Did MagicJack Crash My PC and Blockbuster Express Pez Dispensers

Did MagicJack Crash My PC?

In statistics, we might call it a “correlation effect.” It means that when there’s a change in one variable, the other also changes. But we’re not sure that one variable causes the other.

This happened twice in a month. I have a 64-bit Dell computer, that’s less than a year old. The drivers are up to date. All the Microsoft patches are up to date.

Then came the disaster.

  • After my system booted-up, Google Chrome exhibited erratic behavior. When I clicked on a field to enter data, a new tab opened up.
  • When I typed in field data, it opened up a Microsoft window.

I had to boot the system up and down. Not once. Not Twice. But several times. I have Norton Anti-virus and firewall. All the definitions are automatically updated. It performs scans several times a day – with no virus flagged. In addition, I run a scan with Malawarebytes (http://is.gd/gbMoZ)  once a week.  I ran a full scan with both Norton and Malawarebytes – no culprit was found.

I didn’t want to risk another disaster. Time to pull the MagicJack plus. I tried it on my second computer and it wouldn’t accept it. This computer runs business XP, with the latest software service packs and patches.

The instructions to uninstall MagicJack for Windows 7 is found at ehow.com/how_58….  To clean the registry (as the article recommends), look at the free tool CCleaner at piriform.com/….  MagicJack does have its official removal tools – just not for Windows 7.

So far, Google Voice, Gizmo Voice, Skype and NetTalk are running great. NetTalk is taking a different and better approach to connecting via computers. While MagicJack plays tricks with the operating system (i.e. registry changes, etc.), NetTalk has created a down-loadable driver. While it’s still in the beta stage, it shows more promise than the MagicJack approach.

Image representing netTALK as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Blockbuster’s Expensive Pez Dispensers

What’s a Pez Dispenser? You can read about them in Wiki at en.wikipedia.or…. They were a hand-held plastic container that dispensed candy called Pez. Which brings up the topic of Blockbuster.

Normally I rent my movies from Redbox. That’s because they have many locations I can drop them off at – stores like Walmart, Ultra Foods, Jewel, Meijers, etc. So if one store machine broke, I can find another store machine to return them.

DVDPlay was only found at Dominick’s in my area. If a store site had a broken machine, the nearest Dominick’s was about 5 miles away. Then Blockbuster purchased DVD Play. For the record, Time Magazine covers the demise of Blockbuster. The article is entitled How Blockbuster Failed at Failing time.com/time/mag…

Blockbuster replaced all the DVDPlay machines with ones that look like Iron Man invented them. The reason I’m going to Blockbuster Express is I wanted to rent Iron Man 2. The Redbox machines say blue ray on the Iron Man 2 description. A call to a couple video stores assured me I couldn’t play Blue Ray on regular DVD players.

Why didn’t Blockbuster – who’s losing money – just repaint the old DVDPlay machines? Why put in these expensive new dispensers? I remember having trouble putting in my credit card. I asked someone from the Dominick’s service desk for help. We tried 2 or 3 of my credit cards. Then the customer service representative tried putting the card in opposite what’s shown in the picture. Guess what? It worked. They need to call Blockbuster to correct the picture.

One promising note is I called Blockbuster, to see if I could return my DVD to a Blockbuster physical location. They did say I could return them to the store’s customer service department, if their machine broke. That’s a promising start.

Response to another blog website post

What do you think of articles in Cosmopolitan and the New Yorker?

The New Yorker

Image via Wikipedia

New Yorker articles are usually more sophisticated. They have what I call literary and journalistic integrity to them. The cover of Cosmopolitan is saturated with headlines of a sexual nature. I’m afraid if I ever dated a Cosmopolitan woman, I need to have an unlimited supply of Viagra.

You also cover catchy headlines. I remember that marketer and copywriter Ben Hart talked about the headline “5 Ways to Cure Corns”. It’s a simple headline but it ran for years in tabloid ads like the National Enquirer.

In their heyday, The Chicago Reader once wrote about writing for the tabloids. They would hire top writers from publications like the New York Times and Newsweek, but pay them 3 times their salary. So they had the writing talent (back in the good, old days – whatever that is), but had to write stories beneath their former level of journalistic integrity.

Apple Reader Note

Previously I mentioned my ex-Motorola engineering friend, who went on to work for the Amazon Kindle.  This would be a way to go, if you were writing a book.  Recently, I read a good blog post on writing a book for the Apple version.  It’s entitled How to Publish Your Book in the iBookstore at copyblogger.com/p….

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