We had a small Thanksgiving this year - made up for by a big event we had on Saturday, and an anniversary party for my in-laws on Sunday. The good news: virtually no left-overs. Now it's on to the Christmas season, with all the attendant shopping and decorating. I have the users conference to get to in the middle of that, but it looks like it should be a quiet season around here.
I just got two interesting looking books as an early birthday present - my brother in law gave them to me before heading home to Boston:
I've been considering buying the second book (on Tamerlane) for awhile now. I hadn't seen the first one, which covers the Abbasid dynasty - which was to the pre-eminent dynasty of the pre-Ottoman Islamic Empire. I don't really know much about Tamerlane at all - he charted a path of conquest through the Islamic world during the 14th century - about the same time as the Hundred Year's war was raging between England and France.
Technorati Tags: history
We just recorded this week's podcast - david joined late, and Michael had to leave after about 35 minutes, so there's going to be a part 1 and a part 2 this week. Fortunately, it looks like everything recorded fine.
We went long this week, and into two parts. Michael and I spoke about things Smalltalk needs to do better for about 18 minutes before Dave came on - and then Dave and I spoke for another thirty minutes or so after that. That part of the conversation will show up as part two, once I get the audio edited. Enjoy part one, which you can grab here.
It's that time again - another week in the can. First up: BottomFeeder downloads for the week, which went at a rate of 157 per day:
I'm starting to see a decent download rate from download.com, so it's not as easy to summarize - all I get from there in terms of stats is a raw (over time) total. On to the HTML page accesses:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
That looks like last week's distribution. Last up: Syndication tool access:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||8.1%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||6.9%|
|Strategic Board Bot||1.2%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
Tool diversity doesn't seem to be dropping much here - but there is a big drop off after BlogLines.
Well, that didn't take long. Gizmodo has step by step instructions for defeating the DRM used by the Zune for wireless sharing of music - use the image hole:
First, you need to enable hard drive mode using the instructions we posted before. Then, rename whatever files -- MP3s, movies, programs -- to have the extension ".jpg" in order to fool the Zune into thinking its an image. This hack works because Zune doesn't apply DRM to images!
Then you just rename them back on the host PC and synch them back to the Zune. I should start an over/under pool for how short an interval it will be before a "critical" update comes out to "fix" this.
I don't often agree with The Register, but this column by Bill Thompson makes an awful lot of sense. In discussing "web 2.0" and asynchronous xmlhttp, people elide the difficulties of distributed development:
I first ran across this issue back in 1995, when PPD introduced VisualWave. Wave was a cool product - you used the normal GUI builder to paint an interface, and then the system would "automagically" html-ify it for you. Marketing touted this as "instant web access" for our customers who wanted to push their apps out to the net.
Well, not so fast. Most applications written for the desktop had a number of baked in limitations - all too common were things like:
- Only one user at a time assumed
- One database connection, with one username/password assumed
- Any cache scheme assumed a single user
And so on. getting a UI on the web was (relatively) simple; getting the application to actually function there wasn't. The intervening decade hasn't really changed that much. Whenever you deal with network resources, you have to be ready to deal with failure gracefully - and I get the distinct impression that most developers tossing around the "web 2.0 mojo" aren't thinking about that. It's going to come back to bite them.
Andres Valloud has posted a video of his presentation to the NYSTUG in September. It's pretty big, and password controlled. Head on over to Andres' blog to get the download info.
Jon Udell notes that we have access to tons of data on the web - but interestingly enough, it's not easily accessible for automated reuse:
If you search the Web for “fortune500.xml, you’ll find an ordered list of the Fortune 500 companies. It’s just what you’d want if you were writing a custom portfolio application. But it didn’t exist until last week when Doug Purdy, a Microsoft program manager, created it while writing his own personal portfolio application. Because he also blogged the list, you can use it, too.
