A Brief History of Amazon Logistics (and their incompetence)

I've been whining a lot about Amazon Logistics recently. It's almost a new hobby. A couple of days ago I thought that it might be interesting, or informative, to look back through my Amazon orders and see how they performed.

I've only looked at deliveries to my work address - where all the trouble seems to occur. There have been deliveries to a couple of other addresses that they do seem able to locate.

Courier Wars : Amazon Logistics Strike Back

Amazon Logistic's Mission Statement?
I shouldn't be surprised but Amazon Logistics have once again failed to locate a large office in a large, visible shopping centre.

I've lost count of the number of times that this supposed delivery company has failed to perform its sole reason for existing.

Instead of a long slow chain of support emails I opted for live-chat this time.

I don't expect that anything will change. Either Amazon implement my tweeted suggestion, or I just have to stop shopping with them.

Dear Amazon Logistics, Why Do You Suck So Much?

As suggested by Amazon on Twitter recently, I've sent them messages for each of the problem orders mentioned in my previous post.

I don't expect it to make any difference but at least I'll be able to say I tried.

Amazon Logistics ... one of the worst?

Image Source: http://j.mp/1xXh34S
For those of you that aren't aware, I work in London. My employer is based in a large office on top of a large shopping centre in West London.

The office is open Mon-Fri, 0900-1800.

The office has a dedicated post-room to cope with the large quantity of post for the staff. It's manned during working hours.

So why on earth are Amazon Logistics seemingly unable to deliver anything here?

Currys : Nought For Two

Today I've been at home waiting for a Currys/KnowHow delivery of a fridge-freezer, and delivery-installation of a washing machine.

Yesterday I received a courtesy call message to confirm my driver would call thirty minutes before delivery and that I could check somewhere to confirm the four hour delivery slot that I already knew about.

This morning the driver called as expected. At around the same time I must have missed a call because I received a new voicemail message:

Just regarding your Hoover product that we are, uh, that was damaged, so we tried to create a new order for this but there's insufficient stock for this item so we will need to refer you back to the store. If you pop into the store to let them know what's happened and they'll have to do a refund-resale on this item, and, uhm, they'll be able to book another one out for you.

I met the driver as he was wheeling a fridge-freezer towards the house. I told him I was slightly confused as I'd just heard the message about the damage, and presumably non-delivery of the item.

He told me that there was no washing machine on the van, but he had the Hoover product. Still confused I thought the person leaving the voicemail was just confused, so we talked about where it was going and where to unpack the item.

During this discussion we noticed there was visible damage to the product, even before unpacking.

I rejected the item, even with the 10%-off offer, and now I'm almost where I was at the start of the day: no fridge-freezer, and no washing machine.

I do have something extra out of this though: more days without food storage, and a growing pile of laundry. Oh, and a trip back to the store to try to sort this out; then another day at home at some unknown point in time.

I wonder if anyone will ever tell me what happened to the washing machine....

PingIt and the Invalid Package File

This week, like most weeks, there were a few updates waiting for me in the Play Store. One of them was PingIt. I don't use PingIt often, but it's on my phone for the rare occasion that I do.

I thought that the Play Store was being flaky with its downloads; until I realised that everything except PingIt was updating without issue.

Stabcon Survival Tips

I thought I'd write down a few things that might be useful for new/inexperienced attendees.
It's not comprehensive, but should be enough to make the weekend a little easier and allow people to plan around the availability and access of various things.

None of these tips will help you win the games you play :)


  • There are a few fast-food places on the main road near the station; McD, Subway, chinese buffet,
  • You can walk from the station to the hotel in around 30 minutes
  • Taxi's are pretty cheap from the station; around £5

Near the hotel

  • There's a newsagent/convenience store opposite the hotel
  • There's a mini-market/convenience store 10-15 minutes walk away
  • There are chinese, indian, fish & chip shop, pizza take-aways roughly ten minutes walk away
    • There's also a pub selling meals and Sunday roasts
  • There's a huge Sainsburys down the road; this is at least 20 minutes walk

In the hotel

  • A small bar is connected to the gaming area
    • Crap beer on tap
    • Nicer bottled beer available
    • Usually a selection of sandwiches and snacks
  • A water, tea, coffee table is usually near the bar
  • If you've signed up for breakfast, it's not too bad; the quality of the baconforge varies and should always be commented on
  • The hotel also has a (limited) evening menu


  • You can be really lazy and get food delivered; e.g. Pizza hut
  • You *are* allowed to bring your own food and drink in to the gaming area
  • The bedrooms are an adventure; you never know what you'll get (I had a three bed 'single' last time)
    • Sometimes the heating is stuck on Thermonuclear
    • There's a kettle and instant coffee and teabags
    • The bathroom has the usual 'little bottle of soap-like substance' and towels

Installing Plex on a Drobo 5N

Credit: bluetickdig
Having played with a Chromecast device recently and already having my home media on a Drobo NAS device I thought I'd try to combine the two. One option is to use Plex as a media server; it has an added bonus that if all goes well I can use it with my XBMC setup.

Before I can try any of these ideas I need a Plex server running somewhere ... time to install!

How to SSH onto a Drobo 5N from Microsoft Windows

A recent comment on this blog asked me if I could explain the steps to SSH onto a Drobo 5N.

This post aims to outline the steps to install the SSH server and the client software to install on your Windows machine.

Using XBMC (Frodo) with MySQL (5.6)

As I mentioned recently I've had some trouble with the SQL that XBMC runs to create the schema for a MySQL store.

I've tried installing the latest (alpha) of 'Gotham', which I thought might have resolved this problem. It hasn't. I'm still seeing issues with the views being created. I tried some statements in I found in a post but they aren't working either - problems with the GROUP BY clause.

Some thinking and internet searches has led me to try fixing the view creation manually. I might as well work through it myself from scratch instead of hacking together a solution from other posts/

Setting up MySQL on a Drobo 5N

Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
I recently bought a new NAS storage device: the Drobo 5N.

After the basic setup, and file migration I decided to look into enabling the MySQL Server to store the metadata for my XBMC library.

As always, there are unexpected hurdles to leap over and hoops to jump through.

I've already forgotten the process once, so here's how to get MySQL working with remote access.

XBMC (Frodo) and MySQL (5.6) woes

This week I decided it's time to move my XBMC library away from the SD card and into a shareable database. As tends to be the case with most offerings, the options were MySQL or nothing.

I figured I could live with this if it Just Worked. It didn't.

I'm in the process of trying to understand, diagnose and kludge my way round this.

Depression : A view from the inside

Behind The Smile
Credit: B-ALSHA3ER

Six or seven years I was diagnosed with (moderate) depression for the first time in my life. A couple of years after the first bout of depression I was diagnosed with (severe) depression. A few weeks ago I was once again diagnosed with depression.

I'd like to share my experiences to try to give an insight into this often well-hidden illness.

Winter Stabcon 2014

After missing the two previous Stabcon weekends I was determined to return and get back to the routine of attending.

I arrived just before registration opened at 2pm to give myself as much game time as possible over the weekend.

Being early gave me time to check-out my room and drop off baggage. When I entered the room I thought I'd been booked into a hostel by mistake.