Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Delay Delay Delay Repay

It's often literally not worth my time claiming the pittance you get for late trains with delay repay, but it's the only way you can punish them for being late, so I try to do it out of principal, but boy they don't make it easy. The number of times I've had to clarify my claim or correct the response, but this really takes the biscuit. I was delayed on a journey that had three legs and I didn't realise it mattered which train company I claimed from, so I started, in December 2019, with West Midlands who passed my claim on to Southern who passed my claim on to South Western who I realised recently had never got back to me, but when they did initially tried to pass me back to West Midlands and had three different reasons for not paying up, and by this time I could barely remember what had happened.
Dear Mr Kitson

Thank you for contacting us.

I have checked your claim which was sent into us from Southern Railway on 23 January 2020.

Our claim reference XXX. According to the notes, you have already claimed with West Midland Railway as they were the original delay in your journey, this caused you to miss your connection at Harrow & Wealdstone which in turn made you miss the Clapham Junction to Winnersh Triangle leg.

As this is the case, the delay repay claim for the entire journey would be the responsibility of West Midland Railway.

I am sorry that this information was not passed onto you when the decision was made. An email should have been sent explaining the rejection decision.

Kind regards
Hi,

My memory is that it was the final leg of the journey that was delayed and that I didn't miss any connections. I know this because I met friends on the final leg and we all got the same train. West Midlands rejected my claim and passed it on to Southern who forwarded it on to you.

Jamie Kitson
Dear Mr Kitson,

Thank you for your recent correspondence.

With regards to your query, I have checked the logs for the 07.58 service from Clapham Junction to Winnersh Triangle and it is showing this service was delayed by 12 minutes. Therefore, on this occasion, as you were delayed less than 15 minutes there is no compensation due.

I am sorry this is not the answer you were hoping for.

Kind regards,
Hi,

The train was late so it didn't stop at Winnersh Triangle. We had to go to the end of the line stay on the train and go back. We were more than 30 minutes late.

Jamie Kitson
Dear Mr Kitson,

Thank you for your recent correspondence.

With regards to your Delay Repay, I am sorry the previous information I supplied was incorrect. Upon further investigation I can see the service did not stop at Winnersh Triangle and you were delayed for 50 minutes. Therefore, you are entitled to 50% of the single ticket fare.

Could you please confirm how you would like to receive this payment of £14.00. Your options are:

National Rail Vouchers (valid for 12 months and will be received within 5-7 working days)

Cheque (will be received within 20 working days)

Once again, please accept my renewed apologies and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
A cheque please.

How do I make a complaint about this?

Thanks, Jamie Kitson

Dear Mr Kitson,

Thank you for your email.

Your query has been escalated to me and I am keen to resolve it for you. I am sorry to hear that you have experienced disruption whilst travelling with us and for the confusion whilst claiming for this delay, through our Delay Repay compensation scheme. I have investigated your query further and retrieved your claim on our Delay Repay records, and I understand that this claim was rejected due to the time we received the claim from the other train company, which was over the 28 days after your journey. However, as a gesture of goodwill, I am happy to send you a cheque for £28.00, that is the full cost of your ticket, due to the delay and confusion in resolving your query.

Please allow up to 21 working days for the cheque to arrive in the post.

Once again, I am sorry for the inconvenience and any upset caused. Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you have any further queries regarding the above,

Kind regards,

Hi,

Thanks for your response. That's the third reason I've heard for my claim being denied. The biggest issue though was that I wasn't informed that my claim had been denied. If I'd been contacted I would have been able to explain that it was late because I hadn't known that it mattered which company I claimed through so initially I contacted West Midland within the 28 days who then forwarded my claim to Southern who then forwarded it to you. The incident would also have been fresher in my memory so I would have been surer about which leg of the journey was delayed and the fact that it was the train not stopping at our station which had made us more than thirty minutes late.

Cheers, Jamie

In response to this last email I received a duplicate of their last email.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Nikon Z6 Mini Review

Good - Image quality

Jpegs out of the Z6 are generally incredible IMHO. I know it's a cliche but there's something quite filmic about them. Everyone raves about Fuji jpegs, but I prefer the jpegs out of the Z6 even more than the X100s. I used to shoot jpeg + raw, but I've switched to just jpeg now, although that's at least as much a comment on the lack of time/skill I have to process raw files.

Scoot Silhouette Little Bear

Bad - No compact primes

I don't like zooms and I don't like big lenses. Where are the compact primes Nikon? I've resorted to a TechArt Sony adapter and feel stupid for not considering an Alpha a7 before buying the Z6. I am pretty happy with the Sony 35mm f/2.8 and 28mm f/2 (and 21mm converter), although of course you don't get any auto lens correction. Focusing isn't perfect, especially for video, and forgot about pin area and eye detection, but my main concern is the total lack of sealing, water gets between the camera, adapter and lens quite easily, and who knows whether the adapter has any water resistance itself.

