Category Archives: big brands

TomTom – NO!

Crunchwear.com describes the TomTom Touch Cardio as a “sleek new design and optical heart-rate monitoring”.  Sadly it’s not a TomTom Go – it’s a TomTom – NO!!

Normally you, as a company with a new product imminent, will tease the media, maybe even handing out review units, to encourage people to review it – hopefully favourably, well they didn’t send me one 😦

That slight aside, I have had the chance to read the Crunchwear review and the TomTom website product information – and there are a couple of issues I’d like to bring your attention to.

First off the review on Feb 8th ends up with a message saying that it will available in March at £89.99 – the company’s website says £129.99! Wow that’s a big difference for a product which, “body composition” apart, is inferior to the Xiaomi Mi Band2 which only costs around £35. 

And, secondly, not only is it a fraction of the price it’s also waterproof.  Why oh why did TomTom not make this premium priced device waterproof?   As their website says “Do not immerse in water (swimming, surfing, bathing)” – while, at the same time, exhorting me to wear it all day!  Doh!

These lapses worry me.  I’d expect a company such as TomTom to have got  their collective s**t together – this isn’t the first wearable device they’ve launched.

There have been enough generations of wearables for companies to realise what the customer actually wants (don’t even get me started on the “notifications” that it delivers – yawn!!  So friends, despite the device being made to TomTom’s usual high technical  standards and build quality (like I said I’m inferring this as they didn’t send me a review copy – harrumph) I can’t recommend you buy this – #WTRSAYSNO!

 

 

Sorry, vodafone, I just don’t have the time

I’ve just organised a new phone deal for my son. Yea gods it was worth than pulling teeth. Clearly Vodafone staff have been told to drag their heels, refuse to listen to their customers and blatantly waste their time in an attempt to get them to give up trying to leave!

For your delectation I give you – in it’s full glory – the 30 minutes of my life I won’t get back – and this after having spent an earlier section of the chat trying to gain access to my online account!!

Info at 12:51, Mar 6:
Please wait while you’re being transferred to the appropriate team.
Info at 12:51, Mar 6:
You’re now chatting with Lydia Georgia. Please note this conversation may be recorded for training and quality purposes. For more information on how we handle your personal data please visit our privacy policy at vodafone.co.uk/privacy.

Lydia Georgia at 12:51, Mar 6:
Hi, you’re speaking with Lydia today one of Vodafone’s retention specialists, I can see that this chat has been transferred from another department, please allow me a few moments to read back your previous chat.

Lydia Georgia at 12:53, Mar 6:
Good Afternoon Adrian, I hope you are well
I understand the number in question is xxxxxxx, bear with me a moment whilst I load your account on my system

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 12:56, Mar 6:
??

Lydia Georgia at 12:57, Mar 6:
I can see you have already been through security with the previous agent
Lydia Georgia at 12:57, Mar 6:
I understand you are looking for a PAC code with your number, May I ask why you have decided to not upgrade this pay monthly service with Vodafone?

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 12:57, Mar 6:
Because I can get a better deal elsewhere

Lydia Georgia at 12:57, Mar 6:
Would you be kind enough as to share the deal you have seen else where with me please?

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 12:58, Mar 6:
no

Lydia Georgia at 12:59, Mar 6:
The reason I ask is that I work in a very flexible team here and as such are able to offer you some great discounts to reward you for your loyalty that you may not be aware of.

I can offer you fantastic discounts on both handsets or SIM only plans – Would you be looking to upgrade to a new phone?

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:00, Mar 6:
I’ve done my research already. If you really cared you would have offered better deals on your website – as we know better deals are always ogfered to new customers than existing customers- that’s just the way you guys work – you don’t reward loyalty enough!
CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:03, Mar 6:
??

Lydia Georgia at 13:03, Mar 6:
I can see you have been with us for a very long time now Adrian, I completely understand you’re looking to reduce the costs when it comes to an upgrade – I’m like that myself with my pay monthly agreements and want to get the best possible for my money.

It would be a shame to waste such good deals and offers and lose a valued and loyal customer like yourself.
I do respect your decision to leave but I can often tailor make a plan to suit your needs and usage, if you tell me what is important to you for your plan and budget then I will see exactly what we can get you today, it’s always worth a look

Lydia Georgia at 13:05, Mar 6:
I can look into your usage for you as well to find the best possible plan for your upgrade whether it is a handset or a SIM only plan

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:06, Mar 6:
Right now I’m thinking to myslef that you are wasting my time. You are already going to charge me an early termination charge – perhaps I should counter charge you for wasting my time….

Lydia Georgia at 13:07, Mar 6:
I can see you are within the last 30 days of your agreement Adrian so if you were to cancel or request a PAC code you will only receive a final bill and there would be no early termination charge.

