Ear cleaning — 15 minutes — $158!

I hadn’t been to my ENT doctor in a couple of years and as is the case with me, ear wax build up happens, impairing my hearing. I’ve been going to the same doctor for many years and I like and trust him very much. Until today, the average cost for getting my ears cleaned had been around $50. Today, it was $158! As in the past, fifteen minutes was all the time it took to do the job but unlike in the past, the rate has tripled. By the hour, it’d be $632!

I called my doctor’s secretary to double check if this was an error — it wasn’t. After a few minutes of me venting, she put me in touch with their billing dept. and I got another ‘explanation’ for why the rate was as high as it was. Thanks to our messed up health care / insurance system, rates are through the roof. No wonder so many people are screaming about the lack of affordable health care in this country! Universal Health Care system? – add my voice to the chorus.

How to get Webmail Compose to work with Yahoo! Mail

Recently, Yahoo! changed something in their email protocol which made the Webmail Compose add-on for Firefox stop working. I’ve been able to get it to work again – at least on this computer – by modifying the following string (located in the Webmail Services tab in the add on)


to this:


Note: I haven’t had a chance to test this on several computers yet, but my hunch is that the us.f329 part of the above string may need to be changed to the country-code/mail-farm you’re logged in with (look in the address bar when you’re in Yahoo! Mail to get it).

Hope this helps!

How to import CSV file to MySQL using phpMyAdmin

Here’s one way to get your Excel file into MySQL via phpMyAdmin:
(NOTE: make sure your table on MySQL has the same number of columns as the excel file):

1. Export your .xls file to .csv and remove the first line (column names)
2. Launch phpMyAdmin -> select table

Import ->
Location of text file ->
CSV using LOAD DATA ->
Fields terminated by [,] ->
Fields enclosed by [ ] ->
Fields escaped by [ ] ->
Lines terminated by [r] -> Go

Webmail Compose – a must have Firefox add on!

For all of us Webmail users (Yahoo! Mail, GMail etc.), the Webmail Compose extension for Firefox launches Webmail when an email address is clicked on – not Outlook Express, Mail, Thunderbird. Unfortunately, the original extension stopped working for Firefox once it got to version 2.0 and needs to be ‘hacked’ in order to work with Firefox 2.x

The hack is posted at the link below and is cross platform (works on my Mac, Windows and Ubuntu machines every time with no problems whatsoever!):

Ubuntu 7.10 – a computer for every room!

I have been successfully running two older Pentium III computers with Ubuntu 7.10 and D-Link DWL-520+ PCI cards for WiFi and at this point I’m sold – it’s great! I plan to add a couple more similarly configured machines to the house so that family and friends can all get on the Web if they want during the upcoming holidays without having to wait for me to get off of my Mac in order to do so!

MySQL – calculating minutes between start and end times

I made a simple table in MySQL to use for start and end times (i.e., for billing a job):

CREATE TABLE `billing` (
`start` datetime NOT NULL default ‘0000-00-00 00:00:00’,
`stop` datetime NOT NULL default ‘0000-00-00 00:00:00’,
`total` int(11) NOT NULL default ‘0’

Took me awhile to figure out how to get the actual minutes, but by converting the datetime to unix_timestamp first (then dividing by 60) it worked – yay!

UPDATE billing SET total = (unix_timestamp(stop) – unix_timestamp(start)) / 60

To quickly get the total minutes for the column:

SELECT SUM(total) FROM billing

To show hours:

SELECT SUM(total / 60) FROM billing