Wednesday, June 1, 2016
About half way home I heard a spoke "pop" sound. If you've broken a spoke, you know that sound. Fortunately, the bike shop I got it at was along my route home. Unfortunately, after waiting half an hour, they told me it couldn't be fixed yesterday because it was more complicated than they first thought, with the spoke pattern and all. On top of that, it was going to cost around $55 to fix. I don't think I have much choice than to get it fixed there, since it's the rear wheel with the motor in the hub. I hope that estimate isn't higher today after they realized it was more work.
As if that's not bad enough, when I took the Allegro out for an hour on Saturday, I heard that familiar spoke pop. I couldn't find a broken spoke, but the wheel became untrue. I managed to finish my ride and had planned to take it to a regular bike shop yesterday after I got home from work. By the time I walked home, I wasn't in much of a mood to go back out and spend more money. I'll probably do that today.
What sucks even more is that today was suppose to be the first day of the Great Cycle Challenge.
Come on June, be good to me.
Update: the repair cost is $98.25 :(
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
It happened to me this morning, about 1½ kms from work. I walked it the rest of the way and checked it out when I got to the bike room. I lucked out and found a tiny thorn stuck in the tire. When I pumped up the tire I could feel the air leaking out where the thorn had been. Finding the leak is half the battle. Or so I thought.
I went down at lunch and attempted to repair the flat. The Neo Carbon's rear wheel is held on with 19mm nuts, and I don't carry wrenches with me, so I had to repair it without removing the wheel. That's not too difficult. Once I repaired it, and put some air in the tire, I examined the tire for any other punctures. I found a small metal sliver stuck in the tire. I removed it and air came out. Of all the shitty luck. Why me?
Once again, I removed the inner tube enough to patch the second hole. I was fortunate enough to find someone in the underground parking who had a portable air pump so I could inflate it to the right pressure.
I returned my bike to the bike room and crossed my fingers that it would stay inflated, but in the back of my mind I didn't have much confidence in my repair job.
I went back down an hour later to find it flat once again. If I had a 19mm wrench with me, I would have replaced the entire inner tube like I usually do and this probably wouldn't be a problem.
I hate taking the bus.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Since that time, there have been a few firmware updates, all providing additional features and functionality. I love this watch, up to now.
In December, I clicked a button to get into the settings and the settings menu had a little bit of display corruption. It cleared up quickly simply by backing out of the menu and going back in.
Sadly, it was not the last time it happened.
Since then, it has also occurred for various notifications, as well as the default watch faces.
|Option, Settings, Display menu.|
|A default watch face?|
|Another default watch face.|
|Default watch face immediately after turning|
the watch on, I think.
A Google search brings up quite a few hits from others experiencing the same problem. Oddly enough, most of them appear to have occurred after the last firmware update. I concur.
From what I've read, the only solution is to contact their support, provide requested photos indicating the corruption to get an RMA, and get the watch replaced.
I contacted their support, via the iPhone app as someone suggestion, on January 1, 2014. To date, I am still waiting for a reply. I did get an automated reply the same day, telling me that someone would be contacting me "soon". I guess their idea of "soon" is a little different.
I should note that the display corrupt does clear up after a few button presses, and the watch face remains clean for the most part, so it's not entirely useless — it's just very annoying.
Coincidentally, Pebble has recently announce their "Pebble Steel" for $249. The firmware update that will accompany it looks pretty sweet, but until these display issues are resolved I'm not interested.
This last photo is kinda funny... they tout the original Pebble as having a "scratch resistant lens". Click the photo and you'll see exactly how scratch resistant it is. :)
|The scratch resistant lens after normal|
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Originally, the work was supposed to be completed by Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon I received a call at work from a Jim Keay employee updating me on the repair. The door had been fixed, repainted, and the they were reassembling it. He said they wanted to let the paint dry over night and would wash the entire truck in the morning so we could pick it up on Thursday.