If you were to upgrade as well there would be no charges included either

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:09, Mar 6:
So issue me with the PAC code I requested – I can see from my bill I’ve already paid you up to 3rd April…

Lydia Georgia at 13:10, Mar 6:
Yes but from when you use your PAC code a final bill will be generated – this will be for the usage up until your number has transferred to your new network provider

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:10, Mar 6:
So I’ll be issued a credit if I can get things sorted quicker then….

Lydia Georgia at 13:11, Mar 6:
Once you have been disconnected, the final bill for the number will be created on the next billing date after the disconnection has occurred, this bill will include confirmation of the disconnection and any refunds for extra line rentals paid the previous month.

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:12, Mar 6:
still waiting….

Lydia Georgia at 13:12, Mar 6:
Looking at your usage as an example of what we can offer – for a SIM only with your discount in mind I can offer you 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of 4G data on a 12 month SIM only plan for £9.00 per month including VAT

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:13, Mar 6:
FFS enough – I have given you the required notice that I am not going to renew or extend my contract with you. Please issue me with a PAC which I can take to my new provider!

Lydia Georgia at 13:15, Mar 6:
Certainly, I understand. The only reason I am asking as above is because as you will appreciate I have a job to do and as part of the retention’s department I also have to look into retaining a customer as well.

I appreciate that you are busy, we can certainly help you with your request today as quickly as possible. We would however, not like to you to make any hasty decisions to leave though as we are here to make sure you are offered the best plan.

Lydia Georgia at 13:15, Mar 6:
I can finish that request for a PAC code now, bear with me a moment please

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:16, Mar 6:
No you are wasting my time…22 minutes of it to be precise so far

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:17, Mar 6:
Finally!!

Lydia Georgia at 13:17, Mar 6:
Won’t be a moment 🙂

Lydia Georgia at 13:19, Mar 6:
You will receive the PAC via an SMS, which will be sent in the next 2 hours.
It will be sent directly to the mobile phone number to which it is assigned, and will be valid for 30 days only.
Once you have been disconnected, the final bill for the number will be created on the next billing date after the disconnection has occurred, this bill will include confirmation of the disconnection and any refunds for extra line rentals paid the previous month.

Please note you must use your PAC to disconnect the number, you do this by supplying your new provider with the PAC, if you do not use the PAC within the validity period of 30 days your service will remain connected and you will continue to be billed monthly for the number.
Lydia Georgia at 13:21, Mar 6:
Is there anything else I can help you out with at all today ?

…and now you see the reason for the title of this post!!

Amazon using bullying techniques – Jeff Bezos must be a friend of Trumps!

OK let’s set this in context – I love the Amazon Echo. It’s fab. OK it’s expensive to automate your home still but the future of devices such as the Echo are massive. I bought mine from the states and had it shipped over here months ago I was so keen to get my hands on one. Well as of today my views on it have changed dramatically!

Simon, the chap who has been running http://www.amazonechouk.com has received a letter from Amazon’s lawyers telling to take the site down.

Now I can understand Amazon wanting control of the url – that is one thing. Surely the decent thing – as the site is so positive about the device – would have been to make an offer to buy it – wouldn’t it? Or to tell him that he really should change the url becuase it could be thought of as an official Amazon site – that’s fair enough.

But bullying tactics are the worst possible way to try and achieve this. Not only will the community find alternative ways of discussing the Echo – and what a bunch of monkeys amazon clearly are in other ways btu the reputation of Amazon and the echo has been severely damaged – potentially fatally. Two words…. Google Home!

Google Home

If you want to find out how to get one here in the uk – click this link. The AI already sounds as though it might be better than Amazon’s

Personally I’m both disappointed and outraged that Amazon should act in this way. And I’m not the only one. This is the conversation on the site form this morning….

I am posting this without having any connection to Simon other than as a user of his site. I have not asked his permission to do this. It is a freedom of speech issue.

Amazon have demanded this site is taken down
Date: December 1, 2016
Author: Simon
24 Comments
Today I received a letter from Amazon lawyers saying that this site, which has set out to help Amazon echo owners, be removed.

For that reason there will be some changes around here. As I was doing this just for fun and to help people with the echo, and made no money from the site it’s not worth me helping them any more. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.

I hope I helped people and want to say thank you everyone who has commented or just read the posts, there was a really positive community growing here and people were always polite and kind to each other, something that is rare on-line these days.

Take care and good luck.

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In “Echo News”
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In “what is the amazon echo?”

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24 THOUGHTS ON “AMAZON HAVE DEMANDED THIS SITE IS TAKEN DOWN” Add Comment
marcoscu222
December 1, 2016 at 9:09 pm
How mean spirited of them and makes me all the more inclined to believe the horror stories I have read about how Amazon is run.

