Deep Space Naan, it seems



Wait for me

Hey You,

Turns out you didn't have to wait all that long.


F1 these days ...

The line it is drawn
The KERS it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

~ Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-changin'



The Empire Strikes Back

Dear Google Overlords,

I am sorry.
Can I have the matrimonial ads back?





I sit here, waiting
Alone, but not quite
I see resolute grey
but expect blinking orange.


'Our' Song

Its hilarious when, out of the blue, you get a call with the phone held overhead.


The Con is On

To continue the story ...

So I received this wonderful text message from the nice people at Sony.
Your Sony service request is logged as job no. 000300646xxx. The initial repair estimate is Rs. 13811.50. For queries contact XXX-XXXXXXXX.
To Sony's credit, they do not round off to the next Rupee, like some places do.

An hour or so later, I got a call .... basically telling me the same thing, though he used the word 'at least' before the 13k ...
Wow, I thought, my aunt does eye transplants for less.
For a 5 year old camera whose purchase price was 12k, that is a bit of a shock, to put it mildly

Then he went on to explain how the entire mainboard has to be replaced. And how I would be better off buying a new one. No shit, Sherlock.

But I see what Sony is doing here... pass off what might be a bum flash capacitor or a spoiled DC-DC converter as a mainboard replacement and 'subtly' encourage the customer to buy a new one instead.

Very devious. But one thing they forgot is that their current breed of cameras is a bit crap, and if they do push me into buying a new one, there is no way I am buying a Sony with all its proprietary tie-ins. If anything, they have put me off Sonys for a long long time.

Better luck next time.


Customer Support for Dummies

Step 1: Assume that the customer is a dummy.
Actually, cancel that - presume that the customer is a dummy and then proceed.

Is it just me who has these encounters? Is it etched on the lines of my palm?

So, to start the rant, the old faithful, Sony Cybershot s40, nigh on 5 years old now, which in camera years is about 85 was having a problem. On fresh, highly charged batteries, it would last 5-6 shots maximum, before the indicator went to zero and the thing gave up the ghost. Sometimes, even before the lens had time to retract.

Act 1: Scene 1:
Telephone Conversation:

Me: Yes, I have this camera, s40 and it doesn't last even 10 shots on fully charged batteries.
CSE*: How old is this camera?
Me: About 5 years or so..
CSE: Hmmm ... I see, are you using Sony Batteries?
Me: No.
CSE: Sir, I recommend that you use Sony Batteries.
Me: What difference does it make?
CSE: Sir, its the capacity ....
Me: I have a set of 2700mAh batteries, same story.
CSE: Sir, there are other specifications...
Me: Really, like what?
CSE: Errr..... Why don't you test with Sony Batteries and see if it works.
Me: So you want me to spend 1000Rs. on another set of batteries just so you can test your theory? Are you going to reimburse me for them?
CSE: Our service center is open till 6:30 .... this is the address....
Me: You could have saved both our times and just told me this before ...
<hangs up>

*CSE: Customer Service Executive

Act 1: Scene 2:
At Customer Service Center:

Me: <repeating same old story>
CSE:(extracts batteries from camera)
CSE: Now, you see, these are 1.2 volt batteries. Thats why you are facing a problem.
Me: (thinking) Oh God, not another idiot!
Me: Really?
CSE: Yes, you need atleast 2500 megaAmps capacity.
Me: You just said volts.
CSE: Yours only have that written on them.
Me: (thinking) okkkk .. why isn't mercy killing legal, anyway ...
CSE: (showing Sony NiMh cell) See, this is 2700megaAmps. (the '2700' is printed in a larger font than 'Sony', presumably for people like him)
Me: (showing small, but perfectly legible print on my cell) Well, this is a 2000 mAh.
CSE: There is your problem.
Me: Look, when this camera came out, 1200mAh was all there was on the market. It worked fine then. Do your cameras adapt to higher capacity batteries?
CSE: (undoes lanyard) ok. We'll take a look at it. (fiddles with all the buttons)
The mode selector is stuck.
Me: Ohh is it? yeah, I probably didn't check while putting it back together. I moved the switch when it was open, so they don't align anymore.
CSE: (looking at me like I had just confessed to killing my cat and turning it into a handbag) You opened it! <shock><awe><disgust>
Me: Yes, is that a problem? Its out of warranty. And its mine, I can do what I want to with it.
CSE: (avoiding looking at me) I will have to consult with our Engineer to see if we can take this in.
Me: Really? Go ahead.
CSE: <hush-hush conversation on phone. Probably in proprietary Sony® invented language. And compressed in ATRAC>
CSE: Well, we can accept it.
Me: <batting eyelashes> My Hero!
Me: <getting up to leave> Ohhh and by the way... its milliamps. You almost solved India's power crisis single handedly there....

On a side note, 'Executive' in this sense seems to be defined as:
1.a person or group of persons having administrative or supervisory authority in an organization.
2.the person or persons in whom the supreme executive power of a government is vested.
3.the executive branch of a government.

4.of, pertaining to, or suited for carrying out plans, duties, etc.: executive ability.
5.pertaining to or charged with the execution of laws and policies or the administration of public affairs: executive appointments; executive committees.
6.designed for, used by, or suitable for executives: an executive suite.

Some dimwit recruited off the street and made to sit behind a desk after a week of training in parroting phrases out of a manual doesn't really fit any of those meanings.

What gives?

P.S.: Further Scenes and Acts to follow. No doubt, they will be along similar lines.



While generally flipping through the channels, I came across Star News' coverage of YSR Reddy's helicopter going missing. Typically, since they had nothing to fill the space with, they did what any non self respecting 24x7 Indian News Channel would do: pile on the bullshit.

So I got to hear how the Bell-430 is an inherently dangerous machine, with videos of random helicopters crashing (a few looked like tests to me), how hydraulic systems are a death trap and should be abolished and the like. But most glaring of all, to me, was the enlightened soul informing viewers that the Bell-430 has Rolls-Royce engines which are made by 'car nirmata' Rolls Royce.

About 30 seconds on Wikipedia would have informed them that Rolls Royce was split in 1973 and both pieces have since changed hands several times to get where they are now.

12 Hours after the thing went missing, some bad photoshops and wrong info - thats all they had.

Oh yes, and underwear ads, the bedrock of 24 hours news coverage.


Read between the lines