Jon points out that data is mostly presented for passive viewing, not for further analysis. For instance - what if you looked at the typical Fortune 500 list (HTML Table), and wanted to slice and dice the data in a way that the authors didn't? Hello, massive data entry task. It doesn't have to be that way, and there are even tools around that show what should be more easily possible:
That's the kind of analysis that would be more easily possible if data were made available in machine friendly formats as well as in people friendly ones. The Semantic web hasn't arrived yet...
Technorati Tags: semantic web
Scoble is right about this - most people don't have a visceral hatred of MS:
Ryan Stewart notices something that I notice too. Outside of the tech world there isn’t the hatred of Microsoft that exists on some blogs. Normal people don’t care that Vista was two years late. They aren’t like Chris Pirillo and won’t notice that some of the UI isn’t consistent.
They’ll just see the photos on their friend’s Xbox and say “I want that.”
On the other hand, an awful lot of them are like my wife's cousin and my father in law. My father in law is no dummy - he built his own machine. However, every time my brother in law visits, there's a good multi-hour session of "get the spy-ware (etc) off the machine" in store. When I took my daughter to visit her cousin last year, that's what I did with their computer.
It's not like I'm the only one with that experience, either - get a few technically oriented people together, and ask them about their friend's computers - unless they own Macs, you get a universal piss and moan session.
There's worse to come with Vista, too. Let's even posit that it is more secure, and does eliminate most of the last decade's worst bug hunts (a big assumption, I'll admit). Let's say instead that you want to do something simple, like pop a DVD (legally owned) into your computer's drive and watch it on your existing monitor.
Whoops - is that DRM that's telling you you're a thief, and you can't watch your own stuff? Yeah, that'll go over really well with the non-tech crowd. PVP-OPM is going to torque off anyone and everyone who comes into contact with it. Treating your customers like crooks - welcome to the happy MS future, where the dreams of the RIAA and MPAA have become reality.
There's been a new rise of email spam - heavily slanted toward "pump and dump" penny stock schemes. The funny part about this here at Cincom was that the rise coincided with a request by some of us that IT allow more mail through the spam filters, due to fears that some good mail was being lost. I guess we picked the wrong time to ask - eweek notes that the rise in such spam has been astounding:
Internet security researchers and law enforcement authorities have traced the operation to a well-organized hacking gang controlling a 70,000-strong peer-to-peer botnet seeded with the SpamThru Trojan.
According to data from Barracuda Networks, an enterprise security appliance vendor in Mountain View, Calif., there has been a 67 percent increase in overall spam volume and a 500 percent increase in image spam since Aug. 2006.
Some of the folks in our group have been grumbling about the specific spam filtering that IT is using - it looks like that just doesn't matter much - there's just a huge wave crashing down on mail servers everywhere right now.
I found a couple of interesting podcasts devoted to history recently, and I've really been enjoying them. "12 Byzantine Rulers" is a fascinating look at the Eastern Roman Empire and some of their most influential rulers. I've been reading a fair bit about middle eastern history of late, and the Empire played a role in that up until 1453.
Another good one is Dan Carlin's "Hard Core History" - he's got some fascinating topics there. This is one of the best things about the web - those of us with niche interests can usually find other people who share them.
It's not every day that you find the California Highway Patrol on the Autobahn...
Patrick Logan advises you to isolate the enterprisey systems as best as you can:
Having some large software vendor or partner inject SOAP into your data center is no reason to allow it to infect all of *your* work. Push WS-Complexity out to just those edges whose outside forces require it. Stop the enemy at the gates. Make the rest as simple as possible. Always assert your control over your own architecture or you will be a loser.
That's good advice. The WS* stack is a morass of complexity - it's starting to make the CORBA boomlet of the early 90's look simple.
