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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The National Australia Irony Bank

I hate banks; not because of all of the historical reasons to hate them, but because they work in such an arse-about customer service manner.

Case in point: my new card does not work all the time. It doesn't scan at most EFTPOS machines and even the odd ATM hurls it out.

So I asked for a new one via the secure email:

Hiya,

Seems my near-new credit card is faulty- it's only a few months old and the stripe rarely works in EFTPOS machines (though ATMS are ok)

Can I order a new card? Dear god don't make me visit a branch....

Tom Reynolds


I thought that was fine, if a little sarcastic. (I really hate going to branches)

The reply:

Dear Mr. Reynolds,

Thank you for your request for a replacement credit card for account number : XXXX-XXX-XXXX

On reviewing your credit card we are unable to re-order a replacement card since your account is currently over the credit limit. Once your account is within the credit limit of $XXXX, we will be able to re-order a replacement card for you.

Upon reviewing your accounts, we would also like to extend you an invitation to have a complimentary meeting with one of our financial planners in your local area to review your current financial situation and future financial goals. Financial Planners also specialise in tax effective investment and insurance strategies, superannuation, retirement income, life insurance and income protection.

If you would like to meet a NAB Financial Planner, please reply via a return message with your contact number and the best time to contact you and we will organise for a Specialist to call you.

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us via this secure messaging service or by calling National Australia Bank on 13 22 65 or IDD +61 3 8641 9083. Monday - Friday 8.00am till 8.00pm, (Melbourne time, GMT+10).


Now lets get a few things clear: yes I am overdrawn: by about 1.4%. For a week. The bank have previously offered an even higher limit (I refused).

They have recently supplied me with a faulty card (my previous one lasted until it expired), but refuse to send me a new card until I pay up. I always make the minimum payment (usually more thanks to my random consumerism), so they hardly need to take the big stick approach (especially as they earn whopping great loads of interest due to my mad, ceaseless consumerism). Refusing me a card until I pay a pitiful amount is just classic. And rude as hell.

But they are not done, they decided to "review my accounts" (I asked for no such review to take place) and then "offer" me the opportunity to see a financial planner. Let's not fool about people: the financial adviser is not going to do the following:
  • "Teach" me to save.
  • Encourage me to lower my credit limit.
  • Change my banking set up to reduce my fees.
The FA will however:
  • Talk about home loans
  • Personal loans
  • Business loans
  • Increasing my credit limit
  • Increasing my number of accounts (and therefore fees)
So NAB, riddle me this: why would you say "no card until you pay" on the one hand but then try to get me to borrow more on the other? Why would you complain about me being 1% over my limit for such a short amount of time when I get to pay interest on that at about 18%?

Why? Because you have hard and fast rules and you would place making more money out of me ahead of serving me as a customer.

Rachel and I are in fact in the market for a home loan, but this experience means I will not go with you. Well done. a $2 piece of plastic just cost you 1 million over 25 years.

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posted by thr at 12:32 pm 0 comments links to this post

Community Cup 2007

The Community Cup was on Sunday- great to see my 'dogs getting up. Form, players and weather conditions are no guide to who/what will win. The winner on the day is never football, but definitely the Sacred Heart mission.

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posted by thr at 11:56 am 0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 25, 2007

Train flasher targets teenage girls

Train flasher targets teenage girls - National - theage.com.au: "Police are appealing for public help to find a man who has been exposing himself to teenage girls on public transport in Melbourne and regional areas."

I hope they catch this guy and stop him flashing his regional areas*.






*Sorry that wasn't funnier.
posted by thr at 3:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Elfin trackday


DSC_0339, originally uploaded by thomasrdotorg.

Was sweet. The Clubman has fully won me over- the looks are the only real difference between the two,but for the open wheels just make it.

here I am on Sandown's main straight at about 245km/h

posted by thr at 8:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 21, 2007

9-11 was a lie (More evidence about WTC-7)

I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but this is too compelling:

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posted by thr at 6:01 pm 0 comments links to this post

In your face Prysten II; the paradox

This is between me an' Prysten. Stay the hell out of it.

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posted by thr at 12:00 pm 1 comments links to this post

The Howard governments wireless broadband plan

The 7.30 Report - ABC

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The government argues the private sector is ready to move in with a fibre-to-the-node network, in the cities at least, without spending public money. Today, the Government put its long awaited broadband alternative on the table. The Government plan will see open competition for fibre roll-out in the cities and a joint venture with $1 million of public money for a wireless network in the bush and regional centres, a system called WiMAX.

The mystifying thing here is how wimax can be seen as a legitimate long term substitute for fibre.

While Moore's law has "taken care" of the fibre speeds (ie same basic fibre, but faster and faster speeds In fact fibre has increased 200 fold in 10 years), wireless has not (to date) increased at the same rate and importantly has never even been close to fibre speeds. Cables may be annoying but they are still the fastest!

I read on a blog that by the time we deliver these new technologies, then we risk them already being redundant. I agree. I am on Telstra cable (15mbit) and can’t get ADSL II. I want (neigh, I DEMAND) the highest speed possible and I'm prepared to pay it. More more more! Wimax will offer 12Mps max. TOO SLOW already! Add to that the line that Telstra use when mobiles drop out "anything wireless is not a guaranteed service..." (only land lines have a service guarantee) and the bush folk will feel very short changed.

I think the sooner we recognise that state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure is as important as roads and schools, then the sooner we may realise that the government needs to build it and lease it back to the "competing" companies. Parallel networks will be overkill and expensive (we will all be paying for their overspend) and it is ridiculous to have company like Telstra build FTTN and then force them to lease it to the likes of Dodo who contribute nothing other than appalling technical support (and cheap prices).

