Friday, October 2, 2015

PDFs in a Chromebook


When I use my Chromebook, it is not possible to view a PDF file.  Unless I use a app from the Chrome Web Store...or, as I learned "by accident", have the Evernote Web Clipper installed:

"If you've opened a PDF document in your browser, you can save the entire PDF document as an attachment to a new note in your Evernote account."

Though I had the document opened in the browser, I did not choose to enable the "Chrome PDF Viewer".  When offline, I might need to...but for now, when online, I'm satisfied with the features provided by Evernote:

"When you view a PDF in your browser, simply click the Web Clipper icon. You can assign a destination notebook, tags and some additional notes. That’s all. The PDF will be placed into your Evernote account and synched so that you can view it from any computer or device where Evernote is installed."

AND...via http://Evernote.com (in the web browser while online), I can read the PDF document!



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Saturday, September 12, 2015

"Dear Apple/iTunes/iPod..."


Apple should release a version of iTunes for Linux...

Because of the cost of most of their products, the iPod Touch is the only device I find affordable.  For me, it's great to have in my pocket and with me so I can make and carry notes...and access the internet.

Attempting to upgrade my computers to Windows 10 has caused me to stop using Windows on them, and install Linux.  Most computers currently for sale with Windows 10, I consider too expensive for what I want to use them for...and too under-powered for what I am willing to spend.  In some circumstances, I do find some Chromebooks as good investments...especially when comparing them to computers with Windows in the same price range.  (I have purchased two Chromebooks so far, and am planning to purchase more.)

I love being able to rent movies from iTunes.  I can watch them when offline...

"You have 30 days to start watching a movie after you rent it. After you start watching the movie, you have 24 hours (in the US) or 48 hours (elsewhere) to finish it. You can watch the movie as often as you like until it expires."

...and many are very inexpensive (some at ninety-nine cents).

Browsing iTunes for audio and video is more pleasurable when using a computer (rather than a mobile device).  Now, for that experience, I must configure a computer with some version of Windows on it...

Also, they should consider making iTunes services accessible via browsers (and Chromebooks).  If not, I'm seriously considering committing to Google Play and abandoning iTunes.  But...

Google Play has a policy which kept me more loyal to iTunes...

"...Since downloading free content is still considered a transaction (even when the price of the item is $0.00), you may be prompted to add a credit or debit card if you don't already have one in your account..."

That requirement is unacceptable to me.

So far, purchasing music from Apple and Google...and being able to use it on other devices in general...has allowed them both to keep me as a customer.  I have not purchased videos/movies from either one of them, and don't plan to...because, per their documentation of their services...I am not able to use the  files on "any" device I choose to.

And that's why I purchase DVDs...



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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Goodbye Windows (7 and 10)...Hello, Linux...


I replaced the hard drive in my Acer Aspire computer, installed Windows 7 using the product key that came with the computer, and have been using it for many years.

Now, it will not successfully upgrade to Windows 10:  "Windows 10 couldn't be installed...Error...C1900101-4000D".

After searching the Internet and noticing other people are having the same problem...so I don't waste my time trying to troubleshoot this issue...I decided I would install Windows 7 anew, and after (try to) upgrade (to Windows 10).  But first...I need a Windows 7 DVD...

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At http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-recovery , the Microsoft Software Recovery webpage, it states:

"Thanks for being a Microsoft customer...

"After you verify your product key below, you will download a disc image (ISO file) and use it to create a bootable USB or DVD. This will require ISO burning software such as the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool."

I entered the product key on my computer...

"Unsupported Product...The product key you entered appears to be for software that was pre-installed on a device.  Please contact the device manufacturer for software recovery options."

No.  I'm done.  I have a valid product key, and all I need is a copy of the installation software.

More and more I find reasons NOT to desire and need Microsoft Windows (and other products).

I have a Toshiba Satellite A105 (with 4 GB RAM) that is in great shape...and one of very few distributions of the Linux operating system I have been able to find light enough for it to be useful, is LXLE.

Years ago, because it was all I could afford at the time, I purchased a Chromebook.  I liked it, but that particular model was not powerful enough for me:  I keep MANY tabs open, and applications running.

