Is this another example of a monopoly taking advantage of it's customers?
I've blogged before that I catch the train everyday. Have been doing so, from my current stop for about 7 years.
My story begins a couple of months ago, a text comes out of the blue Epuni Station will be closed for asbestos testing" - this was 14 May 2008.
So I rock on down the next morning, and there is a bus there waiting to take little ole me to the next, and main, station on the Hutt Line.
I go to the the inquiries desk and they tell me a couple of days for testing.
Monday, I rock on down, expecting the bus to be there, what its not? Why wasn't I told? And even the station at this point has no external signs, only after going under the subways do I see the boards over the stairs.
So at this point I start taking the bus to the main train station. I ask at the station, send emails to tranz metro, and get I don't know from the ticket office, and no reply from tranz metro.
Fast forward a month and there is an article in the local newspaper saying, yes asbestos was found and they will rebuild the station.
This continues with no word, no communication (and what looks like no progress) until the middle of July where its announced the station will re-open end of July.
31 July I ask the man at the inquiries desk, and he tells me that no it wont be open (tomorrow - Thursday) but also no hint that it would in fact. open in 2 weeks.
11 August, text comes out saying it will be open on the 12th.
So imagine my surprise when I get down to the station on the 13th to find that in 3 months, the only noticeable change is the fact the internal stairs are still blocked and that there is no roof.
So I could just make this a rant against tranz metro, and I kind of have, but the story does serve a bit of a point of how a monopoly can through lack of communication, leave a sour taste in the mouths of everyone concerned and because they are a monopoly, the consumer has no options but to take it, as they cannot take their business elsewhere.
Monopoly = Fail.
As I've blogged about before, I've been using the Wellngton public train system for a number of years.
But recently due to the closure of my regular stop I've been getting on from a bigger station.Its funny to watch how other people wait for the train.
Everyone stands where they think the door to "their carriage" will stop. The funniest ones are the people that are toeing the line. These are normally the ones that want to be on first (and since space is at a premium at the moment, the ones who generally get a seat). Every 30 seconds or so this lot is bending out over the tracks looking for the train - why? Is it going to come faster the more you bend? Is there a law written in the space-time continuum that the " the further you bend outwards the faster said waiting object will accelerate Is there that much mental preparation required that you have to know exactly when it comes? Or are you just impatient?
I watched thing one woman this morning who made a little dance out of it, a little side shuffle train glance.
So these are the people at the "Please wait behind the line". Others prefer to sit and relax on the chairs - when they see someone at the line making a check for the train, they feel they must get up and look themselves before sighing and returning to their seat.
I quoted "Their carriage" - this is because most long term commuters if they catch a regular timed service will have a carriage, door and a favourite seat, and wo and behold someone sitting in THEIR SEAT. You can't do anything, you can't say anything, but silently glare at the infiltrator, wishing they would leave - I mean its not like you bought it or anything.
Ahhhh, us humans are a funny lot.
As much as I don't like the Apple products - I recently had a play with the iPhone in San Francisco in one of their big Apple stores in the centre of the city.
I must admit the touch screen was much more responsive that my k-jam one. It responded to a lighter touch (of the pad of your finger rather than requiring a finger nail) and was quite usable - not enough to trade in though.
My colleague with me, however, was enamoured with iPhone and wanted to buy one, but because of the service agreements with AT&T he couldn't.
And now with this announcement (above) and Apple's update coming (http://www.geekzone.co.nz/inane/3834) you've gotta wonder why people resort to hacking.
Guns 'n Roses -Estranged
Evanescence - Good Enough
But after a while they all blur into one, or you try to keep up with the radio, and your new favourite is whatever they happen to be playing over and over and over.
So wouldn't be nice to keep track of what you listen to and see who comes out on top, and which album, and which track.
Well you can. Last.Fm is a site where you listening tastes are uploaded and it does all the tracking for you. Scrobbling is the name of the process where the current song you are listening to is uploaded to the last.fm site.
I've found now that I've been using for a while that it can change your listening style.
I'm one of these people, that apart from the two hours after buying an album, I never listen to it in its entirety ever again. 95% of what I listen is up to the random number god inside my computer and phone (yes it scrobbles too!).
So with a combined music collection like I have (yes my Wife's stuff is on there as well) you don't always listen to what you expect, or what you want to. So you skip it.
A track is only scrobbled if you make it halfway through, or after 4 minutes, whatever comes first.
So you see, by skipping the unwanted it very quickly builds up a profile of what, and who you've been listening to.
Then once it has some data, the social aspect comes in to play and they start recommending other people that listen to similar music to you. Or you can join you friends and see how compatible your music tastes are.
All in all its quite a good site for information on tracks, artist, your tastes, gig guides and its a bit of fun that does have too much overhead.
And its great to know how much Britney Spears you actually listen to, or should I say embarrassing?
If you're cruising around on last.fm, look me up, http://www.last.fm/user/psycik Or better yet sign up and post a message in my shoutbox.
And now that Lugh has just created a geekzone presence there - http://www.geekzone.co.nz/lugh/3629, there's even more reason to sign up.
MPs rush to reveal strip club experience
Key comes clean about strip clubs
I mean really does anyone care?
This is hardly England with its weekly sex scandals coming out with MPs caught in some tryst with the nanny.
