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Archive: 9 February 2005

Very Sneaky

A recent post by Ferrett about sneaky marketing via faux-stained envelopes reminded me I had a similar trick envelope sitting around to be scanned and posted. An image of a mailing envelope with the faint shadow of a credit card, as if it had been forced through rubber-wheel sorters or sat at the bottom of a very heavy sack of letters. See that faint impression of a slightly askew credit card on the right half of the envelope?  It looks just like the envelope got run through a rubber-wheel sorting mechanism, or maybe dropped and run over with a cart before being picked up, and the credit card being shadowed with dirt or something, right?  There’s no card in the envelope.  Inside this bit of chicanery is a “Pre-Approved Acceptance Certificate” that will let me transfer balances to a whole new card that they’d be just too darned happy to send me.  Also a Fee and Rate Information pamphlet.  That’s it—all paper.  That faint card shadow is a bit of graphic design, nothing more.

Oh, they’re good: too clever by half.  Especially since, having seen this trick, I’m less inclined to do business with these jokers in the future.  And I’d like to point out that the jokers in question are not Visa, except by indirection.  The presence of their logo in the upper left corner implies that they sent it, but they didn’t.  It’s just an offer for a Visa card through Bank of America.

I’ve actually gotten a few more nearly identical envelopes by now, so the trick doesn’t work quite as well; all I have to do is flex the envelope to tell if there’s a card in there or not, which I actually do with all envelopes I’m preparing to throw away.  But what really twists my grin is the corporate branding in the masthead of the enclosed letter exhorting me to take advantage of the limited-time no-hassle offer that they did their level best to trick me into reading: “Bank of America — Higher Standards”.

Um… maybe not.

Airport Extreme and Netgear MR814v2, Take 2

Last July, I posted about how I got my Netgear MR814v2 to talk to my Airport Extreme laptop.  The fix involved setting “Universal Plug ‘n’ Play” preferences.

Since then, I’ve gotten occasional e-mail messages from people thanking me for publishing the solution, and that neither Netgear nor Apple seem to know anything about this problem.  I got one just today, and thought it was probably time for a follow-up post.

The fix I described isn’t a panacea, I’ve found; I still occasionally find the laptop knocked back to its self-assigned IP address.  This behavior seems to revolve around hard sleep/wake events, and iChat might be implicated too.  My father has a Netgear 802.11g wireless router and it’s totally smooth for him using an 802.11b PowerBook, but whenever I visit with my Airport Extreme PowerBook the router starts kicking us both off on an infrequent basis.

I’ve found one of two things will fix my router when it ceases talking to the laptop.  One is to unplug and replug the router; the thing comes back up in about a second and it always sees the laptop again.  The other is to log into the router from a wired computer, go to the UPnP page, and hit “Apply”.  I don’t have to change any setting, just hit “Apply”.  That fixes the problem too.  I do the latter when I’m in my office with my wired G4, and the former when I’m downstairs closer to the router.

Either way, I’m thinking about replacing my 802.11b router with an 802.11g router so I can take advantage of the Extreme access, and I’m thinking the replacement won’t be a Netgear product.  Anyone have recommendations for a good Airport Extreme compatible wireless/wired combo router (I need to plug in two CAT5-bound computers) besides an Airport Base Station?

February 2005
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