CCS-Digital September 2019 Newsletter
Welcome to the CCS-Digital September 2019 newsletter. Inside you will learn a number of things to improve your online experience, from scams to avoid, useful free software, discounts and deals available online and more.
The discount code of spring18 (upper or lower case) will give you 5% off orders of $20 and up.
We are no longer sending out email reminders of the newsletter.
As you are probably aware, if someone makes a purchase from a site, that site has the right to add them to their mailing list. This is not considered spam as long as there is an easy way to opt out. We do NOT add people to our mailing list unless they specifically request it. The email for our newsletter contains no ads, just a link to the newsletter online. It also begins by saying one can be removed from the list just by replying with remove.
Despite this, a few morons signed up for the discount and then reported us for spam. A few sites (AOL, Yahoo) will block a site or even an entire server on the basis of 2 or 3 spam complaints. Customers emailed us with questions and our replies were blocked because of the complaints of a few morons. On top of that, we could not even remove them from our list because in some cases their emails were forwarded to other IDs and the complaining ID was not even on our list.
Then there are the actual spammers who spoof IDs. Someone called to complain that she received 200 emails from bestinkandtoner.com. We never send mail from that domain. Some spammer spoofed that ID (which is very easy to do and there is no way for us to prevent it). It did NOT go through our server. A knowledgeable person can look at the email headers and figure out where it really came from. But AOL, Yahoo and other lazy companies don't bother. If it says Bestinkandtoner, then Bestinkandtoner must be blocked. I wonder how much spam is sent from AOL and Yahoo IDs and how they would feel if other ISPs blocked all their email over it.
So we will not be sending out any emails about the newsletter to cut down on complaints. You can visit this link at the beginning of each month to see the latest newsletter. It still won't solve the issue of spoofing.
Just a reminder, if you buy something on Amazon, please use this link to get there:
Our Amazon Link
It won't cost you anything and I'll get a small percent. It buys a toy for my grandchildren every so often.
Get money back on almost every purchase you make!
Join Rakuten for free and get $10 off your first qualifying purchase and a percentage back on subsequent qualifying purchases. No fees, no minimums, totally free! I have been a member for almost a year now and it's nice to get those paypal payments for doing nothing except buying things I would have otherwise bought anyway. Join Rakuten
New Website Is Here
Now Magento 2.0 has been released and support for 1.9 is going away. 2.0 is not just an upgrade, it is a completely new product which required a complete rebuild of the site. It is hosted on an Amazon server for maximum security. We did out best to move over all the data, so you should see your past orders. If you have any difficulties, please email.
Reduced Shipping Costs and Time on Canadian Orders
We located a supplier in Canada who will ship directly to Canadian customers. This will reduce both the shipping cost and the amount of time it will take to arrive. For credit card orders, you should see a lower total than what the website showed, once your order has been processed. For paypal orders, you should get a refund of the difference. If you want to know what your order will cost before placing it, choose Other Payment Methods. We will get notification of the order and reply with a total. You can then decide to proceed using paypal, credit card or other payment method.
The Epson Embargo Has Hit
We have been warning people for months that it will become very difficult to get Epson compatible cartridges. Customs has been stopping shipments from entering the country. Epson has been going after suppliers. Our biggest suppliers stopped providing Epson cartridges. We have removed some models from our site and prices on other models are moving up. Don't wait for the last minute. You might also want to consider refillable and reusable cartridges because you will always be able to find ink.
Now is the time to get a printer
Just about all the printer companies are jumping on the rip-off bandwagon where every printer needs a different cartridge. It used to be that a company would release 5 or 10 new printers a year and all would use the same cartridges. By making each printer use a different one, they know that the market for any one cartridge model will be limited so compatible manufacturers won't bother to make it. On top of that, they issue firmware upgrades via the Internet so even if you find a compatible cartridge, if you allow the upgrade to run, it will stop working.
For these reasons, we urge people to get one of the "older" printers now - the ones which still work with compatible cartridges. Otherwise you will be paying a fortune for ink. There are printers where the ink cost as much or more than the printer itself. HP and Epson have some inkjets where the cartridges are over $100 a set. HP has at least one where cartridges are $400!.
Right now the best inkjets are the Canon Maxify, about $100, which use cartridges in the $5 range. These cartridges are about 3x the size of standard cartridges (hence the name maxify), Epson Workforce 2750 for about $60 with cartridges about $5 (about 250 page yield) and the Canon TS6020 for about $90 at Walmart with cartridges as low as $1 each. Details on Best Printers. So far it seems these models are not subject to the firmware upgrade scam which follows but it's always a good idea to reject any upgrades Epson tries to foist on you.
