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Bits and pieces - John C. Kirk

Feb. 21st, 2004

12:25 am - Bits and pieces

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Another update on various things...

Progress on the flat front: I was sent a mortgage agreement form last weekend, so I signed that, got it witnessed, and forwarded it to my solicitor. That means that the bank have now definitely agreed to lend me the money, but there are just a few more formalities to go through before they actually give me the cheque. And the vendor has now got his act together, so his solicitors have sent a draft contract to my solicitor, which means that my guy can start a land registry search etc. Again, that should be just a formality, assuming that the vendor does actually own the flat he's selling! And I'm told that the surveyors posted the results of the survey to me yesterday (Thursday), so I should get them through the post tomorrow morning. If all goes smoothly, I should be able to exchange contracts in about 2 weeks, then complete about 2-4 weeks after that, so it will all be resolved by the end of March.

I've seen a couple of films recently. Firstly, "School of Rock" - it was about a school, and it rocked :) Then "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" - I'm glad that I finally got round to watching it, so that I now have a common frame of reference with other people who've seen it, but I don't think it's something I'll want to watch over and over again.

I've also re-read the two Dirk Gently novels (by Douglas Adams); I really should get around to reading "The Salmon of Doubt" sometime. One odd thing about the second one is that there's an extended rant about the fact that it's impossible to get pizza delivered in London, which seems really bizarre now. The book was published in 1988, and I know that it was possible to get pizza delivered in Durham in 1992 (so presumably in London too by that point). Maybe the book was the trigger? Also, is it just me, or does the novel end very abruptly? People talk about Neal Stephenson having trouble with endings (and apparently ditto for Peter F. Hamilton, although I haven't read any of his stuff), but this one really felt as if it had a chapter missing or something...

One cautionary note: be careful about ordering computer stuff from Overclockers if the item you want isn't currently in stock. When I ordered a new graphics card from them (back in mid-January), it was out of stock, with availability of 4-7 days. A week later, the website still said the same thing, so I emailed them to request an update. They didn't reply, but a few days later it changed to say "Out of stock", with no expected re-stock time, and that's what it's been ever since. So, I ordered a different card, which was in stock; it was delivered the following day, and I'm very happy with it. I then emailed them to say "Please cancel my original order, since I don't need it any more." No reply to that either.

Having checked my bank statements, it now transpires that they charged the money to my credit card when I first placed the order, unlike most other companies that will wait until they dispatch it. And they haven't refunded it, despite my email, and the fact that the card I initially ordered seems to have been discontinued. I've tried phoning their customer services number a couple of times, but I just get a message that says "All our lines are busy, please call back later" - no option to stay on hold, and no estimate of how long it will be. I think a dedicated phone number (to avoid the voice mail system) that feeds to an engaged signal would be better than that. My next step will be to write to them (recorded delivery), and if that doesn't work then I guess I'll have to go to the Small Claims Court. At that point, I'll be publicising this everywhere, e.g. the Register and every computer magazine I can think of. So remember, you read it here first...

And finally, I have learnt that there are two distinct varieties of honey bee: African and European. I guess it probably wouldn't be wise to start putting Monty Python quotes in my project report. Ditto for saying "Scope for future expansion: the Matrix"...