We drove there after work and arrived at around 5:30pm or so. We pulled up the the garage and an employee came out as we got out of the car and asked us if we were the Patersons. I handed him the Focus keys and he gave my wife the key to our Escape. He checked the gas in the Focus (we were to make sure it had a 1/4 tank), did a quick walk around to check for any damage and said that there wouldn't be any paperwork today because it hadn't been printed for him. Seems a little odd, but he said we could pick up on our next visit. I think it's pretty unlikely that we'll be going back. 15+ years as a loyal customer down the drain.
As I walked away, he apologized for the inconvenience. My usual instinct response to that is "No problem", but I held back and didn't say anything, because... well, it was a problem, and an inconvenience.
I did a quick check before we left and it seems like a good repair job. You'd never know the difference. However, the light wasn't the best as the sun was going down. I'll have to wait until there's more light (and it's not as cold) to have a better look.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
It wasn't long before they called her back to give her an update. Apparently, the work required to fix it isn't as much as they thought it might be, so they did a temp fix and told her that we can drop it off on Monday for the repair. They will provide us with a loaner car and we can pick it back up on Wednesday.
She asked about any future problems, like rust, but they assured her it would be fine and said they were going to repaint the entire door.
So far, we're pretty happy with the responsiveness.
The temp fix. Basically flattening it out so there aren't any sharp edges.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I got a pleasant surprise yesterday when my wife called to say that the service manager called her and said that one of the employees who worked on our vehicle showed up for work early, with a guilty conscience, and admitted to accidentally damaging our door.
My wife said that the manager was the most pleasant he's ever been when talking to her too.
He said that they are still backlogged with repairs for the hail storm months ago, but he'd do his best to make sure we didn't have to wait long. He said they wanted to get our Escape in as soon as possible to make sure there was no structural damage and to prevent the damage from getting worse until they can repair it.
They're willing to drive from the east end, to the west end where my wife works, pick up our Escape, drive it back to the east end to do whatever they need to do, gas it up, and drive it back to her work when they're done.
While I'm really happy with the way this is going, the pessimist inside me is hesitant to heap praise on them. I'll give credit where credit is due once this is all over. But for now, this is a huge step in the right direction.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Before I could send them the info, the service manager called my wife and asked her what he can do for her. She asked him if he was aware of what happened on Saturday and he asked her if she wanted to know what the message said that was left for him. She said sure. He read (going from my memory here):
Dear Mr. Carey, this customer wishes to speak with you regarding damage to her Ford Escape. She won't be calling you because she doesn't like you.Now, my wife did mention to a couple of employees there that she didn't like him because of our past dealings with him. But to offer to read the message to her, instead of just confirming the details... that tells me he's trying to start a fire, rather than put one out.
She admitted to him that based on past dealings, she full expects that we'll have to go above him for satisfaction, but seeing as how they do have procedures to follow, we'll follow them.
He said the photos left for him were not that good and asked that we send him others. I sent him three via email this afternoon and included a link to more that are publicly available on Flickr. I also told him that Ford Canada had requested information, and that I sent it to them.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
We've been dealing with them for about 15 years now. We've leased 4 vehicles and purchased one in that time. There's been good times, and there's been bad times. After today, regardless of the outcome, I think we'll be severing our ties with them.
My wife brought our 2008 Ford Escape in for an oil change, check-up and tire rotation. After the service and paying the bill, they mentioned to her that they "noted" there was some door damage. She didn't think too much of it. We have the odd minor door ding here and there, received from not-so-careful people who park beside us in mall parking lots. Who doesn't?
When she got to our Escape she saw this.
She walked back into the dealership and told them that this was not there before she brought it in.
The guy at the counter went to speak with the people who worked on our vehicle and, not so surprisingly, came back to say that nobody knows what happened.
They told her that the customer service manager would call her on Monday. She tried to get the name of someone higher because we've dealt with him before and he lacks customer service skills. She didn't get very far. Apparently, his boss is Jim Keay himself, and nobody there seems to have any contact information for him.
She also had to tell them to take photos of the damage for their own record. She had two photos taken with her cell phone, but they would have had none.
I'd like to think that they'll immediately own up to this and make good on it, but based on our history with them I fear this isn't going to be easy. Someone there already had the chance to come clean and chose to lie.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
I got home from work on Friday and checked in on FourSquare on my iPhone (ya, I added my home) :) I noticed that I wasn't connected to my home Wi-Fi. It happens sometimes. I launched the Wi-Fi configuration and it didn't show any Wi-Fi networks in my neighbourhood. There are usually at least 5 or 6 of them.
