Monday, 6 July 2020

Critical Customer Service

As we all move into working from home and relying more on email and text and calls some firms really Really REALLY have to up their game with communication.

So, firms out there listen up....

1. You Can't assume your customer knows what you're doing, you have to let them know...

2. When your customer sends you a text, or email, or leaves a voice mail with a clear question... Answer them, even if it's with a "I'll get back to you".  Close that communication loop every single time a customer communicates.

3. Follow up, set a time limit or batch replies to a customer together so you touch base with them in a timely fashion, if you're working day to day, reply at least every 2 days, if you're working week to week reply at a bare minimum once a week.

4. When deadlines are looming, and you're working hard to meet it, tell the customer... If you don't they're free to assume you're not working well for them.

And failing in any one of these areas of communication is, to me, a clear indication to stop using that service, in these days of need and tight budgets and failing businesses, those whom are bad at communicating will loose custom, they'll then loose revenue and they will fail, the good ones will keep custom will keep revenue and survive.

These days of strife are pushing on us an era of cutting the crap.

Companies, cut the crap customer service.

Friday, 3 July 2020

The Wall Mounted Server

Something is wrong, it turns off randomly.... And I suspect the PSU, new one has been ordered... the cheapest one on Amazon, this may or may not be a good thing.... Lets see.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Rabbit Scratch


We've had a bit of drama with Bob, our new bunny.  First he's cut his own ear open... 

So he literally has skinned the back of his ear, leaving only cartilage.  The vets saved this and curled it back and he wore this hair roller like contraption to save the skin...

He was not impressed...
However today, after a week of healing he managed to pull the half healed skin back off!  To tomorrow he's got to have an operation to try and remove the flap without loosing half his ear.

Now, because that skin lived for a little bit and had a blood supply is has let a bit of healing start, which is good... but right now it's a bit raw until he goes in tomorrow morning.

As for his scratching my chest, I was taking him back to his hutch and he got excited to jump in and just.... yeah... Hurts like hell.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

CubeWorld - Where's my key?

I bought CubeWorld back in the day, and I just heard it was actually released, this really annoys me that I've heard it's been out ages... and apparently wasn't as good as the demo even in the end.

But the really annoying thing is that apparently early buyers like me were meant to get a code to play the game?!?!

Where's my game key?.... What a total cock up he made of that game.

The Hot Water Pipe Balls Up

The worst mistake I ever made as a kid.... Was flood the house.

Yeah, so... my parents had a new central heating system put in, all the floor boards up job, British Gas did the work... and for some unknown reason they left all the floor boards up when the finished the job.

To this day, I don't know why they left the job, with hot exposed pipes in the floor space.  But they did... Pinky Swear.

So, Saturday morning my Dad set about putting the floor boards back down, he embroiled me in this, despite my not really knowing one end of a hammer from the other, he put the first board in place and started to put the nails into the holes they had come out of and tamp them down.

He handed me the hammer and said to put in the two nails at my end.... I placed the nail in and hammered it once.... Handing the hammer back to my Dad and we crawled forward to the next joist.

And then I felt wet on my knee... Water was merrily flowing up out of the nail hole and across the wood... warm musky water... heating system water, fresh fernox.


But my brain said "hey Dad, there's water coming out this wood"... which in retrospect is one of the most spectacular brain farts I can ever imagine, they were the words my brain delivered so my mouth spoke thus.


We pull the board up... to put a finger over the hole... but we can't... the hole is in the side of the pipe... the nail had gone down, turned about 60 degree's and gone into the side of the pipe... how it managed this I'll never know, unless I buy that house strip that floor board out and dissect that joist.

So this hole in the pipe was well out of reach below the level of the joist in this cut, you could not put a finger in it... and the heating was on, this water was getting burning hot.

We wrapped towels around it, all sorts, i got scolded pretty badly by it... British Gas wouldn't come back, their home care insurance cover for this didn't cover us for our sticking a nail in the pipe, despite the argument that they pulled the bloody boards up why didn't they put them back down!!?!?!!

To this day I'll never understand why they were left like this.

But this all became my fault.

A plumber arrived about an hour later, he drained the system, cut the pipe, two compression joints and bosh fixed.

I never lived this down of course, this was over 35 years ago, but I still hear about it, and I've even written about it right here, so it plays on my mind.  Not for my ineptitude with a hammer... but for the physics of the thing, how did a nail, driven in straight as far as I could tell... How could it turn like this and stick into a pipe's side, it's lower radius of that side even from a straight above shot?

