FTD.com’s Flowers Screwup

I’ve been using FTD for a couple of years now with no complaints. So naturally, when it was time to buy flowers for my girlfriend for Valentines day, I went back to FTD. My girlfriend couldn’t come visit this week due to being sick, and I wanted to surprise her with a nice bouquet. The website guaranteed that the flowers would arrive in time, so I didn’t give it a second thought.

On Valentines day, around late afternoon, I received an e-mail saying that my order was being postponed a day. I was pretty upset by that, and ended up telling my girlfriend that flowers were coming but that they wouldn’t be on Valentines day. But that’s okay, right? One more day can’t hurt too bad.

They never came.

Today I received an e-mail simply stating my order has been canceled. Nothing more. No explanation. I tried to call up FTD and couldn’t even reach their customer service line.

It seems I’m not the only one.

Has anyone else experienced this problem this Valentines day?

Update: With Mikey’s inspiration (see the comments) I’m opening this up to more general flower screwup stories.

Pretty Shiny Monitor

So, a few days ago, Dell had a deal on a 20.1″ Dell 2005FPW Widescreen LCD monitor. We have the 20.1″ non-widescreens at VMware, and I love them, so I thought I’d throw some money Dell’s way and pick up a widescreen. I found out that I could also purchase a $35-off coupon on ebay for only $5, so I managed to get another $30 off there. All in all, before tax, it came down to $450. It arrived a few days ago, and I must say, it absolutely rocks. I’ve been using it in the living room, playing World of Warcraft on it. It makes such a difference ๐Ÿ™‚ Everyone should get one.

Now that I type this, I see that Chris Lee purchased one too. Very cool. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

My little Home Theater PC

A few months ago, I bought a nice little Sony Vaio desktop computer from a co-worker for a really good price. I saw that it had TV out capabilities, as well as two TV tuners, so I thought it’d be fun to get something plugged into the TV. So I got it all set up and played around, but the Giga Pocket software that came with it was really quite pathetic. I ended up just using Explorer for a while to view my videos, but that required either having a keyboard and mouse hooked up, or using VNC. I would have put Linux on it, except the TV tuner was incompatible with Linux, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if the rest of the hardware was as well.

Then a story ran on Slashdot about a wonderful little project called Media Portal, which is essentially like Freevo or MythTV, but for Winodws. It’s open source, written in C#, and works well. Although still a very early beta (0.1.0.5.1 is the current release), it lets me do almost everything I want to do. I can play videos, music, view pictures, check the weather, and all the other standard stuff.

Unfortunately, the little remote control and receiver that came with this Vaio was incompatible with everything but their Giga Pocket software. I ended up going with a SnapStream Firefly remote and receiver, which I must say works quite well and is comfortable to hold.

The setup was starting to work well enough, but the video quality sucked. I was using standard composite cables, and as I also use a TiVo, I didn’t want to give up my TV’s S-Video port. My DVD player was using my component ports on the TV, but I figured I could experiment a bit in that area, and purchased a DVI-to-component adapter for my Radeon 9600 Pro. I plugged it in and was amazed at the sharpness I got in comparison to the composite and even S-Video cables. I could actually read small text, even though some of it was still flickery. Ah well, it’s not like it’s a monitor.

The last major piece of the puzzle was a good case. A big silver Vaio tower next to my TV just wasn’t all that appealing. So I shopped around and saw the SilverStone LC03V case. It was love at first sight. I found a vendor selling it for a cheap price and purchased it, along with a new black DVD-RW and a black In-Win CR-I530 (USB/Firewire/Audio/Compact Flash/Secure Digital/MMC/Smart Media/MiniDisk) expansion bay. Unfortunately, the audio and firewire ports don’t work on my crappy Vaio motherboard, but I’ll replace that someday.

Everything arrived and I put it all together. It’s very sexy. I put the case in front of the TV and noticed that I could actually read the text on the TV in the case’s reflection. Oh yeah, while I was at it, I bought a new stick of RAM for my main desktop, bringing it up to 1GB.

Despite the suckiness of Windows, the media box generally runs well. The only times I have problems are when Windows decides it’s time to interrupt what I’m doing to tell me that I should upgrade to Service Pack 2, or when the virus scanner pops up, or when I start up Windows and it tells me that I’m not smart enough to decide the resolution I want, and that it wants me to bump it up from my custom resolution for my TV to 800×600. But it’s Windows, nobody really expects to be treated intelligently anyway. As long as I don’t have to reboot often, it works well enough.

I’m in the process of working on a plugin for Media Portal to allow me to see and update my NetFlix queue from my remote, as well as browsing other movies and seeing their video clips. It’s starting to work pretty well, but it’ll be a while before it’s ready for normal use.

I need to resist the temptation to put any more money into this for a while ๐Ÿ™‚

Productivity Shattered!

I was given an invite to Orkut yesterday. For those of you who don’t know what Orkut is, get out from under your rock ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a rather interesting waste of time, and it’s delayed a lot of my development. I think I’ll be getting back to that in a few minutes though. Just.. just five more minutes.. then I’ll code.. Promise.

My copy of Dream Theater – Change of Seasons and Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York came yesterday, and I spent the better part of today watching/listening to them. Excellent stuff.

While on the topic of that, it’d be nice to see some kind of CD ripper integration in Nautilus. Right-click an audio CD and get a Rip To Music entry or something, which brings up a dialog allowing ripping to wav, mp3, ogg, flac, etc. Maybe multiple ones at once? I wouldn’t mind flac and ogg copies. For now though, Grip is my friend.

Shiny New Battery Back-Up

For Christmas, my parents gave me a CyberPower Battery Back-Up system. It’s a 410 watt unit, claiming to last 25-50 minutes. I really only need 5-10, since these systems are only off when the power flickers or PG&E screws up somehow. So today I finally installed it, as my main desktop locked up. I figured it was now or never.

What can I say? It works. It’s fun to pull the plug out of the wall while the computer is running (I only did it once!)

This doesn’t even compare to my friend John’s setup. He needed something for one of the businesses he’s a computer consultant for. It had to last 2 hours, so what was his solution? Why, building his own out of 4 car batteries, of course! It generates a bit of heat, but it works, and has worked for some time. I want him to build me one, but then, I only need that 5-10 minutes.