Wednesday, 30 April 2014

By on April 30th, 2014 in netflix, science kits

08:45 – Imagine my surprise the other night when I fired up Netflix streaming and was presented with a screen of legal jargon. The icons below the boilerplate offered only two options: “Accept” or “Email me a copy”. So I emailed myself a copy, and was then down to one option: Accept. Whatever happened to decline?

As I was about to click Accept–since there was no other choice–I noticed that I did indeed have another option. I could view the next screen of the contract. I was on screen 1. Of 102 screens! I clicked through the first few screens and got the general sense that (a) Netflix isn’t liable for anything, (b) that we can use the “service” only by doing exactly what Netflix says we’re allowed to do, and (c) that we’re under no circumstances allowed to sue Netflix. By this time, Barbara was getting impatient, so I just clicked on accept.

I can’t believe that Netflix lawyers actually think this “contract” would be enforceable, particularly since they don’t (as Microsoft does) force you to scroll all the way through the whole thing before you can accept it. My guess is that about 99.999% of Netflix streaming customers (including attorneys…) will simply click accept at the first screen. In no way does that constitute a meeting of the minds. Unconscionable, more like. What was Reed Hastings thinking?

12:15 – I had a kit to ship to an APO address this morning. I’d never done that with the software, so I decided to give it a try with USPS Click-N-Ship, not really expecting it to work. It worked, accepting my credit card as though there’d never been a problem.

I’m still making up solutions and filling bottles. I have everything I need to build another two or three dozen each of the biology and chemistry kits, so it’s just a matter of getting them assembled. I want to go into June with at least 60 biology kits and 90 chemistry kits ready to ship, and into July with at least the same number in finished-goods inventory. That means we’re going to have to label and fill thousands of bottles and build quite a few kits between now and then.

29 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 30 April 2014"

  1. bgrigg says:

    Bob, most business owners aren’t like you, or even Microsoft for that matter. They don’t think, they count. All they are interested in is whatever profits they get.

  2. Lynn McGuire says:

    I can’t believe that Netflix lawyers actually think this “contract” would be enforceable, particularly since they don’t (as Microsoft does) force you to scroll all the way through the whole thing before you can accept it.

    I will guarantee you that Netflix’s lawyers are better than your lawyer.

    I got a demand letter from Bill Gates lawyers once. There were 50 names on the front page and they were just the partners.

  3. rick says:

    I can’t believe that Netflix lawyers actually think this “contract” would be enforceable

    You have more faith in the courts than I do. Our supreme court has said that corporations are people, allowed the prohibition of class actions and enforced mandatory arbitration clauses, no matter how one sided. There is no such thing as a contract, as taught in law school, between large corporations and their customers. There are “Terms and Conditions” which allow the corporation to change the rules at their whim. Even if you’re right, it is rarely worth fighting.

    Rick in Portland

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I will guarantee you that Netflix’s lawyers are better than your lawyer.

    Come to that, my friend Tony from Detroit trumps any lawyers…

  5. rick says:

    I got a demand letter from Bill Gates lawyers once. There were 50 names on the front page and they were just the partners.

    I got a demand letter from a lawyer accusing me of slandering him by calling him a crook. I replied that I did not call him a crook, I said that I would not trust him as far as I could throw him and explained why based on my prior dealings with him. I never heard back from him. I was tempted to tell him to count to four in binary in his fingers, but I doubt he would have understood.

    Rick in Portland

  6. MrAtoz says:

    Speaking of the law, I see the DumbOcrats are going to vote on some bill to amend the Constitution (1st amendment). They are probably so dumb they think 60 votes in the Senate are all they need to amend the Constitution. I guess they really think it is a piece of toilet paper.

  7. Lynn McGuire says:

    Mr. Atoz, URL please? And remember, the Republicans are Democrats in disguise nowadays. The R’s will vote for anything to shut Rush Limbaugh up.

  8. MrAtoz says:

    I haven’t followed the Clippers/Sterling debacle. I guess the owners can force him out of the franchise, but how can he be fined $2.5 million for saying something in private. Obviously racist, but so what. I would fight in court to the end. He’s old, rich and hasn’t anything to do. The libs make it sound like he went down on the court and yelled “get out n-words”. Jesse Jackson showed up on the court at a recent game I heard. He’s probably leading the libs in boycotting the Clippers games. Punish the innocent.

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    most business owners aren’t like you, or even Microsoft for that matter. They don’t think, they count. All they are interested in is whatever profits they get.