Small things

Good

  • USB charging.
  • Very good wireless smartphone integration.
  • MF aids.
  • EVF is so good that I don't even think about it. 
  • Silent focusing. I'd already forgotten how loud even the AF-S lenses are when I bought an 85mm AF-S. Although Nikon did bring out the quiet AF-P lenses recently.

Bad

  • XQD card (single slot doesn't really bother me). SD cards are cheap and SD card readers exist on every laptop.
  • Wearing glasses I cannot view the whole of the screen all at once through the EVF.
  • The EVF auto-switch sensor gets fooled quite a lot. My solution to this, which I am happy with, is to configure the display switch to only switch between auto and monitor and I use that when auto is annoying me.
  • Lag in zoom for MF is a bit annoying.
  • Can't zoom for MF in video.
  • I do notice the startup/wake up time compared to a DSLR.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Google and Amazon Photos Uploaders

This is kind of a mini review of my frustrations with the Amazon and Google photo uploaders for PC. I have a large (~3TB) library of photos. Ideally I'd like a CLI Linux uploader to periodically upload files at will, there are many flexible uploaders for Flickr that do this well, and many of them have useful features such as tagging the hash of the file so as to avoid uploading duplicate files. However both Google and Amazon have chosen to hobble their third party API keys. Amazon appear to have disabled third party Photos API keys altogether, while Google do not allow uploading to their free High Quality tier and I don't want to pay Google's fees, which for 3TB+ are quite pricey.

The TL;DR is that it quickly becomes clear that these two companies are not desktop development houses and both apps are fairly bad in a UI sense and fairly bad for uploading large numbers of photos. The Amazon app is quite a bit less bad than the Google app.

As an aside I also prefer the Amazon Photos web UI and its facial recognition seems better too.

Neither app lets you filter by file extension. This is a problem if you don't want to upload raw files that are stored with your jpegs

Neither app presents progress by file size, both do it by file count.

Amazon

  • The Amazon app offers to not upload duplicates, however it does this by file name(!) rather than a hash of the file or image likeness. So this feature is useless unless you have filenames as date/times.
  • When you ask the Amazon app to refresh a directory listing there is absolutely no feedback that this is being done, on massive directories this can take some time.
  • I have had to force close and reopen the app, however...

Google 

  • I have had to re-install the Google app to get it to start up. I've just noticed that reinstalling is the *second* item in their troubleshooting guide.
  • Google does not seem to like Windows UI norms and the app never appears on the taskbar or in the alt-tab windows list. What a great UX!
  • The Google app takes a *long* time to scan a directory.
  • I think the Google app takes at least double the time to upload images as the Amazon app. This could be it converting jpegs to WebP, but you'd hope it would do this in parallel to the actual uploading.
  • The Google app will not backup a directory unless it has write access!  Annotation 2020-08-21 2231451
  • It looks like the Google app does check for duplicates, I assume by file hash. Annotation 2020-08-22 205214

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Changing the Oil Filter on a 2017 Ford Grand C-Max TDCi 1.5

Changing the oil on our Ford Grand C-Max TDCi 1.5 was straightforward enough. Remove the bottom cover with a torx driver and then undo the sump bolt with a 21/22 mm spanner.
Changing the filter was simple enough once I knew what I was doing and had the right tools to hand, but I had difficulty getting that information.
IMG_20200731_113838
The filter housing is black plastic dome with a plastic bolt head moulded on top, hidden behind a large pipe.
IMG_20200731_111100
First use a screwdriver to loosen the collars and remove the pipe covering the filter.
IMG_20200731_113355
Once the pipe is removed you have better access to the filter housing.
Stuff some rag under the oil filter to catch any oil that spills out.
IMG_20200731_113305
Use a 27mm hexagonal socket and some sort of spacer to undo the filter housing. You want a hexagonal socket rather than a star so as not to strip the plastic head, and you need some sort of spacer in order to fit the wrench in. I used a universal joint, which was a bit too long, but worked ok since it was a universal joint and I could turn the wrench.
IMG_20200731_111953
The filter takes some pulling to get it out of the housing.
Remember to replace the seal.
IMG_20200731_112000
The filters have a notch which fits very snugly into the engine, towards the bottom.
IMG_20200731_112145
It's as hard getting the new filter into the housing as it is to get the old one out. I made the decision to fit the notch into the engine and struggle screwing the housing back in rather than fitting the filter into the housing and struggle to get the notch into the right place.
Video below is useful, but not great quality.

Monday, February 10, 2020

VMMEM.EXE High CPU Useage with Hyper-V

If you're using Hyper-V and finding that VMMEM is using a lot of CPU on your host you might want to swich scheduler type from root to core or classic. To find out what you're currently using run the following in power shell:
Get-WinEvent -FilterHashTable @{ProviderName="Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-Hypervisor"; ID=2} -MaxEvents 1

1 = Classic scheduler, SMT disabled
2 = Classic scheduler
3 = Core scheduler
4 = Root scheduler
To switch run the following in an elevated command prompt:
bcdedit /set hypervisorschedulertype type
Where type is one of:
Classic
Core
Root
It seems classic is probably best for most of us.