I really do wonder if I’m blacklisted by the USPS

Today I had the 5th consecutive parcel I’ve attempted to have delivered go straight to the post office instead of to my home address. None of them have had signature confirmation. They’ve all been either priority mail or parcel post. Most had DC. There was one that didn’t. Either the USPS has blacklisted my address or they’ve put a new carrier on my route who is consistently doing his job terribly wrong.

It really adds insult to injury when, in addition to having to travel every single day to pick up junk mail and letters, you also have to travel to the post office to pick up parcels. There’s no reason to pay extra for signature confirmation if the recipient has to travel to the post office in person and show I.D. in order to get a parcel that doesn’t even have DC on it.

Maybe I’ll stop defending the USPS now. In the past 2 months they’ve destroyed one parcel, sent 3 to the wrong city, and decided to send these 5 parcels to the post office for pickup when they should have been delivered by a carrier.

Stupid USPS keeps wasting my time

Normally I’m the first person to defend the USPS. I’ve generally had good experiences with them. I’ve only had a few packages permanently lost in my entire life. This time, however, I must complain.

When I send and receive parcels I nearly always use delivery confirmation. The way this works is that the carrier scans the package using a handheld scanner when it’s delivered. This way the seller can confirm that the item arrived at the destination. This is useful in situations where the buyer claims the item was never received and asks for a refund or a re-shipment. With DC you can just point to the confirmation of delivery on the USPS website and the would-be scam artist gets shut up.

Signature confirmation is like a much more extreme version of delivery confirmation for more paranoid sellers. It’s more or less the same as what happens with any UPS delivery. The carrier must give the parcel to a human being at the address and get the signature of the human being. If there’s no human being to accept and sign for the package, it doesn’t get delivered. With DC it’s possible that someone other than the intended recipient will steal the package (eg. it’s left by the mailbox and the neighbor steals it before the addressee arrives home). Signature confirmation is a pain in the neck if you’re the recipient for obvious reasons: you must physically be at the address and answer the doorbell when the mail carrier arrives. When you’re like me and your mail carrier arrives anywhere between 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm depending on the day of the week, it’s a terrible inconvenience to wait around all day.

Registered mail is about equally inconvenient as non-registered signature confirmation parcels if you’re the recipient. It’s better for the seller though because supposedly registered mail is handled in a more secure manner than non-registered mail while in transit. I don’t know the details, but registered mail automatically requires a signature so for the recipient it’s more or less the same hassle as non-registered mail with signature confirmation, regardless of class.

Anyway, I always try to use only ordinary delivery confirmation. Regardless of whether we’re talking about media mail, parcel post, first-class mail or priority mail, I always try for just delivery confirmation when ordering packages. Ordinarily my mail carrier just leaves the DC parcels outside the mail box and I pick them up when I get home. The last three parcels I’ve ordered with DC, however, have all gone straight to the post office and I’ve had to go pick them up. I find that very annoying. DC is DC. There’s no requirement, as far as I know, for a human being to physically accept the parcel if it’s just got DC. That’s the point of the handheld scanner, if I’m not mistaken. That’s also why signature confirmation (which ensures a human being accepts the parcel) is more expensive. If DC required a human being to accept the package, there wouldn’t be much use for signature confirmation since it wouldn’t add any protection that DC didn’t already provide other than the name of the specific human being who accepted the package.

Anyway, it’s just annoying that the USPS would suddenly start requiring a human to accept parcels at the exact time that my apartment was destroyed. It’s enough of a pain in the neck having to travel to the remnants of what was once your home to pick up the mail without also having to travel to the post office, wait in line, and show an I.D. every time a piece of mail with delivery confirmation is sent to you. I’m starting to wonder if maybe the USPS started blacklisting addresses of destroyed homes.

In defense of USPS, I do understand how some people might see this as a an upgrade to the DC service, since requiring the addressee to travel to the post office and show identification makes it much more likely that the intended recipient gets the package, rather than some neighbor or even somebody else (such as a family member) who lives at the same address. Of course, it doesn’t stop an impostor from picking the package up using a fake or stolen I.D. card, but it’s still much more secure than leaving the package at the mailbox.

I don’t see it as an upgrade though. That’s because I’m not ordering any sensitive materials. If I were, I’d use registered mail with signature confirmation or maybe FedEx.

