Top Posts Of The Week And Open Thread

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  1. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    Woo-hoo, Friday! Any fun plans this weekend, anybody?
    I have my family coming over to watch the Bears/Packers game. Should be exciting!

    • pop top says:

      I’d like to see a Bears/Steelers or Packers/Steelers Super Bowl. Two old school, blue collar-type teams would be great to watch. Anybody but the Jets I guess, hehe.

      • Me - now with more humidity says:

        Any of those match-ups would be spectacular. If only they played the SB in frigid weather, it would truly be old school.

        • pop top says:

          Oh yes. A snowy SB with any of those three teams would be amazing. As long as the Colts and the Patriots aren’t anywhere near the SB, I’m happy.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      No plans this weekend, so anything’s possible!
      Probably lots of yard work if the weather holds…
      maybe work in a trip to the flea market…

    • nbs2 says:

      I’ll be pondering the snow forecast from last night. 1-2″ in the DC area, more as you got towards the M-D line. End result? Bupkis.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      No ice this weekend (rinkwise) so I’m going to start playing Hitman 2 – Silent Assassin. Watch me get killed 1000 times. :P

  2. JulesNoctambule says:

    My beloved ancient Nokia is starting to have trouble keeping a charge, and I think it’s time to search out a new phone. Anyone have any experiences with phones/providers that you’d recommend to use/avoid? The only thing I know for sure is that I will not be getting an iPhone.

    • axhandler1 says:

      I couldn’t be happier with my Driod Incredible on Verizon.

    • turkishmonky says:

      +1 for the droid incredible. I have no problems with battery life (30+ hours if I’m not playing games all day), it’s small enough to keep in my pocket, but easy to see, and I had a reasonably easy time rooting it.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      Consider Sprint. They have pretty cost effective bundle plans that include voice minutes and unlimited text and data and they’ve actually got some pretty solid phones now too. The HTC EVO is a more than worth competitor to the Ipod but they have some other cheaper options as well. Customer has greatly improved too. Of course they are adding that stupid $10 smartphone fee soon but even with that they are still one of the best bargains out there as far as major providers go.

    • Jfielder says:

      Sprint sucks pretty much everywhere in my state (MI). Between that and their useless customer service I have vowed to never give them another dime of my money. So far (knock on wood) Verizon has been awesome for me. Love my Droid X, but in my opinion Motorola phones have proven to be the toughest phones I’ve owned. I will probably never own another Samsung phone after the last turd I owned (Omnia).

    • pop top says:

      My contract with Verizon is coming up soon and I’ve been looking for new phones as well. I definitely don’t want an iPhone or a Blackberry, and I’m pretty apprehensive about getting a Droid since Mr. Squinko has had so much trouble with his Droid X. I’ve gone into two different Verizon stores to look at their Windows phones but they don’t have any except online, and I’m not buying a phone I can’t play with first. Anyone have any ideas for me?

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i find myself quite happy with the phone and service i’ve gotten from cricket. i don’t need a fancy phone that does everything, so i have a semi smart phone – some web access, camera, etc. it’s prepaid so no surprises, unlimited minutes/text/data [but you can’t watch video on the phone or anything] and their coverage area has really improved the last couple of years.
      they do have droids now if you need something fancier, and they still have them with prepaid plans.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      I don’t know what company you’re with, but I can tell you that I highly reccomend HTC hardware. I have the HTC Aria on AT&T, and people call it a “baby Android phone” because it doesn’t have as much power as the bigger ones, but I think it’s perfect for my uses, and I really love it. And I have never ever had a cellphone as clear as this one is, everyone can hear/understand me when I talk on it, and that is amazing. I had a really old Nokia as my first phone and it was pretty good, but nothing can beat the call quality on this new phone. It’s as good as my house phone.

  3. cynical_reincarnation says:

    GO PACKERS!
    that is all.

  4. DJ Charlie says:

    Well, here’s hoping this weekend goes smoother than this week has. The new station servers have been crashing all week (ever try reindexing 9tb of files while people scream at you that they need access NOW?).

    Got the crashes fixed, and attacks started pouring in from a certain cable internet provider’s IP addresses.

    Got that cleared up, and my desktop crashed 10 minutes before my show last night.

    Got another show tonight, and so far the board is green.

    I REALLY need a day off.

  5. mac-phisto says:

    so, latest system update bricked my 360. it’s been working great until it started installing the dl & BAM! rrod. not under warranty. :(

    anyone else experiencing this? anyone have any ideas on solutions? i’ve fixed 360’s before, but i fear that the update may have wiped or corrupted the system bios. don’t know that i can fix that…

    • pop top says:

      Really? I did the update and everything was fine. Are you sure it couldn’t have been anything else? Have you Googled around to see if anyone else had this problem? I’d call XB support and see what they say. You could be one of those very bad, no good people and wrap a towel around your system to get it to overheat and get the warranty-covered RRoD, but only bad people do that.