Roll on the Google Home in the UK.

Liked by 1 person

Reply
Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:17 pm
I’m so disappointed. If they’d just politely contacted me and asked me if I could work with them or perhaps offer to run the site for me, I’d have been fine with it, but to be. Threatened by a legal team is low.

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musingsonmatters
December 2, 2016 at 9:21 am
Exactly – talk about shooting yourself in the foot! I’ve used my Echo account to send some feedback to customer services – expressing the very same view!!

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Mark Reed
December 1, 2016 at 9:18 pm
As owner of highly respected Hardware review site hardwareHeaven.com I am very disappointed in Amazon for this move. My 12 year old Son and I have happily been playing with that Amazon echo, Alexa and apps for nine months now. I wanted to use the device to help him understand how voice and AI will shape the next 10 years. Sites like this help Early adopters get a head start and can help nurture excitement of new technology. Very, very, very disappointed in Amazon

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:24 pm
Thank you for your comment! Love your site!

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joes4u
December 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm
I’m going to return my echo and never shop on Amazon again.

My wife and I spent £15k on there so far this year. We buy everything on there. I should I say bought…

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:28 pm
Thank you but you know what, we like their cheap prices and stuff… It’s our own making and I’m as guilty as anyone for supporting it. I will try to shop elsewhere now but I’ll probably find myself back on there from time to time. I feel a bit sad though, enjoyed writing on this site!

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Andrew
December 1, 2016 at 9:31 pm
Is there an email address we can all write to, to tell them the great service you have done them? It is down, at least in part, to your posts that I ran out and bought one; they should be grateful to you.
Many thanks

Liked by 2 people

Reply
Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm
I don’t think it would help, the letter came from a legal firm, on behalf of Amazon, so they aren’t even talking to me. They never even tried to contact me.

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:36 pm
It is a good point though, on launch day alone my stats showed that over 150 people linked from my post onto the Amazon echo page. I guess thousands will have gone there over the life of the site.

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musingsonmatters
December 2, 2016 at 9:22 am
If you’ve got an Echo account you can contact customer services that way.

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Phillip
December 1, 2016 at 9:48 pm
What a self-defeating piece of stupidity from Amazon. Shame you cant post the letter and leave that up for everyone to see…. or can you …. I’d love to understand their grounds for the demand.

Liked by 1 person

Reply
Simon
December 1, 2016 at 10:02 pm
I’m not going to push it, slightly worried that they’ll attack me just for this post!

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Phillip
December 1, 2016 at 10:08 pm
I fully understand. I assume the heavy tactics are because they think you are usurping a domain name that makes it look like an official amazon domain and confusing customer? No need to answer of course. Still think its rotten.

Liked by 1 person

Simon
December 1, 2016 at 10:15 pm
I think that’s what they’re saying but it’s hard to understand to be honest. They’re not clear or specific. Luckily I was just writing my new novel “echoes of the Amazon” so I can reuse the URL! What a treat

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 10:19 pm
The thing is, this site was running way before Amazon announced plans to come to the UK, so it was a reasonable URL to take surely. Urgh, I don’t know.

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gardmal
December 2, 2016 at 5:28 am
They wont.

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Phillip
December 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm
Additionally : I have just submitted my review of the dot and echo and explicitly mentioned their heavy handed demand to remove the only useful resource I’ve found (other than their gibberish marketing guff promising features that … drum roll … dont exist in the UK….) Perhaps a few more comments might get their attention (if they post them that is….)

Liked by 1 person

Reply
gardmal
December 2, 2016 at 5:27 am
It is disappointing that Amazon did recognise the value of the site and instead of closing it supported instead. I share Philips view that it is the domain name that they have issue with rather than the contents of the site. My instincts would be to make a counter offer, which the lawyers are obliged to take to their client. As it is, there is nothing to stop you from moving the site to a new less contentious domain name, Lose any branding that may make it look like amazon and retain the existing domain name or sell to Amazon.

The objective here for the Amazon Lawyer is get the domain back onto the market so that Amazon can buy it. I would hang on to it and if Amazon want it let them buy it from you. You could also redirect the domain to something like “http://ok-google.io/”. That would irritate them but not much they could do about it. Also I doubt the lawyers can do much about the your service if it is on a different domain. You are in the UK and you are protected by freedom of speech laws.

Their only real beef if they can show that you are intentionally (or even unintentionally) passing yourself off as Amazon. Caveats on your site and postings stating clearly that you are not Amazon and do not speak for them would put paid to that complaint.

My advice is don’t panic, stand your ground, ask them what they want, not what are they demanding. It would be a pity to see this site and your service to close because of heavy handedness.

