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TurboTax and the Tech Support Fumble of 2009

Posted by mousewrites on March 28, 2009

Oi, long time since I posted. But I had to post this.

I like TurboTax. I’ve used their online tax filing service for years. In fact, when I logged in today to do my taxes, it offered me a discount on their premium service, since I have been such a good customer. Only $39.99 for me!

Awesome! Thanks, TurboTax! I click the accept button, knowing that state taxes would also be $34.99, bringing my total to $79.98.  Again, TurboTax is really easy, and I did my taxes, including pesky 1099-DIV and 1099-R forms easily. I go to e-file, and lo, the payment page comes up.



I check what I’m paying for:

  • Federal Premium service: $79.98
  • State: $34.99

I scratch my head. That’s not what the page said. That was the offer for NEW customers, not returning ones. And they know I’m a returning customer, because they imported my info from last year. I pop open a chat support window, and have the following conversation: (my comments in perens)


Please wait while we find an agent to assist you…

You have been connected to TurboTax Tech Support Guy. (Names changed to protect the innocent)

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Thank you for contacting TurboTax Support, may I have a moment while I read your question, Mrs. Geek?

Me: Sure.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: If I have understood you correctly, you want to know why you have been taken to the Premier program asking to pay $79.95 for the Federal. Am I correct?

Me: I would like to know where my ‘returning customer discount’ went, yes.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Not to worry Mrs. Geek. I will certainly help you in resolving the issue. (Wow, right out of the ‘offer of assistance’ handbook.)

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: May I know the name of the TurboTax product that you are using for your returns? Also is it Online or CD/Download version?

Me: Online, turbotax premier 2008

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Is that you used a link where you can get the premier program for $39.00?

Me: I used a link from the email turbo tax sent me to. It specifically asked me which version I wanted (basic or premium) and asked if I wanted the premium for 39$ because I was a returning customer.

Me: I chose that version, and continued my return.

Me: I’m in the same browser. I haven’t used another link to open it.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Can you help me with the email that you received stating that the Premier program is available for $39.00?

Me: I did not receive an email stating that.

Me: I clicked on a email I received, and it took me to the turbo tax page stating that.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Can you copy paste the email for me? (Ignores my last reply, because it doesn’t fit with what he already assumes my answer is.)

Me: If I log out and log back in, will it allow me to receive my discount?

Me: There is no mention of the 39$ fee in the email, Tech Support Guy.

Me: I can copy and paste it, but it doesn’t mention it.

Me: Do you still need me to copy and paste it?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Sure.

Me: Please click here if you are having trouble viewing this message.

TurboTax(R) – Choose Easy. #1 Rated BEST SELLING*

Lock in your LOW PRICE. Finish NOW and SAVE! Hurry – prices go up after March 27! Finish & File Today!

Your TurboTax User ID: bobsyouruncle (not my real user name. I don’t have an uncle bob)

Dear person,

Don’t wait! You are running out of time to take advantage of your LOW TurboTax(R) Online price. TurboTax provides you with the help and guidance you need to finish your re – snip (email cuts off in the chat window. he doesn’t get the whole thing)

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Just give me a moment so that I go through this email.

Me: Ok, but it doesn’t say anything about the 39$.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Mrs. Geek, in the email that you have pasted above, it is clearly stated that the price will go up after March 27. Now it is March 28, that is the reason why the program is not available for the mentioned price. (ARG)

Me: Tech Support Guy, you are not listening to me.

Me: Please listen to what I am saying: the email DOESN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE DISCOUNT. (Which I already told you, up there.)

Me: The discount was offered to me TODAY.


Me: So the fact that the email says that DOES. NOT. MATTER. (breathe, geek. just breathe for a second. Rephrase the question.)

Me: Question: Is there a returning customer discount?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Mrs. Geek, i have checked and would like to inform that there are some discounts.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: In your case, what I can suggest you is, pay for the charges and contact us after 24 hours with the incident number that I can provide you, so that we can refund you for $20.00 the charges that you pay. Is that okay?

Me: No. (Whut?)

