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Brilliant Woman Solves All of California's Problems


Check out this video on YouTube:



Bad Online Shopping Experiences


Its very disappointing when you buy something online and things start to go wrong. So its very disappointing when the seller just wants to make life difficult for the buyer.

So here we have two experiences I have had.

Firstly, BMC Digital (http://www.bmcdigital.co.uk/) - I bought an Otterbox iphone 3G cover from them. They sent me a package, with a rather tatty Blackberry cover inside. No invoice (that would have shown it was obviously the wrong product) and no return instructions. So when I contact them, they reply automatically with something of a gem - observe:

Q. I have recieved my item but I believe it is incorrect or it is not what I wanted? A. If the item you recieved is the wrong one then we will of course replace the incorrect item. Please return the item to us, including all order information, so that we can take the required action. If the item is not what you wanted or you ordered the wrong item, you have 7 days to return it to us for a replacement or a refund. The address to return it to is - RMA Dept, BMCdigital Ltd, Unit 8B, Lancaster House, Vale Business Park, Vale of Glamorgan, CF71 7PF, UK.
Isn't that just precious? It appears to be such a common issue, they actually have a FAQ entry for it. And oh yes, because they don't send you any invoice, with any details on it whatsover (too easy to check against to see youve put the wrong item in the jiffy pack), they want all that precious order information back from you - so urm, probably they can search outlook for it.

I decided that I had no faith in them actually sending the correct item, and the fact that I'd have to pay P&P twice on an incorrect item, just peed me off. So I sent it back, asking for a full refund. I also informed Paypal, who were very nice and said they'd keep an eye on them.

Second culprit is Digital fusion (http://www.digital-fusion.co.uk/) I bought three cameras from them. The online system said they were in stock, and so I paid. I received an email that says:
Your order Request ID: xxx is processed and will ship via City link. It was dispatched on a next day service. The total charge, for you order is on the attached invoice number xxx. We have endeavoured to turn your order around as quickly as possible, and hope you receive your goods Within the time frame you specified, and in good working order.
That looked promising - except nothing turned up. So I called, no answer. I sent an email, and this is what I got:
This is on a back order and will be dispatched as soon as fresh stock is available.

We have no eta at present

FFS! Liars the lot of them. So I have emailed them asking for a full refund and confirmation of such by Monday. If I don't get that, I'm calling my credit card company and telling them to chase.

Moral of the story? For me, its about circles of trust and customer service. I don't trust those sellers, and they have abysmal customer service. So from now, I'm sticking with the names I know, and sellers that are recommended to me.

For anyone who is contemplating buying from either - dont.

Mobile Internet


My fascination with mobile internet has been a long one, starting back when I wanted to share my calendar with fellow office workers and family (think blackberry, family ical etc.) I have always chosen a mobile smartphone that allows me to check email and blog whilst on the move. This was largely due to the fact I commuted by train on long journeys, firstly into Paddington and then Waterloo.

For many years I've blogged whilst on the move, and caught up with email. Now I have an iPhone. Despite my dislike of it (poor battery life, iffy reception, no way of getting photos off it, bad camera, stone age mms etc.) it is still the most convenient mobile device (though I do like my work blackberry).

Alas now I'll be driving to work. So what do I do? Well I decided against a £1k GPS navman system in the car, opting instead to rely on an A-Z. Well I don't see Jason Bourne relying on Mr Tom Tom whilst driving a tank like skoda through russia being chased by the mob do you? It means I have to increase my map reading, which is good as it served millions of people well for decades. Also I'd like to increase my memory to beyond three turns in advance - much more fun and challenging than figuring out how to charge a tom tom.

So how to check the mail on the move? Thats where the two strands meet. I've been looking for a good hands free kit for the iphone, and to date this looks like the best. But that's calling. What about email?

Yep, its dangerous to email on the move, but why can't technology manufacturers figure out how to unify things? There is a big screen in the middle console unit of my new car. It will integrate (finally) with my iPod - but not iPhone.

Frankly, this is quite an easy problem to resolve, and I may see myself doing it as a project. But why must it be people like us, and not well paid individuals working for VW.

Yes, I'm getting a VW - like the one above.

When I was a child the Beastie boys used to wear VW signs around their neck, as well as Merc ones. Most of the guys I knew had parents with VWs or Mercs - infact to this date I recall how one chap's Dad was convinced utterly that I was the culprit to take his Merc sign. Dude, I never ever touched it let alone took it! Scarred for life. Anyway, my parents had a Ford, they were teaching me a long game, thats what I know now. The Ford sign never really took off, and nobody took it off.

Now I have a VW. I doubt I'll take the sign off and hang it around my neck. But the price tag of the car, yes its a loadstone. Boo.

Enjoy the week people...

Newspaper final call?


My SO's employer, a family run newspaper, is signaling some changes. She's been asked to reduce her salary, and go on a per hourly basis. Essentially the publisher is in need of money, and needs to make savings. This is not unusual in the industry, its more of a case of a change in approach.

I have always looked at newspapers like this:

- there is an event going on in the town square
- someone notices it, call them person A
- pA then tells another person B, PB then tells PC etc. You get transfer of news.

Thats how it essentially works. But as the size of the community grows, it becomes changed, you look for something you trust, something that has access to more news than PA, or PC.

- there is an event going on in the town square
- the local busy body who runs a single-sheet news paper notices it, and writes it down for the next print run
- PA prints it, and everyone 'reads it'

This led to people paying for the 'paper' that the story was on. Great, as more people saw it, the advertising space become more expensive. So PA starts to make a nice profit from just writing down what was seen.

Then the event, and access to the event, and ability to print that event, gains monetary value. So it becomes cherished, prized (note how OK/Hello pay for wedding pictures - its for the advertising cost uplift).

So all is well, print is big business.

Until, the internet. It was always 'assumed' that there will be a shift away from print to screen. It never really happened in the dot com boom era. But its happening now. In an unusual way.

Essentially the model is changing, its becoming a case of access is free and ubiquitous, and the advertising revenues on screen are not great (unless you have a swifty smart method like Google). So event-exclusivity and trusted-authority are more valuable - as is the rather unusual 'spread' of news. Lots of websites that are up there for news are one of these, if not two.

- event is going on in the town square
- website A has exclusive rights (bingo, makes moolah)
- website A is recognised as a bit of an expert in this area, and not only reports on it, but adds a journalistic view/slant that helps tie it into the bigger picture
- website A buys a feed from website B that has written a broadcast piece on the event

So you see, the model is moving up for most people. Reuters and PA and other news feeds are becoming the lifeblood in a big big way. The SO's paper is essentially a CnP of feeds, but most readers would not notice, as they don't have access to these feeds...until the internet.

Google most stories that are printed, and you see the same piece (perhaps slightly modified) in a variety of places, websites that are not linked to print, as well as those that are. This is because they are all buying the story from a feed.

So, in that era, it becomes a penny market for print. Why? Internet access is really penetrating, and access to news is considered commodity. Infact, news on demand is ket (RSS).

End of print? Not really, its nice to read a paper. But certainly a case of some papers hitting the wall...

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Weekly musings from a confused mind. This blog, and all posts within it, are just ramblings. They are in no way affiliated with any past, current or future employers. Neither do they represent my deep felt views, or those of my friends or family. Really, its just a blog, which is a new thing, and has new dimensions. So please, dont take anything seriously. If you do, contact me via a comment, and I will get back to you to resolve the situation. Seriously, enjoy life, ignore this blog, and views within it.


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