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Paying The Bills

I had realized that I got screwed yesterday. It turns out when you get a bill from a company you need to check it carefully and not just pay it off and forget about it. I paid my phone bill which was an astronomical $396 dollars and then started thinking. Why is it so high? I started looking at the numbers and realized a few things that I was paying that I didn’t need to pay.

1. I received a text message from a company called ClickGen that I ignored, but after contacting my phone company found out that the FCC actually allows this company to send text messages that if you don’t respond with OUT you get charged $9.99 a month. Lucky for me they reversed the charges.

2. We’re on the Universal Lifeline service because we don’t make money in the 1%’er range, yet we’re still charged tax for the people who receive Universal Lifeline service. That was fixed with the call.

3. The bill said I hadn’t paid last month’s bill so that was added in, but upon checking I had and I mentioned that I had proof that I had paid the previous bill. Upon hearing that they credited me $156.09 dollars which means my next bill will probably have to be paid in August.

Lots of us get bills and just pay them. Its a good time to look over every aspect of your bills because these companies while I won’t say a re totally unscrupulous don’t exactly have their act together because they let their computers do their thinking for them. Because of this they sometimes make mistakes, but they won’t admit that as long as you keep paying your bills.

Keep a good eye on the bills you  receive. I get emails from GoDaddy almost monthly telling me that my domain is about to expire yet I’ve never registered a domain with GoDaddy. These are tactics that companies use to get you to hand over money to them that you don’t need to and if you complain they’ll just say it was a computer error to try and avoid admittance of fault on their behalf.

If you keep your eye on your bills you might find that you have more money in your pocket at the end of the month so do what I have done so you don’t get taken.

Sorry to my loyal readers…

I found a couple of sites that I won’t mention who pay you to put ads on your Facebook and tweet feeds. I thought I might be able to make a few extra bucks on this, but it turns out that in the past month I haven’t earned even a dollar from both combined.

So just to let you all know that I’ve stopped the ads on my Facebook and Twitter feeds so when you read something it will be from me and me only and not from someone who’s giving me a couple of cents per post.

My apologies. I will only be accepting sponsorships/advertising from San Francisco local businesses that I wish to promote and not from people  who will be trying to sell you crap. I will continue with the AdBrite adds at the end of each post until someone can suggest a better way to make money since as we all should know by now that Google is evil and their AdSense is a scam.

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Why people hate San Francisco

This question came to mind today as I was looking over SFGate’s website reading the morning news. Every article has a comment section and anything that’s about something going on in San Francisco has lots of people who aren’t in San Francisco, let alone California ranting about how much we suck. I found an article on SFist from a non-resident who lives in a city where everything resembles a strip mall that driving from one town to another gives you no idea that you’re in a different city, but apparently he at least had come here once who said the following:

Top Reasons Why I Hate San Francisco:

1. NO LEFT TURNS
2. The lack of parking
3. The plentiful supply of homeless people
4. Hills, hills, hills–good for views, bad for safety
5. Frequent events/protests/parades/festivals that snarl up traffic for no good reason whatsoever
6. The atrociously cold weather
7. The nutball politicians who run the joint
8. The crappy public transportation system, which only seems functional in comparison to the even worse nightmares in other cities. Being the smartest retard ain’t something to be proud of.
9. Every miserable night on the town I’ve ever spent in SF, which seem to devolve into a Sisyphean quest to find “the” right bar or nightclub
10. The  smug, self-satisfied attitude of residents who are convinced that they live the greatest city in the world. It’s the people who claim to love the environment, then commute to jobs in San Jose that really burn me up.

OK, time for me to address each comment:

1. NO LEFT TURNS

Perhaps you should try driving somewhere other than downtown. Mainly Market and Mission streets downtown are the only place I see this in a rampant enough form to make this kind of comment. I personally get a chuckle when I see a sign that says, “U turn OK”. Gee, thanks for the complement. I never considered my turning abilities worthy of a sign.

