October 16th, 2006


computer troubles...

My mother bought a computer in June, including peripherals. After a couple of months, it ceases to recognise the DVD drive. It fixed itself after a week, and nobody thought the more of it, after all, computers stuff up sometimes, right?
So a couple of weeks ago, it randomly turns itself off and refuses to turn back on. It starts up, but sometimes won't even boot the OS before restarting, though sometimes it runs for a few hours with nothing perceptibly wrong. My mother is devastated, and my father can't find anything wrong with it.

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She can't take it back again for a few days, because she won't be able to get to the store until my father is available to drive her again (they've already made two trips - once to take it in and once to pick it up), and meanwhile she's without a reliably working computer - which means she can't do any banking, keep in touch with her friends, or read the news online.

I sometimes wonder whether people realise how much of a lifeline computers and the Internet are for some people, especially in country areas where there aren't as many banks, post offices, stores, etc.
John Cena

PC World

I hate PC World!

We bought a router online. Great, super cheap, etc. Broadband was ordered to arrive a week later, so we hung onto the router.

I coundln't install it. I have installed 3 at home - I know HOW to do it. Takes FOUR trips to PC World, explaining the problem, them getting me to buy more stuff (Totaling around £50 more) then someone tells me we bought a router for cable (NTL, etc) not for what we want. Fair enough, my mistake...but I had been there FOUR times, did no one think to ask you know...the first time? But whatever, my mistake.

Get a new router, they refund me the money for all the extras I had to buy etc.

New router is rubbish. Connection goes after it's idle for 10 seconds! Rung BT to see if it's a line fault. Nope all is grand. Ring ISP. Everything on their end is grand. Go online to live help for the router, change the settings they tell me...nothing helps (Yes idle time was both "0" and set to different minutes, eg 10, but still went off, and dial on demand was on)

So my parents visited this weekend, and my Mom tried getting on eBay, and it kep disconnecting before she logged in, or if she did get logged in, whilst she read a message! So we took the router back...

At PC World they say they will either test it, but if it connects, we don't get our money back, and can't return it ever again, or pay 10%, and return it as used. We opted for the 10%, because we KNEW it CONNECTS, it just disconnects after 10 seconds.

The guy was going to refund us £20 something, for a £60 router, because the first one was returned on this receipt. The £37 for the first one was just going to be dismissed, and he wouldn't listen to us explain that we are owed the whole £60 (Minus 10%) and not £23!

Went to Argos. Bought a new router, all is well, no problems at all!

So HOW can PC World get away with that? The 10% was only £6, but that £6 is a few drinks down the pub for me!
Raging Wolf

Furnace company woes

I had been having trouble with the furnace, so you guys need a little background for this. I moved into my place on September 16, and 3 or 4 days in I realized that my furnace didn't work. The weather was still warm, so I wasn't too worried, so I let my landlord know that no rush, but I needed this fixed. On September 27th (Wednesday), the furnace people were supposed to fix my furnace. They didn't show. Instead, they showed up on the 28th, then wondered why the key wasn't under the door mat. My landlord told them that of course I wouldn't leave the key under the mat on any day other than the scheduled day. So they came out on the 29th after I got home and "fixed" my furnace. It worked on the night of the 29th.

The weather got warmer, so I didn't think about the furnace until the end of that weekend, October 1st (Sunday). I tried turning my heat on, and realized it wasn't coming on. I went downstairs and the pilot light was out and there was a faint smell of gas. I shut the gas off and called the furnace guys. They said they would come out. Fast forward to Thursday, when I realize I've heard hide nor hair of the furnace guys. I call my landlord. They get the furnace guys to agree to come out on October 7th (Saturday), from 8:30 - 10:30 am. I wait until 1:00 pm, and they haven't shown. I call my landlord and let him know I'm going out of town, and can no longer wait for the furnace guys. My landlords try to get them to come out Tuesday morning since I will be home during the morning for the pest control guys to do their routine spraying. No furnace guys. Wednesday they finally call me back and I leave the key for them on Thursday (Oct. 12). My landlords are pretty unhappy with them at this point. Thursday they "fix" it and Thursday night my furnace works.

