Archive for Annoyances’ Category

10

Mar
2015

You want HBO Now? Better move out of Canada.

Yesterday, at the Apple press event on March 9th, Apple announced various new hardware and software updates.  Amongst them was HBO Now, which is a stand alone service provided exclusively through Apple TV when it starts .  However, much like most of the other cord-cutting ways of watching legal TV episodes and Movies (Hulu, TV Network Websites), the service will not be available in Canada.

You can add this to all the other non-competitive services, monopolized services that we have to live with here in Canada.

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12

Aug
2014
Comments Off on North America’s Best Airline Strikes Again!

North America’s Best Airline Strikes Again!

This is really a story of how Air Canada continually disappoints its customers, so it makes me wonder what these criteria is for best airline!

I recently filed a claim with Air Canada to get points for one leg of a 3 legged return flight that I was on and had booked through their own site I believe. Point being that I should have never had to file a claim since my Aeroplan number was on file and I did get points for the rest of the trip. The claim was made online and I provided all the information they requested at the time.

Over 2 months later, I get an email that they cannot award me the points since this kind of claim has to be done in written form and I will need to send in a copy of my boarding pass. To boot, the email comes through an address that you cannot reply to, even though it did have a trouble ticket number in it. I found this response lacking, in that this request is completely unnecessary as everything was done online (even my checkin) so the records are all there if they really intended to ever award the points. Sure, I may have kept my boarding pass if the original claim had asked for it, or even if they did not take this long to respond, but none of this was done.

So the real question is, why?

  • Why not verify the records they have instead of asking for a written claim?
  • Why allow for such claims to be filed online if they need to be in written form?  Just inform your customers that it needs to be mailed in (so they can claim the mail was lost! )
  • Why take two months to write back?  I realize there are many claims, but there has to be some level of triage to make sure responses are more timely.
  • Why respond from an email that is not tied to their trouble ticketing system?
  • Why ask for this stuff to be mailed when it can just as easily be scanned and emailed?  we are in the digital age after all.
  • And my favourite: Just how do you think I got to my first stop if I was not onboard the flight I claim I was on.  Perhaps, I over paid for an Air Canada ticket just so I can fly it with another airline to go through this wonderful process.

The only answer that can satisfy all of these questions is:  “To make sure the process is long and complicated enough that customers give up”.

I said all this to come back to the title of this post.  A quick scan through twitter for Air Canada reveals many other customers that are not happy with the airline for various reasons, and yet they are awarded the Best Airline in North America!! (This is the best placed exclamation mark ever)

How?  who is judging this?  what is the criteria for being the best?  and being the best at exactly what?

Don’t get me wrong, the planes and staff are generally good, but from a customer satisfaction point of view, Air Canada is lacking.  And just like many other airlines, they have the luxury of being able to ignore all of this due to lack of alternatives for customers.

The shame of it is that I still recall the good days of the airlines.  When tickets were cheaper, the staff more professional, and the airlines really cared to make sure they customers return and fly with them again.

I end this post by congratulating Air Canada on surprising every one by earning this award 5 times in a row.

 

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16

May
2013
Comments Off on Google’s broken privacy policies

Google’s broken privacy policies

Privacy is a thing of the past, that is not secret. The best you can do these days is make it a little more difficult for some information to be found but sometimes even that proves to be difficult.

This story started when I resold my Nexus 7 a few months back. I had had the device for a couple of months, and while I loved the form factor and size, the Android platform has never been comparable to iOS in my opinion. But that is another story. Anyways…..I sold the device though Kajiji, and I agreed to meet the person I sold it to at a location and exchange the device for the money. The device was packed with all of its original factory material and boxing, and even provided a copy of the receipt with my personal info blacked out. At this point, all we knew about each other was our email addresses which was great. I have a Yahoo email address just for situations like this.

Now, a few months later, the device is not working like it should and the person I sold it to needs to get it fixed under warranty (since its still less than a year old). And this is where our troubles begin. Google does not provide warranty service to items purchased from the Play Store unless you have the original purchaser’s Name, email, and address….which means the anonymous transaction that we had had is now have to be a lot more personal.

None of this info is really that hard to find with a few searches on the internet, but that is besides the point. I fail to see why this level of information is required. All you have to provide really should be the order number and the rest of the information can be looked up on Google’s side. If Google is concerned with theft, they can always send an email to the original purchaser to verify any other information.

Moral of the story: Until Google fixes this big security hole, think twice before purchasing directly from the Play store.

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29

Oct
2012
Comments Off on Google’s Got Nothing on Apple

Google’s Got Nothing on Apple

I’ve been reading some articles recently, comparing Apple’s productions to Google’s Nexus line, and it just seems bizarre to me. It just reminds of when AMD had come up with the first true multi-core processor and was trying to educate us not to compare its processors to Intel’s on just the CPU speed. Its the same thing here.

Comparing Apple to Google, is quite literally comparing Apples and Oranges. Yes, its true that the Nexus 7 may have a much faster processor than iPad mini (which is the same as the iPad2), but the experience is not on par. As an owner of both devices (iPad2 and Nexus 7), I can tell you that even for the most basic of tasks, such as internet browsing or watching YouTube videos from your browser, Apple’s products are a par above everyone else, and there is a simple reason for it: Apple controls both the hardware and software so it tweaks its software to get the max out of the hardware and it does a better job than Google throwing twice the hardware at Android.

