This Site Best Viewed…

“This site best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer”.equals(“This site writtten by an overpaid moron laughing at us all the way to the bank. We know, we should have got a contractor who can at least understand simple css, but we were dazzled by this one’s Armani suit and shiny teeth.”);

You know who you are. Grrrrrr.

Nokia Need to Have a Look at Their Customer Service

Got the new N800 direct from Nokia (that was a story in itself, they broke their own store website, got my card cancelled by the cc company by trying to debit it about 8 times, when I phoned them, the guy on the phone did it again! Anyway, I eventually got it). Excellent piece of kit… when it worked.

So after about a few weeks it loses all the settings and resets itself to virgin. “Ho-hum”, gadget teething probs, reload all the rss feeds, mail setup, wi-fi links, etc and thought no more of it.. until it did the same thing a couple of weeks later. Bit annoyed, set everything up again and carried on. We’re on two total data loss scenarios within a month and half of having the device here, not critical data, cos I ain’t that daft, but setting up a device repeatedly is not trivial.

Two weeks later it shuts itself off as I add an rss feed. I press the start button, it goes to the security number screen, put it in, it restarts, goes to the security number screen, put it in, it restarts, goes to the security number screen, put it in, it restarts, and so on. Pull all cards out, and the battery, same thing. Reset, same thing. Drain the battery, recharge to full, same thing. Check the web, seems others are having same prob, it’s a bad batch. I can do some mad windows-flashing-with-linux-magic-combo myself (er, no thanks) or I can send it to them and they’ll sort it all out and get it back to me asap.

I got the pdf return form off the Nokia website (all linked through the N800 page and support pages) and posted it. Four working days later it comes back with a form saying “Need a proof of purchase before we can do anything”, I check the original form, proof of purchase is not required (having the bloody tablet and sending it to them suggests I probably didn’t nick it). I get on the phone to the number on the docket:

Them: What’s your IMEI number?

Me: I don’t have one, it’s not a phone.

Them: Are you sure?

Me: Yes. It’s an N800

Them: What’s the phone number?

Me: I don’t have one, it’s not a phone.

Them: Are you sure?

Me: Stop saying “Are you sure”. Of course I’m sure. I wouldn’t be saying it if I wasn’t sure. I can tell the difference between a phone and an internet tablet which, as it says on your website, is not a phone.

Them: Well it can’t be us you’re wanting to talk to then. Who gave you our phone number?

Me: You did, on the delivery note you returned to me. Would you like your reference off it? It’s….

Them: No use to me. Hang on.

–some ten minute wait—

Them: Right, one of my mates had one of these and he reckons you need to phone this number, select option 1 and they’ll sort it for you.

Me: Wow. Cool. Thanks. Perhaps you should feedback to Nokia about their support site sending people to the wrong place and….

Them: Yeah, right, bye.

So I phone the other number (0870 6006012 Option 1 in case anyone needs it) and talk to someone who wants my mobile phone number.

Me: It doesn’t have a number, it’s an Internet tablet. The N800.

Them: What’s the IMEI number?

Me: It doesn’t have one, it’s not a phone. Look, I’ve been through this already with your other guys and you are supposed to be able to handle the N800….

Them: click-brrrrrrrrrr.

Me (to the dead phone): Oh you ****-*******, ****-******** bunch of ********. **** ***. *** ********, all of you, etc, etc.

I phone back:

Them: Can I have your Nokia Club membership number please?

Me: Sorry, haven’t got one.

Them: Can I take your phone number please?

Me: Look, sorry about this, but I have a N800 so I have no phone number on it, or an IMEI number.

Them: Oh, the internet tablet? Let me just check… OK, can I have your a telephone number we can contact you on.

Me: (Cautiously optimistic) OK, my home phone number is xxxxx xxxxxx.

Them: Great, Name

…. to cut a long story short, she got all the details, soothed my battered faith in Nokia, called me back(!), and arranged a courier to pick up my N800 the next day. All should be done in a week or so. Lovely. Well done Kirsty at Nokia help centre. You are great! It’s the rest of the… people you work with who I believe are… badly trained and supported.

