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20 August 2005 - Bell are idiots - continued

Okay, so my high speed has finally been hooked back up. This after 20 phone calls over 6 days. Wow, I knew that Bell Canada was a huge crazy bureaucracy, but I never thought it would amount to this. Anyway, the last couple of weeks of work are coming up... I finish work on the 31st and move back to the (relative) civilization of Waterloo on Friday. Then the craziness begins again... frosh week prep starts on Friday!


18 August 2005 - Bell (collectively) are idiots


I'm now writing while on hold with a person by the name of Miranda from the Bell Sympatico support centre. The call was made at 18:55, I was put on hold at 18:58, and it is now 19:24. My broadband connection. So what is the cause of this? Let's recount the details starting that fateful Monday when I called Bell to cancel my phone service ...


What you see in brackets with a time is what's been happening today as I write this blog out.


Monday: I call Bell and Bell Sympatico to cancel my service, since I'm moving out of here by the 3rd of September. No problems, I'm told -- however, since there's a 30 day cancellation policy, I have to wait till the 15th of September to be disconnected ... but I'd be reimbursed for the time I didn't use the phone. Sure, that sounds reasonable, and I think all is good.


Tuesday: I wake up in the morning and check my email as I usually do before heading out to work. Hmm, my line isn't connecting anymore! So, as anyone in the IT industry knows, power cycling your modem and router are always the best things to do. Only to find that when I power cycled my modem, I couldn't make a connection anymore. Username and password rejected. Uh-oh, I thought... my account's been killed! My phone still works, so... okay, all I need to do is to phone Bell to get it rectified. Knowing the way they work, I phone from the office so I catch them before they leave work.


(19:29 -- "Oops, we're having some transfer problems, bear with us, Jason... thanks!" I've now been on hold about... holy crud, 30 minutes!)


So I get hooked to a person called Alex. Alex is very nice, and tells me that they can reactivate this service, no problem. he just has to transfer me to someone of a higher calibre. Sure. Sylvie comes on the line, and says... no problems! We can reactivate your account! It's weird though, because my account had been cancelled as of midnight Tuesday. How bizarre. But again, she says, no problems - I'll simply reactivate your account, and everything will work. Lo and behold, I get home, and the connection is back. My problems are over.


Wednesday: Or are they? My line drops dead again, this time after I get home from work. So of course, the first thing to try is to power cycle. But this time, something more dramatic happens. My DSL light doesn't come back on! Frustrated, I give Bell another call, and at 17:48, a person by the name of Derek picks up and helps me out. Oh, the line card to my DSL line has been taken out, and there's nothing they can do about it until the next day. I was absolutely livid by this point, and they told me that the best they could do is dial-up access. Sure, dial-up is better than nothing. Side note: have you ever tried to share 6 people on one dial-up connection? PAINFUL.


So, in order to get my connection back, explains a gentleman named Bruce, is they have to put another order through for a new account... which means I will "automatically" be sent a new DSL modem. Great, something MORE to worry about while I move. But okay, if that's what makes them happy and gives me my connection asap, then sure, I'll accept that. Meanwhile, dialup connections for everyone. Fun. Towards the end of the phone call, this is what I said:


(19:42 - back - I've now been transferred to a senior manager)


Me: "Okay, so my high speed service will be back within 24 hours?"

Rep: "Yes, Mr. Pang, it will be back within 24 hours"

Me: "Can you repeat it to me again, that my high speed service will be back online within 24 hours"

Rep: "Yes, your high speed will be back within 24 hours"

Me: "So it will be completely working"

Rep: "Yes"

Me: "Ok, can you please also put that on my account record"

Rep: "*sigh* Sure"

(In case you're wondering why I repeated this so many times, it's because they record phone conversations)


(19:50 - back on hold with a gentleman with the senior manger, by the name of Edward)


Thursday: So I get back home, and expect this service to be working. Full stop. Ohhhhh no, my phone line itself now doesn't work. So I phone 310-SURF ... on a payphone... and talk with him for a while. No dice, it's activated on the Sympatico side, but not on the Bell side. So he advises that I call 310-BELL ... which is closed. So I call the telephone repair people, only for them to tell me that it is not under their jurisdiction to reactivate lines, or some stuff like that. So yeah, now I'm back to phoning 310-SURF, and when I get back into my room, the line AUTOMAGICALLY (typo intended) works! So yeah, now I'm on hold, and the guy has told me that the person who guaranteed me the 24 hour service can't actually do that.


