Centurylink Internet Review

I’ll make this review very short. Three words – CENTURYLINK INTERNET SUCKS.

If you are considering their service, find someone else UNLESS you are in my predicament of them being the last tree and the world is flooded with piss.

I have called the Better Business Bureau, Oregon Public Utility Commission (they were actually very helpful but unfortunately do not have authority to act) and have talked to Centurylink support until I’m blue in the face. Nothing. Nada. They simply do not care that my internet that I pay for (which is already a lame 1.5m down), usually functions at about .05m down. Dialup was faster.

Their excuse? Bandwidth exhaust (since August I might add). Now they claim they need a part that costs $250k to get me the speed I am paying for. Turns out they ran out of room and need to upgrade to provide enough capacity.

They finally quit taking new customers in my area about two months ago. Laughable. So many people in my area complained that they finally quit selling. What kind of moron sells capacity they don’t have just to turn a buck. Answer = Centurylink Internet.

I wish I had the CEO of the company’s phone number so I could call him every time my internet sucks. Answer = it would be every day about 6pm.

Oh and thanks for the $10 credit on my account. In the world of Centurylink Internet, this makes up for not being able to provide reliable service. I would pay 10 times this amount for my internet to work. Centurylink Internet = 1st class douchebags. Greedy douchebags. Unbeleivable. Yeah, I’m a little upset.

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Timberline Estimating Software Review

While the thought of being a full time blogger is certainly romantic, the reality of my life is that of a construction project manager and estimator. As I become busy in my professional life, something has to give and I guess writing articles is *that* something that has to give.

Before any project gets built, the owner wants to know how much the project is going to cost. Most of the time we are providing cost estimates and competing with anywhere from 5 to 10 other contractors. In most cases, the low responsible price wins the contract.

On a $3 million dollar project, I will spend about 2 weeks putting the project estimate together. Estimating software is of the most important software that I use on a regular basis.

Recently, the company I work for tasked yours truly to oversee a new computer and software upgrade. This particular upgrade included a new company server, workstations, and estimating software.

Prior to the upgrade, we were using a product from Sage software called Timberline Estimating. I believe Timberline was the first mainstream estimating software. I personally have been using Timberline Estimating software for the past 15 years.

After enduring multiple webinairs from multiple estimating software platforms, I narrowed it down to two choices – ProEst and Timberline.

Timberline has the advantage of being a tried, true, and tested estimating platform by companies large and small. It also had the advantage that all of us at work have been using it for a long time. Because estimating software is the most important function for us at work, we desire to utilize the best software to help us with our estimating.

Let me make it clear that the estimating software is a tool that we use. We are NOT slaves to the software and the software does not “think” for us. I guess an analogy would be playing the guitar. You aren’t simply going to put a Les Paul guitar in someone’s hands and all of a sudden they become Eric Clapton.

ProEst has a great marketing deptartment. They are able to clearly articulate and demonstrate the great things that ProEst can do. Unfortunately, that is as good as it gets with ProEst. The program is slow and klunky and I personally ran into several bugs that, according to ProEst support, were being worked on and “would be fixed in an upcoming release”.

Our company went so far as to buy several licenses under the false pretense that we would be able to get some of our money back if things didn’t work out. Long story short, things didn’t work out. Nearly all of our estimating team found the software to be too slow and time consuming to use. Our estmating team consists of 6 who all have at least 10 years estimating experience. Once they have their hands on your money, they will not do the honorable thing and hand it back (as we were lead to believe).

Unfortunately, ProEst’s answer to our unwillingness to have them force feed their software to us was simply that we needed to sit through umpteen hours of their web based support. I beg your pardon? Hey ProEst, we’re not dummies. We recognize a sub par estimating platform when we see one.

What I can’t explain are all the favorable reviews for ProEst. The only thing I can think of is the people who are favorably reviewing ProEst are ProEst employees or folks that have not tried the more superior, refined, and FAST Sage Timberline estimating.

