Rogers… Here is a clue

1 07 2012

Rogers. Here is a top clue for you.

When a customer moves overseas, gives you advanced warning and a date to cancel services it is pretty stupid to, in addition to canceling the phone number and service, cancel the ONLINE mechanism for payment.

How exactly do you expect your customer to settle up their bill?

Rogers never ceases to amaze me with their silly policies and decisions not to mention their general level of ineptitude (they could not get the cancellation date right either but that’s another story).

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Body Worlds, Airports, Tim Hortons & Good Indian Food

15 06 2008

Well I seem to be making a habit of only posting when I am on the road for some reason.  Probably because it’s a good way to wind down in my hotel room after a day of work and another way to get some use out of the $12.95 per day the Hilton is charging me for Internet usage (after doing work of course!).

My brother and his other half came up on Friday and we shot a round of golf on the Victoria course here in Edmonton.  It was his first full “proper” 18 holes.  He made the observation that it is a frustrating game, lol.  It was all good.  Wish I got a chance to play more then maybe it would not be so frustrating for me!  I still have not worked out the appeal of the game.  I think it’s that one good hole that keeps you going…

We went to the Body Worlds exhibition at the Edmonton Science Centre on Saturday.  I walked out of it with mixed feelings.  OK, the exhibitions are of real bodies (bits and whole) in various poses with all sorts of eductational tidbits about.  There were also posters explaining the historical roots of anatomy and dissection and what the beliefs were over time as well as what was discovered (it was only relatively, historically speaking, recently that public dissections were no longer carried out!).  I was impressed with the drawings of the early pioneers in this field as they were not far off from what I was seeing with my own eyes.  Some of the poses were kind of comical but they were all sad in some way as these were once living breathing people with their own feelings, etc.  It seems odd to see them now as part of a travelling exhibition.  I found it hard to decide whether the display was for educational purposes, art or if he was just having a laugh.  The gift shop at the end of it was certainly strange too.  They had a room with the remains of babies in various stages of development as well as that of a fully (opened up) 8 month pregnant woman and just outside the door they are making a fast buck off of it.  I wasnt’ really sure how to feel about that.  With what they are charging somebody is making a pretty good living off it. 

The creator of the Body Worlds exhibition (and inventor of the process used for preservation) was certainly good at self promotion too.  His name was plastered (no pun intended) everywhere in the exhibition about what a great and clever guy he is.  There were also forms you could fill out if you wanted to donate your body to the exhibition.  I overheard someone say that there was a “waiting list” of over 8,000 people.  I am not sure I would want to participate in something like that.  Still not sure what to make of it.  Anyone else seen this and have any thoughts?

I have a work trip to Boston for the next few days.  Got up stupidly early (3am) and spent the first 3 hours (of the first leg of my flight) debugging code on the plane when I realized there was something screwy going on with my demo app.  Fixed!

Had a short connection time to make my next flight and found myself being thwarted by American customs and the huge queue I found myself on the back of.  I did take some consolation in noting that all of the carts that people had their luggage in had ads for holidays to Cuba.  Oh the irony.

Finally got through customs and found out the flight was delayed as the pilots were delayed.  I sat down in the lounge relieved that I was going to make my flight and started to people watch.  After a few minutes I noticed that there looked like there was a pilot in the queue at Tim Hortons.  I saw him wait for about 20 minutes until he loaded up on coffee and donuts.  And… yep you guessed it… that was out pilot.  Glad to see our flight was a high priority.  Would not want him to miss out on his sugar fix.

Ah well.  At least the night ended up nicely with a brilliant Indian dinner and a bottle of Argentinian red wine.  Great way to round off what was a long day. 





I hate advertising… (FRANK AND GORDON MUST DIE!)

19 03 2008

One of the few things that really irks me is that you cannot get away from is advertising.  It’s everywhere… you see it on everything: buildings, vehicles, road signs, television, radio ads, virtually any print material, riding the bus, train, taxi, you name it!

I don’t think it really struck me as to how ugly it can be until I moved back to Canada from the UK.  Not that the UK does not have advertising but I don’t think they have quite taken it to the extent which North America has embraced it.  Our good neighbours to the south even take it one step further; my first steps off the plane in Vegas had a billboard in my face showing where I could go to shoot guns.  Less than 24 hours later I saw a roadside billboard advertising a legal firm that specialized in suing lawyers (next logical step I suppose). 

