Month: October 2003

FedEx still SUCKS!

Another online order that gets shipped FedEx to me was scheduled to be delivered today. After their last screwups, I was prepared for yet another. And they screwed up again. This time, they are “Unable to locate address” although they deliver things here all the time.

Oct 31, 2003 3:33 pm Unable to locate address  SEATTLE, WA 
  4:33 am On FedEx vehicle for delivery  SEATTLE, WA 
  3:15 am Arrived at FedEx sort facility  SEATTLE, WA 

I called. They told me that they aren’t “really sure why” the delivery was not made and that the package will be re-delivered not Monday, but Tuesday. They quickly realized the stupidity of that extra day (without even requiring me to point that out) and then promised twice that it would be delivered on Monday. We’ll see. And once again, they tried to use the “RPS excuse” on me. FedEx bought a company called RPS in 1998 to do ground delivery and “it is taking the company a while” to get the two companies integrated. It’s been five years. The federal government can completely change administrations twice in that time period, but FedEx can’t get cell phones to their drivers. They have no way to contact their drivers or for their drivers to contact them to get directions to destinations. What a fly-by-night operation.

Worst delivery service EVER. Incidentally, UPS delivered a package on Wednesday, no problems whatsoever, as usual. Go UPS!

This time I’m demanding to get my shipping charges refunded. Of course, they’re not sure that can be done. We’ll see.

On the bright side, I’m the 9th search result in a Google search for “FedEx Sucks”.

A few days ago, I emailed Steve Ballmer reporting a problem with Windows XP. I actually did get a reply from him the very next day:

We are working diligently on that did we give you an opportunity to
report the error to us in the error message did you thanks so much
for your support

Surprising that the CEO of a large corporation, who is obviously too busy to even use punctuation, actually replied to his email from just some dork. He even had some tech support guy contact me (if you work at Microsoft, when steveb talks, you’d better listen!). And he’s been pretty vigilant, sending me an email every couple days to get more info from me. Of course, my Windows kernel panics often at random times (like everyone’s PC) so it’s pretty pointless, but I commend them on their attempts to resolve it.

Maybe I’m too cynical about the company, but I think the fact that I called him on his claim is the reason Steve Ballmer replied. And I think he missed the original point of my message — admitting bugs is not taking responsibility, actually fixing it and giving your customers the fix for free is taking responsibility. And let’s be honest, anyone who has ever called Microsoft’s tech support is left on hold for hours and then you have to actually pay for the support you get. So, if you ever have trouble with Windows (and I’m sure you do), email It’s about the only way you’ll get any response from Microsoft.

After we realized that Netflix sent us the wrong DVD, I went to their web site and reported it (they have a way to do that) and I even checked the box on the white sleeve that says that the wrong DVD was sent and mailed it back.

Then I get an email message from them telling me that I mistakenly sent them the wrong DVD in the sleeve! I did both things they ask us to do, and they still get it wrong. There’s no way to telephone them, so I submitted a customer service form on their site explaining it. I then get another email today telling me that they understand what happened and that I should send the movie back as soon as possible. I don’t know how to explain something so simple to them.

I also find it odd that they don’t even bother to make it up to me. Sending me the wrong DVD is their fault. You’d think they’d credit my account 50¢ or do something nice since they screwed up. And they don’t even add the movie I missed automatically to my queue, so when I sent the DVD back, I’d get the right movie again. Nope, I have to add it myself and the next 3 movies on my queue were immediately sent out instead of the one that I actually had higher in my queue.

A High that Wouldn't Hurt

The NYTimes asks all sort of people (William Gibson to Margaret Cho) what technology or invention they would like to see. Most ideas are pretty far out (Trump wants a chip in his contractors heads so they can understand his every desire) or practically around the corner (one gadget to replace 15 phones/computers/pdas, TiVo To Go, etc.). Moby is the only one with a truly innovative (and possible) idea: design a recreational drug that doesn’t hurt, i.e. not bad for you, and not addictive. “We wouldn’t become a nation of addicts, because addiction would be impossible.”

Recipezaar in the News!

Imagine my surprise to get a Google News Alert this morning that Recipezaar was mentioned in Yahoo Business News. Thanks to an AvantGo (a handheld news service for which Recipezaar produces a version) press release, we get a great Thanksgiving mention:

Recipezaar To Go: What to do with all that leftover turkey? Recipezaar has thousands of recipes, letting you take your favorite recipes and shopping list with you everywhere. Find over 300 recommendations for stuffed turkey, turkey loaf, turkey pot pie and even turkey stew to make good use of all those leftovers.

Panther Rules!

I’m enjoying OS X 10.3…

I can easily add pictures to people in my Address Book just by dragging the pic from iPhoto to the picture selector (and can easily zoom & crop). And the person’s picture is displayed in Mail when I read messages from them. I really like that since email is so impersonal, it adds some personality.

I’m still getting used to the threading in Mail and wish there was a way to collapse all threads with a keystroke. But the implementation is the best I’ve ever seen in any mail app or newsreader. Selecting the collapsed thread shows the message summary in the preview pane. And best of all, when I have a mail message open and click the Mail icon in the Dock, the view window opens. It was annoying in previous versions that I had to press Cmd+Shift+N to open it again just because I had a message window open.

Exposé is great and the visual effect is very pleasing. Hit F10 and all the windows for your current app are highlighted and the rest of the screen gets dim. Hit F9 and it arranges and shrinks all your apps so they don’t overlap making it very easy to see all your windows at once. Best of all, you can cursor to the different windows and it clearly shows you the selected window. It’s just plain beautiful.

Fast user-switching is the best visual effect I’ve ever seen in an OS. When you switch to a different user, the entire screen spins around as if it’s on a cube and rotates to the next user’s screen. It’s an addicting effect to watch. We switch users all the time on the iMac and our iBooks and it works really well even on the slow iBook. That’s an indispensable feature now.

The Cmd+Tab method of cycling through running apps is much improved and does it the way Windows (Alt+Tab) has done it for years. But of course, it’s improved and done the Apple way… if you have few apps running the icons are huge and if you have lots of apps, the icons just get smaller. Windows isn’t as thoughtful; everything is the same size and hard to read.

I really love the smooth scrolling feature, it’s very aesthetically-pleasing. But it’s too slow on the G3 iBook so I have to turn it off for the iBook. But on a faster machine, it’s a pleasant experience. Everything smooth-scrolls, including text windows in Safari.

The fonts look even more smooth than previous versions. The Mac has always looked like printed ink on paper to me, and it’s even better now (and has always been better than the poorly-done and eye-straining ClearType in Windows). I’m glad there are some companies who care about this stuff!

Overall, they’ve continued to refine OS X into the best experience for any OS. I just don’t think any reasonable person can use OS X and not be in awe at how great computers can be. Apple clearly has the user in mind and they think of everything.