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Bytes and Pieces For The Fall

By Richard Sherwin, Richard Macias and Susan Davis.

BYTES AND PIECES: Notes on today’s technical innovations, complaints, praise, personal finance and lifestyle situations


Fidelity Investments which dropped American Express cards  at same Time as Costco did, should have at least given you more back on its Branded Visa card.  Now Costco’s Citi Visa card returns more at super markets, gas stations and more. Check your fine print for benefits. Also Costco’s card gets you an extra year’s warranty on consumer electronics, appliances, and computers.


While we’ve been very harsh with our criticism of web hosting giant IPage because of its weird email structure and its sometimes slow customer service, for small business it is still better than GoDaddy in that it will negotiate your hosting and naming fees if you choose a more than one-year contract. ENom and some of the other hosting services for individuals and small business take note. But remember if you use your uncles or brother-in-law’s server for you web pages or a very discount hosting service make sure you have a full copy of all your content stored somewhere else.


Once again Vizio comes up with a good idea and then spoils it with poor implementation. The top selling TV maker in the U.S. trying to combine the best of Smart TV, Google On- Line tools and simplified remote controls, butchered it with their Google Smart Cast model. The main controls for the TV are only available through an App on your phone or tablet. The included TV remote only changes input and sound. But should want change balance,  full audio controls, picture quality, picture size, pixel operation, you are stuck with using your smart-phone or tablet. This is similar to when Vizio came up with a terrific budget priced tablet that used only an old operating system. That product lasted about four months before being withdrawn. We are still using Vizio’s year old Flat Sound Bar and now worried that it too may be taken off the market because while extremely convenient (no sub-woofer) it has been turning itself on without provocation and its bass maybe too deep.


Yes, we Are our third Samsung dishwasher but thanks to Lowes, they are backing the warranty passed its due date.

While Verizon Wireless  has truly dropped its prices to compete with the second tier providers it  has suddenly added its own spam advertising to subscriber phones, which seems almost impossible to uninstall.

Speaking of Spam Ad Bloc the very successful anti pop-up ad blocker for browsers (free or by donation software) has become a little too good. On three of our PCs it slowed down Google Chrome browser so much, we had to switch to Mozilla and Opera until we uninstalled Ad Bloc from Chrome


Microsoft promotional sale of their premier tablet the Surface Pro 4 was a bust. After a 3hour chat session with Microsoft sales they finally realized that instead of lowering the price of the tablet $100 they increased it. After speaking to three reps Dave Wr., Ren, and their supervisor Arlene they could do nothing for me other than refund my money when it was processed. Meaning that this would not happen automatically I would have to call and get the refund. I told Arlene that this was unacceptable and consumers should automatically be refunded the over paid amount for anyone that purchased it when they made a mistake. Her answer “Thanks for doing business with Microsoft Store. Enjoy the rest of your day!” When pressed she finally said they would have to call in or they would not be refunded.

The lesson is, pay attention to sales prices even though it says $100 make sure its actually discounted online otherwise Microsoft will just make out with your money and smile.