I toggled the Wi-Fi off and back on again. Nothing changed. I toggled Airplane mode on and off. Still nothing. I turned the phone off and back on again. Nada.
This is where things got really ugly. When I went back into the Wi-Fi settings I found... oh wait... I couldn't get back into the Wi-Fi settings. It was disabled.
a fairly common problem. For most people, it seems it happened right after updating to iOS 6.0.1, and it only happens with the 4S and iPad 3. Some say it can happen after dropping your phone. There are many different suggestions (including something called "the freezer trick?)
I tried some of the more sane suggestions, like resetting network settings. Resetting all settings. Nothing.
This is the point where I began to hate technology. I used to thrive on technical problems. I found them a challenge. That's why I once had a job in technical support. Those days are long gone. My years in technical support wore me down.
Back to my phone. I did more searching and found that I may have to do a restore to factory defaults. I did not want it to get to that, but what other choice did I have?
I first made sure I had a backup in iTunes and then started the process. It downloaded the latest firmware (6.0.1), which I had already installed and it proceeded to install it.
Once it was done, the phone setup started and it asked me to connect to my Wi-Fi. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was as happy as I should have been. If this happened once, what are the chances it would happen again? I went through the setup and chose the option to restore all of my data from the backup. I started that and set the phone down to do its thing.
At some point during the restore I noticed that it was no longer connected to my Wi-Fi again. I went back into the Wi-Fi sett... disabled, again.
By now I'm on my 2nd or 3rd beer.
I decided to once again restore it to the factory defaults, but I was prepared to not restore my data. I was secretly hoping that it wouldn't work because I didn't want to lose my data.
It didn't work. Wi-Fi was still disabled.
I recalled that when we bought our iPhones, the Telus rep told us that for support we'd have to deal directly with Apple. But the Telus trouble-shooting web site said to call Telus, or visit one of their stores. So I called them.
I explained the situation and the tech had me check a few things and told me that I'd have to contact Apple. I questioned why the web site said I can go to their store and she said that was if I wanted them to send my phone back to Apple for me and/or if I wanted a loaner until I get the replacement. Seriously... what's the point?
Anyway, she transferred me directly into Apple's phone queue. After about 5 minutes listening to hold music, the tech came on. Once again, I explained my predicament. She walked me through checking a few things (or trying to) I mentioned that it appeared to be a common problem that was hardware related. She agreed that she did find the same article on the web and asked if she could put me on hold while she consulted with her supervisor.
A few minutes later she returned to say that her supervisor confirmed that they have seen the issue and the only solution is to replace the phone, which she said she could arrange to do since it was still under warranty.
So now I await the replacement, which will have a box and information to send the old one back to them. She said it would take 3-5 days.
I suppose I could have called up an Apple store and made an appointment to see someone there and maybe get it swapped out.
I didn't bother restoring all of my data back onto my semi-functional phone. It's going to suck the life out of my provider data plan if I keep using it without Wi-Fi.
It's a little disconcerting to know that there's a chance it could happen again, or even to my wife's phone, and there is no other official solution (yet?) other than swap the phone. I wonder what would happen if it was out of warranty? I mean, this doesn't sound like something that occurs with age, it could happen at any time.
Here are some articles about the problem:
And the long thread in Apple's community forum:
Friday, July 13, 2012
This was at around 11:30pm. I filled out the online form with the required info. After submitting it, I received an email asking for a photo of the case, showing the damage, along with a piece of paper in the photo with my name and date written on it. I replied with the photo.
The next day, I received a confirmation that they were sending me a new case. The day after that, I recieved an email invoice (for $0.00) for the new case.
Today, I recieved the new case.
4 days to send me a new case is amazing customer service. It's probably more like 3 days, when you consider that I submitted the claim after business hours on Monday.
Thank you Otterbox!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
My cell phone contract was due for renewal in January. My wife's has been expired for a year or two, but she had been waiting for mine to expire in case we could get some kind of deal.
