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Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Subject:Amazon has awesome customer service if...
Time:3:00 pm.
... you point out they're not living up to their legal obligations.

My Kindle Keyboard 3G is 16 months old. Its screen has died. So I had Amazon ring me, at which point they said because it was more than 12 months old and that the Keyboard 3G had been discontinued, they would instead offer me the new basic model Kindle at a discounted price.

I said under EU law, such devices must have a 24 month warranty, and under UK law they must have a warranty that lasts as long as one might reasonably expect the device to last. (Although returning it to them for repair or replace would have been at my own expense.)

"Please hold" I was told, as I had obviously forced the guy off his script.

He came back with a counter offer: they'd replace it with a Kindle Touch free of charge.

Good, I thought, but I can do better: "That doesn't have 3G does it?" I asked. The guy agreed, saying the only model that is currently manufactured that has 3G is the top-of-the-range Paperwhite 3G. I said I routinely used 3G for newspapers and when travelling.

"Please hold" I was told.

He came back and said there is nothing they can do in the usual process; their system will not allow a replacement with something with similar functionality. So instead they have given me an Amazon Gift Voucher for £175.01, which is the cost of a Paperwhite 3G and first class postage on the condition I use it to buy a new Kindle and dispose of my old one in a suitable manner. This also means I get a new warranty.

Result. And we currently have a Prime trial membership, so the postage was free. It'll arrive at the office tomorrow, and I'll still have six quid gift voucher balance...
Comments: Read 5 or Add Your Own.

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Subject:The ultimate tea and coffee shop
Time:9:23 am.
  • In the Northern Quarter.
  • Opens at 7 am, closes at midnight.
  • Old library décor, with leather-topped tables, leather chairs, bookshelves on walls.
  • Air conditioning, set at 19°C.  People who touch this gets their hands chopped off.
  • Free WiFi. Devices with an Apple MAC address get throttled.
  • Tables have:
    • Kensington locks.
    • GbE ports.
  • A menu of teas and coffees, with tasting notes.
  • Kettles.
  • Infuser teapots using tea leaves, drip coffee, aeropress coffee, espresso-based coffee.
  • Soft drinks, served with ice.  Wide range of caffeine- and sugar-free choices.
  • Dyson Airblades.
  • Android app for ordering fresh drinks.
  • iPhone app for doing the same, but adds 10% to the price.
Comments: Read 9 or Add Your Own.

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Subject:CD awfulness
Time:10:31 am.
So, horrors I've identified on Texas's new album "The Conversation" so far:

  1. Compressed so hard that the beat mushes all other sounds (including vocals) into an unidentifiable goo.

  2. Then clipped to around +31000/-31000 so it doesn't even use the full 16 bit range of CD.

  3. At least one track has audible GSM mobile phone interference in the fade out.

Easily the most hilarious mastering of an album I've head in a long time.
Comments: Read 1 or Add Your Own.

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Subject:Hardware shinies
Time:12:04 pm.
I've been working on this with other Coderthinkers for the best part of the year.  It's shiny and I'd like two, please.  The Baserock Slab ARM server thing.
Comments: Read 5 or Add Your Own.

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Subject:Why I don't file bugs
Time:7:44 pm.
Mood: aggravated.
Today, I encounted two reminders of why I don't submit bug reports to free software projects. We'll ignore the conversation I had last weekend with a LibreOffice developer at Collabora's office why I don't bother.

Firstly, I got a mail from Launchpad. Somebody had asked "It's been five years. Why is this bug still here?" on something I filed, well, 5 years ago. (bzr, it explodes in a sticky mess of stack backtrace if you try to merge to an empty branch. It still does.) It reminded me of a PostgreSQL packaging bug I filed even longer ago, that languishes unfixed.

Secondly, I discovered Banshee can no longer audioscrobble to I Google around, and find that this has been a problem for a while. I join their IRC channel, and ask "Is this still a problem?" "Upgrade to the latest version!" I am told. I do so. It's still a problem. "File a bug, here!" I am told. I am confronted with a Bugzilla login page. Because it's easier than dancing around their pointless processes and I have better things to do, I uninstall Banshee and install Rhythmbox. I get some insults thrown in for my efforts.

Things in open source projects don't get fixed unless the reporter includes a patch, or the problem irritates one of the developers. If you've not got the expertise to make a patch, or you're unfortunate enough that your problem doesn't make the developers annoyed, you're out of luck. Don't bother filing; it's a waste of everybody's time. Go use something else. You'll find that people bitch at you about the spirit of free software. Reply pointing out that it's free, and that this macabre and fruitless dance they demand constitutes a fee that the competiting product doesn't levy. Perhaps one day a developer will find your bug itchy enough to fix. Or perhaps not.
Comments: Read 5 or Add Your Own.

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Time:11:58 pm.
 Looks like The Anchor for my 30th will have to be postponed due to not wanting three long drives (one to Bosnia) on consecutive weekends.  Apologies.  Will plan something for Manchester on the same day, for those who are interested.
Comments: Read 2 or Add Your Own.

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Time:6:08 pm.
On Saturday the 16th of July 2011, I shall be 30.  It has been suggested that celebrating this at The Anchor at Sutton Gault might be a good idea.  If you're interested in joining me, leave a comment.
Comments: Read 3 or Add Your Own.

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Subject:New car.
Time:1:04 am.
It goes vroom.  But quietly and in more comfort.
Comments: Read 4 or Add Your Own.

