Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-08-30

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-08-23

Netflix Customer Support

Yet another blog post?! My god…

When I first learnt that the only way to contact Netflix customer support was through phone support, I felt a bit annoyed. There’s plenty of things I would like to report/suggest via a short email or contact form, rather than wait on the phone and having to explain it in person.

So initially, I had tried to contact them through Twitter via @netflix and @Netflixhelps. Sometimes I’d get a reply within 24-48 hours. Other times my tweet would disappear into the oblivion. It wasn’t the most reliable way of contacting their support, but I wasn’t going to call just to make a suggestion.

Anyway, I made my first call to Netflix yesterday. I’m not sure what their peak hours are like, but when I called around 2-3am, the wait time was pretty much non-existent. As I mentioned yesterday, they had sent me the wrong DVD and I had reported it via their website. I also selected to have a replacement sent immediately. Unfortunately, I forgot Dexter season 3 was going to be released on Tuesday and personally would rather get Dexter first before Death Note part 1. I saw that the replacement wasn’t planned to be shipped out until Tuesday. I called in and got someone on the other end within 15 seconds. I asked him if he could cancel the replacement order as I’d like something else on my queue before it.

He said unfortunately the order’s been locked and is shipping directly from a different service center. I felt a bit disappointed, but that’s when he said, he’d give me a courtesy bonus DVD for my troubles. I said, “Awesome!” +1 for Netflix.

Tonight, after I found out that the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex feature films were just shortened versions of the TV series, I decided to watch Ghost In the Shell: Sold State Society. Unfortunately the audio/video was so out of sync, at least a few seconds. There’s been several reviews mentioning the audio/video sync issue already. Once again, the only way to report this issue was by calling in.

I called in again, once again in the middle of the night around 2am, so no waiting time involved. I mentioned the audio sync issue and the title of the film I was trying to watch and she mentions that it had been reported earlier and the technicians are already working on it. Unfortunately she couldn’t give me an ETA on when it would be fixed, but thanked me for reporting the issue.

All in all, I’m unexpectedly satisfied with Netflix customer service through the phone. The phone operators are well trained and there’s no automated phone system to navigate through. You call, enter your 6 digit code, and you get an operator. I’m a happy camper.

Dexter vs Death Note

Wow! Another blog post! I’m on a roll!

For those following my tweets, you may have realized I’ve become a big fan of Dexter lately.

I’ve read the Death Note manga during college, watched the anime series shortly after (it’s now streaming from Hulu), and recently rented the 1st part of the Live Action movie from Netflix. When it mentioned the god-complex, it triggered a memory from a Dexter episode I recently saw and then I started noticing similarities.

Of course, they’re far from being the same story, but here’s a very few similar points:

  • Both kill evil criminals and believes the world would become a better place.
  • Both are part of the task force who are investigating the serial killer.
  • Both Dexter’s and Light’s father were good policemen, though they played very different roles.

Of course there’s a lot of differences. Since I haven’t seen Season 3 yet and the series hasn’t officially ended, I can’t really say where it’s going. But Season 2 of Dexter moved away from the formulaic of 1 new kill per episode and more onto the focus of the investigation and capturing of the serial killer, which is what Death Note was all about.

Searching online, I found this article (from April 2007): ‘Dexter’ and ‘Death Note’: Pop-culture cousins? which basically mentions the same thing I have above. And the author says and I quote:

However, I’d like to point out the obvious: If you’ve been digging Dex as much as I have this season, there’s a good chance you’ll devour all volumes of Death Note, and vice versa. The series is available in most major bookstores.

Argggh, after watching the movie, I realized Netflix sent me part 2 inside a sleeve of part 1. I was wondering why the movie skipped a whole bunch at the beginning and what they were planning to do with part 2 after this ending. Then I looked at the DVD and it showed Death Note II: The Last Name

A lot of things have changed between the manga/anime and the live action movie. I guess it was inevitable since they’re compacting such a long series into 2 separate 2-hour movies.

<SPOILERS>

  • It’s a battle between L and Light all the way to the end. Near and Mello were never introduced.
  • They merged 2 plot-lines together: the syndicate that was imitating Kira and the newscaster that idolized Kira
  • Swapping with a fake Death Note was switched to a different character
  • + a lot more

</SPOILERS>

All in all, the movie was still very fun to watch. Like those who have read Harry Potter books and then watched the Harry Potter movies, seeing how the movie was altered from the original works was a bit disappointing. But if I had never read the manga, I probably would’ve enjoyed it greatly.

Car Trouble – Dead Battery

Wow, it’s been awhile since my last real blog post.

So on Friday, I hit into some car problems. As you may have guessed from the title, I had a dead battery. It was a rather interesting ordeal and I definitely had a very unexpected day.