To boot, Apple’s devices are created with way better craftsmanship than anything else out there. I always say that Apple is to Tech what Bang & Olufsen is to Audio. Just stunning hardware that works.

When it comes down to it, consumers should not care which has more RAM or more processing power, but rather which provides the best user experience (i.e. just works right all the time). That is why it is sad to see tech bloggers write such articles and misinform those who do not have the personal experience to know better.

So before you buy the hype, make sure to go out to a store and experience it for yourself and see why Apple can demand the premium that it does.

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25

May
2012
Comments Off on Installing your Android App on your Phone

Installing your Android App on your Phone

One part of testing an Android app is installing it on an actual phone and making sure that it still behaves as you expect. Given the fact that there are so many different vendors that tweak the OS in order to create a unique experience for their end users before shipping it off with their custom screen resolution phone, there is a lot that can go wrong with an android app. TechCrunch recently had an article about how a hong Kong based company tests their apps and it was a scary realization.

Back to our point here! Once you have the app ready, you may want to send it to a customer or another friend to validate and chances are that they do not have and Android development environment setup to compile your code and push it to the device, so here are two other ways:

(Note: the instructions here are geared towards linux based systems. Adjust as necessary for Windows)

The some-what technical way

  1. Install the Android SDK.
    For the sake of this example we will assume it is installed in ~/AndroidSDK. (Note: For Windows you may need to installed the USB drivers as well)
  2. Make sure that USB storage is turned off. This is typically off by default and you can get to the screen once you have connected you phone to your PC via USB. Swipe down from the top of the screen (just like you do to see your notifications) and choose the USB Connected option.
  3. Make sure that you can install apps from unknown sources.
    To do this, go to ‘Settings’, click ‘Security’ and make sure ‘Unknown sources’ is checked.
  4. Now open a terminal (or command) window and run the following commands to make sure that the SDk can see your device.
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    > cd ~/AndroidSDK/platform-tools
    > ./adb devices
    List of devices attached 
    XXXXXXXX5B3900XX	device
  5. Now run the following commands to install your .apk file. For the sake of this example, our file is located at ~/dev/myApp/bin/myApp.apk.
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    cd ~/AndroidSDK/platform-tools
    ./adb install ~/dev/myApp/bin/myApp.apk

    You can optionally provide a -s parameter to install the app on the SD card.

  6. You should now see the app in the list of your installed apps

The really easy way

For folks that are not technical, there is an easier way.

  1. Go to the Google Play store and install AppInstaller (free app).
  2. Copy the .apk file to the SD card of your phone.
    this can be done in two ways:

    1. If your phone has an SD card that can be taken out, you can insert the SD card into your PC and copy the file
    2. If your phone does not have an insertable SD card (like the Nexus S), then connect your phone to your PC via USB, turn on USB storage, copy the .apk file to your phone’s SD card and disconnect the phone
  3. Run the AppInstaller app
  4. The app will list all the apk files on your SD card. Select your .apk file to install it
  5. Note: In this case, you may still have to check the option to be able to install apps from ‘Unknown sources’

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10

Mar
2012
Comments Off on Does inconvenience give you security and peace of mind

Does inconvenience give you security and peace of mind

Recently, a YouTube video went viral showing how easily the airport body scanners can be fooled.

The TSA has now responded to that, but it basically says: “Don’t ask us how it works, just trust us that it does. You are safe now.” It reminds me of the Knight and Day movie with Tom Cruise where he is talking about words and sentences to watch out for…..”you’re safe now”……”it’s for your safety”…..safety.

I personally always go early and go through the pat down and avoid the machines. Besides being an invasion of my privacy and exposing me to more xray, I have never felt any safer. Now, this Gizmodo article only reinforces my choice. It is an interesting read.

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28

Jan
2012
Comments Off on We Need Airline Reform

We Need Airline Reform

Much like the financial reform that we had, we need an airline reform as well. It seems to me that the airlines no longer feel responsible for anything, and since they are no liable for anything, their service and reliability has suffered greatly.

If you hang around airports much, you will see that none of the passengers are happy with the airlines. In fact, I know of folks that drive for up to 6 hours due to this and the headache of having to go through security at the airport. In the end, it takes them the same amount of time to get to their destination….that is to say now-a-days a 1 hour flight will take you 6 hours door to door, so you can either relax and drive yourself, or through the headache of airport security and dealing with the airlines.

As a consultant, I get paid by the hour while on site, so every hour of travel (and worse…delay) is literally costing me money. Today, for the third time in the last 4 months, I got screwed over by United Airlines again. There is no apology, no compensation, just “we’re doing you a favor by putting you on the next flight.” As someone who travels about 26+ weeks out of the year, I have a lot of horror stories.

I remember the days when airlines used to give you a $300 coupon for a 15 minute delayed flight. When they used to give you the same status on their airline, just so you would fly them.

Now, I understand that times change, and 911 had a huge effect on the airline industry, but lets look at what has happened since then. You get nothing while flying except for water or Soda; you have to pay for your checked luggage; You have to pay to use the points you paid so much to gain; if you make any changes to your flight, you have to pay a change fee even if the new flight is cheaper than the old one, and for added fun you get frisked at the airport if not lit with a dose of cancer.

So why is it that the government is not slapping the airlines with more regulations to make sure the people don’t get screwed? The housing crisis was partially the people’s fault to taking on mortgages they could not pay off, but this is not.

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