T-Mobile USA has Horrible Customer Service

15 08 2011

I’ve always had nothing but good things to say about T-Mobile customer service.  I would call up and their representatives were always nice and helpful. 

That is until recently.  Fortunatly I haven’t had need of T-Mobile customer service very often, and was dismayed to learn that something has changed.

If you call tmobile from your phone (either their 877 number or by dialing 611) it doesn’t actually call anyone, but instead opens the t-mobile app which has links to things such as checking your minutes, viewing your bill, etc.  It then also has a link to dial support.  If you press the link, it will dial support, which is their new fancy automated system.

The system asks what you’re calling about.  It suggests you can say things like “check usage, pay bill,” etc.  If you ask for a representative it tells you that it needs to know what you’re calling about first.  No matter how many times you ask for a representative, it will not connect you.  And so you tell it what you want:

Me:  “android update”

T-Mobile:  “Just to be sure, you’re calling about hotspots, am I right?”

Me:  “no”

T-Mobile:  “My mistake.  Let’s try this again.  . .”

Me:  “software update”

T-Mobile:  “Just to make sure, you’re calling about downloads, correct?”

Me:  “kind of”

And finally it connects me to a person. 

I called a few weeks ago to get some information about different plans and their pricing, to see if there was a better deal out there for me and my rather unique phone usage situation (I need one line with text, voice and data, and one with just voice).  I explained to the representative what I wanted and no matter how many times I explained it, or in how many different ways, he just wasn’t understanding my simple question, which boiled down to, “are there any new plans which would keep the service i have now and lower my bill?”.  After offering me several more expensive plans, I finally gave up, thanked him for his time, and hung up.

And so now my phone, (G2X) didn’t receive the gingerbread update it was supposed to.  LG’s website has a way to manully update the phone, but this requires a Windows PC, and being a Linux user, means I can’t do it (easily).  So I decide to contact customer support.  I email them using an address I find after a google search and get this message in return:

Notice:  Important changes to our e-mail program starting Jan 10th:

You spoke and we listened!  Due to overwhelming feedback, our e-mail for Customer Care is transitioning to live chat support. We?ve found that you are more satisfied with chat, and get your issues resolved in less time with chat.

Starting Jan 10th, e-mail will no longer be available for support, but you can still chat live with one of our online specialists. You can also get online help from other customers in our Community Forums (http://forums.t-mobile.com), or use our self-service options in My T-Mobile (http://my.t-mobile.com).  As always, 24/7 support is still available by dialing 1-800-937-8997 or 611 from your T-Mobile phone.

Which means I can’t do it from my phone.  Okay, so I wait until I’m at a computer and I go to their live chat.  Here’s the screenshot:

Why suffer through the convenience of E-mail when you can have a chat service that you can’t access? 

Which lead me to call them again.  After going through the hoops of their automated service and establishing that yes, I actually had a legitimate question, I finally get through to someone.  This person seems both polite and competent.  She tells me that she needs to transfer me to another department.  I say okay, and she makes the transfer.  A few seconds later I am greeted with the sound of the call disconecting.

And so, I call back, go through the same rigamarool with the automated system and this time am successfully transfered to the ‘2nd level support’.  I explain the issue and am put on hold for 10 min. after which time he explains that the Gingerbread update for the G2X was pulled due to instability issues.  Which makes the communication from T-Mobile on their support forums rather confusing.

In any case, it is clear that T-Mobile wants to make it as hard as possible to actually contact support.  They make it easy to give you resources to solve your own problem, but if it is obvious that your problem is not one of their standard issues, then you’re shit out of luck until you have half an hour to spend on the phone.

Come on T-Mobile.  What happened?

Air Conditioning for your Freedom

20 06 2011

Gizmodo has a short article about the military’s use of air conditioning with tents.

