I have way too much news and comment
to catch up on today. At the risk of sounding even more hyperactive
than usual, I'll plop them all into one entry and overload your brains,
Lots and lots of stuff to talk about
here on this Tuesday!
First, can I ask the gallery... does
anyone out there have anything positive to say about E-Trade? I've
had a whole month's worth of entertainment dealing with those people, in
a whole bunch of different ways, and for all their advertising hype about
"a better way to trade," well... I have yet to find it.
They don't offer any way for me to pay
my home equity loan (which they bought from E-Loan) directly from my existing
They place a special hold on funds transferred
in from outside accounts for the first thirty days of the account's existence,
even though no one has ever been able to locate for me the section of
the customer agreement allowing them to do so.
They send lots of stupid junk mails.
Some functions can't be done through
Their home equity lending and brokerage
businesses are treated like separate businesses, so if you transfer money
from brokerage to a loan payment, the loan people have no way of finding
out where the pending payment is.
When you place a trade order, the money
vanishes from your account immediately even if the trade doesn't
take place for days or even weeks, as in the case of a limit order.
Their customer service people are remarkably
ill-informed and even simple questions require 10 or 15 minutes on hold
while they "research your question."
So, I'm just curious... is it just me,
or do they suck for everybody? Write me if you have good or
bad experiences. My own impression of them can be summed up by the
tag I have for the site on my browser bookmarks, which is E*Shit.
In more positive things, I had a terrific
weekend in North Carolina with a very nice lady I met online. We
wandered all over the upper Outer Banks, including some time on the Segways
(which were a big hit in Nag's Head), had some great seafood -- I am now
a huge fan of Dungeness crab -- and a great steak. Met a couple of
very nice cats, including one in a pottery workshop over in Manteo, the
site of the "Lost
Colony." The cat was
quite friendly and let us play with its toes.
We also talked a lot, and even if this
woman isn't the ultimate love of my life, I am pretty certain she'll be
a lifelong friend. The sense of comfort was amazing. I won't
go into any more detail than that.
One minor snag during the weekend: Sunday
night we were at a place in Kill
Devil Hills called JK's, a local
fixture for a number of years which burned down and then after some years
was reopened. I will recommend them without any hesitation... it
was one of the best steaks I've ever had, and entrees arrived with astonishing
speed. I liked this place almost as much as Charley's
in Orlando, which many of you
know I've loved for years when I've been down at Lotusphere. Anyway,
somehow I forgot to lock the Volkswagen when we went over there, and when
we got back out, someone had borrowed the 40Gb iPod. I guess they
needed it more than I did, or something. In searching the car for
it, I did find my old 20Gb, so the rest of the weekend was not music-less.
I just figure that anyone young and stupid enough to steal an iPod
out of a car would probably already have a newer, better one. In
any case, that theft gave me an excuse to indeed buy a newer, better one,
which is out in the car being synced with the iBook even as we speak. Now
watch, as soon as I get home I'll learn that Apple will have released a
120Gb model for the same price or something, not unlike my recent history
replacing that selfsame iBook!
In other fun news, the drive down and
back was pretty painless... I averaged nearly 70mph on the way down despite
spectacular lightning near Norfolk and heavy rain in Currituck County,
North Carolina. On the way back, traffic was more of a factor, but
the annoyance was greatly offset by the delight of paying $2.61 a gallon
for gas in Massaponax, Virginia, just south of Fredericksburg. At
home, gas is still $2.99 or so.
I got my hands on an evaluation copy
of the 7.0 version of Lotus Workflow while I was away, and have been spending
the morning farting around with it. For the price -- $95 per developer
-- it's an amazing product and has only improved with age. The 7.0
release will still work with a 6.5x client, by the way. When I've
fooled with it some more, I'll come back and talk about it. I'm
looking at it for a project involving routing and approval of regulations,
a task that is currently handled by some software written by Lockheed-Martin
and which I've described in less-than-glowing terms. I think I referred
to Lockheed's final product as "the biggest piece of crap I'd ever
seen." Or maybe I was just thinking that in my head.
Anyway, we'll be redoing the process
as a pure Domino application with Lotus Workflow... I predict much happiness
later this summer when I deploy it to the users, who think the current
Lockheed tool blows ass, too. They're just nicer than I am about
it. They're such nice ladies.