After I purchased a HP 2000 notebook that had Windows 8...I increased the RAM to 8 GB.  Quickly it began to perform sluggishly.  I uninstalled unnecessary software, and use mostly "portable" applications and programs.  Using the computer on the Internet is aggravating and annoying.  I've tried faster hard drives, and various versions of Linux...I am convinced the processor ("AMD E-300 APU with Radeon HD Graphics / 1300 Mhz / 2 Cores / 2 Logical Processors") is the cheapest they could find for this low-end computer.  I believe I paid somewhere near $300 for it at the time.

My latest purchase is an Acer Chromebook 13 with a quad-core processor, 4 GB RAM, and a 32 GB drive.  (I've read that sometimes the 16 GB drive isn't large enough to be able to download and watch some videos from the Google Play store.)  I love it!  Mostly, I have no complaints.  Though I do love 15-inch screens.  (I've been planning to review the Chromebook, but haven't had time to do so...)

Soon I will install (LXLE) Linux on the HP.  Based on my experience with the Toshiba computer, I expect it will satisfy my needs.  And I intend to NEVER purchase anything less than a quad-core processor.

I have one other computer with Windows 7 on it...that will not upgrade to Windows 10.  It has its original hard drive...so I will restore its operating system, and again attempt to upgrade to Windows 10.  But also will plan to need to install Linux...

Which now means I also need to plan to use other products and services that are not produced by Microsoft (like Office).



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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Use any name you want to on Facebook...in Germany...


In Germany, on Facebook, they/Facebook CANNOT dictate how you identify yourself.

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My problems continue with Facebook.  They had suspended my account because they do not like I use my nickname/airname/stagename as my primary identifier.

After, I noticed:

Mark Zuckerberg: "...there is some confusion about what our policy actually is. Real name does not mean your legal name. Your real name is whatever you go by and what your friends call you. If your friends all call you by a nickname and you want to use that name on Facebook, you should be able to do that..."

https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10102213601037571?comment_id=10102213698751751&reply_comment_id=10102213934943421&total_comments=45&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R9%22%7D

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I received a message:

It looks like your account was suspended by mistake. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. You should now be able to log in. If you have any issues getting back into your account, please let me know.

Myrtle
Community Operations
Facebook

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And...I cannot change the name they have assigned to me.

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Here is a rough translation of the decision in Germany:

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information for infringement of the German Telemedia Act and the Personal ID Act an injunction against the Facebook...The company is committed to allow the use of pseudonyms...Facebook has to refrain from the unilateral modification of the account to the real name of the user. In addition, the requirement of the presentation of official photo identification documents (identity card or passport) for proof of identity by sending digital copies is not allowed.

Background administrative arrangement is the complaint of a Licensees, which led her Facebook account under a pseudonym. This they wanted to achieve, that their private account is not used on Facebook for business contact through third parties. Facebook had then locked the account and asked the person concerned to provide their real names in the profile. It should also prove their identity by an official photo ID; one submitted by her other identity document handed Facebook is not enough. Against her will, Facebook changed also the profile name from the pseudonym to the real name of the person concerned. This gave Facebook the real name of its user their "friends" known. However, the activation of the account for a major user should take place only when a major user of this change agrees. However, it has preferred to turn to the competent data protection supervisory.

https://www.datenschutz-hamburg.de/news/detail/article/der-hamburgische-datenschutzbeauftragte-profilnamen-bei-facebook-frei-waehlbar.html

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I may (need to) move (back) to Germany...



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Monday, April 20, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Buyer beware! Amazon hides taxes on purchases


[UPDATED and edited...]

I had an Amazon.com gift card with enough funds on it to cover the amount for an Acer computer.  After adding the gift card to account, I found during the ordering process Amazon.com did not inform me the total purchase price was more than they had indicated...

Previously I had been very satisfied with purchasing Amazon.com gift cards, and ordering from them.  I've never had any issues I can think of to mention, and didn't expect any to arise that could not be easily resolved.  Until recently.

The computer costs $288.79.  The Amazon.com gift card had $290 on it.  I added it to my account.  The webpage for the Acer computer showed:  "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com".  As I was completing the order process, I chose "free shipping".  At the "Select a payment method" screen, when I click on "Continue", a message appears that states:  "Please enter your payment information to continue."

