Archive for the Nerdy Category

Whine is good

Posted in Househusbandy, Nerdy, product with tags , , , , , , on May 27, 2009 by sanaseni

Ever since becoming a househusband, I have had a ton of time to waste on helping companies in doing their business. I average three whines per week, to all organizations big and small. Every now and then, my voice is heard. That is more important than anything else. If the company listens, it will succeed. I will only spend my money on those who listen, as the others will wither while the listeners evolve. Most often there is a shroud of secrecy about how to get the message across.
The customer is often faced with a miniscule problem that absolutely no one cares. Common examples might be “an error message, go back”, “sorry, but we are unable to care” or “computer says no” messages, ones that could easily be logged, found and repaired with some housekeeping.
Then there are the actual problems, you cannot get the info/attention/service you want and was promised. Normally, this results in lost sales. The damage is not that big and these should be attended routinely and tackled massively only if they are the biggest worries.
The worst ones though, are the ones that include a broken cash till. Customer who has seen the ad, gotten to the shop, found the product, decided to buy it, filled in the form, queued to the till and is finally, offering the wad of hard earned notes for stuff they do not really need, but are refused. “No thanks, we do not want your money.”If insisting, offered a “Try again later”. Now for me, that is something that is wrong. There is energy and resources wasted here, I don’t like it. If I have the time, I try to make it right. Like telling the providers.

This is the challenge though, really is. First line of defence is always the customer service person or website. They will not take a message but offer excuses. If the message is forced through this layer, it is quite often going amiss. This is intentional, as the middle management rarely cares to do the job right and proper. Good enough is good enough, the whine needs to be blocked, or at least filtered and then ignored. Only issues that are really pursued and pressured are dealt with, as there is too much to do. More mass of issues being greater than the mass of time is a constant problem really. This forces the middle management into installing an internal messaging platform that can be made to handle the issues. Since there are more issues than time, the load becomes too much to handle and the system is then used to produce statistics of the messages. These statics can be tweaked and then produced as evidence against the whining customer, if necessary.
“I want to get this in blue” only 12% of you want it in blue, so we don’t have it now, but we can order it.
“I ordered it months ago” 88% of orders are delivered within established time parameters
“It does not work” Have you tried rebooting it? 72% of the problems go away after rebooting it.
“It is a pencil” 95% of our customers use a computer
“I want to speak to your supervisor” 25% of the time this happens. You have to fill in this form.
“With what, my pencil is not working!?” We have no records of that ever happening, you must be mistaken. Goodbye…
Now there are few ways of making this right, but they are absolutely never used, since the problem only exists if the no-one gives a shit. This is my theory, and I spend my free time trying to prove myself wrong.

Normally, I do some research to get some names of who might be able to right the wrong. This information is never volunteered and is always hidden. Then, armed with this list of names, I write an email addressing them all. I try to be brief and polite, write without emotions and enable them to make it right. Feedback is rare, promises frequent and proof to my theory is mounting. It is overwhelming, actually. The chain of exploitation goes right from top brass through management and customer care, down to me, the consumer. After a carefully orchestrated play, we find out that I could have gotten what I wanted had I just followed the white rabbit, or if Mr Anderson had taken the blue pill. Or if there wasn’t a glitch in the code.

You know – consumers do not care about reasons. In this ecosystem, the consumer holds all the resources, they should be listened.

Green IT in credit crunch

Posted in green it, Nerdy, organic on May 14, 2009 by sanaseni

Green and remote

Green and remote

Staying green or surviving the credit crunch? Why should they exclude one other? The whole idea of going or even staying green is saving money. That’s the whole point. I was in a pub the other day, when the owner asked “someone green” how to be more green. The someone did not know, as the answer requires some knowledge of the trade. Well, I know IT and I know how to be greener there. Here is how:
1: Reduce the waste of paper and power. Just do not print. Use a screensaver. Have a dark backround image. Use powersaving. Unplug your chargers when you are not charging anything. Turn off the lights for the night but do not switch everything off from the power button. Some switches are not designed to be used ten times a day, they will burn and you will have to get them fixed. If the switch is light to use, it is usually ok. If it is like turning a boat around, don’t flick it.
2: Minimize the waste of old computers. Do not buy anything you do not need or replace something that is working. The last thing you want is to throw away your 18 month old computer and buying a new greener one to replace it. When buying a new one, Ebay your old computer without the hard disk (information security) or wipe the disk good and proper, using a special software to do that. Ebaying it will get rid of the clutter, recycle the hardware while it is still of use and make you a little bit of money as well. Do not expect a great return on your investment – the point is to get rid of it, get use of it and to do the right thing.
3: Extend the life of existing systems. Up-to-date backups and good maintenance routines will give your computers and servers longer life spans, thus saving the environment. Use a good service or company for this, as it is really, really important that this is done properly.
4: Eliminate the risk of waste. When buying someting, make sure it is the right thing. Use expert help when buying a new router, firewall or a computer. That is if you are not an expert nor want to become one. To get what you need and eliminating the possibility of a bad purchase, you eliminate the risk of wasting the investment or wasting time trying to work with insufficient tools.
5: Enable the work from anywhere. You need two things, the tools and the rules. Travelling to work wastes time and energy, but working from home is often just a day off. The tools are easy to set up, a computer with an internet connection needs to have a remote support available, so any problems can be fixed on site. Support has to be available at home just the same as at the office. The home office might have some security issues that you might want to check before setting shop. But most important, make practises and establish targets for working at home. Demand results from that day, just as you would from a conference or a business meeting, even more. Any properly motivated employee is more efficient working four hours at home than eight hours at the office.

