Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category





So today Dann sent me a message telling me that the sites hadn’t updated in like 20 days. Apparently he’s the only one that noticed.. :/

I fixed the feeds and we are all up and running now. At any rate, if you *do* actually use the service, whether ti is down or not, feel free to drop me a note and let me know how it’s doing now and again at linc dot fessenden at gmail dot com! 🙂

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Amazon Kindle, Subsonic and MusicBrainz

Kindle 3
   Early last week I had another burst of reading activity on my Kindle 3. Reading for me tends to come in spurts when the rest of my life doesn’t interfere and it had been a while. I loaded up the Kindle with some new goodies (Sh*t my dad says is hilarious, btw) and started peeling through not only the books but also the menus, setting things up just the way I like them.

RANT: As a side note here, why the heck are collections so freaking difficult to setup? I mean come on Amazon. Make them work by directory structure or something easy, or at least fix it so that when you add to collection, you are only shown books not already in another collection by default. OK, rant done 🙂

   Anyhow, as I was reading and setting up different collections, etc. I noticed a familiar recurring problem. The short history is when I got my Kindle 3 I noticed every so often the e-ink would not fully display, but only display VERY faintly. I called Amazon and they had me update the firmware but ut was really hard to tell if that fixed it as it was not a constant thing. Queue up last week and I notice this a LOT more. Not only while reading the books, but now in the menus, etc.. So, I called Amazon right up as they instructed me to do the last time I noticed this. They IMMEDIATELY sent me out a replacement. I mean I had it the NEXT day, during a snowstorm. There was no arguing, no listening to some low end tech worker flip pages on the other end of the phone, no shipping or return costs, no hassle whatsoever. THIS is what customer service is all about and it’s easy to see that Amazon stands behind it’s products. This is why I will always recommend the Kindle. I don’t know what the other guys service is like, but Amazon is absolutely tops every time I have had to deal with them.


   Shortly after I got my new Kindle (read hours) I got horribly sick (sinus infection) and have been that way for 4 or 5 days now. During my occasional bouts of lucidity and while waiting for the NyQuil to kick in again I was reading through my facebook posts and noticed Tom Higgins mentioning that he was enjoying using Subsonic, which is a new (to me anyway) software that manages your music collection for you. It’s a server side app with some seriously nifty clients you can run on you android phone, which made it catch my eye. I have (and still do for now) been using Kplaylist for quite some time and I really like it, but, hey, nothing wrong with checking out new things, right?


   Well, the thought of me trying out some new music collection software got me looking at my music collection. You know what this is like. I have been hanging on to my music in digital form for better than 10 years, so, it’s substantial / sizable, in different formats, mixed up, formatted and named badly, bad mp3 and ogg tags, etc.. What’s a guy to do? Well, I searched around a bit and found a whole lot of programs for Linux that will let you manually fix tags. Ick. With thousands to do I kept searching. I found a bunch of programs for windows and mac that will help you reorganize and fix your collection, and, eventually, I found ONE that will do the same on a Linux box. It’s name is MusicBrainz Picard I have been using it here and there (still sick) for a couple days now, sicking it on a directory of my music collection here and there. It sure beats doing this all by hand! It’s not perfect software by any means, but it sure will be a timesaver compared to the alternative and the more people that use it and update those databases, the better it’ll work. Check it ut, I think you’ll like it!

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Best Buy?

More like goodbye…

Friday night I go to Best Buy to check out their 17″ Gateway laptop. I bring my trusty Mint Live cd so I can check things out real quick like before I buy the thing.

When I get into the store, I am, greeted by one of the blueshirts who asks if he can help. I explain I am there for a laptop, I brought my Live cd there to do a hardware compatability check before I buy it. He says just don’t install anything on the demo machines and I say no problem, it should only take me a coupe mins to check things out.

A few minutes later (still booting the live cd) the “supervisor” whiteshirt guy comes storming over to me saying “you can’t do that!”. Do what? Install “stuff” on computers… (Mind you I already have permission) I am not installing anything, just checking hardware compat for Linux – I need to buy a laptop. Supervisor says “Linux will run fine on it”. I look at the screen and I X is trying to start so I say it’s almost done. Supervisor steps in between me and laptop, rips out cd, pushes it at me and says “you can’t do this and if you don’t like it I can get someone to escort you out of the store”.

