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Rides on the information superhighway. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Rides on the information superhighway.
I took two major ones today. The easy one will save me hundreds of dollars. The hard one's over a buck twenty nine. One involves an intrasigent government agency, the other a media-darling private company.

Guess which is which.

Checking news sites at ass o'clock this morning (thank you, dog:P), I saw a useful article about our own taxes.  For years, New York State has had a rebate program known as STAR (short for "I have NFI what that stands for") that reduces residential owner-occupier's school taxes by a good 20-30 percent each year.  There's a more generous exemption for seniors (which, yes, my sister now qualifies for) that you have to apply for annually based on income, but "Basic STAR" was always a one-time application. You usually did it when you closed, which in our case was 19 years ago.

No more. "Fraud and abuse" have led to the state now requiring periodic re-registrations for the benefit, and the first must be done by the end of this calendar year.  The article was about the state just having posted an online method to claim it- which was, wait for it, efficient, easy and consuming of all of five minutes.  I shared the link to the state site with friends and got many thanks. If you're in a similar situation, clicky this link, put in your town, search for your address, and enter your social and a couple of confirmations, and you're done like dinner:


Quick. Easy. All that stuff that Big Government isn't supposed to be.

As opposed to the genius job creation of The Private Sector.  Let's compare and contrast, shall we?

Yesterday, the pre-released single from the new Avett Brothers album went live on Amazon. Maybe now, I'd be able to download it using my credit from prior legal purchases.

Or not:

I Please Tried Again a good half dozen times before seeking help. Here, mostly unedited, is the transcript of how THAT went:

You are now connected to Srinath from Amazon.com

Me:I am trying to use a $2.00 mp3 credit on my account to purchase a $1.29 mp3 download, and each time I get an "oops something went wrong" message.

Srinath:Hello, my name is Srinath. I'll be glad to help you today.
I'm sorry to hear about this.

Me:The download in question:
Srinath:Ray, could you please try placing an order now.

[attempts to do so.]

Me:Something went wrong while applying your promotion code. Please try again.

Srinath:I've checked your account and see that you have $2 promotional credit for MP3. May I know if you are able to place orders for free music.

Me:I'm trying to buy this track with that credit. It won't do it.

Srinath:Could you please help me with the last four digits of the credit card?

Me:Why do you need a credit card when I'm not paying?
Oh hell, it's a buck 29. ****.
Knock yourself out.

Srinath:Ray, try placing an order for a free MP3, you will not be charged for it as it is $0.00, with this we can confirm if the issue is with particular MP3 or with all other items.

Here is the link to free mp3 :


Nope, it didn't like that, either.

Srinath:Type free music in the search, look for the free mp3 you like and try ordering

[tries that, and then some]

Me:Tried. Something's still "going wrong." I even ran the original purchase link through a different browser to see if that was an issue. Please don't tell me to use Internet Explorer. That would be bad.

Srinath:In this case, I will have to escalate the issue as you are unable to place orders for MP3.
Could you please help me with the complete error message?


[cuts, pastes]

Something went wrong while applying your promotion code. Please try again.
Well, that with a red X next to it.

Srinath:Thank you. I will report this to our technical team. May I know the browser you've tried ordering on?

Me:Firefox AND Chrome. You want builds?


Me:OK. I'll just buy the damn thing if Bezos will give me a 30-day subscription to the Post.

Srinath:Thank you for waiting.
I've escalated the issue to our technical team. They'll research the issue and help us with a fix. I will e-mail you the details as soon as I have more information.

[long as I'm here, may as well break the fourth wall....]

Me: Here comes the survey request. Wait for it.

Srinath:I'm sorry, I did not get you.
I hope we're connected.

Still here. As it were.
This chat session is being monitored and recorded for mocking purposes, btw.

I've escalated the issue. I will get back to you once I have more information as to how to resolve the issue.

[And this is sincere, because clearly none of this is Srinath's fault]

Thank you.

Srinath:You're welcome. Thank you for contacting Amazon. We hope to see you again. Have a good rest of the day!!

Me:You, too:)


In an ideal world, someone would have just comped the damn download. But that would have affected the quality of news coverage in the DC Metro, and I just couldn't live with that.

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