Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





XBox 360 Live Support is busted

Posted 17 January, 2009 at 9:37am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Rant) 5 comments

So, out of the blue, I began to receive these emails from XBox 360 Live. I've been receiving them for the last month, and I don't even have an XBox! I'm guessing someone signed up with my email address and apparently Microsoft doesn't do the standard email verification. They also don't include an unsubscribe link on the emails. Finally, this evening, I got fed up and decided to figure out how to unsubscribe. I started by logging into the account. How? I just told it to reset the password for the email (it IS my email address), confirmed the reset in my inbox, and then logged in. Then I looked for some way to deactivate the email or close the account. I couldn't find it easily, so I clicked on Contact Support and all of a sudden my browser window expanded to almost maximum size with a side browser opening up to mimic the Microsoft Help interface. Unfortunately, this makes the computer really difficult to work with since I have a large widescreen workstation monitor and work with text on the right hand half most of the time. Now imagine this blown up to a large monitor, one second I was looking at my web browser, the next - all I see is white:
Too Large

So, I get over this website user interface design faux pas, look to the left to find that nothing has changed - it didn't take me to the contact page. I look to the right and find a list of help sites for various Microsoft products. Some how, logging into the XBox Live page and doing the password reset has taken me to all of Microsoft's account stuff instead. The XBox help instructions tell me to access the contact support from the Xbox Live Accounts and Billing Page. So, I click on it (resize my windows so they are not ridiculous anymore) and try to find the page I'm looking for. I don't see it immediately, but I find a Support page where there is an "Email Support". (There was also telephone support, but it was too late to call.) I click on email support and there is a nice sane looking contact form. I'm guessing I could have gotten to this form without hijacking this guy's XBox account, but who knew?

I filled out the form, left a pull down blank that was labeled with: What type of problem do you have? (Select the option that most closely matches your problem. your selections enable us to quickly provide the most accurate response.) - none of the choices had anything to do with accounts (even though a previous pull down allowed me to select XBox 360 Live as the service I needed support on). Then I wrote a few sentences explaining that someone had used my email address, perhaps by accident, and that I needed the emails to stop and maybe they should try contacting the individual. Then I hit submit and received an error that said: Select problem type. Okay, I guess I'll have to pick one of these:
Not my problem!
Clearly none of them are even remotely related to my problem. I don't even have an XBox 360! So, I randomly picked one and tried to submit again - but my problems weren't over yet…
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XBox 360 Live Support is busted

Photo of the Day: Wine Casks

Posted 17 January, 2009 at 6:30am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Photography) No comments

I took this photo inside the Greystone Cellars in St. Helena, California. Greystone is where the California continuing education campus of the famed Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is located.
Handheld, 1/20 sec at f/3.5 on ISO 800, 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 lens

What I Ate: January 16, 2009 (In-N-Out; Merit Vegetarian)

Posted 17 January, 2009 at 1:57am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate) 2 comments

Tina and I went to In-N-Out for lunch. I got a Double-Double, and we shared fries and a Coke.
In-N-Out Double Double and Fries

For dinner we went to Merit Vegetarian (548 Lawrence Expy, Sunnyvale, CA‎ - (408) 245-8988) which serves vegetarian Asian cuisine. We started with a Red Bean Smoothie (made with red mung beans, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk blended with ice) which was excellent. It was so good, in fact, that we ordered another one to go at the end of our meal.
Merit Vegetarian - Red Bean Smoothie

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What I Ate: January 16, 2009 (In-N-Out; Merit Vegetarian)

Photo of the Day: Rose

Posted 16 January, 2009 at 9:30am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Photography) 1 comment

Tina doesn't really like it when I gave her flowers when we were dating (because they require some care and clean up and then it needs to be thrown out or dried), so once I gave her a framed 8×10-in. photo of this pink rose. (I took the picture at a place that grows roses for sale near Half Moon Bay, California.)
Handheld, unrecorded exposure on Velvia 50

What I Ate: January 15, 2009 (Kwality Sweet n Food)

Posted 16 January, 2009 at 12:51am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate) No comments