She had been wanting a smart phone for a while. I had one for 3 years, and HTC Touch Diamond, that I've been cursing at for 2 years. I swore I'd never get another touch-screen phone. They're fun for anything but using as a phone. As a phone, they're slow and awkward. Or at least mine was. Probably because it was using an older Windows Mobile as the operating system.
I looked around at some Android options. The touch-screen/keypad combos. I was leaning heavily to those that were free with a contract. Nothing really stood out with my carrier, Telus.
I've always thought that Apple products were overpriced, so the iPhone wasn't even a consideration. At first. But I have an iPod Nano that I won years ago, and I use iTunes to sync my music. If I had an iPhone, I could use it for my music, and as a phone, and to run some apps that I couldn't find on the Android. But it was a touch-screen only phone. And it was by Apple. And it wasn't free.
The upgrade price for a 16GB iPhone 4S was $160, and if I got one, I'd have to get my wife the same. It only made sense to not have to learn two phones to do stuff. I could go for the 4 or the 3GS which were cheaper and also free, but considering the phone would have to last at least 3 years for us, it didn't make sense to get the older technology. I suppose the 4S will be at least two versions old by the end of a 3 year contract.
I Tweeted questions out on the net to see what owners of iPhones had to say about their phone. What they liked and disliked about it. What the battery life was like. Everyone liked their phone and didn't really have anything negative to say about them.
After a little debate with my wife over pros and cons, we decided that we'd get the iPhone 4S. It wasn't free, but it did do everything we wanted it to do and that's imporant when you're "stuck" with it for 3 years. She has always leaned toward a Blackberry because many of her friends have or had one, but I don't think it mattered too much since I was paying for them. :)
I did a little web researching and found that the 3 big carriers, Telus, Rogers, and Bell all offer pretty much the same things at the same prices. Whatever happened to competition?
My wife called up Telus last Friday to see what kind of deal we could get to stay with them, over switching to the competition. We've been with Telus since they were ClearNet (14-15 years?) and we've never really had much trouble with them.
As soon as she explained to the rep why she was calling, she was transferred to someone who could make it happen. Without any trouble at all, she got them to throw in Call Display, Free Evenings and Weekends (after 6pm instead of 9pm), and waive the $25 activation fee. Plus, without any hassle, she got them to add that to my account as well to save me a call. She then called the Telus store at the St. Laurent Shopping Centre to make sure they had a white and a black iPhone 4S in stock. They did, and they put them aside for us.
We stopped by there later that evening and I have to say it was a very pleasant experience.
We were greeted almost immediately when we arrived. My wife explained why we were there and the rep went to find the person my wife spoke with on the phone, Mohamed. Minutes later, he came out from the back with both phones on-hand and escorted us to a quieter area at the back of the store to assist us.
While we were talking with him, my wife asked about the $50 accessory credit that the store offered for new phone purchases. He explained that it was only for new customers, but suggested that we could always call Telus and see if they'd offer us a similar credit. While he processed the paper work, my wife called them on her cell phone. Oddly enough, she spent more time on hold with this particular call than she did when she called from home.
While she was on hold, Mohamed explained the AppleCare Protection Plan. It was around $80, per phone, but gave us coverage for 2 years and a one-time replacement if the screen got broken. That was my biggest fear with the iPhone. I had dropped my old HTC two or three times in the past, and it survived, but the iPhone is glass. We agreed to buy the two plans and after the fact, Mohamed said he'd knock 20% off each one of those as well. Who discounts something after you agree to buy it? :)
My wife finally got through to someone on the phone and Telus said they couldn't give us an additional credit for the "accessories" since we already got credited for some things. Not a huge deal because Mohamed had already said he'd discount accessories 20% for us which was better than nothing.
In the end, we got the two phones, two AppleCare plans and two Otterbox cases. And he also put two additional reusable Telus shopping bags into our bag for fun. All in all, a very enjoyable experience. Mohamed wasn't pushy. It never once felt like he was trying to sell us something we didn't want. He was friendly and joked with our daughter while we waited. Above all, he was patient with us, answering every question we had, and didn't seem to mind waiting while my wife was on the phone with Telus to try and get us the accessory credit. He even spent time showing us the basics of using our new phones.
