Now They Can’t Stop Beating The Horse!

After putting this site up yesterday to vent frustration I thought I was done with it for a while. That didn’t even last 12 hours because guess what I found in my mail this morning?

“Kristoffer Strom,
We would very much welcome your feedback on support case: Re: Credit Card will expire soon (RUN-859550)
We are hoping to find out how we did assisting you with the resolution, what you think about your services overall and want we can do to keep you happy. Your comments are extremely valuable – please help us to serve you better. To take the survey, please click on the following link: https://helpdesk.softcom.com/index.php?/myhosting/Tickets/Survey/Index/867021/xj4e0dqwhr6h
Looking forward hearing from you! Thank you!
myhosting.com”

I don’t even know what to reply to that? My wife said “Oh my god, they know exactly what buttons to push!” and she’s right, they do. But for a company so dependant on customer service you would think that they wouldn’t want to push my buttons? Which says it all about their attitude towards customer service! But not only does it say what bad customer service they have, it also proves that they are in fact liars. I know there are some people in the customer service field that have an attitude to say anything and make up any story just to get rid of a pissed off customer. But I have never heard of that behaviour via emails, I didn’t know it existed! When you have a pissed off customer on the phone it may be very hard to actually want to help that person but once you realise it’s your job you just have to. But over emails you have all the time in the world – and especially when the customer specifically doesn’t want a reply it should be very easy. Yet “Allan M.” lied and said I had been removed from their system. Yet I get this customer survey email proving I’m not. They can argue that the customer survey system is a seperate system, but that would only prove that they are incompetent at integrating their systems. And to me, as a customer, it’s irrelevant what system is doing what! I didn’t want to be contacted by them at all and he replied that I “wouldn’t receive any further notifications”, yet I did – hence, they lied.

You know, I wish some company that specializes in customer satisfaction would, through some kind of miracle, get a contract to check up MyHosting. Because they are apparently blind to how bad they are that that is what it would take. And it wouldn’t be pleasant reading.

I mean, how many companies have a whole website with a dedicated address just to explain how much they suck? And how many of those have actual proof that they are correct and have every conceivable fact on their side to prove that “yes, MyHosting does indeed suck”.

Just How Much Does MyHosting suck?

Yes, I’m gonna beat this horse until it’s dead –

MyHosting sucks so much that they have even registered the domain name “myhostingsucks.com” (and several derivatives at $35 a pop!) just to stop customers they have mistreated so badly that we want to dedicate a page to how much they suck from doing it – because that’s how much they suck!

MyHosting And Customer Service

Ah, this never ending struggle of getting the customer service right, you know, some companies just can’t get that right. I went to Dressman the other day to buy some clothes – so very polite staff and a guy that even welcommed me into the store, without trying to get me to buy something specific, just a nice “welcome”. I liked that. Our company, knows as Ving in Sweden, has that as a major point all the time, treating the customer right and always knowing that “they have alot of other options than us, but they called us so it’s up to us to make their dream come true”. I like that thinking.

Then we go to the US of A. And a little webhosting company called “MyHosting”. We (as in NataliePortman.com) tried to run our site on their servers but it just wasn’t working and their customer service was kinda bad so I wrote that off as a bad idea and wanted my money back, cause I had double checked that they had a money back guarantee. Which they did. Unless ofcourse you used one of their promotional codes that the package builder comes preconfigured with! So lost $200 on that bad experiment and just dislike the company, wrote bad reviews about it – but thought it was over. But when my credit cart expired a few months ago they have mailed me over and over again to update my credit cart. Last night, after a couple of beers at our kick off party, I got another one and decided to reply. And in that reply I made it perfectly clear I wanted nothing to do with them, erase all of my information and ever contact me again. And less than an hour after I got a mail saying “I’ve deleted all of your information, please let us know if there is anything else we can do”. That just pissed me off how they could reply to an e-mail sayind “don’t ever contact me again”. So I replied “yes, you can take a reading comprehension course so you understand what “never contact me again means”. And guess what.. yeap, they replied to that one as well. Now it’s just not bad customer service. Now it’s a customer service out to provoke and aggrevate a customer. And that’s just so wrong!! So for anyone every considering hosting some website anywhere – stay clear of MyHosting, ok πŸ™‚

It’s Been 10 Days Dude!

