Isetan is a Japanese Department Store chain, which happens to have a couple of branches in Malaysia. Being Japanese, one could be lead to believe it would uphold certain standards, but the Malaysian branches are generally unbelievably poorly managed (as you can see here). While it is generally expensive and the products are poor and limited, they are unfortunately by far the closest supermarket to where I live (and the only other option Giant is even worse albeit a lot cheaper).
Today however I got the scare of my life (I am being serious here!), but before getting into that I need to explain something that happened a few days back. About a week ago I bought some sliced ham at Isetan’s non-halal section (the Lot 10 branch on Bukit Bintang). I had most of it but forgot a few slices, sealed in a plastic bag, in my refrigerator. Yesterday I noticed the ham and decided to chuck it out. Much to my surprise the darn thing was crawling with several maggots. While I would not have eaten the ham after a week in the fridge, it should not be crawling with maggots after a week unless it was contaminated by the time I bought it.
Forward to today, when I at 8pm saw this:
The important thing here is that while most things in the display case is wrapped in clingfilm, the ham is not. There are 3 pieces of ham completely uncovered. Also it is worth noticing the glass didn’t feel cold, so whatever temperature that display case it being kept at it is definitely not below 5 degrees Celsius (no visible thermometer). I asked the guy that attended the non-halal section how long it had been kept like that, and he said all day. This was at 8pm – that is 11 hours straight – cooked meat at something close to room temperature in an open display case. No wonder the darn thing is crawling with maggots after a few days.
Thinking back I actually did have quite a bad food poisoning with stomach cramps about a week ago, and by now I am quite certain where I caught that.
It is absolutely mind boggling that Isetan dare to be that careless with the health of their customers.
I am currently investigating who is responsible for this in Malaysia, and do believe me – proper authorities will be informed about this.
I’ve always had Twitter’s widget on my main screen on my Android phone. Some days back I noticed it showing weird tweets from accounts I do not follow, but it took a while until I read the small print.
Are you fucking kidding me? If Twitter think their widget will remain on my home screen when they blatantly abuse my screen real estate then they really have lost their marbles. I removed the widget 1 second after creating the above screen shot, and if I see any other attempts to push ads down my throat, then the app will go too. In reality removing the widget probably mean I’ll never check Twitter anyway, so the damage is already done.
For years I had a weakness for IBM Thinkpad’s. They were never very sexy but they were build like a tank and IBM’s service was always quite good. A couple of years back my Eee PC crapped out and to replace it I bought a Lenovo Ideapad to replace it. Granted, the Ideapad wasn’t a Thinkpad but at least it was from the same company that actually build the Thinkpads.
Now, I should probably mention at this time that I don’t run Windows, so unlike Windows users I don’t really have to replace my hardware once a year. My two year old Ideapad still run quite well, so there’s absolutely no reason to replace it. That is – there were no reason until today.
Two years old, the battery in the Ideapad is giving up. It’s a 6-cell one and when the Ideapad was new, battery life was quite nice (around 6 hours with more than enough to charge my phone now and then). Today, Linux announced that the capacity was down to about 30 % and that is really not enough to be productive, so I decided to get myself a new battery.
First let me repeat that the original battery life was around 6 hours, so I really did not want some unoriginal Chinese copy nonsense, but decided to get an original replacement – even though that would probably set me back a small fortune. So I went down to the local IT warehouse (Low Yat Plaza) and approached all the “authorized” Lenovo shops there (and there are quite a few of them). Without exception the story was the same – they could not help me with a replacement battery, but they were quite happy to sell me an overpriced Chinese copy battery. After 4-5 shops I’d had enough, so I decided to call Lenovo in Malaysia. After a while I managed to get through to a girl called Mei-Ling. Unfortunately the best advice she could give me was to try more shops in Low Yat. Even when I suggested it, Mei-Ling absolutely refused to make a few calls on her own to locate a battery for me. She also couldn’t really grasp why I found it bizarre that the authorized Lenovo outlets tried to push copy crap down my throat.
After some explaining, I finally did manage to make Mei-Ling understand that I expected some service from Lenovo and she promised to find out where I should go and call me back. 40 minutes later – having heard nothing back from Mei-Ling – I went home. Once home, I called Lenovo again and managed to get the same person again. This time I did admittedly raise my voice a bit and made it crystal clear that if Mei-Ling did NOT figure out how to get a replacement battery, she would be able to read the story online the next day. Mei-Ling once more promised to return my call, and once more – surprise surprise – I heard nothing.
So that is why I am writing this blog post now. Lenovo have gone from being a hallmark of quality and service to being – well – exactly the opposite. I have today wasted several hours trying to get a replacement battery for my Lenovo product only to be lied to by Lenovo’s own staff and their authorized dealers.
I will never – I repeat never – purchase another Lenovo product!
I quite often go out for lunch and most of the time I don’t really pay any attention to the bill. Today however, something caught my eye:
Excuse me? How can 17 + 1.70 + 1.02 come up to 20 exactly? I normally never bother to carry around coins (they end up scratching my phone) and I would normally leave them behind, but I do appreciate that the choice is mine.
