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UPS – no thanks! September 6, 2014

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So I went and waited over 40 minutes to get my package. About 20 was waiting in line another 20 for the woman to find the package. 

So as I pick it up the woman says “I need to see your ID”. I answered “No you do not.” Then it was “I need you to sign for the package” to which I replied “No I won’t. “

The woman had the temerity to follow me out in the parking lot at which point I told her to go fuck herself. I had my package, I don’t care if I fuck up your logistics system. 

So I got my sneakers. I contacted Reebok – they only ship UPS or Fedex. I guess I won’t be doing business with them again. 

UPS: So as of 10AM this morning September 6, 2014

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I’m going down to their depot in Warwick, RI at 150 Plan Way. They say my package is there. We’ll just see about that. This time I printed off the tracking page so I can slap it on the counter and say “Find my fucking package!”

They really are living up to the name Shit Wrapped in Chiffon. What can Brown do for you indeed? And they love the logistics of not delivering packages. 

I’ll update this later on. But what I find most boggling – that the item showed as out for delivery at 8:08AM but didn’t get the address error until 5:03PM. That’s awfully convenient. Nine plus hours in which they could have just delivered the fucking package. 

This is why despite the warts I love the United States Postal Service. They don’t play games. They get the job done. And honestly if the package is large they’ll simply leave me a tag on the door and I’ll go down and pick it up. The post office is about a mile from here. The UPS depot is 7.5 miles away. You see my point now don’t you. 

 

 

 

Yet another UPS Sucks Post September 5, 2014

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UPS still sucksSo I ordered a pair of sneakers. Track said they’d be here today. But guess what, no package. I check the UPS status and see this:

Yeah I’m not happy. I’m on hold right now but I plan to rip them a fucking new one. Why do vendors use this Shit Wrapped in Chiffon shipper? Attention Reebok — I hate UPS with a burning passion.

And more to the point, look at the attached image. Notice it left Warwick at 8:08AM but the address exception didn’t take place until nearly 6PM in the evening.

I ripped into them on the phone. Didn’t swear all that much, did yell a few times though. So now I have to go out of my way to pick up the package tomorrow. I’ve already let the folks at Reebok know I’m not a happy camper. I’ll likely get the shipping charge reversed.

But the fact I have to go through this nearly every time UPS tries to deliver something says a hell of a lot. They claim to love logistics. The only logistics they love is how they can fuck with their customers. Because they certainly can’t locate an address next door to a business that they regularly deliver to and pick up from and it’s the same driver who delivers to me. So they’re blowing smoke up my ass and I don’t appreciate it.

And funny of funnies – when I was on the phone with the rep I said that UPS is famous for tag and run but that this is a new twist on the theme. I got an acknowledgement on that one. So they know the drivers pull this shit.

Now to be fair the drivers they do stuff those trucks pretty full. And I can understand how they might blow a 2 day delivery because a next day job took priority. But be honest with your customers.

I mean in the past I’ve had UPS representatives say that residential deliveries happened after 5PM, then 7PM. But then the next day they’d try to deliver the package at 1:30 in the afternoon. Shit like that.

And it’s funny, I’ve been head hunted for positions in their I.T. department. I’ve turned them down every time. I don’t want to be a piece of a what was once a local delivery business in Chicago that has now grown to such a size that it’s like an unwieldy beast. Like a Hyrda with eight heads, none of which know what any of the others is doing.

The differences between similar cities September 1, 2014

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So if you aren’t aware I’ve been working in Cambridge, MA. Cambridge and Providence have a lot of similarities. And quite a few differences. 

We’re similar in the fact we’re both college cities. Cambridge has both Harvard and M.I.T., Providence has Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island College and Rhode Island School of Design aka RISD. 

Both cities have major bodies of water that cut through them. The population of Providence is larger than that of Cambridge. 

Cambridge has a rapid rail system called the Red Line that runs through it – Providence is still stuck with stinking diesel buses that pretty much serves Providence and Pawtucket and everything else is on their own. 

Now at first I thought it was the tax rates, those in Cambridge are approximately what they are in Providence. But no, while taxes may be a component they’re not the major factor. 

The major factor is this – in Providence we do everything half ass. From road paving – the street I live on connects Atwells Avenue to Broadway and then further to Westminster St. The section from Atwells to Broadway was completely stripped down to the gravel base, repaved and then re-striped. But the half that runs between Broadway and Westminster has been stripped, and primary paving done. But there are still manhole covers that stick up some way because the second layer of paving hasn’t been done yet, and it’s been this way for weeks. 

Typical half ass measure. 

Then there’s the fact that I had to bitch to my city councilor about snow on city owned overpasses of I-95. Or that the current snow removal ordinance lacked any enforcement teeth. I worked with my city councilor and the law was changed – now if you refuse to clear your sidewalks the city will fine you, refuse to pay the fine and a lien will be placed against your property. And if it’s really annoying, the city will clear the sidewalks and bill the property owner. Refusal to pay also results in a lien against the property. Those are teeth my friends but I shouldn’t have had to agitate for it. 

It even extends to stores and restaurants. There’s a place near me – I won’t mention it by name but they’re also opening a pizza place on Westminster Street, that their food is awful. Yet people beat a path to their door. It’s like because our city and state government has accepted just good enough, so too the business community. 

In essence the key difference between Providence and Cambridge is the half measure. 

In all communities in Massachusetts at the beginning of the month all the streets are cleaned. In Providence it’s a rare occurrence. In Providence we muck out the storm drains just before all the leaves fall off the trees. I’ve made a racket about that one because I’d much prefer to have clean storm drains in the winter, spring, summer and fall. Wait until the leaves are off the trees, then muck out the drains. But in Cambridge, not only do they muck out the drains, they also scrape the stickers off utility poles, re-mulch around trees and the list goes on. Their DPW actually works. 

