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July 2008 Archives

July 11, 2008

Hidden Restrictions to Skype World Plan

On an earlier post, I made accolades about Skype's World subscription. I retract them, and have recently unsubscribed to Skype because they weren't salient about these restrictions, and the slow response email communication is a turn-off. I was locked out of my World subscription, and there were restrictions on "purchases and redeeming vouchers." Even trying to email them was so confusing. You have to choose specific links in order for them to route your emails to the correct department. This is the canned email I received.

a) The country you have dialed is not included in your subscription.

Please sign in to the “My Account” section of our website and select Manage underneath the box showing your subscription name at the top centre of the page: http://www.skype.com/go/myaccount/ , you can find the list of destination (s) included in your subscription.

b) The number you have dialed is not covered by your subscription, such as a mobile phone number or a non-geographic number.

The subscription covers calls to landlines in selected destinations. However, mobile phone numbers are only included in certain countries. For more details, please go to:
http://www.skype.com/go/subscriptions/


c) You have exceeded the Fair Usage limit of xxxxx minutes included in your subscription.

Please be aware that your calls apply to our fair usage policy. For more information about this policy, please view the following page: http://www.skype.com/go/terms.fairusage

In addition, please note that you have the possibility to see a detailed list of the calls you have made and their exact costs: https://secure.skype.com/store/myaccount/history.html

If you have any questions or concerns on the calls listed on your call history, please provide us with the exact date, time and destination of the call(s), and we will assist you further.

I checked my account, and certainly did not exceed 10,000 minutes, but I think why should Skype advertise "unlimited" when they should say 10,000 minutes? Is that why they restricted my account? So I respond to Marilyn's email, but received a response from Alec. I had one more question, but since then Alec hasn't responded. Maybe he's on vacation. This is where I start to relive my frustrating eBay/PayPal experiences. Even Amazon (online), calls you back.

Needless to say, the lag in communication is a bit of a turn off. I just don't have the time or energy to sort this all out, so I ended up canceling my subscription. Besides a few of my foreign friends said it is cheaper to buy a calling card in Chinatown, which is probably what I'm going to do.

On another note, I sold my Skype phone, but for a separate reason. Skype works on wireless networks, but everyone in New York locks down they're wireless. Skype suggests using Boingo, which I tried for one month, but it only refers to places that I know have free wireless. And most of those places are loud (like Think cafe in Greenwich Village), so it's very difficult to hear your party on the other line. I tried using this Skype phone and Boingo in India, and it didn't work. It was better to just pay the additional $60 to your cell carrier. I'm sure Android phone or v4 of the iPhone will probably make the Skype phone obsolete.

July 26, 2008

Hasbro Sues Scrabulous

scrabulous_interface2008.jpg

So last year, I added Scrabulous, and have been playing this game with all my friends. I've been following the stories about Hasbro. Awhile back, they were in negotiations to settle. The makers of Scrabulous are brothers from Kolkata, India, and they net $300,000 a year, and could be worth between $3-10 million (NY Times). I read in another article that the two brothers from Kolkata wanted to sell Scrabulous to Hasbro for $10 million, which Hasbro refused.

Personally, I've never played Scrabble before the Scrabulous app. I think the reason why Scrabulous is so popular is because it's the perfect social game, and it solves the issue of timing. After one or two months after adding this popular app, I noticed people playing the board game at cafes and hotel lobbies. Scrabulous revived Scrabble.

Anyway Hasbro hired EA to launch a Scrabble Facebook app, which only had fewer than 10,000 players whereas Scrabulous has 2.3 million players (Slashdot). So since they failed at their Facebook app, they are now going to sue the makers of Scrabulous.

It's going to be interesting to see who wins this trademark case, since Scrabble has been for 70 years (Wikipedia). I remembered awhile back reading about trademark, and you know when studios "digitally master" a movie every 25 years, like Excorcist , Bladerunner, and many Disney movies? They do that to renew their rights on intellectual property. But when they digitally remaster those movies, they new copy is an exact copy.

I think that Hasbro would be smart to hire the Kolkata brothers to translate all their board games to digital media (like Google buying YouTube, or Yahoo buying Flickr or del.icio.us). This suit will probably piss a lot of Scrabulous players off, and I'm not sure that will be good press for Hasbro.

