Hasta La Muerte, Motherfucker

Archive for the category “Getting Organised”

Moving Emails

Over the weekend, I ended up moving a lot of my email processing over to Amazon’s “Workmail” product. So far, it’s gone pretty well, but we’ll see what happens over time.

The email server/service I was using (via a company I do a lot of my hosting with) was generally OK, but had some significant issues which they didn’t appear to be able (or willing) to fix. The main one was that emails with attached files – particularly PDF and Word documents – would occasionally disappear. They wouldn’t bounce back to the sender, and they wouldn’t tell me (the recipient) that something had gone wrong, they’d just disappear with no notice to anyone.

Generally it’s been survivable, but last week there were things for HMRC and others that didn’t make it – things that were, safe to say, bloody important.

So I’ve moved the primary accounts over to Workmail, and it’s been quite smooth.  The setup didn’t take long, and while there were a couple of teething errors when it came to migrating the emails from Old to New, it all worked pretty nicely.  Once I knew what the hell I was doing (and/or looking for) it became even easier/better.

After that, the main ball-ache has been putting the new accounts onto all my devices, and getting everything to syncronise properly again. It’d be nice if you could just push the new account to your devices, but that’s a level of tech that’s above and beyond what we’ve currently got, sadly.

Still, it’s all worked, I’m fully moved over with all my key accounts, and it hasn’t made me want to throw computers through windows. Even that is pretty noteworthy, I think.

Working Motion

This week, I’ll be changing office.  Nothing major – just at the other end of the building from my current one, and on the back of the building rather than the front.  There’s a number of reasons for it, but it’s mainly because the front of the building is a sun-trap, and it all turns into a rancid sweatbox. The back of the building is cooler (or at least more consistent) and that’ll be nice.

I also wanted a bit of change – it’s not a major one, but it’s still a change, a new view, and sorting out all of that stuff.  As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m in a bit of a stasis block at the moment, with no change in (for me) way too long when it comes to house, job, contract, clients and so on. Location-wise, I’m likely to be staying where I am for another year-and-a-bit, so moving office (even while staying in the same building) means just a bit of change.

I’m sure there’ll be more coming in the future, but for now, this should be enough.

Along the way, I was also pleased to see, when I prepared to move the office, how little crap I’d actually accumulated in the eighteen months or so that I’ve been in the current one. I was able to move everything within an hour, and had a half-bag of rubbish to get rid of along the way. And that was it.

So on that score, it’s all been pretty successful.  For the office itself, we’ll see how it goes, but all told it’s not really much of a change, so should all be fine.

Something New – Quick Update

Last week, I wrote about starting off with getting a new card from Monzo, and how things had gone so far.  At the time, I was waiting for the card to arrive, so I could connect it to the account and so on.

The card actually arrived on Saturday, rather than the expected/predicted Friday, but I can live with that.  Even out of usual business hours etc., it was a simple case of opening the phone app, doing the linking process, and it was immediately sorted with the top-up I’d put on it.

I’ve used it for some payments over the last few days, and so far I’m really impressed. It’s all been painless, and the updates and notifications come through to the app so fast you can’t really believe it’s been that quick.

As I said last time, I’ll write more about the entire thing in a month or so – but right now, yeah, I’m actually impressed with Monzo. Let’s hope things stay that way.

Something New

Over the last week or so, I’ve been trying something new (well, new-ish) in the financial sector – Monzo.

I’ve been aware of a few of this type of “new banking” start-ups of late, but Monzo interested me when I read this article that talked about how closely it kept track of payments, and their whole customer service set-up.   In my own experience with banks, it’s customer service that is their greatest weakness, so I’m interested in how other ‘non high-street’ new financial organisations address it.

At the moment it’s “only” a pre-paid credit card option, driven entirely through a smartphone app – but they’ve got their banking licence, and are aiming to be starting a current account as well, again all driven through smartphone apps.

So far, the experience has been pretty good. (Note – for purposes of this, I used my iPhone – I can’t say anything at all about the Android version) I got the app through the App Store, and went through the initial stages.  Basically, just a name and date-of-birth for verification purposes, and then they order your card.

This took some time – but the expectations were managed all the way through, showing the queue of applicants, where I was in that queue, how many people were before me, and how many after.   Now, my cynicism kicks in slightly here, as I noticed that the number of applicants always stayed around the 25,000 mark, so it *could* just be a steady flow of incoming customers, or it *could* be all smoke-and-mirrors guff to make me think they know what they’re up to.

It took about four days to get to the top of the queue (I could’ve jumped places if I’d promoted Monzo on social media, but frankly, fuck off) and once that happened, I got a notification to say so.  This was where the identity stuff came in, and needed address details, plus an in-app photo of driving licence for proof-of-address, and a 5-second video to prove I’m real.

I’ve done an initial top-up (of a completely manageable amount – if the entire thing turns out to be a scam, I won’t be screwed) and the card has been sent to my home address. It’s due to arrive today, at which point I’ll have to connect it to the app – slightly annoying, as surely they know all the necessary details already – and then it should be ready to go.

I’ll write more about it in a month or so, once I’ve used it and seen how I feel about the entire thing.  So far, though, it’s been an interesting and positive experience – I hope it continues to be so!