Now, at this point is where I get more and more annoyed, to the point where I say, into the phone "Right, so NOBODY has problems after 7:00pm at night?? I've dealt with nine different people... I shouldn't have to deal with this rubbish to do something as simple as get my connection -- which should be working by the way -- back to normal.." The guy is obviously on the defensive now, and basically asks me if I'll be around at 9am tomorrow. Sure! If you pay my salary!


Yeah, I'm just really annoyed and bitter at Bell. This guy is supposed to phone me back tomorrow "first thing" and if that doesn't happen, hell is going to break loose.


According to my count, I have been helped by 9 different people from Tuesday till today. Each one of them has been really helpful, but I can honestly say that Bell has a problem, institutionally.


"Thank you for choosing Bell." Well, they have another 24 hours to humour me before they lose my business. At least for a lonnnng time to comeI don't think I've ever been quite this infuriated at a company all my life.


... so afterwards, us people from residence (Chris, Toni, Zack, me) went to go have a drink, and then came home to watch Team America. FUNNIEST MOVIE EVER! If you haven't seen it, watch it... haha I had a blast. It actually made me forget what a bad day in general I've had... between bad stuff happening at work in terms of systems failures to these people at Bell, I think I deserved that pint of beer and the good meal I had today.



10 August 2005 - Rain rain... whaa?

Today was really weird. I was going out to get lunch. Nothing too special, it's a 200m walk I take at times to the supermarket. And about 100m into the walk... all hell breaks loose.


I've never been this soaked this quick in my life. All of a sudden, rain started coming at me sideways, and i had to run into the supermarket as quick as I could. Not that it was easy, since I was facing a very stiff head wind... so I got into the supermarket and was soaked... but only my front. My back was completely bone dry.


So inside, I bought my lunch, and also a towel (since they were on sale, for $3.99!) so I could dry off in the office. I got more than a few weird looks in the office when I was wrapped in a large dinosaur towel!


Haha anyway, just my weird story of the day.


7 August 2005 - Colds suck.


Or, perhaps, this was a slight flu. I don't know, whatever it is it's very annoying. I've had a scratchy throat since Thursday of last week, and things just sorta went straight downhill from there. Sat, had a low grade fever, so i slept for 15 hours. Of course, I needed to get my temprature taken, so I moseyed over to the hospital's emerg to get my temperature taken. You should have seen the look on the nurse's face when I asked her to take my temperature :P


Stratford SwansSunday, more of the same, slept for 12 hours and went out to finally buy myself a thermometer. And then I rested some more. There's nothing much you can do about this kinda thing except wait it out. I still don't know if I feel good enough for work tomorrow, but I'll see when the time comes tomorrow.


Hm, also, wanted to showcase one of my more favourite pictures (see to right) that I've taken by the lake in the past couple of months... and here it is.


Anyway, more sleep is needed... take care, everyone! Don't get sick!


31 July 2005

About the worst thing I've seen in a long time - the FINA (Montreal 2005) Closing Ceremonies. Man, that was horrible. Just a guy singing and singing and singing, and telling the audience to yell "Yeah" about 40 times before he finally got the hint that most people attending don't really enjoy shouting at the top of their lungs.


All merits to the people who are performing... they're great. It's just that a closing ceremony should be ... well... a closing ceremony, not a rock concert. Other closing ceremonies tend to have something representing their sport(s) or something representing their heritage or country featured as part of the ceremonies. This... well, it was just a guy singing at the top of his lungs for much too long.


And aren't such ceremonies supposed to remain secular? Wouldn't shouting "Halleujah" be deemed offensive to some? I don't know how many people have just been offended since an international sporting event has featured a very much Christian performance. In any case, I thought the performance was inappropriate for a closing ceremony and more suited for a performance of Sister Act.


However, the Opening Ceremonies were absolutely amazing. I can't recall too much, but I was sitting in front of the TV (broadcasting in French) and was absolutely mesmerized by the performances. Good work there! This, I believe, has much less to do with the performers than the general poor programming of the people involved in planning activities.


Well, enough ranting.



14 July 2005 - A month of updates

DUDE! Now this is freaking cool. Google satellite now does Hong Kong!!


Home is here, and KGV is here.


Wowwwww... that's amazing. I'm in awe.


Now, while I'm here, i suppose is should update on what I've been doing lately.


Work has proceeded on as usual... you know, not too much going on, but enough to keep me on my toes, and few fires going out of control like has happened in the first month. So it's been nice to have a relatively slow time and be able to actually code the time tracking tool that I've been working on. It's a nifty little piece of software that is used to keep track of what you've been doing and how long you've been doing it during the week. I'm sure eventually people will come to hate me for it (since I personally dislike keeping track of all of my time anyway) but at the same time I see it being a useful tool for myself to see where all the hours in the day go.