Yeh, we spent way more than we had originally planned, and it is touch-screen only, which I swore I'd never buy, but after a few days of playing with this phone and the 57 apps I've installed on it :) I'd have to say that it is worth it. The touch-screen does take a little getting used to, but it works way better than my old HTC Touch Diamond.
Kudos to Telus and their store reps, in particular Mohamed.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
A couple of months ago we took our 2008 Ford Escape to the dealership to get some front end repairs done under the extended warranty. In that same visit, we reported another problem where it felt like either the brakes were slipping, or the automatic transmission wasn't dropping down a gear when braking. It's hard to describe unless you actually feel it happen.
Anyway, the front end work was done and the second problem could not be reproduced. Admittedly, it was somewhat intermittent. Our extended warranty repair cost us $100 deductible.
Over the last few weeks, the ABS light and traction control lights were coming on, and staying on for anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour.
My wife made an appointment with our Ford Dealership for last Friday and brought it in. I did a little searching on the web and found that this is actually a fairly common problem with the Ford Escape. Nearly all of the posts that mentioned this problem said it was due to a cracked "tone ring". 58,500 hits when searching for "Ford Escape" and "tone ring".
Sure enough, one of the tone rings was cracked. They replaced the tone ring and the ABS sensor. This visit also cost us $100 (plus other charges for an oil change that we had done in the same visit)
During my internet search, I found one posting that said if you experience a slipping feeling while braking, it was likely due to a cracked tone ring.
That got me wondering if the tone ring replacement might also fix the other problem that we reported.
In the last two days of driving since it was replaced, we have not experienced any of the "slipping". I'm very confident in saying that the tone replacement did in fact fix it.
Now, I'm a little disappointed that this could have been fixed in the first visit, saving us the $100 deductible. But, seeing as how it was somewhat intermittent, I guess that could be excusible.
However, there are two tone rings and only one was replaced. It was explained to my wife, when she asked if both were replaced, that they could only replace one because they have to send the damaged part back to Ford. Since the other is not (yet?) cracked, they couldn't replace it.
That's a bit upsetting. The fact that this problem seems so common, it's probably safe to assume that the other will eventually crack. If it happens while our extended warranty is still valid (until August) it will cost us another $100 deductible. If we're not lucky and it cracks after the warranty is up, who knows what it'll cost us?
Some say that they were told the entire front axle needed replaced at the same time, costing them $500-$600 for the repair.
It would have been nice if Ford and/or the dealership were a little proactive in preventing a future visit and expense.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
- own an Xbox 360
- occasionally buy Xbox Live Points to purchase game DLC or Xbox Live Arcade titles
- are Canadian
... keep reading if you want to save a few bucks.
Microsoft sells Xbox Live points direct from the Xbox Live Marketplace for the following prices:
- 500 Microsoft Points - $7.25
- 1000 Microsoft Points - $14.50
- 2000 Microsoft Points - $29.00
- 5000 Microsoft Points - $72.00
- 6000 Microsoft Points - $87.00
Not taking tax into consideration, that works out to 1.45 cents per point, unless you buy 5000 points which works out to 1.44 cents per point. (oooh big savings there)
You can save a few more cents more by buying a 1400 or 2800 point card at Best Buy or Future Shop. At regular price, they sell them for:
- 1400 Microsoft Points - $19.99
- 2800 Microsoft Points - $39.99
That works out to ~1.43 cents per point. In comparison to Microsoft's pricing, 1000 points would cost you $14.28. Still not much of a savings. You'd probably spend more on gas driving to the store.
I think that's pretty much the standard pricing for those cards everywhere, unless they go on sale, and that's pretty rare.
There is another option that I don't think many people are aware of: Dell.ca.
Dell.ca sells Xbox Live point cards, as well as gaming consoles, games and accessories. Buying your Xbox Live point cards from Dell.ca will save you even more. On top of that, they have FREE SHIPPING and they also accept PayPal.