Me: I’m not paying you extra money now because you messed up.

Me: I’ll do my taxes elsewhere if that’s the case. If you can’t fix this simple mix up, how can I trust you to properly do my taxes?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Please note that as the discount is not applied to your order total, it is not possible to give you discount until you pay and get back. I can offer the price that you state that the program is offered at discount, if you pay and get back for refund. (ARRRG, that makes no sense!)

Me: What? That makes no sense. Your system has made a mistake. You’re telling me that I have to pay for the mistake NOW and then you can fix it? I haven’t put in my credit card yet; why can’t you give me a discount code or change the amount the system is billing me?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: As I said earlier, we can process the refund for the discount amount only after you have paid for it. There is no code that gives the discount. (Then why is there a ‘enter discount code here’ link, schmart guy?)

Me: I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough.

Me: I will have to use a different service to file my taxes, and recommend to my friends and family that TurboTax is unreliable.

Me: Your system has a glitch. You can’t fix the glitch.

Me: Therefore, your system is unreliable.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Mrs. Geek, although you might not agree with my decision, I explained it so you can at least understand. (oooh, I made him mad!)

Me: No, I don’t understand.

Me: You told me something that makes little sense. I know it’s your script.

Me: I know you don’t have a better answer for me.

Me: But it’s a stupid answer. If I said “Do you want to buy this apple? It’s $1”

Me: and then when you tried to pay me, I said “Actually, it’s $40. Give me $40, and I promise I’ll give you $39 tomorrow”

Me: Does that sound right to you? It’s not. It’s what’s called a ‘bait and switch’.

Me: It’s actually illegal in most states.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: I do understand that such changes can be frustrating for you. (Changes? What changes? You fucking up is not a ‘change’)  But, that is the procedure we follow.

Me: How do I know that the ‘system’ won’t say that tomorrow I can’t have a refund?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: I will give you the refund reference incident number that has this conversation and the if you provide the number to the agent after paying, he/she will surely refund you for the discount amount.

Me: Just like the system will surely not over charge me in the first place?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: No, it will not. (Oh, it won’t? Then why am I talking to you?)

Me: how do I know that?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Firstly, it will not overcharge. Secondly, if overcharged, will will refund for all the over charges if any. (First, I won’t shoot you. Second, if I do shoot you, it will only be a little bit.)

Me: So, you’re saying I have to accept the ‘overcharge’, trust that you won’t actually overcharge me, and if you do, believe that you’ll give me the refund?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: As an alternative, you can call us live so that we will charge you $39.00 for the Premier program and unlock the $79.00 charge. Is that okay?

Me: can you give me a incident number? I will call them, thank you.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Please make a note of the incident number: 123456


So I called them. Same deal: It was the price from yesterday. You can’t have it today. Oh, you were quoted that today? Pay the overcharge, and we’ll refund you.

Now, I’m a QA for tech support.  I understand that both of these techs were not speaking in their native language; even without the tell-tale accent, certain phrases are very, VERY common in overseas support. I’m fine with overseas support… as long as they actually listen to the customer. Both of these techs were dead sure that I was calling about a price I had been quoted in an email before. The gentleman on the phone actually interrupted what i was saying to tell me that.

I eventually persisted enough that I talked to a supervisor, who took my creditcard and charged me the correct amount, and then gave me a code for the website. I happily filed my taxes at that point.

The system wasn’t broken, but the Tech Support people were.

TurboTax, give that sup a high five. He listened to what I was actually saying, and didn’t give me a patently rediculous answer. Thank you.


Posted in GeekLife, Internet, Technology, Work | 5 Comments »

Test: Does this work?

Posted by mousewrites on January 27, 2009


Just a test of the Delicious Play Tagger.

EDIT: Yeah, ok, that totally doesn’t work. I was trying to embed the Javascript for playtagger into the page, and cheerfully strips it out every time. Le sigh.

Posted in GeekLife, Internet, Music, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog

Posted by mousewrites on July 19, 2008

Until Sunday, July 20th at midnight (pacific, I believe), you can watch all three acts of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Mad Scientists, Supervillans, and frozen yogurt. AND IT”S A MUSICAL! Joss Whedon, you’ve done it again. You make things that make me happy. Thank you.