But we are talking about a minister who doesn't know a megabit from a megabyte, and please don't get me started on Richard Alston's "competence".

Here's a suggestion for both parties- get a superstar candidate from a web 2.0 company and make them the minister...?

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posted by thr at 11:38 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Broadband 'not good enough'. 12/06/2007. ABC News Online

Broadband 'not good enough'. 12/06/2007. ABC News Online:

"A leading international broadband expert says Australia will be left behind if its Internet infrastructure does not keep up with international standards."
File this under "stuff we already know"

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posted by thr at 11:40 am 3 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

On air WED 06/06


DSC_0144, originally uploaded by thomasrdotorg.

Preparation for driving or leaving your car (and coming back!):
  • If you have a Diesel car/4WD, then you should shoot for about 50%+ Alpine Diesel (a special fuel with an additive to stop it freezing). • Check what time the servo closes if you need Alpine Diesel (or any fuel for that matter!) Mid-week the country town fuel stops are not open very late.
  • • Long term stayers- it's not a bad idea to park off the mountain- check all long term storage issues though (battery, tyres, coolant, oil)
  • An old tarp/blanket in front of the radiator and over the top of the engine will help insulate the engine bay and minimise any condensation on the engine. Especially useful for older cars.
  • •Apply a small square of masking/duct tape over the door locks to resist icing up. (Otherwise you can't get your key in to open the door!).
  • •Anti freeze, anti boil. You can run very higher ratios of this product in high performance engines, but 40% is fine in most Australian conditions. Note: you must have some water in your radiator as coolant on its own has a high freezing point!
  • Wiper blades up or down? If you have the new silicone blades they are less prone to freezing and sticking to windscreens. Also, wiper blades up are a dead-set invitation for snow-bogans to snap them off, especially if it's a Melbourne supporter's Range Rover! If you do leave your blades down and they stick, the a few minutes of demisting the windscreen will loosen them just fine.
  • If you drive an older car with a carby that could be stubborn to start when cold, carry a can of aero-start, it's great stuff. •
  • Add some metho to the wiper/wash reservoir. This will prevent the fluid from freezing and also helps to cut through road grime. •
  • If your battery is having a few problems before you go, then said problems will be exacerbated once in the cold. Get a new one!
Chains:
  • • Cars, diamond pattern only. 4WD either diamond or ladder style, but diamond is the recommended style. In Victoria, chains must be carried at all times from Queens birthday weekend until end of the season. This applies to cars and 4WD's.
  • SUVs (with the exception of Subaru 4WDs) are not considered 4WDs at some mountains and are required to fit chains at the same time as cars. For those heading to NSW resorts, 4WDs are not required to carry chains. The average penalty for not carrying chains varies, but is generally a $400 fine and 2 or even 3 demerit points.
  • Carry an old tarp and some rubber gloves to stay drier and cleaner when fumbling around under the car fitting chains.
  • When parking long term above or in the snowline - reverse in where possible and fit chains prior to parking if snow is forecast. It's a lot easier to extract a vehicle with them already on!
  • After fitting chains, check them after 200 metres to make certain that they are ok. (do it safely in a chain bay)
  • Take your chains off when it is safe to do so, but don't go to early as black ice often is below the snowline- especially at night when cars have dropped snow melt.
Driving:
  • Smooth, smooth all the way. No sudden movements of the wheel on ice and watch for oncoming cars out of control. Keep your wheels turning if you don't have ABS- use "L" in you auto or a low gear in a manual.
  • Snow is actually easier and safer to drive on than ice, so stay calm in unfamiliar surroundings, but understand snow is your friend. Ice is never your friend (unless its in your G+T in the ski lodge)
  • No need for low ratio in 4WDs generally speaking. Over revving the engine can be more expensive than a gentle slide into a snow bank.
  • Stay an extra night if tired and drive home in the morning.
  • Hazard lights are for when you are in trouble, not for driving with.
  • Pull over if you are holding up traffic.
  • Clear snow off your car. It might look cool to arrive in South Yarra with a roof load, but you may create a road hazard, not to mention the roof load of snow landing on your bonnet and blocking your view.
  • Take a shovel and leave it in a place that's easy to access.

Other issues:
  • Rental cars are not covered above the snow line.
  • Comprehensive insurance covers you in the snow.
  • Keep a storage bin in your boot and stuff your snowy/wet gear in that!
• Let it snow, let it snow, let it SNOW!

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posted by thr at 10:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

RIP Caboose


DSC_0008, originally uploaded by thomasrdotorg.

As is nature's want, sometimes our smallest creatures are our most delicate.

And so it was with Caboose who died sometime this afternoon. She was unwell yesterday and a little worse this morning, so I placed the heater in the room and scattered seed on the floor of her cage as well as some water in a bottle lid.

She ate a little, drank a little, and even took time to push her ping pong ball for a moment. I sent Rachel a text to say "She looks a little better!"

Rachel came home at 4pm to find her cold little body on the floor of her cage, feet to the sky.

We're going to bury her in the park next to the gum tree she visited once (and sat in!). It's also the tree where I used to pick a small branch of leaves she loved to chew on.

Rest in Peace ya little bitey bugger.


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posted by thr at 4:26 pm 2 comments links to this post

Friday, June 01, 2007

I can haz a footy?

Oh! Excitement as my winter fitness campaign begins in earnest:

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posted by thr at 3:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

 
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