11 posts • joined Tuesday 16th June 2009 09:05 GMT
DAB in Cars
I remember reading a while back about DAB only being offered by a handful of car manufacturers, and even then it was a pricey optional extra - there were few (if any) that offered it cheaply or as standard.
So even if ALL car manufacturers started offering DAB today as standard, there's a huge lead time before you could consider the vast majority of cars on the road to have it, and since people listen to the radio in the car a lot more than they would anywhere else, FM Radio isn't going anywhere.
Re: Basics: What Is a Contract??
Three don't actually have this properly written into their contract - the section they refer you to (4.3 I believe) simply says that they must give you 30 days notice if they raise your tariff by MORE than the RPI. There's nothing that actually says they can actually raise it (at all) without you being able to invoke the cancellation clause to withdraw from the contract.
Orange etc, actually do have very specific clauses stating what they can raise it by, how often they can raise it etc, which is better than Three's stunt of just raising prices, pointing to some obscure, unrelated clause that happens to mention RPI and then refusing to accept any argument against it.
The problem is that I really tried to fight Three over it, I wrote endless letters, I rang to Ofcom (who weren't interested as it was a 'commercial dispute'), and the Communications ombudsman wasn't willing to get involved either. The only avenue left was the Small Claims court who weren't interested because there wasn't an actual amount of money I was fighting for (I was simply fighting to have the contract dispute resolved with me being able to withdraw from it without penalty as stipulated in it).
Ultimately Three are hiding behind their T&Cs and it's too difficult for the average man to challenge them without going down the expensive, risky legal route.
Needless to say I've given up, but I cancelled my mobile broadband account immediately (1 month rolling contract) and *will* be leaving them at the earliest opportunity once my iPhone contract ends.
Amazon at least has a perceived upside to the consumer (vs Starbucks)
The key difference between the perception of Starbucks and Amazon is to do with the benefits to the consumer.
Amazon is likely up to the same tax tricks as Starbucks, but to the consumer at least they 'win' because the goods sold by Amazon are far cheaper than high street and other online competitors (And delivered free to your door). So while they might be diddling the tax man to some extent, there is a perceived upside to the man on the street.
Compare that to Starbucks, who are diddling the tax man AND charging you a fortune for their (in my opinion, burnt) coffee. There is no perceived upside here, and it's not surprising that people are annoyed by their behaviour.
Not in Northern Ireland it isnt...
This is news to me in Northern Ireland, I've never heard that said before. Must be a southern thing...
This is typical of British education...
This happened to me back in school, the year I was due to enter sixth form, the school decided to drop A-Level Computing in favour of a GNVQ in ICT (ie, a 2-year 'How to use Microsoft Office' course).
Of course being the computer geek I am this was not acceptable so my friend and I both enrolled for A-Level Computing as a night course at my local further education college in addition to our normal school studies.
We both got A grades which was a lovely 'two fingers' to the IT Teacher, although he preferred the new course because it meant he didn't have to do as much actual TEACHING as he used to.
And anyone wonders why there aren't enough kids choosing Computer Science as a degree option...
Re: Customers have no recourse
This is what I'm hoping for, it would make sense to back down from the few who properly challenge them rather than face a potentially embarrassing public backtrack.
If you look at Orange's T&Cs, they have a very clear section which details that in any 12 month period, they may increase the monthly tariff by no more than the most recent RPI index. Three do not have this however, which is why I feel pretty confident that if it goes to the small claims a judge will back me up. I've read also that if there are any vague terms in a contract, the benefit of the doubt will be given to me as I didn't draw up the contract.
Fingers crossed but I'm definitely fighting them all the way on this one out of principle.
Customers have no recourse
After Three told me they were increasing their prices, I studied the terms and conditions which don't seem to actually allow them to vary the terms without me having the right to withdraw from the contract, however their customer services teams are adamant that section 4.1 provides them this right.
I have been through the full complaints process with Three to no avail, I've contacted OfCom who won't get involved with me because they consider it a 'commercial matter', rather than a basic contract dispute. Ombudsman Services Communications won't get involved for the same reason. Which basically leaves me having to go through the small claims court which I'm quite happy to do because I can't stand companies hiding behind their terms and conditions knowing the customer has little or no way of properly challenging them, and you can be sure that if WE were potentially breaching the T&Cs they'd be enforcing them zealously.
So I'm having a chat with a solicitor today to see about the small claims process. I'm going to do it just out of principle, even if it does end up costing me.
How to fix the problem with your images...
"we discovered that photos that looked just fine and dandy in iPhone OS 3.x now look like fuzzy crap in iOS 4"
I had that problem too, I solved it by unchecking syncing of photos in iTunes so they are deleted from the iPhone, then re-syncing them.
Freeloading off iTunes eh?
As an Apple fan, and as much as some of Apple's business decisions irate me I support Apple on this one. Apple hasn't developed iTunes to be an open application for any and all MP3 players to hook into, it's designed to be the software counterpart for the iPod/iPhone. If you use an iPod, you use iTunes and vice versa.
Palm are just having a little hissy fit because they thought they could get away with just hooking into iTunes and expecting Apple to be okay with it. If they're really annoyed with the way an iPod identifies itself via USB then I'm sure Apple could quite happily use some sort of authentication chip similar to how they do with their Macs.
I definitely think Palm are clutching at straws, complaining to the USB industry group claiming Apple are restricting competition is a bit of a nonsense. Why not develop their own software to compete with iTunes? Wouldn't that be furthering competition? Oh wait, that would mean they'd actually have to develop the software rather than freeloading off iTunes...
I think I see a flaw....
Surely the star system will be a problem as new products are released. How do you show that a new CPU is better than an an existing CPU that's already got 5 stars? Will they go through their entire lineup and re-jig the star ratings each time they change their lineup? It would seem more logical to me to give each CPU a performance rating number which could be used to compare CPUs within the same generation, and new vs old CPUs. I'm just not sure Intel have quite thought that one through...
Bring it on...
I hope the same thing is done here, although I know the relevant parties in the UK haven't the power or will to do something useful. Personally the iPhone has shown how damaging exclusive arrangements are for the customer, you only have to look at the outrageous pricing demanded by O2 for the latest iPhone 3G S to see how badly the customer fares, from inflated handset pricing to extortionate monthly tariffs which are far worse than O2's own non-iPhone tariffs.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Apple fan and I love my iPhone, I just wish I wasn't lining O2's pockets quite so much.