As I was leaving for work around noon, my car would not start. When I try to start the ignition, it would flutter/click a lot. I’ve experienced dead car batteries before and know the sound they make when you try to start your ignition. It sounds like it’s trying to start, drag on, but would finally die and retry. This was a very different sound, but I really had nothing else to go on. The radio/lights still worked, but that doesn’t really mean anything. I had a car battery jump starter, but unfortunately it had been sitting in my garage for some time and was fully drained and needed to be recharged. While it was recharging, the thought of using AAA popped into my head. I wasn’t sure if they covered jump starting cars, but if they did, it’ll probably be faster for them to come and jump start my car than to wait to for my jump starter to recharge. And if it’s not the battery, I could probably have them tow my car to a servicing center.

I looked on the website and it did indeed have this service. I pulled out my AAA card and noticed it expired on 2/28/2009. Thinking to myself, “Crap, did I forget to pay? Did my credit card on file expire?” I checked my account status online and it appears that I am still an active member. I guess I must’ve misplaced my newest card. Conveniently, I was able to submit the request online and it said it’ll take about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, I had a meeting at 2pm which I sort of needed to attend. I sent an email to work notifying them of my car problems and was hoping I’d still be able to make it in time, but worse case, I’ll probably call into the meeting from home.

I tried to start up my car a few more times to see maybe if I’d get lucky. That’s when I noticed the flashing green key on my dashboard. I looked up the manual and it said that the flashing green key meant the immobilizer system was activated. To quickly explain the immobilizer system, Honda and other car manufactures are putting computer chips into the keys, so only a legit key can start the car. I thought maybe I damaged the key chip in some way, ran up stairs to get my 2nd set of car keys, but that didn’t start the car either. I even tried the valet key (key that can start the car, but can’t open the trunk), but no luck. I decided to call Bellevue Honda, but while I was on hold waiting for a service tech, my AAA guy showed up.

Apparently I got sent a giant tow truck (one with those flat beds where the whole car goes onto the back). I’m surprised he actually managed to weave his way through my complex. I mentioned that it might not be a dead battery as the starting sound was weird and may actually need to be towed to a servicing center. He said, let’s give it a shot first and pulled out a super long jumper cables and connected one end to his giant tow truck and the other end to my car battery. I turned the key and VROOOOM, my engine roared. So it was indeed a dead battery. My only explanation for the flashing green key/immobilizer system is that the immobilizer system needs electricity to verify the computer chip and when there wasn’t enough to start the engine, it presumed I had a bad key and stopped it short before even trying to start the engine, creating the clicking/fluttering noises I heard.

The tow truck guy told me to leave the car running for 30 minutes before turning it off so it can charge my battery. I asked him if I could drive it and he said that’d be even better. I thank him and he left. After he left, the thought of tipping him popped into my head. Since this was my first time dealing with AAA for car related issues, I’m not sure if I was actually suppose to tip in that situation or not. But oh well, it was too late to do anything anymore.

I left for work pretty much soon after. I took along my car jump starter (75% charged at this point) with me just in case. I phoned Jan Lyk to let him know that I’ll be a bit late to the meeting and was wondering if he could take point until I got there.

So yada yada yada… no it’s not the end of the story quite yet.

Anand (my former lead) was having his moving to a new team party and I got out of my meeting a bit late, so I missed the car pooling. When I got to my car and tried to start it, I encountered the same issue this morning. I pull out my jump starter and barely managed to jump start the car in the parking garage. The question now was do I go to the farewell party or do I go to Sears (where I bought the car battery from) and have it looked at. After some contemplation, I decided to get the car battery looked at first and if there was still time, I’d join the party.

I got to Sears and parked. I thought about leaving my engine running, but thought worse case scenario, Sears auto center probably can jump start it for me. I was then told to drive my car into the Sears auto servicing center. It took a few tries to get my car started again and the tech started diagnosing the battery. Since I wasn’t originally planning to have my battery replaced this morning, I didn’t have my Sears battery receipt on me. I only hoped they still had me in their system. The tech told me my battery was completely dead, but the alternator was working fine, so I began the process of getting the battery replaced.

I knew I only had my battery for 2-3 years and they were able to find me in their system. Apparently I had it for 3 years and 2 months, 2 months over the free replacement warranty period. I was now on the pro-rated warranty period which reduced the battery price from $90 to $30. Still good I guess, though I was really shocked that their best battery (DieHard Gold series) would die so quickly. The battery replacement would take about 45 minutes and I went into Sears to watch Ratatouille in the mean time.

When it was done, it was already close to 6pm and too late to join the party. I went back to work since I had to leave around 7:15 to meet some friends for dinner and games.

All in all, as I mentioned earlier, it was definitely an interesting and unexpected day.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-08-16

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