Thursday, December 23, 2010

Amazon saves Christmas

Not that Christmas is even a big deal for me, but it seems fun to say.

This year I'm donating money to charities and foundations in the names of friends and family members because I don't believe that a rational human being can ethically do any kind of business in America anymore.

However, I am not an ideologue (okay, maybe a little bit). And I did compromise my principles to make a couple purchases. One of which was a book for my family and friends about anthropogenic climate destabilization -- in other words: humankind's ongoing and deliberate destruction of the planet's tiny layer of organic material and gases.

Those books never made it to me.

Of course, the tracking status says that they were delivered:
DateTimeLocationEvent Details
December 20, 201012:09:00 PMSan Antonio TX USDelivered
December 20, 201012:21:00 AMSan Antonio TX USOut for delivery
December 20, 201012:21:00 AMSan Antonio TX USArrival Scan
December 17, 201005:29:00 AMOklahoma City OK USDeparture Scan
December 16, 201011:22:00 PMOklahoma City OK USArrival Scan
December 16, 201007:13:00 PMTulsa OK USDeparture Scan
December 16, 201006:36:00 PMTulsa OK USShipment received by carrier
December 16, 201011:44:22 AMUSShipment has left seller facility and is in transit

That means that the UPS parcel delivery person apparently drove his truck into my gated apartment complex without dialing the apartment number at the gate. Then parked outside my apartment building. Then took my package out of the truck. Then placed the package in front of my door... and then walked away.

Meanwhile, I was just getting back to work from lunch, completely unaware that someone was stealing the package of books off the ground outside my apartment.

Should have specified that a signature was required, I guess. Duh.

But that isn't the point. The point is that UPS was paid to deliver a package to a recipient. They should be held accountable for their complete lack of care, concern or competence in getting that job done. In my opinion it is their responsibility to deliver a package to a recipient. Because otherwise, what's the fucking point?

If they bear no such responsibility, then why don't they just deliver the package to a landfill? What is the difference between a package that gets delivered to a landfill, and a package that gets abandoned on the ground at an address that may or may not be correct with nobody around to witness its delivery? Is the difference just some words recounting a particular event? That is meaningless. Unless I actually receive the parcel, the delivery is worthless. In fact, it is less than worthless, it robs me of the time that I wasted expecting a delivery when I could have spent that time ordering the parcel from an alternative source with an alternative delivery route and process.

These questions are rhetorical, but fair and reasonable.

It is clear that UPS should be held accountable for the cost of these items, and the re-shipping.

I contacted about this matter, and they promised to ship the order again, this time with overnight delivery -- without any cost to me. is amazing.

This still doesn't get UPS off the hook. It is foolish of the UPS delivery person to have refused to leave the parcel with someone in the office of my apartment complex.

Update: So I got the second package from Guess who they used to send it. Yeah, that's right. So apparently the fella delivering the package this time around didn't care to make sure the package actually got into the hands of the recipient either, and he just ran off after dropping it at my door.

Oh well. It's that time of year I guess. He must have had a ton of other parcels to deliver, and he was probably completely overburdened. I would have given him a tip, but I didn't feel like running after him in the cold.

You know what? Screw you, UPS, for overloading your drivers so much that they can't even wait for someone to answer the door. UPS, you are a $42.6 billion business. Your profits have been down 28% since 2008 to (boo hoo) $2.2 billion in 2009.

You're telling me that you couldn't hire a few dozen extra part-time drivers for the holidays, at the Scrooge-wages of $8.50-$9.50? That would have been about $50,000 to hire 36 extra drivers during the month of December. You could have afforded it, and it would have covered your demand for San Antonio and balanced the workload enough so that your delivery persons could actually wait for people to answer their door before they ran off, leaving the parcel alone and unsecured.

You surely have a quick on-boarding process considering that you almost certainly have a ridiculously high employee churn -- I mean, given that you over work your part-time employees on the holidays by assigning them with routes that are too long, and with truckloads that are too full. You sure don't have enough full-time employees.

If you did have more full-time employees, then maybe you would be able to hire fewer part-time employees to fill in the gaps during the holidays. This would allow you to focus on what it is that you actually do for your customers, both senders, and recipients -- ensuring the transportation of products all over the country. But instead, all you care about is the money. Merry Christmas, UPS.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ubuntu username fail

So Ubuntu is pretty easy to use most of the time. But I've installed the system probably about two dozen times now, and each time I forget that I cannot add a username with a dot without doing some somersaults.

You cannot use the Gnome users-admin control panel to add a username such as "nels.nelson". Oh no. That would be horrible.

Instead, you have to use adduser.
sudo adduser nels.nelson --force-badname
Adding user `nels.nelson’…
Adding new group `nels.nelson’ (1002).
Adding new user `nels.nelson’ (1002) with group `nels.nelson’.
Creating home directory `/home/nels.nelson’.
Copying files from `/etc/skel’
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:
passwd: password updated successfully
Changing the user information for nels.nelson
Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default
Full Name []: nels.nelson
Room Number []:
Work Phone []:
Home Phone []:
Other []:
Is the information correct? [y/N] y

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Installing Ruby 1.9.2

tar -xzf ruby-1.9.2-p0.tar.gz
pushd .
cd ruby-1.9.2.p0
./configure \
--prefix=/usr/local \
--with-arch=x86_64 \
--program-suffix=19 \
sudo make install

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Why Grails sucks

Why Grails is the worst web application framework I have ever used in my life, and I've used some pretty bad ones

Here's one reason:
Compilation error: Compilation Failed
Application context shutting down...
Application context shutdown.
Soooo sorry, but that's nothing but 100% grade-A pure American male cow manure.