My Knee Sweat Smells Like Tramps

Happy New Year!

I've come to realise that my knee sweat smells like tramps do. I know this because I have some knee pads, which I've been using whilst doing various bits of DIY. After considerable use, I'm finding they pong pretty badly, and smell like, well, tramps. The first time this happened was back in the summer, and I wrote it off based on heat and the dusty work I was doing. However, it's cooler now, and I'm doing different work, but the pads smell the same.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you. Carry on as you were...

Pirate Facebook

I be appreciatin' the Pirate Facebook - juss' find yer way below decks and picks yer language, and you'd best be pickin' English (Pirate) unless ye be one of those land lubbin' Ninja seadogs!

(via me wench) Yaarr!

Netgear GS116 Power Supply Failure

CooferCat went off the air for a couple of hours this evening because the PSU on the Cat Towers backbone switch failed. By 'backbone', I of course mean a little tiny Netgear GS116 16 port, unmanaged gigabit switch.

I have to say, these little switches are great. I've long had a 5 port version of the same running CooferCat, and doing so in pretty inhospitable circumstances (mostly because it was a bit hot where the computer gear was). I've only had this 16 port switch for a couple of months, and it's in a decent, generally cool area, but the power supply's failed already :-( I'm not seeing much that's conclusive about it on the Internet, apart from this (generally good) review.

Either way, fixing up the power supply isn't too hard, as any 12 volt supply with enough current capacity and suitable connector will do nicely. I ended up cutting and rejoining a couple of cables to get it all going, but that's all pretty easy work.

GPS Cocks

Following on from yesterday's GPS debacle, I've been passed a link to GPS cocks. What an excellent idea, now if only I had a GPS phone to do it with... Hang on, GPS is what got me into this mess in the first place!

GPS Makes you Stupid

Sat-Nav (or GPS) makes you stupid. Best of all, you don't even need to be in a car to be stupid.

A couple of months ago, I moved house. Having DIY to do hasn't been very conducive to cycling to work, so I haven't managed to do it for about 3 months. During that time, almost every vehicular journey away from the house has been in a car, with a (very lovely) Tom Tom GPS.

I have now lost my ability to travel even short distances on my own. I took my dad to the station (about a 20 minute drive) sans-GPS the other day, and went the wrong way. A couple of weeks ago, I rode my bike to a nearby shop and went the wrong way. Today, I went the wrong way to work.

I swear it's because what previously required a small amount of due care and attention has not needed any. I just get in the car, and it tells me where to go. Sadly, the bike isn't that clever, and the consequences of going the wrong way require considerably more effort on my part to put right.

Thankfully, I'm not alone. There are many stories on the intarwebs about people doing silly things because of wayward satnavs. None of that prevents me from being stupider because of GPS though.

Curry's Home Delivery - only if it's easy!

We're buying a new fridge/freezer, and found one we like in Currys, so we ordered it online. A week later, delivery was due (yesterday). I received a 'courtesy call' on Saturday to confirm it all, and all seemed well.

Firstly, the delivery was late - maybe 30-45 minutes later than the end of the 4 hour delivery slot. About 20 minutes before arriving, the driver called to say he was on his way (nice!), but then said "oh, er, top flat?" and proceeded to explain that the fridge we had selected was classed as an "American style fridge/freezer", and so they wouldn't be able to take it upstairs. On arrival, they took one look at the stairs and flat-out refused to do anything more - not even to try, so we refused delivery and sent the goods back.

Naturally, I called Currys and got passed to a couple of people, both were generally unhelpful and unsympathetic. They ended up re-iterating the same line, that they wouldn't deliver American fridges up more than four steps. At no time during the buying process did anyone at Currys ever describe this fridge as "American style", much less that there may be any difficulty delivering it.

In short, Currys Home Delivery appears to be "only if it's easy". If basically, they can drag your items along on a trolley to their final resting place in your house, you may be okay. If there are awkward corners, steps or other obstacles, they won't bother. Oh, and don't expect any sort of help if it's getting close to the end of the shift either.

Of course, now we've found this out, we can find any number of sites on the Internet confirming how rubbish Currys are at delivery. Here a couple:

Don't use Currys Home Delivery Service
The Lowest Circle of Hell is Reserved for Currys Staff
Although a quick web search fill find lots more!

