Feeling Guilty

It seems like I can never find time to work on this project I’m helping out with. The thing is, if it were something on my own (such as my site designs) I wouldn’t even care – I’d be the only one losing out. But this is a team effort and I feel like I’m letting everyone down. Weekends were once in my mind full of free time. Now it seems like they’re more busy than the weekdays.

If you’re reading this, you know what I’m talking about and I’m sorry for dragging my feet. I promise to finish the work by mid-week. I’m sure I’ll be able to find some time between editing my PDEng assignment that needs to be resubmitted…


More SE K790 Issues

I already wrote about the issues I’ve been having with the Sony Ericsson K790′s navigation stick, but if you haven’t read that, here’s the post. Since then, I cleaned out the little well for the navigation stick and it seemed to ameliorate the problem, at least for a little while. The problem is now back, but with a vengeance. In other words, it’s even worse. Now there’s not even anything that I can see that could be causing the problem.

Then weird lines started appearing on the home screen – at first I thought there was something wrong with the LCD, but it turns out the wallpaper was messing up. I refreshed the theme and everything’s fine, but it still leaves me wondering why that happened in the first place.

To top it all off, my text messaging box became full a couple days ago. Whether it was pure coincidence or a result of the full text messages folder, I got a corrupted text message. The next time I checked my messages, I (to my utter amazement) had an empty inbox and sent folder. I did not delete any of my text messages. Sony Ericsson must have thought it a good idea to automatically clean out the message folders when they become full. It’s either that, or my phone has more issues than I originally thought.

Crucial Service – An Example for Others to Follow

Crucial, the consumer brand of Micron Technology has some of the best customer service I’ve ever dealt with. I recently purchased a couple sticks of Rendition memory (the value brand of Crucial) to run in dual channel. After some random crashes and a subsequent MemTest86 run that indicated one of the sticks was defective, I contacted Crucial support to set up an RMA.

I called in on a Saturday afternoon and got a hold of Elaine, a support representative. After explaining to her the problem, she (easily) concluded that I would need to exchange the RAM. I had purchased the two sticks of DDR2 as separate items but was running them in dual channel; after consulting with a tech, she told me I’d have to return both of them and she would have a set, tested in dual-channel mode, sent back to me. Normal exchange procedures would require that I ship the modules to them first, and when they receive them, they’d ship out replacements. I explained to her that it was the only computer available and that not having memory for potentially several weeks would be difficult.

She explained that the Rendition brand is typically not available for cross-shipment and that purchases not made from Crucial.com directly are usually not cross-shipped. However, she told me she would speak with her supervisor to see if an exception could be made, given the circumstances. I did not make any additional effort to push her for a cross-shipment. She asked me for the information required for the replacement and told me she would call me back if a cross-shipment was possible. I gave her my cell phone number, not expecting to get a call for a while.

I don’t normally carry my cell phone around with me when I’m at home and I leave the phone on vibrate, so little did I know, about three minutes after hanging up, she called me back; my call logs indicated that. I quickly re-dialed the number, hoping to get in contact with Elaine, but to no avail. I guess the service representative phone lines are not allowed direct incoming calls. I lost hope that I would be able to get the cross-shipment I was hoping for.

But not 5 minutes later, a call came in on the home phone line. I answered not expecting anyone in particular, but lo-and-behold, the caller introduced herself as Elaine from Crucial! I didn’t even question how she got the number (now that I think about it, I presume she looked up my address and the corresponding telephone number) but I doubt most customer service reps would even bother calling back the original phone number, much less actually think about how else to get a hold of me.

The replacement memory was shipped out Tuesday night and it arrived here earlier this afternoon (as in less than 1 day shipping from Utah to Ontario). Just phenomenal.

Lots of Hype Around Acronyms

It’s becoming a trend – acronyms are hot these days. When I was working at Bell Mobility, the big ones were IMS and SDP. Currently at Sybase iAnywhere, the activity is around SOA. What are they and why is there so much interest in them?

To be honest, all three are quite ambiguous concepts. You could ask 5 different industry analysts and I’m certain each will give you a different rendition. There is no set standard. IMS – IP Multimedia Subsystem and SDP – Service Delivery Platform deal with, generally, the horizontal integration of network assets in the telecommunications space. Currently with most of telecommunications, services are segmented into ‘service silos‘. That means they are integrated vertically – each service segment has its own application interface, transmission across through the pipe and provisioning on the provider’s end. IP is the enabler that places an abstraction layer between service/application development and the underlying network and transport. The aim is to reduce times for development, deployment and tear-down. The killer application or service is the fundamental idea. The ability to rapidly deploy services and at a lower cost means that there is really no need for that ‘killer-service‘. IMS and SDP are a combination of ideas that do not have a concrete implementation. As a result, most telecommunications companies have been quick to tout its potential but slow to actually do anything about it.

In that sense, SOA – Services Oriented Architecture is an even more nebulous concept. I won’t pretend to have much more than a small amount of knowledge about it as I’m only beginning to look into it. In a way it is not unlike IMS or SDP – SOA aims to provide services to users without their need to worry about back-end implementation. All the methods of access should provide the same result.

It’s stuff like this that I thoroughly enjoy working with, cryptic acronyms with even more confusing descriptions. :)