Needless to say I didn’t buy a laptop from Best Buy that night – or any other. What I *DID* do, when I got back home was to send nastymails to everyone at Best Buy I could find an email address for. I simply cannot deal with mean and nasty customer service people anymore and I do not have a problem writing emails to complain about it. Honestly, if this guy would have pulled his attitude with my wife while I was watching, someone would have had to bail me out of jail. You all know the type – I have even had the misfortune to have to work with the Joe Powertrip people like this before. Further, I did a little research on the Laptop I was unable to complete looking at in the store and found that there are some Linux issues with the i3 procs and perhaps even the Atheros wlan and Intel HD video too. This means that the “supervisor” guy was not only a butthead but was giving bad technical advice too. As a technical guy myself, that is not cool. If you don’t know the answer and do not understand the technology, at least be man enough to cop to it and go find the correct answer.

It’s unfortunate that this all went down like it did because I have a best buy store credit card and have previously been quite happy with my purchase experience there. It is, however, difficult to want to go shopping at a store that the manager threatened to throw you out of though.

Update: I was called on monday evening by the store manager who apologized profusely. He asked if I felt my experience had negatively impacted my decision to shop there in the future. No kidding, he really asked that.. DUH. Anyhow, I told the store manager there that I thought this guy should be, at least, retrained, that he was intentionally mean and that the technical people there should indeed be technical people. He asked if there was anything he could do to make my experience better. There isn’t, just make sure this crap doesn’t happen again. This morning I started getting emails from Best Buy Corporate. Who says the pen is not mightier than the sword?

I will probably not shop there, at least for a while, but maybe this whole debacle can turn out to be a win for Linux users who want to check hardware compatibility? Maybe…

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Kudos Amazon!



Quite a while back, in September in fact, I ordered a big honkin battery for my Acer Aspire One. I bought the 9 cell version through Amazon from a place called NewMP3Technology. The battery came, I charged it right up and used it on the upcoming Ohio Linux Fest. My only note on it was that Allan bought a similar battery, obviously from a different place and seemed to get a bit more battery time out of it, but all in all, I was happy with it.

Fast forward to Christmas time. I took the family to my parents house for Christmas this year and brought a couple laptops with me for some recreational surfing while there. They live in upstate NY where there is little else to do 🙂 While using my AAO there, I let the new battery completely drain. When I plugged it back in, it would not charge. I googled around for similar problems and found that there was a bios update that fixed some of these, so I updated the bios and, you guessed it, that didn’t work either. After I got back home, I checked the original battery which charged fine.

I checked my paperwork for the new battery and found that the original listing on Amazon had a 1 year warranty on the battery. Elated, I wrote the seller through Amazon’s contact form and asked them how I would go about getting a replacement. Well, long story short, I wrote them 5 times over 3 weeks or so and never received a response other than a form email stating that the exchange time limit on the purchase had expired (30 days). Now Amazon has an A-Z guarantee that is 30 days as well, but I had passed that too. I looked the seller up in the Better Business Bureau’s website and it said they were probably out of business. Frustrated, I sent off an email to Amazon anyhow, explaining the saga and telling them that these guys were still listed as active sellers on Amazon’s site. I figured I had done my good deed for the general populace and that Amazon would remove the seller and at least nobody else would get bit. To my complete surprise, Amazon, *extended* their A-Z guarantee for me and completely refunded my money (including the shipping!) I, of course, ordered another replacement battery from a different seller through Amazon.

It’s just so uncommon these days to find a person or a business with some integrity that I just had to pass the story along. And especially so with the anonymity that the web provides. Many thanks and kudos go to Amazon. I know I’ll keep buying from them. If you are going to buy things online, you can’t find a better place to do so.

Oh, and stay away from NewMP3Technology.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010


Updates, updates everywhere. I pushed a bunch of updates to, my Blog, LinuxPlanet Casts and Blogs, LinuxForChristians, TLLTS Planet and the Lincware forums. Everything looks ok right now, but please let me know if you see anything strange happening (or not happening as the case may be). Thanks and you may now return to your previously scheduled rss feed.

Monday, January 18th, 2010


Even though it’s a day late, I thought I would share that my train caught on fire on the way into work on the 4th. Nobody was hurt (that I know of) but plenty of people were ticked off and it sure was stinky! For those that don’t already know, it just so happens that SEPTA is on strike, making the Regional Rail trains (the ones I ride) completely packed to overflowing and, of course, it’s tough to get to your destination when your train is out of commission and there are no buses running because of the strike. SEPTA seems to make money hand over fist while providing the poorest service you can imagine. It really gets under your skin after a while.