Texas AG May Sue Epson Over Dirty Tricks
I was a staunch advocate for Epson products for over 20 years but no longer. If you want all the details, you can read Epson dirty tricks.
Beware the firmware upgrade
Epson releases firmware upgrades which are sent to you via the net. All these do is prevent compatible cartridges from working. With single-use cartridges, most people use them within a few months of purchase so by the time the upgrade arrives, they are used. (Though we do get customers who hold them for months and then complain later - after running an upgrade - why they don't work. This is why our "official" warranty is 60 days. It's impossible to protect people from their own actions.) With refillable cartridges, people expect to use them for a long time. Then they run the upgrade which renders the cartridges useless.
Need a speaker for a user's group?
I have given online presentations to users' groups. If you have a group which meets regularly who would be interested in hearing about computer-related topics, drop me a line.
A tale of two ISPs
I recently had dealings with the two internet service providers in my area, Verizon and Spectrum. The story illustrates what happens when a) there is little real competition and b) companies make self-defeating policies and feel their customers are stupid.
I was with Spectrum for several years. Every year they raised my rates. Why should it cost them more to provide service to an existing customer over a new one? Eventually they raised me to the point where Verizon was cheaper. In addition I also found that Spectrum service was getting slower. A speed test showed I was getting 30/5 instead of the 100/10 they promised. When I called to complain, all they could do was offer me higher speed for more money.
I switched to Verizon on a promise of 100/100 for $40 a month. The first month I was charged $50. When I called I was told that since I hadn't signed up for automatic payments at the time I signed up with their rep, I didn't qualify for the $10 a month savings. I replied that a) I hadn't been told this and b) when I signed up for automatic payment on their site it said I would be saving $10 a month. The customer service person said the best she could do was give me a $5 a month discount, bringing my bill to $45.
Then I thought about it and decided if I wasn't getting the $10 a month for autopay from my bank account, I might as well use my credit card. So I went back to the site and changed my payment method to credit card. A popup came up and said if I switched back to bank account, I would save $10 a month. I switched back and my monthly payment changed to $55 a month!
I called customer service and they removed the extra $10 and applied the $10 a month savings, bringing my monthly rate to $35. Speed test showed I was getting a consistent 100/100, give or take 5%.
A year later, my rate was increased by $20 a month. Calls to Verizon were a waste of time. Each person told me I was no longer a new customer. Their motto appears to be, "Sign up the customer for a year, then stab him." I told them to cancel my account at the end of month because I was switching to Spectrum. Their response, "Sorry you feel that way."
Spectrum offered me 200/20 for $45 a month for 2 years. The only problem was I could not get more than 100/10 and usually even less. They sent a service rep who spent over an hour. He first blamed my router, which had no problem going to 100/100 with Verizon. I connected the modem directly to my computer, taking the router out of the equation, to no avail. He next blamed the computer. I tried two other computers, including a high-end business laptop and got the same results. He left, saying the problem was my equipment.
The next day, speed test showed I was getting 66/10. I called Spectrum again. They promised to send a tech. Then Verizon sent me an email offering to extend my service for 2 more years at $45. Why couldn't they have done this before I canceled and switched to Spectrum?
The second Spectrum tech explained that 200/10 is the maximum speed, despite several people telling me it was 200/20. I went back to the site and there is nothing showing the upload speed at all. After some playing around, he got me to 145/10. For the time being, I'm staying with Spectrum.
It appears that both companies have ridiculous policies in place.
Freedompop is gone
Several years ago I bought a phone from Freedompop for $30 which came with free cellphone service. I use Magicjack for my regular number and they have an app which lets that number work on any cell phone. A few days ago, the phone number assigned to me by Freedompop suddenly stopped working out of the office, though my Magicjack number and email continued to work. Then I received an email that Freedompop had turned its customers over to Ting, who was charging $6 a month for unlimited calls and texting plug $4 a gig for internet access or $20 a month for unlimited everything. I have recentlyu signed up for Ting.
Inspirational, amazing and fun
A tale of two living angels
A few years ago I related how my son,David donated bone marrow. A year later, he was contacted by the recipient, who survived due to this life-giving donation. I can't imagine the feeling of knowing you saved someone's life but I'd like to.