    Making a payroll gets your attention. I am personally liable for all IRS payments for each of my employees. If that wire transfer bounces for any reason, they can come after me and my property for the cash. Plus penalties and interest.

  10. OFD says:

    Speaking of financial matters:

    From the It Would Take a Bile Specialist Department:

    Just tried to enroll in online banking with our (longtime major bank) and filled in all the info and hit “submit” and it didn’t like my username, which was perfectly “legal” by their own requirement. I tried another one and it then threw me out, saying I’d had too many attempts (one) to enroll and would have to call a customer service 800 number (and be bounced through menus and put on hold for however long).

    Looked at Amazon reviews of Quicken Deluxe 2014 and it got trashed, in detail. (failed downloads, failed installs, crashes, not much improvement over previous years, shitty sync with mobile devices, etc., etc.)

    Looked into and started initial signup and it wanted all the account info and passwords to everything, presumably stored in the “cloud”on their servers somewhere and I noted they’d been bought out by Intuit anyway a few years ago.

    Now at the point where I’m considering either using GnuCash on this machine and/or a spreadsheet.

    Low fotties here and steady drizzle turning to heavy rains overnight, which we need like a hole in the head. I did a twenty-mile recon this afternoon around points north of here toward the border and the wottuh from Champlain and the adjoining marshes and bogs is right up to the roads. Drove by the two Border Patrol stations but didn’t see anyone out and about on patrol. We are waterlogged in this state now. The opposite of TX and CA.

    And the local paper wants to interview Mrs. OFD and me on the mental health first aid for veterans program that she is spearheading nationwide now; I’ll have some nice stories for them, LOL.

  11. OFD says:

    Also had done recons of gun shops in the area this past week on the ammo situation; stocks are back up but quirky inventories; could not find any 38+P anywhere, just loads of regular .38 and meager choices of .357. Plenty of rifle and shotgun ammo. Store fifteen miles to our northeast here has a real nice selection of AR-platform stuff. And a few hundred envelopes/forms for the annual state moose lottery. Plus an ATM machine by the front counter/doorway. Sign on the wall sez to have one’s firearms unloaded and open when coming into the place, LOL. Guy working there today bent my ear at length on how his kids get messed around by the local skools, plus the latest imbecilic attempts by the usual suspect libtards in this state to ratchet up some gun control stuff. Assholes. We have the most liberal gun laws in the country and the lowest violent crime stats, coincidence? Plus the little fact they absolutely hate to admit: the homogeneous population for the three northern New England states and Canadian Maritimes. The libtards in general are not from around here and have not grown up with or had any familiarity with firearms, which they loathe and fear, thus the perennial attempts to enact ordinances and legislation, which, of course, does absolutely nothing; except make them feel good about themselves and holier than the rest of us peasant scum.

  12. SteveF says:

    It Would Take a Bile Specialist

    You rang?

  13. OFD says:


    The usual wacky muthas are still loose out there, I guess. “You shouldn’t forget to take yer meds before you head out to your Nazi Party/KKK meetings as you all plot to murder and rape and cannibalize poor people of different races and religions, etc., etc.”

    When they’re in charge, as in the old Soviet Union, they send us to psychiatric wards, never to see the light of day again. Once the Gulag is no longer in fashion, that is, and has been demonstrated to most emphatically NOT be an economic mainstay and boon to the State.

    Pound used that bile specialist remark a few times, but mainly in regard to ass-hats who put together poetry anthologies, for example, but leaving out stuff he thought should have been included, and putting in shit that should not have. And he was generally right about that, too. I’ve stolen it repeatedly to express frustration and incomprehension at the various crap we have to deal with in this life that is mainly wrong and unnecessary.

    After ol’ Ezra and Old Possum, we’ve pretty much had nothing, at least as far as Murkan poetry is concerned, maybe Frost. All wingnuts, too. Today they’d all be rounded up, with Heinlein, and sent to re-education camps or maybe put in open-air cages like they did with Pound in Pisa, Italy. Where he wrote the Pisan cantos.

    And where he expected any day to be hanged.

  14. OFD says:

    Bile update:

    Going with GnuCash for Windows and whichever distro’s spreadsheet works best for us; Mrs. OFD being an independent contractor and me being an unemployed IT drone and bum. Got a GnuCash manual from Amazon for the Kindles.

    Just watched “Blue Ruin,” small cast and financed through kickstarter, and not a bad job at all. You wanna smack the main protagonist for being an unmanly and wimpish loser who doesn’t know squat about firearms but he racks up a body count anyway.

    Tomorrow night is a tossup between “Fat City,” “Mulholland Drive,” or “Crash.”