2. The lack of parking

Again, go somewhere other than downtown which has plenty of parking if you don’t mind paying for it. When I used to live in the Mission district I hated that I had to park a block away from my house, but I also lived on a tiny private street that there wasn’t enough room to turn into the garage. Otherwise, I don’t have a problem. When I go downtown I rarely drive, but take Muni, see below for more on that one!

3. The plentiful supply of homeless people

OK, got me there, but then again I’ve seen lots of homeless people in every metropolitan city I’ve been too so that’s not just a problem for us.

4. Hills, hills, hills–good for views, bad for safety

This one I thought was funny. I can’t figure out one reason why they’re bad for safety unless you don’t know how to put on your parking break or are the verge of a coronary collapse. We have lots of hills out in the Sunset and I see elder Asian men and women then walking up and down them without breaking a sweat or getting winded. I’m sure they consider it good exercise, which it is.

5. Frequent events/protests/parades/festivals that snarl up traffic for no good reason whatsoever

Again, downtown and they aren’t really that frequent. I haven’t seen a traffic blocking parade in ages. We have maybe one day a month and if you’re going to one of these, take MUNI!

6. The atrociously cold weather

I’m sorry, you must be talking about Chicago, Illinois, Buffalo, New York or any city up in the northern regions of the US. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen the temperature drop below 40°. Maybe you were born in Hawaii where I hear they pass out from the chill of opening up the refrigerator.

7. The nutball politicians who run the joint

Chris Daly is gone thank you. If you look at the current Board of Supervisors they’re a lot more moderate than they used to be, but seeing as you didn’t name any names you’re just coming forth with an opinionated generalization. On the other hand, I can’t name one politician from Silicon Valley except Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman who dumped tons of money to win an election that they lost, not to mention that they’re former CEO’s and not politicians. Now I personally would have liked to see Emperor Norton on the Board of Supervisors, but then I’d be dead by now.

8. The crappy public transportation system, which only seems functional in comparison to the even worse nightmares in other cities. Being the smartest retard ain’t something to be proud of.

OK, wait a sec, you’re a Silicon Valley person who has VTA and you’re telling us that Muni sucks? Last time I was down in SV I rarely saw public transportation anywhere. When I was working over by multimedia gulch it took me about 30-40 relaxing minutes on the local transit system. It took me close to an hour last time I tried driving down there and I know the fastest way to get around the city.

9. Every miserable night on the town I’ve ever spent in SF, which seem to devolve into a Sisyphean quest to find “the” right bar or nightclub

Ah, there we go. He’s a hipster, possibly from the neo-bridge and tunnel crowd which is now the Silicon “I’ve got this great start up that’s going to make millions when google buys us!” Valley crowd with the $500 distressed Diesel jeans and t-shirts with band names that broke up before they were born. These are the anathema to nightclubs because once they find the right club it’s no longer a cool place to go to and everyone who brings in the money to the clubs stops coming and they have to close down. If you’re from here or at least been here for 10 years you know where the good bars and clubs are. IF you’re in SV and have to come up here for a nightclub or bar then that probably means you don’t have much in SV. My favorite is a small, invite only with a killer sound system and fully stocked bar with no cover charge. It’s called my home and it’s up on a hill with a lovely panoramic view of the ocean from Fort Funston all the way north to the Marin Headlands. The view takes people’s breath away and then the single malt scotch kicks in.

10. The smug, self-satisfied attitude of residents who are convinced that they live the greatest city in the world. It’s the people who claim to love the environment, then commute to jobs in San Jose that really burn me up.

Oh no, you did NOT use the “S” word on us now did you? I rather like being self-satisfied. It means I’ve accomplished something for and by myself. I didn’t need a hand out from someone else to be happy or a pill prescribed by a doctor. I also refuse to commute to San Jose for a job and except for a short 3 month stint in Burlingame [which I hated] I have always worked in San Francisco. If you’re leaving San Francisco during rush hour to go to work you are driving against the commute. More people come here for jobs instead of leave here to work somewhere else. San Francisco is a small city too. It’s 7×7 miles. I know people in lots of other cities who have to drive 30 miles to work in the same city. If I had to drive 20 miles to get to work I’d be in El Cerrito or Palo Alto.