Ok, so many people will have personal opinions on strip clubs and their effects on society, and you're entitled to them. But unless these guys who are rushing forward to disclaim that they have been to a strip club are trying to campaign heavily of the basis of family and/or Christian values then WHO THE HELL CARES.
Are we so bored with what's happening around the world: floods in Asia (Flood victims' bodies float into S. Korea) Hurricanes heading towards the States (Dean loses steam across Mexico's Yucatan), 'No hope' left of finding survivors of Peru quake that the New Zealand papers have to resort to this type of trashy, tabloid story??
So will this become Strpper-Gate???
About every 10th person has some sort of music device. And I've noticed that there are some different groups of people....
iPod club - with their distinct white headphones, this is the most common group, well done to Apple;
Headphone envy - "look at me I have a huge pair of headphones" - is this what they're saying?
Control Freaks - Carrying their device in their hands, for the ultimate level of playlist control
The boppers - those who are quietly dancing or singing as they walk down the street
Old schoolers - with a disc man/walkman or other such Pre MP3 technology - when was the last time you saw someone with a MiniDisc player?
Some of the new groups starting to come out now:
PssssP - guys with their PSPs - are they listening to music, or have they got music videos on there.
BFF (best friends forever) - normally a pair of young girls, or a couple walking along with a pair of ear buds split between them
Cellphoners - these are starting to be more common - I'm in this group and I'm surprised it took so long. To me it was obvious cellphone + music = perfect.
Don't get me wrong, I think its great, as long as these people all wearing some sort of headphones pay attention to the world around them - just because you're in your own little world, doesn't mean a car or bus thinks that!!
And finally, be considerate, if you like Cannibal Corpse at 70 dB, doesn't mean the person sitting next to you on the train does.
Who would have thought cellphones would get to the point of PCs and 'need a rebuild'. I don't mean to sound dramatic, but that was what it effectively came down to yesterday.
After having some audio problems on my K-Jam I sought out the help of the GeekZone forums, and Mauricio came to the rescue telling me a hard rest was probably in order.Incidentally at the same time I posted a support message on the I-Mate Site, they responded about 8 hours later telling me the same thing.....but I digress.
I found out (again courtesy of Mauricio) what a hard reset is. It means the wiping of the system and restoration of the OS from some system CAB files sitting in the phone.
To do such a task requires that you have any information backed up.
A little background information then....
My company provides the facility to connect WM5 devices to out corporate exchange server, and so all my contacts for the phone are stored in a special Contacts folder on there. All my appointments are also stored on the server.
On my work PC I run ActiveSync and tell that to sync my Outlook notes, a mobile favourites folder and a files folder. Whew. So all of that will be safe....now what about the programs.
I didn’t run too many;
- SPB Phone Suite to give Windows Mobile, Nokia like profiles (I call them that cos I've only ever owned Nokias before this), and does a few other phone related tasks. Quite handy ()
- SPB Time - I had the option when buying the above to get this one cheap, so bought it. One thing I missed when I swapped from a Nokia 6230 to this was the countdown timer, to time my boiled eggs!! And Spb Time has a nice big analogue clock screen saver.
- PocketPlayer with the uPNP and Audioscrobbler plugins.
- Contacts plugin – Allows you to save your contacts in the First Last order rather than Last, First – don’t ask me why but I prefer to see people in first name order. There are a few of these around, but I don't know why this functionality wasn't in WM5 to start with.
- Microsoft Reader - for e-Books, I've taken to reading e-books on the train on the way to work
- Couple of little programs I wrote for doing simple things in the registry.
Hold down the voice command button, the Comm manager button, and push a pen or some such item into the reset button hole. Keep it there for about 2 - 4 seconds.
Well I did that and was confronted with a screen:
Press SEND to continue.
So the phone came back (took a while) and I'm faced with a Vodafone logo. At this point it sinks in what I've done....this phone has gone back to the state of when I bought it, scary!!.Well, the first thing is set up some of the owner information, change the colours, and then the main one, and get my active sync working back to my PC.
Ok, so I have some people in my phone now, and all my files are back in. It feels like a phone again.
Next is reinstalling and configuring all the programs from above.
Then off to the Vodafone device setup page for my MMS settings and GPRS settings. Quite handy and seems to have a good range of phone there. Sends you the settings as a text message, much easier than putting them in manually.
Now my IMAP email settings.
Finally when I get home, my wireless settings.
Now it’s all going again. Couple of little gotchas:
- Storage card. I had mine out for the hard reset - just didn't want to take the chance that it got deleted as well. Didn't seem to want to pick that up. Had to turn it off (Hold down power button until is says you may loose date, put the card back in a start it up. Seemed to show up then.
- Remembering some of your little tweaks can be interesting, what wallpaper you had, what sounds you had.
- I missed backing up the main sound I had for a ring tone (a lower bit rate version of Above & Beyond’s “Good Enough”) – since this was in the windows folder somewhere rather than with the other ringtones in the My Documents folder.
So that’s my first post, I found that the train ride from Lower Hutt to Wellington is almost too short to write this out, but makes for a good use of my time….so if you’re on the Wellington trains and sees some guy furiously typing into his phone for the whole ride it could be me…
till next time……..