My first bad ebay experience from happyapple-devices

Opinions in this article are just that, my opinions.

Decided on October 9 to purchase an iPhone 5S from ebay business seller happyapple-devices.  Used Best Offer and paypal to complete the transaction.

The phone is described as:

Apple iPhone 5s ✔️Unlocked ✔️32GB Space Grey ✔️LIKE NEW CONDITION ✔️WARRARNTY
12 MONTHS WARRANTY AND 5 FREE ACCESSORIES – AMAZING

With description:

Seller refurbished :
Like new condition, and bezel shows no light typical wear and tear, and bezel surround is great condition. 12 months warranty plus 5 free accessories – USB Car Charger, Data Sync Cable, New Box with instructions, Sim Tray Removal Tool, Screen Protector and Cleaning Cloth, plus recorded delivery.

Link to the actual item sold via ebay.

Unfortunately when the phone arrived it was obvious that it was not ‘like new’.  It was in a very good almost excellent condition – certainly Grade A – but not ‘like new’.  There were some minor scuffs on the bezel, and a couple of dents in two corners – not major. However the screen and back is perfect.

The first thing I tried doing was charging it with the supplied ‘new’ charging cable – 2-3 hours later, phone still wouldn’t turn on. Crap! I thought I’d bought a duff phone. Then when I tried to unplug the charging cable – the end came apart in my hand exposing the electronic chip and circuity within these lightning cables.  I thought I’d try the daughter’s iPad charging cable and it did successfully charge the phone and it turned on OK. Yay!

Then I tried to raise the issue with the seller happyapple-devices.
Oct 15, I open a ticket with ebay on the item to highlight the inaccurate description and broken power cable. I included photos of the corner dents in the bezel as proof.

20151015_200915 20151015_200951

These guys tell a great story on customer service:
“We care about our customers and your experience.”
“Amazing customer services via phone, email or even text message.”

My experience is that these claims are entirely superficial and these guys could not care less about your experience.

I received a phone call from happyapple-devices the next day – keen to resolve the situation. Eventually we agreed that it would be appropriate (and cheaper for them and me) to re-grade the item as Grade A (instead of like new) and they would refund me £20. He would also send me a new “apple original” charging cable.

Then came the killer line from happyapple-devices: “The system won’t let me perform the refund while the ticket is open.”  He asked me to close the ticket so he could perform the £20 refund.  Not knowing any better – I’ve never had to do this before – I thought I needed to close the ticket to proceed.

I closed the ticket.   ProTip: Don’t close the tickets people until you’ve actually received satisfactory resolution to the issue.

It’s now 3 weeks and 2 days later and I still have no paypal refund. I also have not received a new cable.

Basically, my interpretation from happyapple-devices is a big fuck-you.

All I can do in response is warn others about their behaviour and file a complaint with ebay. When I post this I’m going to leave them negative feedback (also the first time I’ve done this to any seller) and if I can, link to this article. ebay UK already has my complaint (acknowledged by ebay twitter team) – but it may take a while to get a response.

 

Google renames as Alphabet

August 10, 2015. Today Google announced that it was renaming itself as Alphabet.

The internet did a collective WTF! and nobody seems to understand why.

I believe this makes sense from an Antitrust perspective.

Today, google has to move cautiously to avoid getting accused of anti-competitive behaviour or using its leverage to benefit its own products. Something it is not always successful at. Microsoft learned this lesson at great cost at the hands of the EU.

If Google moves search into a child company (called Google) and makes all new product development as sister companies – critically – not under direction or control of “Google”, then they can no longer be accused of anti-competitive behaviour.

Of course, Alphabet will need to ensure some form of arms-length interaction between the sister companies. In doing so, Google (or Alphabet) can most likely avoid antitrust investigations into the future.

Amazon Prime isn’t all that fast

I’ve decided to build myself a new computer. I haven’t done this in about 10 years, so there was a fair amount of reading and research to understand all the latest components, processors, chipsets, and compatible RAM.

Because this is likely going to have to last me a while, I wanted to go big. Very big. More on that in the next article as I intend on documenting the build.

I also wanted to buy all of the components from Amazon due to Amazon’s excellent customer service should anything go wrong.

On Friday 5th May 2014, I started ordering. Amazon offered me a free trial of Amazon Prime during checkout.
Excellent, I’ll get everything faster. Well that’s the theory anyway.

It is now Wednesday 10th September (evening) and I have 4 of the 6 items delivered. Everything was in stock when I placed the order. Why aren’t they here yet?

The CPU (Devil’s Canyon i7-4790K) was ordered from Ebuyer because Amazon had no stock and was saying 2-4 weeks, so I sucked up Ebuyer’s £8 delivery charge to Northern Ireland. It arrived the next day. Well done Ebuyer.

Amazon Prime, however, I don’t think will be having the trial converted to a purchase.

Comment: Upgrade cycle madness

It is getting near that time of year when the world goes mad for the next revision of the iPhone.

That annual elation when the faithful can upgrade their awesome^H^H^H^H^H^H^H, sorry, now old and crappy iPhone 4S for the shiny new OMGOMGOMGOMG!!!  NEW iPhone 5. And your life is complete.

