Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Patience may be rewarded

From Wikipedia: Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties.

When the delivery deadline was reached without getting my Kindle DX I was told to call Kindle Customer Support. Though I've insisted I was abroad I was given no other option that to get a refund.

Three calls later, and three extra waiting days, I was "rewarded" by a new shipment, this time One-Day Shipping at no extra cost from Amazon. I still do not want to start dancing till I get it home. However I hope this time delivery will happen (if not, I will find out quickly).

I am really happy I could use Skype to call Kindle Customer Support 800 line. If not it would have become an expensive enterprise as it took me more than half an hour at the phone to get this result. In fact, last Friday I was told a refund was my only choice, but thankfully today I've been offered a new delivery, fast shipping, no hassle. I would say this is the way of doing business right. Especially once first delivery has failed and I've been patiently waiting all these 22 days.

What it is particularly ironic is the fact that Skype is an eBay company (see two posts back).

Update: It arrived to my remailer address on time. Good job Amazon!. Now I'm sitting here waiting for my remailer to contact me so it can be forwarded.

Update2: Remailer worked as expected and my Kindle is flying home. I hope I'll receive it tomorrow Thu, Dec 3th. It was surprising there was such a thin difference (10%) on Fedex and USPS rates.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How not to get a Kindle DX

Apparently I'm out of luck. Last Nov 8th I ordered a Kindle DX from one Amazon's associate. It was shipped Nov 10th and that's all I know since. As the estimated delivery date passed a few days ago I contacted customer service and I was asked to wait a few more days and then to claim for a refund.

As this is my second unsuccessful attempt of buying a Kindle DX, though I have not yet got the refund of my first attempt (still sitting there on my PayPal account) I reckon there is not going to be a third attempt. Whether there is some black magic involved or not I do not know. When I tasked myself with buying a Kindle DX I was not aware it would be so difficult.

Last time I could blame eBay seller, but this time I was buying from an Amazon associate (Warehouse Deals). I'm not buying a DR1000S as battery issues render it almost useless. Something that for a device costing double than a Kindle DX I cannot accept. So maybe I'll wait to see what Plastic Logic delivers in January 2010.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fighting with shady eBay sellers

I'm disappointed Amazon is not yet offering an International version of Kindle DX. I'm disappointed Plastic Logic is not delivering a product, just the name (QUE) is not enough to me. So I decided to get a U.S. Kindle DX and, as Amazon is not selling it overseas I thought eBay was a good place to get one.

After a few days I saw that, from time to time, some sellers offered refurbished units. I read good comments on and about refurbished units (i.e. look brand new, 18% off) for $399 so I was sold.

I bought one DX from a seller named iRebates after contacting with a previous buyer who have had a good experience and was based in Spain too. That seller had a good reputation with more than three thousand successful transactions. It all looked ok. So I shelled out the dough and sat down and waited. And then waited a bit more and essentially nothing else happened. Three days later I asked the seller about my shipment. I was told it had not happened yet.

After more than one week without news from the seller I emailed him. Nothing happened. So a few days later I emailed again. Same result.

By that time seller still had listed items on eBay and feedback was coming in. However the amount of negative feedback started to show a steep increment. Things were looking really bad and still no news from the seller. Time to file a PayPal dispute.

When you file a PayPal dispute, PayPal contacts the seller/buyer to set the record straight. Later, if you're unhappy you can escalate the dispute to a claim. This time however, I was only allowed to file a claim (I guess something was already going on regarding this particular seller and PayPal).

Next day I've got a message from PayPal stating my money was refunded. Good, at least I'm not burned. However, I was left unharmed but without my Kindle. By then, iRebates had no more products listed for sale on eBay.

Things can always get worse, so next day I received an automated message from eBay stating that the seller had filed an Unpaid item case against me (actually it seems he did this with many customers). Two eBay customer representatives later I learned they could do nothing to help me at the moment. Though I was told to respond I never found out what I could do to respond. I think it is a loophole in eBay system what allows a seller who received payment to file such a claim.

Maybe the seller was trying to frighten customers with an eventual Unpaid item strike if they left negative feedback. However negative feedback was the only possible outcome of this shopping experience.

So I thought it was time to disturb some of my friends in the states asking them to forward a package from Amazon to Spain. But what if there is any problem.

Eventually I settled with a company doing the forwarding work. I reviewed both and and I used the latter. Now I now Amazon's partner seller has already shipped my DX to my address in California. Hopefully I 'll get it home in a few more days.

Monday, November 09, 2009

27" iMac itch

It's been reported that many geeks are developing a kind of itch associated with visits to the Apple store. Unfortunately I went to a local dealer last week and I've catch it. The only cure I've found is to just go and buy a new 27" iMac.

While the display is awesome (I've got 17" before), I'm quite impressed with the new mouse. I really like it. If mouse battery usage is ok or not I can't tell yet.

Display works great even angled. Sound is ok. Desktop is tidier now. Only doubt is USB access, as being in the back I have a difficult access to it (but I might be moving to SD format instead for easier access to the slot).

I just hope I won't be reporting soon any trouble the system is giving me (as it has happened to me in the past).

Please remember I've warned you: Do not get close to an Apple shop!

Update: I have had this problem with my MBP before and it is one annoying error when using the shell in Snow Leopard. Every type your write a pipe, you have to leave the next command with no space from pipe bar. If you leave a space the shells cannot find the command. I was copying some files from another system using nc 1234 | tar xv - and I was getting an error as if tar command was not found. Of course tar command was installed and well.

Update2: Actually I was wrong: The error happened again when I was having a remote shell session with a Linux host. Then I realized the problem was not the shell command interpreter on Snow Leopard but something else. A bit of trial and error led me to the root cause of my problem. I had to press "Alt" to get the pipe sign. If I am not releasing the "Alt" key fast enough, it is still pressed when I type the space bar. This leads to a blank space on Snow Leopard terminal but apparently it is not a real space character but another one, so the host shell thinks this is part of the name of the next command and it fails to find it. The solution is simple: be careful not to press Alt while typing a space.

Just for the sake of curiosity I did this(second space is Alt-space):
$ echo " " | hexdump -C
00000000 20 c2 a0 0a | ...|

Yeah, 0xc2 0xa0 is not definitely a 0x20 space. Is it? Actually 0xc2a0 is a NBSP in UTF-8!!!