Virgin Media Customer Service…

I have two big customer service rants coming. This one is related to Virgin Media and the next one will be about SCAN. I’ll hold back on the second one while I wait to see if they do the right thing.

I had Virgin Media installed on 9th March and I am completely happy with the cable broadband service, but they were unable to take on my phone line because of capacity issues. That resulted in a complete mess over the billing of my service because of the way Virgin Media process discounts on bundles. I contacted customer services and after a lot of messing about the billing situation was resolved to my satisfaction.

A few weeks later I was notified of my first bill and it was completely wrong. I got in touch with customer services and after a very long time the issue seemed to be resolved AGAIN, but I was told I would be contacted by midday the same day for confirmation by a manager. It is now 6 days later and I’ve not received a call. In that time I’ve been phoning trying to get it resolved.

I’ve just got off the phone and I’ve been assured it is sorted now, but I know it will all be a steaming pile of poo next month when the bill is sorted again.

Each person I’ve talked to has been fine, but the whole process and the systems involved are terrible. It stinks. In no way can this be called good customer services. It is a complete nightmare.

Sometimes bad customer service is because the people answering the phones are morons. Sometimes it is because the procedures and systems they are working with are idiotic. It comes to something when the person on the other end of the phone is unable to tell you how much you will be charged because the systems they are using are so convoluted with a variety of possible discounts that may or may not be applied…

So in conclusion, Virgin Media customer services is a festering pile of donkey crap…

Cheers

Tim…

 

My Secret iPad App Addictions…

When using my iPad, I spend the vast majority of my time in a browser. I don’t have many apps and most of the ones I have I don’t use regularly, but I have a couple that have become a secret addiction…

We City – I love this app. Like all these “earn money and build stuff” apps, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on each visit, but you tend to come back several times a day. I guess I check in about 10 times a day, each time for about 1 minute. I’ve found myself taking my iPad round to friends houses so I can check in a couple of times when I’m there, under the guise of checking my emails. Truly pathetic I know, but that’s addictions for you. 🙂

GarageBand – I’ve been hearing people rave about GarageBand for ages, but I always assumed it was some sort of Guitar Hero game so I ignored it. It was all a bit random, but the other day I installed it to see what all the fuss was about and it is totally awesome. I was in bands at University, but it’s been years since I’ve done anything musical. I pick up a guitar form time to time, but I can barely play anymore. Anyway, a few minutes with this app and you can start building up pretty cool sounding tunes. You can play the instruments themselves, throw in some autoplay stuff for the instruments you don’t play and even use some of the predefined loops. If you get the right connectors, you can even plug in real guitars, keyboards and mics. I don’t think you’ll be hearing me on the radio any time soon, but it’s great fun and well worth the ÂŁ2.99 I paid for it. I hadn’t realized I already have GarageBand installed on my MacBook Pro. I guess I should take a look and see what that can do that the iPad app can’t, but to be honest, it’s more fun messing with the iPad than sitting at a keyboard.

Cheers

Tim…

Segment Creation on Demand (Deferred Segment Creation) in Oracle 11.2.0.2…

It looks like 11.2.0.2 has improved most of the original shortfalls of segment creation on demand that were present in 11.2.0.1.

Cheers

Tim…

Falling down the stairs…

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will know I fell down the stairs last night. My office is upstairs and I often put mail on the stairs to remind me to take it up. I also have a habit of walking around the house with the lights off in the evening. These two factors combined beautifully yesterday and resulted in me launching myself down the stairs with a couple of empty mugs in my hands. The initial assessment was left knee and right elbow were sore and I had some small cuts on my hands and arms from the shattered mugs in my hands. As the adrenaline wore off I noticed more cuts and various bits of my body started to ache.

Everything is OK this morning. My left knee still feels a bit dodgy, but all the cuts were so fine they are barely noticeable now. Apart from that, it’s just an all-over body ache similar to minor whiplash. Fun, fun, fun… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

First Lord’s Fury…

First Lord’s Fury is the sixth (and final) book in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. The book follows on from where the Princep’s Fury ended.

This book returns to the juggernaut pace of Captains Fury. I mentioned previously that some parts of the series were quite predictable, but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment and expectation. That is also true of this final book. You are pretty sure where you would like things to end up. The question is, how are you going to get there?

