Robert’s Ramblings

Robert Alonso’s Thoughts on Technology and More…

Archive for October, 2008


Telnet for Vista

Posted by Robert Alonso under Advice, Software

I have not been one of those complainers that is always whining about Vista. The truth is that I have liked Vista with its glitzy Aero interface and search functionality from day one. I use it on a very high end laptop and desktop. Unfortunately, lately I have noticed how inefficient the operating system is at opening folders, copying or moving files and any other type of I/O (input or output) operation.

imageI have felt particularly disappointed lately in its performance because I purchased a mini-notebook with an Atom processor and 1GB of memory. It came with Windows XP Home SP3. I have to tell you that the little machine feels many times faster than my quad-core desktop or dual core notebook.

The latest disappointment that I have had with Vista is that it does not have a telnet client by default. I needed such a tool to test a POP3 and SMTP connection to a server that was giving me problems.

I discovered that Vista does come with a telnet client, but you have to choose to install it. It is not installed by default.

These are the steps that you need to follow:

  1. Start the Control Panel from the Start Icon.
  2. Click on "Programs"
  3. Click on "Turn Windows features on or off"
  4. Scroll through the list that is presented and check off the "Telnet Client" (see image above)
  5. Click "OK"

After some disk activity, you should have the Telnet client installed and ready for use. You can access it by opening a Command Prompt and typing "telnet."

Robert Alonso
Alonso Consulting

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PayPal & Imperfect Together

Posted by Robert Alonso under Opinions

I recently tried to purchase a camera from that was priced very competitively. I liked that eCost was advertising that they now accepted PayPal payments. This was useful to me since I had sold a few old items on eBay and had a balance in my PayPal account. I chose the camera, added it to the shopping cart and completed the transaction only to be told by eCost that they were unsuccessful in completing the transaction through PayPal. I tried a second time and received the same message.

The next step was to check PayPal to make sure funds were there. I logged in and saw that there were two pending eCost transactions in my account. I called eCost and told a customer service representative about the problem. She volunteered to call PayPal with me to have the pending charges removed since there were no orders in the eCost system. The PayPal representative had no idea how to handle the problem and kept insisting on getting an order number to be able to help. It was like listening to a broken record that keeps skipping back to the same line, "Sir, I need an order number." (I know I’m dating myself with this reference to "record." You can substitute "scratched CD" if you are under 30.)

Both the eCost representative and I requested a manager. We were put through to someone claiming to be a supervisor. This "customer service" representative from PayPal was even worse than the first one. Furthermore, she was unfriendly and would not help under any circumstance. She also would not transfer me to someone with more authority. I ended the call in complete frustration and requested that eCost handle the matter since their system caused the problem.

That was two and a half weeks ago and I still have the two pending charges on my PayPal account and the eCost representative has been avoiding contact with me. This is frustrating and should never happen. I am ready to close my PayPal account–an account that I have had in good standing since 2000. I also ordered the camera from I have never had any customer service issue with them.

If you think this is an isolated problem, think again. There is a web site you can visit called, There you will see examples of other issues. In frustration, I contacted Sridhar Nagarajan, Head of Service Quality, Global Consumer and Merchant Services at PayPal through my account and received no reply. I guess service quality is not important at PayPal.

Robert Alonso
Alonso Consulting, Inc.

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