I dunno, not much is happening in my life to report on. I could go on about how I hate the world politicians for being too nice in regards to the current Isreal vs Palestine conflict but that get’s old very quickly, and me going on about it isn’t gonna do jack shit, babies and children are still being bombed and killed. It kinda makes everything else seem small in comparison.

But work is moving along nicely, still learning a lot every day. But I still hate computers – I’m trying to have HTPCs everywhere at home now that the online streaming is becoming a reality, it’s good to have a computer connected to the TVs and projector. But building HTPC’s and trying to make them efficient yet quiet enough is quite challenging, something I found out when watching the latest Batman movie which is almost 3 hours long which really heated that computer up! The latest F1 race from USA was almost ruined because I installed a new quiet CPU cooler on my HTPC that wouldn’t start after putting it back together again. So had to tear it down (my wife said it looked like it had been raped and pillaged) and eventually got it working and now it’s quiet, but still idling at 45 C which is way too much really.

Anyway, other than that, my son Sam is learning the language really really quickly now, every day he’s learning new things and putting words on feelings – “Wall-E is sad”!

Being A Teenager Still Sucks

When I was a teen it sucked. It sucked really bad. No news there because it does for a lot of people. Had it not been for Knut Fischer I don’t know if I’d be here to talk about it. And when I saw the movie “Pump Up The Volume” it was dead on – it sucked being a teenager, it sucked being different and your parents or any other real adult didn’t understand you. Unfortunately it seems it’s still that bad – if not worse thanks to social media!

Check this YouTube:

It’s about a girl, Amanda Todd, who flashed some random guy through a web cam and it destroyed her life. And no matter where she went that thing followed her and after enough people screwed her over she comitted suicide, but not after posting that “somebody help me… anybody?”-video. That’s fucked up in so many ways. It’s fucked up it still happens and nothing is getting better. It’s fucked up that Facebook pulled the plug on an app designed to show how being bullied on Facebook feels. It’s fucked up that the first thought in my head was “is this real or fake” and had it not been for so many newssites picking it up and the police giving interviews about it I may have written it off as fake. But it’s not. It’s still a reality – that beeing a teenager still sucks.

I just hope I’m somewhat prepared to handle it with Sam in 10 years.

Another Rant

There are a few things I really hate. And two of them happened today.

First one is people who work with customer service without having the least bit of interest in customer service. I’ve worked for years with support and customer service and I may not be the most service oriented person in the world with a constant smile, but I do like to help people and make their day better and I love to make things work like clockwork. In the past 2 weeks since our freezer gave up the go I’ve had to call a few customer service people and only the one guy at Bosch impressed me, but the other 5 people I talked to at Bosch and the people at If weren’t that well trained in customer service. But when we finally did get our payment from the insurance company we ordered a freezer from an internet retailer. Good prices and good service over the web and on tuesday morning I placed the order since they had it in stock. On Thursday it still hadn’t shipped, so I called them and got a complete nonsense reply from someone at their customer service that basically didn’t do anything to help me or anything. And today at lunch they finally upgraded my status to “shipped”.

And that’s when the other thing I hate came into play. I hate when PR people twists and spin things to make it sound better. Because they included a link to the distributor. And according to them they haven’t received the package. Only a notification about the package they are picking up this afternoon. This isn’t uncommon practice, I order on the web frequently so I know the routine. But I get annoyed at some PR person at “trettio.se” who thought it sounds better to print out “Shipped” as status when in fact it hasn’t been shipped, only “Notification sent to distributor”. But that’s confessing that they still haven’t physically sent the package. So now, according to these two websites, our big ass freezer is lost in cyberspace! I hate that. At my old work they instructed us to “spin” our weekly reports about disruptions in the IT systems. And I hated that too.

