img_7298I like to peruse the blogs, ads, links, and Kickstarter for new products, and have come across a few over the years where I got in early and got a good deal.  My Thermodo for instance.  (if you are not sure what a Thermodo is check it out here.) I was hoping this little charge cable would be one of those things…. sadly, it fell short.  No pun intended.

The HandyCharger is basically a really short lightning cable for charging my iPhone/iPad.  It is meant to be kept on a keyring so you always have one handy in a jam, as long as you have your keys with you.  Sound great in theory.  But in practice, not quite ready for primetime as the saying goes.

I should have known something was off when I ordered back in april and got an email saying it could be 3 to 4 weeks to arrive due to “massive global demand” which turned into 6 weeks, with no explanation, or even a response from the manufacturer until after I had sent a few emails, and got told I would be informed when it shipped.  Gee, thanks, not even an ETA.

Fast forward to beginning of august, now almost 4 months after ordering, and I get notified it had shipped.  Apparently via rowboat from china it would seem since it took over  2 weeks after that notification for it to finally show up, and when it did, it was not as expected.

As in the email above, It should be noted, it didn’t come with a keyring, and the packaging as I noted was terrible, basically non-existent.  I showed it on a keyring to give scale to the photo and to show its intended use.  Another issue is the size of the connector that plugs into the iPhone/iPad.  Its too wide for most cases, so you either have to charge your device caseless or cut the opening in the case to allow the oversized connecto.  Yuck.

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This photo shows the packaging for it, a bubble wrap bag, not even a plastic bag inside it, or a piece of cardboard for rigidity and a little protection.  I emailed the manufacturer as you can see above, and did get a reply saying they were sorry, and to send photos of the damaged charge cable to them, but unfortunately I had already thrown out the faulty cable since it had to be held in place to actually work, and as luck would have it, the magnet on the ends of the cable that are supposed to keep it together are too weak and the darn thing fell off my keychain within a couple of days of receiving it.

Strangely, in searching around for info on the HandyCharger, I found a very similar looking product – like exactly the same looking product, by another manufacturer, InCharge.  (http://incharge.rocks/) Not sure which came first, but it makes me think the one I got is the poor rip-off version. Or maybe it did come first, but if so, the other company took the idea and did it better it seems.   At least it had packaging.  They even made a thin connector option.

handycharger-youtube incharge cable

Another thing to note is the look of the advertised product versus the actual received item.  The multi-colour cable, the actual name silkscreened onto it, etc.  Bait and switch anyone? Or just another example of a US company allowing their product to be manufactured in China and shipped direct to customer, and hoping it is done right without taking the time to inspect.

As I said, great in theory, terrible in practice.  That is my feeling on this one.  Waiting 4 months for a charge cable is ridiculous to begin with, but getting a faulty one after all that, as well as one that in my opinion is poorly constructed with respect to how it is supposed to stay together via the all-too-weak magnet, is enough for me to say stay away from this product until at least version 2.  If there is one.

PS:  I haven’t ordered an inCharge one yet, but probably will.  For one, it is cheaper, and says 2 day shipping with 6 to 10 days delivery.  So at least I won’t be waiting months to be disappointed.

barkerp

burning-bridges-clipart-1An architect friend of mine shared a quote he heard when starting out in this business, “We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it“.

Most people’s first thought is you shouldn’t burn bridges.  But some relationships, whether personal or business are toxic.  It happens, you try everything you can to keep them working but there comes a time when sometimes enough is enough and you have to walk away and may even need to burn that bridge.

We are in the service industry.  Really, aren’t we all?  Everyone is doing what they do because someone needs something, whether it is creating something for someone, fixing something, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, etc… we are all working for clients.  But, there are some instances in life where you’ve been pushed beyond reasonable limits and maybe it is a moral issue, or a financial one, or a compatibility problem, regardless something has to give.

Knowing which bridges is the tricky part.

A perfect example of that on a small-scale happened the other day.  I pulled into park at a job site I was about to inspect and was sitting in my car gathering my thoughts, checking who the contact on site was, etc., when a car pulled in and parked next to me so close I would have had a hard time opening my door to get out and she would have had the same problem. I just smiled, and moved forward into a different spot.  As it turned out, that woman was the person I was meeting on site.  Bridge not burned, nor even scorched a little.

And sometimes it is not you burning the bridge, but someone else leaving you behind and burning that bridge in front of you.  It happens, and it is always funny when they realize they DO in fact need you, and try to cross back over.  The clients that you’ve worked with for years, had a good relationship with and then one small problem and they hang you out to dry or move on to “better” companies?  Those I have a special place for.   Needless to say they are not tops on the priority list of which messages get returned the fastest.  It’s not a bridge I’ve burnt, but it is a shaky one I remain hesitant to rely upon.