Just remember the Amazon brand is important to them, and protecting it and obtaining that domain name is what this is all about. The brand is trademarked but they would have to show that you intended to pass yourself off as Amazon or that their business was harmed by your posing as Amazon. The Courts are littered with these kind of cases but the bully tacits create fear at the start often gets companies like Amazon what they want early doors. Plus you do come up on page one when you type “Amazon Echo UK” but you are not at the tip.

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Stuart
December 2, 2016 at 8:24 am
Hi Simon,

What a shame! I really enjoyed this site, I came across it after pre-ordering the Echo, which I love by the way!

I am a Paralegal in a firm of Solicitors, and for what it’s worth, I agree with gardmal’s post timed at 2nd December 2016 5:27am (who is obviously an early bird!). It is scary to be contacted by lawyers, but a lot of those type of letters are designed to frighten the “lay person” into backing down, when actually that person is perfectly entitled to do what they are doing. Unfortunately most people cannot afford to instruct lawyers of their own to call their bluff.

There is no harm in going back to them along the lines gardmal suggests – you can down the site temporarily and can always bring it back up again? It may be they just want the domain name, and you can re-open the site under a different name or something?

Anyway – thanks for running the site to date and good luck!

Stuart

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Simon
December 2, 2016 at 8:36 am
Thanks Stuart, I think they want the URL so I’m going to use it as a site about the Amazon rainforest. Perhaps a novel…simply to not give in to what they want. I’ll see if I can keep the rest of the site on a free platform somehow, perhaps change the name…any suggestions?!

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Paul
December 2, 2016 at 8:37 am
I suggest this post is shared with their media targets also – Stuff, T3, CNet, Engadget, TechRadar, Huffington Post UK, Business Insider, BBC Tech, The Register etc – all of which have carried news coverage of the echo and some on getting it configured etc.

Also I would do it soon as the Amazon marketing guys in the US are pushing out stoies about the next wave of updates to Alexa AI.

All those outlets have editorial contact emails – email the outlets individually

stuff@haymarket.com
dan.grabham@futurenet.com, duncan.bell@futurenet.com, rob.carney@futurenet.com, gerald.lynch@futurenet.com, news@techradar.com
https://www.cnet.com/uk/profiles/caspertek/
https://www.engadget.com/about/tips/
HuffPostUK@huffingtonpost.com
sai@businessinsider.com
news@theregister.co.uk

The more people who tell them the more likely it will be picked up – plus do it sooner rather than later…

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Simon
December 2, 2016 at 8:51 am
I really appreciate it Paul but I dont have the time or money to try to fight any kind of campaign. I’m just going to fold unfortunately. As I said, I did this for fun…there are adverts on the site but since conception it has made £20 and the costs are above that so it costs me money to run it. It’s no fun if the company I was kind of helping are out to close me down. It just feels so over the top.

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musingsonmatters
December 2, 2016 at 9:13 am
There’s some good advice in the comments already and I agree they want the domain name for themselves. As others have said get the content onto another url and remove any intentional or unintentional Amazon branding.

If they continue to go down this heavy handed route then they will alienate loyal users of the echo who will start to think hmmm maybe Google’s Home will be a better alternative!

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Reply

Weather it’s enough to keep you connected

Yes I did mean to type that that headline title! It’s a play on words people… I’ve just read an article in the Guardian (well online actually) where Alex Hern writes that he has “finally taken off the Apple Watch for the last time”.

It took me nine months to realise it, but the only useful thing about Apple’s £479 smartwatch was the weather notifications

Ouch!! But it’s a sentiment that I share…I stopped wearing my Microsoft Band2 a couple of weeks ago – my Mi Band Puls is still on my right wrist, my proper watch on my left!

The author completely nails the issue in a single (but quite long) sentence:

“….a few fundamental flaws of the watch suffice to explain 95% of the issues: the watch is too slow to act as a speedy alternative to your phone; the user interface is too fiddly to use on the move; the notification model is too limited to do anything other than encourage you to pull out your phone repeatedly; and Siri sucks.

A similar catalogue or errors can be applied to the MS Band2. It’s too clumpy, it requires too much manual intervention to track activity, the battery sucks and it isn’t waterproof.

So, here we have 2 of the largest bands in the world taking £billions of our money and still not getting the point.

The technology is supposed to improve our lives, makers things easier to do, make things better and do things we wouldn’t previously been able to do. So instead of ramming tech into a small space with a tiny screen and a crappy battery why not think what the customer actually wants….