  15. brad says:

    Intuit had a brilliant idea in their day, with Quicken and Quickbooks: Cheap, easy-to-use software. In the meantime, they have become evil.

    Their support is worse than any other company I have had the misfortune of dealing with. Their software has become increasingly unreliable over the years, at least the versions we use. Their internal database is proprietary, and impossible to get any information out of. If it becomes corrupted (a regular occurance) and Quickbooks itself cannot fix it, you are simply screwed. The best case is “restore from backup”. In the worse case, you’ll find out that the corruption has been lurking in the file for some unknown amount of time, you’ve only noticed it at year end, and there is no choice but to muddle onwards.

    I am actually a fan of cloud-based services, but you’ve got to be able to trust the company – both in terms of integrity and reliaiblity. Intuit fails on both counts. Give Intuit access to your financial data? Hand them your passwords? Nuts, crazy, insane…

  16. Ray Thompson says:

    Going with GnuCash for Windows and whichever distro’s spreadsheet works best for us

    You can get you the final copy of MSMoney ( which was actually a fairly good program and that version does not require activation. I don’t know why Microsoft abandoned the product. I had used the product from it’s first release until the final demise. I decided to convert to Quicken once MS abandoned the product. I can also get you a copy of Quicken 2014 Deluxe (shhh, don’t tell anyone). I usually buy TurboTax and that gets me Quicken for half price. I only upgrade every other year.

    I have financial transactions starting from January 1, 1992. I can find out how much I have spent at Walmart (scary), spent on TV (even scarier) since that time. Quicken works OK for me and I have not had a crash or file corruption since using the product. Every once in awhile a transaction will go wonky but the same thing would happen in MSMoney.

    Back in 1997 I was a beta tester for Quicken. Found a nasty bug where a 16 bit counter was overflowing and smashing some other data. During that year I was the top beta tester for Quicken even though I was not using their product as my primary financial program.

  17. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    We gave up on Quicken 13 years ago.

  18. OFD says:

    “The best case is “restore from backup”

    This was a frequently recurring phrase in the Amazon and other online reviews and comments on Quicken.

    ” I can also get you a copy…”

    Thanks anyway, Ray; I believe we’ll just go the GnuCash/spreadsheet route here. And I’m sure we’ll run into plenty of aggravations anyway. So fah Turbo Tax has been OK, though.

  19. ech says:

    Looked at Amazon reviews of Quicken Deluxe 2014 and it got trashed, in detail.

    We’ve been using Quicken for quite a few years with no problems, upgraded a while back to the 2014 version. Now, we don’t sync to our mobile devices, but it’s been rock solid for us.

  20. OFD says:

    Yeah, that’s been the case for about a third of the online reviews and comments; maybe the bad reviews sort of self-select and get published; also, there’s the matter, as many of us have learned over the years, of an app’s viability on specific hardware and operating systems. There’s been a bunch of stuff that didn’t come over well on the Windows 8 machines so far. And in my case here I also had problems with HP Pavilions including the Qualcomm/Atheros ethernet controllers and those were a major PITA. Some apps like Quicken, of course, are also necessarily net-capable.

    I saw from some of the reviews that people had ditched Quicken 2014 and gone back to earlier versions, as well. It’s like a see-saw; get a new machine with or without a new o.s. and some apps won’t work; get new apps on yer old machine and then *they” might not work, either.

    We’ll fool around with GnuCash and a spreadsheet and I’ll try to remember to post our results here as we get further into it this year.

  21. Ray Thompson says:

    maybe the bad reviews sort of self-select and get published

    I think it is more like the people who have problems write a bad review to get even because they are pissed. Those that have no problems don’t bother to write a review. I know I don’t.

  22. OFD says:

    One of the reviews was fairly impressive; the guy was an IT pro and he had chapter and verse, at length, for everything that worked and didn’t work. His main personal and work platform was/is a Mac but he’d also fiddled with Windows vm’s and mobile devices.

    Others were just ordinary peeps who immediately ran into problems with the Amazon downloads and installation procedures, and then others who’d used it for many years and then inexplicably lost their data, as in *forever.” Unless they could “restore from backups.” And then there were some that got it and had no problems and everything was swell. I just don’t need the hassle when the GnuCash is free and we already have a choice of spreadsheets here via M$ Office 2013, OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

  23. Ray Thompson says:

    I just don’t need the hassle when the GnuCash is free

    Free is always good unless it’s a venereal disease.