Some ads grate on your nerves more than other.  I don’t think there has been an ad campaign that has driven me nuts more than the Bell Mobility Frank & Gordon ads.  God knows why.  The voices in my head tell me that FRANK AND GORDON MUST DIE!  They are so irritating.  If you took any notice of them at all you would have a new mobile phone each week and you would also be stupid enough to watch feature length films on a phone screen (this has to be the dumbest thing I’ve seen in a LONG time).  They are EVERYWHERE.  I don’t watch television and I still can’t avoid them.  I turn on the radio and I hear their whiny little voices telling me how great Bell phones are an I must have this completely useless feature they are bleating on about.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!  I can’t take it anymore MAKE THEM STOP!  Oddly enough these animated characters are apparantly really popular and people love them… I can’t work that one out.  Maybe this explains why Alberta voted conservative again….

I don’t know if other people conscious or unconsciously make a decision like intentionally making a point of not shopping at a place that has adverts that annoy you.  I will certainly never consider a Bell phone because I hate the Frank/Gordon ads so much.  I don’t go to Tony Romas for a meal because I can’t stand the radio sports guy Bryan Hall (who is *WELL* past his sell by date).  I used to try and listen to the sports show he did but it was just too damn irritating and it might as well have been called the Tony Romas show because that’s all he seemed to bang on about.

Advertising is a necessarily evil, I appreciate and acknowledge that.  If you have a product or service you need to tell people about it in order to make sales of it.  That’s fine… but please Bell (and others I’m sure)… enough is enough.





Mobile Phone Companies…

2 03 2008

What is it about mobile phone service providers that they seem to shine with incompetence.  I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with two such companies.  When I lived in the UK I was a subscriber to Vodafone.  Here in Canada I signed up with Rogers Wireless.

Now I had my issues with Vodafone during my time overseas.  I initially signed up for a 1 year contract and renewed it each year for continued service.  Interestingly the rates generally went down as did my per/minute airtime.  The issue I had was every year I would phone them to renew my contract, select my options and every year (without fail, this is 4 or 5 years in a row) they managed to screw it up and get it wrong.  Every time.  Without exception.  This was always resolved with a few phone-calls and a slightly better deal than before but I was always amazed at how something so simple could be screwed up every time.

Now Rogers is an even more special case.  It’s to do with paying my bill.  You would think that a company that does a service for you and then sends you a bill would make it easy for you to pay it.  It would certainly be in their best interest (one would think). 

I like to pay my bill on their website with a credit card because then

  1. I get my Air Miles
  2. I control when I pay it rather than giving them the keys to my account to withdraw when they want (look at the small print for letting companies help themselves to payments; to cancel such a deal you need THEIR PERMISSION… hello it’s my bank account, I would like to think I’d have the final call on that, but I digress).

Now over the last 12 months or so I seem to have an issue regularly with paying my bill online.  The problems have included:

  1. Log-in doesn’t work
  2. Log-in works but my session is timed out after 10 seconds for no apparent reason (yes, I flushed my cache, temp Internet files, etc).
  3. Log-in works but systems are down for maintenance.
  4. Web site is so incredibly slow it is impossible to get anything done.
  5. Some other part of their on-line “services” is non-functioning for no apparent reason.

Combinations of the above seem to be what I encounter regularly.  Trying to pay my bill last night was especially annoying.  I was able to log in but as soon as I tried to get to the billing section my “session” was timed out and I was no longer logged in.  I went to the feedback session and filled out my usual note to them asking them why they continue to thwart my attempts to send them Canadian currency and await their response.  I just want to pay my bill!  Geez, you’d think I was asking for allot.  ROGERS I AM TRYING TO PAY MY BILL, WHY IS IT SO GO**AMN DIFFICULT!?!?

Another observation about the UK/Canada with respect to the mobile phone industry is how much more of a ripoff it is over here compared to Europe (bear in mind its’ been a few  years so perhaps this has changed).  For some reason in North America with our mobile phone conversations we get billed per minute.  It may only be a 10 second conversation to say you are on your way but if you are paying 30 cents a minute your on the hook for the whole 30 cents instead of the expected 5.  Over a month of phone calls that adds up to a substantial amount.  In Europe I was billed per second…  If Europe is the big rip off many people make it out to be (and it is in many ways; ‘rip off britain’ was one of the many mantras one hears living there and it has to be said there is some truth in it… check out http://www.rip-off.co.uk/ for one point of view) then why is it with our technology today we can’t have billing per second and you pay for what you actually use rather than the mobile phone companies filling their pockets by charging you for services you aren’t using.  

Is that really fair and OK with you?  To me it’s a bit like going to fill your car before a long trip, only putting in half a tank and being told they only sell full tanks and being charged for a full tank.  Very dodgy dealings there.

Anyway, my 2 cents.





