted by Lippy):

From: FileFarmer.com Date: [varied]: To: David Subject: Your account will be deleted in 10 days

Warning..

You account will be deleted soon...

Good News:

From: FileFarmer.com Date: July 17, 2005 To: David Subject: Your account will be deleted in 10 days

Hello, and thanks for signing up for a recent FileFarmer.com account.
Many of our good users have had some trouble accessing their accounts, and we attempted to send out a mass email recently with the activation code for all those that missed it. Apparently this went wrong, and many of you received an email saying something like "Your account will be terminated in ten days"

Please do not worry. Your account will not be terminated. We apologize for the incorrect email.

If you have any questions please join us on our forums at http://filefarmer.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=610#610

We understand that there are many worries and ill rumors spreading. We apologize and ask that everyone just act with patience and give our service a fair test. Thanks again, and I apologize for all the emails.

The FileFarmer.com Team

July 15, 2005

Free Website!

FileFarmer.com is offering:
- 3,000 Megabytes Web Space
- FTP Import access
- Web Upload option
- 100 GB monthly transfer
- PHP and MySql (upgrade fee)
- SSI and More

Best of all: Free to first 1,000 signups!

July 14, 2005

Chase Competes with Citi

Chase has come out with a new credit card offer, the Chase Cash Plus Rewards card. The rewards structure for this card is almost identical to that of the Citi Platinum Dividend card. 5% on and 1% on everything else, $300 max per year. Apply by phone and get points worth $50 when you make your first purchase. FW discussion here and here.

July 13, 2005

News is News

FW has created a new sections called ... News. Supposedly the tab only is available to select individuals (like me), but give the link a try, if you like. It looks like a tamer version of the forums.

YUCS was Down

YUCS got unplugged ... so we were down a bit over the last 24 hours.

July 11, 2005

OT: Click Off

Do you use Internet Explorer? Do you get annoyed by the default "click" every time a page loads or refreshes? Ever try watching a movie on your laptop with Gmail open, only to hear clicking throughout the movie?

If you want to put an end to a useless and annoying click, follow these steps:

Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices

Click on the "Sounds" tab. In the "Program events:" section, scroll down to and highlight "Start Navigation" (in the "Windows Explorer" section).

In the "Sounds" pick list, select "(None)" instead of "Start" or "Windows Start". Click "OK," and you're done!

July 10, 2005

UPDATE: 1 GB SanDisk Cruzer Mini USB Drive @ Best Buy

Almost as if taking a cue from Circuit City, Best Buy starting messing with this deal from the moment it was conceived:

1a) Ordering for delivery wasn't available
1b) Ordering for in-store pick-up required a little trickery
2) BB sent an email to many people canceling the Cruzer part of their orders (after emails went out confirming store stock and ready orders)
3) Stores had Cruzers reserved for even those with canceled orders. However, the stores couldn't sell them because they were canceled off the orders.
4) One of the rebates disappeared off BB's website, only to return later. At one point all 3 rebates disappeared.

Meanwhile, there's quite a story to the drive I actually ordered (for my friend). Since his chosen pick-up store was in NJ, and NJ still has "Blue Laws" on the books, the store was closed on Sunday. Therefore, shortly after receiving the "Order Confirmation: Thanks for ordering with BestBuy.com" email, an "Important Information: Store is currently closed" email came.

At 8:44 am on Monday, "Store Pickup Notification: Your order is ready for pick up" emails came for both orders. On Tuesday, the "Order Cancellation" for the Cruzer came. This didn't sway my friend, who wanted to try to pick up his order anyways.

When he got to the store they found his order waiting for him - Cruzer and filler, but when they tried to ring him up they noticed the price was wrong ($.99 - filler only) because the Cruzer had been canceled. The manager intervened, tried to get BB.com to un-cancel it to no avail. In the end he discounted it $77 (but wouldn't give him the coupon), charging $23 + tax, for a total of about $27. In theory, the SanDisk rebate should still be valid, for another $23 off.

On Friday they finally sent this explanation:

Dear Best Buy Customer,

Thank you for your order on BestBuy.com.

