Friday, 19 January 2007

Isn't it nice when things just... work?

So goes the tagline in Honda's excellent Cog advert (well worth a look, if you've never seen it). It's a shame so few things just... work.

World of Warcraft interface addons, for one. They're a bit of a delicate ecosystem of their own; from using one compilation pack for patch 1.12, patch 2.00 required many addons to be re-written, so as a temporary measure I grabbed another compilation pack someone had produced for the beta client (and which Melmoth had the foresight to save the day before, as all the interface websites collapsed under the strain of a good chunk of the playerbase all trying to find updates of their favourite addons). And there were some new and shiny things in there, but some things missing I'd liked from the previous compilation, so I started adding a few bits here, taking off a few bits there... I've now got a bit of a sprawling assortment of addons, which mostly function, more or less, but a couple of things seem to have decided to just stop working entirely, and others pop up error messages here and there. This isn't to take anything away from the addon authors, who in most cases produce really useful stuff, for free, spending much of their own time debugging and improving; it's hardly their fault I've gone and installed their addon on top of 23 others all trying to interact with the same bits of the game. Just another little annoyance...

Then there's monitors. You might recall, a little over a month ago, I got a nice new widescreen monitor. And after a few days, it started making a high pitched whining sound, almost painful to listen to. The nice people at Viewsonic said it sounded like a failing coil in the power supply, and said they'd arrange a replacement. Simple, right?

Or not. My wife and I work full time, which usually makes arranging deliveries a bit of a hassle, but over Christmas we had plenty of holiday, so it would have been a good time to sort out return and delivery of a replacement. Except Viewsonic didn't have any replacement units in stock. And still didn't have any replacement units in stock in early January when we were both back to work.

Last week, they did have a replacement unit in stock! I've got limited flexibility in my working hours, but I can get away early on a Friday if needs be, so delivery was arranged for Friday afternoon. Needless to say, no monitor turned up Friday afternoon... Turns out there may have been a mixup between "dispatch" and "delivery" (quite why we'd want to arrange when they dispatched the monitor, I don't know, but hey). And the actual delivery work is subcontracted, but the person on the phone couldn't tell us who would actually be delivering the parcel or supply a reference number, so we couldn't get in touch with the delivery people direct.

Wednesday, a card turns up from the delivery service. "We tried to deliver a package, but nobody was in..." So we phone the delivery company; nice helpful people, they asked if there was somewhere they could leave the package if nobody was around? Strangely enough, we weren't too keen on them dumping an expensive monitor in a garage or somewhere, so no. Anyway, weren't they picking up the old monitor? They couldn't see anything about a pickup... still. Arranged delivery for this Friday afternoon.

Yesterday, a card turns up from another courier service. "We tried to collect a package, but nobody was in..." OK, so that explains it, one company delivers, an entirely different company collects. Only this company are subcontracted to a repair service, themselves presumably subcontracted to Viewsonic, and the card says the courier service will rearrange collection with the repair service, and none of them have phone numbers or reference numbers. In the middle of trying to phone one of Viewsonic, the collecting courier service, the repair company, or anyone else vaguely connected with any of this (and failing, as everywhere was closed for the day), our neighbor pops around with a little gift. It's a Viewsonic VX2235wm, which the delivery service had dropped off earlier today. Fortunately, our neighbors are lovely people (though we may now be in the wife's bad books, as, prompted by the delivery, the husband was last seen investigating the possibility of buying a nice large widescreen monitor).

As is often the case, any time we've managed to get in touch with a human being, usually at Viewsonic, they've been nothing but polite and helpful, but there's not usually much they can do in the face of byzantine multinational bureaucracy. Oh well. At least this new monitor (so far) hasn't started making any strange noises (fingers crossed), and I'm back to larger, vibrantly coloured gaming. Sorry for the not particularly entertaining post, sometimes you just need to vent...

1 comment:

Dragon said...

Count yourself lucky! I recently tried to get a graphics card replaced or fixed under warranty. ATI are a well known company, you might have heard of them. They have no European offices so I had to ship the video card to Canada.

It got returned 10 weeks later as I hadn't paid enough duty on it and ATI wouldn't cover the surplus. Needless to say, I'm not buying ATI again.