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Online photo printing comparison, and Customer Service Fun

Posted by james on Dec. 3, 2006

<b>Comparing Digital Photo Print Sites:</b>

I printed photos out at Walmart, Shutterfly, and Costco. I printed the same photos, unmodifed, without any corrections. The results...

<b>Walmart</b> ($.15 4x6 in store pickup): at first glance looks the most striking and sharp. Mostly because they tweak colors (brighter or more contrast, auto sharpening filter, slight red shift). It makes skin tones look good, and make details pop, but also causes halo-effects due to over sharpening. Annoying when you're hair is too sharp in the pic and looks like it's made of glowing wire.

<b>Shutterfly</b> ($.19 4x6 delivery plus <a href="http://www.shutterfly.com/help/pricing.jsp#delivery">shipping</a>): right in the middle. Did some brightness and red-shift color correction, but did pretty good. Decently sharp, no auto-sharpen like walmart. Probably the best all-around.

<b>Costco</b> ($.17 4x6 in store pickup): fuzzy, untouched colors/bright. Probably the best color levels if I do correction at home, but they're too fuzzy.

I'm going to use Walmart in-store for now, and deal with the super-sharp halo effects. Looks good for most stuff, unless you've got dust spots or bright contrast in your pic. At $.15, can't complain.

Funny thoughts: Costco uses "Snapfish by HP", and uses the same web interface as Walmart! They must use the same backend, and maybe Walmart uses Snapfish too?

<b>Customer Service Stories:</b>

Today's story regards calling Walmart Photo center about their super-sharp filter. I got a lady immediately (10 bonus points!), described the problem (photos get sharped and brighted), asked question (Is there a way to print/order without those auto-corrections?). Answer: "You can return photos if you're not satisfied. (Ooo, -2 points). Asked again, got "As far as I know, walmart does not alter photos." (-3 points) Asked again, she talked to her supervisor (short wait, 0 points lost) and then said that Walmart does not modify photos at all. Obviously wrong and unknowledgable, though polite about it, so final score:

-20 points: Unhelpful

Oh well walmart, not too bad... Definitely better than Roadrunner, may they burn in customer service waiting-line queue.

Palm Treo 650 + Google Calendar = Awesome

Posted by james on Nov. 18, 2006

Sync-erific happiness ensues.

<a href="http://www.goosync.com/">GooSync</a> is a free service + palm client that allows me to sync my Palm Treo calendar to my Google Calendar. Sign up on the website, enter gCal name + password. Then download client to the Palm, enter the same name + password. And then hit the sync button on the Palm.

2 way sync! Things show up on both sides and are modified correctly. I don't know why, but the fact that it works astounds me. How can something so necessary and helpful actually work the easily? We'll see how this goes in the long run. But for now, I have Google Calendar sitting on my desktop (boo for designed-by-evil-monkeys ActiveDesktop background webpage) and my Palm is sucking up the data. Good times.

Now, I gotta figure out if there's a better way to show gCal on my desktop, ala <a href="http://www.rainlendar.net/">Rainlendar</a> (no longer free!!!).

How to use signed javascript in Firefox 1.5

Posted by james on Oct. 27, 2006

Finally! I figured out how to sign scripts in Firefox!

Don't you hate it when you know what you need to do, but not how to do it, and everything you find on Google just sends you in circles? Everything I've found up till now gives me little bits and pieces of the puzzle, but nothing actually worked start to finish.

But now I can, thanks to my hard work and perserverance. Check it out...

<a href="http://rocketmonkeys.com/perm/how_to_use_signed_javascript_in_firefox.html">How to Use Signed Javascript in Firefox 1.5</a>

Agh, finally.


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