We appreciate your interest in purchasing the SanDisk Cruzer Mini 1.0GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive. Due to a system error, the product was incorrectly offered with duplicate mail-in rebate offers and therefore, we are unable to honor your order. As a result, we have canceled the flash drive from your order. If you have any questions concerning our policies, please review the Errors on Our Site section of our Conditions of Use** which are found online and are included at the bottom of this e-mail.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We look forward to your next visit to one of our stores or to www.BestBuy.com. Please do not hesitate to contact us with additional questions.

Thank you for your loyalty,
The Customer Care Team

Makes the earlier cancellation email (The product you ordered is no longer available and the order has been canceled. If you'd like to make another selection, visit BestBuy.com.) sound like a lie, if not outright fraud.

July 9, 2005

Bad Blogger, Bad!

There's really only one thing a blogger can do that's bad, and I've done it. That is, to not post. You come here looking for fresh material, and I haven't provided you with anything. I plan to change that. Starting now.

July 6, 2005

$50 Rebate on $100+ @ Amazon

Thanks to FW, I found out that Amazon is offering a $50 rebate on the purchase of $100 in Kimberly-Clark and Unilever products.

Participating products include: KOTEX Pads; KOTEX SECURITY Tampons; COTTONELLE Toilet Paper; SCOTT Bath Tissue; HUGGIES™ Bath & Body Products; HUGGIES Baby Wipes; KLEENEX Facial Tissue; VIVA Towels; SCOTT Towels; HUGGIES Diapers; PULL-UPS Training Pants; GOODNITES Underpants; Q-tips Cotton Swabs; DEGREE Deodorant/Anti-Perspirants; Vaseline Lotions, Bath Care and Lip Care; LEVER 2000 Body Wash and Bar Soap; ALL Fabric Refresher; ALL Detergent, 100 oz.; ALL Fabric Softener, Liquid or Sheets; DOVE Body Wash and Beauty Bars; DOVE Face Care; DOVE Anti-Perspirants; DOVE Lotions; DOVE Shampoos, Conditioners and Styling Products

The Fine Print: Offer valid on orders places from 7/1/05 – 7/31/05. HUGGIES® Diapers can only account for up to $50 of the $100 purchase requirement. Original amazon.com receipt(s) must be dated between 7/1/05 and 7/31/05. Request must be postmarked by 9/15/05 and received by 9/30/05. Official mail-in certificate, dated Amazon.com receipt(s) are required and may not be traded or sold. Offer valid only for the person who purchased product at Amazon.com and is limited to one rebate per family, household or address. We will not honor, acknowledge or turn duplicate or mechanically reproduced requests, requests with computer printed address labels, from P.O. boxes and/or clubs, groups or organizations. Not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, illegible, postage due or misdirected requests. We reserve the right to confirm the identity of the sender. This offer may not be published in any refunding magazine, web site or elsewhere without the written permission of Kimberly-Clark Global Sales, Inc. and Unilever. Void where taxed, restricted or prohibited by law. Please allow 8-10 weeks for shipping. By providing this information you acknowledge that Kimberly-Clark Global Sales, Inc. and Unilever may also send you information, samples or special offers they feel may be of interest to you about their brands or other com-plementary brands from carefully selected companies. If you would like more information about Kimberly-Clark Global Sales, Inc.’s or Unilever’s privacy policy, please visit www.huggies.com, www.kimberlyclark.com and/or unilever.com/privacy or call 1-866-204-9750.

July 5, 2005

1 GB SanDisk Cruzer Mini USB Drive @ Best Buy

Given the great price on the 1 GB SanDisk Cruzer Mini USB Drive that Circuit City had two weeks ago, I was actually surprised that lightening struck twice. Specifically, Best Buy had a nearly identical offering this week. I certainly didn't need another drive, but I let some of my friends know, including one who was on the road. Without access to a computer, he asked me to order for him which I did. The deal worked out at follows:

Cruzer ($99.99) + Dynex 6' Extension Cord ($.99) - $10/$100 Coupon + tax ($5.46) = $96.44 - Rebates ($27, $27, $23) = $19.44