Kickstarter

You know what “Kickstarter” is right? If no then a brief explanation here – it’s a website where people with an idea but without finance can seek people who pledge money to the project and if it reaches it’s financial goals the project goes ahead and you get the final product. It’s a great way to eliminate that whole “we’re not sure how many people will actually buy our product” thing that can put a stop to a good project.

So far most of the projects through kickstarter have been about hi-tech things. Like the new gameplatform/mediaplayer Ouya, or the hi-tech watch that you can customize.

Well this week I found a very different kind of project. It’s for a … BBQ sauce!! But it’s got… HABANERO!!!! πŸ™‚ Go pledge so they can make it πŸ™‚

The Internet Is A Scary Place

Do I have your attention with that title or what? I’m not talking pedophiles or people trying to steal money or some stuff like that. Now I’m talking the devious lurkers that will take over your accounts and play havoc with your online life! For the regular Joe that has an e-mail account and Facebook it might not be much of a problem. But for someone like me that has so much stuff online, use so many online services and not only have personal but also professional life on the web, we are most certainly shaking in our boots that what happened to Mat Honan last friday won’t happen to us!

Full coverage of the story can be found here on Wired.com. But to summarize – Mat Honan is an tech journalist writing about tech, the internet and stuff. So he has Google account, Twitter, Facebook, iCloud, Amazon and all that jazz. Now through some work, which just about anybody can do, they managed to get his last four digits of his credit cart, his home address and his e-mail address and with that Apple Support was more than happy to reset his iCloud password and let the scammer take control of it. And through that his Google account and then on to the rest from there. And they also wiped all his iDevices which were linked to his iCloud, as Apple wants you to.
The worst loss for him wasn’t to be publicly hacked and the embarrassment than he if anyone should know better. The worst part was that he lost all the files on his Macbook, most importantly photos of his kid that were just gone. And I can relate to that. I use an online service for my “important data” so I know it’s backed up online, but at the same time, if someone were to hack the account bound to that they could wipe it all. Fortunately I have it backed up locally to my NAS, but it’s still a very big convern that if someone were to hack my big e-mail accound they’d have access to do alot of things. ‘Cause this can happen to anyone!

The lessons learned is : have one e-mail accound per online service and try not to link them! Use 2 stage verification where possible. Backup your data. And for the love of good don’t trust a fruity company with all your stuff πŸ™‚

Thank you NASA

Just wanted to post a quick “thank you” to NASA for not stopping this space exploration thing they’ve got going. If it wasn’t for them an the american taxpayers, Roddenberry’s dream wouldn’t stand a chance!

Back To Work

Yeah I know I’ve been very quiet here. And that’s actually a good thing because I’ve kept myself busy! Since I’m new here at Thomas Cook I don’t have the full pot of vacation days so I could only take 3 weeks vacation. And I’ve been busy non-stop!

We went to SΓΆderkΓΆping for our annual ice-cream binge. Like three years ago we stayed the night so we could enjoy it one more time. But unlike three years ago when we stayed at a local hotel this time we decided to rough it a bit and rented a small cabin at a local campsite. And it was indeed a small cabin, no loo, no kitchen and bunk beds. So after rearranging that so we basically slept on the floor we went for our first taste of ice cream only to be met with a queue we didn’t want to be in. So we walked around town, found a little cafe that sucked big time and then we made our way back and after two hours the queue was still way too long. But the only option was to give up for today and that wasn’t on so I got my ass in the queue and after about an hour we got a table and it was good! Sam enjoyed it too, last time we was there he was like 6 months old so that wasn’t as fun for him as this time around. Then we went back to the campsite and put him to bed and we spent the rest of the evening in bed watching a few episodes of “White Collar” on the laptop. Then we finally fell asleep and on the morning after it was cleaning up, going for a second round of ice cream (this time without the queue) and then going back home. All in all a great little trip.

