Isaac's Blog

November 27, 2006

From the misc dept.  

Receipt checking is stupid

I just submitted [on 10/20] this at

I recently had a very negative experience at the round rock store. I
frequent this store at least monthly, but I feel I wont ever again.
They instituted some new "door receipt checker" policy which blindly
labels every patron as a crook. Upon leaving the checkout stand, I
removed my two bags and box (with a handle) and proceeded to walk out
the store. A person asked me for my receipt.

As I just checked out,
and have my hands full, I said "no thank you". Upon walking to my
car, putting my items i just purchased away, and I notice this same
person writing something down about 30 feet from my car. Naturally,
this angered me. I asked him why he was taking down my plates, and to
get a manager. The manager was very non-challant and lackadaisical.
He was not very "there". I proceeded to tell him I'm not a crook. It
was inconvenient to put my stuff down to dig out a receipt. "Thats
just the way it is". I asked him "why do people check receipts" the
response "to make sure you got everything" "I just walked away from
the checkout, I have everything". I then asked for my information to
be removed from wherever it was written. He refused to give me the
"incident report" paper, but scratched my information off. As if no
one can go back and get the original writing back?

I will not return to this store, this is unjustified profiling because
of a stupid policy. I can understand the deterrent so that less
merchandise walks away. I have no problem w/ the door person, the
problem lies in him following me out. During the time he followed me
out, how many customers left the store w/ no receipt check? Please
call me to rectify this situation, or you will lose the patronage of
not only myself, but my friends and extended family.

UPDATE [10/24]: The GM for the store called me 2-3 days later, and we discussed my complaints. I basically told her the deterrent is the right idea, but it has to be passive, not some dork asking for a receipt and following you out. She agreed and told me the two employees involved in the incident have been reprimanded and retrained.

UPDATE2 [11/26]: We went back to show for x-mas stuff, they had a security guard spitting out pleasantries and NOT asking for receipts. Its nice to see someone listens.

I just read this post by Vanderleun, and he brings up a GREAT point:

Merchants basically have two rights covering people entering and exiting their stores. They can refuse to let you enter the premises and/or to sell you anything, and they can place you under citizens arrest for attempting to leave the premises with any property that you haven't paid for. But the second you hand over the appropriate amount of cash, they lose all rights to the items. They can't legally impair you from leaving the store with your property.

Wow, I wish I used that argument in my email!

November 22, 2006

From the g33k/audiovideo dept.  

Samsung HLS-5679w Calibrated

Prior to calibration of my HLS5679w, SD content via my Tivo/HDVR2 was like watching blots of paint w/ color banding/contouring from hell. My HD sources via DirecTV HR20-700 and Samsung DVD-R145 looked relatively ok, but not what you expect from an expensive set. Naturally, I was stuck in movie mode and things looked dull and dim.

As scheduled, David Abrams from Avical arrived at my home around 5pm, and 7 hours later my set was stunning. Don't expect night and day difference, it took me 2 weeks to get used to a calibrated picture after a lifetime of crap. Dave set my color gamut to normal for SMPTE C and wide for SMPTE HD. I use Dynamic for my good HD/upscaled input sources. The color looks pure, contrast/black levels are so lifelike its almost in 3d. I use Normal mode for crappier SD inputs with a little more brightness which makes the source look acceptable. Dave set up Warm2 for B&W viewing.

Prior to Dave coming, using the DVE disk, title 12, chapter 14, the ramp showed a LOT of contouring. Post calibration, this ramp is 98% smooth, with that other 2% soft enough to not hurt too much.

Watching Fifth Element post calibration was like watching completely different movie. The colors where vivid, the flesh tones where very lifelike. The improved black levels have definitely helped. I've had to begin watching my whole DVD collection again to capture the true elements on the movies. Football games look excellent. CSI, Lost, House, 3lbs, any network tv show in HD.... look great. DiscoveryHD is actually nice to watch, even though you aren't even paying attention to the content itself.

Dave was very professional and courteous. He answered every question very well. Being a geek myself, he was able to explain details of his process while he did them, which was extremely interesting. If I had 25k for equip, patience, and time, I'd be calibrating! Dave treated my set as if it was his own baby. He's welcome to treat it well any time in the future. Money well spent. Samsung should seriously consider service credits or something to offset the blatant misconfig of these sets to "look good on the floor."

November 5, 2006

From the politics dept.  

Saddam Hussein Sentenced to Die

Looks like we're gonna have a good ole west hangin!,2933,227574,00.html

Saddam Hussein, the iron-fisted dictator who ruled Iraq for nearly a quarter of a century, was found guilty of crimes against humanity Sunday and sentenced to death by hanging.

The so-called Butcher of Baghdad, who was president of Iraq from 1979 until he was deposed by Coalition forces in April 2003, was convicted of the 1982 killings of 148 Shiites in the city of Dujail.

The visibly shaken former leader shouted "God is great!" as Iraq's High Tribunal announced his sentence.

Saddam's half brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of the former Revolutionary Court, were sentenced to join Saddam on the gallows for the Dujail killings after an unsuccessful assassination attempt during a Saddam visit to the city 35 miles north of Baghdad.