Finnish TV-licence

Posted in Nerdy, product, Uncategorized on April 15, 2009 by sanaseni

Turha instanssi?

Turha instanssi?

The glorious language of the proper cannot be heard outside of the beautiful country of Finland. Finnish television has finally reached the Internet properly. One cannot watch it legally though. Finnish online TV-stations are not in the net, but rather a huge LAN on the net. LAN being finland. The digital signal can be captured near the border through DVB-T digiboxes, but the online broadcasts are blocked by the routers. Luckily, there is this small company, TV-kaista, who’s owners are battling a heavy battle with the TV-companies.
I bought the service trial for a month, paid my 5 euros through online banking. There is an excellent online service for Finns to do all kinds of applications for government agencies through an electronic post, or NetPosti. I chanced my name and address through it, one could even get a TV licence through a link in the service, to the finnish tv permit payment site. But it does not work, as the address has to have a finnish post code. I tried to get a licence (for my month of trial use), but they have made it impossible. At the same time, they are suing the poor small company. This is truly a case of the big bullying the small. I shall help them.

MTV3 has made deals with the content owners and production companies about the showing of the content online.
MTV is obviously incapable to actually doing it themselves. They the watching impossible firstly by demanding a PC with a Windows operating system to be bought and mediaplayer 10 or 11 to be installed. Secondly, there are restrictions on the content that can be watched abroad. I quote from http://www.katsomo.fi
“MTV3 Katsomo use from foreign countries

If you’re a foreign user you will notice that you are not given access to all of the material posted on this service. We are sorry for this, but it´s due to restricted rights for these programmes. MTV3 Katsomo is primarily for users located in Finland and many of the programmes are GEO-blocked to the territory of Finland. If you still would like to subscribe to this service you are naturally more than welcome, but you should be aware of these restrictions.”
Also, they do not guarantee that after charging my Visa, I will get any service at all. Any. And I suspect they do not guarantee their bandwith to be adequate to LINX either and I cannot get a broadband that would guarantee my bandwith outside their port in LINX. Now in which consumer agency shall I complain about this bullying? Shall I call the UK watchdogs or finnish kuluttajavirasto. Where is Hannu Karpo now, when I need him?

I shall rat myself to the YLE customer services and lets see what happens. I think I should also contact the kuluttajavirasto about this, no as none of the companies taking my money actually guarantees anu service, just the acceptance of my payment.

Hard rattling

Posted in Househusbandy, Nerdy on February 18, 2009 by sanaseni

This post is just to show that I wont be silenced. the netbook I normally use for rants broke, and the Mac Mini I just ordered is still on the way. As I was assembling a new working computer, I was interrupted as a father of a baby often is. Before I could get back to my project, I heard my wife shouting that he is doing something bad. He was. All happily banging two harddrives like they were rattlers. So heres posting with my PS3.

No illegal downloads for you

Posted in Nerdy with tags on January 2, 2009 by sanaseni

I used to work for an ISP. Being a nerd “on-the-know” one has to read sites like http://blue.popurls.com that had a brilliantly interesting article. Just picture yourself being the person who has to care about the customer service being able to take care of customers, the trade is the internet and the choice of method is via phone. The gray area has always been the content of the internet and the legal issues. It used to be porn, the getting it and the usng it was “bad” and the users were ashamed of it, but it was never illegal. Just to let you all in on the know, there is no such thing as “free porn” so do not try to search it, just go for your wallet.

Anyways, the issue at hand is illegal downloading and sharing of content, referred as “peer-to-peer” or P2P. There is a trojan out there, that apparently does nothing else than prevents the access to popular sites needed to find the content in question. How do you deal with this, if you are an ISP? A customer calls:

Customer: Hello, this is your paying customer calling

Customer service agent: Hello

C: My internet is broken

CSA: Completely broken? Can you read your email of access Google with your browser? What is the screen saying?

C: Nonono, they work fine, it is just that some of the net is not working.

CSA: What part of it is not woking?

—long story short, where the Agent has to ease out the truth from the customer—

CSA: Sorry, cannot help you to commit a crime

C: Well what am I paying you for? There is banwith going a waste all the time, I’ve already missed out on three hours of downloading. Fix this issue ASAP.

CSA: Sorry, no can do. Complain to complaints if you see the need, so we can see what we can do

C: No, I am resigning and going to some other ISP that actually enables the use of their service!

In the end, the trojan is still there after changing the ISP, no P2P on any ISP for you, trojan infected computer. The fix is really easy, but who’s gonna do it? Well, I did a service that would take care of this. For 30€ a month, and all of you IT problems, including this, were gone. But that was last year. This year, is different.