The computer costs $288.79...I have over $289 in my "available balance"...I chose "free shipping"...

I sent an e-mail message, and received a response:

"...After research, I've confirmed that there must be either a technical issue or a website default, which makes it unable to place the order.

"...I request you to retry to order the item and if still you are unable to access those features, you can request a call from our Customer Service department for the real time troubleshooting..."

Throughout the day I continued to try and place the order.

Late that night, I contacted Customer Service via live online chat.  The agent stated...

Amazon(Amazon): "Unfortunately, we are unable to place an order on your behalf. You'll have to place the order from your end".

The next day, I called Amazon.com via telephone.  Before I consider ordering ANYTHING from Amazon.com, I will seriously consider how unhappy I am after this interaction...

Based on the agent's accent, I assumed she was not in the United States of America.  Not a bad thing...initially.  But towards the end of the call I wondered if this all might have been a much better experience if, for sure, the agent been an American citizen.

She began to complete the order for me.  She was asking me to add my credit card information to this order.  I don't have a credit card.  Also...the computer costs $288...I have more than that in my "available balance".  (And, I'm choosing "free shipping".)

She continued to tell me to add a credit card, or an additional gift card (or a bank account) to the "More Payment Options" section of the "Select a payment method" screen.  I refused to add additional funds to this order.  After I did, she revealed to me that...until I did...I would not be able to be charged taxes on the purchase.

What taxes?  When I began to calculate the total cost of the purchase from Amazon.com, I was NEVER given any idea that the total cost for purchasing the computer would be more than $288.79.

I asked for the amount of the taxes for this purchase.  I was told it would be calculated...AFTER I added acceptable funding to the purchasing process.  So, I cannot know how much the taxes are...UNTIL after I have made enough money available to Amazon.com for the entire purchase to be processed.

I told her I will not consider making more funds available to Amazon.com until I know exactly how much the taxes are.  She placed me on hold, and began to investigate how much the taxes are.  Many minutes later, she returned to the call.  After she mispronounced the name of the city I was in, I was again convinced she must be in India.  She stated Amazon.com would need an additional $18 and some change to complete the order.  The smallest amount that can be put on an Amazon.com gift card is $25.

After all of this...I wanted my money refunded.  But I'm sure that's a much longer battle...that may need intervention from government agencies.

=======================================

PART 2

I was solicited for my last submission to rate the service I received from Amazon.com by an e-mail message I received.  It took me to a "Tell us how we're doing" page, where I was able to supplied the following comments.

DATE: 01/21/15 17:23:44 PST
COMMENTS: ...After adding the gift card to my account, I find later in the purchasing process I need to supply MORE funds because of taxes that are levied...WHICH WERE NEVER QUOTED TO ME DURING MY PLANNING PRIOR TO ATTEMPTING TO PURCHASE THE ITEM.

I was planning to need to wait until I could have money added to my "available balance" that would cover all charges, including the taxes.  Or...blow my balance on other items from Amazon.com.  And later file complaints with any agency and organization that might be interested in hearing of my tale of woe.

That night...I received an e-mail message (which I have edited for privacy):

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Message From Customer Service

Hello,

I'm sorry for the inconvenience caused in this regard.

I've reviewed your previous correspondences and understand your concern regarding the purchase of "Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T1UU (13.3-inch Full HD, NVIDIA Tegra K1, 4GB)" through Gift Card. You had to contact us multiple times for this to be resolved and that's definitely not what we want our customers to experience.

Upon checking the item details on our website I see that the price of the item is $288.79.

To help compensate for the inconvenience, I've issued an $24 promotional certificate for the tax to be levied to your Amazon.com account as an exception, which will automatically apply the next time you order an eligible item sold and shipped by Amazon.com and doesn't require a claim code.

It is always important for us to hear how customers react to all aspects of shopping at Amazon.com. Strong customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the selection and service we provide. We take this kind of information seriously as it is valuable to us in helping us to continue to improve our program.

Your understanding and patience is appreciated in this matter.

We are looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Best regards,

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I placed the order...it appears to be in process.  Watch this space...



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