Last weekend: attended the Orientation Leader Retreat... slept at Ivan's place (with no furniture, of course) so Patrick and I were on a sleeping bag on the floor and on a bedframe with no mattress, respectively. By the end of that week, boy I was sore. I heard that sleeping on a hard surface is supposed to be good for you, but I didn't think it hurt quite that much.


It was pretty fun; Saturday we were attending workshops and stuff like that... played a bit of Calvinball, and had an interesting tower-building contest. Our team won... by using "anything in the room" (in our case, it was the tables) to build a super structure that went all the way up to the celing and then some. Too bad I didn't get a picture of it


Sunday was the engineering retreat... LOTS more fun. It was cool meeting up with all the other frosh leaders that I'd be working with, and my group is super-awesome. Lots of lively and creative ideas... can't wait till frosh week (and I promise I'll bring my camera there).


My work on the week has amounted to a forum we've set up for the frosh. Too bad I can't lay claim to being the designer of our awesome website: http://navyblue.chinomikan.com/ . Isn't it nuts? and it's all done by hand too, none of the pansy Dreamweaver or FrontPage.


Hmm, what else has been up since? Oh, of course, Canada Day weekend I was out in Toronto (my mom is in Toronto to visit) and it was a pretty eventful weekend -- met up with an uncle/aunt/distant cousin (I suppose?) that I suppsoedly haven't seen since something like 1992. Wow. Needless to say, great food, good fun, and lots of sunshine! My weekend was somewhat interrupted by a call from my boss -- plant systems meltdown!! -- so I was called to instruct someone else to fix the problems. It only turned out that we needed to unplug the machines and boot them back up - I guess the power outage didn't do the machines too well.


Hmm... anyway, it's starting to get to 7pm now. I don't have anyone to cook my dinner (*stare* at all the people living at home this term) so I better start-a-cookin' mine.


Take care, everyone! And hopefully it won't be another month before I post next. Work gets too busy and I suppose I just forget to!


Spambots: finally thwarted? - 16 June 2005

Have these darned guestbook spam bots gotten smart to the point they can either (a) read images or (b) read the cookies to my little image verification script?? Well, in any case, I've upped the war a notch again. Those of you who started using the guestbook about three weeks back started to notice that there was an image verification script. The volume went from maybe 40 spam messages a day to 0 a day. And all was good.


Then they started to smarten up. to the point where today I deleted another two or three dozen entries to my guestbook, all done within the past two days. Now we need to again, escalate.


Now my guestbook's cookie stores a lot more other rubbish, plus I've changed the generation and storage algorithms. And I've added an extra human-only layer of protection. So hopefully stupid spambots won't go messing with the guestbook anymore. Only time will tell though.


I think the last time I put in some simple protection I took out all the stupid spambots, but the smarter ones were still able to get through. Hopefully this time I've thwarted them. *crosses fingers*


Update after a month - 15 June 2005

Wow... it's been a month since updating. That's an unusually long time for me, esp since I'm on a workterm.


The Weather Network 15 JuneSo, it's been pretty interesting the past few weeks. One weekend out of every two (usually) I'd make a trip out to Waterloo or Toronto to get a breather, and just to experience city life once again, meet up with people, etc.


Yesterday was pretty interesting... we went out to Waterloo to interview six potential candidates for next term's co-op positions. It was weird, especially when Ben - my boss (during the first interview of the day) handed me the resume, and said "start it... go on." Wow, that was odd, I hadn't expected that - i thought I'd be giving the second interview at least. But I honestly can say that I've learnt more that day about interviewing than being on the other (interviewee) side for years.


Then we left Waterloo... and got caught in the middle of a freakish storm. The car was hydroplaning and the wind was beating up against the car. We had to stop the car and pull off the highway since we couldn't see anything. Apparently there were tornado warnings and stuff as well. There were at least three tornado touchdowns, and one apparently pretty close to Toronto.


Also yesterday... had my first in-car driving lesson. Only that it was in absolute driving rain and we couldn't really see too far ahead. Had to do my circle checks and stuff in absolute driving rain. Drove around the block, but there wasn't too much else that was special IMO.


But then I got home... and I basically collapsed. Way too warm, way too much went on. I never thought interviewing took that much out of someone, but after 6 interviews... at over an hour each... boy, I was gone.


But all in all, a nice month so far, though I wouldn't mind having an air-conditioner installed here. It reached some pretty insane temperatures last week.


