Ignore the funky chicken

Major emergencies are a regular occurrence in our house. They are announced by she who must be obeyed at maximum volume and always include instructions for my immediate attendance.

“OH MY GOD!!! COME HERE!!!”
“What now?” (resigned voice having been dragged away from some crucial gaming).
“THE LIGHT BULB IN THE BATHROOM HAS FAILED!! FIX IT! QUICK!”

So my heart rate did not increase significantly with last week’s massive scare.

“OH MY GOD!!! THERE’S A DRAGON IN THE HOUSE!! COME HERE!!

I attended forthwith to discover it was not a dragon but a lizard, and it wasn’t in the house it was in the corner of the garden. Fairly convinced it was not contemplating an armed assault on the kitchen, I was prepared to leave it where it was; but my highly activated wife wanted action.

“I will get a man to come and take it away and put it somewhere safe”.
“He will take it away and put it in his stomach for lunch”.

She pondered for a while and agreed that might be true.

“So what do we do?”
“Nothing. It will wander off eventually”.
“But it might be hungry, poor thing”.

So my wife, kind soul that she is once she has calmed down, went off to the local market and bought a chicken. We left it on the path as an offering to the beast. I stuck a Gopro on timelapse to capture the consumption.

Eventually the lizard came out of the undergrowth immaculately trimmed borders and I took a photo; it was indeed a big bugger.

It then walked up to the chicken, walked over the chicken, and buggered off to the other side of the garden (GoPro shot).

She who must be obeyed rescued the slightly trampled fowl, washed it off and stuck in the cooking pot.

“What are you doing” I enquired, wondering what diseases lizards carried on their skin.
“Cooking the chicken. Don’t worry, I’m not going to eat it; I’ll give it to the village guards to eat with their somtam.
“OH MY GOD!!”

June 3rd, 2017|3 Comments

What’s better than a Leica M3?

Two Leica M3’s.

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A month ago, Rick@Knees proclaimed he was done with film photography and was going to sell all his film gear. True to form, he changed his mind and celebrated by acquiring a Leica M3. So this morning we met for the inaugral meeting of the Pattaya Leica M3 club, membership: 2. Theresa May had asked to join, but she was declined on the grounds she would never turn up; plus, she is a deplorable cow.

With film loaded, we went to the Love Art Park, which appears to be degrading more each time I visit. They could do with cutting the grass for a start.

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The good news is that they only charged us 50 baht entry. Not sure whether this is a strategy to attract more visitors, or a mistake. Either way, worth it for some snapping opportunities.

Worked our way through our rolls of film, plus I took a couple of shots with the RX100; the first showing the workshop area which looks like an abandoned torture chamber.

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Plus a shot which defies a tit-le:

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June 1st, 2017|3 Comments

The block

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May 24th, 2017|Comments Off on The block

Too much customer service

For an example of shit customer service, may I refer you back to my experience with Life Pixel, whose response to my advising them that their website was broken was “it is working OK here”.

For an example of perhaps too much customer service, a response from eBay to Rick@Knees is worth a look.

Rick (a.k.a. Raymond), as a connoisseur of classic photographic equipment (a.k.a tat), and therefore spends many an hour trawling eBay, creating watch lists of junk he may wish to purchase. When his watch lists stopped working, he dropped a mail to eBay support, and in no time at all he had a response from Jessa P.

Jessa was initially concerned with his well-being:

Hello Raymond,

A pleasant day to you!

I hope you are doing well today while reading this email.

Thank you for contacting eBay Customer Service. I understand that you’re concerned because you’re unable to review the items in your watch list and you’re encountering error. I know how important it is for you to view the items you’ve added tor watch list. My name is Jessa and rest assured that I will check this oat for you.

Seems like she did check it oat, because the next paragraph advised:

Raymond, I did further investigation about your concern and I found out that the situation you are having right now is actually here within the eBay system. What we are experiencing right now is a technical glitch in our system that started a week ago.

At this point Raymond could take some comfort that the error was right now a known error; but then things became a little surreal:

Luis, you don’t have to worry though, I’d like to assure you that you’re not the only one experiencing this but other sellers as well and we are already aware of this and fixing the problem as we speak . Also, I have added your account as one of the affected members in this current issue that we have on our system so that we can prioritize your account.

Luis? Who the fuck is Luis? And Raymond is a buyer, not a seller; and maybe Jenna is two timing and doesn’t really care whether Raymond is doing well while reading this….

Still, moving on because Jenna is just getting started.

Rest assured that our dedicated Technical Team is working twice as much to make sure this issue will be resolved as soon as possible. I do not have a definite time frame but please give us enough time to resolve this. I appreciate your interest and understanding.

Hard to rest assured when your name may actually be Luis, and why is the Technical Team working twice as much; do they normally work half as hard as they could?

