Wednesday, 23 April 2008

exchange that license my it.

for those who have known me for years, you'll undoubtedly have heard of my stories trying to exchange my Canadian drivers license for my UK one back in 2003/2004. for those who don't, quick synopsis:

As a Canadian, you can only exchange your Canadian license for a UK "Automatic" driving license unless You can prove that You have taken a driving test in a manual car.

I contacted the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) for a copy of my driving test (which was done in the 99 VW Jetta - VR6 manual transmission) and they advised that after you pass your test and you are entered into the computer, the paper is destroyed. They do not record what type of transmission you used to do your test on. This meant in the UK I would have to do a road test to prove I could drive safely a manual machine. No thanks. I'll move to Switzerland. They seem more clever there.

Now here we are, in Switzerland. To date now, I have been 3 times to try and exchange my Canadian license for my Swiss license. Each time it has been one disappointment after another. They never give you a form saying make sure you bring all these different pieces of paper, identity, medical forms, etc. Depends on who you speak with ... and their mood ... dictates what you need to bring with to exchange your license.

So, keeping this in mind, I showed up to exchange my license (sorry ... not exchange ... obtain a swiss one and still keep my canadian ... just makes my canadian one not valid in switzerland. they put big yellow stickers on it to say so) ... i go to the desk, give over all my information, etc. Things are going well. I've managed to do it all right this time.


Not this time.


Turns out, because i have a "G" class license from Ontario, I am allowed to drive vehicles in Switzerland that are B, BE and C. Turns out B is a normal car. Great. BE is a normal car with a trailer. Cool. C is a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes. Because I'm allowed to drive a C type vehicle, I need to go and get a medical test. This would mean a fifth trip. Thankfully I was able to explain that I have no desire to drive a big truck or Winnebago ... so I filled in a form that excludes me from the right to drive a C class vehicle.

Finally. I should have my swiss license for driving in a few days. Then they can take it away for speeding and other great things that unusually happen when i am driving minding my own business...

Monday, 21 April 2008

technology can suck my kazoo

Where to start.

1. 1and1 could possibly be the worst provider i have ever dealt with as a customer, ever. I pay a small portion monthly for a 1&1 Root Server III. I have had this now for almost five years maybe? A long time... Consistently once or twice a year the machine dies. Just goes offline.

end_request: I/O error, dev 03:01 (hda), sector 0
end_request: I/O error, dev 03:01 (hda), sector 525096
EXT3-fs error (device ide0(3,1)): ext3_get_inode_loc: unable to read
inode block - inode=29683, block=65637
end_request: I/O error, dev 03:01 (hda), sector 0
EXT3-fs error (device ide0(3,1)) in ext3_reserve_inode_write: IO failure
end_request: I/O error, dev 03:01 (hda), sector 0
end_request: I/O error, dev 03:01 (hda), sector 525096

I'm no rocket scientist (yet) but that looks like hard drive problems to me. Each and every time this error happens when the server is no longer available via tcp/ip or serial console.

Each time I open a ticket and maybe 2-3 days later it's resolved with a hard reboot or "a loose cable was found" and fixed. If I didn't have people who depended on the machine being up, I would be quite amused.

More amusing is the inability to find live operators online to help or the remote hint at getting a service credit. HA HA HA. More and more i realize that with the internet catching on, many companies can happily take money for shit service with no recourse. What is someone going to do? Sue over 150usd/month? Sue over the lost money?

What I really love is the auto-responder:

Dear Customer,

This is an autoresponder e-mail.

Thank you for your recent e-mail.

We expect to answer your e-mail within the next 12 to 24 hours.

-- Hi, how about fix my machine within 12-24 minutes. It's 2008! Does it take 12-24 hours to fly an engineer onsite to resolve the problem? Bastards.

2. My IBM VPN. Who knew that upgrading my VPN software at the suggestion of the auto-updater would completely destroy any chance I have of connecting to the internal network and keeping myself productive. Now I can't do anything and it's fantastic.

There are forums dedicated to extracting and ripping this 'pos' VPN software off the cmputer and reinstalling. Apparently the uninstaller isn't quite groovy enough to work. Calls to technical support? Complete waste of time.

Maybe I just provide to my customers such a high level of support and expect this in return when I'm a customer. Thinking about it now...when businesses want my money, it's so easy to take but so difficult to maintain. Why is that?

I think the internet in general may be fucked a little bit and I'll have to rethink all of this.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

More Czech Tournament Photos