Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Change of address

Please follow the continuing stories of Doctor Barnett at technically.us/doc.

Love
Doctor B.

Monday, September 19, 2005

iMac busted again

Our troublesome iMac G5 failed once again last weekend. We’re still under warranty, whoop-tee-doo, but we’ve probably lost everything on the hard drive. Like most people, we have some backups but they’re incomplete and out of date.

I’m mad as hell at Apple all over again, mad enough to buy a PC in fact. I can hardly believe it myself, but the various PC parts are already on their way from Newegg for a grand total of $350. (I’m not putting Windows on it. Give me some credit.)

There’s more to it than anger, of course. My iMac G5 (like all others sold last year) is prone to overheating and generally runs at a temperature that increases the probability of component (hard drive) failure. It must be babied. I revile the idea of babying a computer, but there is nothing that I can (or Apple will) do about it.

More to come…

Saturday, September 10, 2005

To Suck Ass

To: TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov
Subject: Shoe off, shoe on, shoe up.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I wonder if you are aware of how poorly your administration’s policies are applied by its employees at airports across the United States (and territories). In the past year, I have been witness to violations of your “TSA Shoe Screening Policy” in the following airports: New York LaGuardia & JFK, San Juan P.R, San Francisco CA, and Raleigh N.C. The shoe policy has not changed over the past year, yet it is so consistently violated in such far-flung airports that I wonder if even management discreetly encourages its infringement.

To be clear, no one has merely “recommended” that I remove my shoes. In each of the airports I’ve cited, TSA employees have required that I remove my shoes regardless of their shape and lack of metallic content. In the early afternoon on Monday, September 5 at RDU I listened as a television video recommended that I remove my shoes — for what reason it recommended this I can not imagine. I prefer shoes, so I declined and passed through the metal detector without setting of its alarm. Nevertheless, the gentleman on the far side ordered me to go to back up and send my shoes through the x-ray, saying that it did not matter “if my shoes set off the alarm or not.” I later passed this information on to the overseeing TSA supervisor, who admitted the employee was in violation of the policy and said he would “speak with him.”

How is it possible that this employee and the half-dozen other violators I’ve encountered in the past year fail to understand a very simple policy? It says clearly on your website “You are not required to remove your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detector.” Is it some kind of joke to them? Is it some kind of joke to you? I’m sick and tired of fighting with your employees, who must be frighteningly daft or are sadistically pleased in forcing everyone to march around barefoot. Either way, these are not people I want to be responsible for my protection, nor are their sloppy and permissive managers.

Each time I fly, I hope that the situation has resolved itself in some obvious way. Each time I am gravely disappointed. You have two options: 1) change the policy to suit the whims of your daft or sadistic employees, or, 2) get your employees in line! By failing to adapt to a simple procedural change in the course of over a year, you’ve proven your entire organization to be incompetent.

Please let me know when it’s safe to expect TSA employees to follow TSA policy.

Doctor Barnett

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Why are NYC dentists scumbags?

Surely everyone living here has wondered: how do educated and respected professionals become as dishonest as New York City dentists? I’ve seen three different dentists in the city and all of them have tried to rip me off in one way or another. The first performed unnecessary fillings and claimed not to have the standard filling material paid for by my insurance. The second repeatedly filed insurance claims incorrectly and would bill me for more than the difference. On my third dentist last week, I found the entire office running a scam to eek an extra seventy-five dollars out of soft-looking customers like myself. Have some decency people!

The problem, as well as I can tell, is that dentists in the city expect to be paid more than those outside the city. (Everybody expects this. Bums expect this, and I'm sure they get it too.) Either the insurance companies won’t pay city dentists extra, or the difference isn’t enough to make them happy. I suspect they’re greedy enough to try to bump up the price either way. They see an insured customer paying nothing out-of-pocket as easy prey, someone just asking to be billed a little extra.

Never mind that many people pay a portion of their dental premiums themselves, and even if they don’t it’s lifted from their potential salary. When I walk into a dentist expecting a free cleaning, it’s because I’ve already paid for it over the past half year. If I were going to pay anything for the cleaning, I wouldn’t have insurance in the first place. You have no right to perform some outrageous-sounding procedure when I ask for a cleaning, then tell me that at my insurance rate it would cost over $400 dollars but that you’ll only bill me $75 because you’re nice. You’re like a character from a 1980s movie about New York. You’re a scumbag. Go back to Russia.

(I didn’t pay. Thanks for the free periodontal scaling, fuckers.)