Then we teamed up with Helenas friend, her husband and their 2 year old daughter for a 24 hour cruise. As I’ve stated before about these cruises it’s mostly about getting drunk or laid than to actually go someplace but this time it was actually a very kids-friendly cruise. They had converted their entire conference deck to rooms with different activities for the kids. One had a ball-pit, the other videogames etc. and Sam really enjoyed that ball-pit! The two departure times we had to chose from was either 7 am or 7 pm . If we’d gone 7 pm we’d barely be able to get onboard and get comfortable before Sam had to go to bed and that meant one of us had to stay in the cabin for the rest of the evening. So we chose 7 am and not sure that was a good choice cause we had to go up at 4:30 am and leave at 5:15 so Sam was really cranky all through the breakfast buffet but after going back to the cabin and sleep for two hours he was ready to deal with it. It was a lot of eating, some tax-free shopping and some beer. Also got to see the F1 qualifying at a bar on the boat! Overall he totally enjoyed that trip and so did we, probably gonna do it again (next year will probably be for free thanks to American Express rewards).

And fortunately thanks to my sister me and H got atleast one day for each other when she took Sam to Skansen (a zoo in Stockholm). Unfortunately he didn’t care much for the animals there but he got to “drive” the cars on rails so he was pretty happy!

Other than that we mostly spent the the vacation working on the garden and home improvements or having guests over and a day welcoming my sister with her family who flew in from Scotland last Tuesday. So yeah, it’s been busy and I haven’t take the time to update this here place but here I am πŸ™‚

Image Gallery Updated

I’ve finally gotten around to updating the image gallery with some new images of me, Helena and most of all Sam. Enjoy!
(and the password is the Swedish name of my current employer with a capital first letter)

Win For Swedish Legal System

If you’re swedish, read this. If you’re not, let me summarize. An expert and translator of Manga (animated stuff from Japan) here in Sweden was caught with some animated magazines and images portraying animated 12-13 year old characters in sexual context. So they raided his home and computer and found alot of it. So he was charged with one of the worst accusations – posession of child pornography. The reason was – this was children in sexual context and it didn’t matter that it was animated and thereby without victim, it was the fact that this guy had these in his possession and, supposedly, enjoyed to look at it. And they didn’t care that this was his job. He was found guilty by the first two courts but today the supreme court acquitted him on the grounds that it was animated and could not be confused with the real thing.

And I gotta give credit to the guy for defending this and taking it all the way. And he didn’t hide away or try to cover himself, he publicly admitted to having these things but didn’t agree it was a crime to have them, if anything they should go after the “twisted mind” (his words) that created them.

Two problems with this story:
1) So the state decided to put a man on trial for what he likes to look at? … I mean I would seriously want to give any person who watch child pornography for enjoyment a good beating and yes it’s illegal, but really, if it gives the state that much power to put a person on trial for what he likes to look at, where could that end?
2) This has set a legal precedent for whoever makes these godforsaken images and films to just add a filter in post production to make it look animated and it’d be completely legal to sell in Sweden! Somewhere someone has to decide what constitutes “animated” and where that line is drawn.

I really hope the lawmakers sit down to go through this decision and comes up with some way to handle this. And all I can say is … Lawmakers, tread carefully!

I’m Projecting

Here’s the story of when we (or rather I) bought a new projector.

After looking around the web for “what’s the best projector I can get for under 10.000 SEK” (which was the approved budget) I found the answer – Epson TW3200. It had gotten great reviews from reviewers and consumers and it was going down in price. So on Saturday before we went to a 2 year old’s birthday party and then my own birthday party we stopped by one of my favorite stores in the whole world – Netonnet. They have good electronic products for good prices, good internet store and a “no bullshit, no fanciness, no flashy stores, just the products”-attitude I love. And they had just lowered the price of it to from 8.300 to 8.000 SEK so I was happy camper. When we got home on Sunday (yeah, I managed to wait a whole day!) I mounted it in my universal ceiling mount and turned it on. I guess I should have turned it on first because I was met with a “Auto iris error, please contact Epson support”… tried the old “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” and it started up without the error. Did some quick calibation and tested a bit of Star Wars Episode III (the opening space battle is pretty sweet) and it looked decent. Turned it off again, did what a husband, father and homeowner does on a Sunday (which included mowing the lawn).