On the other hand, there are those (I approximate, half the Apple citizens) who are mid-way through their 24 or 18 month contracts and are torn between needing that shiny new phone and buying out their contracts to get it, or having to suck it up and wait.

A few years ago, I would have agreed that the devices were getting exponentially better and there was a clear benefit to having the latest mobile device but I believe that is no longer true. The power of the devices are reaching a point where they can do almost anything you would want them to. Quad core CPUs – in your *phone*. I think the next huge leap will be in battery life, but, I digress.

Much like PC upgrade cycles. Businesses used to religiously replace their computers every 3 years. There was always a clear benefit to this and we all loved getting new computers because they were so much faster than the one before.

But that stopped being true* about 3 years ago (*unless you are a gamer). Word processing isn’t any faster, email isn’t faster, the Web isn’t faster. Generally speaking – the computer you bought 5 years ago is still pretty damn good.

Companies are realising this also and 3 year replacement cycles became 4 year replacement cycles mostly due to budget cuts. Then 4 years became 5 years as they noticed “hey, this still works great”.  I believe the new standard PC replacement cycle will be 5 years.  I think this was already true in the average home. As an aside, this business change is what is hurting the likes of Dell and HP right now.

So, back to our shiny mobile phones. Can this continue? I don’t believe so. There will come a time – and I think for Apple it will be 2013 – when the iPhone owners realise that their phone is still bloody awesome and the iPhone 6 isn’t such a great incremental step as before, and that maybe, just maybe, they don’t need this to complete their lives.

By 2015, I believe, I hope, that we will be happy with our devices and we won’t need to keep paying the annual upgrade tax just to have the latest shiny. The shiny in our pocket will be awesome, and it will remain so for a couple of years. We should be happy with our devices for at least 2 years – maybe 3.

We had a dotcom bubble. It burst in 2001. We had a financial bubble. It burst in 2008. We are in the middle of a mobile bubble. I believe it will burst in 2015.

None of the mobile device makers want this to happen. I’m not sure the phone companies would like it either – they still want to extract their £35 or $50 per month out of you for the next 24 months.  But you, the consumer, the guy with the cash in his pocket, should care. You are paying £800 or $1200 every two years for that shiny slab of metal in your pocket. You probably wouldn’t spend that on your primary computer that could last 5 years.

Disclaimer, I use a 2.5 year old HTC Desire that is just begging to be upgraded – but I’m holding off as best I can to see what happens post iPhone 5 in the market. I aim to choose a phone that will last me 3 years.  And if there can be any encouragement, it is this. I’m only paying £10 ($16) per month for all my minutes, texts and unlimited data plan.

Blog change to WordPress

Well, I thought after calling out Menshn for security flaws, I ought to check if my Movable Type was up to date. It wasn’t and one of the changelogs suggested I should upgrade.

However, the upgrade went badly leaving me unable to login at the blog level, or anyone to comment. Admin area was fine.

My upgrade path to Movable Type 5 was blocked because they decided to remove Postgres support. So it put it into the same camp as WordPress. Conveniently there is a PG4WP “plugin” (hack) that lets (most of) WordPress work on Postgres, yay!

Cut to the chase, WP + PG4WP installed. Blog exported/imported. Comments migrated – however I lost a few comments because of a bug in the WP Import incorrectly creating SQL for some articles. Didn’t like the <span style=”color: rgb(0, 0, 187);”> one little bit.I recreated the 4 missing entries manually, but the comments from the originals refused to import.

A mod_rewrite rule to strip the .html from the old MT page urls, and things should be up and running.

 

 

 

Amusing, True Near Death Experience.

Those who know me will know that there have been two important events occurring in my life this week. 1) Tiling my kitchen, and 2) Trying to buy a HP TouchPad.

As part of tiling the kitchen, significant other wanted to replace all the standard white wall sockets with Stainless Steel ones to match the rest of the kitchen colour scheme. I was safely over half way through this task, having disconnected the socket mains supply, when a van pulled up bearing HP TouchPad goodness. Thus the next 30 minutes of my life was accounted for.

Upon returning to the kitchen tasks I came to the Cooker 40A switch. I disconnected the ring main from the switch and proceeded to move the wires so that I kept the supply and load pairs apart when BUZZZZZZ and 240 Volts of high energy goodness shot through my hand and up my arm.

Yes folks, TouchPad caused me to forget to flip the cooker ring circuit in the fuse box.

Cue me jumping back, dropping tools and collapsing to the floor in a bout of Arrrrgh.

Wife said “Stop it, you’ll scare the kids.”.

Kids run in asking what happened and wife explains that Daddy electrocuted himself.

Six year old Lauren asked “Could you see his bones?”.

Vodafone UK + HTC Desire + Android 2.2 FroYo = Fail.

