Saying a country needs a recession may seem like a strange idea, but the more people I talk to the more I come to the conclusion that a recession will do the UK a big favour. Over the past year I’ve bought a new car, new house, and had all the associated purchases surrounding both, and from my experience a vast majority of companies seem to believe that customer service is about telling the customer how the company controls things and not about listening and reacting to individual customers needs.
Recently one of the darlings of Web 2.0 called Twitter has been suffering from growing pains which many attribute to issues coping with it’s own popularity. The guys at Twitter have been open and up-front about their problems, and one thing has come to light, they’ve failed to make full use of one of the greatest resources available in software development; Open Source Software. Twitter isn’t alone, many other startups are only making use of OSS at the most basic levels by using Linux, the apache web server, PostgreSQL or MySQL, and a language with a free implementation (such as PHP or Java), without looking further to utilising technologies such as Hibernate, ActiveMQ, and YUI.
It’s now widely accepted that the economy is undergoing a serious contraction, and so consumers are about to far more picky about what they buy and who they buy it from, so if you’re running a business and you don’t believe the customer is king then you’re most likely to end up seeing your business shrink faster than the economy as a whole. I’ve had numerous experiences over the past few months of companies that seem to think they’re doing the customer a favour by taking their money and providing a service, which is a very dangerous thing to do.
This is just a warning to anyone out there thinking of purchasing a newly built house; Get a full structural survey!!!! My wife and I recently moved into our new house which was built by Crest Nicholson, to start with Crest finished the house over three months later than originally stated, and after a few weeks in the property we have discovered a hole in the concrete kitchen floor, had to have several leaks in the plumbing fixed, we currently have a section of plasterboard missing where the tradespeople put screws through the central heating pipes (three confirmed places, one further suspected hit is to be checked shortly), and we have a surveyors report saying that the paint on the exposed parts of the roof is flaking and will, most likely, cause the wood to rot within the next five years.
If, like me, you are on Threes cellular broadband package and you have a monthly allowance which you sometimes use up, you will have found that the only thing three will offer you is increasing your tariff and your allowance, which will only take effect after your next billing date. There is an alternative though, you can buy a simple pay as you go SIM, use it in your Three broadband modem, and pay 10, 15, or 25 pounds for a 1, 3, or 7 Gigabyte allowance.
In the last few weeks the area I live in has received an “upgrade” to Threes' Turbo broadband service from it’s normal 3G service. This is suppose to be a good thing because it would offer more speed, but alas reality is not what Three would have you beleive. Since the “upgrade” the connection has been unreliable to put it politely. The connection drops out at random intervals and this can be part of the way through downloading email, pulling up a web page, or anything.
This one is a bit of a post for the techies, so if you’re more interested in the business side of my blog you may want to skip this post. One of the things that, on paper, Apache Maven appears to do well is dependency handling. It checks down the dependency chain to verify that libraries versions match up, and that the latest library is used….. except with the current repository it isn’t guaranteed to work, and you can easily end up with multiple versions of the same jar on your classpath and not know about it.
I’ve recently been looking at Adobe’s Dreamweaver CS3 for web development, but they’re so blatantly ripping off customers here in the UK that I’m going to be looking elsewhere. The price for DreanWeaver CS3 in the UK is around 390 pounds, the price in the US is 399 dollars (about 200 to 210 pounds). So we’re basically being charged twice the price just for living in the UK. I asked Adobe for details of the reason why I should pay the nearly 200 pound difference and was told the following things (in this order);
I’ve heard a few people are looking for a solution to using a cellular modem for their small or home office. The solution I’ve used is based on the Draytek Vigor 2800 and the Huawei E220 USB modem. The instructions on configuring these two can be found on Drayteks' site at http://www.draytek.co.uk/support/kb_vigor_3g.html
For the last couple of months I have been using a cellular broadband system instead of a standard ADSL line and I’ve got to say that I think describing as broadband is probably stretching the truth a little. I’ve been using a Huawei E220 on both the Three and Vodafone networks and the biggest problem I’ve seen is signal strength. I’m currently in a village with around 5,000 residents which is three miles from the Maidstone (the county town of Kent which has around 80,000 residents), so I’m not exactly in the sticks.