Monday, August 27, 2007


Down on Microsoft

When I purchased my first computer in the spring of 1996, it came with MS Money '95. I started using it a year later and found it to be fairly straightforward to use. This turned out to be pretty important: I got married that year, and one of our early "marital issues" turned out to be financial accountability. I took a few years for us to work this out, but the detailed and accessible records that Money made possible helped us to know what we needed to work on.

I purchased my second computer in the fall of 2000. It came with MS Money 2000. No more simplicity. No more crisp interface. The program had a bunch of stuff I would never use, and the stuff I did want to use was now buried in menus or required access to the Microsoft website. So I decided to stick with Money '95.

I purchased my third computer last month. But seeing as how we just moved, I couldn't find my installation disk for Money 95! So I pulled out Money '00 . . . and was reminded why I didn't like it. But what put me over into let's-bitch-on-the-blog territory was the file size. What had previously been a 1.7MB Money file had ballooned into a 22MB file! 13x larger!

Okay, so the speed, memory, and storage of my D620 are all much greater than 13x those of my original Gateway. But they are NOT 13x larger than my more recent HP. Doing something as simple as changing accounts in Money 95 was still plenty crisp on the HP. Changing accounts in Money 00, even on the D620 was . . . a wait! Not a long wait, but jeez, aren't these things supposed to be getting better and faster instead of slower and more complicated?

Down on Home Depot

I was in Home Depot to purchase the lambswool applicator necessary to finish putting polyurethane on our hardwood floors; we still have one hallway left to do. A Home Depot employee ("Thom", let's call him) said, "hey, you know, you can reuse your lambswool. All you have to do is seal it up and store it your refrigerator."

"In my refrigerator," I repeated, with barely controlled rage. "And these hazzardous chemicals go in the same refrigerator where I . . . keep my food?

"Um, yeah" he said, not liking where this was going. "But you have to seal it up real good . . ."

"Let me tell you what 'seal it up real good' meant to my wife, when you gave her this advice about a month ago: it meant putting the applicator in a plastic Home Depot shopping bag and tying the handles together. Let me tell you how much scrubbing it takes to purge a refrigerator of the smell of polyurethane: NO AMOUNT OF SCRUBBING WILL DO IT! Let me tell you what polyurethane tastes like when it permeates all the food you put in your refrigerator, even a month after the scrubbing: it tastes REALLY BAD!"

"So . . . I guess it wasn't a good idea."

Well said.

I now shop at Lowes

Down on Tower FCU

Once upon a time, I had an account at Tower Federal Credit Union. Actually, up until this morning, I thought I still had an account there, containing about $25 as of four years ago. But then I moved, and telling them my new address never made the to-do list, so . . . .

Now I've moved again, and thought that I might as well close the account. But guess what? It turns out that if Tower figures out that a mailing address is bad, they start charging "inactive member" fees, which of course drained my last $25 in short order. This is all buried in the fee schedule, which may or may not have been in effect when I opened the account, but it doesn't matter: the notification provision doesn't require them to actually, you know, "notify" me in the way that, say, the bank expected me to "notify" them of my address change.

Update: Yea! My wonderful wife found my MS Money 95 disk . . . oh, crap, it needs a product key to install the software, and of course we can't find those. I don't suppose any of my readers know a way, um . . . around this particular problem? Please comment.

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