No, I’m not sliding down a bannister. Instead, Santa brought me a Wii for Christmas (or rather Boots.com did a few months ago, before stocks starting running out, and I had it in a cupboard until Tuesday).
Wow, great machine. Immediately bought some Wii points and splashed out on a Virtual Console game (Mario 3, which Laura was struggling to play on her laptop) and the Internet Channel. So, if you’re thinking of getting one, here are some tips that I wish I’d known before…
Super Mario Galaxy is THE game to get. Very, very addictive.
I didn’t think I’d need a second Nunchuck, but I was wrong. Lego Star Wars requires one for the second player. Cheapest price is £13.99 from DVD.CO.UK
Some of the virtual console games WON’T work with a Wii controller, and require you to buy a classic controller. That will be an extra £15 (play.com, Argos, etc). Depends if old NES and N64 games are your bag though.
You can buy Wii points from outlets such as Amazon but you can also buy via the Shop Channel on the Wii. It’s £7 for 1000 points (Internet Channel was 500 points and virtual games are usually 500-1000 points each).
The Shop Channel is dog slow unless it’s on certain router channels (1 or 11 I think). I use 6 as I have a Super-G option.
And, thankfully a tip I found beforehand, Nintendo are providing free protective “jackets” for the controller. If you’ve not got one (or how many you need) then they’re recommended.
Having heard that the Windows Transforation Pack has been updated, I was keen to investigate WinFlip, which is part of it.
WinFlip provides the Flip3D facilities that you find in Vista. And… it’s very, very good.
There are other improvements in the Transformation Pack, such as windows transparency, but, to be honest, I’m interested in improving my XP, not just making it look like a Vista copy (and probably bogging it down as well).
Oh, and I’m Beta testing Windows Live Messenger 9 at the mo. It adds Vista style minimise/maximise/close buttons, as WMP 11 does as well. Anybody aware of some simple software that will change this on all windows (and just the buttons)?
Poor service is always something I believe in not ignoring but doing something about. So here’s one part of that.
Let’s get the naming of the culprit out of the way straight off…. onlinememory.co.uk
After a positive review in PCPro, I was interested in purchasing a Sansa MP3 player. Onlinememory had the 8GB version at a shade under £70, including P&P – a lot less than anyone else. The reviews of the retailer were generally positive on the comparison site I was using, so I went ahead and ordered. The item was in stock, so I looked forward to it turning up.
After 4 days the status on their website was still stating “Processing” so I emailed them. Days later I didn’t have a response so, on Monday of this week, I used their “Online chat” facility to ask them about it. It was apparently out of stock and I should have been sent an email. Well their website still said they had stock and, no, I hadn’t been send an email to tell me otherwise. They apologised and said they were due stock “later this week” but I couldn’t pin them down to anything more accurate. The fact that they were so vague and that their website was telling me they did have stock set alarm bells ringing.
Soon after that conversation they sent me an email apologising again and stating that “We are having difficulty in regards the supply of this product as it is all being rebranded by the manufacturer at this time. We endeavour to supply your purchase as soon as this item is available.” (their spelling and grammar mistakes, not mine).
Today I guess they gave up because I received a refund from Google Checkout. What they didn’t do, though, is contact me to let me know they were refunding me and why. And, yes, still the website says they have stock.
I’ve now emailed onlinememory back to tell them about my poor service and the fact that I won’t purchase from them again. I’ve also queried the rebranding with Sandisk and told them of my issues (you never know, enough complaints and they might drop them as reseller).
I’ll update in due course to let you know of any response I get from either company.
Update: I heard back from SanDisk same day to say that they had recently launched a V2 version of the Sansa in the US, but didn’t have a release date for it in UK. 3 days later and nothing from onlinememory…
They offered to provide me with a discount once the Sansa’s were back in stock. They now are. Unfortunately, months later and I’ve had no response and their telephone number is dead. It doesn’t look good.
After getting my refund from them, and not receiving ANY responses to any of my emails, I thought I’d never hear from them again.
Until last Thursday.
I received an email to say my Sansa was in the post. Eh? This order was cancelled. I got my refund. Worried, I checked my Google Checkout account… nope, nothing has been taking. According to my account on their site, they have taken the money for my Sansa.
It would appear that, for once, their ineptitude has worked to my advantage. The order has been cancelled and refunded, but they haven’t realised that. As a consequence, I get a £70 MP3 player for nothing. I just hope it turns up now!
Well, there’s a shock. Nearly a week later and my Sansa hasn’t turned up.
I know I’m playing right into their hands, but I’ve sent an email chasing it up. I’m sure I’ll be able to hear them cackling from here.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been looking at improving the eCommerce facilities on the BMTG website.
Up until now I’ve handled the handled the ticket availability via a combination of PHP and MySQL. The shopping basket and checkout has then been handled by PayPal. To add some more flexibility, though, I’ve been taking over the shopping basket. The coding was a little complicated but it’s done. I can now track multiple tickets in a basket, with options to change quantities and delete items from the basket. All well and good.
The next bit is to pass the basket entries to PayPal for final payment.
The main PayPal site has “walk through” screens on how to add the code. But stuff is missing – but can be found in a 100+ downloadable PDF manual. Add to that the code they give you includes a broken link to a PayPal image.
So, now, I need to find a replacement “Checkout” graphic from PayPal. Could I find one. Could I heck. However, there was a news story about PayPal updating their graphics so I followed that and found a list of “before” and “after” images. That told me that PayPal generated images – such as the ones provided in the example code – would update automatically. The other option was to download replacement images and host them yourself. This wasn’t my preferred option, but I went for it anyway. Guess what? Yes, clicking on the link to download the image showed me the code that was required to host it from the PayPal site – exactly what I was after. But in no way obvious.
And that’s what I’ve found about the PayPal site in general – nothing is where you’d expect it to be and everything needs a good deal of searching to find.
Which is why most of the help can be found at the PayPal Developer Community – a group of official PayPal forums that I only came across via a Google search.
These forums mentioned that I could use the PayPal Sandbox for testing purposes. But could I find a link? No. A search on Google naturally lead me to a completely different site – PayPal Developer Central. And don’t even get me started on how complicated the Sandbox is to use…
So right now I’m frustrated to hell. My coding of the PayPal interface has barely started as I’ve spent all my time desperately trying to find answers to what I think are basic questions.
And after that… I’ve going to add Google Checkout as a second payment option. God help me.