Oops, I FedExed Again!

FedEx SmartPost Logo - Grandma Delivers Packages with Tracking

Yes, FedEx again I’m waiting on yet another delivery from FedEx, and this time it’s arriving via their SmartPost service. And so I’m writing yet another tirade about their incomprehensibly incompetent approach to package delivery. As far as I understand, their “Smart”Post service works like this: The merchant from whom I ordered gives the package to FedEx and pays them. FedEx then brings the package to a post office near to the recipient, and lets the good ol’ USPS handle the “last mile” of delivery. I fail to understand the point of this service. I mean I get that it saves FedEx the cost of bringing a truck to my house because the mailman is stopping at my house anyway. … Continue reading

Verizon.com: Website Design by Kafka

Verizon - Password Release Bear

Logging into Verizon.com I log into Verizon’s Small Business portal once a month to pay my bills. Generally speaking, their site is atrocious. It’s clearly the product of committee thinking and their fractured corporate structure. They recently implemented a redesign of the login portion, and somehow they resurrected good ol’ Frank Kafka and put him on the committee. I may have buried the lede of this story. So unless you just enjoy reading my rants, skip right to it. The initial login screen As with many banking and commerce websites, Verizon has implemented a separate page for your username which precedes the password entry page. This is good security practice and so I have no problem with it in general. … Continue reading

Home Depot: Review Rejected – HDX 150-Watt Incandescent Clamp Light

HDX 150-Watt Incandescent Clamp Light Model CE-300PDQ - Hyperbolically Aflame

The Rejected Review I know that I tend to be harsh in my criticisms, but this is the most recent review that I tried to post to Home Depot’s site regarding their HDX 150-Watt Incandescent Clamp Light CE-300PDQ: Very rarely do I wish I could give a product a negative number of stars, but this is one of them. I know that for under ten bucks I shouldn’t expect an extremely high-quality, durable item. I know that at this price the light could fall apart completely after a bit of use and it wouldn’t be a huge deal. But what it absolutely shouldn’t do is cause a fire, which is what TWO out of the SIX of these I own … Continue reading

Newegg is no Amazon, Even if They Want to Be

Amazon vs NewEgg

Newegg was, and still is, the best online retailer of computer components in the US. I stand behind that statement. But they’re trying to be Amazon, and they’re not doing a very good job of it. The Good Just like Amazon, Newegg allows other merchants to list items for sale on their website. They take a cut of 8-15 percent of item sales and intermediate disputes between customers and third-party sellers. But here’s the thing: I always shopped on Newegg because I liked Newegg. Especially when they opened their distribution center in Edison, NJ and my ground shipments started arriving in under 24 hours. I also liked the responsiveness of their customer service and the clarity of their search results. … Continue reading

Microsoft Web Deploy – Bad Application, or the Worst Application?

Down load Microsoft Web Deploy to your toilet today!

Background I’m migrating a bunch of corporate websites hosted on Win2k8 and IIS7 to a new server running exactly the same. I’m sticking with the same environment because there are some things I really don’t want to risk breaking — we just needed faster hardware and more spindles. I figured I’d use MS Web Deploy 3.5 to move all the IIS settings from one server to the other (a task that was gloriously simple in IIS6). Web Deploy adds the following option to the IIS Manager context menus for the server and individual sites: It looks great! Simple and straightforward. Export or import. Indeed it’s a simple interface. I wanted to export everything, so I chose to deploy from the … Continue reading

Deluxe Corp – Your Checks in 30 Days to Never

My Final Check Design

What, another rant? Yup! This is my style of catharsis, with the usual vain hope that Deluxe Corp. will read it in full. TL;DR I’m long-winded. I know that. Here’s a synopsis: Deluxe’s Chase-branded website is old, slow, and painful to use. The website doesn’t send out emails. No order confirmations, no shipment confirmations. Nothing. They also don’t provide any order tracking when logged in via Chase’s site. They screwed up my order and I never received it. It’s been a month. Their “newer” website’s feedback form is a Kafkaesque nightmare, and they don’t respond to customer inquiries. They don’t tell you how many checks you’re getting in an order (“a box”), so you can’t effectively comparison shop. I’m pretty … Continue reading

Cisco WebEx Customer Support: Blech.

webex_contact_support

I want to briefly describe a recent encounter I had with Cisco’s WebEx support. I do this only because this sort of script-based customer service is, while efficient when training new reps, grossly wasteful in situations not covered by the script. And by wasteful, I mean it pointlessly uses up hours of the customer’s time. So here’s the deal: After months and months of WebEx working flawlessly, the client application started crashing during the meeting setup process. This occurred on all of our users’ workstations. I knew that between the time it had been working and the time it stopped working I had pushed out no Windows updates and I made no changes to the network (firewalls, IP ranges, NATting, … Continue reading

FedEx: Still Rubbish

FedEx: Rubbish Again

Never a good experience It seems like every single FedEx delivery I receive has something wrong with it. I haven’t ranted about this in a few years, so let’s look at this week’s experience. But first I’d like to say that my local FedEx delivery guy is top notch. He’s friendly, and I’ve seen him loading and unloading his truck outside our building and he doesn’t violently throw packages about. Check this out… So…? That looks pretty normal. They delivered a package from Texas to New York via ground in 4 days. Pretty good, actually. Well that’s what the tracking screen looks like now that the package has been delivered. But while it was in transit I wanted to do … Continue reading

HTC One (Verizon) Nitpick Review

Unfortunately, if you want a subsidized phone today you’re stuck with carrier bloatware. I’m replacing a Samsung Galaxy Nexus with an HTC One, but if I had my druthers I’d have ordered the Galaxy S4 Play Edition. The problem is that I can’t bring myself to effectively spend $510 on stock Android; software that’s free. The Galaxy Nexus is a great phone. In two years of case-less operation, it hardly has a scratch on it. It survived drops, bumps, bangs, and all the other rigors of daily use. It has a replaceable battery and an SD card slot. In fact, Samsung’s bloatware was the only thing that stopped me from getting Verizon’s Galaxy S4. The Unboxing Like I said, this … Continue reading

Chevy Volt Charge Cord – Hot During Charge

I thought I’d throw this one out there because it seems I’m not the only one observing this problem.  My Volt’s 120V charge cord and the short plug lead are running hot during charging. You can see some other people’s input here, on this archived forum thread (I was not involved in the thread, but it came up first in a related Google search): http://gm-volt.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-6581.html This is my charging setup (still waiting on the 240V Voltec Charging Station): To connect to the Volt, about half the length of the charge cord has to be unwound. I noticed yesterday that the plug (the NEMA 5-15R) was very warm.  The plug lead was warmer still.  I went on to feel the charge … Continue reading