“At Honda, we don’t do email”

I wrote a letter to Honda Canada about the recurring problem I have with the serpentine belt on my 2006 Odyssey that needs replacing every year. In trying to fix the problem, my dealer replaced several expensive parts that were probably not involved since a belt replacement is always a temporary fix.

I had to write a letter because Honda Canada refuses to publish an email address. A previous call to their customer service was met with a, and I paraphrase,

“If you don’t want to pay for a diagnosis every year, then we can’t help you. No, there is no knowledge base or experts we can contact to look into this chronic problem.”

It reminds me of this famous quote from the movie, Goodfellas,

Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? Fuck you, pay me.

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SMS is still the only universal messaging

… or should I say, the most universal messaging. It won’t reach someone without a mobile phone.

I’m responding to this tweet that stated:

Re: SS7. Some infra is too old and widespread to secure; you have to pave over it. Cellular voice and SMS are going the way of dodo anyway.

That, in turn, was in response to the 60 Minutes show that demonstrated that hackers only need your phone number to spy on all your text messages and calls.

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OS X runaway process bug redux

It’s back! This time I created a movie of how the cfprefsd process hammers my disk. The times are in microseconds so this must be happening a thousand times a second.

Expand to full screen to see the details.

Update 2016-04-25: It turns out it was related to the threads I had in my Messages app. When I deleted all the threads, my Mac stopped getting slammed at random times for hours on end.

OS X runaway process bug fixed?

Update 2016-04-25: Yes, but not because of what you read below. See this post.

I’ve been experiencing this bug in OS X for so long that I don’t remember if it arrived with El Capitan, or earlier.

Four processes decide periodically to consume a combined 250% CPU: UserEventAgent, launchd, cfprefsd, and mds_stores. The fan starts blowing and the file system is being hammered hundreds or thousands of times a second by cfprefsd.

The Terminal command: sudo fs_usage pid <cfprefsd’s pid> shows lines screaming by on the screen with a .plist file being accessed every few microseconds, a new one created with a temporary suffix, and then renamed back to .plist. I don’t know if that’s happening on the hard drive or the SSD, but if it was on the SSD it’s probably lost a lot of life given how frequently this bug crops up and how long it runs. I often reboot after 12-16 hours and that sometimes fixes the problem—temporarily.

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The @NeatCompany cowardly discontinued support

of their buggy Neat desktop scanner s/w without informing their customers. Their “announcement” is buried on a support page that you have to know is there and go looking for it. No email to registered customers. No tweet on their Twitter account.

It’s so bad that their El Capitan support page (as of 2016-04-05) not only doesn’t acknowledge that they’ve dropped support, it says,

Neat Engineers are continuing to work diligently on issues that have presented themselves with the new Mac 10.11 release.  In an effort to resolve some of the key issues, we are offering users a PRE-RELEASE download of the next full Mac version, 4.5.

Update 2016-04-25: They since released a “fix” that is really just an older version from an unregistered developer. Sigh.

Well, that pre-release has been out since January 31st and they didn’t fix the crashes that make it very iffy to actually get your scans done. So Neat didn’t have the decency to end support after they had a stable product. And they’re too lazy to even update their support page. Wow!

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The @Netflix_CA vs @Unblock_US war

I removed my payment method from Unblock_Us so they can’t auto-renew. My Netflix subscription will be held after the queue is depleted.

So Netflix is winning the geo-blocking war with Unblock-US and similar services. For now—maybe forever. Given Netflix’s resources, I think they’ll win this battle and I’ll be out 9 months of my yearly subscription fee* because Unblock-US will just fold. Twitter is on fire already with angry people who can’t get a response from Unblock_US let alone a refund. Any technical solution Unblock_US finds, Netflix will be sure to thwart in a short time.

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