October 1, 2007
So I bought the scooter. A 2005 Honda Jazz to commute to and from the office. It kind of looks like this:
I am not into cars and find driving to be a tedious chore. However, I love this scooter. Lyal Avery was/is giving me grief as the scooter driving CEO. Sure, I don't look very cool on it as a 40 year old, in fact I probably look quite dorkish, but this thing is awesome. It's perfect for a commute and is fun to drive. I actually like driving now. I thought that would never happen. It gets as far as I can tell over 200km on 5 liters of gas!
As I live on the North Shore, I have to travel the Lions Gate Bridge twice a day. It was a concern but it is not really a problem. South bound is quite a steep approach and the scooter peaks at 47km/h on the climb. However, I make it up on the down run where I can get up to 70km/h. The north bound approach is more gradual so I can maintain 50-55km/h. As I am in rush hour traffic each way most cars can't get over 60km/h for any length of time anyway.
September 21, 2007
So I got my .mac renewal today from Apple Canada:
Check it out. The service is going to cost me $139.00. In the US it costs $99. An Exchange rate of 1.4000. Last I checked the exchange rate for Canadian / US dollars was let's see $1.0000.
APPLE CANADA, You suck and I am not renewing.
August 31, 2007
Earlier this year I was on a business trip to New York, and my wife joined for some shopping and sight seeing. She visited one of her favourite stores Ann Taylor to buy a pair of shoes (Really, what else could it be, but shoes). When she went to buy them, the clerk asked suggested she sign up for the Ann Taylor Card and get an extra 10% off the shoes. Mandy explained we were Canadian. The clerk insisted that this wasn't a problem - she could pay over the Internet using her existing Visa. Mandy was very hesitant, but the clerk was quite insistent that it was a no-brainer. So, we did it.
Bill comes in the mail 4 days before due date.
Mandy goes on-line to pay.
Nope. Won't accept Canadian Credit Card addresses.
Mandy calls store to pay.
Nope. It has nothing to do with them. Call Ann Taylor corporate.
Mandy calls Ann Taylor corporate.
Nope. Has nothing to do with them (??? what ???). Call their bank who issues their credit card.
A few days pass.
Mandy calls bank.
Yep. banks says, "This is us. You're late on your payment. That's a $20 charge on your account. Please pay us."
Mandy, says will you take a credit card. Banks says, "yes."
There is a $7.00 service charge for paying by credit card that cannot be covered by the credit card payment (??? what ???). You will have to issue a US check. As you are Canadian it has to be a US bank draft or US money order.
Mandy, says "Well I may as well pay the whole thing by money order."
3 days pass. Mandy books time off to go to bank. Pays $10 service fee plus crazy exchange rate for US money order.
Mandy sends money order. (For those who don't know a money order = CASH. Meaning they can't bounce.)
Bank receives money order.
Puts a hold on money order for one month. (Meaning they did not pay off Mandy's bill.)
Another month late another interest charges PLUS $20.00 fee for late payment.
A month passes.
Money order is eventual applied against bill.
A month passes.
Our purchase is paid off.
$60 (late payment charges) plus interest is on the new bill.
Mandy write letter explaining story you read above.
A month passes.
Letter back saying "your late payment charges are due to your late payments. If you pay them now you won't be charged late payment charges."
Bill is now close to $90.00.
Mandy calls bank. Explains above.
Banks says we will deduct two late payments, but please pay balance.
Mandy (now very frustrated) "FINE!, I want this taken care of. This is not right, but I don't want this hanging over my head. Can I pay by credit card?" Yes but there is a $7.00 fee that must be paid by money order.
Mandy, says "And if it is held for a month by the bank that $7.00 charge will result in a $20.00 penalty correct? Can you SEE what's happening here?" (This is a paraphrase from what can only be described as a frustrated women who is 8 months pregnant and at wits end.)
Banker says let me talk to my Boss.
Boss comes on line. His name was Ben.
Ben hears the above in respectful but not what one would call a calm voice.
Ben does the RIGHT THING.
"There is something we can do here. I can understand what you are going through. We will remove all charges from your bill. Sorry for the trouble this has caused you."
YEAH ANN TAYLOR!
As mad as we were at you and even though it took a lot of time for us to get it sorted out. You did the right thing. Good on you.
March 30, 2007
My wife Mandy threw a 40th birthday party for me yesterday at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (the site is under construction). We aren't members but a good friend of ours is, so we were able to book a wonderful table for 10 to their Australian wine tasting with a 6 course meal. The host of the event, I will have to get his name as I have forgotten, was knowledgeable, engaging, and highly entertaining. He knew a lot but didn't take anything too seriously, when he presented the evening's closer, Yalumba Clocktower Port. He said, "This is the stuff for drinking after a long productive day. It's not very sophisticated. It really shouldn't be called port. Think of it as alcohol infused wine product!" The food was also amazing, the RVYC has spectacular dining. Lori Pike took pictures of each dish as it was served. Hopefully she will post them soon.
It was without a doubt one of the best birthday presents I have ever had. I really enjoy experiences like this much better than getting traditional gifts. When I am 92 and sitting in my rocking chair on the front porch, I won't remember that great watch I had or the car I drove. I will remember the good times I had with friends and family sharing food, wine, and laughs.
A fabulous birthday! Thank-you, Mandy.
Something I noticed about turning 40, your friends turn mean! Every birthday card I got was about how my life was now in decline, how certain parts of my body would stop working, the colonoscopies I would now endure, and how I will be gumming my food in short while.
March 21, 2007
James Walker writes a post asking for Apple to provide a mechanism where two clients can mutually edit the same calendar. He asks if anyone else cares? I do for one! This is exactly what I want for my company. I have 3 different devices with calendar functions. But if I set up an iCal calendar with my desktop, I cannot edit the calendar with my PowerBook or Treo. If I use Google Calendar, I cannot add a calendar date to my iCal when offline for later synching.
I get around this issue by having our Studio Coordinator, Jenny Good, control my calendar. This is not a good use of her time. I figured it would only be a matter of time until all of this was sorted out by Apple et al., but it has been three years since I have been frustrated with this situation.
James, points out a great alternative if you are a Mac user, but I think the real solution should be a standard protocol that is device independent.