Now, actually ordering (even for in-store pick-up) was a bit less than easy. In-store purchasing wouldn't work because one of the three rebates was valid only for online orders. But ordering online wasn't easy because the online ordering button wasn't active. Following the recommendations in the FW thread, I did the following to work around that problem:

1) Click here to get $10 off every $100 (up to $50)

2) Click on the Shop Now button

3) Now that you are shopping on BB's site, highlight and paste the following link to go to the It will take you to the SanDisk Cruzer Mini 1.0GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive page:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?CategoryID=cat01049&id=1089890509816&skuId=6784401&type=product&ref=10&loc=01

4) While on that page, highlight and paste this link to add the Cruzer to your cart:
javascript:fnAddItemToCartWithAccessories('1089890509816','6784401');

5) Choose "Pick Up," then choose "Select Store" to find and select a store in your area.

6) In order to use the $10 off coupon, you need to add something else to your cart. You have many choices, but one option is the Clip Company 5100 and 6100 Series Phones Swivel Clip Kit:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=3759169&type=product&id=1051384795841

7) While on that page, highlight and paste this link to add it to your cart:
javascript:fnAddItemToCartWithAccessories('1089890509816','3759169');

8) Choose "Pick Up"

9) Check out, make sure you see the $10 discount before finalizing your order.

July 4, 2005

UPDATE 3: Digital Photography Supplies from Staples

I finally did get a response to my email, and a fairly positive one at that.

We appreciate your inquiry concerning this issue. I apologize for the problems you had with our rebate site. I have issued you a $10 courtesy coupon to replace your rebate. This will come in the mail 7-10 business days. Thank you for your patience concerning this matter.

July 3, 2005

UPDATE 2: Digital Photography Supplies from Staples

I got no response to my email, so I just called the rebate center to complain. They immediately validated it - the status is now "Validation in progress" but my check is supposed to arrive within 15 days. No good explanation was given.

UPDATE: Digital Photography Supplies from Staples

Ever since I discovered the great deal on the Duracell 1 hour Quick Charger back in early May, I've been ordering lots of them. One for me, several for friends, a couple for the in-laws, etc.

I have submitted several rebates using Staples' relatively new "Easy" rebate feature. Overall, it's great - nothing to mail in. However, I recently checked the status of my rebates and found that one (a charger) was marked "Invalid
All required products were not submitted." That's a little weird, considering there is nothing to submit.

The charger was ordered over the phone (instead of online or in-store like most of my other chargers purchases). The reason seems to be that for some reason it was listed on the packing slip under an entirely different SKU (276188 instead of 517462). I can't call the rebate center at this hour, so instead I fired off an email to Staples.

July 1, 2005

Delivery! UPDATE 6: 1 GB SanDisk Cruzer Mini USB Drive @ Circuit City

My mail-room buddy just came by and handed me my Cruzer package! Woo hoo! Now to send in 4 rebates...

Even sweeter - in the package were 2 coupons, each for $15 off a $100 purchase - one for in-store, one for online purchases.

Free Backpack*

All you need to do to get a free backpack is ... have a baby!

UPDATE 5: 1 GB SanDisk Cruzer Mini USB Drive @ Circuit City

I've been checking the delivery status of my Cruzer ever since I got notification that it shipped on Wednesday. Yesterday was exciting - FedEx showed it delivered, but since I had it shipped to work, and it sometimes takes a day for the mail-room to deliver packages, I didn't push the issue.

But when it was not brought to my office today, I began to wonder. I went downstairs to check things out, delivery confirmation in hand. Shipping & Receiving spent a good while looking for the package before resorting to their logbooks. The log showed that they had received it, and that it was signed over to the mail-room.

Off to the mail-room I went, where there was no sign of the package. Their logbook also lacked any record of the package. Mail-room guy and I head back to Shipping & Receiving, confirm that it's in their book, indeed signed over to a mail-room person. Mail-room guy and I head back to the mail-room, looked around, found nothing, and now I wait.

It seems I was not destined to receive this Cruzer, but who knows, maybe it'll turn up. Of course, if it really is lost, and I make my employer pay for it, will a new policy prohibiting the receipt of non-"official business" packages be put in place? That would suck.