Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another obscura shot

I'm not Ronald!

So, I signed up for a TELUS Mobility phone a couple of months ago. I've done a lot of work for TELUS in the past, so it felt like the right place to go.  I didn't want to sign up for a contract, as I suspected that my next employer might provide a phone, so I just did a month-to-month deal.

I went to a TELUS Mobility place on Burrard St.  I needed to be set up right away, so I could have a phone number to give the agency I was doing a contract for. While there they gave me a form to sign to finalize the agreement. I noticed that my name on the form was wrong, they'd put my middle name (Roland) as my first nme. I let the sales guy know. He said not to worry and that he'd fix it after I left.

A few weeks later I got my first statement from TELUS. Addressed to Mr. Ronald Hawes. That's not me. To be honest, it's not a big deal, but I thought I'd get it fixed since it will annoy me every time I get the bill.

I called TELUS to ask that they fix this. The sales rep informed me that he couldn't change my name. After all, I might not be Ronald Hawes. (I'm not.) He told me I had to go into a store to get it changed. I let him know that I'd gone to a store already, and that they'd got it wrong, and that I didn't want to go to a store to fix their mistake. The conversation went downhill fast, and he became rather rude on the phone.

Today, I got another call from TELUS, hoping to talk to Ronald Hawes. I asked them to change my name again. No luck again. Not rude this time, but they couldn't help me.

My point here is simple - I tried to give them my business. They showed disrespect to me by not doing things right in the first place. And then they didn't act to fix things when I called them. They put the onus on me to correct their mistake.

This isn't how to run a business. And I know several people with the company who don't want to run their business like this. They truly believe in making the "future friendly". But somehow this has not quite made it down to the customer service level.

Is being called Ronald a big deal? Not at all. But it will continue to bug me every month, and I don't really feel like going to their store and dealing with administrators to fix it.

C'mon TELUS. There's got to be a better way.

the trouble with safari

So, I've got a new MacBook Air, and I simply love it. It's so light and portable that I don't mind taking it to meetings. It's starting to replace my notebook. And thank god for that, since I write like a 5 year old. (Sorry Brynn.)

I also love how the Mac software works so well with the hardware. The new trackpad is better than any mouse, with its two finger scrolling and three finger "backing" within the web browser. Of course, you need to use Mac software, in this case Safari, to get all the features. For instance, Firefox allows the scrolling, but not the "backing". That only works in Safari.

Yet Safari has problems. For one, I'm a Hotmail user. Not out of choice but out of historical necessity. Yet every so often I can't log into Hotmail through Safari, and I have to go into my preferences and delete all my Hotmail cookies in order to get in. It's not a big deal, but it's annoying. And yesterday I was doing my taxes through Safari and realized that certain features in Quick Tax wouldn't work in Safari.

It's not a big deal, but it's frustrating that the best browser for my hardware has so many other challenges to it. I would expect that Mac has a bunch of guys working to fix it, but I'm not sure.

Perhaps it's just an evil Microsoft plan.

Camera Obscura

So Rob Newell, James Chutter and I decided to build a camera obscura the other day at DDB's offices, where I'm currently working on a project. Actually, it was really Rob's idea, and I was just happy to be his assistant. He has so many wonderful ideas, it's probably a good thing he doesn't want to rule the world.

So we went to IGA and bought a bag of plastic bags. (enviro-no-no, but it was for the cause of science) Then we taped them to the window frames, totally blacking out the room. This was slightly more challenging than expected, but it worked reasonably well. Then we cut a small hole in the plastic bags and turned off the lights. 

What we got on the far side of the room was an inverse image of what was on the other side of the windows. We could see the traffic driving by on the street below on the ceiling above us. The clouds were on the floor. 

I think I've figured out how/why this works; normally the light entering a room is deflected from a variety of angles outside. But when it's only coming through one small hole each spot on the opposite wall is only reflecting the light from a single exterior source. So that wall only reflects the particular colour from its corresponding spot outside. It's the same way your eye works, only your eye has your brain to flip over the image.

If that doesn't make sense, you're not alone. But for me to properly explain would make this an extremely long and boring blog entry. If you're interested though, let me know in the comments section below and I'll follow up with a proper explanation.

Here's a photo from the effort. I've tried to upload others for the past 10 minutes, but Blogger is not cooperating:
Let me know if you want to see more.

I'm pretty crap

OK. I'm pretty crap so far at this whole blogging thing. Since I got back from my little trip I've been deeply negligent about writing a blog. I want to do it, but I seem to find excuses. Mostly lame. This appears to be one of those lame postings. But I think I need to open up a bit and be less concerned about what people read of mine. So here goes...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The world of bloggers

Just a few random words, since I haven't posted in a bit.

I love reading peoples blogs. So many people out there have fascinating things to say. I'm feeling somewhat concerned that perhaps I don't have as many fascinating things to say as they do.

I read a guy like Russell Davies' blog, and I'm blown away by the thinking that he does day to day. And all the things he goes and does after work that he can write about. Who is this guy? How does he seem to have so much spare time to go and attend conferences and seminars?

And, while I'm on about it, why can't there be all sorts of funky thinking seminars like he goes to in Vancouver. I think I know the answer to that question, but I don't like it. I want to live here, but I want the benefits of the fabulous things that happen in places like London and NY.