28 cent is not a fortune and as mentioned I would probably leave it behind anyway. But let’s play with that number a bit. Let’s say this place over a day issue 200 bills (the place is quite popular both during lunch and in the evening so that is not far off and if it is off it is probably on the low side) that come up to more than 20000 ringgit a year. Or we could look at the bill number and add that up, in which case it will come up to more than 15000.
What is worse is – who are they actually cheating here. Obviously they screw their customers for a tiny amount, but considering the fact that most customers would probably leave those coins behind, by putting it on the bill like that they actually cheat the staff for tips that would amount to more than 1000 ringgit a month.
Granted, in the big picture this might seem a trivial detail, but that would be missing the point completely. The point here is that some manager at Twenty-One actually thought this was a brilliant idea. I refuse to believe any POS system would do rounding like this by default. Someone made a decision that it was OK to cheat every single customer for a small amount, most likely expecting it to be so insignificant that nobody would notice or complain about it. And why did they do that? It is mind boggling really. If they can’t be bothered with coins there’s a neat way around that – quote nett prices instead!
So cheers twentyone baby, thanks for showing absolutely zero respect for your clients or your staff.
Just to verify that this wasn’t an one-off I dug up another bill from the same establishment:
This one is actually a lot worse than the first one since it went on a credit card. I am sorry but my credit card is perfectly capable of charging fractional amounts.
Today one of the staff did point out to me that this policy is mentioned on their menu. While that does make it somewhat less fraudulent it really doesn’t make it acceptable. What’s next – restaurants stating that all bills will be rounded up to the nearest 50 ringgit?
Apparently they are about to launch a new phone – the Nokia Lumia 928 – and they have launched a truly bizarre marketing campaign that started out with this video on Youtube:
And finally this:
What is wrong with this picture? Well, the issue here is that the Nokia Lumia 928 has not been released yet. In fact, Nokia have not even provided a release date. And they are comparing this – yet to be released phone – with a Samsung Galaxy S III, a device that was released and available more than a year ago (May 3, 2012 if I am not mistaken). Samsung have already released the S4, so one can only assume that the Nokia device would be thoroughly beaten by the Samsung if they compared with that model.
It is not too long ago that Nokia tried to brag about their fantastic Pureview camera with this video:
Only to be caught by a reflection clearly showing the video to have been made by professional equipment and not in fact a Nokia device.
I have written about Nokia before, for example here and here, and what should be clear from those articles is that I used to like Nokia’s phones. They used to sell devices that were innovative and with a superior build quality and that is why I for years replaced my old Nokia phones with a new Nokia phone. These days it would appear that Nokia have given up being innovative and can only sell their devices by cheating. They seem to have absolutely zero self respect left.
It is no secret that I am generally not a great fan of Microsoft. There used to be two exceptions to this:
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Yes that’s right – Windows CE. I actually bought one of these little beauties just when it came out:
And that was quite an awesome little device. Later when HP moved into Mobile phones, based on what had then became known as Windows Mobile, I also bought one of those.
The problem with these devices was not the hardware, nor was it the Windows operating system. The problem was in each case that Microsoft made an operating system, sold the device and then promptly moved on to something else. As a customer or user of these devices you never had the feeling that Microsoft was interesting in driving the product experience forward. And that is precisely why I, when Nokia announced they were going with Windows on their phones, went out and bought myself an Android phone. And I haven’t looked back since.
A few days ago, Microsoft came with a bit of a surprise announcement – an Android Application. Yes that is right – Microsoft actually went ahead and created an Android Application – known as Switch to Windows Phone, and they made the application available in Google’s application store – Google Play.
According to the description, the purpose of this application is to aid the move to Windows Phone:
Are you thinking about switching to Windows Phone and want a convenient way to migrate your app experiences over? Look no further, Windows Phone has an app for that!
Use Switch to Windows Phone to see how many of your Android apps are available on Windows Phone. Just run Switch to Windows Phone on your Android, and this app will check to see if your installed apps are available in the Windows Phone Store. It’s that easy.
Then (if you choose) Switch to Windows Phone can save your results so you can retrieve them later on your new Windows Phone and install the apps. You don’t need to remember every app you had on your Android, and you download only the apps you want.
• Scan the installed apps on your phone
• Find the Windows Phone equivalents
• Save the personalized match results to retrieve later on your Windows Phone
I am fairly happy with Android at the moment, so it is not as if I plan to switch to a Windows Phone, but still – I am a curious sort of person, so I did want to check this out. Unfortunately:
A few of these devices are no-name Chinese tablets, but my primary phone at the moment is a Samsung Galaxy S2, and that is still a fairly common phone (reaching it’s end of life, which is exactly when someone might consider buying a new phone).
Needless to say I am not impressed, and it would appear I am not alone:
So, do I consider switching to Windows Phone? Nah, I think I’ll stick with Android.
As if Facebook wasn’t already a massive waste of time it would appear that they – with their new Facebook Home application for Android – want to reach new heights.