A few months ago, David was visiting relatives in Cleveland when he heard an appeal for someone who desperately needed a kidney. He reached out and told them he was in the registry due to his bone marrow donation. He turned out to be a match. In August, David went to Cleveland and donated a kidney.
During this period, his life was a bit tumultuous because he was also in the process of buying a house, completing his 7-year Rabbinical ordination program, while also expecting the family's third child. In fact, his final test had to be postponed when he went to Cleveland for additional medical tests. But he took that final Rabbinical test two days before donating his kidney and passed with flying colors, completing the 7-year program in under 6 years.
The second angel
Some time ago, David met Rabbi Z., a Rabbi in Southern New Jersey who dedicates his life to helping others. He spends so much of his time involved in other people's problems that he can rarely be called at home before 11 PM, because that's when he finally returns. A few months ago, Rabbi Z. donated a kidney. When David decided to do the same, he reached out to Rabbi Z. for encouragement. They spent hours on the phone discussing it. When the Cleveland hospital dragged their feet and delayed scheduling the operation, David was worried that the patient wouldn't survive until then or it might end up scheduled after his wife gave birth, which would make things very difficult. Rabbi Z. contacted various groups involved and lit a fire under the hospital to work more quickly.
Finally the night arrived when David and his family were to fly to Cleveland as the operation was scheduled for 5:30 the next morning. David would stay in the hospital a few days and then move in with relatives during a week or so of convalescence. Due to inclement weather, the flight was delayed. Then it was delayed again. David began to worry that he wouldn't make it in time. While David sat in Newark Airport, Rabbi Z. called him for some last words of encouragement. Upon hearing the situation, Rabbi Z. said, "I'll be right there." He rented a minivan, drove to Newark Airport, picked up David and his family and drove them 8 hours to Cleveland, arriving about 15 minutes before the scheduled surgery.
The surgery had to be delayed about an hour but it did take place, thanks to Rabbi Z., who drove 16 hours round trip to make sure a stranger in dire need received a kidney.
Incidentally, as soon as David was well enough to travel, the family moved in to Rabbi Z's home for a week so the Z family could help with the children while David recuperated and his wife went to work.
customer service rep saves customer's life from 800 miles away
scientists claims they turned breast cancer cells to fat cells
98-year-old holocaust survivor has won 10 olympic medals and still trains gymnasts
104-year-old Auschwitz survivor at the Wailing Wall with all her descendants
3-year-old falls 6 stories and is saved thanks to neighbors' quick action
Heroic soldier at shooting scene
What a contrast, from a mother who sacrificed her life to save her child to parents who ran and left their children behind.
6-year-old asks for "I will be your friend" shirt to help shy/bullied children
a child raised correctly
a teacher's brilliant solution to combat bullying and loneliness
young brothers start a business for pocket money, now donating 10% ($500 a month) to charity
toddler with major vision issues gets his first pair of glasses
mom may have to pay $132,000 for sculpture her child broke
video: empty car rolls on to Garden State Parkway
cheap homemade treadmill
bad design ideas
amazon birthday cake
duck plays possum
parents being jerks
arrogant jerks put in their place
country's klutziest burglar
Despite this, he got away!
some of the worst home designs
delta plane fills with mist. crew never explains why to terrified passengers
your mind can play tricks on you
plants can be trained and remember their training
bizarre snail with flashing horns is real
gorilla's reaction to soap bubbles
duck returns lost flip-flop
multitasking doesn't work. the Japanese kanban method is an efficient way to manage multiple tasks.
I have been saying it for years. Numerous studies have shown that multitasking is self-defeating. If you are given two tasks which should each take an hour and you try to do them both at the same time, it will take 3-4 hours to complete and the results won't be as good.
I had a boss who assigned me 32 hours of work a day, then claimed it could be done if I multitasked. Surely I could work a few minutes on one task and a few on the other and magically 32 hours of work could be done in 8 hours.
I told him that I heard he was flying to Chicago on Monday and L.A. on Thursday. Why couldn't he multitask? Surely there was a flight which could go toward Chicago for 10 minutes and toward L.A. for 10 minutes and he would get to both places at the same time.
article on multitasking and kanban
getting 6 hours of less of sleep is as bad as none at all
bird or rabbit? watch this video
scientist rejects Darwinism, says intelligent design is a serious argument
What do you want to see in the next issue?
If there's something specific you want to know about, feel free to drop me a note.
Until next time, have a great month!