If this isn't evidence that size breeds complexity, I don't know what is. In an explanation of how builds of Windows happen, Moishe Lettvin talks about how long it takes code to migrate from a typical development team at MS up to the central repository (or back down):
In Windows, this model [ed: one master repository used by all] breaks down simply because there are far too many developers to access one central repository -- among other problems, the infrastructure just won't support it. So Windows has a tree of repositories: developers check in to the nodes, and periodically the changes in the nodes are integrated up one level in the hierarchy. At a different periodicity, changes are integrated down the tree from the root to the nodes. In Windows, the node I was working on was 4 levels removed from the root. The periodicity of integration decayed exponentially and unpredictably as you approached the root so it ended up that it took between 1 and 3 months for my code to get to the root node, and some multiple of that for it to reach the other nodes. It should be noted too that the only common ancestor that my team, the shell team, and the kernel team shared was the root.
This explains a lot of the more frustrating bugs in Windows - an awful lot of the code is built based on not completely recent versions of the codebase. Heck, it sounds like no one really works on the "real" codebase - everyone has their own mirror, and all the mirrors reflect reality a little differently. It's kind of amazing that it works at all, actually.
MS continues to get horrible reviews of the Zune; take this one, from the Sun-Times:
The setup process stands among the very worst experiences I've ever had with digital music players. The installer app failed, and an hour into the ordeal, I found myself asking my office goldfish, "Has it really come to this? Am I really about to manually create and install a .dll file?"
"These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it," said Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group. "So it's time to get paid for it."
Well, Morris is just a big, clueless idiot, of course. Do you honestly want morons like him to have power over your music player?
Then go ahead and buy a Zune. You'll find that the Zune Planet orbits the music industry's Bizarro World, where users aren't allowed to do anything that isn't in the industry's direct interests.
That sound you hear is MS allowing the RIAA to dig in their fingernails, holding on to the corpse of their old business model.
Andres Valloud will be speaking at the NY Smalltalk User's Group this Wednesday:
Give me more classes is what Andres Valloud says. He will shows us how more classes can in some cases equate to better Smalltalk performance.
Andres will be providing us with an encore presentation of his recent OOPSLA presentation.
The next meeting will be Wednesday November 29th, 2006. It will be the last for this year since we will be taking a break for the holidays.
Follow the link for more info and directions.
It became obvious to me this afternoon that I'm well into my 40's - a mild pain I'd had in the neighborhood of my hip, left side, stopped me in my tracks while I was out jogging this afternoon. Murphy's law being fully in force, it happened at the furthest point away from my house on my route. Trying to jog became excruciating - the pounding just creates incredible pain. I'm also walking with a distinct limp.
I'm hoping it's just a muscle injury, but I think I'll go have my doctor take a look. The last thing I need is some kind of degenerative problem with my hip.
Technorati Tags: health
Even if it doesn't go anywahere, I'm encouraged to see this kind of experimentation happening around Smalltalk:
Hello Smalltalkers, i've been experimenting a Smalltalk VM made in Python these days. Yes, it works fine but it's extremely slow of course. It's just an experiment; i will publish the code soon tough.
Leander Kahney doesn't have kind words for the Rhapsody music service, but I think his raspberry is somewhat misdirected; the real problem is in the OS:
To cut a long story short, every step has been a pain, from downloading new firmware for the player to updating the Windows' underlying DRM software. And that was just to get it working.
Once up and running, the first batch of tunes I downloaded generated nearly 10,000 errors. I couldn't believe my eyes. I wish I'd taken a screenshot.
Since then, the software has been dog slow and unpredictable. It's constantly downloading tunes that I'm unable to sync to the device.
The problem likely isn't specifically with Rhapsody - rather, it's with the excitement of DLL Hell on Windows. A few weeks ago, I wanted to do a COM Connect demo for Smalltalk Daily. I couldn't get VW or ObjectStudio to talk to iTunes via COM. At first, I thought it was a problem on the Smalltalk side (COM on VW does not have a good reputation). I got suspicious when the same problem arose in ObjectStudio. I started swearing when I had an engineer show me code that worked fine for him.
