Some things I have learned
These are mostly non-mathematical things. You probably should stop reading, because you probably don't care about these things unless you were led here by an internet search. I'm posting these things for various reasons. Because someone might just find them on a search engine and get a good answer to their question. Because I think people ought to be warned. Because I think they're just good to know. Or maybe this is my plain-vanilla-html low-volume response to the universal human impulse to blog. Or maybe not.
1. (10/6/10) Priceline hotels are not really fully prepaid. Priceline admits this in the fine print, and they feel (correctly) that it's our responsibility to read the fine print before we agree to do business with them. But I was once surprised to be charged an extra $5 by the hotel that I "pre-paid" on priceline. Sure, it's only $5, but suppose I bid $50 for a hotel room and the hotel accepts and then tacks on a $50 fee in addition. I asked a priceline customer service representative on the phone if there is anything to prevent the hotel from doing that, and he said, there is nothing to prevent the hotel from doing that.
If I were priceline, I would insist that hotels accept or reject bids based on the total cost that the hotel would charge, including any fees.
2. (10/6/10) The DLink DWL-122 Wireless 2.4GHz (802.11b) USB Adapter is not a good solution for getting an old (OSX 10.4) Mac online. (If you didn't believe what I said above---"You probably should stop reading, because you probably don't care"---do you believe me now?) Despite what you might read on various archived user-group conversations, don't do it. This device does not really work on a Mac. I have to turn on the wireless every time I want it through the System preferences, and the connection sometimes drops. Immediately after I installed it, I got the first ever kernel panic (read: really bad crash) that I have ever seen on this computer, which I have used for 10+ years. Also immediately after I installed it, my HP USB printer stopped working with this computer, and every time I try to reinstall the printer on this computer, the installer freezes for up to 10 hours. (Coincidence?) I have since found other user-group archives that I would have warned me, had I found them in time. (Update: I read on the apple support site that I can make my computer find the printer by resetting the print system. That worked fine. Possibly the printer problems were really coincidence.)
I have no complaints about the company DLink in general. But don't buy this product for a Mac.
3. (11/2/10) The NewerTech MaxPower 802.11g/b USB2 Adapter is a good solution for getting an old (OSX 10.4) Mac online. I got this online from Other World Computing (OWC, AKA macsales.com) for $20.48, including shipping. I followed the instructions that came with it and it didn't work. But here's the beautiful part of the story: I called their free tech support number and got a real person to help me get it to work. I called twice, and the first time, we couldn't get it to work, because my computer's optical drive is dying. (Yes, my computer is OLD.) But when I called back with an external CD drive available, the guy got it working. In the end, he emailed me a better driver (paradoxically, an older one) and suddenly everything works. You can just leave the USB wireless in the USB port and wireless connectivity happens automatically on login. It JUST WORKS (so far). I really like the OWC/NewerTech brand and their tech support.