Like I said, Timberline estimating has been around since day one. The folks that put this fine piece of precision software together are not without their A-Game. The programmers who put Timberline together have obviously made it their priority to have people from the estimating profession give input into making the program function.

Timberline really excels with it’s excel spreadsheet integration (no pun intended), report writing, address/contact book, and did I say FAST! With Timberline you never more than two clicks away from entering an activity. ProEst on the other hand…Ugh! After opening at least 3 or 4 windows (I honestly lost count), you finally get the opportunity to enter an activity. ProEst is simply too slow of a process to contend.

If you are sitting on the fence in trying to decide which estimating software to use, look no farther than Sage Timberline Estimating. There is absolutely no comparison. Simply put, no other estimating platform even comes close.

Libox

Having just wrote an article featuring a media streaming service called Orb, I was recently turned on to another media streaming service that I’ve been testing over the weekend.

Libox is a media streaming service that allows you to stream your music, photos, and video from your computer.

It works similiar to Orb in that you download their FREE software and sync whatever media folders you want.
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LastPass

I finally got fed up with trying to remember all of my darned passwords for the various websites I visit. I think I’m somewhere around 30 different usernames and passwords.

Being a freak about security, I don’t have the same password or username for anything. Also, my passwords are long and not the type that I can remember since they all have letters, numeric, and various characters in them. My philosophy on passwords is if you are gonna try to crack me, you’re gonna spend some time doing it.

I still recommend you encrypt your financial usernames/passwords (if they aren’t the type you can’t remember) and keep them local as opposed to online in the cloud.

For the non financial usernames/passwords, I highly recommend you use LastPass.

LastPass is a great local and cloud application that can sync your usernames/passwords from computer to computer. You load in the information and LastPass will autofill both your username and password. All you have to do is set up one username and one password to access LastPass. LastPass is encrypted so it would be pretty difficult for someone to access your information without your username and password.

I use three computers on a regular basis – Laptop, home desktop, work desktop. With LastPass, all of my usernames and passwords are a click away.

I know many of you use KeyPass. I have been trialing both programs and have decided LastPass is my favorite.

LastPass integrates well with all browser platforms and is free to use!

Orb

Have I mentioned I have a large music collection? For the past year, I have managed to convert my hundreds of CD’s to digital format so I can preserve them and of course listen to them with my computer. I have also bought Western Digital’s WDTV Live so I can wirelessly stream them from my computer to my stereo system so I can rock the house!!

The last remaining task that I have recently accomplished is to be able to stream my music collection through any internet connection.

Enter Orb.
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HTC Incredible

This weeks Verizon Wireless release of the new HTC Incredible smart phone was perfect timing for yours truly since I have been due for a “new every two” phone for the past 6 months. For those of you who aren’t Verizon customers, “new every two” is a free or seriously discounted phone every two years for us dedicated Verizon wireless customers.

I have been with Verizon since Verizon became Verizon 10 years ago. I actually inherited Verizon when Airtouch Cellular became Verizon. So yeah, I would call myself a dedicated customer.
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FilzMail

Last week, I set up a new user account on my computer for my oldest daughter who is almost 10. She has been after me to get her own user account for about a year or so. I told her if she could compute responsibly and not cause any significant registry damage, I would go along with her request. She has shown excellent computer resonsibility and so I followed through and set up her own user account.

Along with the user account she also wanted her own email address. I was somewhat indecisive if I should or not but ultimately set one up for her at Gmail.

Gmail is a real pain to set up if you don’t have another email address (non gmail). They wouldn’t let me use my pop3 email address because it was already being used for my wife’s gmail account.

So I’m thinking, wow. I need a disposable email address.

Enter FilzMail. After doing a little research on the web, I came across this simple web application that gives you a free email address that self destructs after 24 hours. Using it to set up my daughter’s email account worked fabulously.

In this world of spam, if you come across something that you don’t want to give your regular email address to, head on over to FilzMail and create a disposable email.