Uninstall, reinstall (of iTunes and XPlay), with many reboots in between. Everything worked fine after that. Which is where we get to the uniqueness of every Windows install
Ever pay close attention to installer messages? Periodically, they tell you (or warn you) that some DLL somewhere is being overwritten. Some of those DLL's are shared by multiple apps. That's what happened with iTunes here; I'd guess that some set of DLL's on Kahney's machine weren't quite correct, but the Rhapsody installer assumed they were. It's as I said in the title - every Windows installation is unique, and each has its own problems.
Technorati Tags: Microsoft
The sad thing is, reading this story doesn't immediately raise the BS filter - the MPAA and RIAA have done and said enough outrageous things (i.e., the assertion that every mp3 player is owned by a thief), that this seems possible:
Los Angeles , CA - The MPAA is lobbying congress to push through a new bill that would make unauthorized home theaters illegal. The group feels that all theaters should be sanctioned, whether they be commercial settings or at home.
MPAA head Dan Glickman says this needs to be regulated before things start getting too far out of control, "We didn't act early enough with the online sharing of our copyrighted content. This time we're not making the same mistake. We have a right to know what's showing in a theater."
I can actually imagine the MPAA asserting that, too. It's getting harder to satirize these people - I almost pity "The Onion"...
It's tales like this one, from Mark Cuban, that breed distrust of the media. I don't trust the reporting from overseas any more than I trust the local stuff - if they can't accurately report an email thread, what can they accurately report?
It's not as if Cuban is the only one noticing this - Dave Winer has opined on this, and instances of fauxtography have been widespread in war reporting over the last few years. It's not new, either - remember the exploding gas tank incident staged by NBC for Dateline?
The trouble is, reporters play at being objective observers, but they aren't. They are as susceptible to bias as the rest of us, and are just as willing to cling to a worldview (even if the facts don't fit) as anyone else. Look at that BusinessWeek story (first link) Cuban got savaged by - in the reporter's mind, Cuban is a loose cannon, willing to say just about anything. Never mind what he actually said; the story just writes itself.
Technorati Tags: news
I thought Scoble's counting of HD's in the home sounded high...
I see a day when every home will have 10 or more hard drives. Heck, in mine I’m already up to 10. Two in my MacPro. Three external. One in my PVR that’s coming on December 12th (yes, we’re finally hooking the HDTV up to a satellite dish). One in my Voodoo machine. One in my Sony Vaio. One in my Xbox. One in my Thinkpad.
But then I counted the ones here. There are 13, plus a few USB flash devices. I think he might be betting low...
Looks like there'll be no end of excitement on the mound in NY next year:
On the day the Yankees officially welcomed soon-to-be 38-year-old Mike Mussina back into their Kate Moss-thin rotation with a two-year, $23 million deal, Brian Cashman said he believes Randy Johnson and Carl Pavano can be counted on to fill in behind Chien-Ming Wang and Mussina.
Johnson has reached his expiration date. I think Pavano passed his the first time he threw a pitch. Looks like it'll be another year of cringing at the starting staff, followed by horror when the bullpen is summoned...
This qualifies as a question that's almost too obvious to answer:
I have been traveling quite a bit lately and have had to rely on public Internet access. Much to my dismay I have found that most hotels and airports still do not offer free Internet access. Why isn't airport and hotel Internet access a standard free feature?
Umm - maybe because people are willing to pay for it? And seriously - since those of us passing through airports and hotels have no real way to protest the charges, what changes do you expect? Ever noticed the (huge) hospitality tax charged by hotels? The egregious charges for net access will disappear about the same time that does.
The 2006 worldwide Cincom Smalltalk Users Conference is next week - here's a last bit of information, including tips on getting to the show:
The conference will start as scheduled on Tuesday, December 5th, at 10:00, with the registration.
For your convenience, here (PDF) are detailed instructions on how to get to the conference venue, the Moevenpick Hotel in Frankfurt. Most of you will be arriving by plane and then take either a cab or public transportation to the hotel. If you arrive by car, please note there are only a few free-of-charge parking lots in front of the hotel - otherwise, you’ll have to use the hotel parking garage which costs 10 Euros/day for attendees of the conference.