Part of the problem in Providence is that back in the 1980’s they moved everything to contractor basis. It’s time to bring it back home. 

So there’s my rant for the holiday weekend. 

 

Dell Sucks August 29, 2014

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There I’ve said it. 

We bought a PowerEdge R420 server. From the git go the thing had a problem with the RAID battery going south. They came in and repaired that. 

Then recently we had to put both HFS+ and NTFS support on the machine. But when we did the rear chassis USB ports and the add on USB 3.0 card stopped functioning. We had chalked it up to the NTFS driver but I rolled back the software and still couldn’t do anything. 

So today I contacted Dell. Spent over FIVE hours on the phone and in emails back and forth with them. It ended with me telling them to escalate the problem and ship us a new server configured exactly as that one and we’d cross ship the broken server. We’ll see if they deliver on that one. 

Once you join a political campaign August 28, 2014

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It’s not something you can cleanly walk away from. As you might have gleaned from this web site until I found a full time job I had been doing the I.T. work for a political campaign. 

Even got them setup on mail services, web services etc. But then I got a full time gig and had to leave. 

Except you can’t break away cleanly. They know I’m capable. 

So tonight the emergency was that they printed 5,000 flyers for the campaign. And multiple people proof-read the flyer. And I have experience with this type of thing – as I know sitting in the sub basement of the Rhode Island State House are a few thousand flyers for go to vote with the wrong 800 number on them. 

But in the case before me – they screwed up the web site address. They didn’t know about it until someone alerted them to it. That’s when I get a text message asking if I can help. Yes in fact I can. 

Now the normal web site for the campaign is girouxforgovernor2014.com which just points to a Google Sites page. But the flyers just had girouxforgovernor.com on them. Oops. One proof reading tip, read it backwards. You’ll spot the errors like that. 

Anyhow I went GoDaddy and plunked $12 down as fortuitously the domain girouxforgovernor.com was actually available. It’s all registered to me and forwarded to the girouxforgovernor2014.com site. 

The campaign got really lucky on this one. But I’m glad I could help with a minimum of fuss and muss. 

Where some of my new music came from August 20, 2014

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For my love of Nujabes I have to thank Cliff M. 

For my love of Jack Johnson I have to thank Siulam F. 

For my love of Zero 7 I have to thank Jim W. 

For my love of some Steely Dan I have to thank Dan M. 

For my love of Gogol Bordello I have to thank John D. 

 

Thank you all for introducing me to new music I wouldn’t have otherwise heard. 

 

The Murder of Michael Brown August 17, 2014

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I chose the title o f this post because it is clear to me that Michael Brown was MURDERED by Ferguson Missouri Police officer Darren Wilson. 

And now of course we’re hearing that Brown may or may not have stolen a $1 pack of Cigarillos from a convenience store several blocks away from the shooting site. 

My friends, do recall the police actually said that Brown had NO CRIMINAL RECORD. And that Officer Wilson did NOT know of the strong-arm robbery at the store. 

It is clear that the police are in damage control mode. And the first tactic of damage control is to paint the victim of having deserved killing. 

So the value of Michael Brown’s life was $1 by that logic. 

A whole lot of unarmed black men have been killed by police all over the past few decades by police and the police suffer no consequences for doing so. But in the case of Ferguson, I think we’re seeing the curtain being drawn back on police policies and tactics. 

Does the petty theft of a $1 item require as a response the police killing of yet another black man? It does not. The police officer used EXCESSIVE force resulting in the death of Michael Brown. 

This particularly sticks in my craw because my SO is black, and so too my nephew. I wouldn’t want to see either of them gunned down by police for flimsy reasons or any reason at all. And having worked in law enforcement myself, it irks me even more to see the police falling to standard tactics to try to paint the victim as heaving deserved execution. 

Policing in the U.S. has to change. It’s a different world out there but the pigs haven’t gotten the message. Part of it is the use of Compstat in NY which has now spread to virtually every department out there. Compstat wasn’t designed to decrease crime, it was designed to measure the effectiveness of police practice. But instead – in every place it’s been implemented it’s been used to put down the black and brown populations. 

In other words – there’s no other reason than a perverted use of statistics behind a lot of the ludicrous behavior by white cops. 

Hell, even here in Providence a number of years ago we had a black Police officer gunned down by two white police officers. That was a hornets nest – you can just imagine because it was police on police. Of course the cop who was killed did some stupid things too, like not holding out the badge and identifying as police, holding a gun in gangster pose, etc. It resulted in one dead cop, and two cops who’ll never patrol again. 

But it had racism at it’s core. At the time of the shooting of that cop the department had close to 600 sworn officers. Pretty hard to know everyone when you get past 175 or so. So those cops saw the black cop as being a gangster and bang, you’re dead. 

 

 

Back with Pandora One August 16, 2014

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So this evening I went onto Pandora.com

It’s one of my favorite music sites. But I had forgotten, I had to upgrade to Pandora One again. $4.99 a month which comes out to $59.88 per year. Yeah, I did it again. 

I figured I’d already tuned Pandora up with all the artists and music I like so why the hell not? 

A Hellish Friday August 15, 2014

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Let’s just say today had to be the worst one on the job. 

We had to wipe a bunch of servers – and we used the DBAN tool to do so. Only DBAN didn’t actually wipe a few servers even though it took the same amount of time and went through the progress bar etc. 

Woops – and we all signed off on it. So we were trying to see what was still left on the servers we still had. 

Tried Ubuntu server – no dice. Tried Knoppix – some success there but it showed no data left. Weird. 

But it was a grind from about 2PM to 4:30PM. 

 

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