Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I just finished reading REAMDE by Neal Stephenson.
Designed as a play on README, the commonly found computer file, REAMDE is a virus written by one of the characters in the novel, aimed at making money from a massive online role playing game called T'Rain.
This covers about ten percent of what REAMDE is about though, as the story is by far outweighed by a story of survival, fighting terrorists, Russian mobsters, and just plain bad luck. There is one really massive coincidence that drives the plot from about 30% of the way through, but I figure you can always forgive one plot device, it's what the novel is all about after all.
This is a really long book at over 1000 pages. Stephenson seems to be in the waxing lyrical mode, or failing that, the just plain too-much-detail mode. A couple of times I was thinking, "just get on with it!".
But generally, it is very well written, and paced, so this isn't a big deal.
Lots of violence, shootings, beatings and so on, crashes, money, more guns, heriocs.
Good stuff.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Review of DigitalCentre

I recently tried to buy a receiver from DigitalCentre (digitalcentre.com.au). (Not linked, don't bother)
On the surface, it appears this site sells equipment at very good prices, but I'm here to tell you, you'll pay in all sorts of other ways if you use this site. The only hint that you may have problems is in the FAQ where they specify that purchases may take "up to 12 business days but this can vary".
In my experience, I waited the 12 business days, then received an automated email saying it was on back order. I rang up to cancel the order as I wasn't willing to wait any further for them to get stock. I don't think this is entirely unreasonable, in fact, I've had other online sites call me proactively shortly after purchase to tell me when there would be a delay and give me options on other products, a refund or waiting. The manager stronly wanted me to wait for another week, when he guaranteed I would have the product delivered by Friday.
By the Wednesday, I was calling them to see how it was going, and by Thursday afternoon I had finally managed to get the manager to call me back to tell me that in fact, no, it would be delayed for another two weeks. Uh-huh. I just cancelled on the spot, and sent the required email to request refund. At this point its already been three weeks into them taking my payment, and I asked when my refund would happen. This started out as being, "sure, by next Wednesday", and for the next three weeks, every time I managed to get someone to tell me when it would be refunded, it was always either tomorrow, or "by Friday". I eventually received a refund. I should note that the FAQ specifies that you can lose 20% for cancelling an order. Seriously!! Happily, that didn't happen to me.
Generally, I am very unhappy with the customer service and the experience. Rarely did anyone call me back, let alone respond to email. Promises of time periods were not once accurate.
I think though, that I didn't have as bad an experience as some others.
This person posting on whirlpool was told after a long delay that they would have to pay extra because the price had gone up. That's outrageous!
This person had a horrible tech support experience.

Just don't use this site. The customer service is just horrible. Don't expect to get equipment within a month, and don't expect any happy support if you do.