Thursday, 14 September 2006 does dodgy business

Here's how to make money using the scam:

1. Tell the customers you have an upgrade for their BIOS.
2. Charge their credit card and then tell them you didn't, actually, have the upgrade.
3. Profit!

Their 1st email, saying they have an upgrade for my BIOS.

Thank you for your BIOS Upgrade inquiry and contacting, the Exclusive Authorized Upgrade and Support Center for Award BIOS. For nearly 20 years, we have constantly upgraded thousands of motherboards and developed new BIOS Upgrades for all the latest technology. Our BIOS Upgrades are specific to your PC and guaranteed to work on your system.

Based on the technical specifications you had submitted, we have an excellent BIOS Upgrade for your system. We have the brand new Award BIOS for your motherboard. The price is only $29.95 (U.S).

As always, any BIOS Upgrade carries our 100 % Guarantee of Satisfaction.

To view your system details that you had previously submitted, click here: View My System Details

The most notable features are:

  • Hard Drive Support up to 512GB* (48-bit Technology)

  • Windows XP Compliance for SP1 & SP2 (service pack)

  • Windows 2000 Compliance for SP3 & SP4 (service pack)

  • Windows ACPI 2.0* Compliance

  • Faster Intel and AMD CPU Upgrade Kit Support

  • Faster Input Output Speeds

  • Virtual technical support assistance

  • 100 % Satisfaction Guarantee

  • Facts You Should Know About

*not available for all PCs

We will email you with a link to download the latest Award BIOS upgrade for your specific system. The file to download will be a zip file (>500 K) that includes the binary, the necessary flash loader, and easy installation instructions. Plus, you'll have access to hundreds of BIOS FAQs online, and free e-mail based technical support. Telephone technical support is not available.

The price for this BIOS download is $29.95 (U.S.). You can place this order through our SECURE website:

Note: If you have trouble accessing our order form, you may purchase through our alternative shopping cart locations here:

Shopping Cart # 1

Shopping Cart # 2

You can read about more features here: BIOS Upgrade Features

Thanks in Advance,

Dennis Wilcox
Technical Representative
(toll free)
1-978-686-6468, Inc.
1538 Turnpike St.
North Andover, MA. 01845

Their 2nd e-mail, after I placed my order for the "excellent BIOS upgrade".

I'm sorry, but we don't have a newer BIOS for your motherboard. Your current BIOS has the latest revision already. At this time, we cannot offer you the BIOS Update Bundle. Feel free to check back six months down the road.

We needed to authorize the card for $29.95 when you had first placed the order. This is NOT a permanent charge.

Your credit card number has been destroyed and you will not be charged for this order.

In the mean time, if you are looking to stay up-to-date with all the latest drivers on your PC, feel free to use our driver update service,

I apologize for the inconvenience.


Dennis Wilcox
Technical Representative
(toll free)
1-978-686-6468, Inc.
1538 Turnpike St.
North Andover, MA. 01845

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Canon customer support stinks

Canon Australia took 13 days to answer a very simple question. They promised 2. If you are buying anything worth more than AU$50 I recommend choosing another vendor.

I wonder if they even read what people write on those support requests or just apply a bayesian filter to the user text. If that's the case it must be a really crappy implementation.

The request
Dear Thiago,

Thank you for your request : , written on Aug 8 2006 10:08PM Description : Hi. I noticed cian wasn't coming out because of the hue on printed photos. Nozzle checking confirmed cian was clogged. After doing several head cleaning operations (including deep cleaning) cian is still missing on pictures.
All ink levels are adequate (half or more than half full) and properly fitted in print head. I have printed perfect pictures before.
While I'm here, I also registered for my warranty but I'm not sure I supplied the correct serial number (I just picked one of the several number on the bottom of the printer). Should I take my printer to a service shop?

The response
Dear Thiago,

Thank you for contacting Canon CSCPO Technical Support.

A new event : "printer problem", written on Aug 8 2006 10:08PM, has been added in response to your request.

Perform head cleaning on the printer as per the user guide supplied with the printer. The printer will make shuffling noises. When it has stopped, repeat the head clean a total of 5 times. Print a nozzle check pattern. If the nozzle check is still incomplete, perform one deep clean.

Where this procedure does not correct the problem, the printer should be examined by a Canon Authorised Service Agent. A complete list can be found at .

UPDATE [4/Sep/2006]:
it took them 3 weeks instead of the promised 3-5 days in the repair shop but they DID replace my printer free of charge.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

DVD backups

Ah, the joy of living next to Asia. Plenty of DVDs on "promotion". Good samaritan that I am, I offered a work colleague to backup some of his movie DVDs. I didn't want to carry them all home, so I decided to rip as many as I could to my notebook and carry the rest home.

After fiddling a lot with dvd::rip, trying to get all its dependencies to work, I found this. The little program, dvdbackup.c, compiles and works beautifully, just as the instructions advertise. I only had only little problem with the libdvdread - the intructions says it will work with version 0.93 and above, which is not true because function prototypes have changed. I downloaded version 0.93 and it worked like a charm.

The program creates a DVD structure on the output directory, which I'm hoping to burn when I get home, where I have a fully-equipped DVD "backup" station.

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Information vs In formation

I have always been wary of MS Word's spell and grammar checker: it keeps telling me I'm wrong when I try to be a little more sophisticated. As a non-native English speaker I end up caving in.

So I'm writing a documentation and didn't want to use the word "information" again. I asked MS Word for synonyms suggestions. I almost fell from my chair.