PIDU – Ill-prepared

As I’ve said before, I tend to be ridiculously early for things, primarily so I know it’s all sorted well in advance.

However, I find it utterly amazing how many people appear to be so chronically ill-prepared for just about anything and everything in their lives.

My primary office is near(ish) to the local test centre for the theory part of the UK driving test.  By “nearish” I mean “it’s walking distance, in a straight line, but over a significant road, so maybe five minutes walk”.  On a regular basis I get stopped outside my office, and asked where the test centre is, by people obviously already running late, and get this “Oh shit” look when I tell them it’s still five minutes away.  These tests are renownedly run punctually, and they don’t have much tolerance for lateness – but from memory, it makes all that very clear on the paperwork that tells you where the test is to be taken.

So because they haven’t checked where they’re supposed to be, they’re now running the risk of not even being allowed to take the test – and you don’t get a refund on it for being late and/or disorganised.  I’ve never seen it as all that difficult to do, to be in the right place at the right time, but it’s obviously an issue for some people.

Similarly, a couple of weeks back I was with friends in London, and their son was meeting other friends of his so they could go to a concert/festival thing in Hyde Park. We’d got other plans once he was in the venue, but they were somewhat dependent on the friends actually having IQ points of their own. They’re similarly pathologically early to me, which helps – but the son’s friends…. weren’t.

Despite the concert tickets telling them where they needed to be, which entrance to use and so on, they decided to turn up to the wrong Underground station, at the wrong time, and at the wrong entrance.  There’d been no preparation, no thought, not even an understanding of how best to get around, yet still left it all to the last minute, as if expecting some fairy godmother to wave a wand and everything would be All Right.

And it kind-of was. They got there, and we got to where we were going, but a couple of minutes late. (Anyone else, it would’ve been late by twenty minutes or more, but we can all shift our arses when necessary) So it did work out OK, but only because we knew more about where they were than they did, and walked the extra to find the fucking idiots.

All told, it’s just an attitude I don’t understand.   I know I’m at the opposite end of the scale, but still, it never seems that difficult to me, to be prepared, to know what you’re doing, and get wherever on time.  But obviously it’s more of a challenge for others…


Fixing Things

So far, this year has involved a number of customer service clusterfucks, some of which I’ve mentioned on here, and it looks like a number of those issues are now on the way to being sorted, thankfully.

That list includes

  • The Cat boots – successfully returned to manufacturer, and a replacement pair are (apparently) on the way
  • The Credit Card company – seems to be sorted, with outstanding issues rectified.
  • My Accountants – this has been something that’s been ongoing for a year or more, where they’re just ridiculously slack and uncommunicative. If it weren’t for the fact that they’ve been free (for the last 18 months!) then I’d have moved on well before now.
    The free stuff is a story of its own, but basically when I complained to director level at the end of 2015, they told me I wouldn’t be charged until they’d fixed the issues.  Eighteen months later, the issues are still there, although having had some productive conversations with the Operations Director, I think they’re turning the corner at last!
  • BT – Hopefully, that’ll be sorted today. The engineer is due between 8am and 1pm, and fingers crossed things will be sorted.

There’s a couple of other things coming up that so far seem positive, but I’m waiting for them to come through properly before I write about them.

All told though, yeah, it’s all feeling a bit more fixed and positive.

Capital Issues

A couple of months ago, I got a letter from one of my credit cards (well, from the company behind one of my credit cards, to be pedantic/accurate) telling me they wanted to upgrade my credit limit, and if I wanted to accept, drop them a line.

I was OK with that, so I confirmed the upgrade, and it got applied to my account two and a half months ago. (That’s relevant in a minute)

This weekend, I got a text message confirming that my upgrade was being processed. Then on Monday I got a letter, also confirming the same thing.

Now, one of the main things you’re always told by card companies is to get in touch with them if you start getting unexpected letters from them, and particularly when it’s either replacement cards, or stuff about credit limits.   Additionally, with my own credit history I’m more aware of these things.

I gave the card company a call yesterday, and it did not go well.

First of all, the person I spoke to seemed to think she was working in a different department, and her first question was “What are you going to offer us?”  (I’m assuming she’s usually in debt recovery or something, or dealing with people who are going to say they’re in the shit)

I explained that I had concerns about my credit limit, because…

“Your credit limit is £[x]. Anything else?”
“Yes, I’ve got concerns about the security of my account. As you’ve shown no interest in even listening, let along caring, I’d now like to speak to your manager, please.”
*Huge sigh* “I’ll just look at your account activity”
“No, I’m not happy with you doing that. I’d like to speak to your manager, please. And the sigh is not helping things.”
*Pause, and then another huge sigh* “I’ll see what I can do, but I need to check your ID and activity”
“No, I’m not happy with you doing that. I’d like to speak to your manager, now, please”
“I’ll see whether I can find someone”

I did eventually get to speak to a manager, who sorted out that there *had* been a problem in the card company’s processes, but there was no evidence that the account was compromised. I also left a complaint about the first person, because their attitude sucked so hugely.

I don’t expect anything else to come of it, but it’s all reported and dealt with, and I’m happy with how things stand, so at least it’s had a fairly positive outcome.

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