Friday, October 11, 2013

Gazelle : Massive thumbs up!

I spoke of the site Gazelle in an earlier post; essentially an automated market place for trading in used electronics. I mentioned I was going to use it to trade in two phones. I had logged in and they had made two offers (one for each phone), which I accepted and that kick started the next phase of the process.


Two boxes arrived at the address I specified, suitable to ship the phones back in. Instructions were clear and unambiguous, and everything required (from the postage label to a sticker to seal the box) was included. I posted the boxes back on Monday, was notified by e-mail Thursday morning, and paid Thursday evening! Now that is prompt. A great service :-)

I get it, but I don't like it

Smarter thinking image

Sitting in Santa Clara, living the iTunes Match dream, I get it. Streaming media, all devices can see all content, lets live in the "Cloud", etc, etc. I get it. But what Apple and Google seem to forget, ironically, is that most of the world isn't hyper-connected. Networks do go offline, and mobile networks aren't as reliable or as cheap as you would think everywhere in the world.


I say this is ironic, because while I'm sitting behind a pretty decent connection (50Mbps cable) here in the US, most of the engineers who built these products come from countries with the same, or worse, data connectivity problems that we have in South Africa, or with prohibitive costs.


There must be a harder, but more elegant, solution to this problem. Solving the worlds connectivity problems is going to take decades, and in spite of the great effort of initiatives like the Alliance for Affordable Internet, often times telco gear is literally ripped from the ground faster than its laid.


Stop pretending connectivity is ubiquitous and cheap, smart Silicon Valley people. Try harder!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wells Fargo : no EFT's greater than $750 per day ?

Fails of wells fargo

I decided to use a bank called Wells Fargo when I arrived here; got an account opened up in a few hours, and was dealt with by a friendly and helpful banker. I've been pretty impressed with them, up until now. Its time to pay rent, and as you would, I ask the realtor to give me his bank, account number and branch code (in the US, a routing number). He correctly and accurately does this, and then starts the incredulity; there is no way to add an electronic payment / recipient to the banking site.


I phoned the call centre, expecting the answer to archaically be that I would have to come into a branch to set up a payment, only to be told "You can't make electronic payments larger than $750 per day using our system(s). For larger payments, we send the payee a cheque which they'll get in 5 business days". He was quite proud of their turn around time. What ? That must be the silliest thing I've heard of. The realtor alas confirms that this is true with Wells Fargo. What a fail :-(