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Screw Barnes and Noble

August 3rd, 2009 1 comment

They’re shit.  Use Amazon instead.

Updated with less obscenity and more details:

1) I get a B&N gift card.  It’s a nice gift.

2) I use it to order a copy of Malware Forensics: Investigating and Analyzing Malicious Code.  Since B&N prices are at least $10 more than, say, Amazon prices, I order through B&N from a different seller and save money.

3) The seller confirms my order, payment, and shipping information.  I throw away the card.

4) Three weeks pass.

5) I get a notification that my order actually is canceled, and I’m getting  a refund.

6) I go to order the exact same thing, because I want the damn book.

7) Since I already threw away the card which now has the gift amount restored on it, I call customer service to have them clear it up.  They explain that I may either be mailed a new card, or I can place my order over the phone and refer back to the canceled order to have the card’s balance transferred to the new order.

8) I do the latter, because I want to get the book, not wait a few weeks and then get the book.

9) They explain I can’t order from other sellers by phone.  I have to order direct from B&N, where their price is the list price and their shipping is more expensive.

10) Result: I get the same amount of book, only more than a month later and for more money/gift card value.

Here’s what should have happened: back at Step 7, they should have said “We’re terribly sorry about that; we do our best to help our customers get along with other sellers smoothly.  Can I help you find another copy at a comparable price, and order it for you right now?”

I’ve had similar experiences with two other major sites that act as used/third-party marketplaces, Amazon and Half.com.  Both of them have processes in place to deal with fraud and mistakes.  And if a reseller confirms an order, then waits three weeks and fails to deliver, it reflects poorly on that reseller when other buyers consider buying from them.  I didn’t get a chance to review this customer experience or anything.

In summary, B&N gives me the lowest buying power and its service reps care the least of any major bookseller I’ve dealt with.  Screw them.  Go with Amazon.

P.S.  It was still a nice gift and I still appreciate it.  Ty, bro.

Categories: FAIL

Surely a misprint

August 2nd, 2009 Comments off

The assurance that the components are enforcing the abstract idea of the reference monitor is proved through testing and functionality.

— Shon Harris, All-In-One CISSP Exam Guide 4th Ed., p. 328

Nnnnnnnno, actually testing can’t possibly give that kind of assurance, and I’m not sure what “functionality” is supposed to mean here – it runs fine, so it must be working as expected?  The Third Commandment of the Reference Monitor, which had just been given in the text, is that it must be small enough to be completely verified.  That verification is the assurance.

Categories: Books, FAIL

CISSP registration

July 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Of palms and faces:

I get the feeling there's a correct answer here, and mine isn't it.

I get the feeling there's a correct answer here, and mine isn't it.

Categories: FAIL

The Sapheads cartoon

July 17th, 2009 1 comment

I’m a little late to this party.  If you’re late too, here’s what happened:

Now we’re all up-to-date.  I disagree with Nikita that the portrayal wasn’t really that bad; I find it hard to imagine any of the other three characters in a “cheer-leader purpose” role.  On the other hand, the writing suggests to me that something might have been lost in translation.

No matter.  What I really wanted to do with this post is point out how hilarious I find the correction to be:

AND SHE PLAYS RIGHT TACKLE, RAWWWR.

AND SHE PLAYS RIGHT TACKLE, RAWWWR.

Before, she’s set apart with an unrelated and subservient role.  After, she’s set apart with a few unrelated and over-the-top roles.  I say “unrelated” because it still doesn’t seem like she’s involved – the captions on the rest of the crew tell what they actually do; hers looks more like a few job titles.  This further leads me to think there’s loss in translation and the comic’s author just doesn’t quite understand the nuances of the worship of political correctness.

That said, I would like to glibly voice outrage because, while women were at least represented in the comic at all, my racial category is absent.  I do not see ONE SINGLE purebred German in the crew.  Let me propose a correction.

When he's not cooking Alpenschnitzel, of course.

When he's not cooking Alpenschnitzel, of course.

Hell yes.  (Credit due to Andy Richter.)

The surreal quality of the offending material and the ensuing tiny poop-storm impels me to apply the FAIL tag here.  Now that I’ve made fun of both sides of the argument, it’s time to move on.

Categories: FAIL

Amazon ownership unknown?

July 12th, 2009 Comments off

I was on Amazon.com yesterday and I noticed Firefox 3.5’s spiffy button in the address bar.  I clicked it, revealing this:

"amazon.com which is run by (unknown)."  My guess is the Illuminati.

"amazon.com which is run by (unknown)." My guess is the Illuminati.

But at least it’s verified by VeriSign!  I sure feel way more securer now.

Categories: FAIL

A job well done

June 26th, 2009 Comments off

I have to use aliases and vague terms in this story.

I work at Organization Alpha.  It uses a system manufactured by Vendor Bravo.  As a fun little side project, I propose a free security assessment of the Bravo system in use at Alpha.  The people in charge at Alpha give me the green-light.  With me so far?

Turns out the Bravo system is relatively old and on par with Windows 98 for security.  That’s not to say Bravo isn’t still developing it; to the contrary, they’re selling these systems like crazy to lots and lots of happy organizations.

Read more…

Categories: FAIL