Do not buy Civilization 5!

If you are running a 64bit Windows 7 system – I highly recommend against buying Civilization 5 – at least for now. When the game first came out, all was well. Yet, some way into the game it just died. Straight to desktop. Some have linked this with capturing ‘too many’ cities. I confirmed this for myself, and yes – upon capturing one too many cities, the game would crash.

Fair enough I thought, wait for the first patch to fix it. So, I stopped playing for three weeks. Yet, today after downloading the update and attempting to load my savegame I am now presented with this bullshit:

What the hell?? I cannot even load the savegame anymore. I cannot be bothered contacting support – I have tried to once before with no luck, not even a reply. I should be getting on the phone with PayPal or my credit-card company and telling them to reverse the payment as I have been supplied with a product that does not run. Running the game in directx 9 mode still causes the same problem.

Guess who isn’t going to legally purchase the next Civilization game?

Anyway, that’s the end of my rant. Guess ill have to wait another month (or who knows how long) for the next patch and hope that the game will work.

Read More

HP Online Support still sucks.

Why do I even bother?

Here is the average HP support request converstation (Don’t mind the spelling & numbers have been changed):

Me : Presario f500 boot issue.
[An agent will be with you shortly.]
[You are now chatting with Praveen .]
Praveen : Hello, Welcome to Hp total care for notebooks.
My name is Tom. Please give me a minute while I quickly review the description.
Me : ok
Praveen : Hello, How are you doing today?
Praveen : In order to assist you in a better way, May know the product and serial number of the Notebook which is facing this issue?
Me : I would like to know if you have a service center in Japan. I bought the laptop in England and I am having a boot issue. This is covered by HP and reapir will be free, but I live in Japan. #
Me : Serial number is 888888888
Praveen : •I apologize for this inconvenience, however do not worry I am personally going to take care of the issue.
Praveen : Thank you for providing serial number.
Praveen : Would you please provide me product number?
Me : 888888888
Praveen : Thank you for providing product number.
Praveen : In order to isolate the exact issue, and provide you the trouble shooting steps, I need to ask you some questions related to your computer. Shall I proceed?
Me : yes
Praveen : Thank you
Praveen : May I know since how long have been facing this issue?
Me : Two months
Praveen : I apologize for this situation. I’ll try my best to get it straightened.
Praveen : Did this issue occur before?
Me : Not before two months ago
Praveen : May I know the operating system?
Me : Vista. That has nothing to do with the computer not starting!
Praveen : Don’t worry, I’ll try my best to fix this issue today.
Praveen : May I know if you have performed any troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue before contacting us?
Me : yes
Me : new hard drive
Me : new memory
Me : removed the cdrom drive
Me : removed battery
Me : issue still exists
Me : I would like to know if you have a service center in Japan that will be able to reapir this laptop for free
Praveen : I’ll do everything I possibly can to fix the issue.
Praveen : If I understand the issue correctly, we have problem with boot, Am I correct?
Me : yes…
Praveen : Please give me 2 minutes while I research on this issue and help you in a better way.
Praveen : we will pull up your records to check the warranty details.
Praveen : Please give me 2 minutes while I research on this issue and help you in a better way.
Praveen : Thank you for being online.
Praveen : I have checked the records and would see that the notebook is out of warranty.
Me : I know its out of warranty! The link I gave you is cover for this specific issue. Can you please give me details for a local support center in Japan…..
Praveen : Okay definitely I will help you with the Japan technical support link.
Praveen : They will definitely help you out with this issue.
Me : For free correct?
Praveen : As per the records I would see that the notebook is not in warranty and I cannot see any One Time Service Enhancement repair for this notebook. However If you would contact the Japanese Technical support they will be able to provide you with the information.
Praveen : They will have all alternate options to help you in a better way.
Me : Are you saying this issue will not be repaired for free?
Praveen : As the notebook is out of warranty and there is no onetime service enhancement service for your notebook, it will be a paid service.
Praveen : I appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
Praveen : I will check the weblink. Please provide me a minute.
Praveen : Thank you for being online.
Praveen : I appreciate your patience and time.
Praveen : I have checked the link.
Praveen : I will explain you with the details.
Me : Ok?
Praveen : There are some Hardware issue with only some of the Compaq Presario F500 series notebook PCs when it was manufactured.
Me : I KNOW THIS! I Am asking if you are able to refer me to a support/repair center that will repair this issue. This laptop is having that exact problem!
Praveen : Don’t worry, I’ll try my best to fix this issue today.
Praveen : I understand the concern.
Praveen : We need to contact the Japanese Technical support and you may explain the issue to them. They will definitely help you out with this issue.
Me : For free correct?
Praveen : I will provide you with the link for Japanese technical support.
Praveen : As per the records I would see that the notebook is not in warranty and I cannot see any One Time Service Enhancement repair for this notebook. However If you would contact the Japanese Technical support they will be able to provide you with the information.
Praveen : This will be the paid service.
Praveen : If it were to happen to me I’d be concerned too.
Me : Why? The website says this reapir will be done for free! This is an issue with the manafacturing process. The link I gave you says HP WILL REPAIR THIS ISSUE FOR FREE.
Praveen : I understand the concern.
Praveen : Kindly contact the Japanese technical support they will check the records of your notebook and they will provide you with the information.
Me : The laptop was bought in England. Does this matter?
Praveen : Okay
Praveen : As the notebook is purchased in England we need to contact the England technical support link they will be able to help you with the issue.
Me : And it can be repaired in Japan?
Praveen : They will check with the records of your notebook and they will help you with this issue.
Praveen : As you have purchased the notebook from england we need to provide the notebook for service in england.
Me : So I can not get the laptop serviced in Japan?
Praveen : If we would like to service the notebook in Japan, it will be a paid service.
Me : So it could be repaired for free in England?
Praveen : Kindly contact the England Technical support, as they will check the records of your notebook and they will be able to provide you with the information.
Me : Ok, thanks for nothing.

I cant accept that this is another person providing support. I think HP is working on some Computer Support artifical intellegence system where any question that fits a certain guidelin is responded to by a set solution. Notice how many times my questions were ignored.

Read More

Vista Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2

Finally bluetooth is working. After downloading SP2RC2 and waiting around 40 mins for an install and one reboot later, bluetooth works!

I am using a stereo sony bluetooth receiver and all the functions work, Play, Stop, Forward etc.

I also didn’t come across any issues with missing drivers like some others.

Although the uninstall will be a pain when the official SP2 is released (you need to uninstall RC2 to install the official SP2) if you are in need of working bluetooth devices I would recommend installing this ASAP.

Read More

New School – Konakadai Junior High

Moved into the new school on Monday. Seems good so far. There are around 680 students, or 19 classes. Going to be a boring two weeks of self introductions. The trip here is a lot less painful than the previous school, its 2 minutes on the train to Chiba (from Honchiba) a 4 minute wait for another train to Inage (about 5 minutes). From Inage its around a 7 minute bus trip and a 2 minute walk. I can finally wake up at a semi reasonable hour (6.40).

Read More