Tuesday-Thursday, Dec 5th-7th: Conference
Please see conference program, an HTML version of the complete and final agenda, including speakers’ biographies and abstracts.
We will be providing a video projector to display your presentation on the screen as well as a microphone. Should you require any additional technical equipment, please let us know asap, at the latest by November 30th.
The presentation files will be made available (possibly as PDFs) to all attendees in a restricted area at www.cincomsmalltalk.com for the first 6-8 weeks after the conference. Afterwards, we will grant open access to all web visitors.
We will be audio recording the conference, including your speech. The podcasting will be offered on www.cincomsmalltalk.com with open access. Should you want to opt out of this, please let us know prior to the start of the conference.
Please note that the Moevenpick Hotel is a non-smoking hotel. It provides free-of-charge WLAN access in the lobby and the hotel rooms.
See you there!
We'll be trying an experiment in Frankfurt - we are going to try recording the presentations, and packaging them up as podcasts (they'll go into the normal podcast feed, so they'll show up on iTunes, etc). There's going to be a delay between recording and posting - even minimal audio editing takes time :)
In a press release, Wal-Mart said the service is now available to its customers in all Wal-Mart stores nationwide.
With the purchase of the "Superman Returns" physical DVD, Wal-Mart said customers can also choose from three video download format options -- $1.97 for portable devices, $2.97 for PCs/laptops, and $3.97 for both portable players and PC/laptops.
So much for fair use - you see those tiered prices? That's the DRM tax.
So here I am, new USB drive in hand, plugging it in to Windows.... and no drive gets mapped. I wonder - is the cable bad? Try a different cable (same adaptor used by the camera, the drive and the audio recorder). Nope - same thing. Ok - lets try plugging it into the Mac. Pop - up it comes, working just fine. Hmm.
Back to Windows, into Device Manager. Here's where I delve into properties, see that it's not mapped to a drive. Hit the "populate" button there, and it lists drive H:, which happens to be an existing network share. Ok.... maybe I should move the network share to a different letter???
Sure enough, the new drive really, really wants to be drive H:. Why, I have no idea. It's things like this that make me read stuff like this, (yes, Sam has retracted that) and just laugh, long and loud. Yeah - Windows is just perfect.
Technorati Tags: stupidity
Something Awful has a brief Squeak tutorial up, which has been split off from a discussion of Seaside.
Mark Cuban talked about the connectivity issues of getting TV from the PC over to the TV. Dave Winer weighed in, mostly in agreement. I'd also agree that it's hard, and unlikely to spread quickly - but for another reason, which Scoble touched on, but didn't really explore.
It's about the complexity. It's hard to connect the current range of dedicated devices to the TV and get things working the way you want. 15 years ago, anyone could walk into any room in anyone's house and figure out how to work the TV. Now? It's often different across different rooms in the same house (use this remote, no not that one - make sure the correct input is chosen, no not that one, you can't change the channel while the DVR is operating...)
It's complexity squared now. Add in a PC, with all the attendant issues? Most people don't want to babysit a PC while they watch TV. We have a Media Center PC in the living room, and getting that to work with the TV was an exciting task - gosh knows how much worse trying to deal with HD would have been. Even now, the PC sometimes can't pump sound to the TV (oddly, sound for other things will still work), and it'll need to be rebooted - or everything it records will be silent. That's a load of fun when you only realize the problem after a show has started recording.
I have no idea whether an Apple offering in this space will be better (I suspect it will be), but the "which $%^&* input do I use now??" problem won't get any easier. What people will likely go for is a dedicated box, which is why I said Scoble touched on it with his points about the XBox.
Boy, lots of people were taken in by that BBSpot story yesterday. I linked to it as a satirical piece, as did Slashdot. Digg's post seemed to take it as straight news, and TechDirt noted that they got tons of tips on it from people who took it seriously. I'd wonder whether the mavens at the MPAA had a moment of self realization over that, but that's just crazy talk...
