The Hidden Tax of Being An Apple User

If you are a MAC user you are going to get charged more for pretty much everything on the Internet than a PC user. I started noticing this two years ago but lately it has become prevalent and everyone should know about it and especially that it is easy to avoid.

The story actually begins in 2000 when Amazon decided to try and charge more for the same DVD’s based on user criteria. Amazon claims it was random, but it was quite easy to replicate based on locale and user-agents. Amazon received floods of scornful feedback and reversed the program. By 2007, the debate was igniting again amongst industry insiders  because data-mining was becoming so sophisticated and greedy fingered corporate execs were salivating at the prospect. By 2010 the practice was becoming getting reintroduced and now it’s common practice – commonly referred to as dynamic pricing.

Now, I’ve heard people refer to this as the same thing as a local pricing for a cup of coffee in San Francisco versus Stockton, which is based on the higher cost of delivering the coffee in San Francisco. Well I’m sorry but that argument just doesn’t apply to the Internet. It costs the same in New York as it does in Moscow and the only difference is shipping which the customer usually pays for specifically.

You can read more about the practice here ->

And this is how you get around it and get charged what everyone else does ->

I wonder what Apple has to say about this practice?


Removing a Zombie Google Chrome Extension

After needlessly wasting a bunch of time to track down this issue I thought I would share this as it may help someone. Be aware that some Google extensions are now starting to import malware into your computer and behave in the same manner. I know of two very popular extensions Read Later and the Evernote Snipping Tool that install javascript from a company called snapfish and this thing injects all kinds of banners and popups of suggested purchases based on the content in the screen. Very annoying, very obtrusive, and very INTRUSIVE from a privacy perspective. This is how to get rid of a zombie Chrome Extension that just keeps coming back from the dead:

For Older Slingboxes The Magic Number is 237

I discovered this fix for my Slingbox after many attempts to decipher the often disparate advice available and giving up on many attempts. I can’t guarantee this is going to work for you as I only have the one use case to prove but if you have an older Slingbox this just may be the solution to your connection problems.

The problem was that I could only get the Slingbox to run once after doing a complete reset of the system and reconfiguring it. After logging out, the Sling box was again unable to connect. There are lots of explanations of this problem but after trying most of them, I can tell you that there is really only two things you need to know. First, is that the default local IP address for your Slingbox (if it’s not working correctly) is probably 192.168.[your router channel].237. Second is that when you configure your Slingbox online it usually assigns it to 192.168.[your router channel] .254. The result is that networking will fail when it tries to reconnect because of the wrong IP address.

How To Fix It

  1. Reset your Slingbox by pressing the tiny reset button on the back of your box.
  2. Set your Router firewall to allow a virtual TCP/UDP server on port 5001 of IP 192.168.[your router channel].237
  3. Configure the router DMZ for the same as step 2
  4. Configure your Sling box as normal at
  5. Click on the “Internet Viewing…” button and on the right side of the form, manually change the IP address to 192.168.[your router channel].237
  6. Finish the setup.

That should do it. Your Slingbox should work as it is supposed to now. Please post any questions to the comments and I’ll try to help if I can.

PS: Don’t bother trying to configure the Slingbox to use IP 192.168.[X].254. I did this and was the reason it took me so long to figure out that it would not work. The older Slingboxes just seem to require the 192.168.[X].237 IP address.

Developer as Commodity

Did I ever pick the right career! I just came across an ad for Developer Auction and was pleasantly surprised and reasonably worried to find that people with my skills are being auctioned to the highest bidder. Mostly this is a good thing and will inevitably drive up the base price for the services, but it is a little scary to compete on such a global level, especially against people that make in a month what I make in an hour. Check this site out – If you’re a technologist, you might find it very interesting / useful.

Ubuntu performance lagging? This might be your solution…

I was pulling my hair out recently because my laptop with Ubuntu OS (precise pangolin installed) was slower than my grandpa’s Model T and I knew it should be a jet fighter. Now I know this is probably pretty obvious to all you Linux guru’s out there but even as much as I read to try to find a known solution, this noob couldn’t find these rather simple instructions. It could be that all the super users out there already do this as a matter of course so no one ever wrote it up as a possible solution. It could also be that I fortuitously discovered the solution to a problem that’s been plaguing Ubuntu for a while.

Anyway, if your Ubuntu (possibly other Linux flavors also) OS is pulling on the reigns like a donkey in a field of mud it may be that there were files downloaded for updated software that required root user to complete installation. My response time radically improved after completing these simple instructions:

  1. Logout of Ubuntu.
  2. Login as root user. If you don’t know what this is you may need a system admin to do this for you.
  3. Check for updated software. It’s possible that the system will launch this automatically.
  4. Follow instructions and update any required files by providing root authentication.
  5. When completed logout again.
  6. Login using your preferred username and password.

You should notice that the operating system loads faster than before as will all of your software.

Freedom at last =)

2010 Goal List

I heard someone say (probably on TV) that “If you have your goals written down and refer back to them often, you won’t let distractions dissuade you from accomplishing them.” That made so much sense to me that I’ve decided to give it a go and compare how I did at the end of the year. Play along by listing your goals for 2010 in a comment.


  1. Free Web Hosting at – coming soon.
  2. Cheater software
  3. Workshop setup – new layout, benches for tools and storage cabinets
  4. Closet renovation for my wife.
  5. Kitchen Renovation over the summer.
  6. Produce furniture from my workshop.
  7. Detail plans for new guest house in 2011 or 2012
  8. generating some income

We’ll see how I do at the end of next year….