  1. Something comfortable and stylish to wear 24/7.
  2. Excellent battery life
  3. A touchscreen I can read outdoors
  4. Notifications that mean something
  5. health/activity tracking – the standard package
  6. Waterproof

I’d suggest using an e-ink screen with a horizontal display as a starting point…..Fitbit Alpha sort of size for the whole shebang and sure I’d be happy to pay £200 for that because as long as the software/firmware keeps getting updated the device should last me for years, not just a few months which appears to be the current lifetime for some of the devices on the market- alright almost all of them!!!

Perhaps the industry’s desire to keep making us buy the next iteration (to keep their profits rolling in) is why they keep dumping these half-arsed products on the market. Nobody, as I mean NOBODY has got it right yet.

So if there’s someone out there with a couple of £million to spare I reckon I could come up with the goods in a few months – all I need is a few techies to integrate the stuff that’s already out there in the public domain – and yes, I am being serious here!!

Move over Alexa, Viv’s the new kid on the block

Well frighteningly is the answer – and so too is Kayak – you know the mob that sponsor some Sky TV channels to break into the UK market.

I’ve long been an admirer (and owner) of an Amazon Echo but I am appalled at how long it’s taking them to allow the device to be sold outside of the USA – but the following copy from the Kayak site just sums them up perfectly…

Alexa, ask KAYAK…

For anyone who has already begun their love affair with Amazon Echo – or for those of you thinking about getting an Alexa-enabled device – we’ve got great news.

KAYAK is collaborating with Amazon so you can access the power of our site without picking up your phone or computer. Just tell Alexa to ask KAYAK to keep you up to date on flight arrivals and departures that are important to you, to give you ideas for where you can go within your budget and to search hotels, flights and rental cars for the destination of your choice. At your command, she’s ready to give you the travel info you need.

Picture this…

Dinner time at the Jones’

“Alexa, ask KAYAK where can I go for $300?”

(No, Cindy, Princess Pony Sugar Castle isn’t an actual place.)

“KAYAK’s data suggests that $300 can get you to Chicago, Miami or Denver.”*

and then this…

Your in-laws are on their way over. You still haven’t recovered from their last visit.

“Alexa, ask KAYAK when will the flight from Austin land?”

*crosses fingers for flight delay*

“Flight 123 will arrive at 9:14am in Terminal C.”

…and this…

You are invited to a bachelor(ette) party in Vegas. To go… or not to go?

“Alexa, how much is a hotel in Las Vegas from May 12th to May 15?”

“Three star hotels start at $56 per night. Hotels with four stars start at $74 per night. One of the top results for Las Vegas on those dates is Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, a 4 star hotel, for $187 per night.”

Can’t imagine yourself in those scenarios? But, wait, there’s more…

Alexa, ask KAYAK to search hotels for May 12 to 15th in San Diego.
Alexa, ask KAYAK where I can go in September for $500.
Alexa, ask KAYAK to search flights from Boston to Curacao.
Alexa, ask KAYAK to search rental cars in Denver.

We’re working to make Alexa a KAYAK travel expert so that she can arm you with the information you need to help plan, track and inspire your next trip.

Click here more details, FAQs and a list of commands.
*Results based on a recent search on KAYAK. Ask Alexa or visit Explore to see where $300 can take you based on your departure city.
POSTED MAY 9, 2016 AT 06:54 PM BY KAYAK

The only slight glimmer of hope is, and this is probably only in the copy because the people at Amazon didn’t realise, that Curacao is not on mainland America! [I hope to god that the people at Kayak did realise!]

“We’re working to make Alexa a KAYAK travel expert” – fat chance of that ever happening at this rate!!

Alexa has got to start pulling her socks up as there’s a new kid on the block “Viv” – http://viv.ai/

Check this out!!!

“Wake up and smell the caw-fee” Alexa 🙂

It’s true, I’ve fallen out of love with my Microsoft Band2

msb2.fwIt’s just come back after being replaced and it no longer delivers what I’m looking for. The minuses definitely outweigh the plusses.

The pluses are that it tracks your movement has some funky tiles you can add and has a great screen for showing you all the notifications you want to see/read!

The minuses are that the battery lasts about 2 days, if you’re lucky, and when it dies you have to start from scratch – when you charge it up again it no longer syncs with my phone – and yes I have followed all the things on the website – and frankly I’m bored with having to factory reset it and start all over again.

Now this may be down to a faulty bluetooth chip or it may be standard operating procedure. Either way it’s a pain in the proverbial!

Another minus is that it is NOT waterproof so you need to take it off when you get in the shower or do some serious washing up or go swimming… I want a device that I can put on and almost forget about – I only want to know it’s there when I get an alert about something…

I could totally understand that the first MS Band was a clunky thing with a prototype feel to it but given the information that’s out there I would have expected MS Band2 to have nailed it. Sure it looks better but it still can’t cut it battery-wise and seems to have some serious reliability issues – my first Band1 just literally fell apart – this is my 2nd Band2 and it seems rather flaky!! We’re getting near to summer so I fully expect there’ll be a Band 3 around soon – but I for one will not be buying it!

