Archive for the ‘fuckwittage’ Category

Debenhams: robbing bastards

Januaro 6, 2010

My partner was persuaded to take a Debenham’s store card last month, in return for a discount on a purchase. The application took so long at the checkout that she twice said, “Look, people are getting impatient here — forget it, I’ll just pay,” but the assistant pressed ahead, and the card was duly issued.

The first payment was due over the Christmas period. It arrived with Debenhams 2 days late. They applied a £12 fine to the account.

They’re a bunch of robbing bastards who wouldn’t know customer service if it bit them on the bottom.

In related news, the lovely John Lewis’s have just reported record-breaking Christmas sales. I’m not one to shout “correlation implies causation” too loudly, but I do know where I’m going to do my houseware shopping in the future.


Epson “empty cartridge” scam

Januaro 6, 2010

I own an Epson Aculaser C2600 printer. It works reasonably well, although the steadily increasing price of the toner cartridges is a bit vexing. Not enough to qualify for the “scam” tag though.

The scam is that the printer announces that the toner cartridges are empty long, long, long before this actually becomes the case. And in its default state, the printer simply refuses to print another page until the cartridge is replaced.

As if that weren’t bad enough, I’ve phoned Epson technical support on two separate occasions to ask if there’s a way to override this setting, even just to finish the last few pages of a print run, and the answer on both occasions has been “no, sorry, there isn’t”.

However, when the printer downed tools mid-December claiming to be out of cyan toner, I spent a while wading through the labyrinthine menus on the printer’s tiny screen and I discovered one that says “Cartridge empty: stop OR continue”. So I changed it to ‘continue’ to see what would happen. And here’s the bit that merits the “scam” label.

I’ve since over 600 double-sided letters, each with a blue logo on front and back, and it’s still going strong. That’s 1200 blue logos from an empty blue cartridge.

How does this compare to other printers and manufacturers? Leave us a comment!

Blue. Lots of it.

Blue. Lots of it.

Wolfram|Alpha demonstrates long established GIGO principle

Majo 21, 2009

The people at Wolfram|Alpha certainly seem to know how to kick up a hype storm, so I mosied over to see what it was all about.

To start with, I had trouble getting any response at all other than Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input, but finally I got somewhere when I entered “Esperanto”.

Picture 2

So, Wolfram|Alpha gives me concrete information rather than just pointers to pages for me to sift through, and it’s beautifully presented too. Trouble is, it’s complete bollocks.

In July, I’ll be attending this year’s World Congress of Esperanto, to which 1700 people have currently signed up. At the last one I attended, in 2005, I was joined by 2300 Esperanto speakers from 62 countries (out of a total of 2000 in the world, don’t forget); this is actually reckoned to be, in round figures, about 1% of the number of fluent speakers. There will be several dozen native speakers there too; I’ll be having a few beers with two of them the week before. And this year, 150 years since the birth of a certain Ludwik Łazarz Zamenhof, the Congress is to be held in Białystok, the hometown of both Dr Zamenhof and the international language that he initiated. Białystok is not in France.

I’m sure there’s some very clever computational wizardry going on at Wolfram|Alpha, but the traditional garbage in, garbage out rule clearly still applies.