Some bridges, as I said, should be burned.  Mostly it comes from being wronged or mistreated, whatever the reason, there are times, as my architect friend said, that a bridge needs to be burned.  You need to make a stand and be true to yourself in business.  Rely on your moral compass and know that you can’t be all things to all people, and that it is never good to be someone’s doormat.

Just make sure you have another route available though.  Bridges burn fast, but take a long long time to rebuild.

barkerp.

July 4th 1966, Liverpool.  A young family, mom, dad, two young kids -3 and just about to turn 1 (me) – board an ocean liner “The Empress of Canada” and head off to a new world and a new life not really knowing what to expect other than some information given to them from what was basically state run travel agents telling them about all the possiblities in this new country, Canada, and more specifically this small town London Ontario.  Leaving behind nearly everything, the journey begins to this new land of possibility as it was toted back in the 60’s.  The economy in England being bad at the time, with not enough good jobs to go around, packing up and moving was the best solution for a young family.  Emigrating from their birth country, leaving behind their extended family, brothers sisters and parents, and moving in the hopes of making better lives for themselves and their kids.  Alone in a country nearly 40 times the size of the United Kingdom.

This was my life and the beginning of becoming Canadian.  Traveling by boat, me too young to remember, on board a massive boat (for the time) and starting anew in a small town named after that oh so more famous town in England.  Never forgetting our English roots, but proud to be citizens of this great country we’ve called home for nearly 50 years.

BTW, It’s great that all of the US celebrates this occasion with me, but the fireworks and hooplaw are a bit much and a bit embarrassing.  Maybe just a nice card or something to mark the event from now on, thanks eh.

Barkerp

One moment

Posted: June 3, 2016 in Uncategorized


There is a Tennessee Williams quote I read recently that really hit home, and I knew I had to use in this post…  ‘Death is one moment, and life is so many of them.’

Moments.  Memories.  Whatever you want to call them, they shape our lives, they are what fills our lives and our thoughts, make us who we are, good or bad, life is made up of moments.

Death is one moment, and it robs us of future moments, but thankfully cannot erase the past moments and memories.  Cherish every moment, live life to the fullest, make new moments, but don’t forget all the moments that brought you to where you are.

RIP big bro and ride on,

barkerp

I get a lot of email. A LOT. Between work and personal emails it is a wonder I find time to do anything other than answer or deal with emails.  All I know is, that on those days when something goes wrong with our email server, there is a lot more work getting done, although the urge to keep checking to see if it is back up and running does cause some stress.

Part of the curse that is email, is dealing with spam and junk emails. If you set your filter too strict you end up missing important emails, and if you don’t use any filtering you end up with so much crap to deal with you will be pulling your hair out.  Of late I’ve noticed an increased amount of utter crap coming in again.  Not sure why, seems to be a cyclical thing every few months, and I have to laugh at the horrific spelling and grammatical errors in the emails and wonder if they ever catch anyone in their webs with these?  Below is a perfect example of what i mean…

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The nice thing is that the spelling and grammar mistakes usually make it easier to spot the spam. (‘appliance’ used when they meant ‘application’ for instance)

Another dead giveaway is the “actual” email address that the email is coming from or directing you to reply to (dontreply@perfectinput.org in the example).  More often than not, you will see a link that when you hover over it you can see the address which rarely matches the supposed subject (witoptions in this case does, but if you google it it doesn’t exist as a company and is fishy enough not to clink the link) and takes you to some ad website that will get you stuck in an endless loop of trying to close popups and pop-unders.  A good idea is to use a domain lookup site like “Whois” and check the domain name to see if it is even valid.  If it’s a real site, there will be info on it.  That doesn’t mean it is a valid website or email, just a better chance that it might be legit.

When spotting spam in the wild, there are tons of common phrases to look for.  Offering pills is big one of late, and I’m sure we’ve all seen at least one from some President of some foreign country offering to send us money if we give our banking info.  Many make vague statements about you and your previous involvement with their company, or offering you something for nothing.  Typically I find it best to toss any suspicious emails without even opening them just by previewing the subject line.  It used to be you could create a list of words to block, but even that is getting tougher since many bots or people substitute other letters or characters for some letters in words to sneak thru.  A bracket ‘(‘ for a capital ‘C’ for instance, or using the number ‘0’ for the letter ‘o’.

Remember, no bank is going to contact you via email and request info, or confirmation of any interactions you’ve had with them, so anything you get from any bank it is best to assume is fraudulent and follow-up with your bank directly.  I’ve even forwarded a few emails to my bank so they are aware and can warn others.

The old adage, “when in doubt throw it out” is never more on point than when dealing with email nowadays.  Thankfully the scammers and spammers are attacking in bulk and hoping they get one response out of the thousands they send out, and as such their attacks are easily spotted with a little vigilance.  Keep your eyes open and be careful what you click on or reply to.

“He is most free from danger, who, even when safe, is on his guard”. (Publilius Syrus)

-barkerp