Finally, some interesting news. I've been approached by one of the kids living in the residence overnight (he's in a gifted programme from a school in Ottawa, Grade 8. I think his name's Jeremy) and he's trying to hook me into some weird email spam pyramid scheme. Get paid 1 cent for every 5 spam mails you read! And any people who you refer to the programme... you will get a 25% cut of what they make! Wow!


"Are they in a gifted programme?"


"Ah, you can tell that by the way I've already been approached with a scam!"


I'll tell everyone what the results of this little scheme are. I'm waiting for an email from him extolling the benefits and the amazing money I'll make(!) simply by reading a few small spam emails a day! Oh wait, I think my time is actually spent working at my job :P If Jeremy can prove to me that I can earn more than what I earn at work per hour (calculated over an entire weekday) then I'll consider his scheme.


I'll update you all as time goes by :P


Stop ahead...Pic of the Day - 9 May 2005

The picture on the right was taken on the road right outside my residence. I guess they really want you to know to stop at the intersection.


Happy Mother's Day! - 8 May 2005

First off: Happy Mother's Day, mom!


More about Stratford - 8 May 2005

Now, more about Stratford:


Stratford is a "city" with about 30000 people living in it. There are lots of factories and stuff here, but the main attraction for tourists here is theatre. There are (I think) four theatres in this town, attracting a huge number of visitors from across the planet. It's tiny ... like, I walked almost the entire width of this place in about 50 minutes. Sunday bus service is nonexistent.


Of course, that means I'm usually bored as heck in this place, since the theatre isn't open yet, and in any case, it'd be a lot more fun to go with people I know :S So yes, if anyone's interested in seeing a play over this summer, please come and give me a shout - I'd love to hear from you.


I'm living in a hospital residence at the moment, sharing a floor with probably no more than 10 people (at the moment), and four of us are co-op students from UW. The third floor houses people in the euphemistically-called "program," and the second floor houses... well, I don't know who's there actually.


One thing that's definitely different about this town is that you can probably count the number of Chinese inhabitants here on your fingers. In the two weeks I've been here (excluding co-ops at FAG who no longer work here anymore), the only Chinese person I've seen around here... is in the mirror. It's definitely odd, but it's a nice little town and everyone's really nice. I have, however, received stares from kids, stares that I'd probably never ever see in Waterloo. Hopefully it's because I'm different and not because I'm all that weird...


Work has started piling up on me as usual; it's still pretty slow, but I anticipate a huge ramp-up in the coming couple of weeks, so I'd better enjoy it while I can.


And finally... a story. Today I went to Sobey's to buy groceries, by bike as usual. It's about a 5 minute bike ride (8 when I'm fully loaded). I've gone probably three or four times already, but today I was receiving looks that usually I don't receive. And this isn't the curious look, it was more like the what-the-heck-this-guy-is-really-stupid look. I attributed it to the fact I had a huge 40 litre hiking backpack on me, and supermarket bags dangling from either side of my bike. But when I got home, I discovered why there were sporadic stares:


It turns out that one of the bags I'd dangled from my handlebars had developed a hole in the bottom, and I was dropping my groceries all over the road. So in all, I discovered I lost 2 cloves of garlic, an orange, and a grapefruit. It looked like my milk was about to fall out as well, but it was sorta wedged there and didn't manage to get out.


Therefore, I'm a weirdo after all.

Lesson of the day: double bag your stuff you're putting on handlebars.


Oh yeah: good luck, Adrian!


Finally Finished & I Passed! - 1 May 2005

It's been an awful long time since I've put up anything... I guess I've just been way too busy the past while.


Since April, I've been studying for exams, all of which turned out a lot better than I expected. A couple of our exams got scaled up so much that half the class was laughing insanely after the results came out. (These two exams made a lot of us laugh until we cried, then we cry till we laughed again). Anyway, my marks turned out decent, and I have a >70 average this term -- and much better than expected.


In any case, I'm now in Stratford, and I started work on the 25th at FAG Bearing... which meant I finished my last exam on the Thursday, and then had to move (with my uncle and aunt's help, of course) to Stratford on Friday. Saturday was a day of mainly moping around since there was a snowstorm here (yes, a snowstorm in late April)... on Sunday went out to explore the city. This is one small city! I walked the entire width of the city in about 50 minutes.


Hm, I also had to get my Internet service set up, and all that other administrative stuff, and I was reminded last night that I forgot to file my tax return :S Have to get out to Waterloo to find the documents, and also to grab my bike.


Anyway, just an update, since I haven't done so in a long while.


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