I grabbed some food to go from Kwality Sweet n Food (1036 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA - (408) 617-0660). I ate there once before a couple years ago, but I think it was called something else - also fast Indian food (naan wraps, chaat, and similar small plates of food). I ordered a seekh kabob wrap and a pair of samosas. The samosa I ate was fine - crispy on the outside, stuffed with flavorful potato on the inside. The wrap wasn't as good. The seekh kabob was fairly salty and I couldn't really taste the meat or any seasonings except for saltiness and a slight spiciness. I've definitely had better. In fact, a few minutes later I lost my appetite and stopped eating. (I ate less than 1/2 the wrap).
Grilled Chicken Drumsticks, Salad, Bread, and Cherries

For dinner, I reheated the remaining chicken drumsticks and ate it with a salad (from a bag) of radicchio, romaine, and baby spinach with Marie's Creamy Ranch dressing, the heal of bread, and a small bowl of cherries (which were a little sour and watery, but what do I expect this time of year in California?)
Kwality Sweet n Food - Seekh Kabob, Samosas

Photo of the Day: Butterfly

Posted 15 January, 2009 at 9:30am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Photography) No comments

I took this picture about eight years ago in Napa, California.
Handheld, unrecorded exposure on Fuji Press 800, 105mm f/2.8 macro with Nikon Speedlight

What I Ate: January 14, 2009 (South Beach Cafe)

Posted 15 January, 2009 at 12:38am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate) No comments

For lunch I went back to South Beach Cafe (800 Embarcadero St, San Francisco, CA‎ - (415) 974-1115‎). Even though they have the best pizzas around, I like to mix it up a bit so I ordered a Salciccia Sandwich which came with a small side salad.
South Beach Cafe Salciccia Sandwich
By the time I got home, Tina had already eaten (the rest of the leftovers from last night) so I had to choose to eat more of the lime marinated chicken or cook the remaining piece of tri-tip (that she used as beef for her beef dish the night before). I salted, peppered, and grilled the tri-tip over high heat for several minutes on each side and enjoyed that for dinner.
Grilled Tri-tip Steak

Photo of the Day: Princes Wharf (Auckland, New Zealand)

Posted 14 January, 2009 at 9:30am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Photography) No comments

The Princes Wharf in the Viaduct district of Auckland has several restaurants and is a popular destination. It's usually photographed from Quay Street so you can see down the length of the wharf. Over the years, I've learned to occasionally turn around and look behind to find photo opportunities. Often one can become so focused walking in a particular direction, looking at a certain scene, or even watching other people take pictures in the same direction, that one forgets to look around. In this case, I walk part way down the wharf when I turned and found that I could frame this shot looking down Lower Hobson St. and capturing the Sky Tower.
Princes Wharf (Auckland, New Zealand)
Handheld, 1/30 sec at f/4.0 on ISO 400, 17-35mm f/2.8 lens

What I Ate: January 13, 2009 (Crossroads Cafe)

Posted 14 January, 2009 at 1:25am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate) 1 comment

I picked up lunch from Crossroads Cafe (which has some great sandwiches). I went in thinking I was going to order the Cold Tuna Sandwich, but instead I changed my mind and got a Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado Sandwich (BLT with Avocado, please). Sometimes they don't dress the salad enough, so I asked for some extra dressing.
Crossroads Cafe - BLT Sandwich with Avocado

For dinner, Tina cooked. It was the first time she's cooked in a long time. (She thinks it might be a couple years since the last time she remembers cooking). She asked me to mention that in case people were critical of how the food looked. I thought it looked great! It tasted good as well, but she's really critical of herself. She stir fried some baby bok choy with garlic and scallions, beef with red bell pepper, and tomato and eggs. We ate it with rice.
Baby Bok Choy, Beef with Bell Pepper, Tomato and Eggs

Photo of the Day: Tree Frog on Glass

Posted 13 January, 2009 at 9:30am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Photography) 3 comments

Tree Frog on Glass
Handheld, 1/30 sec at f/2.8 on ISO 400, 17-35mm f/2.8 lens