    My needs are somewhat different. I have many investments and I have to track the sales, purchases, dividends and brokerage expenses. Quicken does this quite well along with downloading the daily quotes so I know how my investments are performing.

    I used Quicken in parallel with MSMoney for about four years as I was a beta test for Quicken. Never had a problem with a release product, alpha and beta versions had some difficulties that were resolved.

    After MSMoney was no longer I transitioned to Quicken full time. One release from Quicken, version 2012 I believe, went through 12 updates before some of the real glaring problems were fully resolved. I never lost any data. Quicken 2014 seems to be fairly solid and I have had no issues.

    I do backup my files and have Quicken append a date and time to the backups. When I get about 100 backup files I remove some of the older files. I have had to resort to a backup a couple of times because I messed some transactions up badly or decided to back out a bunch of transactions.

    Almost every transaction of mine is a split transaction with parts of the overall transaction going to different categories or even to different accounts. I currently have almost 100,000 transactions in my file.

  24. OFD says:

    Yikes. Yeah, your needs are a bit different than ours. We are simple peasant folk up here in the northern paht of New England, where they still have actual town meetings like in that old Norman Rockwell painting. Not to mention barn raisings, quilt-making, those stately white-steepled churches on the town commons, and the nearby Union soldier or doughboy statue, occasionally a Minuteman, but those are usually found further south in ye olden Commonwealth of Maffachufetts.

    I doubt we would have 100k transactions in several lifetimes and our investments consist of this house, my Loeb classics (Green and Latin facing page translations into early 20th-C English) and Pressed Rat’s collection of dog legs and feet.

  25. SteveF says:

    I used GnuCash for my business. I had three problems with it, only one of which was remotely their fault:

    – Our accountant (a friend of my wife’s, who works for one of the Big Accounting Firms in NYC and does tax stuff on the side) couldn’t and/or wouldn’t take our GC files and allegedly couldn’t import into her software whatever we exported. I don’t know how much of that was actual technical problem, how much was her inexpertise, and how much was her refusal to try.

    – There was difficulty in having the software talk to various banks, government agencies, and I don’t know who else. GnuCash didn’t do it at all, IIRC, whereas whatever mostly-online system my wife switched to did it pretty well.

    – I set up the income and expense categories and a bunch of other things wrong. Guess what? Turns out that having worked on a lot of accounting databases (unscrewing them and writing custom reports and such) does not in and of itself qualify you to set up the books for your own business, at least not in such a way as to make sense to an accountant who’s going to be doing your taxes.

    Overall I was pretty happy with GnuCash. Happier than with whatever Intuit program my wife switched to. That latter had more downtime than uptime, it seems in retrospect, what with login problems and the 24-hour support not being available and data being “you’ll have to re-enter it” lost.

    Free is always good unless it’s a venereal disease.

    Or healthcare. Free healthcare is really expensive, tends to free-ride on more free-as-in-freedom systems, and leads to death panels. If you’re OK with that, and have a more-free system to free ride on, go for it.

  26. OFD says:

    Dunno how long ago yer experience wid GnuCash was, but the Windows version I have here now allegedly connects to banks, etc. and does better import/export to and from other financial apps. Allegedly. We shall see, and I’ll post what I find out here as we get further into it.

    My previous post on our homely assets here should have read “Greek” instead of “Green,” which is a result my fast typing speed (55 WPM) and fat fingers turning occasionally arthritic or something in my dotage.

    And in case anyone younger than most of us here didn’t get the Pressed Rat reference:

  27. SteveF says:

    I set up GC for my business about four years ago. I think I grabbed the lowest-common-denominator version between available-on-Ubuntu (probably in the package system) and available-on-Windows. So, yah, pretty old, by software standards. Also, keep in mind that any or all of what I said could be wrong. Wronger than usual. I’m tired, tireder than usual, and awake only because I’m waiting for a phone call.

  28. OFD says:

    “…keep in mind that any or all of what I said could be wrong.”

    No fuckin way.

    Actually it looks pretty slick here on Winblows so fah; I have the Kindle manual for it open to my right of this wonderful Winblows 8.1 box and will work through it with the exercises, etc. and hopefully get some control over some kind of damn budget here (for the very first time ever) and also get Mrs. OFD involved with her contractor data and tax stuff on a regular basis, instead of the usual ad-hock, fly-by-night, whenever the sheriff is at the door with a summons situation, stuff. I take my share of blame/responsibility for letting things get to this sorry state, however. As the car repair shop guy said when I brought the MIL’s car in for inspection about three or four months late, “beyond negligence.” I made sure to lay that one on her later.

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