Late nights and iPod vending machines…

29 01 2008

OK, well getting out of the airport took a bit longer than I thought.  I don’t think we left until about 3am and I did not get to my frozen car until after 6am.  When I finally got it going, paid up and left the car park I was just in time to hit the morning rush hour.  Joy.

I had Internet issues at the airport after the last posting and my battery died shortly after so the Internet entertainment did not last long.  I had plenty of time to get some healthy Burger King meat related products and have a wander through the Vegas airport departure area.  That took all of 10 minutes.  Vegas airport did, however, have one feature I’ve never seen before.  They had an iPod vending machine.  See picture below:

iPod vending machine.

Kind of a neat idea to sell iPods and related products at the airport.  I can imagine the disappointment, however, when some poor sod buys one to pass away the time at the airport and forgets that it won’t be charged.  I tried to find a live plug to connect my laptop to but the only ones to be found were in a crowded area of the airport that was on the opposite end from our gate.  All the other ones we could find were DEAD.  That’s useful.

There was one additional element of excitement.  After we had first got the airport and got through the security check (bags XRayed, etc) a blue light and alert went off.  A bunch of us had just got through and us (amongst others) were kept from going anywhere else in the airport whilst they sorted out this security issue.  It only took about 20 minutes.  A sniffer dog came and went and various important and serious looking people in rent-a-cop outfits came and went.  From what I could gather it looked like that an older couple had made their way through the security check and forgot one of their bags.  I guess the security guys realised they had an extra bag that nobody seemed to want and wanted to get it cleared (hence the dog).  I saw a sheepish looking older guy and his wife brought back and he collected his bag.

When we did finally get on the plane the flight was further delayed as the front landing gear needed some immediate maintenance so we had to wait 40 minutes on the plane before it even took off.  When we got to Edmonton and it’s -35 wind chilled temperature we had a further delay as the ramp that connects up with the plane wasn’t working in the extreme cold.  Cue another 10 minute wait before we could get off.  Then there was the huge queue in customs but, to be fair, that went as quick as they could make it.  Bags were there and straight outside into the cold to wait for the Park & Fly shuttle to take me to my car. 

My car, reluctantly, started on the 1st try.  There was this 5 seconds of a burning smell then it seemed to be ok (probably a belt of some sort not being able to turn something in the engine for a short bit due to the cold).  Lots of snow drifts in the car park but fortunately luck was on my side and my car needed minimal snow clearing and I had a clear path to the booth to pay.

Got into the Park & Fly booth to pay my fees.  Lots of people there.  Waited my turn and played the people watching game.  This poor woman came in looking for a boost as her car would not start.  Amazingly the car park folks were not able to help her.  First it was a case of having to wait for the shuttle bus to be free to help then she was told that they did not have any functioning vehicle at all with jumper cables (or, more likely, no jumper cables).  I really felt for that poor woman and I have to admit I was a bit annoyed at the Park & Ride.  They are managing a car park service near the airport.  Think about it:

  1. People will be leaving their cars for days at a time.
  2. We live in CANADA.
  3. CANADA can get COLD from time to time.
  4. Peoples cars probably won’t start from time to time.
  5. Having to give an occasional boost is part of the job.

Looks like another clue for sale is needed.  I did not have any jumper cables in my car or I would have helped her. 

I should probably look into getting some.

On that note… it’s supposed to be -38 tomorrow (no wind chill included).  Food for thought.





Dell joins the war on terror!

4 12 2007

I was looking up the specs for the CDRW drive on my work Dell laptop.  I found a Dell support site that gives the information I was looking for.  Fortunately, for our safety, they also had an interesting clause at the bottom regarding “export” regulations.  It reads as follows:

Customer acknowledges that these Products, which may include technology and software, are subject to the customs and export control laws and regulations of the United States (” U.S.”) and may also be subject to the customs and export laws and regulations of the country in which the Products are manufactured and/or received. Customer agrees to abide by those laws and regulations. Further, under U.S. law, the Products may not be sold, leased or otherwise transferred to restricted end-users or to restricted countries. In addition, the Products may not be sold, leased or otherwise transferred to, or utilized by an end-user engaged in activities related to weapons of mass destruction, including without limitation, activities related to the design, development, production or use of nuclear weapons, materials, or facilities, missiles or the support of missile projects, and chemical or biological weapons.”

I’ll sleep much better at night now knowing my CDROM won’t be used in the design, development, production of nuclear weapons, WMD, etc.

You can see the original site here





Bad start to the day… Ugh!

31 10 2007

It’s a bad start to the day when you get to your workplace early, fill up on lunchroom coffee, get back to your desk and realise that coffee was there since YESTERDAY, ugh!