Category Archives: Accounts

Summaries of events

mBox eFax – Just don’t.

I signed up to this company this afternoon, as I had to send a couple of faxes this month, and I didn’t want to go to the the post-office. They had a “1 month FREE use” thing, if you entered your financials, and agreed to have a monthly subscription for $9.95 afterwards – which you could cancel at anytime.  Being that I would have paid to send the faxes, since it was not only saving me a trip out of the house, but to also, to Australia Post, I thought that this was fairly reasonable.

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Buying shoes online – don’t do it to yourself

I have been banned from buying shoes online by the resident Frenchman. Why? Because I have had to return 5 pairs over the years, because they NEVER EVER FIT. And then I end up paying extra for postage and more recently, experience anxiety because I worry that they won’t fit.

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Europcar Car Rental Cork Airport: Disappointment, Promises, and More Disappointment

On a trip to Ireland in October, we had to rent a car to see ourselves around. We booked the car online from a website called “Irish car rentals”, but it turns out to be a front for europcar.ie.

We had been warned about hidden charges for additional collision insurances (Collision Damage Waiver, CDW), and that one way to avoid those charges was to pay with a credit card offering some sort of coverage.

So we had this covered, but the pain did not stop here.

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Australia Post’s consistent performance

A few hours ago, I had to look up the details of an Australia Post outlet, on my phone. Fortunately, Australia Post has a rather slick and to-the-point mobile website.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work…

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More Australia Post goodness

I logged into Auspost and saw that the ‘Customer Enquiry’ I had lodged on Monday had been marked ‘resolved’ by someone on their end. So I disputed that it had been resolved and was given the opportunity to ‘update’ them. The space was limited so I had to heavily edit my rant. I’ve pasted it below. I tried to be polite, and I think I mostly succeeded. I just hope they don’t start shitting in our letterbox.

Some back story: I signed up for the parcel lockers in November this year. I verified my identification and soon after received a ‘MyPost’ card in the mail. The most recent parcel I picked up from the parcel lockers was on Thursday 15th December. End back story.

In relation to this parcel that was taken to Campsie PO instead of the parcel locker – I authorised an agent to go to Campsie PO and collect the package which he did so yesterday. When the parcel was finally located, my agent was lectured at by an Auspost staff member who said that it was my fault I didn’t receive the parcel earlier because I didn’t have any contact details on my Auspost account. This parcel, according to the tracking, has been sitting at Campsie PO since Tuesday 13th December. Two full days before I last collected a parcel FROM THE PARCEL LOCKERS. I’m not sure how my contact details were missing on the 13th of December and then suddenly reappeared on the 15th of December, just in time for me to be notified about my most recent parcel locker pick up. So strange!

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Australia Post: Different Outlet, Same Service

After another mind-numbing Australia Post experience, I noticed that the receipts were saying, in friendly capital letters:

PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON TODAY’S VISIT AT AUSPOST.COM.AU/MYVISIT

So I did.

There was also a free-text entry for me to explain why, on a scale from 0 to 10, I marked my likelihood to recommend AustPost to friend, family or colleague to be 0. I’m not even sure I’d recommend it to somebody I disliked.

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On Australia Post’s unreliable mail redirection

Having moved houses recently, we needed mail to be redirected for some time, to give us the opportunity to catch accounts where the address hadn’t been updated yet. It worked well with Australia Post in the past. This time, it ended up being a symphony, or rather, a cacophony, of failures.

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Google Play Services

I used to like Google. A lot.  They claimed not to be evil, and then frays started to appear, and then David Mitchell confirmed that they were probably evil.

As a proper beginning to this post though, let it be known that  I am not an IT privacy or security expert, amateur or even that interested in the workings of such things.  I am someone who feels a moral compulsion to complain about big-business and the government, and how they are invading my privacy and the privacy of everyone else.  Trying desperately to avoid scoring a Godwin Point so early in the article, I would like you to imagine a point in not-too-distant history (I’m looking at you, 1930s–1940s) and how much worse this period could have been  had the government in question had the amount of data about their people as our governments do on us. Imagine if their government had been able to purchase last weeks shopping list from a large company, that illustrated what kind of things you bought, consequently revealing all sorts of things about you.

I transgress though. Admittedly, it is a bit big-headed of me to think that a god-like entity like Google would be specifically interested in my data — they harvest it from everyone and sell the data, share the data, mix it into their favourite cocktails and generally use it for nefarious purposes. It’s like the Soylent Green of the past decade or so.  There is always the counter argument: “I get Google for free and in return they get my browsing/life habits”.  It makes me a bit uncomfortable — just because I have nothing to hide doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to be private anyway.

Moving on though, to Google Play Services.   I have a Samsung phone, which has a model number.  It might be an S-something-or-other, and that I don’t know what kind of phone I have seems to be indicative of a non-Apple user.  Just saying.  Anyway, I have had it for a year or two (again, indicative of an non-Apple user) and it works.  Well, at least, it worked.  I don’t have very many apps installed — weather, maps, a fitness tracker, eBay, a news website app and the Monty Python Silly Walk game — just basic stuff really — but my phone recently became constipated,  like an old person missing out on their daily serving of prune juice.  And the battery was lasting for less than 12 hours.   So, while waiting a thousand years for my news app to open a couple of weeks ago, a warning thing popped up saying “Google Maps has stopped” — which was odd, since I didn’t have location services switched on, the global satellite thing was off, and I was also not using Maps.  I ignored it, and assumed that maybe it hadn’t shut down properly the last time I used it.

In retrospect, this was an optimistic thought, and in subsequent weeks, this infuriating little message kept popping up.  I checked the apps section of the phone several times – and not only after the message popped up, but at random, possibly surprising times for the phone and Maps was not running.  A few things were running, but nothing that looked like maps, and in my frustration, I shut down Google Play Services.  My phone instantly sped up, and the battery lasted quite a long time.  Google Play Services is a bit like a zombie though, and kept restarting itself at random times, which I would mostly be made aware of because of the random message that “Maps had stopped”. Again.

This morning, I got fed up with the whole thing and turned to the Internet to find out if I really needed it on my phone.

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Powershop

Our energy woes continue. We have moved our electricity away from Energy Australia (still need to get gas from them though) to Powershop. New Zealand owned, big on renewables and have an interesting business model in that the customer can sort buy excess power cheaply, to be used at later times.

To get access to these specials however, one has to be on Facebook, or get their phone app which wants access to your contacts, camera and a whole lot of other stuff which doesn’t seem relevant.

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Alamo Car Rentals

I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

We travelled to the US a few months ago, stayed in Chicago for a week, and then planned to drive a hire car from Chicago to Montana, and then go north to Calgary over 10 days.

Being a planney sort of person, I booked an economy car online at Expedia. Simple enough, but noticed that there was not an area to list an additional driver, who we shall call F.M.

Anyway – We arrived at the Alamo at O’Hare Airport and got to the counter fairly quickly. We were greeted by a woman who seemed overly friendly. Then, KAPOW.

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