Thursday, December 30, 2010

A thanksgiving Turkey

A thanksgiving Turkey, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Wowo! Two posts in a day. This makes up for the infrequency of posting, and the age of the photos (doesn't rhyme with breaking news).


Snow?!, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quote of this particular day

Courtesy of Fuego:

"Never take 'no' from someone who is not allowed to say 'yes.'"

Okay, Dell, if you care so much, could you show it?

Live posting of Dell support call
This is an update to this post, which you might want to read if you haven't already.
I had to call Dell again last night, since the last calls have been duds, in terms of services rendered. Last week I’d called and been told that at that time I couldn’t get things fixed until I called back later. The next call left me on hold for over two hours before my phone died. Later, I called again and was told that I already had an order being shipped, so I shouldn’t be concerned with things taking a while. These were all after I’d learned through @DellCares on twitter that my order had been closed out. Last night, lacking anything better to do, I banked on getting a shorter wait time by calling in the evening on a Sunday with less call volume. After listening to the scratchy message warning me that the conversation may be recorded, I realized that I might as well live post the events to Facebook as they occurred. Below are those posts.

Why do technolgy companies have the most inept, backward telephone support systems, with almost non-existent online support?

Argh, the warranty expired while Dell and FedEx were busy screwing up, so now they want me to pay for the part and to ship it as a new order!?!?!?!? WTF!?

Off hold! Now I won't have to pay for their mistake!*
*But I may still have to pay shipping costs for the part that never got here before I can place a new order.
Ooops, did I say something wrong? Back to hold.

Ooh goody, back to a human. And he's going to do me a huge favor. In the light of past mistakes, and considdering that I'm probably not going to be here past this Wednesday, I'm going to get basic ground shipping, but I won't have to pay for it.

Oh. shit. Ground shipping means five to eight days.

Okay, they understand my situation and they're going to work with me… by keeping my order with the slow shipping. The slow shipping that will get the part to me as much as a week after I'm not here. But I'm being reassured that they emphasize(!) with me.

Okay, back to hold [sigh]. He's going to talk with a supervisor again.

He came back again for a little while, this time he said was going away and that he'd try to work with the supervisor, explaining to the supervisor that I'm not going to be here.

And he's back. No deal on fast shipping, unless I buy the extended waranty. Except that this call would be happening before the extended warranty goes into effect, so I'd be going back to paying for Dell and FedEx's fuck up. Dammit people, please!

So I asked to speak to the supervisor to see if he'd have to ability to help me further, but I was told that he's not available at the moment. Is it just me or is that a little screwy?

So I checked now to see we could change the address to the place I'm going to be, but I'm told that it has to got to the address of the first call.

But that was the whole problem! They shipped the fisrt one to the wrong address! Let's see if I can "re-correct" my address to where I'll be…

Nope! no changing addresses again. Shit.

So the call just ended. I'm going to call it a draw, since I didn't in the end have to pay for the previous service call that they screwed up, I didn't have to pay for the current call that resulted from their screwup, and I didn't have to buy an extended warranty to fix the fact that the regular warranty expired while they were screwing up.

However, I still won't have the part for another week, and I'll only have it then if I break up all my holiday plans to go home to see my family. Dell, I don't think I'm going to willingly buy from you again, unless you can demonstrate that you've taken actions to not be full of so much suck.

I really wish I got paid for talking to Dell's support line, cause I would have made bank. I have spent six hours and twelve minutes with them during five different calls. At twenty dollars an hour that's one hundred twenty four bucks for my time.

So, yeah, that’s the story. I’m still frustrated and I still don’t have the replacement for the AC adapter that fell apart. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ah, time for a PB & J

I might be taking things a little too seriously. The post below reads somewhat like an abstract.

One key of the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich is the balance of jelly peanut butter and bread. If you have too much or not enough of one ingredient, the enjoyment curve goes down (Figure 1).

So I happen to have exceedingly thick, tasty bread at the moment. It's a good thing, but I ran into a problem assembling a PB&J. When I increased the amount of peanut butter and (more importantly) the jelly to compensate, it became an unmanageable (though tasty) mess. The jelly is not viscous enough to support a thick deposit within the sandwich structure without squirting disastrously. This traditional structure shall be known as Mark I.