This is Dell's pricing scheme for points cards:
- 1400 Microsoft Points - $17.99
- 2800 Microsoft Points - $38.99
You can quickly see that the best bang for the buck is the 1400 point card. 1400 points is ~1.29 cents per point and 2800 points is ~1.39 cents per point. In comparison to Microsoft's pricing, 1000 points would cost you $12.85 — a savings of $1.65 before tax.
Granted, the convenience of having points instantly-when-you-need-them isn't there, but if you plan ahead you can save a few bucks and maybe buy that cool hat or outfit for your avatar. :) In my experience with Dell.ca, their shipping times are really good. Almost everything I've ever ordered from them has arrived within 2-3 days.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Last Thurday I discovered that my BMO Mastercard had been compromised.
I was buying gas at Esso using my Esso SpeedPass, which is linked to my Mastercard, and it was refused. I then tried to use my Mastercard and it was refused. I ended up paying cash.
When I arrived home there was a message from BMO Mastercard's Fraud department asking me to call them. I did, and was advised that there was a $1600 and an $1800 charge for The Source and Best Buy that triggered the lock on my card. I was advised to visit a local branch where they would take card of the forms I needed to sign, refuting those charges.
I walked up to a local branch that night, about 30 mins before closing time. Without going into too much detail about that experience, I spent about an hour there because the branches don't normally deal with Mastercard issues. Due to the postal strike it seems that they were put in that position without being notified. The staff at the branch were incredible in helping to resolve the issue with BMO over the phone.
The rep I spoke with on the phone, while at the branch, told me that I would receive my new card via courier in 2 business days. I should have received it on Monday. It is now Wednesday.
I called BMO Mastercard's customer service number. After a brief time on hold I was speaking with a rep who asked for my Mastercard number.
I told her the situation and said I could give my old number if that helped.
She immediately apologized and explained that due to a larger volume of requests for couriered cards, there was a backlog and that it may take an extra time to arrive. She offered to check on the status of mine, so I gave her the old card number.
After confirming some information to ensure that I was who I said I was, she advised me that my card had not yet been shipped. She apologized again and asked if I was travelling and in urgent need for the card. I explained that I have a recurring charge that was upcoming, but I could probably make arrangements to pay it another way if necessary. She thanked me and said if I could do that it would help a lot.
Then without even asking, she told me that my yearly $35 fee would be refunded for the inconvenience and I would also receive AirMiles for the charge I would not be able to apply to the card.
She also noted that I have been a customer for 9 years and thanked me for that.
To be honest, my biggest concern about not yet receiving the card was a fear that it had gotten lost, but I came away from this experience feeling like they actually cared.
Yeh, I could have gone off on a rant about how I shouldn't have been told 2 business days if it wasn't going to be 2 business days, but seriously, why bother? What would that accomplish? They made a decent attempt to compensate me for the inconvenience, and treated me like a person and not a number. I've been on the other end of the phone before, and I know that "shit happens". It was nice to see that the reps at BMO have the power to do little things like this without jumping through hoops.
Kudos to BMO.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I decided this week that I need a new bike. My 18 year-old lime green CCM mountain bike has seen better days. While it's still quite functional, there are things that I fear may fail at an inopportune time at some point in the near future. Besides, I really need a bike with front shocks to ride on some of the crappy roads we have here in Ottawa.
I first found a bike that came in a 23" frame: the KHS Alite 150. The reviews were pretty good, it's a good looking bike, and the price wouldn't break the bank.
I discovered that there were at least three retailers in the Ottawa area that carried KHS bikes. One of them was Dinardo's Skis and Wheels. They listed all of their bike models on their web site, along with prices. I liked that.
The other two retailers web sites referred you to the KHS web site for details, and they didn't list prices.
Being a somewhat smart shopper, I sent the other two emails on Tuesday morning asking if they had the bike with a 23" frame in stock, and how much they were selling it for.
On Wednesday, just over 24 hours later, I received one reply. They told me that they didn't have that model in stock, advised me that they had hybrid bikes in stock with a 23" frame and suggested I call the store. I still haden't heard from the other one.
I sent Dinardo's an email Wednesday morning asking if they had the KHS Alite 150 with a 23" frame in stock.