Pulling it out, the nail had a bend added a perfect bend, as though it had gone slightly into the joist and just turned.  The other nail was still straight and true...

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Brain Dead Boring Boomber Bastards Next Door

Its been over a month, so I've come to terms with something... Some people are just horrid.

We'll just dial back the clock, 1945.... VE Day... All four of my grandparents were serving in the war effort, Solider, Sailor, Nurse & Land Army Girl respectively.  It was their war, their life, and I respect that immensely.

I made a video to that effect a head of VE Day.

However, with the lockdown, my wife and I, being in at risk groups didn't plan on anything for a street party out front, not least as our neighbours, as already mentioned in these pages, are quite abhorrent people breaking the rules and putting themselves and others at risk, but we also had no idea there were any such plans a foot... After all, why risk it when we and all of them are in at risk categories?!?!....

So, we sat it out, rightfully and with respect, I do spend a lot of time with my mind cast back to the world wars and I don't think any of my neighbours, unless there's some secret military historian in their ranks, can touch my knowledge of the struggle and suffering inflicted.

It was therefore with some surprise that I've heard on the grape vine how "disgusted" our direct neighbours were of our "ignoring VE Day" and "disrespecting the spirit of the day".

These fools haven't dared say this to our face, these brain dead boring boomer bastards won't face me and say a word, and you know what... that makes them pretty horrid in my book.

Monday, 15 June 2020

The Mystery FTP Clocking Machine Project

During my very first programming job I was given, late in the day, a unit which gathered user data.  It stored this data in CSV plain text and according to the manual you were to FTP into the unit and retrieve the file.

I had an FTP client, I had an FTP implementation (in Dephi) and neither could connect to the device, standard FTP commands didn't work, they just didn't work.

We could confirm it had an IP Address, see the device within the DHCP list and indeed we could ping it, so it was responding to ICMP, but no matter what the FTP client, as described in their manual, would not connect.

A TFTP client similarly could not.

We had no internet, so after going home that evening, on my own initiative I downloaded three more FTP clients and even downloaded an FTP class for the C++ IDE we could use "Borland C++ for Windows".

In the morning I tried all of these, nothing, nada, naught.

I went to get another from the pile of 30 of these we had sat with customers waiting, nada.

I plugged away at this for a week and in the end arranged for an engineer from the vendor to come see us; the chap came, he had a peek and a poke at my code, saw nothing wrong, tried this test routines, they all ran... so we were at an impasse.

Nothing we tried worked except their test routines, so I of course wanted the code to their test routines.

They were very reticent to deliver it but after a lot of prodding and some negotiation over lunch it was agreed that their own engineer could receive the code, look at it on my machine, even copy and paste a few critical parts and get us up and running with connect, disconnect and that would be it, we could then have to do all the other commands, but their engineer would sit there whilst I did at least "list".

No internet, so I took this engineer to my home address (luckily within walking distance of the office) and over my modem (yes, I'm that old) we downloaded this code to a floppy disk (yes, I'm truly that old).

We headed back to the office, set up and opened the code next to my IDE window, their code was in C, so I would have to transliterate it into Delphi later, but whilst he was present we stuck with the C code, he called his programmer and the chap confirmed it should build in Borland C for DOS.  Which I had.

Sure enough their code seemed to compile fine and it ran in debug and connected, did a list and pulled all the files off the device, deleting them after.

Their engineer did this, then he looked at the code, and he smiled, and stared at the code, then smiled at me.  Remember we've wasted my time, his time, like a week in total here.

He consulted their own operators manual, looked at the bottom of the device, smiled again, then picked up the phone.

"Is there another version of this model?"

<squiggly reply on 1998 Motorola Razor>

"Sure, sure, but is there another version?"

<Squiggly voice>

"Right, right, can you send that?"

<Loud squiggly voice>


<Squiggly no>


And he hung up.

"Sorry gentlemen, he was addressing me and my boss, but ah... it would seem you've got the wrong device".

And he arranged for them all to be collected and returned without explaining himself, he personally returned with another unit, which to me looked identical and this worked instantly.

I have never found out quite what the issue was, but the next morning 29 more of these boxes arrived and we could deliver to our downstream clients the next week.