So I tried an experiment: Walls of peanut butter surrounding the lake of jelly. Well, the first couple bites of the Mark II sandwich were good, however the experiment did eventually fail since eating the PB walls rendered them useless. Back to the drawing boards.

Mark III was less than successful, results wise. I mixed the thicker PB with the jelly, to try to stabilize it. However, warmed by the toasted bread and thinned by the jelly, the entire mixture was too runny. More research needed.

*** Update***

Another day, another shot at perfection. Tis time for stabilization, mechanically! For background, it seems that bananas would be logical for this use. They have a solid form that can easily be sliced and shaped, however they also liquify under moderate pressure. That means they'll blend with teh jelly in every bite when the sandwich is bitten. Importantly, bananas also have a mild, sweet flavor that will not adversely effect the affect of the sandwich. 

The bananas were implemented into the Mark IV without much difficulty. Cut into long stringers, arranged to form a border and placed paralel with even spacing within to prevent jelly movement worked moderately well. However, it is recommended to eat into the sandwich in a more perpendicular direction to the stringers. Doing otherwise could still cause forceful jelly evacuation from the structure.

At this point in the research it should be noted that I've consumed my entire supply of crunchy PB; however, reserves of smooth remain.

The Mark V is like the previous sandwich, but taking the change in PB into effect by adding some crunch in the form of crisp julienned apple. I used the same initial structure and layout as the Mark IV, but then added a healthy dose of apple. The random layout of the apple, especially as it was pressed into the jelly/banana matrix had the added benefit of increased stabilization. 

The Mark V sandwich is fully successful in solving all design proces problems encountered in the Mark I sandwich. While accomplishing its goals, the revised sandwich adds non-traditional ingredients that may or may not meet widespread approval in the wider PB&J community. On the other hand, the Mark V also does not comprehensively examine other potential ingredients for utility in structural stabilization. These issues need to be explored in further research.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Soft, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

A photo from a while ago, for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Open letter to Dell and FedEx.

The following was originally to be a Facebook post and Facebook messages to the pages for each of the companies. Unfortunately, according to Facebook  (although not in so many words), I'm too verbose. So this becomes an open letter tucked away on an obscure, quite blog in a corner of the internet. 

Dear Dell and FedEx,

I'm just letting you know that you are on my shit list have left me feeling disappointed with your services, all due to the complete lack of regard for customers and inability to fix simple problems with your products and manage your services.

Dell customer service gave me a great initial promise once I got through to a person: for a problem on a Sunday evening, I'd get a replacement for the crappy part on the power supply that broke by Monday afternoon, or Tuesday morning by the latest. I explained that I would be leaving town Tuesday evening, but you reassured me that I'd long have the replacement by then.

Monday went by without an appearance from FedEx, but I wasn't too concerned. Tuesday, I'm home all morning, and into the afternoon. Not a peep, no delivery trucks ever came down the street. By five thirty I was on my way to the airport with a messy hacked together attempt at a replacement power supply that worked about as often as the original (not always enough to keep a netbook running). Thursday comes, and I get a call from FedEx that my address doesn't exist. After a correction (rhymes with "yes, there really is a building there…,") and placing a hold for six days, until December first, everything seemed to be okay.

I get back in town and settle down to wait, watching the tracking widget for that magical "on delivery vehicle enroute to destination" notification, but it never comes. A week later, here I am, here it isn't. The tracking still says "in transit."

Now that the ticket is closed (why…?), it appears that I must go through the entire tedious ordeal again, including an hour and thirty five minutes on the phone with the most infuriating hold music before I even have the chance to run through a boatload of troubleshooting steps that do not apply and will not apply to this situation. Next I'll be shunted from one person to the next, and I'll be spending most of my time repeating the the exact information I gave the first time.

Patiently waiting,

P.S. Also confusing are all the service numbers: the Service Request Number is not the same as the Service Tag Number is not the same as the Service Call Number is the same as the Dispatch Number is not the same as the Airbill Number which is the same as the Tracking Number. Got it?