There's been a change in the licensing regime for GNU Smalltalk: it's all GPL now, with some additional modifications that allow inter-mixing of LGPL code (Smalltalk or otherwise) linked in at the image level - here's the relevant section of the post (but read the whole thing: there are lots of details):
In principle, the GPL would not extend to Smalltalk programs, since these are merely input data for the virtual machine. On the other hand, using bindings that are under the GPL via dynamic linking would constitute combining two parts (the Smalltalk program and the bindings) into one program. Therefore, we added a special exception to the GPL in order to avoid gray areas that could adversely hit both the project and its users:
Linking GNU Smalltalk statically or dynamically with other modules is making a combined work based on GNU Smalltalk. Thus, the terms and conditions of the GNU General Public License cover the whole combination.
In addition, as a special exception, the Free Software Foundation give you permission to combine GNU Smalltalk with free software programs or libraries that are released under the GNU LGPL and with independent programs running under the GNU Smalltalk virtual machine.
There are some follow on questions and clarifications in the ensuing thread, which I'd also suggest reading if this is of interest to you.
I see that the "morons against WiFi" coalition has managed to get the UK government to look into it:
Ian Gibson, former chairman of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, last week called for the Health Department to set up an inquiry into the potential dangers of Wi-Fi communications. He said the threat should be seriously examined and that another inquiry should be carried out like the Stewart report into mobile-phone radiation.
Are the also out to ban radio transmissions, over the air TV signals, mobile phones, and cordless phones? Or are they limiting their cluelessness to WiFi?
I may be traveling to Germany this weekend, but the podcast is still happening. We will be talking to Peter Fisk, the Vista Smalltalk guy. No telling how long it will take me to get that edited and uploaded; I arrive in Germany at 6 AM Sunday, and will be doing the podcast at 1 PM local time. I may pass out before editing is done :)
Apparently, it's not enough to assert that all mp3 players are nothing by repositories of stolen music:
“Each of these devices is used to store unpaid-for material. This way, on top of the material people do pay for, the record companies are getting paid on the devices storing the copied music.”
Oh, no. Apparently, the entire internet is nothing but a massive instance of copyright infringement:
Now, there's a case called Electro vs. Barker which has become very important. This is a nursing student who was sued in her name. We made a motion to dismiss the complaint because doesn't specify any acts or dates or times of copyright infringement as the law normally requires. We've made several arguments like that before this motion and the RIAA put in an argument which basically fudged it. However, in this case they basically decided to go for the gold and they made a bold argument claiming that merely making files available on the internet is in and of itself a copyright infringement. It was a shocking argument because if it were accepted it would probably shut down the entire internet.
So here's my question - how do the MPAA and RIAA clowns manage to walk upright, given the rectal-cranial inversion they all clearly suffer from?
I have a few things to take care of before I head to the Users Conference - for one thing, I need to get my car inspected by December 5, and that leaves today (my wife already filled tomorrow). So, Smalltalk Daily will be a little late today.
Steve Rubel notes that Yahoo is back to building walled gardens:
Has anyone noticed that Yahoo's love affair with RSS seems to be withering? In 2004 and 2005 Yahoo was all over feeds . It was an early leader in driving adoption, as a matter of fact. But in recent months I question whether they remain committed to RSS as a platform.
This is more than conjecture. In the past few weeks Yahoo has rolled out three major new web sites - Yahoo! Food , Yahoo! Advertising and Yahoo! TV . They're great sites, but none of them has feeds. There's a reason why - eyeballs.