I’ve seen the most recent PWC report on wearable uptake in the US which seems wildly overoptimistic – http://www.pwc.com/us/en/technology/publications/wearable-technology.html – and heard about the number of people who stop using their device – boredom caused by a limited range of functions, poor battery life, and having to do too much manually rather than have the device do it automatically – these are more are perfectly good reasons to ditch your device. So…why haven’t the manufacturers grasped this? I really don’t know – if I was a device manufacturer I’d be seeking to include the following:

  1. Waterproof
  2. e-Ink screen
  3. Notifications
  4. Slim-lightweight design
  5. Heart rate tracking
  6. Pulse OX
  7. Blood Pressure yes it’s possible
  8. Movement tracking – steps, altimeter, power rating
  9. Automatic sensing of exercise type

…and we are getting there people – look at the Garmin Forerunner 735XT – it’s not perfect, it doesn’t have everything on my list but it is non-too shabby! I’ll be happy to review one for you guys!!

I’m also getting increasingly frustrated by MS’ customer service. Every time I try and get to “chat” to someone I get this:

Chat online

Our support agents are chatting with other customers right now. You can request a call back instead or try back later.

Operating Hours
Monday to Friday:
08:00 – 19:00 (UTC)

Saturday:
09:00 – 19:00 (UTC)
Or
Request a call

Average Wait Time is 4 minutes.
We will call you at the number listed below.

…I’m not falling for that one again. Last time I was left hanging on when they called me back – it’s not 4 minutes until you get to speak to someone – they’ll call you but then you’re in an interminable queue!

Unless this is a standard feature of the device – the failure to re-sync when recharged (which is pretty crap!) – then that’s twice it’s failed me and that’s refund time as far as I’m concerned!

Oh dear me no Microsoft, no, no, no!!

Now up till the past couple of weeks I’ve been a staunch supporter of the Microsoft Band – I’m on version 2 and apart from the 3 weeks when I had to return it because it stopped working I’ve loved the combination of tracking movement and alerting. But now I feel something has changed….

It all started because I’ve been using Spotify a bit more than usual and that plus my flaky home broadband (thanks BT!) I’ve had to resort to 2G/3G/4G – depends where I am! Anyway I got a text from BT (yep them again!) saying I’d used over 80% of my monthly limit – so I had a look and it transpires I’ve used almost 500 mb of “background” data with Spotify. So I switched if off.

Well now it seems my new MS Band 2 isn’t recognised by my phone….and that reminded me of another occasion where I’d switched off data and it stopped updating my health account.

broken_band
OK I know this is an image of the first version of the band – my band btw which fell apart – and which MS said as it was the join between the clasp and the band it was outside of their guarantee!!
Maybe unless the MSBand can be connected to the internet it (as well as not updating, which is totally understandable) it doesn’t even connect to your phone. Even though background data is turned off I can still get my emails!! Well I kinda hope that’s the problem – if not it means the band is buggered again…and if that’s the case I might just ask for my money back!!

A little digging into the data settings shows the following:

Microsoft Health data usage:

Foregound 1.08MB
Background 71.5MB

Well there you go people QED? – it’s either Spotify or MSBand2! Well given that I also wear a Mi2 Band – and believe me if they get it right with their new device (hopefully not the butt ugly thing the CEO was wearing recently) which is purported to have a screen as well as all the other stuff it already does, then Microsoft – you’re history!!

I’m just going to try a re-boot – of both devices….

Yep as I thought – the same situation. My phone doesn’t link with the MS Band! But one final thing before I get onto the MS support…I’ll switch back on background data and see if it connects – ah, ok it doesn’t – so the bluetooth part isn’t working!

Well that’s fine and dandy – I’ve only had the device back for about a week or so and already it’s playing up. Not impressed at all.

Over to Microsoft support – AGAIN!!

OK as I’d already got various emails from MS support updating me on my device’s progress I thought I’d reply to one….well dear readers their response arrived fairly promptly but it’s BIG FAIL on several parts.

Response to your Email
Actions
Microsoft Support (support@status.xbox.com) Add to contacts 10:52
To: xxxxxx.xxxx.com
support@status.xbox.com
From: Microsoft Support (support@status.xbox.com) Microsoft SmartScreen classified this message as junk.
Sent: 09 May 2016 10:52:39
To: xxxxxx.xxxx.com
Microsoft SmartScreen marked this message as junk and we’ll delete it after ten days.
Wait, it’s safe!|I’m not sure. Let me check
This e-mail address is not monitored. If you need to contact us, our contact information is available online at http://www.xbox.com/support/contact.