So the bloke from CityLink turns up, grabs the tablet and has the packaging ready, says it should take a week. I sign the forms, see ya later.

That was two weeks ago. I’ve heard nothing yet so I phone them today at 10:39BST (and, should anyone from Nokia care, I have a recording of this conversation and will be recording any future conversations, for staff training purposes and problem resolution you understand).

Them: Could I have your Nokia Club Membership number please?

Me: Sorry, I don’t have one.

Them: Could I have your mobile number please?

Me: Well, you wouldn’t have it, but I can give you the phone number the call was logged against.

Them: But that’s not the way it works. The system needs a mobile number.

Me: Ummm, I gave a landline number. Can I just give you that?

Them: I need a mobile number.

Me: Hmmm. They’re just numbers and a landline number has the same number of digits as a mobile number.

Them: Sorry, that’s not the way the system works…. Can I have your name please?

Me: It’s Niall Blahblahblah.

Them: Can you hold for a moment?

Me: Yes

Anyway, some time later they can’t find anything about me. They don’t who I am. They don’t know where it is. They’ll phone me back.

Apparently this is the help line for customers with “Premium Products”. At this point I want to swear, a lot, at someone in authority at Nokia. It wouldn’t be constructive, but would make me feel a lot better.

At 16:42 I get through to them again. After 10 or so minutes, and them finally listening to how I spell my name, I finally find out that they know who I am, where my N800 is, and that I should not have been told one week, I should have been told 10 to 15 working days, and the previous people should not have told me otherwise. The guy who said he’d phone back shouldn’t have said that either. What he should have said was that he would put a flag on the job to show the customer was chasing it. Great. So why the hell did I have to go through all that crap? I’m the customer. Nokia has incovenienced me with shoddy goods, not the other way around.

If it’s not here next Wednesday I’ll be posting again.

I will also not be buying Nokia again, no matter how good the product appears to be, until I see people praising the customer service, rather than dissing it all over the world (Helsinki, India, USA, Britain).

I also posted an earlier version of this post on

Happy Birthday Beth

What a difference a year makes! Here’s our gorgeous wee girl a year ago:Beth aged a couple of hours and now: Beth showing her aunt her new shoes. She’s not a baby anymore. Among many other things, she’s great fun, funny, stubborn, beautiful inside and out, and in complete control of her father. She’s very like her mother. I’m a lucky man.

VTR Firestorm Performance Pressure

I admit it, I’ve been bloody awful at getting out on my motorbike for the last year or two(!). I’ve been busy with other things, babies, etc… I know, bad excuses. OK, the real reason is that I don’t like the bike I have. I have a Honda Firestorm (VTR-1000). It’s a twin pot, first I’ve had, and I hate it. I hate the way it delivers power at low speeds, I hate the way the engine is so bloody relaxed at looney speeds so you feel you’re being a girl (I was weaned on the ’98 R1 and the ’01 GSX-R 1000), and I hate the handling… really, really hate it. I got the fork springs and oil changed by the local guys who race Firestorms, and that made things better, for about ten minutes before I started hating the back end even more.

I pissed around with the damping (update: I meant compression) and rebound, but I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, so it just felt worse. Returned it to factory settings and largely forgot about it. Just counted my blessings when I got a chance to go out and was in the mood to ignore the downsides.

I’ve been on it for about 100 miles this weekend (half of last years mileage!) and today I’m biting bulletts and researching suspension setup. I’m trying to find the standard tyre pressures for it cos I totally forgot what I was running it at when I was track daying it, and I’m really rusty on all of that, but Honda have the frankly terrifying figures of 36 front, 43 rear. I’m really not sure about that, but I guess, after half an hour of searching for recommendations elsewhere. I’m just going to have to try that.

Update 10 mins later: Rather amusingly, explaining yesterdays awful ride that I put down to me being over critical, the front is at 33 (OK) but the rear is at 15! Schoolboy error (and bloody dangerous). Going out to test at 36/43.

Update after 30 minutes ride: Much better. Set at 35/42. Still horrible to ride, but more the engine and power delivery than suspension now. Am going to look at this chap, Shaun Pallister, and see if I can suss anything out with the suspension.