FedEx Fails Again

A package was shipped to me last week from Fremont, about an hour drive south, via FedEx using their saver rate. The tracking showed that it arrived at the Oakland depot late Friday, so I thought it might arrive with me today, but, no, the tracking insists that it won’t complete that last hop from their depot to my door until Wednesday:

This is something I believe is unique to FedEx. Certainly OnTrac, and I believe even UPS, will deliver a package as soon as they can once it reaches its destination facility. FedEx on the other hand chooses to sit on packages at the last stop until the “correct” delivery date. Or, in other words, they are going to make sure you don’t get a saver rate package in less than three days since you didn’t pay for next day or two day. Pathetic, and yet another reason why given a choice I will never use nor recommend FedEx.

What is even more annoying is that the last time they did this, they also ran out of time on the scheduled day (and that was for a guaranteed two day delivery as well) and failed to deliver on time. Hopefully this time they will at least manage to deliver on Wednesday. It looks as though noting will happen until then though.

Toddler Book: Roadwork

On a recent trip to the bookshop our two year old picked out a book he really wanted to read, Roadwork by Sally Sutton.

Since taking it home it had become one of his favourites, often being the first book he’ll ask to read. He has also memorized many of the lines, including the sounds on each page.

If you’re looking for a book for a vehicle loving, especially construction vehicle loving, little boy or girl, this one gets top marks from our son.

Welcome Natalie

Welcome to the world Natalie. Much like your brother before you, your arrival was not as uneventful as the doctors would have liked, but right now you have found a comfortable place alongside your mother, and you’re (both) resting peacefully.

Your mother has a few months head start on me in terms of getting to know you (you’ve been kicking her on and off for a while now), but we’ll remedy that over the next few weeks for sure. We started well already with you spending time with me while your mother recovered.

Eco Bulbs

Over the weekend, the bulb that has lit our shower for the past 6+ years burned out. That started me on a mission to replace not just that one, but all the other incandescent bulbs in our bathrooms. The kid’s bathroom has a row of 40W globes, eight in total, over the sinks, and we spend at least half an hour every night in there with him getting him bathed and ready for bed.

The first catch though is that many of the standard looking LED replacement bulbs I found were not rated for damp areas. The second was that they often included a warning that they should not be used in fully enclosed fixtures. The shower one, as well as our closet ones, are all fully enclosed.

The Cree bulbs I ended up with are damp rated, and the only restriction on fully enclosed fixtures was that they not be mixed with other bulb types.

I ended up getting a mix of 40W and 60W equivalent bulbs, rated at 6W and 9.5W respectively, to replace most of the remaining incandescent bulbs in the house, including the eight globe lights. In terms of the light they give off, they seem every bit as bright as the bulbs they were replacing, and being LED they are bright immediately – none of the 30+ seconds of warm up time you get with CFLs.

The only noticeable difference, and it is the row of eight in the bathroom where this is most apparent, is that there is a dark patch at the top of the bulb. Doesn’t affect the amount of light in the room at all.

In the walk in closet and one bathroom, the builder had fitted double bulb units (with a pair of 60W bulbs in them). I was able to also leave one bulb out using the 60W equivalent, saving even more. Of course, I could have done that with the incandescent as well to halve the power consumption. Even with just the single bulb, there is more than enough light in the small rooms these are fitted in.

Although none of the ones I have installed were attached to dimmers, the bulbs do claim to be dimmable.

Daddy Eco-Tips #1

One of the things I try to do is to be as light on the planet as possible, although it doesn’t always work out as well as I’d hoped (don’t ask me about nappies/diapers). A few things have worked out pretty well, so I thought I’d share those occasionally on here. First up, Green Toys…

Our little boy took a liking to cars, buses and trucks very early on. Initially the small Hot Wheels size cars were all he was interested in, but more recently he has been playing with some of his larger toy vehicles. School buses were a early favorite as were garbage trucks, the latter being a weekly attraction at home that he had to go and see when they came to empty the bins.

So, those two vehicles were natural choices for his first two bigger toy vehicles. The Green Toys school bus was the first we bought and we were impressed by how durable it was. Our 2 year old is not gentle on toys (currently crashing them is a favorite way to play cars), but the bus stands up to the abuse very well. 

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Déco Screws

Hanging pictures is one of those tasks that I always enjoy afterwards, but find annoying to do. Especially when the frames or canvas prints come with those strange gripper bars in the top center rather than more conventional wire or eyelets. Then there is messing around trying to get the hooks nailed in to the wall at the right angle so that they actually stay in the wall.

Today though I discovered a great product that makes things much simpler: Déco Screws. Simply screw them in to the wall and they can support up to 30 lbs (according the box – none of my picture frames are anywhere near that weight!). They work with the funny gripper bars (and remain invisible, unlike hooks which you can see over the top of the frame), eyelets and, of course, conventional wire.

I notice on their website they also have another product, Déco Nails, but the reviews on Amazon suggest these are not so good, so I will be sticking with the screw version.

FedEx Failure

FedEx failure It has been widely reported in the media that both FedEx and UPS had problems delivering items due on Christmas Eve. Most of the reports I have seen are attributing this to weather or just unexpected demand. But in my case, the package I was expecting FedEx to deliver by 8pm on December 24th had been sitting in their Oakland facility since 7:41am on December 23rd. That is over 36 hours before the end of the estimated delivery time.

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Comcast Resolution

Pretty much as expected, the telephone support at Comcast was useless. After a frustrating call which ended with a promise to have a supervisor call back, nothing happened. The Twitter support team at Comcast though did get in touch, and managed to resolve the issue without me needing to visit a Comcast store. Continue reading

Another Comcast Issue

Comcast is one of my perpetual dilemmas. One one hand, the service is pretty solid (and certainly better than anything AT&T could manage), but on the other they are such a terrible company to do business with. Then there is their telephone support, which takes appalling customer service to record breaking lows, but is contrasted by their Twitter based support team which are among the best support people I’ve ever worked with.

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Canon S120

Earlier this week I noticed that the Canon camera I had been thinking of getting, the S120, was on sale at Amazon so I ordered one. With their Prime service it arrived here quickly (actually quicker than I expected as OnTrac delivered on Saturday even though it was slated for delivery on Monday in the tracking info.

The features that drew me to this one were the Wi-Fi capability (so I can pull photos from the camera to my iPhone or Nexus 4 anywhere I am, even without a wifi based internet connection), the high speed lens (f/1.8) and the 1080p HD video. The only real negatives were the limited 5x zoom, and the relatively low pixel count compared to other similar offerings from other companies. But 12MP is still respectable, and the zoom is OK for most uses I will actually have for the camera. 

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