Anyway, the pics are here: Train Fire

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Better than the other guys

I just wanted to tell you all a story about a fantastic company. That company is Neuros Technology.

Long long ago, when Neuros first released the OSD, Joe Born, the man behind Neuros, arranged to get me a review unit. I received the unit, reviewed it and “saw that it was good”. Things were a bit premature in those days, but there was some real promise there. Most importantly, the networking bits were still not working just right, but were in the works. Knowing this, I shelved the unit thinking I would re-review this as soon as the next major firmware revision came out for it. As things happen, it sat on the shelf for over a year 🙂

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I contacted Joe again to see if we might be able to get a unit and some literature from him for a giveaway at the OLF 2008. Joe agreed and sent one right out (told ya these guys are great). A couple days before the fest, I finally had a spare minute and figured that I ought to dig mine out and play with it a little so I could accurately field questions, etc. I dug it out and followed the very nicely layed out directions on the Neuros website for doing the 6 firmware revisions I had to do (told you I had it shelved for a while) and I started to play with it. Doing the upgrades was actually pretty neat because I got a 40 minute demo of how much the UI and utilities had changed since I first looked at it.

Once the upgrades were done I set out to give it the run through. I am amazed with the changes that have been done. The menu system is good looking and easy to navigate, there are lots of interesting features that have been added, and every video format I had available digitally to try, worked without a problem and looked good on my tv too. I was absolutely ecstatic. This thing is brilliant… That is until I tried the networking.
After digging for some appropriate length cables, I decided to plug in the network and see what was what. To my surprise, each time I did so, within a few seconds, the OSD would reset itself. If I left the network cable plugged in for the reboot, it would continuously power cycle itself. If I unplugged the network cable from the OSD, all was fine again. I tried new cables and different hubs and switches all with the same result. I was stymied and decided to send out an email.

I sent an email to Joe, telling him I knew I should speak to someone in support, but I wondered if I could sneak a quick question by him. I told him of my troubles and awaited a response, thinking I would get one sometime while I was at OLF. To my surprise, I got a response back within a few minutes. Joe had also piggybacked the question to his technical staff, who responded that that sounds like a problem they had early on with the units and they had to be retooled at the factory. When I responded asking if there was a trace or bad component I could replace here (my soldering skills may be rusty but they are still there), or if I was just out of luck, Joe said not to worry, they would just send me another one. Hot Diggety! I figured that even if I had to live with no network connection, the unit was still pretty cool, but they were going to send me a replacement! Within 1 day, I even had a UPS tracking number. How’s that for service!

Well, today the new OSD came via UPS. it is every bit as fun as the old one to use, even more because this one connects to my network and lets me watch all my videos without hesitation or problem. Apple TV, eat your heart out.

As for Joe Born and Neuros, I have NEVER had customer service like that in my life. There isn’t even a point of reference to compare them to. Obviously you just can’t go wrong dealing with Neuros and their products. Buy them, you’ll like them. And tell them Linc from TLLTS sent ya.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

New Voip Provider? HELP!

I have to admit that I have been using Broadvoice for quite a while now. We even use it for the TechShow as well. They have served pretty well with only a few growing pains and problems early on. All would have been happy ever after if I hadn’t read a horrible Broadvoice review on the web recently. It prompted me to go back and read the Broadvoice Terms of Service (TOS).

That particular TOS is probably one of the worst I have ever read, doing such things as giving them permission to back bill your credit card thousands of dollars for anything they perceive may be a violation of their TOS, without notice, without arbitration, etc. Now I haven’t had any problems with them, but I was horrified at what I read (and I do not remember any of this stuff when I signed up – go figure). I followed their cancellation procedure and will be rid of such nonsense at the end of the month.

This leaves me in a bit of a pickle. I do need home phone service. It seems logical that I should continue down the road with my technological affinity and stay with VOIP, but with whom? That is where you all come in. I am looking for a good quality provider, with a relatively (<$25) inexpensive monthly plan for unlimited US calling (or maybe an obscene number of minutes). Please let me know if you have any recommendations. Currently the ones I am looking at are Axvoice and PhonePower, however, I am sure there are a ton that I am missing. In fact, I may even consider Vonage, simply because the hardware is readily available and the price point meets. Any horror stories? Recommendations? Send ’em along!