I adored every second about it. It makes me feel good to be alive, and a geek. This is the kind of movie that makes me light up like a juiced filament. I’ll buy the episodes after they go on sale, I’m sure. Go. Watch. Enjoy.

(Now, of course, I want to make some wallapers. Hmmmm…)

Posted in Fandom, GeekLife, Internet, Movie | 3 Comments »

Steampunk wallpapers.

Posted by mousewrites on July 2, 2008


I’ve added a new page to the site: Steampunk wallpapers.

I’ m always looking for appropriately tan-y and gear-y wallpapers, but I’ve only found a handful. So I made some myself. I’ll be updating that page as I make them.

Posted in GeekLife, Graphics | 2 Comments »

Firefox 3 – personal best and worst.

Posted by mousewrites on June 24, 2008

I downloaded Firefox 3 on Download Day, but didn’t install it until yesterday for various and sundry reasons. Install on The Dude (desktop, win xp sp2, Athlon dual core, 2 gig ram) went fantastic; like most upgrades I’ve had from Mozilla, the install itself went without a hitch.

In fact, all but two of my add-ons also came over. Here’s what I’m sporting (in the add-on department, you sickos.):

  1. Adblock Plus – Generally, I leave ads alone; if someone has ads to support their site, I attempt to do them the courtesy of leaving them alone. I do, however, immediately block ads that make me want to leave a page I want to read.
  2. Better Gmail 2  0.5 – Just installed this yesterday. Has a bunch of options; mostly they save me time.
  3. Blog This in Windows Live Writer 1.0.1DOES NOT WORK in Firefox 3, much to my chagrin. I’m forced to open Live Writer manually (oh, the horror!), and I can’t just select text and have it pop into a post. I clearly can deal, but I’m hoping that they update this add-on soon.
  4. Blue-GadgetBlue Organizer 3.4.2 – This thing is just cool. Context sensitive right-click menu. You Blue-optionsselect an address, the right click menu (or the icon) has  ‘map in Google maps, map in yahoo maps,’ and others. Select a book, it has amazon stuff. News will go to news, books to books. If you’re on a page with a gadget (like when I was researching my EEE PC see picture on right) and it’ll have a Find on New Egg, Best Buy, and reviews. Makes for quick comparison shopping. And the options  (left)  panel lets you pick and choose WHO it pops up.
  5. Download Statusbar – I like it for the visual across the bottom of my screen. Plus, it keeps the download box from popping up.
  6. Download Helper 3.0.4 – Installed it for one day to pull a video off of Picassa, haven’t had a chance to uninstall it yet.
  7. Download them all 1.0.3 – This add on, combined with this Google search hack (talked about on Lifehacker, #3 on that list), has expanded my musicical taste (and library) a lot.
  8. FireFTP 0.99.1 – I have to admit, I really hate most FTP interfaces. FireFTP makes me hate them less.
  9. Gmail Notifier – I’m addicted to email. This little icon in the corner of my screen is like my pusher. Hey, hey, mouse, you have email. You know you want to stop writing the boring old story and see who emailed you, right? Com’on, click me!
  10. Greasemonkey 0.8.20080609.0 – Just got this, mostly for Better Gmail up there.
  11. Smart Link 1.4 – Takes plain text links and lets you right-click to open them. I find it useful. (Add on seems to be gone from the Mozilla database, here’s the link to Lifehacker’s post about it.)
  12. Tab Mix Plus 0.3.6DOES NOT WORK in Firefox 3. 😛

Other things I really like about Firefox 3: the full screen actually hides all the toolbars, now. They even auto hide and show when you put your mouse up at the top of your screen This is super awesome. It will save my LCD screen from ‘image persistence’ (the LCD version of pixel burn in, which I have gotten from my browser title bar many times.)

ironman04_IronMan-FX-315OR On Jarvis (yes, I named my EEE PC Jarvis. Shut the hell up. I can’t help it, I love the movie.), I tried to install it, but couldn’t. This is mostly because I have no freking clue how to install stuff on Linux other than ‘sudo apt-get install firefox’, which says that Firefox 2 is the latest. I downloaded it OK, but there is not ‘install’ file. This is fine for now.