Thank you,

The Xbox Support Team

  1. So for starters it’s an email which isn’t monitored – so to use that for communication is shockingly bad CRM!
  2. Secondly it was highlighted by their own software as Spam and ended up in my junk folder.
  3. Thirdly it’s from the XBOX team – when did I ever contact them? Answer never!!

C’mon guys – get a grip!!

Wikipedia – it’s a secret sect you know!

secret societies I do a bit web building for fun sometimes and I’ve been working on a wikipedia page for a while – it’s just been deleted.  I was told there was a discussion about it but I wasn’t told that it had been deleted….I am not a happy bunny! So I’ve told them – and I’ll tell you too 🙂

As I have just been informed that several hours of my work has been deleted I wanted to write and say just how disappointed I was with the decision. Disappointed on several levels

  1. The clique that edits wikipedia pages seems to have double standards
  2. You use your own language – you don’t make it easy for occasional editors/creators such as myself
  3. Your system of communication is not user friendly

So let’s look at Double Standards – XXX XXX’s page was deleted – yet Linda Morand‘s is allowed to exist without attack – despite the individual being no more “notable” and having no more references that can be proven within the confines of the web. And whilst I’ll accept that Naomi Campbell is far more notable to claim that XXX’s page was “self-promotion” when Naomi Campbell‘s isn’t??? That’s just ludicrous.

Your own coding, your own language your own little discussion groups and committees – it’s like the inner workings of the catholic church or some sect. It’s seems that you make your won rules and then ignore them when it takes your fancy!

Communication – well for those of us who do not only live within the wiki-world we have other means of communication – one’s we are required to give wikipedia when we register and ones we are far more likely to use (email perhaps!). I was aware that there was a discussion but I was not personally informed that the page was being deleted – nor that someone had decided that I had a conflict of interest in this matter. Where was the notification of that.

I don’t expect the situation to be resolved anytime soon but it made me sooo mad!!

Sounding Off about Amazon Music problems

Now this is a strange one dear readers!

I recently decided to factory reset my OnePlus Two as it was running a bit slow – laggy!  It started off blazingly fast!  I’d thought about rooting it and installing CM13…

…but I’ve decided to stick with the OS as is and wait for Marshmallow – hurry up guys they’ve already announced “N”!

So I did the deed and reinstalled the various apps – no problems at all – well not true there was one!!

My Amazon Music with Prime app suddenly, according to Google’s Play store decided it was incompatible with some of my devices – namely the OnePlus Two – hey it is even compatible with my old (very old) Galaxy Note! By the way my Amazon Shopping app seems to work perfectly…wonder why that is? (That’s a rhetorical question by the way)

amazon1.fw

 

A quick trawl across the internet and it transpires I’m not the only one – see link below.  Anyway I think it’s a good idea to have a chat with Amazon to see if they can assist me…so here we go – here’s the chat – verbatim!


 

You’re now connected to Arun from Amazon.co.uk

Me: I can no longer play Amazon music on my One Plus Two phone

Arun: Hello, my name is Arun. I’ll be happy to help you.
I can see that you have authorised 2 devices on your account and are as follows:
* Paul’s 2nd Android Device (MP3)
* Paul’s 3rd Android Device (MP3)
Please confirm the exact device you are referring to.

Me: I’ve no idea which one it is
I’ve got an 8th Android device!!

Arun: Okay.

Me: I certainly don’t have an iPhone 2 so that can be deleted

Arun: Okay. Have you installed Amazon Music app on your One Plus Two phone?

Me: I’ve had it and used it no problems previously but I had to factory reset the phone (backed it up first) because it was running too slow. I then reinstalled the apps but when I tried to install the Amazon Music app it said it wasn’t compatible with my phone

Arun: I apologise for that.
To install the latest version of the Amazon Music App on your mobile device, make sure your device is running Android OS version 4.1 or higher. The Amazon Music App is not supported on some smaller screen devices (less than 320×240 pixels).
Older versions of the Amazon Music app are compatible with any Android device running OS 2.3 through 4.04, but further updates aren’t available.

Me: It is running Android 5.1.1 and the screen res is way higher than that min figure

Arun: The complexity of this issue requires real-time troubleshooting; we’ll be better able to help you with this over the phone.
In this case, please provide your contact number so that I can arrange a callback for you to resolve this issue.
Are we connected?

Me: It’s a problem with your app. I am able to download lots of other apps, including the Amazon Shopping app – what a surprise!! I’m not the only one with this problem 

Arun: This will need to investigate over phone to resolve this issue.