Anyway, hopefully this is just bad luck I’ve had on my last three parcels and not an indication of an actual change to the way delivery confirmation works.

I wasted my entire stupid day troubleshooting this stupid Arris modem

So I’m living elsewhere temporarily while my apartment is being demolished. I’ll be here until it’s rebuilt. Who knows when that’ll be. But that’s not the point. The point is that I have Time Warner Cable here and I’ve had the chance to use Road Runner for an extended period of time now. I’ve used Road Runner at friends’ homes several times in the past and had opportunities to do speed tests and the like, but I’ve never had the chance to use it on my own terms, with my own computers and home network equipment. I’m very upset at somebody — I know not whom — about a grievous oversight in the instruction manual for the DOCSIS 3.0 modem/router TWC gave me. The trouble is that I don’t know who to blame. It’s an Arris TG862G. Frankly, I had never even heard of Arris before they gave me this thing. The installer, who mentioned, by the way, that he has FiOS at home, said that the device is both a modem and a router, but that TWC doesn’t let customers change the SSID or the passphrase on the network, so if a customer wants to change that information, he or she must use his or her own router. I didn’t really care, since I do have my own router and I figured I’d just have to live with a suboptimal home network split on two different subnets (192.168.0.xxx on the Arris router and 192.168.1.xxx on my router). I didn’t think I was able to have TWC put the Arris in bridge mode since the TWC connection is on the account of the owner of the place in which I’m living (though nobody else will be using the connection). I figured I’d either do the 2 subnet thing or I’d simply use my own router as a switch and actually use the Arris router as a router. I figured I’d decide once I logged into the web configuration pages on the Arris and saw what features it had. If they compared favorably with my own router I’d just go ahead and use the Arris and use my own router as a switch (I have a real 24-port switch, but it, along with most of my stuff, is in storage until the apartment is fixed)

Anyway, the reason I’m angry is because either Arris wrote bad instructions or TWC made a slightly modified firmware for the Arris modem with an annoying feature. The manual says you can access the web GUI at 192.168.0.1, which of course is similar to most routers. I connected my computer directly to the Arris via Ethernet cable with nothing else connected to the modem but the coax cable and the AC adapter. I set my computer to get an IP address automatically to rule out the possibility that some pre-existing configuration on my computer was causing problems. I typed in the address, waited… and it timed out. After trying all sorts of other combinations (10.0.0.1, 192.168.1.1, 192.168.1.100, 192.168.0.100, etc…) I finally figured out today (2 days of web searching later) that you can only access the web configuration GUI if you unplug the coaxial cable from the Arris modem first. If you have the coaxial cable plugged in and you try to access 192.168.0.1, it’ll just time out. The fact that this isn’t mentioned in the manual is a major oversight which caused me a huge pain in the neck. All I wanted to do was access the port forwarding settings page, which should be the simplest thing in the world but because I lacked this simple bit of information I had to go on a wild goose chase of searching through forums and support pages, none of which actually mentioned this. Hopefully posting this information will save somebody a bit of time configuring his or her Arris cable modem/router in the future. I just wish I knew whether it’s Arris that made this feature or if it was an adjustment that TWC does to the units they send to customers. I know that Comcast uses this same modem for some of their customers, so I’d be interested in learning if they also suffer from this “feature”.

P.S. The connection tests about 35Mbps/5Mbps to test sites in the NY/NJ area.

I’ll be offline for some weeks

This is the only water-related picture I have handy at the moment.

my apartment is flooded by Hurricane Sandy. Most of my hard drives are undamaged because I managed to move them to high shelves, but a few were submerged. Anyway, the damage means the place is not presently safe to live in, though it’s just as well since all the furniture was ruined. Once the place is fixed and I get some furniture I’ll be back online.

These SRO-R updates have utterly ruined the game for both botters and legitimate players alike

My sosun-wielding goldbots have no gold to pick

Others have said it before me, but I feel the need to reiterate how poorly thought out an update this was for the iSRO economy. Servers like Xian and my old home of Babel have players (or at least abandoned accounts) from 2006, filled with items. Those items retained their value for these six years. This is one of the reasons why the supposed database leak was of interest to so many people who didn’t even play; they hoped to be able to harvest items from old, unused accounts and sell them. Equipment and other items are not like pastries; they don’t lose value as they age. At least they shouldn’t. In fact, some, like GDFs and other items that were available only for a limited time, actually increase significantly in value with the passage of time. But now the majority of the items people have been saving in reserve, ready to sell in the event of a rainy day, have been rendered worthless in one fell swoop, like all my SoX 8th degree weapons. No other update has caused a catastrophe of comparable proportions.

