Tag Archives: problems

#VicEmergency, phone app question

With the continued dry weather and fire season fast approaching, I’m a bit worried by the VicEmergency app on my phone. Okay, lie, I’m a lot worried. I get notifications of fires within my watch zone, but the damn phone doesn’t ‘ring’. All I get is a vibration.

When I’m home, the phone sits on my desk so I can generally hear it as it bounces around. If I go to the bathroom or into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, I hear nothing at all. Zero. Zip. Nada.

My phone is a Samsung Galaxy SII with the most up-to-date firmware it can take. I looked up the specs. My phone should be receiving the VicEmergency notifications without any problems. And I do, I just can’t hear them.

I’ve checked the phone and all the settings are fine. I get proper notification sounds for both calls and SMS messages. What’s more, when I was using the now defunct, EmergencyAus phone app. I had a special sound setup just for the notifications. If I heard that sound I knew to go check the phone, immediately.

-sigh- I really have to say this. The EmergencyAus app was ten times better than the VicEmergency app that seems to have pushed it out of the market. VicEmergency should be the better app because it includes data – such as wind direction – that wasn’t available on EmergencyAus. Read this post to see why wind direction is good.

The trouble is, the VicEmergency app is slow to load and slow to update.  I’ve seen fires showing on the app long after they’ve been downgraded to ‘safe’ on the VicEmergency website. That makes me wonder how much I can trust the app to provide emergency info. when there really is an emergency situation. And I can’t hear the alerts. In some ways, that’s the worst thing about the app because I’m now constantly worried that I’ve missed a vital notification. And that will only get worse as the season progresses.

So, the reason for this post is to ask other VicEmergency users out there if you get notifications with sound or not. If you do, what phone are you using?

I can’t afford to buy new phones for the Offspring and me, but I can’t afford to continue with this stress either. Not being able to hear the alerts has dumped me right back into the emotional state I was in after Black Saturday. People died because they didn’t know. 😦

Oh, and I did try to get some info. from VicEmergency itself but got no reply. Don’t you just love government agencies?

Any info. gratefully received.

Meeks


Open Letter to the Wordpress.com Devs

As someone who has taught human beings for close to 40 years, I can tell you that one size will never fit all.

What that means for YOU is that the interface you create must always have ‘layers’ so it can cater to the abilities of all users – i.e. absolute beginners through to power users. At the moment it dumbs everything down in an attempt to suit absolute beginners.

Now I agree that pitching to the lowest common denominator is a nice idea, at least in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice because it ignores all those in the middle to high end of the bell curve. These users are not smarter than beginners, they have simply learned more, and put that learning to use. They have different needs.

Let me give you an example. When I started my blog on WordPress, everything was new and my first efforts were pretty basic. I knew how to setup my blog, write a blog post, publish it, and browse the Reader. That was about it. Well over 500 posts later, I need all the functionality of the existing dashboard to manage the sheer volume of pages and posts on my blog. Yet instead of giving me more tools, you’ve gone and hidden all the most powerful ones.

I haven’t been happy about these changes for quite some time, but I want this post to be more positive than negative so instead of whining, I’m going to make some common sense suggestions :

1. How about trusting your WordPress bloggers enough to ask them what they want and need? You know where we live – talk to us!

2. How about redesigning the interface so that new users are walked through the basic functions in a series of real time tutorials? The method works well in most MMOs and could work here.

3. How about accepting that all users are not the same, and giving those who want it, direct access to the dashboard. Perhaps you could have an ‘Advanced’ button up the top of the screen. Or even one called ‘Dashboard’. Wouldn’t that be radical?

4. Finally, how about giving your users the courtesy of some warning when you change things? For years now you’ve been treating us as conscripted beta-testers. We get no warning, we get no explanations and we get no apology when you inevitably get things wrong. At the very least, it would be nice to have the option of ‘opting out’.

I recognize that most of these suggestions will never see the light of day, but putting an ‘Advanced’ button within easy reach is such a small thing to ask for. Do you really care so little about what we think?

Yours most sincerely,

A.C. Flory


Origin Energy and the on-going Solar F.I.T. debacle

I’ve had solar hot water since July 2011, and solar panels since November of the same year, but the experience has not been all sweetness and sustainability.

My electricity retailer, Origin Energy, apparently had some difficulty adjusting their processes to the sudden influx of people with solar. I can only assume the wholesaler – SP Ausnet – had similar difficulties because neither company seems to have any knowledge of my solar panels. Which is rather odd when you consider that they have been paying me the top level Solar F.I.T. [Solar Feed In Tariff] since April 2012, off and on.

I would have thought that if Origin knew they had to pay me for my solar contribution they must know that I have solar panels in the first place. Logic, however, is sadly missing in this saga.

Back in 2013, Origin reduced the value of my solar contribution from 66 cents per unit of whatever to 28 cents – all without a word of explanation. It was left to me to query the bill and try to make sense of FIT vs CoGen. That was when I first heard that I was officially a non [solar] person because some documentation was missing.

What followed was months of frustration. I sent snail mail letters via registered mail, demanding answers. They responded, when they did, via phone calls …and nothing in writing.

And then, when I threatened to go to the Ombudsman, suddenly my solar F.I.T. was restored, again without a word of explanation. By this time I was so sick of the whole thing I just gave a silent cheer and let sleeping corporations lie.

origin filingNow, almost a year later, Origin and I are back to square 1. I have just received a letter saying they have been overpaying me and would I please sign the attached forms so they can pay me the measly 28 cent payment.

Well, guess what? Having just spent the entire day sorting through old files [that’s them carpeting my kitchen floor], I’m going to bundle up everything relating to this mess and send it to my solicitor. Win, lose or draw, this time I want answers.

Not happy Origin!

Meeks

 


Wordpress Notifications not working?

Is anyone else having trouble connecting to WordPress Notifications? I’ve been trying all day [it’s now 3.30pm in Australia] and the only way I can see the comments left on my blog is by looking at each post as an ‘outsider’.

WordPress? If you’re reading this, a little help would be nice. To everyone else, apologies. 😦

Not-so-happy Meeks


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