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Blog Archives for December 2010

Omaha Steaks, leave me alone!

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 - Comments (0) in Holidays, Life

I ordered a couple gift packages from Omaha Steaks for Christmas this year. I thought I'd give them another chance to see how they handle themselves and ended up being disappointed and (sadly) not surprised.

The first time I ordered from them was also for a gift (I think) and was back around 2004. I mistakenly gave them my phone number when ordering since I would've liked to know if there was a problem with the order but all they used the number for was their telemarketing campaigns. They would always call pretty late in the evening, obviously in the hopes that people would be home from work and available to answer the phone. I didn't answer it at first because it was from an out of state number I didn't know. Then calls from this number started coming in multiple times daily, and as late as 9pm. They never left voicemails. I finally answered it one night, shot down their pitch and told them to stop calling me. The next day they called again and I told them if they call me again I'd never order from them again and instruct all my friends to never order from them again and would start a smear-campaign of my own on the internet for them. I never heard from them again.

Fast forward 6 years and I thought they might have changed their habits. This time the medium of choice was email, although since I gave them Harley's phone number, maybe they're calling school every night too. I ordered from them on 12/13 and have gotten promotional emails (not including order confirmations and shipment updates) from them daily and sometimes the same email twice a day. Their website is all ajaxy so it wouldn't work properly on my blackberry and I finally got around to opting-out on a real computer today.

The website confirmed my request and said it could take up to 10 days to get off the list! It takes 3.5 seconds to get on the list and start receiving spam, but 10 days to get off it? This company needs to get with the program and include opt-in functionality on their order submission webpages so that people who actually want their email get it, not so that all of their customers get "special offers" shoved down their throats until they cry uncle.

Christmas Tree

Sunday, December 19th, 2010 - Comments (0) in Holidays, Life

Last weekend we got our Christmas tree. We were going to wrangle Claire and make a whole family affair out of it, but she only slept like 20 minutes at daycare that whole day so I was entrusted with picking out a tree on my own.

I went to Grossman's in Penfield because they have an indoor area to pick out your tree. In typical Rochester fashion it was cold as hell that day and since that place was the only one with an indoor area, that's where I went. It wasn't too expensive either, in previous years we've spend $50+ on a tree and this was only $40.

They had 2 different kinds of trees and 3 different sizes: 6-7ft, 8-9ft and then 10+ft. I liked the shape of the Fraser Fir and since we have 8ft ceilings I went into the 6-7ft section. I picked out the best looking tree in that section, but it happened to be slightly larger than 7ft tall. I can reach up and easily touch our ceilings and I couldn't come close to touching the top of this tree. I decided I'd deal with that later. Are you supposed to tip the guy that ties your the tree to the top of your car? I didn't, but the more I think about it I probably should have. At first he was like "do you want to throw it inside?" with a hopeful look his face. Since there was a trail of needles all the way from inside I didn't really want all that in my new (to me) car. I did some creative trimming to keep the shape and drop the height down enough. It fits perfectly in the room now with just enough room for the star on top.

It was a good thing that Claire tried to help us decorate the tree because we discovered very quickly that we shouldn't put any more ornaments lower down than about 30 inches. I say "any more" because she really seemed to enjoy grabbing baubles from the tree and watching them shatter as they hit the floor.

My christmas tree

Asus Support is Terrible

Friday, December 3rd, 2010 - Comments (0) in Computers, Life, Work

Asus sucks

This summer I purchased 24 Asus netbooks for school. There is no sense buying full-blown laptops just for middle school kids to type up documents and browse the internet, so we decided to go with the much cheaper netbooks. When they arrived in the middle of the summer I set them up and stored them away until school started.

Once school started up again and people tried to use them I found out that 10 of them had bad batteries! The batteries wouldn't take or hold a charge. You could run the netbooks off the power supply, but the second you unplug it the netbook would just turn off. I called up CDWG, the reseller I bought them from, but was told since it had been longer than one month since the order was placed I'd have to go through Asus directly to get new batteries. They said this was Asus' policy.

I phoned Asus' support number and the nice man I could barely hear on the phone created a single RMA for all 10. A couple days later I get an email saying the RMA request was denied because of the quantity and they had to create separate RMAs for each netbook. No big deal, except for the fact that I had to fill out the same paperwork 10 times. I emailed the paperwork and sat back waiting for my batteries to arrive. This was at the end of September and a few days later I got an email saying the batteries were not in stock and the estimated shipping date was October 28th!! I was really annoyed that it was going to take a month to get these batteries.

On October 29th, two batteries arrived! I immediately packaged up the old dead batteries and sent them back. I expected a steady trickle of batteries arriving from that point on, but was sadly disappointed. Those were the only two batteries have seen so far. I still have 8 RMAs that I have yet to see batteries for. I've called their support line many times, spoken to many different people and had all of these RMAs "escalated" at least 3 times so far and still nothing.

A few days ago I had them escalated again and was told I would receive a call from a supervisor within 24 hours explaining the situation. 48 hours later and I still had not received a call. I called back and was informed that the supervisor they were escalated to was not in to work the previous day so that's why they didn't call me. Why they would tell me to expect a call in 24 hours when it's possible the only guy who can do it won't be at work?

When I called back "Francis" told me that 3 of them have been "approved" while the other 5 are still in a "pending" state. I asked what that means and was told that their corporate office hasn't yet approved the RMAs. I don't know what their issue is, it's a failure of a non-serviceable part that is well within warranty. Even though 3 of them have been approved the parts still haven't shipped yet. I asked to speak with the supervisor on duty and was told he would call me back when he gets done with his current calls. I did get a call on my cell phone from an 859 number, which is supposedly in the Kentucky/Ohio area, but it was just static. I called it back and got some message in French or some other language. A few minutes later "Thomas" called my office line and said he would be looking into it. He thinks the delay is caused by stock shortage, but will be getting back to me in the next couple of days. It's been a couple days and surprise, no phone calls or emails.

In the middle of all this I've actually had another Asus netbook (same lot) break with a keyboard/touchpad failure. I have another RMA for that one; we'll see how that goes.

The moral of the story: stay away from Asus. So far I've had problems with half of the hardware I purchased from them, and they do a terrible job supporting their products. These machines are brand new and under warranty, I can't imagine how hard it would be to get support from them if the product is out of warranty. Hell, at this rate the warranties on these netbooks will have run out before they fix them.