Say what you will about Joymax, but none of their updates to the game thus far, not even the much-maligned abolition of the triangular trade conflict system that was the main selling point of the game (it’s called Silkroad Online for fuck’s sake) have done as much damage to as many players as the phase-in of SRO-R features in iSRO. All items below 9th degree have lost their value. Even SOSun 8th degree weapons are being sold for 100 to 200 million gold. You can’t even give Spell Paper away for 30m when it ought to fly off the shelves at 70m on my server. There is no point to the Forgotten World prior to 9th degree. What this update essentially does is transform the entire player experience from level 1 through 70 into an agonizingly long and boring tutorial before they are allowed to play the “real game”. Levels 20 through 70 used to be part of that “real game”. There was competition with other players. There was envy when someone came about with a golden glowing +7 weapon. Not to deny the repetitiveness of the game, but at least back then there was suspense, since you could get a drop at any moment. That was one of the incentives to play legitimately, without the use of bots. Now there’s really no reason at all not to bot and go afk all day.

I made a goldbot party recently in celebration of learning to use the clientless feature in iBot. Now my goldbot party is useless. I have to raise them to level 75 or so and send them into the Donwhang Cave or put them at Niyas in Taklamakan for them to be of any use. I had been counting on getting a good spot fighting Hun Archers or something and letting them all stay there as long as possible with a 9 level gap. Now I can’t do that. All this update will serve to do is drive the last remaining legitimate players to use bots, and force goldbot companies and players with goldbots such as myself to level them up more quickly, leading to armies of SoSun-clad underfarmed lightning nukers who will ks you at every turn and spawn party giants and envies to kill your wizard while you’re afk or playing Skyrim on the other monitor.

pffft…

Can I call ‘em, or what?

I read on wjunction that uploaded.to had banned US visitors and it looks to be true.

Sure enough, FileServe stopped making payments and dropped its affiliate program. I nearly feel guilty for predicting it, almost as though by making the prediction I somehow brought it to realization, like I’m a prophet or something.

Filehost operators are shakin’ in their boots, it seems. I suppose I don’t blame them, but as far as I know FileServe is in Hong Kong. I suppose that doesn’t necessarily mean that a person from the United States isn’t involved in running the company though, which would be a good reason for them to be afraid. As for uploaded.to, I’ve never used them so I know next to nothing about the service.

This shit just got serious

Gives you the heebie-jeebies, doesn't it?


(as though it weren’t serious already)

I never imagined MegaUpload would shut down. Years ago, it didn’t take much imagination for me to foresee the eventual closure of suprnova. Likewise, I was frustrated, but not terribly surprised when mininova went “legit” and lost all significance, but I never imagined MegaUpload would close its doors.

I suppose I’m naïve, but DDL sites, particularly one with a founder/mascot so bombastically confident and publicly expressive of its safety from those who would wish for its demise, always seemed to me too mainstream and even “safe” to be targeted like this. MegaUpload was, in many ways, a legitimate business. If they earned ad revenue from downloads of copyrighted content, that’s not their fault. I suppose when you make money by the sackfull off such advertising schemes, throw parties to rival those of Tracy Jordan in ostentation, and hire the most expensive ensemble of pop stars to sing the praises of your company, people take notice.

According to torrentfreak the defendants are being charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. I would believe the money laundering charge, but I want to know more about the “conspiracy to commit copyright infringement” and what sort of conspiring, specifically, they are accused of. I don’t totally doubt the money laundering thing though. Of course, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be quite happy to be shown that it’s false, too.

I had rarely used MegaUpload at all, actually, but I did like it a bit more than other free DDL sites after I got FiOS because it was the only service on which I could get near 1MB/s download speed without the use of jdownloader. Fileserve usually gives me about 400kB/s, which is more than tolerably fast, of course, but if I was in a rush to get a file and there was no other source for it I was always happy when it was on MegaUpload as opposed to some slower DDL site.

Now I fear that FileServe will be next. If MegaUpload was CocaCola, FileServe is at least Pepsi.