A Cordial Hatred for UPS

I like wine, and have been a member of a wine club for years. I recently moved to an apartment. This apartment has a leasing office on-site that is staffed from 10am through 6pm by a living, breathing and more importantly, package receiving adult.

I got home from work last Friday to see a note taped to my door. Apparently UPS had come by and discovered that I wasn't home. They had a package that needed a signature and left a note to that effect. I signed the little card and noted that while I wasn't home, the leasing office is right next door and would be happy to receive the package, the same way the receive all kinds of other packages for me. Problem solved, or at least that's what I thought.

Monday, I get an email at work from UPS saying they had again failed to deliver the package. I called their customer service center. They assured me that they'd deliver the package to the leasing office. I told them the hours of the office and got home to discover 2 new notes on my door. Apparently they'd tried to come around a second time that day at 6:20pm. The leasing office closes at 6pm.

I figured they'd try again on Tuesday and the leasing office would almost certainly be open. Imagine my surprise when I get another failed attempt email at work. I called their customer service office and, after 20 minutes of trying to understand the broken english of one of their service agents discovered that I'd have to drive out to their shipping office and pick it up myself. Apparently the guy I talked to yesterday didn't know what he was talking about. UPS can't deliver a package that requires a signature to a leasing office. Fortunately, although they're unwilling to commit to a delivery window any smaller than a day, they're happy to require me to commit to a 15 minute window to come pick up the package.

I had plans for the evening, but apparently they needed me to come pick it up that night or they were going to ship it back to the sender.

I guess I've had worse customer service, but nothing comes to mind. I have cancelled my wine club membership since it appears that there is no reasonable way to actually get wine delivered if you live in an apartment.


Car Audio Sucks

Seriously. Why do car audio systems look like they were made by and for teenage boys? A million useless, crappy features, but none of the ones that would actually be useful. And a design that clearly ignores a decade of Apple's work on making interfaces that are clean and efficient in favor of TOTALLY AWESOME DOOD designs. Features you say? A tuner so I can listen to radio would be ok. I want at least two aux inputs. One on the back (that I can plug my ham radio into) and one on the front (for my buddy's iPod / whatever). I want bluetooth with all the bells and whistles so that my phone can stream audio using A2DP as well as not sucking too much for phone calls. You want to really impress me? Implement the bluetooth protocols for sim offloading and then _be_ an android device. I step into my car and my handset greets the car-mount, and hands over it's responsibilities. I want mixer functionality so I can have more than one channel playing at once. Want to really impress me? Throw in the ability to auto-mute one or more channels when there's sound on another. (phone call => mute the entertainment) I do _NOT_ want a CD player. Stuck in the 90's much? I'm not going to burn a CD. I don't think I even own a functional CD burner anymore. Yeah, maybe a data-cd full of MP3s would be nice, but even that is crap when compared to any of the cloud services. Watch a DVD? This isn't my living room. Sirius radio? Are you kidding me? I can have more variety with better music from any of a dozen cloud based services. Like the rest of the auto industry, these guys feel like they're in a coma. Wake the fuck up, car audio makers.


Yaesu FTM350-AR fail

So, I've been looking at getting an APRS setup for a while now. The radio I really want for the job is the Yaesu FTM350. It has almost everything I want, and best of all I'm sure it'll interoperate nicely with my other Yaesu gear (the automatic range check, would be particularly handy)... but it's lacking two stupidly obvious features. These aren't difficult features to add, either, both being software. The first feature is the ability to output waypoints to a NMEA compatible GPS unit for display purposes. The Kenwood has been doing this for years now: http://www.tornadovideos.net/forum?func=view&catid=11&id=205&limit=10&start=650

The Yaesu will actually write waypoint data in NMEA format to it's com port. You'd think that means it will do all of this... but apparently this is not the case. It will only write one waypoint: yours. It took some convincing on the behalf of Tim Factor (the Amateur Radio tech support guy for Yaesu) to make me believe that this was the case. I still can't figure out what the engineers who built this were thinking. Was it "well, clearly the user is going to want to send his current location from the GPS in the radio to... an after market GPS that already has the same data?" I presume it's intended to be read by a computer for transmission up to the internets... but this is a mobile rig. I don't have an internet connection in my truck. Of course if it was giving me waypoint information about all the stuff that's coming in over APRS, and I could display that on a GPS, well, that'd be useful. Incredibly useful. Worth buying the radio and GPS useful. If I was using it as a base station, I could feed it into a computer and upload it to APRS.fi or some such. It would make sense as a feature. But as implemented the feature is not just pointless, it's a demonstration of brain-dead stupid design.

The new Yaesu also lacks digipeater functionality. This is a mobile rig, so clearly there aren't any situations where I'm going to want to use it as a repeater. You know, since it's got a built in cross-band repeater (which is one of it's major selling points, in my opinion), you wouldn't want comparable functionality for the APRS side...

I'm super annoyed because this radio has so much promise. But such glaring omissions make me scratch my head. I keep hoping that some up-and-coming company will build a radio that plugs into an android phone and is fully controllable over USB. I'd pay real money for a radio that has an interface that was designed some time after the 90's, not to mention programmability that goes beyond stunningly limited.