I have absolutely no doubt that I will dislike Facebook Home. I like my Android phone just as it is and I have put in quite an effort to tweak the thing just as I like it. Apparently Facebook Home is essentially a replacement Android Launcher where Facebook itself become the center of the phone GUI, with the ability to launch external applications too. At launch it appeared that I wouldn’t have to worry if I liked Facebook Home or not since they only made it available for a select few Android phones (none of which I own). Because of this very limited availability I was much surprised when the notice the following on Google play:
I currently have 5 different Android devices registered: A Samsung Galaxy S II, a Samsung Galaxy, a Barnes & Noble Nook Color and a couple of Chinese no-name tablets. The device listed as compatible was no other than the oldest of the lot – the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. I went on to click Install and it happily installed itself on my Nook.
The Nook is essentially an E-book reader but I also own a couple of Kindles and therefore these days the Nook is mostly used for playing games. I therefor did not really have Facebook installed on it, so I went ahead and installed that too. All in all quite a massive download and all that on a rather marginal Wifi connection – so it definitely took a while. I went through logging into Facebook and finally I felt ready to launch Facebook Home. This was the result:
Let’s see that again:
Excuse me! That is a bit like saying, “Thank you for spending time and energy (and possibly money) to check out our product, now piss off!”. If Facebook’s application is not able to run on my device, why in the name of all that is holy do you state that it is compatible in the first place.
You just wanted about half an hour of my life!
The rating is interesting:
It would appear that I am not the only one that is utterly disappointed by Facebook Home. I think they need to rename it Facebook Away.
Google just announced a new service/app – Google Keep:
That is sort of entering territory previously owned by Evernote. Google are quite good at creating great innovative web service and they are quite good at creating Android apps, so I have no doubt this will be a great service. Will I be using it? The answer is no – I will not even try it. Let me explain why.
Back in 2009 Google announced a new service called Wave. It was sort of a merge of email and instant messaging and to me it was absolutely fantastic and I used it as a primary means of communications in a number of projects I was involved with. After about 1 1/2 years Google decided they couldn’t be arsed any longer and they announced that they would terminate the service. In Google’s defense they were quite nice about it. First of all they let it run for quite a long time after the announcement. Second, they made all the source code open source and by the time they did close Wave, there was actually a reasonable alternative available (although I never really bothered with them – I just switched back to email and instant messaging).
Back in 2005 Google launched a RSS feed syndication service called Google Reader. Contrary to Wave, which I used in a number of specific projects, Reader to me quickly became the way I digested news. Reader made it possible for me to follow a huge number of news site, without being distracted by anything irrelevant and without reading the same thing over and over again. It is quite simple really – time wise I use Google reader more than any other web service. Whenever I got some spare time or a break, I usually check the news on Google Reader. I don’t watch TV and I rarely read News Papers – I just use Google Reader with a massive amount of news feeds. In March 2013, Google announced that they would shut down Google Reader. They immediately removed the Google Reader Android app from Google Play and they gave a 3 month warning on the web service.
I am really sorry Google, but you have pissed off one of your great fans. Over the years I have truly appreciated Google’s innovation and original ideas. You might argue that I haven’t paid for all the services I have enjoyed, but that is not really true. First of all I have accepted that Google’s business model is advertising – and I have in fact always configured my ad blockers to allow Google ads. Also, I have never ever owned an iPhone. To me there was never really any doubt – I bought an Android phone when it came out. I put up with the quirks of a new platform in the knowledge that it would grow great. I think I have been an early adapter of nearly every single web service Google have launched. Some – like Wave and Reader – became part of my daily life. Others – like Google+ – never sparked my interest (I did try it). But Google need to understand that what kept me spending time, being an unpaid beta tester, was the promise of services that would make my life easier or more interesting.
In US, the government have a web-site where the public can create any petitions they like. If any petition reach 100000 votes it will be reviewed by the administration. Days after Google announced the termination of Google Reader a petition was started on change.org and that petition reached 130000 after a few days. Google have not posted a single response to this. I know that Google’s turnover surpasses the economy of many small countries, but still – they might not yet have turned evil but they have most certainly turned bloody arrogant.
So there you have it Google. I actually think your Keep service will be great, but I will absolutely stick with my post-it notes and/or Evernote – simply because I have lost trust in you and feel that you have grown arrogant. I don’t want to end up in a years time, with hundreds if not thousands of notes and then you pull the rug away from under me and close the service. For you this is probably just an idea you toy around with and you will close it when you get bored or decide it has got no monetary value. For Evernote it is their core business.
In the future if Google want me to spend time on their new services, they can give me a call and offer to pay me for my work.
I got a few comments on this one and I’ve got two things to add.
First of all I found Tiny Tiny RSS and it is absolutely brilliant. It’s a PHP server application and it works almost exactly like Google Reader.
Second I feel like adding how I think Google should have proceeded if they wanted to stop allocating resources to their Reader service:
Announce that the current version is final and new registrations will be closed.
Remove all links and references to Google Reader from other services
Close access for new registrations
Wait until nobody use the service any longer
Switch it off
It is that simple really. I refuse to believe that Google could even feel the cost of keeping the actual servers running.