On the evening my sister came by for the F1 race from Canada. Turned on the projector .. same error. Turned it off and on and it worked. But I don’t want to have to turn it off and on again until the error message goes away, especially not on a newly bought product for 8.000! So I called Epson who simply said “return it for a new one”. Called Netonnet customer service who agreed, no questions asked. So after I got home from work on Monday evening I took a 20 minute drive to Netonnet to have it replace, making sure they had one in stock. I turned it in and no questions asked, money back or buy a new one. So I went to pick up a new one … and no, as I’d feared they didn’t have any. According to their inventory they were suppose to have one, but reality said otherwise. But their other store in Slagsta on the wrong side of town had one, or I could get my money back. More than that, I noticed on their computer screens it cost 8.500 now! Yeah, for some reason it had gone from 8.300 on friday, to 8.000 on saturday to 8.500 on monday? But I argued against that since “there’s no reasons I should pay 500 more today for something I bought on Saturday just because I had to return it” and they agreed. Also I could have bought it anywhere else cause 8.500 was the price it was going for everywhere else!

But I was really set on this projector so I took another 30 minute drive to Slagsta and eventually found the one TW3200 projector they had in stock (which wasn’t where it was supposed to be). Went to the cashier who played the “I’m just a blonde girl at the checkout counter I can’t authorize this reduced prize, I have to call my manager”. Fortunately for me he had the very good service mind I had hoped for and I ended up paying 7800 for it after a 200 reduction for mileage and fueld for the car since I had to drive all the way there! And another 45 minute car trip home, tested it quickly to see I didn’t get the same message and mounted it.

That’s then the other setback hit. I had measured and mounted everything in my home theater, most importantly the ceiling mount, after my old projector. And the lens on this projector was about 4 inches off. Had it been more towards the center it’d been easy fix but this was more away from the center. And this very specific projector doesn’t have a digital compensator for keystone effects like my old one had, which means when it’s that high and that much to one side the image if projected in a straight line is skewed. The way this projector compensates for it is optically, which when it comes to the final image the result is better than digital compensation. And because it’s not only to the side it’s also mounted in the ceiling which means I needed to compensate both vertically and horizontally for it. What this meant is I had to mount my projector so that if the image would be projected in a straight line it would end up in the upper left corner of the room. But when adjusting the lens the image ends up where it should be and with straight lines (or more accurately, “right angles” i.e the corners are 90 degrees). But it took aloooot of fine tuning and with my ceiling mount it was way too much precision for it to be fun or challenging, it was just annoying. Why didn’t they have a digital compensator AND optical compensator for it like my old Panasonic projector had? It was so much easier to sit in the couch and adjust the screen with the push of a button than trying to find that sweet spot where everything lined up! .. but for now the deed is done and it’s sweet as hell!

Appreciating What You Have

Maybe I should make it an item in my calendar once or twice per week to stop and appreciate all the good things I have and stop worrying and bitching about the other stuff.

Like this story about baby-Grayson. I totally don’t care about the Facebook part of the story, more about the story that these two parents knew their baby was going to have birthdefects and not live a day yet they went through with the pregnancy and made it the best 8 hours they could. And here I am bitching when Sam has a bad day or two.

Actually for the past week he has been very easy to deal with and he’s the bestest boy ever!! πŸ™‚ But he’s a bit monotomous – he loved the first half hour or so of Rio so he wants to see that over and over again and he has a thing for “Puss in Boots” too. Guess how tired we are of those two movies by now, but out of all the problems to have that’s one of the better ones.

Transferring servers

If you think this place is a bit unstable right now it’s because last week we transferred servers to try a new place out. And that worked pretty well although their services and support was a bit lacking so we managed to press the price of the old place and get a virtual server running there so hopefully this’ll be stable enough. Talk more when I have a chance…

Deja Vu

Oh shit it’s happening again!!