Friday evening I come home and my house is chilly. I bump up the thermostat, thinking I set it too low, and walk my dog. I come back in and the house is still cold. Concerned, I open my basement door only to be almost knocked back by the smell of gas. I run down the steps to see gas pouring out of my furnace and no pilot light on. (They say gas is colorless, but I can tell you at high enough concentrations there is a kinda fog in the air.) I shut the gas line off and run back up the steps, trying not to breathe. I slam the basement door shut and call both my landlords, leaving messages. Then I call the furnace guys. The furnace guys tell me "call another furnace company, because I can't help you." 45 minutes later, my landlords call back and are angry at the furnace people. They call franklin furnace and get someone scheduled for saturday morning at 8:30 Am. I proceed to have a solo pajama party as we see how well insulated my home is - I ended up with three layers on and a low of 50, so about a 15 degree drop over 8 hours and about 20 degrees above outdoor temperature.

at 8:45, both my landlord and the furnace guys show up. I lead them down to my basement (while modelling fashionable pj's.) I need a new thermal coupling, but here is the scary part -

Not only did the other furnace company not install the thermal coupling they said they would or do basic maintenance like cleaning the burner, they actually hot-wired the pilot safety control so that the furnace would work in the first place, back on Sept. 29th. This hotwiring meant that when the pilot light went out (which it kept doing because they didn't clean it), the safety control which is supposed to stop the gas instead allowed gas to continue to feed to where the pilot light should be. (Thats why there was a minor smell the first time it went out.) And because the safety control was hot-wired, when the thermostat said the furnace should come on, then the safety control allowed gas to flow full force in to run the big fire that should have been started by the pilot light which of course wasn't, since the pilot light was out. (That's why it was so bad Friday, because I bumped the thermostat up, which caused it to kick on.)

I was a little angry, given the fact that if I had plans on friday like most 23 y/old's do, at minimum my dog would be dead from gas inhilation. At maximum, both my half and the other half of the duplex would have been blown to bits, probably killing the nice old lady who is my neighbor and who was at home, getting ready for bed at 8:45 when I wandered over to see if she had any different phone numbers for my landlords. While this may sound like an overreaction, my stove is a gas stove with a pilot light for the oven, so there was open flame in the kitchen had the gas leaked past my thankfully tight fitting basement door. (and it was already starting to - I had thought my house smelled weird when I first got home, but attributed it to the dog and my air freshener needing replaced.)

But, the franklin furnace guy was cool and is completely recommended, and at about 3 pm my landlords showed up with two shiny new space heaters which work well and are the nifty kind with timers and safety features that keep them from being so hot that I get burned if I stumble into them. So I have heat, and my furnace should be safe and fixed by Thursday.

wigmaker woe (bad joke, sorry!)

Back on June 15th (four months ago) I emailed Misty Schmitt/MistyKat of MistyKat studios about a wig commission. I wanted to get a Seifer wig done but I was pretty sure that if I'd done it, I would have made a mess of the whole thing and had the scalp showing and stuff. Also, she had access to some wig products that you couldn't get in the UK, and I liked her work, so I commissioned her to make me a wig (which should be really really easy to make for a skilled wigmaker -- it's just a short boy's wig), signed her contract, and sent her £30 to cover her materials cost. I agreed to send the rest of the money (£40) later. I informed her straight away that I lived in the UK so it might need to be sent earlier than usual, but I was willing to pay extra to have it recorded delivery.

Well, it's now October and all I've heard (a week after the initial emails) is that she has recieved the materials for making the wig. No "started to cut", no "added hairspray", not even a picture. Surely it shouldn't take four months?

She's got a few other wigs on her site (http://www.hikarimage.com/status.html) that needed to be done for September and she's still not finished them yet.

I've sent her an email asking her for the lowdown (although she's a protigee of the notorious Katie Bair who will refuse to continue work if you ask about the progress) but I'm sure that this isn't going to turn up for the event I need it for.

WHat I'm wondering is legal rights. She promised to have this done for me in time, and I don't think it will be, and obviously I've paid her money already. Do you think I have legal rights to get that money back or do I just have to wait or swallow the cost?

x-posted to UKCosplay.