Mike Cornelison

Letters from the Lunar Outpost

We are almost always guilty of the hate we encounter.
- Vauvenargues, French Moralist (1715-1747)

When it comes to making your New Year’s resolutions, why set yourself up to fail with unrealistic epectations and unobtainable goals?

Far better to aim for success with these Can’t Fail New Year’s Resolutions:

10. I will eat what tastes good and not trouble myself with worries over whether it’s good for me.

9. I promise also to eat more pork and eat more meat in general as a way of saying thank you to God for not making me a Muslim or a vegetarian.

8. In the coming year, I will be more honest with people, no matter how much it might hurt their feelings. After all, honesty is the best policy. Always remember that people need to hear the truth because the truth shall set them free.

7. Should I decide to take up smoking again, I will abandon selfish thoughts about my own health and instead think about the well-being of the nearly 1/4 million Americans directly employed by the tobacco industry.

6. All year long, I will do my best to encourage Democrats to vote for Hillary Clinton on November 9th and I will make sure to cast my vote when Election Day arrives on November 8th.

5. I’m going to stop concerning myself about the plight of the poor people around the world. There are plenty of people struggling right here at home, and when I say home, I mean right here at my house.

4. If I spend a little time watching Internet porn in the coming year, I will not burden myself with feelings of guilt. I will also do my share to help support single mothers by making more trips to the local strip club.

3. I will devote even more time in the coming year to listening to audiobooks, because the more well-read I am, the more interesting and intelligent your friends and acquaintances are.

Someone Is Wrong on the Internet

2. This year, I will take all the time necessary to help people understand why they’re wrong when they post their muddle-headed opinions on the Internet.

1. Last but not least, I promise not to gloat when February rolls around and I’m the only one whose New Year’s resolutions are still intact.

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Here’s a little hack for those addicted to the Candy Crack.

You know the little side games that pop up, those little side tracks off the main map that give you an opportunity to win some extra prizes?

Candy Crush Hack

As shown in the example above, often times on these side tracks, you’re expected to get through all three levels with a single life. Thankfully, there’s a way around that!

Let’s say you just lost on level two or three, want to keep your place? Easy peasy – just pretend like you want to extend the game with a purchase by clicking “Play On” and then when it comes to the Candy Bank screen with the different purchase prices, close out of both the purchase window and the game window.

Candy Crush Hack

Open up Candy Crush again and you’ll still be at that same level you were at with another chance to take it down!

Works on both my Windows Phone (hold down the back button to close out both windows) and the Windows App on my Windows 10 laptop.

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I got all the supplies to set up two phones in the new office, for $52 each we’ll be running two magicJacks, they come with a year of service (big savings over one year’s service for two traditional lines) I got the Ethernet cables, I got the phone cords and previously, I brought an old landline phone I wasn’t using to the new office.

Now it’s 8pm, I have to leave for the office at seven in the morning and I realize I have everything I need to set things up except for . . . the second phone! It’s 8pm, most of the local stores are already shut down and if you haven’t noticed, those old landline phones are getting harder and harder to find.

To the rescue comes Amazon Now! It was only $15 for a landline phone (I had to pad the order with a bathroom scale and a 6 pack of ramen noodles to get the total up over the minimum $30) and it’ll be delivered to my door in 2 to 4 hours. Thank you, Amazon Now!

Having just launched the service, So. Cal. is one of only five areas in the U.S. which Amazon Now is serving, but what a convenience! It’s 8pm, and I can head up to the office long before the rest of the retail stores open and not have to worry about stopping off and trying to figure out who even sells those old school phones anyways.

With Black Friday, we already see that year after year, people are avoiding the crush of the crowds and that more of the money spent is being spent online. Just imagine what will happen when Amazon Now expands itself to bigger swaths of the country and more and more people can see an online order as not something that will arrive day after tomorrow, but two hours from now?

When Jeff Bezos’ dream of drone delivery passes federal regulations and you have a bunch of drone jockeys in a bunker bypassing traffic to fly straight through the air from point A to point B, then you’ll have Amazon Now as reliable out in the rural areas as it is here in So. Cal.