Well, it looks like Vodafone UK royally messed up the timing of the HTC Desire OTA Update yesterday.  While most owners were eagerly expecting the announced Android 2.2 (FroYo) update that HTC have been pushing out, Vodafone decided to push out a 2.1-update1 which only provides Vodafone branding, apps, a few bugs, and even a couple of “adult” related bookmarks to everyone – and leaving them on Android 2.1 (Eclair).

Needless to say – Users are not happy at all. *Vodafone appears to have moved the thread here. [2010/08/06] Moved again to here (is Vodafone trying to hide the complaints?).

In work, we (coworkers and I) now have a total of 8 HTC Desires (out of 16 people) – even two iPhone users have converted! A few have been espousing the wonders of FroYo on their phone (some had rooted, and did it themselves, others had bought unbranded phones and got the stock HTC FroYo upgrade). I was jealous(ish) and wanted it myself.

Given Vodafone’s actions yesterday, it was likely that the FroYo update from Vodafone was minimum several weeks away, if not 3 months (as was intimated on the Vodafone forum – end of October) – it was also noted that the Vodafone FroYo update would include the Vodafone 360 branding and software.

Thus, last night it was time to embark on the adventure of flashing my HTC Desire to a stock image direct from HTC. I reasoned that my goal should be to flash HTC’s Android 2.1 (Eclair) image to the phone, and once there, the normal software update process should take me to 2.2.

And so it began…

I knew that I needed to create a gold card because the Vodafone image doesn’t let you install non-Vodafone images. This I discovered as I tried to simply apply a stock 2.2 download and using boot recovery update.zip – all attempts met with a complaint of a “Fingerprint error”.

I ended up at this page:
  [TUT]Complete upgrading guide(root, unroot, flashing ROM & updates)

and followed Post #3 which details a) How to make a Gold Card* . Ignore the rest of #3
and then Post #4 – the “unrooting” guide.

You then need to find a download of the correct stock HTC Bravo WWE image ROM – I chose the second WWE ROM from this link (140MB download):
  [ROM] Official HTC Desire RUU ROMS and OTA Update URLs
  RUU_Bravo_HTC_WWE_1.21.405.2_Radio_32.36.00.28U_4.06.00.02_2_release_126984_signed.exe

Proceed through the rest of Post #4 “How to Flash ROM” with the Goldcard inside your Desire, and plugged into your PC.

The phone will take 5-10 minutes to complete upgrading (or downgrading) to HTC Stock 2.1 image. When it reboots you will have to go through all the original setup sequences you did when you first unboxed your phone.

You can then perform a Software Update Check and you should find you have a Android 2.2 FroYo update (90Mb) waiting for you.  Proceed and let it do its thing.

Once done, welcome to FroYo.

All future updates will come direct from HTC – not from Vodafone, and you won’t ever have the Vodafone 360 branding rubbish foisted upon you.

* My GoldCard creation had a bit of a hiccup, in that it turns out that the 4GB Samsung card which came with my Desire does not work as a Goldcard despite formatting and following the instructions to the letter.  Trying an old 1GB Sandisk I had resulted in a good goldcard.

Aside from the goldcard hiccup – this all went surprisingly smoothly and painlessly.

Good luck.

Disclaimer: If you try any of the above – it is all your responsibility. I take no responsibility should you brick or damage your phone.

Amazon 1 – 0 Waterstones, aka this morning’s rant.

SWMBO asked me to order a book for her this morning, so being the tightwad that I am, I go hunting for the ISBN and the cheapest place to buy it.
Amazon has it for £17.24 and Waterstone’s for £18.49 (but if I order through quidco, then I receive another 8% cashback, making Waterstone’s cheaper).

Waterstone’s need me to create an account, fair enough and state “Also, please be aware that passwords are case sensitive, and must be a
minimum of seven characters long and at least one character must be
numeric.”  Again, all fairly standard.

So each time I try to enter a password which meets this criteria I’m hit with a javascript popup that claims: “Your new password must be at least 7 characters long and contain at least one digit.”

“But it is!”, I yell in frustration.

Using the Firefox “Web Developer” plugin I unhide the password boxes and see that my password doesn’t have digits… wtf!   I enter the digits again and find there is another hidden rule:

<input name="newPassword" type="password"
id="fPassword" size="40" maxlength="16" value="" />

Yes, an upper limit of 16 characters on the password.

Right ok, make a password of 16 chars or under and move on…

Add name, postcode to the next form and it finds my address ok – click continue to (I presume) proceed to the CC entry form and voila!

Well not quite.

“There has been a problem processing this request

Please use the refresh button on your browser to try again.

Thank you.”

A few refreshes later, it is apparent that Waterstone’s has no intention of working, sod it, for 20p more I can have less hassle at Amazon.

Register your broadband not-spot now

thinkbroadband, formerly ADSLGuide.org.uk, have setup a community site where UK sufferers of the lack of universal broadband can register their inability to obtain broadband (a not-spot) or where you are unable to obtain up to 2Mbps service (slow-spot).

The Northern Ireland map is here – if you currently suffer from a lack of, or poor broadband coverage (including satellite) please register your details on the site – by adding your postcode it will appear on the map and we can begin to get a true picture of the poor state of broadband in Northern Ireland.

Thanks.