Tuesday, 24 February 2009

BT (Blooming Terrible) Customer Service?

BT provided an on-line storage service called Briefcase as part of my broadband package. Spookily I took advantage of it and uploaded a load of files. Today I got an email from them saying that they're discontinuing the service and that I need to move the files or they will be deleted. It's all fine they said as I could put them on their other storage service, BT Digital Vault. That won't be a problem then I thought. This is the 21st Century so of course they'll simply copy the stuff across for me. Nope. They're suggested "solution" is to download all the files from one service and upload onto the other myself. Now that's a bit crap but bear in mind that this also applies to people who have capped services so they'll be using up their data limits to move this stuff around 'cos BT don't want to support a service any more and can't be bothered to help their existing customers. Mmm...more effort on the customer service me thinks!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Canon Pixma MP620

My old HP PSC2110 all-in-one has been playing up lately and given that HP, in their infinite wisdom, have not yet released the drivers for Leopard (so no native scanning), I decided it was time for a change.

My first constraint is, perhaps, somewhat unusual. I have the machine on a shelf in a corner unit and, whilst the PSC2110 fitted fine, it isn't terribly roomy. I really didn't want to give up more precious desk space so a new printer needed to fit into the footprint of the old one and I didn't want to split the requirements into two devices (i.e. a separate printer and scanner). Given that advances in technology always used to mean things getting smaller, I was a little surprised at how few all-in-one devices were available which met this requirement.

I also have several machines in the house and, whilst I can do printer sharing from the office machine, I have always had problems with getting this to work on the rather eclectic mix of machines and OS I have. So network capability was on the list.

Of course print quality was pretty important. We don't do an enormous amount of printing but when we do we like it to look good. This is particularly important for photographs. Scanning capability needed to be better than the old machine if possible too.

Finally, of course, there is price. I really didn't want to spend the earth!

I eventually plumped for the Canon Pixma MP620 and spent last night unboxing it, removing all the protective packaging (including a gazillion separate little bits of protective tape) and setting it up.
All the basics seem to work pretty well but I haven't yet had a chance to test out all the features including the networking (I need to find my other network point as I, rather inconveniently, seem to have hidden it behind a rather large bookcase - doh!) but when I have little post a little feedback.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Has your Driving Licence expired?

I thought my UK Driving Licence lasted me until I was 70 (and lets ignore how crazy that is for a moment); however, as was pointed out to me today it doesn't! The license seems to say it does but the (new) plastic card, the one with the picture, actually has an expiry date on it. It, like the plans for the bypass running through Arthur Dent's house, could hardly be considered to be obvious:

You have to check out the (very) small print on the back, which tells you that 4b is the expiry date of the licence. The penalty for driving without renewing it is rather nasty!

And, as you might have expected from our stealth tax experts in the Government, there is a charge when you renew it (and you'll have to keep on doing it every 10 years)...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

No wonder high street retail is dying...

After many complaints from my other half, about our compact camera not having the capability to shoot school events properly, we decided to dip a toe into the DSLR market.

I did the usual research on the net and had a look at the bank balance (we're entering different territory here!). The favourite seemed to be the Nikon D40 which was relatively easy to use, not too heavy and not too expensive. Whilst Amazon has them for just under £245, I wanted 'erindoors to actually see and hold one. I have never been comfortable with wandering into shops to see the kit and then buying it on line. It just seems a little cheeky to me. So a bit more research showed that Jessops had them for £249 and they have a local store.

So we duly wandered down to the local Jessops and, after a little wait, managed to catch the attention of one of the staff. Frankly he was about as enthusiastic about selling us the camera as he might have been if I'd asked to audit his last tax return. He offered absolutely no advice whatsoever and simply stood there, while we examined the camera, as if it was all too much like hard work. Despite his lack of interest, my wife decided she liked the camera and so I asked if they had any in stock. "We won't be getting any more into stock and this is the only one we have" he said indicating the display model. "But that's a display model" I said implying I'd like something off. "It's only been out a few days" he replied "and we don't do discounts on display models anyway". He wasn't even the slightest bit phased when I, perhaps unsurprisingly, said that we'd get it somewhere else.

Have I missed something or are we in the middle of a recession with stores closing and people being made redundant? I would have thought that high street retailers would have woken up to fact that people can buy stuff cheaper on the net and the only edge they have is customer service and convenience. Clearly Jessops haven't.

Would you pay full price for a display model? I'm afraid I wouldn't and I don't feel the slightest bit guilty that I popped an order on Amazon as soon as I got home.