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NeilFred Picciotto
purple juggling software geek
purple juggling software geek

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Has anyone done any of the escape rooms in Las Vegas?  Any recommendations or anti-recommendations?

I made a silly thing:

h/t +Chris Wren for calling attention to the upcoming nifty time in question.
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Maybe a Googler or ex-Googler (or someone else) can help find someone who can help – anybody know anyone at +Motorola Mobility?

I've been quite happy with my Moto X (2nd gen), my Moto 360, and so far with my Moto Hint (though admittedly I just got that more recently, and don't have much experience with it yet).  However, I've cracked my Moto X screen twice now in under three months (compared with never cracking the screen of my Samsung Galaxy S4 in ~18 months despite dropping it multiple times without a case).

So obviously one complaint is that the phone breaks too easily.  But fine, okay, I should get better about not dropping it, and in any case that's feedback for future designs, I don't expect to see anything change there for a while.

My bigger and more immediate complaint is not how easily it breaks, but how hard it has been to get it fixed.  Fortunately I have the "Moto Care Accident Protection" plan – and I'm very grateful that Motorola offers that.  It allows me to get three comparatively inexpensive repairs/replacements (with luck and being more careful maybe I won't need to use the third one for a while!).  However, the process for getting that replacement turns out to have a significant bug.  No idea how many customers are affected, but for me, it has led to a massive hassle.

What happens is that when the representative on the phone puts in my credit card info to charge me for the repair, the charge seems to go through, but then the system (I'm told) immediately "auto-cancels" the order.  No explanation of why.  This happened both the first time I went through this process, in January, and now the second time as well.  We tried multiple different credit cards, some in other people's names (though with the same billing address), and we tried a different shipping address, and on and on, but every time, it auto-cancels.  On both occasions, it was suggested to me that I borrow a friend's credit card, since supposedly that often works.  I also called my credit card company to see whether there was any issue on their side and they said no, everything was approved on their side, it's got to be an issue on the Motorola side.

Now, back in January, Jamie, the representative I spoke to the most, eventually found a way around the issue.  I'm not sure what the magic incantation turned out to be, but I think she said she got someone from some other department to reset something, or something like that.  And then it went through fine, and I was able to get my phone replaced.  But this time, the representative I spoke to (Andrew) insisted that he had done everything that could possibly be done, he had talked to people that "specialize in this kind of issue", and so on, and still, the system auto-canceled everything.

Asking me to borrow a friend's credit card is simply not an acceptable "solution" for any company to tell a customer they want to keep.  The problem is Motorola's, and Motorola needs to fix it.  If they're truly unable to charge my credit card (and remember, their website has happily sold me three different devices without auto-canceling those orders), then they should do the repair for free.

So Andrew insisted that I should borrow a friend's card, or he said the only other option, which would take several days and was not guaranteed to help anyway, would be to escalate to IT.  I said sure, let's do that.  Who knows, maybe some engineer will be able to actually dig into log files or something and find the bug in the code that causes the system to auto-cancel.  If so, that would be a big win for the future customers hitting this issue, not to mention the phone representatives and the people that "specialize in this kind of issue".  But meanwhile, I'm stuck with a cracked screen.

So what do you say, +Motorola Mobility?  Can you find some way to help me?
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I have no idea when the last time I bowled was, but I'm pretty sure this must be my best game ever, with six strikes, three of them in a row...  

Sadly I choked in the 10th frame.  In my defense,  the 6th, 8th, and 10th frames were on a different lane (the other frames were also on the same lane as our prior game, so I'd had a bunch of practice there).

Still, w00t, 140!
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Beat the record for 61 ("binary") – down from 21 to 18.  Particularly satisfying since my solutions to 59 and 60 were so inefficient as to each garner only 1 star.  :),binary,[0,recurse:05K06a007L11K12G17621323324B25331L32H37643544K45L46a0477]

(Now that I've finally finished all the challenges, I guess I should go back and see about optimizing those two – I have several that I haven't gotten to fully optimal for three stars, but I think those are my only two with only one star...)

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I guess I've had an xorballs tab sitting open (waiting for me to spontaneously get unstuck on level 57) for over a year now – crazy.  Recently when relaunching Chrome the tab gave an alert saying "level 10 is new" or something?  Where did that come from?

Anyway, my first attempt on that level apparently beat the record:,mix,[0,new:310320330420441510520530]

+David de Kloet 

I'm trying to essentially replicate the functionality of +Leon Nicholls's physical remote Arduino sketch (namely, pausing and resuming playback on a Chromecast), but in my case, doing so from a python application rather than an Arduino device.  So far I'm not really having any luck.

I installed the websocket client python module using:
sudo pip install websocket-client

I start a YouTube video playing on the Chromecast, and then in a python interpreter, I do the following:

import websocket
ws = websocket.create_connection('ws://')

No obvious errors or anything, but the video just keeps right on playing.  Similarly if I pause it the old-fashioned way and then do the above but with PLAY instead of STOP, nothing happens.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions of what else to try differently...

Does anybody have a photo from Halloween 2006 when I went as the green version of myself?

Maybe +Stephanie Liu +Christine Nguyen ?

Edit: Stephanie has two blurry photos:
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Phew, finally solved them all in the optimal number of moves.

The pentagon was really fun to solve and optimize.  The square was the hardest to optimize.
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