      • mac-phisto says:

        it’s out of warranty for the rrod (3 year expired in 09/10), so the towel won’t help. i’m pretty sure it was the update – it initialized the download & then red ringed exactly when the installation was prompted. i sent support an email regarding it, but haven’t received anything but a canned response yet.

        i did google it, but there are only story links to the (supposed) kinect/rrod connection & rrod’s that may have been connected to last year’s system update.

        not really sure where to go from here. there’s a guy down the road that says he fixes 360’s – maybe that’s worth a shot…

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      We just updated, and have not had any problems.
      Though, just seeing that acccursed four-letter acronym makes me cross myself and knock on wood.

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        OMG, I love Racecar in the chicken hat.

        • cash_da_pibble says:

          The best part is that he didn’t mind the hat, he disliked the camera in his face more!
          I swear if he wasn’t the BF’s cat, he’d wear a dress every other day.

  6. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    Tht ct nds ts whskrs trmmd.

  7. turkishmonky says:

    i’m so happy i sent my gateway computer in for a warranty repair (instantly died when i plugged it in, it’s 11 months old), and they actually ended up being no hassle – they replaced the motherboard, cpu, graphics board, and even the keyboard.

    First time I used a warranty repair, so I was freaking out for a bit that they would stonewall to get past the 1 year warranty, but i had no problems whatsoever.

    • axhandler1 says:

      Nice! I just sent in my Optoma HD65 projector for a warranty repair, my first one as well and I’m pretty nervous about it. Hopefully it goes as smoothly as yours did.

  8. dragonfire81 says:

    I would like to take this opportunity to voice my concerns about this blog since this is the closest thing Consumerist has to a general comments section.

    I’ve been coming to this site for nearly 4 years now and I’ve been concerned lately with what appears to be a decline both in involvement from Ben and Meg and in the general quality of posts. And I’m not talking just about the subject matter, but frequently the headlines themselves are poorly written and the post is little more than an email from a reader followed by “if you were in the situation, what would you do?” I think we can all agree that’s pretty lame, although I certainly don’t mind the occasional short post like that every now and then.

    I like variety in stories. I don’t mind the regular receipt checking brouhahas, the Best Buy hate stories and the Apple bashing, nor do I mind posting of stories like the one yesterday about the lady who fell texting and is now suing the mall. It doesn’t have to be hard hitting consumer stuff all the time, but things shouldn’t be going too far in the other direction either. I’ve noticed this happening on some days lately.

    From what I can tell, this site has reasonable resources. If Ben and Meg can’t dedicate as much time to it as they need to, maybe it’s time to step aside a little and give others more responsibility in certain areas.

    I’m not posting this to ruffle feathers or as an attack on the editors of this site, but I love this place and I’ve seen a lot of changes in it over 4 years. Some have been for the better, others not so much.

    I mentioned in the post about nominating Consumerist for the bloggies that many commenters, myself included, have been raising concerns about the quality of the site for awhile now and there’s been little response from the people at the top or it seems like they aren’t listening to us at all. Like the people in some many of your posts who have trouble getting much out of the companies they deal with, I think we deserve better.

    Like I said, I think it’s a great site and I want to see it flourish. This site, like so many others, is dependent on having an audience to make it work. If no one comes, there’s no point in having the site. A website that does not listen to its audience, like a company who does not listen to their customers, will seldom succeed.

    Why don’t we get a little more dialogue going and work together to make The Consumerist great again?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Assumin the Consumerist team read this, I do have one suggestion to combat your frustrations.

      Do an expose on Consumerist itself. Go in to detail on what you do and how you do it. Your day-to-day operations. Talk about the staff. If the staff has truly had to limit it’s involvement recently, or ever, explain why. We’re all adult(ish) here, and I think we can take the truth.

      I think we the readers and commenters would truly appreciate knowing how this product is created. We love it, and believe in it, so knowing more about it will only make us love it more.

    • Bativac says:

      I think either the editors don’t read the comments on their own site or, the only other option, is that they don’t care. (I guess a 3rd option could be that they don’t see the perceived drop in quality.)

      I haven’t donated any money to them so I don’t care too much one way or the other. It’s a not-for-profit site, like Consumer Reports, so there’s no advertising that gets in the way. They can do whatever they want with the site. It’s nice to have a site that regularly updates throughout the day – giving me something to do, er, between working – but it’d be nice to see more “hard hitting” articles.