Part of me is very sad it’s over and part of me is relieved as I don’t think I could cope if it carried on. It’s an awesome series, but I quite draining because it is so intense. If this were a 38+ series like Discworld, I think I would have to retire on medical grounds… 🙂

It’s about 4 months until the next Dresden Files book is released, so I think I will have a rest and maybe look at the Earth’s Children series, suggested by @Boneist.

Cheers

Tim…

Battle: Los Angeles…

For some masochistic reason you decide to watch Independence Day, realize it’s a steaming pile of crap (of almost Twilight proportions) and decide the only way to make the world a better place is to redo the film properly. What you end up with is Battle: Los Angeles. It’s pretty much the same story.

I’m not saying it’s a great sci-fi film, but it’s pretty darn good. I wasn’t holding out much hope during the first few scenes because the person with the camera seemed to be having a fit. On stationary shots where people were just chatting it looked like the camera was sitting on a washing machine during the spin cycle. Once the action kicked in the camera work seemed much more appropriate, even steady at times.

The feel was very much like that of District 9 and Skyline, which is a good thing in my opinion. Dirty and gritty wins out over Hollywood polish for me. The budget was quite a bit higher than those films, but it had some recognizable actors and everything was so much bigger. It still came in at $5,000,000 under the price of Independence Day, and that was made 14 years ago.

There were a few inevitable bits of cheese and gaps in story development, probably from cuts to bring it just under 2 hours, but it still worked pretty well.

I was surprised to see Ne-Yo in the film, but he did an OK job. If Michelle Rodriguez is one tenth as cool in real life as she is in films, she will be mine. Oh yes! She will be mine! It would be great to have a girlfriend who could beat the crap out of guys if they don’t respect my authoritah… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Real-Time SQL Monitoring… Update…

Real-Time SQL Monitoring got a lot of air-time when it was released in 11g. I remember being wowed in a number of presentations. What I had failed to notice until recently was a quite interesting update in 11gR2. Previously, the reports always looked a lot prettier in Enterprise Manager than they did in the HTML reports produced by the DBMS_SQLTUNE package. In 11gR2, the introduction of an ACTIVE report means you can now get the EM-style report using the DBMS_SQLTUNE package. Of course, if you are always using EM to look at your SQL monitoring reports, this change is of little value, but if you are using DBMS_SQLTUNE to generate the reports you may want to give it a try because the layout is definitely better. I’ve updated my article on the subject to reflect the changes in 11gR2.

Just goes to show, every time you open the manuals something pops out to make you realize how much you don’t know.

Cheers

Tim…

Princep’s Fury…

Princep’s Fury is the fifth book in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. The book starts a few months on from where the Captain’s Fury ended.

This book seems a little calmer in comparison, mostly because I was still recovering from the onslaught of the previous book I guess. Each book in the six part series only tells a fraction of the whole story, but the previous four books were written in such a way that they also felt reasonably self contained. Princep’s Fury in comparison feels like the author was planning for the last book more than concentrating on this one. That sounds kinda damning, but even though it drifts a little at times, it was still cool.

Cheers

Tim…

TalkTalk is dead. Long live Virgin Media…

After suffering for far too long with poor ADSL performance, I finally ditched my TalkTalk ADSL service and replaced it with cable from Virgin Media. A couple of years ago I was getting 8Mb on my ADSL line. In recent times I’ve been struggling to hit 2Mb. The breaking point came when one of my former colleagues sent me a picture of his speedtest.net result showing a 30Mb service on a day when I was struggling to get connected.

I went for the cheapest service Virgin Media offer. I’m paying for 10Mb and I’m actually getting 10Mb (who’da thunk it). I figured that things have been so slow recently, 10Mb would feel rapid and sure enough it does. No doubt in a few weeks I’ll be bitching about it and want to upgrade…  🙂

The change over left me with one little issue. My Virgin router is down stairs, but my wired network is upstairs. That problem was solved today when a man in a van dropped off a present from Amazon in the form off a “Buffalo Wireless-N Nfiniti Dual Band Ethernet Converter”. I plugged that into my switch upstairs and Bob’s your uncle, I now have a bridged network.

The MacBook Pro and iPad have once again been relegated to scrapyard side of my desk and I’m back to using my main desktop. Aaahhhh Linux…

Cheers

Tim…