Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Best Dreamcast games

The Dreamcast is a bargain as gaming goes; a console and a few games can be purchased for less than $50

Here are 2 of my favorite games :

- Looney Tunes Space Race - If I wasn't such a Looney Tunes fan (I own both DVD box sets), perhaps I would not rank it as highly. The graphics are spectacular. It is literally like being in a cartoon. Cartoon physics abound (characters hang in mid air before dropping). The racers trash talk each other in ways appropriate to their character. Shop areound and you can probably find it for about $10. Highly reccomended.

- PenPen TriIcelon - This game is just surreal, and super easy to play (steer and press two different buttons). It was one of the original launch titles for the Dreamcast in Japan, and minimal translations were performed to prepare the game for the american market. Basically, it is a triathalon on ice for mutant penguins. Can often be found for less than $5. Don't pass this one up.

home gaming setup

Just finished rewiring my video game console setup which consists of :

- Sega Dreamcast
- Super Nintendo
- Playstation One

Just had some family in town and my nephew played Looney Tunes Space Race on the Dreamcast. While they were out of town at the beach, I finally spent some quality time with "Crash Team Racing" on the Playstation. While it is a fun game, the quality of the graphics is atrocious, especially compared to the Dreamcast. While it is sad that the Dreamcast is no longer a supported gaming platform, it is quite a bargain as you can buy a Dreamcast with controller and AV cable at EB Games for $15. Purchase a console built before November 2000 and the entire world of Dreamcast emulation becomes available :

Even if you just use it for playing audio cd's, it's worth $15.

Friday, June 10, 2005

what a week....

Began this week on monday morning with a visit to the SunCom store. See previous posts for grisly details.

Then took mom to the hospital to prepare for surgery on friday. Arrived at 11 am, left at 6 pm. Most of the time was waiting. Used some of this time to find the unolock codes for my Nokia 3650.

Tuesday...picked up new countertop from Lowes.

Wednesday... Started new countertop installation. Had to cut the old countertop to remove. Does not bode well for installation of new countertop. Fears realized...can't get the new countertop into place without removing some part of the room. Decided to remove part of the door jamb. Discovered interesting fastener holding parts of door jamb together. Door jamb removed, new countertop manuvered into place. Kerry hints that it might be a good idea to take part of the day off tommorrow.

Thursday...leave work early; check on mom's car (both have dead batteries.) It starts! Head home to install countertop/sink. Open box with sink, discover that Bone is not White. Go back to Lowes to swap sink (white is $8 cheaper..) Attach countertop, use template to mark hole to cut for sink. Follow instructions, but somehow the hole is too small. Spend about an hour making the hole bigger. Wished that I had a router. Job completed about 8:30pm. Take shower, go to mom's. Get to sleep around midnight.

Friday...must be at hospital at 5:30, which is 30 minutes away. wake up at 4:25. Check mom in about 6:00. Get coffee and breakfast around 7:00. Now 8:00 am. Hospital beeper is going off. Guess the surgery is starting....

Thursday, June 09, 2005

customer service...sigh...

Perhaps I am not being completely fair to SunCom. It's just one example of not respecting your customers.

I once had my own consulting/training business. My livelihood depended on treating my customers well. Perhaps this is why I am sensitve to it.

How could SunCom do better ?

- Use music on hold instead of commercials on their customer service line.
I am already a customer. I am calling because I am having a problem. I don't want to listen to comercials, I want my problem solved. Also, the constant talking is very distracting. Doing useful work while waiting on hold like this is like trying to drive and talk on the phone at the same time. Doesn't work.

- Provide better service in person than via the phone.
When I come to visit a business in person, I expect better treatment than if I call on the phone. If you can't do better in person, let me know so I don't waste my time.

- Sweat the details
Tried to check my voice mail this morning; instead got an error that the voice mail number had not yet been defined. I'll be calling SunCom today to get the number.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Suncom - Episode 2

"Surely this process would move faster if I went to the Suncom store", I thought. At least I won't have to listen to Harry Connick Jr on hold.

So, I get to the store 15 minutes early. Once inside, it is explained to me that the process may take 35 minutes. I have one hour till I have to be somewhere else. Turns out that you DON'T get better service by going to the store. They call the same 800 number and wait on hold.

Finally, we get a customer service rep. The Suncom employee then removes the battery from my smart phone without turning the phone off first. Next, she tries to unlock the phone and is unsuccessful.

As an aside, one of the reasons for going through this "SIM switch" procedure was to get my phone unlocked. Their procedure for doing this is at the SunCom store is completely non-standardized. Basically, the store employees surf the internet for free "unlock sites" and use that information. Apparently, this is news to the customer service employee, who makes note of the URL.

I could have done that myself. Suncom is "the phone company". They have access to the fancy hardware phone unlocking gadgets. But they don't use them. They don't even appear to have a list of standardized procedures for unlocking phones. This is left up to the store employees to figure out.

She offers me a Nokia 3620 to replace my 3650. The Nokia 6680 is apparently not an acceptable replacement as "it is a smart phone". I explain that my 3650 IS a smart phone. No dice. I decline the 3620 swap and leave with my old phone and both the new and old SIM cards.

To be fair, the switchover with my wife's Sony-Ericsson T616 goes off without a hitch.

Later, while in a waiting room, I search the internet for unlock sites, find the right one, and unlock the phone myself. Thankfully, as around 6pm, the old SIM card stops working. I pop the new SunCom card into the phone and all is well.

Needless to say, I was not impressed by the experience.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Suncom - Episode 1

I am one of the lucky AT&T Wireless customers in the Raleigh, NC area that was sold to SunCom in exchange for access to cell towers in Virginia.

About a month or so ago, I recieved an automated call telling me I had to get my phone updated for service to continue, with a 800 number to call.

SunCom apparently misjudged the resources that this conversion effort would take, which was reflected in the 30 minute hold times on the 800 customers service lines.

Waiting on hold is bad enough, but at least there is generally "music on hold". The quality of this music varies wildly, but at least it is music, and usually instrumental. On the SunCom customer service line, however, you get the same 3 advertisements over and over, interrupted every minute or so with the obligitory "thank you for holding" message. All three advertisments are voiced by Harry Connick Jr., the current spokesperson for SunCom. Since the on hold "entertainment" is basically chatter, it is pretty much impossible to stay on hold and get any work done, as your attention is constantly redirected to the chatter.

To top it all off, this chatter is all advertisments.

Since I am already a SunCom customer, why do I have to listen to advertisments on the customer service line?

After 45 minutes on hold over 2 different days, I decided to go the retail store to resolve this. Surely the experience would be better. If only I knew......