Jenna is getting into her stride now:

We want all of our members to enjoy the best possible experience on eBay, so keeping our website up and running and making sure all of our features are available is one our top priorities. Your business is important to us and we work our hardest to avoid any technical glitches, but occasionally these unfortunate situations do happen. I can assure you that when something does go wrong with the eBay website, we always work as quickly as possible to fix it. We apologize for any inconvenience that this issue may have caused you and hope that it does not affect your overall satisfaction with experience on eBay.

Your other top priority is charging exorbitant rates to sell stuff; but Jenna has no time for that:

Raymond, I would like to personally commend you for your initiative in getting this resolved despite the fact that you are experiencing this kind of issue. I admire your patience and professionalism in handling this issue. Please know that you, being a valued eBay member, are always our main priority.

I know Raymond, I would not describe patience as one of his strengths . Perhaps she is thinking of Luis? Still, being commended is nice, being personally commended is even better and Jenna is not done with the praise:

By the way Raymond, I would like to thank you for trusting us about your concern and for being a part of eBay community since September 2008. Your decision to be part of us is wonderful and we are grateful enough to have you

She then appears to be referring to an entirely different issue:

Trying to work things out with the seller this way is a good sign of a perfect buyer and that’s what we are looking for. Keep it up!

Yeah, keep it up, work it out with yourself Raymond.

Jenna is getting towards the end of her effusive praise stream of consciousness:

I’d also want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you today. Please let us know if you need additional help at any time as we’re here for you. Thank you very much for your time and trust in eBay as well as for your loyalty.

Lovely, trusting, loyal, patient, professional Raymond. Not the man I know.

Take care always Raymond, and I also wish you and your family the best of health.

Don’t take care occasionally Raymond, otherwise you might walk under a baht bus and we would lose your commission charges.

She’s almost done, but, like the best thrillers, Jenna has a twist in the story that she has kept until the end:

Thank you for choosing eBay. We value your business. May you have a happy and you have a wonderful week there in your beautiful country Brazil!

Sincerely,

Jessa P.

eBay Customer Service

Brazil?
Methinks “Sincerely” may be stretching things. Still I would prefer an over the top response like this than that offered by Life Pixel who would respond to this issue with:

Raymond, Luis or whatever the fuck your name is. Yeah, it’s broken, has been for week, no idea when it will be fixed.

We will probably never know the reason for Jenna’s unnecessarily lengthy response. Drugs? Boredom? The Son has a theory that the support staff have pre-programmed buttons to press for automated responses to complaints; and instead of pressing one button, Jenna fell asleep on the keyboard after a long night with Luis, her Brazilian lover, and triggered all of them.

Well done Jenna! Keep it up!

May 22nd, 2017|Comments Off on Too much customer service

Windows 10 can fuck off

Was enjoying my new computer, until a couple of days ago when I turned it on and, after a rather sluggish visit to the Bios screen, it sat aimlessly with a message informing me that it was attempting repairs. To what, you piece of shit? No response, but after some time it staggered to the replacement to the blue screen of death, “the light blue screen of many choices, none of which do anything”

I tried restarting, same screen.

I attempted to let it repair, same screen.

I tried to do a system image recovery and plugged in the disk whereupon lay my backed up system image; waiting for this very moment. Windows went into an endless loop looking for it and I had to switch it off.

After many restarts I was about to gather my ample loins and just reinstall the piece of crap, when it relented and presented me with the Windows log-in screen. I logged in.

Many hours had passed and it was time for dinner, and she who must be obeyed was looking forward to the TV shows I had downloaded for her from entirely legal sources, to the 120GB drive I had installed for that very purpose. Plugged in an external drive to copy over the entertainment, only to discover that the internal drive was not available.

Long story slightly shorter, the internal drive (one of three and not the boot drive) had, to use a technical term, crapped out; and it was this comparatively trivial problem that was causing my machine not to boot. Ripped out the dead drive (which was rather old and had been languishing in a drawer), turned on the machine again and it was presenting the Windows login screen faster than you could say “Windows 10, not exactly robust”.

But wait, there’s more.

I had set Windows Backup to save my personal files on the boot drive, plus all my files (photos and games) on the second drive, and the very legal downloaded media on the now dead drive. So I headed over to Windows Restore to recover my wife’s entertainment. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Fuck all. The backup page told me it was saving my boot, secondary and media drive data; but in fact it was only backing up the boot drive. All my photos, games and media were not backed up.

This is a known problem. In a supposedly refined and stable piece of software. Sigh.

Thirty minutes later I had installed Crashplan for free and now have 450GB of data safely backed up. No thank to Windows.

Windows 10 can fuck off.

