// Richard Hart / Hates_

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annoyances

Hard Deadlines

annoyances, programming

On almost every single project I’ve worked on, hard deadlines have nearly always been the cause of any stress or frustration that arises. One day you’re asked to make rough estimates and then next thing you know they become pegged to a date in the future that you must meet at all cost (But you said you think it would only take X days!). Even worse is when someone non-technical makes the estimates for you and passes them down from on high (Look, this is the all the time we have, I’m sure you’ll be fine!).

Why do we still insist on having hard deadlines? Yeah I know, we asked for more features but now the project is “late” so you’ve failed to do your job. Yet, if the deadline wasn’t concrete, the project would have more features then initially scoped and delivered in a timely fashion, you’re a success!

New features are always requested, changes are always wanted and bugs will always be found. If everyone just accepted (understood) that writing software isn’t exact science then we’d all have a lot less stress to deal with and we can stop feeling like a failure for not meeting that pie-in-the-sky deadline.

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The Internet is a Shit Hole

annoyances, internet

Recently I’ve been teaching a person older than me (60+) how to use a computer for the first time as well as how to get to grips with using the internet and email. While it’s been a test of all my patience, one thing is for sure, that trying to show someone how to search for something is a nightmare because every result is filled with ads and filler, and more than half the time the actual content doesn’t start until way below the fold. Just imagine how crazy that is for someone who is still struggling to use the scrollbar!

After so many years of using the internet, you learn to just filter out all the noise and just quickly scann each page to see if it’s relevant or not, but sitting with someone new to all of this is staggering. They just don’t know what they’re looking at or where to even go for what they really want. Search results are down the pan and content providers are just optimising for revenue. Content sites are 90% filler and nothing but subtle attempts to direct you to other pages.

The internet is just a ghetto full of shit.

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‘FBML’ [undefined] is not an object

annoyances, programming

First let me state how much I dislike developing for the Facebook platform. It’s just one constant headache. Things are always changing and breaking things. Anyways, I’ve been banging my head against the wall all day trying to get some FBJS running on a canvas application that’s embedded on a Fan Page tab. No matter what I did, I kept getting the error:


    'FBML' [undefined] is not an object.

Even using Facebook’s own FBJS examples left my tab in a hung state, with the spinner just continuing forever. After hours of playing around, the problem is that I’m trying to use Javascript one page deep into the application (The landing page itself has no FBJS). Once I added an opening and closing script tag to the landing page, my FBJS woes vanished.


    <script>
      <!--
      //-->
    </script>
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Skype on OSX

annoyances, computing

There’s just something about the way Skype looks on OSX that really bugs me. I can’t tell what it is, but the UI just feels really intrusive. Then again, it’s probably not supposed to be kept visible like I do with my contact list in Adium, which has a brilliant transparent and borderless option.

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Customer Service

annoyances, business

I suffered some pretty poor service when I returned to JEM Ltd to have the faulty valve fixed. I won’t go into details but here are what I think are ways of offering good customer service:

Apologise

Whether or not a customer’s complaint is valid and even not your fault. Just say sorry and try to understand where the customer is coming from. At rather then just being told “We’re really sorry, we’ll do our best to help.” they tried to wriggle out of having anything to do with the problem. Although a short term win for them, I’ll never be returning and will be making sure I make it known to anyone I can to never go there. Any short term loss involved with rectifying my problem would be repaid through repeat business and word of mouth about the quality of service. Washing your hands of a customer’s problems is not a recipe for success.

Listen

When a customer is angry, don’t point it out, you’ll only make them more angry. Saying things like “Before you get angry” or “If you’ll just calm down” will only infuriate them more. I’m not normally one to get angry and wasn’t at the time, but wow, did this push me over the edge. People get angry when they fell like they aren’t being listened to. Shouting is a way of making yourself heard. So if a customer is shouting at you, double your efforts to listen to them. As corny as it is, God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.

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