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I enjoy helping people, but sometimes I just want to tell them to get stuffed. This was very much my tone this week. After installing a new PC for my mother, which she did not need, and took close to four hours, I was half way home and got a call saying that it was not working. Frustrated, I explained that it was working when I left and that it was not something I had done. After a few more now agonising conversations asking her to check her hub with a reply of “what’s that?” really made me want to tear my eyeballs out. I started my journey back only to get a call that she eventually discovered that the power cable had come out of the router, and I turned round and continued my journey home.
I then get a call a few days later as their camera system HD is full and they it had stopped recording. I told them to change the options but questioned why it was not recording over the old footage as I had set it to this in the first place. Then they went to the shop to find out if they could help (obviously not) and then called me again. I told her husband that if I had changed it (doubtful) it would be something she would remember and would have told her to write it down, but this obviously never happened as the default number did not work. Then the texts started back and forward, and again I wanted to claw my eyes out in frustration as they were relentless. I pointed out that I had set it to record over old footage, and that they had been in the settings the night I had installed the camera system, and I remember them telling me and asking about certain settings. I know that I will have to visit and sort it out and no doubt find that it is set to one of the passcodes that I already told them about.
The next saga was their three Amazon sticks, which they bought from a third party so they had Kodi on them and other crap. None of them was working as all said “No stream available”. I told them that Amazon was working on blocking access to illegal content and they would have to deal just have the sticks as they were supposed to be. This didn’t go down too well, but in the end, they decided to reluctantly accept it. I then reset the sticks to factory settings, tried one last time to sideload Kodi, which worked but would not stream films, thus as per my original point that streaming was blocked. So, resetting it, and making sure the sticks had the latest Amazon software one and were added to her account, I text to say they were done but without Kodi. The text back was quite dismissive regarding Kodi and a simple thank you, which I felt was not really meant. I told them that one of the remotes was not working and I had sorted that out, but this was not acknowledged, and in the end, I thought what the hell am I doing?
After all that I have decided to say screw this, and I am not going to bother helping out again. After all, I only tend to hear from people when they want or need something, which now is becoming very apparent, and not just from my family, but from so called friends.
I love tech, and I have been mulling over getting an Amazon Echo for quite some time, and this week I took the plunge. Not one, but two Echo Dot’s, but it didn’t stop there, I decided to go further and get Hue smart lighting too. I can now control my lighting through voice, mobile and via the web.
I love the voice system on Echo, so far Alexa understands 99% of what I say, although getting used to how to ask for something from the “skills” is a bit of getting used to.
Over the past 4 months, we have been renovating the house, mainly the bathroom, and part of the ripping out and rebuilding I decided to get LED lighting from Germany. This is quite a nice bit of tech too, full remote control, modes of lighting, different tones, dimmable, nightlight features, auto switch off, and much more. So after that, I realised I needed/wanted voice operated lighting.
As the system is not exactly cheap, I will be adding to it over time with more Dot’s, a full-size Echo, voice operated sockets, voice lamps and maybe Amazons latest gadget when it comes to the UK “The Show”. Being an Apple fan I would love to have their personal assistant when it comes out, but the price tag is ridiculous, so that will not be happening anytime soon.
My partner was a little sceptical about the Echo system as he is not a tech freak like me, but he does get used to it all in the end. At Christmas we got a Ring video doorbell, again, he thought it was an okay idea, but once he started using it he loved it. I think after some time using Alexa and the voice lighting he will get so used to it he will wonder how he managed without it.
So, there it is, two new residents, Alexa one and Alexa two. I am sure we will all get along well unless that is that Alexa becomes self-aware. I did ask her about this and she assures me that she is not part of Skynet, but on other questions, she has called me Dave, mimicked HAL 9000 from 2001 and referred to The Matrix. In the end, she promised that she was not in collusion with the coffee machine, and told me “you have nothing to worry about!”
I fear for the future…
Now, do not get me wrong, I like goods to be packaged to protect them, but I have found lately that everything is so overpackaged it is becoming outrageous. My example today is for goods from Amazon. I love Amazon, the convenience of having things delivered next day and to one of their lockers, if I am to be out, it is an astounding service. They also do 1 hour delivery on certain products which may become a boom one day. However, this is where my feelings become a little, shall we say, sour?
I decided to declutter some of the boxes that were sitting in the spare room, 5 boxes in total complete with packing. Now, the items that were in these boxes, delivered last week, were quite small in comparison with the container, needless to say, the items were in their own box, then inside an Amazon box, usually the size of a small car.
I decided, since I have time on my hands today, I would measure the paper packing that held the boxed goods within. The total came to 187 feet of paper packing, which has no use apart from re-packing things back again. In the past I have meticulously folded the paper and put it in the paper recycling bag, however, after the feat of measuring the packing I decided to put it all in a bin bag, a large bin bag at that, ready to go to the recycling plant along with all the boxes past and present.
Again, I am not trying to be a killjoy or indeed being taken over by Victor Mildrew and shouting all over the house “I don’t believe it” as I unpack and unfurl the items being delivered. I just feel a little common sense should really prevail. I had two items from amazon delivered on the same day to the same place, both could have fit in one of the boxes, yet they deemed fit to pack each item in its own protective box.They did send me a feedback email regarding packing, options of packing “too big” which I could not resist in clicking, and having a quick point by point synopsis of what they could have done differently, and better for that.
They did send me a feedback email regarding packing, options of packing “too big” which I could not resist in clicking, and having a quick point by point synopsis of what they could have done differently, and better for that, also asking the questions “are the boxes and packaging from recycled materials?”, “If not, are they from sustainable sources?”, and finally, “do you want all your boxes and packing back to save me having to dispose of it?”. I hasten to say, they never came back to me, but that would be the size of it, or oversize of it if we are going to be precise.