May 21st, 2017|8 Comments

The power of the “I” word

A morning outing to “Index – The Living Mall”, where conversely I die inside a little every time I enter. She who must be obeyed is in search of some new chairs and a table to place on our tiny patio. The current offerings have fallen to pieces, not through usage because we rarely sit on them, but through weather abuse. It was no surprise that Index offered nothing suitable in the garden section, but of course we had to check everywhere else. As we wandered through bedroom furnishings, not normally noted for a selection of weatherproof chairs, I started to worry that the “I” word might be raised; and indeed, as we headed for office supplies, she uttered the feared phrase “perhaps we could have a trip to Ikea in Bangkok?”

“Good idea”, I lied as another small part of my soul departed my body. “But there is one more place we could try on the way home”, she offered as a possible reprieve.

So we stopped at a roadside outlet and I was lavish with praise at the somewhat overpriced plastic set of furniture that caught her eye and happily handed over the asking price. A trip to I*** has been averted; for now.

May 20th, 2017|1 Comment

Can’t sell

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Sold!

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May 20th, 2017|Comments Off on Can’t sell

The supreme leader

Mingling among Cosplay players was the feared and derided leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un.

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He was accompanied by a sidekick who, as you might expect, was treated like dirt; and shouted at very loudly when he started clapping before being prompted by the supreme leader. Well done to the look-alike who stayed consistently in character for an hour or more.

May 15th, 2017|Comments Off on The supreme leader

Tech trouble

I have known Ian for more than twenty years; and it is a measure of the difference in our interests that he probably still uses some of the tech that he owned when I first met him. His TV, for example, is a massive slab of a thing which no doubt has an extended start up time to allow the valves to warm. His phone, until recently, was heading for eleven years old; and only when it failed did he begrudgingly splash a couple of thousand baht on a replacement which could not be described as a “smart phone”; however far you stretched the definition.

This of course is entirely different to my approach to technology which is to throw my pension at every shiny object that wanders into my peripheral vision.

Our differences are exemplified by our attitude to computing. I have just “invested” a chunk of cash on a high-end gaming machine; Ian has been using a budget laptop that he reluctantly opened his wallet to buy several years ago. It was initially supplied with Windows 7, but he failed to turn off automatic updates; and when he wasn’t looking it installed Windows 10. He didn’t like that so took it down to Tuk Com where they installed a pirated copy of Windows 8. Eventually that has started acting up (surprise), so I received the rare call: he was considering a replacement. I duly reported for duty at Tuk Com and we headed for the hardware floor.

The world is moving towards mobile devices to meet their computing needs, and Tuk Com reflects that. The phone floor is buzzing with business, while the computer hardware floors languish, with many empty units and few customers. The exception is JIB, who service the requirement for higher end machines, increasingly the main market for PCs. Apart from JIB, the remaining stores sell crap accessories, or an assortment of laptops. It was to one of these stores we headed, not coincidentally the one where Ian bought his last machine. My five minute extensive market survey had indicated that the Acer E5 series offered good value for money, and after an hour or so of perusing, accompanied by much grumbling as to the impending expenditure, he chose his new machine. Then his piercing questions started.

Does it have Paint?
It’s part of Windows Ian.
Does it have Gmail.
You access that from the browser Ian.
Does it have Excel.
It’s not part of Windows Ian.
I want Excel.

The saleslady offered him a 400 baht discount, countered by an offer to install Excel and the rest of the Office suite, for a matching 400 baht. I had a suspicion that these would not be originals….

We went away for an hour and returned to collect his new toy. Back to his condo where he wanted clarification on the Gmail in a browser thing, so we plugged everything in and got him started.

The next morning I received a mail (presumably sent from Gmail on his browser on his old machine). It’s broken. Can’t get past the screensaver with the mouse buttons. Taking the whole thing back. Woe.

Turns out that the free mouse they had given him had failed buttons. Had he pressed a key on the keyboard he would have found his laptop was fine…..

I have impressed upon him the need to setup a log-in password and activating Windows Defender and learning about Windows 10 which is actually rather good once you understand it. But given his lack of tech-interest and the fact he has pirated Microsoft software sat on his machine, I am expecting the call to purchase a replacement, sometime in the next ten years.

May 14th, 2017|2 Comments

Fly the friendly skies

A wet day with no wind, what else to do but enjoy my new PC. Battlefield 1 was my game of choice and after spending some time being blown up in a tank, I fancied some fresh air and took to the skies. I soon discovered that I was as much good at flying a plane as I was at driving a tank; but the visuals (everything set on the highest possible quality), are extremely impressive (although processing for YouTube degrades things a bit). We’ve come a long way from Pacman.

My rear gunner seems unimpressed by my “if you can’t shoot them down, ram them” technique….

May 10th, 2017|Comments Off on Fly the friendly skies