Within a few hours, I received a reply from Frank Dinardo. He told me it wasn't in stock, but if I ordered today I could have it by the weekend. In addition, he told me it was available in black for the 2011 model, or red in 2009 model.
I sent off a reply asking if their 15-30% sale would still apply if I ordered today but didn't pick up until Monday since we were going away for the weekend. I said I could drop by after work.
Once again, I got a reply within hours. Frank told me that the sale was for in stock merchandise only, but he also included special pricing for the 2009 and the 2011, if I dropped by today to pay and place the order.
That is how you gain a customer.
We drove out to the store in Bell's Corners after work to have a look and chat.
The staff were really helpful. I explained that I had an email exchange with Frank earlier and one of the employees said that Frank had mentioned it. We talked a bit about what my primary use would be. He explained that for the KHS Alite 150, he doesn't like to recommend it for anyone over 160lbs. My wife asked him what the alternatives would be. He showed me a 2010 Jamis Allegro 1X. I guess you would call this a hybrid. Jamis calls this a "Cross-training" bike. For my use, which is mostly street and bike paths, he recommended it over the KHS Alite 150.
I had never really considered a hybrid style bike. The frame, even though it was a 21" was certainly large enough. It's actually a closer match to my 22" CCM frame than the KHS Alite. The tires are narrower than a mountain bike, but wider than a racing bike. I'm not sure what the wheel size is, but they do look pretty large as well.
He asked me if I wanted to take it for a test ride. He pumped up the tires, handed me a helmet and let me take it outside. I liked it. It felt good. It felt a lot like my old bike, size-wise. It felt large.
The regular price of this bike was over $700, but it was on sale for $549. It was a bit more than I had planned on spending on the Alite 150, but all things considered, if I could make this last half as long as my last bike, I'd be happy. Plus, I genuinely felt like I was getting good service.
That was enough for me. I picked out a carrier, a saddle bag, bottle holder, and handlebar extensions. He took the time to explain a few things about the disc brakes, some basic maintenance to keep it in good running condition, and said I should bring it back in 2-8 weeks for a free warranty inspection because cables, etc. will stretch from usage and adjustments might need to be made. After paying, he took the bike to the back room to install the accessories for me and make a few adjustments.
While we were waiting, Frank appeared and introduced himself. We chatted about the bike, and cycling in general. Seems like a nice guy. It was a little after 6:00pm when I got the bike and was on my way.
I have to say that my overall experience was a really good one. I was impressed with the email communication and professionalism in the store. They clearly wanted my business and they got it.
How good is the bike? I can't really say yet since I haven't ridden it for more than the test ride at the store. I won't have much time to ride it before the weekend, but I'm off work all next week so I'm definitely going to take it out often.
Incidentally, I did get a reply from the second store I emailed yesterday. The reply arrived earlier this evening, after I got home. They told me that they didn't have the KHS Alite 150 in stock, but recommended another very similar model, same style, different brand, and it was on sale. The price was a little more than I paid for my Jamis. I guess it didn't really matter in the end since the price compared to KHS at Dinardo's was quite different, but to their credit they did reply with useful information. Unfortunately for them, not as quick as Dinardo's.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
I love T-shirts. I love free promo T-shirts. Give me a free promo T-shirt and I'll wear it. Guaranteed. (within reason, of course...)
What I've always hated is that more often than not that free promo T-shirt is either an XL or an L size. Being an XXL free promo T-shirt lover sucks.
In many cases — if I really liked the T-shirt — I'd tuck it away in my drawer for "I'll fit in this one day..."
That day has finally arrived.
This morning, while looking for something to wear, I came across a few of those T-shirts. I picked one out and tried it on.
It fit! It's not tight or even snug, it's a comfortable fit! I think it's an XL. I don't want to take it off to check for fear that I'll wake up from a dream. :) But I can say that this particular one never fit me and I've had it for about 2 years.
I was half-tempted to try some others on, but I decided to wait and leave them for another day so I can be just as surprised.
It's little things like this that keep me motivated to continue my weight loss. I've got about 30lbs still to go. My friends and family tell me that I'll be too skinny at 200 lbs. I can't rememeber if I looked too skinny when I was that weight in my late teens/early 20s (I was the same height). All I remember is that I've been self-concious about my weight nearly all my life, except for a short time when I was in the military and lost most of it, and I've never been told I was too skinny.
