Feb 29 2012

Need to vent…

Category: Kazakhstan,TweetsChrisM @ 8:32 am

Things that have severely tested my patience this morning…

Un-necessary (I think, could be wrong) PPPoE connections configured badly (certain of this point) by Megaline staff that visited in-laws whilst I was in UK. An already flaky connection is further ham-stringed by extra hoops to jump through/fall over.

Posterous (my main media hosting service) blocked here in Kazakhstan. Sorry, I’m assuming this is yet another technical error. Will try and check which elite ex-government member (opposition figures with a clean past are thin on the ground here) now uses the service. Bypassed with Opera, and once I have the url for the image itself, no problem, as posterous use Amazon’s cloud service and amazon.com isn’t yet blocked/experiencing male cow faeces technical issues.

Google services still blocked in some cases. Using translate link from search results blocked for example. (Using Google Chrome’s auto-translate feature once on a page still working. I’ll check if Google Docs is also still fubarred by incompetence/over-eager censoring later.

note: Kazakhstan is great, and certainly heading towards one of the top 50 countries to live in, globally. The government is superb, makes the right decisions for the right reasons, and no one should ever protest. Any “news” to the contrary is false. Always.

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Apr 18 2009

City Link Shit Everywhere

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 12:38 pm

Having paid extra to ensure birthday presents arrived on time (next day delivery), I was eager to trace the consignment from Amazon. Having entered the consignment number, I was presented with the following…

13:06 Friday, April 17, 2009 On route to delivery depot
05:58 Saturday, April 18, 2009 Arrived at Delivery Depot
06:16 Saturday, April 18, 2009 Goods loaded onto a van
09:24 Saturday, April 18, 2009 Delivery point closed (Carded)
10:03 Saturday, April 18, 2009 Goods returned to depot

9:24am this morning, people were up in this house. No one rang the doorbell, or even bothered to leave a card. Ringing the company, I was presented with a message informing me that they closed at midday on Saturdays. Drove down to the depot, in case they just stopped answering calls, but still had staff there. No joy.
So this Monday, on my 30th birthday, we will need to wait inside the house, for a package that had been sent with next day delivery. Instead, it will now take three days. I should not be surprised really, we often had problems with City Link being lazy and lying in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire – I’d just hoped this was a one off, and that Swansea’s branch wouldn’t be staffed by inefficient lying bar stewards as well. My mistake.
My thanks to Amazon for being very efficient and actually fulfilling their end of the deal, and also to one of the companies that sells second hand XBox 360 games, as their delivery arrived fine (Royal Mail) FOUR days early!

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Jun 26 2008

PayPerPost and SocialSpark Sites Down

Category: Internet Connections,PersonalChrisM @ 3:48 am

[EDIT 3]
The site is now up, my thanks to Emily for the heads up. Luckily the opp I took last night and posted on was still available. The requested link had only changed by one word, so I didn’t need to change much in the post at all. Anyway, see below for the original version of this post…

I attempted to enter the details for my last sponsored post through Izea’s PayPerPost scheme, to find that the site was not responding. As I have had problems with my internet recently, so the first thing to do was check if a few other sites were working. Google, a few favourite forums and friends’ sites were all working. So, I opened up NetFront on my phone, waited for the Edge connection to be established, and confirmed that the Izea sites were not accessible via KCell’s servers either.
At this point, I thought I’d try and check Izea’s blog to see if they had posted anything about planned downtime/maintenance issues. D’oh! The blog is based on the same servers, so this didn’t help. I did a quick search, and checked the Google cache of the Izea blog. Sadly, this was five days old, and held no helpful news. Eventually, I checked on Google’s Blog Search, and lo and behold, there are unexpected problems right now, posted on the Izea blog. I could only see a three line intro to the post, as the blog itself is still down, but I at least know it isn’t just me.
I hope they fix the problems soon, it is 4am, and I only have an hour or two to enter the post’s details before I lose my reservation on the opp. That and I need sleep soon 🙂

OK, so head on over to here for Izea’s post on the situation.
See the comments below for a quick hello Izea’s Karen. As tempting as it may be to throw my toys around, obviously I understand this is effecting more than just me and my $15 opp 🙂

PLEASE do head on over to the Izea blog post I’ve linked to, BUT just in case there is another hiccup with Amazon’s server this time, I’ll include a copy of that post below…

We’re not quite sure what’s happened just yet, but our data center seems to have gone down. We can’t get voice calls into them to ask why either.

We have people travelling there right now (with large sticks) to see what’s going on, but for the time being at least PayPerPost and SocialSpark are both down.

We will of course be working hard with the data center to restore normal service ASAP.

Update 1 17:06: Just found out that the connectivity between the data center and their main Internet carrier has gone down. This is still not good news in so far as the sites are still down, but for us at least it means less work when they fix it. The machines are actually all up and running just fine, they just have absolutely no-one using them.