Jarvis doesn’t have very many add-ons; just Greasemonkey, and Writing Room 4 Google Documents, which hides the entire Google doc header area, including the HUGE ‘offline’ notice I get when using Google gears to write when not online. On a normal size screen, the ‘you are offline’ notice is probably one or two lines. On Jarvis, it takes up about 2 inches, which is a good quarter of my writing space. Another 3 or so is taken by the Google Docs header itself… which leaves me about 2 inches of text when I’m offline. this makes me quite unhappy. But, between the Firefox fullscreen mode, and the Writing room script, I get almost my entire screen back for writing, which is awesome.

All in all, I think that I like this update very much.

Posted in GeekLife, Internet, Technology | 1 Comment »

Fiveday: 5 things I won’t miss about my old job (and 5 I will)

Posted by mousewrites on June 20, 2008

No matter how hard you honk or break wind, we all have to land alone.

The CEO of my old company. No, I’m not joking.

Today is my last day of work at my old company. I have mixed feelings about it, of course. So, I made a Fiveday.

MacgyverFive things I won’t miss about my old job

  1. The food. The cafe is trying hard, I know that. But even discounting the rumors of illness from their food, they are bloody damn slow, and despite my determination not to, the fact that they are blatantly, overtly religious kinda bothers me. I generally don’t give my business to places that feel it necessary to display signs of their religion, nudge-nudge wink-winking to other members of their group.
  2. The building. It’s falling down around our ears. Our maintenance man is fantastic, and, like McGuyver, can fix almost anything  with almost nothing. But their are stains on the ceiling tile, chips out of the wall, rips in the carpet… It just feels run-down. Even the chairs are tattered, and a lot of them are patched with tape, seat padding bulging through tears. It’s a small thing, but it bugs me. Our new mural is beautiful, however, and I have seen some improvements (new paint, repairs) over the last couple of months. So this may be fixed.
  3. Feeling like a naive moron for wanting to do the right thing. Not elaborating.
  4. That one person. Again, not going to tell you.
  5. The unpaid overtime. Being salaried sucks when you get three new initiatives a month, and are supposed to be spending 65-75% of your day with your direct reporting employees.

Five things I will miss about my old job.800px-Ducks_in_plymouth,_massachusetts

  1. My team. A lot. I almost stayed, guys. Almost. I will miss all of you. Be happy, in whatever you do.
  2. The other TMs. Even when you argued with me, or snapped at me, or glared at me because I’m pig-headed (which I totally am), I still appreciate everything I’ve learned from you. And most of the time you’re a laugh riot.
  3. Most of the other managerial type/support people. If I know you, I probably like you. 😀
  4. The ducks. Not enough ducklings this year. Get going on that egg laying, quackers! The geese are catching up with you.
  5. Finally, the company. Not my direct company, but the one we did support for. I adore your programs, I always will. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out.

I’ll update later, if I have time. Tonight is for partying!

Posted in GeekLife, Work | Leave a Comment »

Where’s the Money, Lebowski?

Posted by mousewrites on June 9, 2008

Quote from the ageless movie, The Big Lebowski. I adore this movie. I named my computer The Dude after this movie.eee

But you’re not here for the money, you’re here for the video of me getting my hair chopped off, or perhaps the disastrous ‘after’ picture. I don’t have them for you, not yet. Now, let’s all just be chill. You’ll get your movie. I just need some more time, man, that’s all.

To tide you bloodsuckers over, here’s a piece I wrote about 4 years ago about losing my car. This is also in honor of my purchase of a EEE PC 4G to write on. I don’t write enough anymore. I used a bit of my Stimulus check to get an older model. I don’t really need the extra bells and whistles the 900 series has, so I went with the little one. Isn’t it cute?




