January 23, 2002

1st draft of Letter to Rogers

Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to tell you that I am sufficiently disgusted with Rogers customer service that I am accepting a more expensive product from a competitor. I purchased a Rogers At&T cellphone on Saturday, January the 19th and have been unable since that time to neither activate my phone nor to receive a consistent description of the payment plans available. Upon purchase, the vendor explained to me what seemed quite clearly was an option to purchase a certain number of local and long distance minutes for my phone under a certain plan. Upon calling the activation number as instructed by the vendor and packaging, I was told that I would save money by activating the phone on the web. The website however gave me the option of only one plan, not the one I desired, and gave me no indication that this was the only choice available through web sign-up. When I realised that I would indeed have to activate by telephone, I called again to be told that the wait would be exceedingly long and also that the customer service hours were incoveniently located at a time I had planned to run many errands. My wife then attempted to call later that day. SUNDAY She was led to wait for half an hour on hold and then, after a 20 minute process of gathering information, the representative was unable to answer a simple question about the use of long distance minutes on the plan. THis question was a simple confirmation of what the vendor had told us, yet the representative claimed he did not know the answer and promised my wife that his superior would call her at work the next day. MONDAY The representative's supervisor failed to call the next day. In fact, there was no indication nor apology from Rogers why nobody had called my wife. She then called back and repeated the lengthy and unresolved process of the prvious day: after giving out a great deal of information, the representetive told her that she did not know how the long distance plans were counted. Finally, a third representative explained to my wife the long distance system and suggested that we would have the optimum rate if we chose a phone number based in the city to which I would be travelling most of the time. My wife did not activate at this time in order to consider this and to have a chance to discuss it with me. TUESDAY We decided to wait a day longer and that she would activate the phone the next day, the only way we could do it within ROgers' scheduled hours. Upon calling however, and giving out the same long series of information, she was told that I was the only one who could activate the phone. It does not make any sense that someone who can provide my name, bank account number, branch number, credit card number, SIN and driver's license number is not allowed to activate a cellphone in my name. In fact if the person doing so had been male, they would have passed all of ROgers' supposed security requirements, and the phone would be activated. Because my wife only recently gained Canadian residency and her finances are still based in another country, however, we are penalised by being forbidden to let her do things in my name. This has not been my only bad experience with Rogers. Of course many of you are familiar with their inexcusably poor customer service with regards to their cable TV. My father has had no end of trouble with unavailable customer service and even harassment to purchase more products by unending mail and sales calls. I am happy to choose to pay more for a different product if it only means that I will eliminate some of the intrusion of Rogers into my life. Although I must continue to use their services if I want basic cable, I am certainly not going to ever consider allowing them control over my cellphone or internet or any other products, if just for the peace-of-mind of knowing I do not have to talk to any of their employees. Sincerely, Martin Jakubik

January 05, 2002

She said, "Baby, I've heard all the lines. I pioneered this. I ain't no joke. I get raw: how you like me now? You're a customer, et cetera." But then she started to choke. On her wine. I said "Easy baby. Slow down. Not so fast." I took the spyglass out of her hand. She leapt out choking and poking her fat band at the mast, spun to the prow, whirled, aft, then snatched a fast tuft out and sighted land. I eased the wineglass out of her hand, And, spying in the glass I urged less fast, Baby she said "Look at the tables." Able was I and tabled I stared past And saw half fast my future: I hit ten grand. "No no no, you don't seem to understand My man. Look at the tables: You hit ten grand."

January 03, 2002

I believe that if we entered all our actions into a database, computers would become omnipotent. Or rather, it is not that computers would become omnipotent but that we would become able to get computers to do everything for us. I have faith in this rather than reason for it; I am not quite sure if it is true, but I do feel that we often want computers to do more for us that that of which they are capable. The default lies in people's reluctance to record every little thing they do. Lotus Notes is a good example of a tool that allows you to record a lot of documents that you have written, but without describing what is actually in them, it fails to permit the computing machine to take much action upon them. The computer can count your documents maybe, but that's it. The scientific ideal would be that computers would know enough about all our transactions that they could take actions upon them. This is what I believe is only possible if we record everything in a relational database in a completely standard format. I do not believe, par contre, that this is plausible.