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Want to feel cheap?


This will be of interest to any of my fellow computer professionals out there:

Recently I have been bombarded every time I turn on the TV with commercials from ComputerTraining.Com. This is an institution which boasts that in just 6 months it can turn your life around with an exciting new and high paying career as a computer professional. Now to me, this is wrong on so many levels…

I find it hard to believe that you can be turned into a computer expert in 6 months. The mere suggestion that you can acquire that kind of knowledge in that short amount of time at least implies that knowledge and training in this field is easy, even simple. It really cheapens my chosen career.

This is the kind of place that turns out paper tigers who inundate the field, making opinions and salaries of legitimate professionals low. If you think I am kidding, remember how many horror stories you have heard and perhaps personally experienced about help-desk/support calls. Then, take a walk to their website and look at the job titles of the people who have student success stories..(help desk tech’s)

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Movin’ Right Along

It has been a whirlwind of activity since the last time I have had the time to write anything. As I mentioned previously, I have moved to Downingtown, PA. Or, should I say, I am moving there.

Sice I had to start work last monday, I moved down that weekend with just a carload of things to gt me going. More like camping on carpet, really, than actually *living* there. I muddled my way through my first week while getting accustomed to things like riding the regional rail system in Philly, and, of course, getting completely turned around and lost on several occasions.

I had a rude awakening the first night here as the blowup bed I had brought to get me through the move turned into a puddle around 4am. The worst part is I was so busy, it took me two days to find a replacement. I bought a cot, figuring that it would not deflate, and it was up off the floor a little since after moving boxes around it’s dificult to get off the floor the next AM. Well, it turns out that I was wrong about the deflating part. The cot I bought had a weight limit of 325lbs and the very first time I sat on it the middle leg bent upwards to greet me – and no, I am not anywhere near 325 😉 So, I ran that back to the store and ran to Walmart where I found a normal cot which has been working perfectly fine.

The next series of problems was getting internet access. I decided on Comcast, simply because that meant on e bill for th time being instead of two. In order to get it, though, my wife had to drive down here from Easton because the installer would come if someone over 18 was not here, and there were no installation timeslots after I was out of work for the day. The install was scheduled for thursday morning and my wife came out and let the installer in, who promptly informed her that the modem he brought was bad. He took off and brought back two more, one of which he hooked only to the cable and then called the install good, and left. By the time I got home and hooked my computer to the modem to test it, it was almost 9pm and, you guessed it, it didn’t work. I called tech support and told them the modem was broken. It had no activity lights and refused to hand out any dhcp leases. The tech woman I was talking to on the phone, of course, disagreed. After a heated 40 minute arguement, she told me she couldn’t help me anymore and I needed to call Apple tech support to get my problem resolved (yes, really). I jumped into the car and ran to Walmart and picked up a cable modem, brought it back, plugged it in and got my dhcp lease. I then called Comcast back to just get the mac address added into my account so I couldd get my mail. I spoke with a different woman this time who promptly told me that the modem I just bought was already attached to someone elses account and she could not proceed further until resolving that issue. Of course they would not call the other person up at after 10pm, so I would have to wait until the next day. I was slightly irritated and demanded the supervisor, who assured me that he would take care of the problem and call me back the next day. Well, the next day came and went at work with no call, so I called Comcast back while I was on the train ride home. Speaking to a new person I explained the situation and the new guy said he’d look into the prob and call me back within a half hour. An hour later when I was home I called and spoke to another new person and explained the situation again. She said she didn’t think she could help because the mac address was still on the other account. I told her I really needed this fixed and I thought that Comcast had horrible customer service and, for some reason, she took pitty upon me and asked me to hold while she walked to another department. So, I listened to some elevator music for about 15 minutes and then she came back on and said I was all fixed. Sure enough, I was. I have no idea why any of the other boobs couldn’t get their act straight, but this lady hooked me right up! I didn’t even have time to use my newfound connectivity because I was right out of the new place back to Easton to move more stuff.

Now Comcast will not let me host my own servers (for public consumption), so I am going to have to move things around a little bit (hence the new blog and location). This also means moving things like BashPodder around too. After many years of faithful service I want to say a public goodbye to’s web content. But most of it will end up here. Just keep checking back.

MUPPETS lyrics

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007