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Time:12:59 am.
I shall be in Cambyshire on or around the 16th. Still unknown how long I shall be staying. Anybody want a pint?
Comments: Read 3 or Add Your Own.

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Subject:Lazyweb: Toolkits
Time:11:55 am.
I currently use GTK from C when I want to write a GUI application. Unfortunately, GTK is a hideous monstrosity written in C by people who don't like C. I'm becoming increasingly disillusioned with it. What else is there? I don't think my requirements are all that demanding;
  1. Usable from C.
  2. Does not use a terrifying maze of macros in order to pretend to be C++.
  3. Integrates well with FreeDesktop standards (ie, if you put a GTK and a Qt application next to each other, they look similar enough these days at a glace; using the same colours, etc.)
For bonus points:
  1. Extant Lua bindings
  2. Can just recompile and get Windows and OS X applications
  3. Comes with a moon on a stick
Comments: Add Your Own.

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Subject:Wooyay for banking security
Time:8:07 pm.
So, this "Verified by VISA" system, or "LloydsTSB Safe Click" or whatever. It now appears that many retailers now require its use in order to complete your transaction. Here are a few problems with it;
  1. The Verified by VISA form is hidden in an IFRAME embedded into the retailer's site, making it hard for non-technical people to verify who they are giving what details to,
  2. The domain hosting the site that hosts this form, and its management interface, does not contain VISA or Lloyds in its host name,
  3. The SSL certificate used for this form is of the type anybody can buy for a tenner with no requirement to prove who you are,
  4. Asks for information the bank does not have (such as my mother's maiden name),
  5. Cannot be opted out of online without first signing up and providing all that data to a site of uncertain ownership,
  6. All the usual problems of involving two different organisations in payments, such as even more weak links,
  7. Asks for just the sort of information to make it a fruadster's wet dream.
Still, the nice chap on the 'phone told me it was secured by 128 bit SSL. Woo for that. Apparently if I bitch loudly enough in a branch, they can do something about this. Sigh. Who consults banks on security, and where do they live?
Comments: Add Your Own.

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Subject:Broken stereotypes
Time:11:58 am.
When I popped out to buy cow juice this morning, I saw a very large black Rolls Royce wafting down the road, with a very large black man in it, wearing very large gold chains, very large sun glasses, and smoking a very large cigar. The bizarre and unexpected bit was that he was playing Vivaldi very loudly.
Comments: Read 6 or Add Your Own.

Subject:These should exist.
Time:12:13 am.
That is all.
Comments: Read 4 or Add Your Own.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Subject:My day today
Time:2:25 pm.
My day today so far;
  1. Irreparably fuck the telephone system.
  2. Spend 3 hours rushing to finish commissioning its replacement that I'd hoped to have done over a course of a week, not 3 hours.
  3. Booked tickets to go and see Watchmen in IMAX.
Comments: Read 5 or Add Your Own.

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Time:11:11 am.
I love Wikipedia;
Witchell, along with Sue Lawley, then became the first newsreader of the BBC Six O'Clock News when that programme was launched in 1984, now called the BBC News at Six. In 1988, the Six O'Clock News studio was famously invaded during a live broadcast by a female group protesting against Britain's Section 28 (a law against the promotion of homosexuality in schools). Witchell famously grappled with the protestors and is said to have sat on one woman, provoking the memorable frontpage headline in the Daily Mirror, "Beeb man sits on lesbian".
Comments: Read 1 or Add Your Own.

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Subject:Entropy Key!
Time:6:37 pm.
Wooyay. Finally, real hardware! See pics here and here. Gareth now no longer has any hair having made these. Also, top tip of the day: Don't tell pick and place robots to place things outside the area of the PCB. It makes them cry.

Now to write the software!
Comments: Read 16 or Add Your Own.

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Time:12:46 pm.
I just got a letter from Gerald Kaufman MP thanking me for my letter of support on his speech on the Gaza situation.

Unfortunately, I sent no such letter.
Comments: Read 7 or Add Your Own.

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Subject:Chinese jokes on the West
Time:9:04 pm.
Mood: mischievous.
I have discovered the second great joke the Chinese are playing on the West.

The first, of course, is the invention and use of boxes that shrink once their contents is removed, destroying any possibility of returning them back into them.

The second, as I discovered this evening, is that the Fish and Chips takeaways they operate do not use grease-proof paper to wrap their goods. No. They use grease-repellent salt-and-vinegar-absorbent paper.
Comments: Read 1 or Add Your Own.

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Subject:Thought of the day
Time:12:56 pm.
In this age of Daily Mail and Express readers, what should we call child grooming products?
Comments: Read 7 or Add Your Own.

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Subject:Flesh wounds
Time:10:42 am.
In the past two weeks, I have managed to cut the pad of my left index finger to the point of bleeding profusely no less than 4 times. Each time, I have no idea how it happened and had not been handling any sharp objects for some time by the time I noticed.

Today's laceration had a window of opportunity of about 3 minutes. I washed my hands and noticed no problem. By the time I got upstairs and started typing, my finger felt sticky: it was bleeding.

What's most odd is that they're always clean cuts. Boggle.
Comments: Read 5 or Add Your Own.

LiveJournal for Rob Kendrick.

View:User Info.
View:Website (My Website).
You're looking at the latest 20 entries. Missed some entries? Then simply jump back 20 entries.