Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fighting with online shops too

Today I have got one bizarre experience. A few days ago I did shop some parts for a 3D printer I am building but I guess the site was overloaded (or poorly procured) and I got several errors till I got my order through.

So I decided to ask the seller about my order since a few days have passed without hearing from them. This is the chat transcript.

Start Time: 12/31/2013 00:06:30
End Time: 12/31/2013 00:35:14
Operators: Jayla
Please wait for a site operator to respond...
If you do not want to wait, please click here to leave us a message.
Operator Jayla has joined the chat.
[00:06:30] Jayla: Hi Miguel Sanchez, I hope you are doing fine. How may I help you? 
[00:06:38] Miguel Sanchez: HI
[00:06:54] Miguel Sanchez: I'd like to know about my order. 
[00:07:32] Miguel Sanchez: It's been a few days and it is my first order from you. But mostly the server was giving me errors while going through the order.
[00:07:45] Miguel Sanchez: 26 dic 2013 16:18:12 PST Id. de transacción: *****************************
[00:08:00] Miguel Sanchez: these is paypal payment details
[00:09:11] Jayla: Let me check your order. One moment please.
[00:09:18] Miguel Sanchez: thnx
[00:09:51] Miguel Sanchez: please note I did not set up a customer account when I did the order
[00:17:33] Miguel Sanchez: still here ...
[00:20:14] Jayla: I am verifying your payment. Please wait.
[00:20:20] Miguel Sanchez: ok
[00:22:06] Jayla: I have seen that you paid for $30.35 for the order but they did not give you an order number. Please contact paypal regarding that and you can place a dispute on them.
[00:22:40] Miguel Sanchez: You mean that I have paid for nothing?
[00:23:16] Miguel Sanchez: I was expecting to receive some sets of pushrods
[00:24:34] Miguel Sanchez: as I am sourcing from you I expected you do deliver the order or failing to do that, providing me a way for fixing any problem the order may have
[00:25:34] Miguel Sanchez: but if I understand you correctly my payment went through but you have no record of what I ordered nor have you contacted me to solve that. Am i right?
[00:26:24] Miguel Sanchez: And to add insult to injury you ask me to go to paypal to get my money back ? Is that it? (please note this is my first oder from hobby king)
[00:27:18] Miguel Sanchez: or maybe I am not understanding the problem and it is some obscure paypla thing
[00:29:13] Jayla: I understand you sir. In that case I will request for a refund to you because we cant process your order without having order number.
[00:29:57] Miguel Sanchez: wouldn't your company be interested on serving what I ordered?
[00:31:35] Jayla: We have not received any order informations sir. If you want I will process the refund and place an order again. for your next order, Please make an account through our website.
[00:31:38] Miguel Sanchez: it was six sets like this shipped in the cheapest post http://www.*********.com/*********/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=13099
[00:32:04] Miguel Sanchez: I was offered a discount prize
[00:32:41] Jayla: We can't place an order for you sir for your own security. 
[00:33:23] Miguel Sanchez: I see. Ok, I will like you to forward a copy of this dialog to your CEO.
[00:33:40] Miguel Sanchez: I appreciate your time and I understand you do what you are told to do.
[00:33:44] Miguel Sanchez: Have a nice day.
[00:34:18] Jayla: Thank you for undertsanding sir. Have a great day and Happy Holidays.
The transcript will be sent to "*******************".
The visitor has left the chat.
The chat is ended.

Needless to say: next order from my cold dead fingers. But really, I think these sellers just shoot themselves on the foot. I do understand things may go wrong. I do use PayPal quite a lot as a buyer and I have never before (over 300 transactions) heard such a "problem" from any seller. So I mostly suspect this seller software should be improved and having a more powerful server will help. But hey, you can reduce the number of customers by pissing off first timers, this will sure lower your server's hits too. I will left you as an exercise to figure out who the seller was :-)

Update: PayPal refunded my money. In the mean time I have got a better deal for the same parts at another seller.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New tool for the workshop

A recent query from a local company made me revisit the work I did for reverse-engineering Ademco's
ECP bus years ago. I did not get this assignment but I learned this company was buying an inexpensive logic analyzer I have never heard of before.

After having a look a the device and its demo software (that works in Windows, OSX and Linux!!) I was sold. Even better was to learn that they do have an educational discount. Next day I bought one Logic8 8-bit USB digital analyzer.

It is not a digital osciloscope but a logic probe with 8 inputs. The beauty about the software is that it has built-in several serial protocols (ie. Async serial, I2C, SPI, etc). So going from the signals to meaningful data is time-effective and simple.