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Welcome to The Lotus Position, an intermittent collection of extempore navel gazings, ponderings, whinges, whines, pontifications and diatribes.

Everything is based on a Sample of One: these are my views, my experiences... caveat lector... read the Disclaimer

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter
Ponder, Scribble, Ponder (Photo Erdotahi Aron)

Guest Nutter/Kindred Soul: Bill Bailey

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Monday, 14 May 2007

Heroes and Zeroes

From time to time I like to share my unvaluable opinions on product & service quality, and occasionally to offer a humble snippet of advice to those I find not quite as excellent as they could be, and paeans of praise to those who really do far more than they should do - sometimes even making up for their previous failings.

I like grovelling; I like it when someone bends over backwards to apologise and make amends... it gives me such a... such a... warm feeling inside. Moist almost.

Anyway, I feels it's OK to demand a little grovelling now: I've had to do it in business (keep the contract, win the business, keep people employed...), why shouldn't others?

To this end I keep my H&Z list, and now it's time to publish it. It's all historical, some of it going back years - but if you have a good grudge you should keep it, treasure it, take it out to admire it occasionally... no doubt everyone on the Zeroes list is now a paragon of virtue or rectitude (except Steganos - yet).

Remember folks, this is a sample of one; all facts are opinions, all opinions are mine (well, my opinions are mine, but you get the idea) and if you think that the Anonymous Corporation of Erewhon should be hit where it hurts (stock price, revenue, whatever) that's your choice. I'm just saying that not everything is always rosy.

And likewise if you decide to invest in, buy from - whatever - the Anonymous Corporation of Erewhon and it all goes pear shaped, don't blame me (OK, you can blame me, but I doubt you can sue me)

So here it is...

Hero: Visions Express - completely screwed up my eye test and two pairs of glasses, but apologised fulsomely and made appropriate amends. I have been back to them since; I like them.

Zero: Hewlett Packard - for lousy product quality and technical support of their Pavilion zd8123ea (catchy name, eh?) I replaced it with a Rock Xtreme CTX Pro - Nice!

Hero: Norwich Union insurance - yes, praise for an insurance company! My nice new video camera was stolen from a locked hotel room in Amsterdam; one police report and a simple phone call later all I had to do was wander across to Jessops on New Oxford street to pick up a replacement - as simple as that!

Zero: Nokia for their PC Suite bloatware, whose installation and uninstallation sagas deserve a separate blog of their own... but even I have a life (of sorts)

Hero: Topaz Support for truly outstanding service of my old Toshiba Satellite laptop: fast efficient and they dealt with the unfortunate courier incident (which was not their fault at all) with magnificent aplomb.

Zero: Steganos Gmbh - nice software, Teutonic support. The primary inspiration for this blog.

Zero: (Not enough Heroes to go round) Vodaphone for a website without appropriate security (I'm sure it's been fixed by now) and a 3 month wait to fix it. Oh, and while I was complaining about this they sent personal info around in open emails. That's how important they thought my privacy and security was.

Zero: Paypal - I think they are absolutely right to be extremely security conscious - I've had my identity stolen once and it's not nice. However... it is possible to be a teensy weensy bit over zealous, such as "limiting" an account because the IP address of the machine it was set up from wasn't in the same country as the Visa card billing address. OK, cause for concern and I would have been happy to resolve that if the resolution method basically hadn't involved me handing my financial records over on a silver platter. Why could they not use the Visa Secure service for verification? Who knows. Anyway, the immediate need for a PayPal account evaporated, so I didn't need to resolve the issue I just wanted to close down the limited account - i.e. not send anybody any money ever by PayPal.

Not possible: your account is limited. Please provide your life history, DNA sample and submit to polygraphic examination for identity verification (it's hyperbole, if you take me literally you are an idiot). Did I get it closed down without submitting to this proctologically intimate examination? Yes, but it took an email to the CEO of a billion $ corporation to do it. I'm glad she was listening, but it shouldn't have been necessary.

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