Update 2 21:36: Well, the data center has not been so helpful so far. It seems the problem was not the carrier at all, but someone or something in the center itself. The ‘engineer’s (see the quote marks there) haven’t had a clue what’s wrong, haven’t offered us any decent updates and generally just suck. However, they are, at long last, making progress and apparently we should see some servers come online shortly. In the meantime, we’ve deployed static elements of izea.com to an Amazon EC2 server and pointed some of our domains at it. We’ll be posting up a message on those sites soon for those visitors that don’t know about the blog. Hopefully we’ll have gone to a lot of effort to do that though and won’t need because our servers will be visible on the Internet once again.

What a crazy nightmare.

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Dec 22 2007

Arrrrgh, No Time…

Category: In The Media,PersonalChrisM @ 12:46 am

Scratch the original plans, here are the links I mentioned, not enough time left after having got everything ready for our trip to actually create proper posts. Now the DVD burner is fubared, and I wanted to burn another 3 discs of MP3s for driving to. Hey ho.

Kyrgyzstan elections not fair either – see this article and this one for more details. For those not familiar with the country, no that isn’t where we live (we’re in KAZAKHstan), however international monitors similarly do not think that the elections were free, fair and transparent there either…

Discounting apparently rife in stores – BBC article – Actually I’d call it pretty piss poor ‘professional’ journalism. They trot out the same rubbish each year, closely followed by an article in January saying how shoppers actually spent a lot more than expected. I especially loved the headline – attention grabbing, discounts sound significant, then followed in the main body of the text that this year’s reductions average at 36% off, not 35% ! Yep, 1% difference…

Wives Tales or Valid Medical Info? – Article here. If you don’t drink 8 glasses of water per day, you will use less than 10% of your brain, meaning you won’t be able to read in the dark, turkey will make you drowsy and your hair will continue to grow after death, no matter whether you shaved it or not. Or something like that 🙂 I have heard before that the ban on mobile phone usage within hospitals is rubbish, espcially when you consider the power of the transmitters they need to use for their own internal walkie-talkies etc.

Eco-friendly consoles requested – BBC article – I know that some PC component manufacturers are already trying, but apparently the big three gaming giants (Sony, Nintendo & Microsoft) are being pressured to lower the amount of toxic chemicals used to produce their consoles, amongst other things.

Take care when you google – info here – My thanks to Irina for noticing this report, and also on the shoddy workmanship of the journalist once again. The article reads in parts as though they did no investigation, and simply read from Google’s press release, with contradictions in places. Anyway, bad people had been setting up sites to try and hack unprotected PCs, and were trying to drive traffic by optimizing for popular keywords.

Dynamic advert placement within PDF files – article – the title says it all here…

Info on Amazon’s ‘Kindle” – here and here – Amazon’s e-book reader, an attempt by another company to crack the market. Once again, the aims have been praised, the actual product is not so popular in some circles.

Terry Pratchett has Alzheimers – check here – A long time favourite author of mine, Mr Pratchett has revealed he has the condition, though is doing OK so far. Whilst I selfishly hope he will be able to continue to write such well crafter novels, I do hope that if/when the time comes that the balance between personal well being and writing output tips the wrong way, his fans will let him retire with grace.

One for Alex – here – Poorly kangaroo goes for a swim, and gets snapped up by a shark! (As you may have guessed, based in Australia)

W00t – BBC article – Like ‘all your base are belong to us ‘ from a few years back, but certainly a lot snappier, w00t appears to have started its life in the gaming world, and is used as an exclamation, normally positive.

Not an article, but Wikileaks may interest you. Has a small section for Kazakhstan. Not going to discuss that sort of thing right now, no time.

Excuse me whilst I don’t cry – boo-hoo – with any luck the BNP will eventually go the same way as the old National Front did. I just hope any splinter groups don’t survive, and aren’t too radical whilst they are around. Don’t have much time for racist, lying, Lowest Common Denominator politics and politicians, as you may have guessed.

Misbehaving pupils shocked into towing the line – article here – I can never imagine Mr Owen having given this sort of punishment in his lessons…

Right thats it, I’m off to bed, and won’t be posting for a couple of days probably. Hope all who read this do so in good health…

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Apr 17 2007

Heads Up On Book Reviews

Category: BooksChrisM @ 2:04 pm

Having recently put my allconsuming list of books back up (see the Extras page for a list of the most recent), a friend reminded me I’d promised to start reviewing the books a long time ago.
So, if you don’t read books, feel free to skip the reviews – there will be no commercial content in them, no Amazon or affiliate links, just a quick post on what I thought of the book itself.
Many thanks to Oleg for lending all the books to me – I’d have ended up spending way too much time on the PC otherwise, this past year.