Update: We tried M&S Appliances. They're basically the same people (DRL), but offer a completely different experience. For these guys, nothing was too much hassle, the delivery done swiftly, tidily, and problem-free. It turns out they're about the same price as Currys too (especially if you include delivery, recycling, etc), so clearly a far preferable option.

Honda Personal Transport Gadget

Honda's new segway-esque super-transport gadget looks seriously cool. A nice round up of it at redferret.

My cow-orker just said "oh yeah, that Honda thing. Yeah, pretty old school". Woteva :-)

BT's Terrible Customer Service

It's almost too easy to pick on BT's customer service. Ever since they were the GPO they've had terrible customer service. However, despite all of this, I'm going to share my tales of woe with BT. I originally tapped this out as a comment at btcomplaint.com, but decided to put it here too, so I can update with a bit of progress.

I bought a flat a couple of months back, and called BT to take over the phone line. Of course, they were all smiles and cuteness back then.

I didn't get Caller ID, and weirdly still had the previous owner's Call Minder on the line, so I called BT to get it sorted. They seemed pretty good, and said it would all be done in 24 hours.

A few days later, still no Caller ID, so I called again. This time, we found out that they'd given me an account at my address, but with a different phone number. The old occupant was still listed as the owner of my phone number. Again, 30 minutes on the phone and it looked like it was getting fixed.

I called again at just before 8pm. The person I spoke to checked a few details, and then said she couldn't do any more until I did a line test to confirm my phone number. Of course, by the time I'd done that, customer services had closed.

Next day, and 30 minutes later, BT had ordered me a new line, but keeping the old one. This, I was told, would fix everything, and I'd be able to have Caller ID at last. The 'work' was scheduled for about two weeks later, on the 15th September.

Now, on the 24th, I still have no Caller ID. So I call up again, and am told I now need to pay £2.50 per month for Caller ID (which apparently has been a requirement for two or three years, even though I've had Caller ID before and never paid for it). So I decide to decline it, and instead try to sort out my account, which it turns out is STILL NOT CORRECT. They still think the previous occupant of my flat should pay the bills.

I spoke to a couple of people, but ended up speaking to a call centre agent who told me that she needed to reorder the line for me. She then told me that for a "few days" I might have a different number and that my (non BT) broadband might stop working. Since this is absolutely ridiculous, I asked (very politely) to speak to her supervisor.

The supervisor went through a number of details, but also basically told me she needed to re-order the line, and that "there was no way" she could just change the name, or otherwise ensure that my phone/broadband were uninterrupted. When I pressed her on the subject, she passed me over to Andy in Customer Options.

Andy checked a few things, and then also told me a re-order was the only way to resolve this. He said I'd have a maximum of about 10 minutes disruption to the line, which in most cases I wouldn't notice. He then told me he needed to get his manager to authorise this, so he put me on hold and then disconnected the call.

So I've had a handful of calls, and have just wasted a total of 45 minutes just to be cut off!

If this was a gas or electric supplier, I'd just change to someone else. I know other people can do phone lines, but what about phone lines that are broadband compatible, or lines that aren't just BT-by-another-name?

Either way, one thing is clear: BT suck. A lot.

Update 25th Sept '09: Last night, I emailed the Group Chairman at michael.rake@bt.com. I had a personal response within about 30 minutes, and this morning I've had a call from someone handling my case. So far, very friendly, pro-active service, so I'm expecting they'll sort out my problem soon. I'll update when I know more.

Divide Until Trivial

I've been writing Divide Until Trivial for a while. I'll keep this shameless plug short, except to say... check it out and tell your friends!

The Brixton Pound

The Brixton Pound launched last night, so I went along to the Town Hall in Brixton and picked up my new notes.

If you live in Brixton, then using this currency will save you money and keeps that wealth in the local area. If you're just visiting Brixton, check the list of businesses that accept the Brixton Pound. If you're visiting one, maybe change up some Sterling and get discounts by paying in the Brixton pound instead.

It remains to be seen how this all turns out, but right now, it's a nice way of getting discounts when you buy things in the Brixton area. Try it!

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