July 27, 2008

Yelp

yelp_logo.jpg

So after a 2 years of perusing, I've finally become a Yelper. I used to use Citysearch frequently before, but one time I reviewed a restaurant, and it was rejected (and it was a good review too). I think I was trying to upload photo several times, then finally I just gave up.

In a recent trip to Miami, I was looking for a restaurant that served good ceviche, so I checked on Yelp, and found The River Oyster Bar, which met and exceeded my expectations. Instead of blogging about food, I just review them on Yelp. Also, I've been looking for recommendations on hair stylists and acupuncture, and found some very helpful tips (e.g. they don't charge tax if you pay cash, and so forth).

Just recently, a fellow Yelper invited me to an event to meet other New York Yelpers in Red Hook.

How to avoid ads on Google Reader?

Just use the Safari browser when you scan through Google Reader. These examples come from screenshots of the same article in Google Reader. The Firefox version has an Adobe ad.

Firefox displays ads...
firefox_googlereader.jpg


Safari doesn't...
safari_googlereader.jpg


Need I say more?

There is an actual Firefox Add-On called Adblocker Plus, but I was able to correctly set my office computer (because my co-worker Angelos helped me), yet I was not able to properly set this app on my laptop. It's great because it rids all ad banners, and I don't have to worry about losing auto-fill. There's also an app that blocks Flash Ad/animations, but I haven't tried it yet. There were a lot of positive reviews for it.

flash_adblocker.jpg

July 29, 2008

Scrabulous doesn't work...

scrabulous_hasbro_ban1.jpg

scrabulous_hasbro_ban2.jpg

Restaurant Week in NYC

Restaurant week started yesterday in NYC. Some of the hottest restaurants in the city are offering Prix-Fixe meals at affordable prices. Lunch for $25 and Dinner for $35. You can get wine pairings for an additional $20 to $30 a person.

The best place to book reservations is through OpenTable.com. They list all the restaurants participating, and which meals. For instance, Morimoto offers only lunch. This a great way to get motivated to try something new. You will feel less anxious, and you'll be surrounded by other newbies. They give 2-3 options for appetizers, entrees and desserts, and if you're a vegetarian, do not worry (there's usually an option for non-meat-eaters). Of course you can cover more ground if you bring more friends (share samples).

So far, I've been to Thalassa (a Greek restaurant), Morimoto (Japanese Iron Chef), and Delmonico's (Steak place), and I haven't been disappointed yet. Luckily, my Greek friend forewarned me that Thalassa's specialty is pairing wines with the meals (so we don't skimp on wine there). Our server at Morimoto told us that the fish is flown from Japan four times a week, the rice they use is special, and you can tell they don't use the green powder to make the wasabi. Delmonico's is classic, and they have a dress code of "business casual," so if you want to dress up and impress your date, Delmonico's is a great excuse.

Below are some pix from Morimoto's and Thalassa. I totally forgot to take photos at Delmonico's :( And of course the cellphone doesn't do the meals justice:

Morimoto:
morimoto1_sm.jpg

morimoto2_sm.jpg tuna, striped bass, salmon, yellowtail, mackerel, shrimp, red clam, eel and spicy tuna rolls (Chef Morimoto's sushi selection)

morimoto3_sm.jpg

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Thalassa:

thalassa1a_sm.jpg
Vine ripened tomato salad with feta cheese

thalassa1b_sm.jpg
Grape leaves Avgolemono stuffed rice and ground veal

thalassa2a_sm.jpg
Colorado lamb chops with string beans

thalassa2b_sm.jpg
Fire roasted Lavraki with spinach risotto

thalassa3a_sm.jpg
Raspberry yogurt cake with Valrhona chocolate sauce

thalassa3b_sm.jpg
Traditional walnut cake with fresh orange flavored honey syrup

thalassa_wine_sm.jpg


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At Delmonico's, I tried the tuna carpaccio, filet mignon, and vanilla custard. All were good... sorry no photos.

About July 2008

This page contains all entries posted to keeyool.com in July 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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