How not to use a vending machine

We have some vending machines at our business.

Yesterday, someone came up to me and let me know that our snack vending machine was just eating money and not registering the actual values of the coins that were being inserted.

I tested it out, and it appeared to be true, so I refunded the customer’s money and got out my tools to fix the machine.

It was actually a surprisingly easy solution – there were a bunch of coins stuck between the coin acceptor and the coin processor, so the coins would go through the acceptor and get stuck before they would be read for their value and dropped into the coin container.

I took apart the entire coin acceptor and processing device and pulled out the jammed coins.

Strange coins stuck inside vending machine

(Click to enlarge)

Apparently someone decided to mash two warped coins and two foreign coins into our vending machine. If you take a close look at the largest coin, the hair of the embossed person is actually quite elevated, and the whole coin itself is about twice the thickness of a regular US quarter if you account for the hair.

So, smashing in damaged or foreign coins.

That’s exactly how not to use a vending machine.



It’s a bomb

I’m at our family business right now.

I wanted to have a snack, but my snack of choice was a bit dirty. Literally.

So I took it to the bathroom to wash it before sticking it in the microwave and baking it.

On my way to the bathroom, a child shrieked at me and alerted everyone that I was holding a bomb.


That was a delicious bomb




Have you ever wondered what the inside of a microphone looks like?

Lucky for you, while I was recording a video yesterday, my microphone broke.

I spent about half an hour taking it apart and trying to find out what was wrong with it, before giving up and using my internal laptop microphone.

Then, of course, I had to go through and edit the audio, because my laptop microphone pretty much only picks up the sound of my laptop cooling fan, and you can just barely hear my voice as background noise.

But that’s beside the point.

The internal circuit board of a Logitech microphone

I have no clue what part does what, and still don’t know where it broke.




Second snowfall of the season

The second snowfall of the season happened last night (with the first being a little over a week ago).

(Click to enlarge)

Snow on tree in Chicagoland suburbs on December 2, 2015

Snowy neighborhood in Chicagoland suburbs on December 2, 2015

Snowy neighborhood with melted roads in Chicagoland suburbs on December 2, 2015

Take a look at the last photo – I have a puzzle for you.

Why does each house have one garbage can that’s covered in snow, and one that is not?

(Once you figure out the answer, you’ll think “oh of course,” but I’ve had a good handful of people who took a while to come up with the solution.)



Stand United




Apparently squirrels like eating pumpkins

I was at one of our properties today and noticed that one of the tenants had a pumpkin outside their porch door.

I saw that it had some holes in it, and I figured that it was intentionally carved into it, as a design. Then I realized that it was a terrible design, and had absolutely no resemblance to the classic jack-o-lantern that most people cut into their pumpkins.

After completing necessary business at the property, I got in my car to leave, when I discovered why there were random holes in the pumpkin.

Squirrel eating pumpkin

Apparently the holes weren’t there as a result of a carving … they were there because a squirrel ate the pumpkin.

(The photo is a bit white and blurry because I took it from inside my car, which was parked far away from the pumpkin.)

Happy Halloween



Controversy around preferential treatment for Overwatch beta invites

I made a post yesterday talking about how I had never been invited to a Blizzard beta test, and how it is just my luck that I didn’t get invited to the Overwatch beta, even though it’s a near-necessity for me to do my job with Tempo Storm.

That was mainly intended as a comedy piece so you guys can share my misery at the fact that literally nothing related to pre-release test periods (alpha and beta invites) have gone my way.

Apparently, a lot of people aren’t really taking this as lightly as I am (even though my content production schedule is on the line, while everyone else only has their personal entertainment on the line).

I browsed reddit a bit and saw some links on Twitter that pointed me to some controversies around the invitation process for Overwatch.

Blizzard obviously states that Overwatch beta invites were sent randomly. We all know that, to a degree, that is true, and to a degree, that is false.