Technorati Tags: Yahoo
|I just finished "When Baghdad ruled the Muslim World". It covered the Abbassid dynasty, which held the caliphate from 750 AD to about 930-940 AD. There was a part of the story that echoed the last book I read, "The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization". Starting in the latter part of the 9th century, the caliphate came increasingly under the control of the military, and there were constant civil wars and succession conflicts. During the last few of those, Baghdad was besieged, and the irrigation system that had been built up was destroyed - and it's never recovered. The descriptions of Baghdad as a lush city with rich agricultural lands surrounding it sound nothing like the Bagdad that exists now (or that has existed at any time since the 10th century).|
As with the other book, it's a reminder of just how fragile civilization really is. For all our advancements, we share the same thin veneer that Rome and the early caliphate did.
Technorati Tags: history
William Brogden makes a meaningless point in a "REST vs. SOAP" post:
Another important, but frequently unappreciated point is that, in contrast with REST which requires HTTP, SOAP messages can be moved by any transport method which can handle Unicode text. Because of the convenience of HTTP for penetrating firewalls and the fact that developers are most familiar with the Web, HTTP transport continues to be emphasized.
I'd bet you could count on one hand (and use very few fingers doing it) finding all the non-HTTP uses of SOAP. On the vendor side, who actually supports that?
Wired notes that the MPAA seems to like fraud:
Movie industry lobbyists quietly push California lawmakers to quash a measure that would have outlawed HP-style tactics designed to fraudulently obtain private information about consumers. The MPAA argues its antipiracy efforts would be harmed.
It's pretty clear to me why the BBSpot story was believed by so many people; the MPAA is nearly impossible to parody at this point.
Jeff Jarvis tries to dissmiss criticism of the $100 laptop project - but I have a bone to pick on that:
I love the One Laptop per Child project (David Weinberger takes one for a spin here ) and think the criticism of it motivated by PC nitwittery (’you should solve every other problem the poor have before giving them a laptop’) or competitive greed (’how dare you make an inexpensive machine with inexpensive software?’) is ridiculous, even offensive.
PC nitwittery? You mean that some other basic needs, like sanitation and electricity are less useful? You don't think that a bunch of laptops handed out to the truly poor represent nothing so much as a target for extortion? Dismissing completely logical objections is itself stupid.
There are problems with "trying to solve every other problem first". On the other hand, some of those problems might well be worth looking into. Simply dismissing them out of hand is not an argument - it's a refusal to engage.
Technorati Tags: charity
|Tomorrow I'll be flying to Germany, ahead of the Users Conference. I'll be there all week, so if you would like to ask me questions about Cincom Smalltalk, head on over to the Moevenpick hotel - I'm sure we'll be drinking wine and other stuff each evening after the conference.|
So I'm heading to Frankfurt tomorrow, on USAirways, and I decided to check flight status (I never do this). Probably a good thing I did - here's what I found out about the outbound flight from BWI:
Ok, this is fascinating. I contact USAirways. They apologize for not notifying me (so far so good), but then accidentally disconnect me. Sigh. Call back. While I'm waiting, I hunt around on Expedia to see what's there. Looks like there's an earlier PHL flight (goodie - longer layover), and a later flight (which would require moving my flight to Frankfurt as well).
I tried to see if they would move me to the later flights, but no dice - understandable, since they said there were only business seats left. I did express some surprise at that, since Expedia says that there are, in fact, coach seats.
At this point, the call center guy at USAirways got snippy, and tried to blame the whole thing on Cincom travel. Yeah, that's going to make me want to fly your airline again - blame shifting. Looks to me like the powers that be at USAirways need to look at the customer service end of things, and fix a few problems. When you cancel a flight out from under the customer, you don't engage in blame shifting - even if the travel agency was at fault. You accept the blame graciously, and move on. Otherwise, the customer is likely to look elsewhere for their next flight. I know I will.
Update: I checked with Cincom travel, and no - USAirways never notified them. Great job giuys - thanks for making my next flight not be on your airline.
This from Dave Winer:
BTW, according to Amazon, the package that I paid extra to have delivered yesterday, still hasn't left their warehouse. I know I can call them, enough people have sent me their hidden customer service number, but I'd prefer to bitch about it here on my blog. ";->"