      I do think that they have gone from being a relevant, important blog to “just another random stories throughout the day” blog, which is a shame.

    • pop top says:

      You and I are usually on different sides on most articles, but you perfectly expressed how I’ve been feeling about this site for a while now. I even took to writing Meg about Phil a few months ago and never heard anything back (not that I was surprised about it). This site when from a quality, caring, informative, tight-knit place to find funny or useful stories and information to a poorly-written, poorly-ran and full of just absolutely horrible commenters with little to no supervision. It’s not that much fun here any more and no one is doing their job.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      I have to concur.
      We used to find fascinating articles here, and now it’s only a step up from Fark.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      it does make me wonder if there’s a connection between limited funding due to not advertising on the site and the editors having to pick up other work. i mean, if the drop in investigative reporting type things is due to pay cuts, i’d get that.

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      What the hell does this have to do with Consumers!? Oh, wait… nevermind 8-)

  9. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    That’s one of my favorite cat photos now. Something about that pink collar just sets the tone for the photo.

  10. CrankyOwl says:

    I have the day off, so woo hoo! OTOH, it’s been raining nonstop for hours and payday is not until next Friday, so meh.

    And just in case anybody missed it, here’s this week’s drunk animal story:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/18/drunk-owl-taken-in-by-ger_n_810571.html

  11. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    I just had pho for lunch. Mmmmm, pho. A thought occurred to me as I was eating – who assigns the numbers? I was eating at “Pho 79″ (t-shirts avaiable that say “It’s so pho king good”). In the WaPo the other day, I was reading about places in DC with names such as “Pho 75″ and “Pho 81″. So is there a super secret pho HQ where they dole out the numbers?

    Yes, I could be much busier at work ….

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      We have pho-by-numbers here, too, and I’ve always wondered about the significance of it.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t know what the numbers are all about, but I agree with you that pho is awesome. I could eat that stuff all day. I’ve seen the Pho (insert number) all over the place, and I suspect it kind of took off because the noodle shops are mostly known for two things: noodles and rice. The rice with the little thing of sweet sauce and the pork and the beef…that’s something else I could eat all day. People immigrating from Vietnam had to make their point pretty clear and if they didn’t know too much English, naming your restaurant Pho was pretty clear in itself. It’s like saying your restaurant’s name is Noodles because that’s what you serve.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      yuuuum, I love Pho.
      Haven’t had any in a while since the only place close to my home is 1/2 hr away.

      As for the numbers, it may be a Franchise…
      the place I go to is New Tung Kee # 3, and I know there are other New Tung Kee’s.

    • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

      Hmm, interesting. The pho restaurant around here is Pho #1. Must be the best. It’s in the back of an Asian market next door to a thrift store. An interesting setting. I have heard it’s great though.

  12. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    WOoooooooooooooo.

    I’m not really excited about anything this week. Not feeling bad, not really great either.. Just kinda… whatever? I dunno.

    I’m still bored. I need something.. maybe a new hobby.. or.. I don’t know. I got that new video camera for Christmas, and I should start trying to make videos. Maybe I can take over youtube!… Probably not. But you’d subscribe to KimarooTV, wouldn’t you?

    • CrankyOwl says:

      Would there be cats and shifty-eyed cows on KimarooTV? Then I’d subscribe.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      sure, as long as there’s not too many shows on knitting

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        I don’t think I could do much about knitting, unless I become a “Vlogger” and I’m in a knitting phase. I do want to film my hands knitting something though, I think it’d be neat to see/show people how I knit, because the way I do it isn’t in any of the books.

        But that’d just be one thing, not a lot. Hehe.

    • pop top says:

      KimarooTV sounds excellent, but it should feature a lot of cats, a few dogs and one or two small rodents (especially if you’re going for the Consumerist demographic).

      As for hobbies, is it possible for you to volunteer somewhere? I don’t want to sound insensitive, but I don’t know what your handicap is and therefore I don’t know if it would be possible for you to frolic around with kitties at your local shelter, or shelve books at the library or what. If nothing else, you could find a local organization you like and do basic office work for them; stuff envelopes, put together fliers, etc. Or take up some sort of craft– knitting, crocheting, beading, whatever. I need a hobby myself, but I just don’t know where to get started either. Hehe.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        she knits, i think she’s bored with knitting too.

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        Things like volunteering might become possible when I am able to drive. I have my equipment on my car now but lessons have been put on hold because my teacher (Dad) is too busy caring for my grandma right now. I hope he has some free time soon so we can get this ball rolling.

        I say I’m disabled, and I am, but I still go to work (part time) every day. I’m just tired of the work/home and back again schedule I seem to be on. It’s a rut. You know?

