Category Archives: Weird Stuff

Weird Wired Magazine (or maybe just stupid)

I really do not get Wired Magazine’s subscription policy. They are supposed to target smart geeks, yet make really stupid moves.

I used to be a subscriber. But I got annoyed by a large number of ads, deliberate and unnecessary foul language and subscription inserts advertising $8 new subscriptions. So, I did not renew early.

Renewal notices starting arriving and that’s where things got weird. The first renewal notice was for $12, not $8 as I was expecting. I figured they may have pushed the prices up and that next magazine’s subscription insert would be $15 with renewal offer at $12. Nope! The next magazine still had 6 inserts with $8 offer.

The next renewal notice had a slightly panicked tone. It called me a valuable subscriber. But it was still $12. The third notice appealed to my need as a professional to know what Wired thinks is cool. It obviously thought I was too busy a professional to remember price point differences.

Finally, they got to me. I did not renew, but instead emailed their subscription support asking about the price difference. Tammi from Wired replied:

Thank you for contacting us concerning a lower subscription price that you have recently seen. We have many different offers to attract new subscribers.  These offers can also be available to you.  Please respond with your special offer information and we will be happy to enter your subscription.

That was so weird, I eventually got their Consumer Marketing Director reply:

Your recent email was routed to my office.  I regret that you were offended by seeing an $8 per year subscription offer on an insert card in your copy of Wired.  The explanation is that we periodically test different price points, both higher and lower,  and that is why your subscription copy carried that more discounted offer.  Let me assure you that had you requested the 12/$8 offer, we would have honored your renewal order at that rate rather than the higher priced offer you received with your renewal communication.   We do value our long term subscribers and as a courtesy, along with my apologies, I would be happy to offer you a complimentary year’s subscription.

I thought about it and figured I was really bothered by their version of valuing long term subscribers and refused to renew at any price. My complaint was never about price, just about being treated as captive audience and a stupid one.

That was 6 months ago. Yesterday I got another email from them. They want me back. At $12/year. The online price is $10. This is now SPAM. I made sure GMail knows that.

Cooking sour grapes

No, I am not complaining about food. I love food. And I love it different and – sometimes even – adventurous. Which is where Sour Grapes come in.

We have been walking around the neighborhood and have discovered Middle Eastern shop with some unusual but recognizable foods and some not-quite-recognizable ones. Our strategy with the later is usually to buy it and then google for its name/recipe. Usually it works quite well.

Not so, with the “Sour Grape Ground”, which looks like brown sand-like stuff with some white flecks. And it is impossible to find on the internet.

The problem of course is that “sour grape” means complaining, and there is a lot of that on the internet.

So, in the end, we just had to go from the general description. We had it in a stew and it was nice, though not outstanding. This probably has more to do with us not knowing the proportions, than with with the sour grapes themselves.

Languages that make you smile

Watching the 21 Accents video (via Neatorama)  made me think that different languages/accents seemed to require different mouth positions. Is it possible that some phonemes are only achievable with the mouth wide-stretched in a smile? Then loading a language with such phonemes would be one way to ensure people appear friendly to strangers whatever the real mood of the person.

Social engineering through accent shaping, now that is an interesting thought!