About one month before I started working for Carema there was alot of reporting about how Carema was making so much money on the expense of the little guy. I didn’t really care that much about it at the time but it kept growing in November and December and I can safely say I wasn’t bragging about working for Carema then.

Well now it’s exactly one week until I’ll start working at Thomas Cook here in Sweden. Which owns the Swedish travel agency called “Ving”. And ofcourse the media is starting to write bad things about them now as well! Already last week I saw a small little article but today they have another article and how people travelling on their dream vacation only to be disappointed and ripped off.

What are the odds that AGAIN exactly when I’m supposed to start a job that company is having bad things written about them in the media!? I don’t know the truth about all the stories but I just don’t wanna be embarrassed that I work for Ving the same way as with Carema! But judging from what their PR rep is saying in the media, unlike Carema that mostly didn’t say anything about nothing, it’s not gonna be bad. Because I am really excited about starting my work there. And I’m not just saying that, I actually am!!

MISQUOTING ON THE INTERNET

The Internet is great for alot of things. One of those things is when you hear a quote and wanna check it up. Unfortunately, as everyone should know by now, you can’t really trust the results when searching at Google for example.

And when they offed Bin Laden a quote was circulating and attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. It was a good quote (“I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy) but as it turns out it wasn’t him. Fortunately we still have some real journalists out there who actually do their fact-checks about stuff like this. And unfortunately we still have tabloids like Swedish Aftonbladet that will print anything on their website to make people click it. Like the other day when they said Chuck Lorre called Charlie Sheen a heroic addicted monkey. Had they just checked around they… well they probably would still have printed the story ’cause it’s juicy stuff, just not really good journalism. And that makes me a sad panda.

MOVING TO BLOGSPOT

I’m moving my blog to Blogspot. “Why?”… there are lots of reasons why!

Number one is my ability to update! With blogspot I can just send in a mail on my iPhone on the way to work, while in a meeting or slacking in the couch. I don’t have to log into a computer, find the site, login and browse my way to it.

Number two is the interaction part. You guys and girls can now comment on things here on Blogspot or their affiliates. Not gonna allow anonymoous because if you can’t put your name on what you’re saying maybe you shouldn’t say it.

Then ofcourse there are alot of other benefits too, like the tagging and stuff. I’ll have a huge job ahead of me migrating all of the updates from my database to this one but hopefully won’t be too hard. My photogallery will still be on my own servern though!

What do you think, is this a good thing or am I a sellout? πŸ™‚

Yeah, I’m Still Alive

My life has turned into a series of routines as it is right now when I’m on parental leave. It’s just a matter of keeping the son happy, well fed and.. well that’s all really, everything else is a bonus! And I get about 1-2 hours of “else” every day which right now goes to “Starcraft 2”. Yeap, I finally gave up on “World of Warcraft”, it just wasn’t as rewarding continuing on lvl 85 as I’d hope. “Starcraft 2” is still challenging, I have a 50% win rate which I guess is as it was meant to be played (because the more you win, the higher rank you are and the better your opposition is so when you’re ranked perfectly I guess 50% is just the way it’s supposed to be).

ANYWAY, I’m going back to work in 4 weeks time, probably gonna spend the first week just catching up to what’s new and even what’s old since I haven’t been there for 6 months! Other than that everything is good, we’re still waiting for a place at some daycare so we can both work full time, not sure how that’s gonna work out otherwise!

Also trying to catchup with movies since we have missed alot since Sam was born. So far the best one has been “Tron 2” that we actually saw at the movies in 3D. But then again, you’d expect nothing else from a computer geek, right πŸ™‚

Also updated alot in my photo album so check it out. You should know the password by now!

Image album finally fixed

I’ve finally fixed the image album! So now you can all check the latest pictures of my son Sam πŸ™‚ The password is still the name of my employer, all in lower case letters.

Here is the link to the image gallery.
Here is the direct link to the “best of Sam” album.