Me: Why over the phone?

Arun: The complexity of this issue requires real-time troubleshooting.
We’ll be better able to help you with this over the phone.

Me: I’m here now…..
My phone is beside me… I can’t talk over the phone and check settings etc out at the same time…

Arun: As we continually seek to improve our service, this occasionally means we can no longer support certain devices or features.
I regret to inform you that One Plus Two phone doesn’t support Amazon music.
I’m sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.

Me: So you are accepting that it is an issue with your apps compatibility. So do I get compensation given that I can no longer play my music on my phone?

Arun: Customer feedback like yours really helps us continue to improve our digital music service. I’ve passed your input to the Amazon Music team for consideration as we make future improvements.

Me: That’s evading the issue. I have purchased music from you, I have paid for an Amazon Prime account but I can’t play my music….

Arun: I understand your reaction and I’m sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. However, I hope you’ll understand that we are unable to offer you any compensation in relation to this matter.

Me: No sorry but I don’t understand why you aren’t able to offer nay compensation.

Arun: I understand you’re upset and I regret that we haven’t been able to address your concerns to your satisfaction. However, we are unable to provide any compensation for this issue.
We won’t be able to provide further assistance for your request.

Me:OK I will be commenting on various social media channels about your (lack of) service. Perhaps I’ll shift my business to other online retail channels – and I’ll recommend that other people do too – if this is the way you respond to a simple query as to why your app no longer supports one of the most popular and best reviewed phones. your policy of not supporting modern phones seems strange!

Arun:Unless there’s a different issue I can help you with, I’ll be ending this chat.

Me:That’s ok I’ve already copied and pasted the transcript – I’ll post it in a minute

Arun:We hope to see you again soon! Please click the “End Chat” link to close this window.


Wow! So we (Amazon) shift from “Sorry”, to “The complexity of this issue requires real-time troubleshooting”, to “I regret to inform you that One Plus Two phone doesn’t support Amazon music” (it certainly did last week!) to “no compensation” and “We won’t be able to provide further assistance for your request”!!!

That my friends is a classic example of how to turn an Amazon advocate – Kindle, Echo, Fire TV stick, online shopper – into a critic and someone likely to spend my money elsewhere – will I renew my prime membership? What do you think?

If I was using a weird and wacky device – say for example a Jolla phone (which I do possess) I might understand that an updated version of the Amazon app might not work but why when their other apps appear to work fine does this one not? And why aren’t they prepared to do anything about it?

Given Amazon’s desire to be an eco-system they do seem to make some odd decisions (here’s another one – like launching new Echo devices in the US before the first one is available outside of the US. Maybe Trump’s antics are in favour at Amazon Towers…perhaps Jeff wants the VP nomination – I don’t know but clearly stranger things are happening!

No! Here’s the thing with Ad Blockers!

Here’s The Thing With Ad Blockers

We get it: Ads aren’t what you’re here for. But ads help us keep the lights on.
So, add us to your ad blocker’s whitelist or pay $1 per week for an ad-free version of WIRED. Either way, you are supporting our journalism. We’d really appreciate it.

No! Here’s the thing with Ad Blockers!

You really don’t get it! We don’t visit your sites for the ads – we visit them for the content. I visit hundreds of websites and I’m sorry but if you insist on placing copious quantities of auto-running ads on your pages then more fool you. First it was Forbes telling me:

“We noticed you still have ad blocker enabled. By turning it off or whitelisting Forbes.com, you can continue to our site and receive the Forbes ad-light experience.”

BTW the text relating to the ad-light experience can only be viewed by hovering over the link – here’s what you then see.

forbes.fw

Even they describe it as a “less intrusive advertising experience” FFS!  They expect me to “enjoy” that?

Well now I’ve noticed that Wired have joined the ad blocker spoiler party – that’s their stuff in the opening paragraph.

I totally understand that these guys are delivering “free” content to me.  I appreciate that and I’m quite prepared to see a few non-invasive ads to help them pay for their expenses but I do not want the following – free or paid for:

  • Slow loading pages that refuse to display the content YOU want until THEY’VE loaded all the ads THEY want you to see.
  • Ads that auto-run annoying videos which have audio tracks – even if you’re already listening to some audio for the content you actually WANT to hear!
  • Adverts that load and block your view of the content you want to see, and then make you struggle and waste valuable time trying to find the miniscule “x” to turn the damn thing off!

Not only does this sort of website p*ss me off – I stop visiting it completely – so even your acceptable ads don’t get shown and you have to charge your advertisers more to make ends meet and they end up saying – WTF – you haven’t got much of an audience anymore, your page views are in decline – I’m outta here!  And your business fails…

And my view on that?

Tough luck suckers!