Of Ships by Mousewrites

The first time she saw the car it was parked in front of a very nice house. So nice, in fact, that the girl thought there must be some kind of underhanded deal going on; why would somebody in that big a house be selling a 1985 Honda Accord, let alone for 1,400 bucks?

But it wasn’t sinister at all; the car was their daughter’s. She had bought it while in collage, and now that she was back, mommy and daddy got her a nice silver Lexus, and she didn’t need the little bronze Honda anymore. The price was low just so she could get rid of it.

The girl had only had her license for about a year, and had driven all of twenty minutes in her friends’ cars in that time. She was 24, old enough that her father thought she would never learn to drive. Her younger brother and sister had their licenses before she did, though her sister only beat her by a handful of days.

Of course, her sister was 8 years younger, but never mind.

The girl didn’t know how to buy a car. She had almost 2,000$ saved up, scrimping and pinching money for a few months, and some money from her boyfriend, and she bought the car on the spot.

Later she learned it had a cracked axle and a hole in the exhaust pipe, but the axle was actually cheap to fix, and it still passed smog, so she didn’t mind.

Right before she bought the car, the girl had seen “Pirates of the Caribbean” with Johnny Depp. She saw it 8 times. Her favorite line was this:

“It’s not a keel and a deck and sails; that’s what a ship needs. What a ship is…is freedom.”

She got a license plate frame for the car that said “The Bronze Pearl.”


Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in GeekLife, Technology, Uncategorized, Writing | 1 Comment »

Seth, I swear I’ll post tomorrow.

Posted by mousewrites on June 8, 2008

hair-teaseI’m still getting the video back from Diane.

Yes, I went through with it. Here’s a sneak preview. Is that the side of my head? The top? My armpit? WTF?

Posted in GeekLife | Leave a Comment »

Bishops BarberShop

Posted by mousewrites on June 8, 2008

Short Cut
Any hair service that uses shears (or a combination of shears and clippers) on hair that is above the ear. $21

Bishops BarberShop

Today is D-day… for my hair.

kidhead - I'm pretty sure that's not my beer there... Let me talk about my hair for a second. I love my hair. It’s one of the only things about me that I really think is pretty; it’s red, and long (well, long-ish) and has a pretty wave. People complement my hair sometimes. As a child, I had amazing hair. It was bright red, ringlets, and super cute. See the picture? I’m pretty sure that’s not my beer there, because I’m focused on the cake. Mmm, stolen frosting…

As I’ve gotten older, my hair has turned more brown, and the curls have been pulled into waves that frizz when I brush them. My hair isn’t spectacular, but, as a Big Girl, I think that sometimes people pick up on my hair in contrast, in the way one might comment on an idiot savant’s drawing ability. Wow, your hair is beautiful (for a fat girl).

Ok, no, that’s not really what people are saying. I’m being snarky. 🙂

But, while I acknowledge that my hair is pretty, it’s kinda like a kudzu vine growing on the house that is my head. No matter how pretty it is, it takes work to make it do anything. I don’t really care that much about my hair; it’s just there. I’ve tried, with little success, to make myself Do Something with it. I was never indoctrinated into the Mysteries of Womanhood (tomboy in a frock, I am) and so I don’t know how to style it, and every single day I just scrape it back into a ponytail to get it off my neck and call it good.

Every. Day.

For at least the last 10 years. hair1

Oh, occasionally I’ll do something with it. And by ‘I’ll do something with it’ I mean I’ll let one of my friends at it. Braids, or curls (witch hazel is 100% better at holding curls than any product), or I’ll put it in pigtails or something. But for the most part, it gets brushed out, thrown in a ponytail, and that’s it. Once I went out on a limb and dyed the bottom purple! Ooooo, you’re on the cutting edge of nothing now! That’s it purple in the picture. It’s about down to the small of my back there, and I cropped out the fuzzies on the side (it’s about half a foot wider because of the poofyness than the picture shows.)

I’m sick of it. I’ve been sick of it for YEARS. Sometimes I eyeball the scissors as I do some craft project and think ‘I could just lop the damn ponytail off!’ but I’ve always stopped myself. Over the last year or so I’ve trimmed it shorter, and shorter (it’s about to where the purple stops, at this point), but I’ve never gone all the way.