        Knitting and I are old pals from way back, I have had a little resurgance in knitting since I knit for my mom for Christmas, so I am feeling into it again, but then she asked for another thing and I’ve been procratinating on it. When I do that, I don’t knit anything else because I “should be” working on that other thing. So I just do nothing. That’s productive! lol!

        As for KimarooTV, I have the cats covered.. and I can borrow my dad’s dog every once in a while.. but other small furry rodents… I’m not sure. Perhaps I can go out in my complex and find a squirrel to film.

        Hm.

        I think the video thing could become a new hobby. Maybe that’s what I should be doing.

        • pop top says:

          I know you recently had your equipment installed and I was wondering how that was going. I am sorry to hear about your grandmother being ill. It’s never fun when family gets old. I hear you about being in a rut though. While we have started doing the fresh foods/cooking at home more thing (I don’t know if you’ve read any of my posts about it…), I’d still like to do *something* else. I just don’t want to be one of those people who start collecting things to start this hobby or that hobby and then have a room filled with half-made junk and random pieces to different things. I’d like to start meditating at some point, but I don’t have the patience. Hehe.

          Squirrels are awesome and would be totally welcome. Ooh, I have your new hobby: squirrel wrangling!

          • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

            Yes, I have read about your food changes! I have a similar situation starting at my house too. Usually Mr. Aroo eats out every meal (he eats between jobs) and now he’s decided that we should eat at home. We have been doing it a week, and let me just say.. the dinners have NOT been exciting. Or very tasty, in my opinion. We need to get together and go grocery shopping. He did the shopping by himself last week…. the result was.. interesting ; ) I’d LOVE to take cooking classes, but that’s another thing that I’d have to drive to.

            My whole world will open up when I can drive.. I am ready for it now, I think. Hehe.

            Squirrel wrangling, hehehe.

            • pop top says:

              You two should each pick a few types of dishes you want to cook, get good at the basics of them and then start playing around with the ingredients. One of my favorite things to make is stir-fry because you can put ANYTHING in it and make it as healthy (or unhealthy) as you wish. You can make it kosher, halal, vegetarian (or vegan), do a surf and turf, add in a not-everyday meat like duck or lamb and it’s super easy. Last week I made a basic pork stir-fry and once I get to the grocery store this weekend, I’m going to do a Mexican stir-fry with chorizo and yellow rice and peppers. Yum!  I also recommend reading this Lifehacker article (http://lifehacker.com/5723507/resolved-eat-better-not-more-for-a-healthier-diet); it has a lot of really good info in it. I’d love to take some cooking classes too, mostly so I can work on my knife technique and learn how to make Chinese dishes properly.

  13. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i’m considering trying to hook my roku [oldest version] up to a flat panel computer monitor a friend gave me that i don’t use very often.
    “the internet” says it can be done but i’m wondering if anyone here has tried it, and if so, were you successful?

  14. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Hilarious cat photo!

    It’s so cold. I want it to stop. I can’t wait for next month. Four days in Arizona with my honey, where it’s warm! WOO HOOOOO!!!! I has me a ticket and everything! XD

    I’m going to play Hitman this weekend, write some articles, do a blog post (poor blog, it’s been neglected while I struggle to establish a schedule for the full-time job and the freelance job) and just REST. It’s been a rough week and I’m tired.

    Everybody have a great weekend yourselves!

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i await the account of your experience with airport security. especially if you go through skyharbor/PHX because that’s one of the airports i am most likely to have to go to ever again

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I’m not going that way; I’m flying directly into Tucson’s airport, so we don’t have to waste time driving. I was going to have a layover in Denver, but then it was like, “Denver…in February…yeah, there will be snow.” I don’t want to get stuck on the way there (coming back I won’t miss anything but work, ha ha!) so I’m going through Dallas.

        I wanna use the train at the Dallas airport. :) Last time I went through there I don’t think they had it. It was long long ago.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      Yaaay, next month isn’t too far away!

  15. Griking says:

    I was wondering, are traffic signs such as yield and stop that are located on private property (such as malls and condos) legally enforceable? I’m not blowing through them but can I get a ticket if I don’t come to a complete stop at them?

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Hmmm…. I’m not sure, but I would do my best to obey them. At best you’ll avoid an accident. If they are and you have one, at least it won’t be your fault.

    • snowmanny says:

      It’s my understanding (with no legal training or research) that the only private property vehicle violation that cops can enforce is parking in a handicapped spot. Also, you gotta watch out for malls with real roads running through them. I see real cops watching the loop road that goes around a local mall.

      I’d also agree with Hogwarts. If for no other reason than to avoid an accident, I’d still try to obey them.