Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Royal Mail deliveries

I've just lost a day of my life waiting for a parcel from Amazon. The parcel was sent as "Special Delivery Guaranteed" and was due today - 30th November. As it is a parcel which has to be signed for I waited in all day. Amazon and the Royal Mail have fancy mail tracking web sites which are about as useful as chocolate teapots.   They just said "It's out for delivery", no specific time for delivery just - it's out for delivery.  By 18:30 I emailed Amazon to find out what has happened to the parcel. Ignoring the management speak the message from Amazon was "Tough, wait until it's delivered."  Shortly afterwards the status on the website was updated to show "Parcel returned to depot." So currently I have no idea when this parcel will be delivered.

The Royal Mail should update it's website to add some new status messages:

  • It's gone out, but is unlikely to arrive on time
  • We can't be bothered to deliver it today, maybe next week
  • We have delivered it to a post office for your collection, take a 4x4 SUV to reach it
  • Collect it from the sorting office between 0530 and 0630 in two days time
  • The driver was late back from the pub, maybe deliver tomorrow
This nonsense will continue until the Government dictates that any failure to deliver a "timed delivery" will be compensated at the rate of 8 hours of the Minimum National Wage unless 12 hour notice of failure is provided in advance.

As for Amazon? I'll not do any Christmas shopping via them.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Trouble with WmiPrvSE.exe?

For months now we've noticed a Microsoft process called WmiPrvSE.exe continually running on our PC (Win7 Professional). There was no apparent reason for this but it was consuming a steady 5% of CPU resources on a 4 core cpu. We did a lot of online research but could come up with no reason. 

However, almost by accident, we discovered that if we stop CCleaner running in the background then the problem with WmiPrvSE goes away. I guess there must be some kind of permissioning conflict.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

A major flaw in Corel's Wordperfect Office X8

Corel are sending me emails enjoining my company to use their latest office software. Wordperfect Office X8 Standard.  Unfortunately they still haven't fixed the major flaw in their product. They could do so at the stroke of a pen. I've previously identified the flaw to them, but they've chosen to ignore this flaw.

Their product is priced in the UK at 164% of the USA price. This is unacceptable to me. It is naked and blatant price gouging.

I must remember to tweak my email filters to stop the Corel email..

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Reward for $2.6 Billion loss?

Executive pay is seriously out of kilter when a CEO stands to make lottery jackpot money ($55 Million) on top of an existing massive salary for presiding over $2.6 Billion loss of annual sales income. She should be fired with no compensation along with the people who supported her original employment.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

UK and the EU

I was chatting with a 17 year old lad who helps me on jobs occasionally. We were talking about the EU Referendum which is due to take place in June. He said we should vote to stay in because it is safer.  He couldn't understand why I'd be anti-European and want to leave. I remember life in the UK pre-EU membership, in fact I voted in 1975 in support of the UK  joining the Common Market. I've worked in many European countries and have worked for European companies. I'm not anti-Europe.

I was able to to explain my support of an exit vote quite simply. I asked him: "Do you want to be governed by people you have elected? Or, do you want to be governed by people, unelected in this country and who have no direct interest in our welfare?"  

Thursday, 24 March 2016

I'd vote for the political party who ...

I'd vote for the political party who promised to (and achieved it) sort out delivery companies. In this day and age it should be perfectly possible for them to predict within the hour when a parcel is delivered to our premises!

In the event of a failure to deliver on time we should be able to claim damages and not limited to some measly portion of the delivery fee. The claim should compensate us for lost productive time, frustration and consequential loss. For example if we are forced to wait in all day because the courier doesn't deliver on time we should be able to claim a day's fees at our normal charge rate. A few bills for a few hundred pounds for a failed delivery would soon see the couriers fixing their systems.

There should be get-outs for the courier company in the event of genuine third party problems blocked roads, emergencies etc provided they can demonstrate they've made contact to advise the delivered address of the delay and made suitable alternative arrangements.

Delivery slots of longer than one hour should be banned unless there is prior agreement of the consignee at the delivery address.

Today I'm waiting for DPD. My supplier has booked a one hour delivery slot for some urgently needed spare parts, but I've received no notification from DPD as when they plan to deliver. As part of the service, they are supposed to tell you in advance of when delivery will take place, or at least a one hour timeslot. When I try to enquire on the DPD website as to the delivery time, all I get is the dubious information that the parcel is at their depot, but no estimated delivery time. I've found, after some searching, the phone number of the DPD Help Desk when I phone that it just repeats the same ineffectual information "the parcel is at the depot" and I cannot get through to speak to a human being. All I can do is wait ....!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Bandsaw problems - investigations

We mentioned in an earlier post that we had encountered problems with a new Charnwood B350 bandsaw we'd purchased for our company. The inspection door hinge on the saw was rusted and seized up. After an hour's usage the drive belt snapped rendering the machine non functional.

We spoke with the vendor (Charnwood) this morning. They were annoyed on our behalf that we'd suffered problems with the new £600 purchase. Their attitude was "what would you like us to do to fix the problems". Returning the machine is not our preferred option as the faults are relatively minor and moving it up from the basement would entail a lot of work. To help resolve this I said we'd try cleaning the rust from the hinge and applying lubrication to the repaired hinge and then get back to them with the outcome of the work. They have offered to replace the door if necessary. They are also sending a new drive belt to replace the broken one. 

We've already purchased the tools necessary to re-install the drive belt. It is a fairly quick job and one we could expect to have to do periodically during the life of the machine It is a minor inconvenience for us to replace the belt rather than wait for a maintenance engineer or to send the 80 Kg machine back to the shop.

This afternoon we cleaned up the rusted hinge with 400 grit grade emery paper, applied light machine oil and remounted the door on the bandsaw machine. The machine would not start, the metal door had become distorted and wouldn't operate the safety interlock switch. After 30 minutes tinkering  we were able to fix the problem, but we'll be asking for a new door as the distortion arising from the rusted hinge could have long term effects.

While testing the power switching we noticed the machine was running with an odd scraping noise from the area of the drive shaft. We noticed the "key" for the drive shaft was loose and scraping against the back of the main saw pulley wheel when the motor turned. Normally the access door would be closed so you wouldn't be able to see the problem, but we'd overridden the safety switch and had the door open.  We resolved to investigate more carefully and dismantled the lower half of the saw. 

We found that the hidden grub screw at the back of the drive pulley was loose. It had not been tightened during the manufacturing assembly process. Consequently the "key" which locks the pulley wheel to the shaft had not been secured. The pulley wheel was able to freely drift along the drive shaft. It is no surprise the drive belt had become damaged and snapped.

We'll be having further discussions with the vendor tomorrow!! They need to have some serious discussions with the manufacturer. There are some serious issues with quality control.

Edit: Charnwood are sending a replacement door by courier, which is a story in itself.

Edit: 25th March 2016 The faults have now been fixed. While they should not have been present on a new machine, Charnwood has responded in a helpful and professional manner. We'd recommend them.