So there is my rebuttal rant. My grandmother had an old saying that was, “If you keep your own doorstep swept, you won’t have time to sweep anyone else’s.” I think that people outside of San Francisco and California even are living in such sucky lives that they have to verbally attack us because they envy us. If people who live here don’t like it, they leave to find a better place to live. Honestly, if y’all think San Francisco sucks so much, don’t tell us because we don’t really care. We’re trying to fix the things we as citizens of this fine city where the United Nations was started think is wrong with it. Perhaps it’s time for you the people outside San Francisco and California who don’t like us to start looking around at the problems you have in your own city. That would give you something more productive to do that might actually bring about some results for you.

Just to finish this off, as I was reading the newspaper this morning I came across an article on Sela Ward, the actress who is from Meriden, Mississippi. This small town named a street after her and one of the residents who was against it reason was, “Well what if she gets all cracked up on drugs out in California? Then what are we going to do with street named after her?”

Yes, we are all drug addict hippies that are so dumb that we have also just killed the “Republican brand” according to the Institute of Governmental Studies, but they’re just lefty pinko commies from Berkeley right?

Appnation: Boy are my dogs tired.

My legs are sore from standing for a couple days at one of the weirdest conferences I’ve ever worked. Over the past two days I represented the company I work for at Appnation. It was at Moscone Center and was a convention for mobile app developers to learn ways to make money as app developers. They say it’s a mash-up of developers, venture capitalists and people who do stuff that could benefit developers [more on that later].

This was a show that compared to MacWorld was an oversized garage type of event. There were maybe about 100 people hawking their wares and the people that would come by the booth I was working were a mix of end users, VC people, but mostly people who were too cheap to purchase a booth and were coming by to try and sell their product to me to include in my app even if it had nothing to do with or was of no use to my app. In other words, in my opinion the show was a bust for the company I work for.

There was lots of talk about how to get venture capital funding for your app, but in reality most of these hip app writers live out of virtual spaces that don’t have anything a real office has. Imagine working for a company that is based in a eggshell of an industrial workspace. They have no landline phone, no printers, cheap Office Depot tables and chairs, no form of interior design what so ever, mail never gets delivered because, well snail mail is so 10 minutes ago and after all, in a month or two we’ll be moving to an even better eggshell to work out of!

Eggshelled companies are not what a Venture Capital firm has much interest in because once they give you the money they want to be able to keep track of you by something other than email and a cell phone call, neither of which they can find a real person to shake down to get the money back.

I was able to meet some interesting people there though. Steve and Reed from appMobi were right across from me and put on a good show. Steve incidentally speaks 8 languages and was happy to demonstrate that fact even though it had nothing to do with his product. AppMobi is a web-based product that lets you write mobile apps using web design skills not programming languages and then deploy your product not just to one platform, but to several. This sounded pretty cool and they’re demo showed how cool it was. Then there was Chris and Cherie from Technomadia. These were a couple of Burning Man people who actually live out of a trailer and because of that wrote an app called State Lines. This is a fun app for travelers that tells you the speed limits, smoking rules, alcohol laws in every state. Very useful if you’re a frequent traveler and only $2.99. I asked them if the app paid them well and they told me that, “It keeps them in lunch and sometimes dinner.” OK, while I can’t exactly say I’d be able to live off that, at least I know I’d be getting a couple a meals a day from it.

Probably the best thing I learned from the show was that geek girls with iPads can be hot. These girls weren’t icing on the cake like you have at car shows, but they were spouting off about objective-C, equity investors, marketing throughput, etc and their eyes weren’t all glossed over like they were just repeating what they were told to say. I’d also have to say that most of the people there were talking more about the free after parties than the products people were trying to sell, so that should tell you something about the overall effectiveness of the show.