Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Etsy has Bugs

DW Jenny makes her living selling stuff and lately patterns on Etsy, the website for crafters. Etsy has attracted mockers in the form of Regretsy, which is adolescent but occasionally funny.

Etsy had been growing rapidly with sales on pace for $450 million for 2011 over the $314 million in 2010.

Etsy Sales; Note the 2011 sales are in
the original caption.
Our issue with Etsy is a bug in their software. Most sellers forward their customers to Paypal automatically to pay. Paypal extracts several percent commission, but usually this goes flawlessly. Yesterday, Etsy sent incorrect email addresses to my wife's customer -- creating confused and angry customers.

I am posting about this since there have been almost nothing on-line about this bug. (We did find a similar issue on the Etsy bulletin board.) It looks like Etsy restored some old data; presumably because the newer data got corrupted.  Jenny had her old defunct email address replace her current one, and Paypal posted the funds to the wrong account.

Etsy seems to have had a hacker attack, a virus or perhaps just bad luck with hard drives.

Anyway. Jenny lost a $60 sale, and had a customer leave multiple bad feedback. All for a software bug at the host website.

Etsy is so understaffed that it does not try to answer complaints one-at-a-time. Jenny got a form-letter back when she contacted Etsy.

I suppose it could be worse. The customer will keep her money, and no harm was done.

If anyone has had similar issue, please leave a comment. Thanks.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

iPod Nano Woes (5th Generation)

My iPod died, and I found no helpful posts on-line about fixing it.

 Depth-of-Processing fans might remember the multiple posts about my woes with the ill-fated iPod Shuffle (3rd Generation,) and how Apple eventually mailed me a iPod nano (4th Gen) to resolve the problem, which lasted a short while and then died. I work my iPods pretty hard.

Well my current iPod Nano (5th Gen) is seemly irretrievably wrecked after about two years of faithful service. It randomly pauses and/or produces buzzing noise at the pitch of the last note it made. Also the click-wheel works slowly -- like the processor is busy. I tried the usual stuff like resetting (hold menu and center,) diagnostic mode (reset, but quickly hold menu and rewind,) and restoring using iTunes -- and all were no help. 

There is very little on the internet about this problem, which suggests it must be a pretty rare problem.  It sounds like hardware, and I don't want to try to open up the iPod to fix it.  

My solution is to get a new one. Off to Best Buy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Arctic Tern

My new hero is a 100 gram bird, the Arctic Tern. We  were planning a trip in the fall to a point on Lake Erie in Ontario where birds hunker down before flying across the lake, when I found out about the world champion and utterly amazing bird that flies from the arctic to the antarctic, and back each year.

It flies 22,000 miles each season, from Greenland to Antartica and back! Over 44,000 miles because they don't fly in a straight line; often going 10% too far to catch the wind. The live for thirty years flying 1,330,000 miles in a lifetime, which is just mindlessly too much.

Arctic Terns don't like water, and they don't like land much either. They prefer to catch insects in the air, and they stay aloft. They mostly eat fish like other terns.

Baby Terns fly too much too. One three month old tern was found in Melbourne, over 14000 miles from Britain where it was born.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Stock Market Whammy

Economic Crisis!
I am recycling my favorite picture from the
2008 recession. Gotta luv this picture of Secretary
I was alarmed like everyone else by the pounding on the stock market Thursday. Everyone was wondering how Congress caused America to lose $930 billion dollars in the last week. That is the $13 trillion value of the stock market times the 7.2% that the Standard and Poors 500 lost in the last week.

Here are the losses in various stock indexes in the last week, Friday to Friday.

-5.8     Dow (US)
-8.1     Nasdaq (US)
-12.9   DAX (Germany)
-5.4     Nikkei (Japan)
-7.2     Standard and Poors 500 (US)
-7.9     DJ Wilshire 5000 (US)
-6.7     Hang Seng (China)
-9.8     FTSE 100 (Britain)

As bad as things are in the US, big US stocks held up best. The Dow only lost 5.8%.

Rock solid and fiscally-sound Germany took the biggest pounding (-12.9%) -- why?  Who really knows, but it seems the bailout for Greece, Italy and Spain are really the worry.

Strange as it seems the Tea Partyers are not to blame.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Power of Experiment and the Limits of Logic

I am reading a book by James Gleick, called The Information" A History, a Theory, a Flood.  For a book about information, it spends  a lot of time on the limitations of information and reasoning. For example, we know that mathematical proofs cannot prove everything that is true to be true. Mathematician Kurt Goedel, showed that mathematically in 1931.  This is just like computer genius Turning showing that there were some problems a computer could not solve.  
This is surprising because science and its logical methods have worked so well in advancing technology for  the last 130 years. 

On the other hand, application of logic to religious problems seems to lead to mass murder like when Anders Behring Breivik killed 88 Norwegian kids because their parents did not agree with his notions of racial purity. Breivik had 1500 pages of seemingly logical arguments for so-called Christian terrorism and racial purity. 
The powerful thing about science is not the theory, but rather the experiments. It is hard to run experiments in religion or philosophy.  In science we can test whether our reasoning is true; in morality, or epistemology, or theology, experiments are hard to come by. 

Consider evolution, where science is validated by experiment, and creationist bible interpretations are not. Many believers also believe in evolution because of the evidence, but many do not because of Faith. I have nothing bad to say about Faith, because as mentioned above logic can only get us part way. 

On the other hand, building a castle of logic on top of a faith-oriented belief can get twisted around. I am reminded of "Let the children come to me ... for to such as these belong the kingdom of God." [Matt 19:14]  Implying that getting too complicated isn't the way to the kingdom of God.