It is true because, technically, the invitations are random. The language is accurate, and this is the kind of stuff that lawyers would pick on when fighting a case.

Blizzard needs to test Overwatch on particular machines with particular Internet connections. When you signed up for inclusion in the beta program, you ran a test on your computer that let Blizzard collect in­for­mation about your machine.

After picking out the needed machine/Internet credentials that require testing, Blizzard then randomly selects from that pool.

On a different facet, Blizzard extends offers to large content creation companies whose employees require beta access to report on Overwatch. Once a list of their employees is made, Blizzard then “randomly” selects from that list (although, they might just randomly select 100% of the people on that list).

As you can see, language is pretty intricate, and there are a lot of ways you can twist it to have it work in your favor.

This preferential treatment is expected, and I don’t understand why it wasn’t completely obvious that Blizzard would be using a recruitment method like this one. They want to pick out the best beta testers, and it’s obvious that people who create content and report as a profession would most likely produce findings and reports that will help Blizzard.

And yes, the reason I’m so laid back about my personal Overwatch situation is that I’m confident I’ll be getting in, as a representative of Tempo Storm. But remember, I have a very low passion for FPS, so all my Overwatch-related gameplay will be driven by a passion for eSports and creating content, not just because I want to play the game for fun.

For the “regular” players who want to join in for fun, sure, it might seem a bit unfair, but that’s just how life is. Keep in mind that, in your field of expertise, you will probably gain some sort of preferential treatment as well, in situations relevant to your field, simply because you are knowledgeable about it.

That field, for me, is the online entertainment industry. So, there really isn’t anything to get upset about if you didn’t get invited to the Overwatch beta; look back at the things you take for granted that might prompt jealousy from others who don’t have it for their own.



I’ve never been invited to a Blizzard pre-release test

Apart from the fact that I was a RuneScape player instead of a World of Warcraft player, I’ve been a Bliz­zard game fan since I was in high school.

I was loyal to RuneScape so I didn’t want to play World of Warcraft (and I saw my WoW friends as inferior gamers); my first Blizzard games were Starcraft and Starcraft: Brood War, which I played a lot in high school.

I was a member of the web club and took computer science classes, and a lot of that time spent in the computer lab was spent improving my Starcraft skills. The web club was mostly a gaming club, and I pretty much already knew everything that was done for computer science so I spent the classes playing Starcraft.

Now, I realize that World of Warcraft was Blizzard’s huge source of income, and because I didn’t play it, I didn’t spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on it from subscription and microtransaction fees. But, just the fact that I’ve been around for a decently long period of time should mean that I eventually get invited to at least one alpha or beta test.

I didn’t get invited to the Hearthstone beta, and I didn’t really care too much – although I would’ve been fine testing it out, I didn’t really have a dying passion for card games.

I didn’t get invited to the Heroes of the Storm alpha, which I did care about. I was a League of Legends player all throughout my undergraduate university years, and around the time of Heroes of the Storm was when I was getting frustrated with all the annoying aspects of League of Legends.

I didn’t get invited to the Heroes of the Storm beta, which I cared even more about, because by this time, I had consumed a lot of Heroes of the Storm content from other players, and I was eager to jump into the action. Fortunately, Day[9]TV came to the rescue when he provided me with a beta key so I could activate Heroes of the Storm on my account.

And, now that Overwatch is out, I didn’t get invited to the Overwatch beta either.

Normally, this would’ve been something that I cared the absolute least about, because I’ve never really had a passion for first-person shooters. When I do try to play FPS games, I tend to get dizzy because of the way the camera is set up.

But, I’m working on a project right now that requires me to get involved with Overwatch. Although I don’t have a passion for the genre of game, I have a passion for eSports, and I have a jack-of-all-trades kind of skillset that makes me a decent candidate for this project.

So, the “cared the absolute least about” has become a near-necessity … and of course, I didn’t get invited again.

Maybe one day, Blizzard will notice me.