Not today. I’m going to Bishops BarberShop and they’re going to cut the majority of my hair off.

Chance that I’ll hate it? About 35%. I likely will cry when the cut it.

My reasons for cutting my hair are below, along with the reasons I shouldn’t. This list is just in case I read this in about 5 hours while sobbing uncontrollably about my poor hair.


  1. Easier to take care of! It’s true, it’ll be short enough that washing and air drying should take a fraction of the time. And I’ll save on shampoo, conditioner, AND water, so it’s good for the environment, yo.
  2. More opportunities to put clips and bands and other things in my hair.
  3. Off of my neck! It’ll be short enough to get this damn weight off my neck.
  4. I think it will be darling. I really do.
  5. It will make me happy.
  6. I’ll be taking a risk. I don’t take risks, almost ever. If something MIGHT go badly, I don’t do it. I just don’t. I’m a chickenshit. I’ve missed a lot of opportunities because I wasn’t willing to take a risk. This is a real, honest to god risk, because it may look like crap, and I’ll have to deal with that. On the other hand, it’s IS only hair (have to keep telling myself that), and if I really don’t like it, it’ll grow out. And I can experiment with what length I like best!
  7. It should look super healthy; no split ends, no frizzes, nothing.


  1. Stephen isn’t happy about it. I’ve been bugging him for years, but he hasn’t budged on the fact that he likes my hair long. In fact, all of the menfolk I’ve talked to say ‘I like long hair on a woman’. I understand that, I do, but the thought of keeping it long for one more day makes me want to cry my eyes out.
  2. It MAY LOOK AWFUL. It might. I could end up with a red afro like little orphan Annie. I could look like an old woman. I could look so mannish that everyone who already thinks I’m a lesbian will be sure of it. A) I have a husband, and B) just because I don’t wear makeup, I’m not a lesbian. My life is much stranger than that, anyway.
  3. It could take a lot of time to make look good in the mornings, thus completely negating the easy to take care of point, above. This is a big risk, but I’m going to take it.
  4. I am starting a new job soon (more on that soon, I promise) and I’m going to have to do it with hair I may not be confidant about. However, I do make hats, so I can live.
  5. No more pigtails. This is sad; I like pigtails. But we all make sacrifices.

All in all, I am taking a huge risk. I’m 65% sure it’ll turn out fine, and 98.9% sure I’m going to go through with it. If not, I’ll call myself a chickenshit forever.

I’ll update with pictures and perhaps video of the operation this evening. Unless I’m sobbing into my pillow, that is.

Posted in Fandom, GeekLife, Movie | Leave a Comment »

Calf Cramps: Causes and Solutions – Associated Content

Posted by mousewrites on June 7, 2008

Calf cramps can be exceedingly painful, and everyone has experienced this pain at least once in their life. The most agonizing pain comes at some point during your sleep, but painful cramp pain can also occur during athletic training. They can instantly halt whatever it was you were doing.

Calf Cramps: Causes and Solutions – Associated Content

Photo - CowboyDave @flickr I haven’t had a leg cramp in over a year. Last night, around four AM, I woke the whole house with my screaming. If you’ve never had one, think of a good sized dog sinking their teeth into your upper calf, and biting down as hard as they can. I can’t even think when I have a cramp, just scream and flail wildly. Stephen managed to straighten my leg through the flailing, and the cramp just disappears, leaving my leg sore and tight.

I am pathetically, sobbingly grateful every time he saves me from one of these. I cannot straighten my own leg because I can’t even identify what’s going on; they happen when I’m deeply asleep, and I go from REM to ungodly pain in about a second. My brain isn’t even really awake, all it know is ‘Ow, ow, make it stop, make it stop.’

I would break under torture, I think. If having a baby is as painful as my leg cramps (and I have no reason to think it’s not), then maybe I’ll just babysit little Charlotte and get a No Vacancy tattoo on my uterus.

Stephen, you help me every day, but last night, you saved me. I love you.

Posted in GeekLife | Leave a Comment »