My doc says I should be 190 lbs. 200 lbs is the goal, but I'm pretty sure that I'll be happy at 210 lbs, but I won't know for sure until I get there.
I can't believe that I'm actually half-way to the goal. Go me go. :)
Monday, March 7, 2011
I'm a believer that a product is only as good as the support that backs it. Unfortunately for CrashPlan, this is where their product falls short.CrashPlan is a data backup service. For free, you can back up your data to an external hard drive, or to a friend's PC across the internet. For a subscription fee, you can also back up your data to their servers — CrashPlan Central. The big draw to their service is that they have an unlimited data backup subscription.Some time at the beginning of February, I decided to try out their 30-day trial of the service. It worked well. So well that I was impressed enough to subscribe for their 4-year unlimited plan within days of trying it.After activating my subscription and backing up more data to their servers, I noticed that most of my data was no longer appearing under the restore option.I used the search function to look for files that I knew I had backed up. It found them, so I was confident that they had the data backed up. But that's not very functional if I needed to restore a folder full of files where I may not know the names of every file in that folder.I logged onto their web site and submitted a support ticket. Within minutes I received an automatic reply informing me that I could expect a response within one business day.Two business days passed with no response.Only after expressing my displeasure on Twitter, twice, about not receiving any response I received one — two weeks after the original submission.They asked for more info and screen shots. They also apologized and credited me 30 days. I provided the requested info immediately.Another week passed with no follow-up. Again, via Twitter, I got another apology and then a reply to my support request appeared in my email inbox. This time they asked for the log files, and instructed me on how to provide them. I provided them.As of today, that was two responses in 26 days, and no solution, and I think the only reason I got any response at all was because I commented publicly on Twitter. Or was it a coincidence? Twice? I have serious doubts that I would have received any response if I had remained quiet. I have since seen other people comment, in their support forum and on Twitter, about the response times.My original intent was to wait a full four weeks before canceling, but the more I thought about it this morning, the more I asked myself "Why?" Why should I bother? They've had almost four weeks to at least provide me with a little hope that my issue would be resolved soon. And what if I needed that backed up data immediately? Could I trust that they would be there to help me when I needed them?Nope.I logged onto my account and tried to cancel. It failed, and informed me to contact email@example.com. If there were any doubts in my mind about the decision before this, they were gone now.It took three or four attempts to cancel before it actually worked. Oddly enough, the one that worked was the one where I didn't bother to add a reason for canceling.Minutes later, I received an email from CrashPlan informing me that my subscription was canceled and a refund — minus $2.86 for the month used(?)... so much for that 30-day credit — would be issued.It's too bad that they weren't as quick to keep a customer as they were to let one go.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I'm not quite ready to turn up the rant volume yet. Depending on how this next week goes, I may have a fairly beefy blog posting to put up. I've been keeping notes — a small diary of sorts. Next Wednesday will be the day, if things don't change in the next six or seven days..
Even then, I may still post something about it. I haven't decided. Stay tuned.
As an aside, yes, stuff is still broken and missing here on my Posterous blog. I'm serious considering dumping this and going back to only posting on my Blogspot "mirror". As with the aforementioned service, I can't trust something that loses my data. I'm glad I kept up the cross posting.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Not my hydro bill!
Remember my "Killing Watts" post from October 1st? The one where I ranted about our $414.49 hydro bill and our planned efforts to reduce it for the next billing?
That next billing was today and our bill for the last two months is $213.13.
It's kinda hard to believe that changing all of our bulbs to CF bulbs made that much of a difference, so I'd like to think that it was mainly through the efforts of my family being more vigilant about the lights and electronics that they may leave on. Whatever the reasons, they all added up and made a difference.
As I mentioned then, I will be sharing some of the savings with my kids as well. I decided that they would share in any savings below $250. The point was to make them realize that whenever they leave a light on or the TV on, they'd be cutting into their profits. I'll round it off to an even $20 each. :)
With winter approaching, it'll be interesting to see if we can do it again for the next two months.