It’s all good and awesome from my perspective as a consumer, but I can only wonder, when you can get your goods from Amazon Now delivered in a couple hours to your door, what’s going to happen to all those brick and mortar businesses? What’s going to happen to all those stores in the shopping malls and the strip malls? Are we going to be living in a wasteland of abandoned plots and plummeting real estate values for the strip malls?

I have this vision where we’ll all be living in a future where everything can be delivered to your door in under two hours, but we’ll all be driving around towns that will look something like this:


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The Ugly Truth About Yelp

Today, I saw a lot of news organizations running stories about Yelp suing South Park for $10 million dollars for lampooning the company in their latest episode. Unfortunately for those news organizations, the story which had briefly topped Google News just isn’t true.

A Yelp spokesperson says the company isn’t actually suing South Park and Comedy Central, and reports of the news came from a hoax site, which Google News briefly attributed to NBC. “We have no interest in legal action against the fantastic team that makes the South Park magic happen,” the spokesperson told Eater.

source: The Week

Those news organizations may have gotten scammed, but it’s nothing compared to the scam Yelp ran for many years on businesses and the public at large.

The scam Yelp was running was so blatant, I really can’t believe they got away with it for as long as they did. Basically, the way it worked was that as a business, if you were willing to sign up for a business account and pay the monthly fee, then any time you would receive a negative review, it was as simple as a phone call to your Yelp account manager to get that review removed.

By the time the company I was working for decided to quit paying Yelp for their service (a more accurate term might be “extortion fees”) we had a total of 34 reviews removed from the front page and buried behind a small link that called them “other reviews that are not currently recommended” (and thus, were not factored into our Yelp score).

Of course, that all was exposed to the public at large when Yelp was sued for their extortion schemes and people realized not only were businesses forced into a paying into the equivalent of a mafia-style protection scam but that because of this, Yelp was completely unreliable as a service to everyone else looking to vet businesses.

Rumor has it that all the lawsuits filed against them forced them to reconsider their tactics, but after all the sleazy practices that I saw running rampant in that organization, personally I would never, ever trust Yelp for an opinion on anything.

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I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for years. I was worth it to me when it was $75 / year, and it’s been worth it the last two years as a $100 / year service.

When I’m shopping for the best possible price on just about anything, no way do I want to waste gas driving all over town when I can compare ten or twenty online retailers in a matter of a couple clicks. More often than not, I find the best price is at Amazon, and as an Amazon Prime member, it arrives in two days (Sundays deliveries included) for zero dollars.

Well, I heard about Amazon testing a two-hour delivery service about a year ago in New York, they added Seattle, and now, for those of my friends in the So. Cal. area, it’s here and it is legit.

I’m making progress on my waistline, so I ordered a new pair of Dickies chino work pants, my wallet was disintegrating, so I got a Raiders tri-fold wallet, I needed another guitar cable, got that and I was up to $47. Well, they had a coupon for $20 of a $50 order, so I padded that order with two 6-packs of ramen noodles and hit the $50 mark. They automatically add a $5.00 tip which you can change if you’re feeling extra generous or somewhat stingy, but I left it at $5.00 and with tax it was $38.

I placed the order at just a bit after 11:00 and they had a one-hour option as well, which I’m sure would have cost a bit extra, so I went with the standard two-hour delivery, which gave me a time frame of 12:00 to 2:00, which technically would have made it scheduled to arrive within 1 to 3 hours. Sure enough, at one o’clock on the dot, there was the knock at the door, just under two hours from my placing the order.

Granted, it’s a subset of the gazillion things offered by Amazon, but as you can see from my order – pair of pants, wallet, guitar cable, ramen noodes, the categories are all there. If you’re busy working, on a Netflix binge, too drunk to drive or whatever, the fact that Amazon can bring you a good selection of what they carry in just a couple hours is just one more reason to believe we’re living in wondrous times. Order now, my So. Cal. friends and hopefully the service will be a success that keeps spreading to other regions.

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Currently Listening To:

Team of Rivals
Doris Kearns Goodwin