Archive for the product 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.

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Getting rid of an old PC

Posted in green it, product with tags , , , , on May 14, 2009 by sanaseni

Back in the day (90s’) a new laptop was supposed to last for three years. That was before we as consumers decided to want cheaper laptops. The warranties went to one year and the computers broke within a year or two. Then the EU stated that the minimum warranty is two years and dragged the kicking and screaming manufacturers back to sanity. Now they are still kicking and screaming, whining about the warranties not covering wear and tear, so when the cheap as chips hard disk goes bust, your warranty might not cover it. And you lost all your data. And you do not have a working PC anymore. All things concidered, you are in it – or are you?
Had you prepared for the inevitable, the story would be quite different. Your £200 netbook will most likely break, be dropped, spilled over or stolen within the first two years. As this is pretty much guaranteed, you should plan for this by keeping your data safe somewhere and having a mental image what to do then, when disaster strikes.
Get a new laptop. Just buy one, anywhere. If you bought it from a shop, give the shop your old laptop to recycle. If you are squemish about the data on the destroyed hard disk, you can always destroy it some more before turning the carcass in. The manufacturer of said computer is also obliged to recycle it. You can even order a pick-up from your house, the manufacturer has the EUs’ Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment or WEEE directive to obide. They can however, make you pay for the transport or just point you to their recycling center in your area.
Bottom line is, do not bin your old computer, there is no need. It is also bad, as the chemicals are not to go to a tip. And with the legistlation in place, thankfully, there is no need.
I have never tried this, but I will. In fact there is a german company called ALBA who are handling crapped HP’s in the UK. They are to collect them, but the price of the collection is not in yeat, awaiting their offer…

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.

Organic as a produce, not as an excuse

Posted in Househusbandy, organic, product with tags , , , on March 24, 2009 by sanaseni

I buy organic, but not exclusively. When it is convenient. In finland, anything organic was three times the price of “normal” produce-price. Here in england, it is not even twice the price of the worst produce. You can even get even, if you count the calories and such. On top of that, they can be delivered to your home every week. The problem with organic produce in finland was always the quality of the produce, sky high prices and the poor availability and service of such hippies who tried to make their living like that, desperately. The climate in england is ideal for organic growing, tomatoes grow like weeds over here. I have never ever had a succesful kitchen herbs crop, but the one in here is already showing promise. The veggies here do spoil immediately. I mean, they should, it is just that I for one am not used to that. Finnish tomatoes took a week to ripen, english organic tomatoe rots in a few days. The thing is to buy what you need today. Maybe tomorrow morning, but that is all. Otherwise, it will spoil, trust me. Organic means no preservatives. I am going to grow my own tomatoes in my back yard this summer. The very idea is just thrilling. Different climate indeed, lets make the most of it.
So we have gone from using organic as an excuse to have an amateurish business that serves overpriced crap, to enjoying its brilliant taste, vibrant colours, easy availability and brilliant service – all at a very reasonable price.

Organic veggies box

Organic veggies box

The baby-in-the-back pack

Posted in Househusbandy, product on February 26, 2009 by sanaseni

Littlelife baby carrier is definetely the best thing I have bought since the boy was born. Being able to go pretty much whereever I want is a freedom you cannot imagine, being used to the pushchair or trolley or attack tank of any sort. 

The baby backpack

The baby backpack

Carrying does not feel like a burden, but I am a relatively fit bloke. I can imagine this beng difficult for women or anyone carrying the extra 25 pounds already. For me, the rig with everything is less than a third of my weight, which is the ideal max weight for rucksack carrying for any lenght of time (excluding the army blokes). Also,  adjusting of the various settings to get the weight on your hips with the belt and off your shoulders means it needs to be quite high, but not “over your head”. After a while, I can’t even feel the pack, it is like a part of me. Also, the boy loves it, the steady movement, the ideal place to look for the scenes as well as the security of being on ones dads back. There is plenty of room to carry the always needed kit of food, nappies and clothes. The only tweak I did was adding a little compass on the front to check my bearings every now and then, as I dont mind the walk with this on, but walking the wrong way – I mind.

Toys can be attached on the colourful side straps, but are rarely needed. Unless stopping for whatever reason,  in a train or tube for longer than a few minutes, the baby is not bored and just entertains oneself with the surroundings. Also, I find that stranges seem to entertain the boy as well. Do not mind the complete stranger making faces at you, they are for the baby behind your ear, smiling like a loonie 🙂

So I can now take the public footpaths, stairs, narrow walkways and the odd hole in the pavement without worries. I recommend to everyone, with some reservations though. You have to be motivated and reasonably fit. It is not for small women really, as it gets really heavy really fast when the weight porportions are wrong, ie, more than a third of your own weight is on your back. Also, any history of back or knee problems will become a current issue. Babies who can walk might rather walk and very small toddlers, less than 6 months, might be too small to be comfy in this model.

Otherwise, it is brilliant. Absolutely the best thing a househusband needs. And to tell you the truth, I went straight for this “Voyager” model, skipping all the flimsy skinny models and all the light weight brands. That, I  have not regretted.