“the Department of Defense spends $20 billion air conditioning tents and temporary structures for the military. That’s more than NASA’s entire $19 billion annual budget

The most interesting bits from this article however are actually the reader comments.  While some bemoan such blatant idiocy (air conditioning un-insulated structures) there are a surprising number of comments which rail against anyone questioning this use of money as unpatriotic and immoral.

stratocaster28 wrote, in response to one of these questioning comments: 

“In another time, you would have been branded a traitor for what you just wrote, and probably executed.
. . .
You’re a traitorous hypocrite accusing the very people who put their lives on the line so that you can have the right to the same air conditioning i’m sure YOU DO USE, with the peace and the economy to enjoy it in.
. . .
Don’t even try to justify what you wrote, you simply cannot.”
 grok666 wrote:
“you should kiss the ass of the next military member you see in thanks for helping to protect the country that makes your life so easy to bitch about the leadership without being hunted down and killed for your viewpoint.”
Lovely.  Don’t question authority you ungrateful little bastards, just bend over and take it if you don’t want to be called a traitor.  I’ll show you an inefficiency! 
It’s 2011 and we still have to deal with these morons?  really?

Recommended Reading: Sum; Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

24 05 2011

I just finished reading Sum; Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman.  I highly recommend this book of short stories.  Hit the link to read a few of the stories, you won’t be disappointed. 

New Shape Cats Love!

23 05 2011

This is what I feed my hedgehog.  He likes it.  I know that because he gets excited when I give it to him, and he eats it.  That’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge as to how he feels about it.  But recently I noticed they had changed the shape of the food from what I remember as being roughly non-circular to circular.  My suspicions were confirmed when I noticed the bag advertised that it was in a “new shape cats love!”

Here’s the abstract of the study performed to validate this statement:

Cats were asked to express their cat food preferences. A list of cat foods of various sizes, shapes, and styles was provided. The cats’ responses were recorded and analyzed. Claude is a food driven feline and he said this study was important.

. . .

I realize that there probably was an actual study done to determine which shape cats find most appealing (which is disturbing enough as it is).  But if someone studied it than surely they must have been trying to solve a problem.  Were cats unhappy with the shapes we had been feeding them?  They’re one of the oldest domesticated animals – surely we must have been doing okay.  What need could have possibly warranted this study?  Have they simply been upset with the shapes of their foods up until now and just been too polite to mention it?

In any case, I suggest asking your cat (or hedgehog as the case may be) if they are satisfied with the shape of their current food, and if not, try switching to something round.  I hear cats love it.

Vote GOP

23 05 2011

Quote of the Day – Leo Tolstoy

17 01 2010

Patriotism … for rulers is nothing else than a tool for achieving their power-hungry and money-hungry goals, and for the ruled it means renouncing their human dignity, reason, conscience, and slavish submission to those in power. … Patriotism is slavery.

Leo Tolstoy

Send Mohammed to the ICC

14 11 2009

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed should not be tried in American civil court.  He should not be tried in any form of tribunal or military court.  He should not be tried in the United States.  Any person currently held at Guantanamo bay should be sent to trial at the International Criminal Court.

One might be able to argue at the ICC that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed‘s actions constituted an act of aggression as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  If it is determined that his crimes fall outside the scope of the court we need to pressure the court to expand their charge.

As of yet the United States has not joined the member countries of the ICC.  If we are committed to the idea of providing fair trials than an International Court is perhaps the only way to go in cases like these.  The only reason to try him in New York is to make sure that he gets less than fair treatment and so that you can execute him.

What do you think?  Should we enlarge the scope of the ICC so that it can handle situations like these?


Respect vs. Tolerance

10 11 2009

I had a conversation tonight in which it occurs to me that the other party involved was making the mistake of confusing respect and tolerance.  I had made it clear that religous beliefs were not something I had much respect for – in part because of religion’s intolerance.  I was then accused of being intolerant because of that opinion.

The difference is that I am not trying to force my beliefs on anyone, I’m just arguing that I should be extended the same courtesy.  But when lawmakers ban gay marriage because their book says it is wrong – that is a blatant violation of the separation of church and state.  When I say that they are ridiculous for believing that gay marriage is wrong, I am not saying that they don’t have the right to choose not to marry someone of the same gender.

I wonder how many decisions are made by how many people have an impact on my life that I’m not even aware of.  Seemingly infinite.  I wonder how many of those decisions are made because of the input of the person’s invisible friend . . .

Darwin Bio Pic too Controversial for U.S.

14 09 2009


The new film “Creation” has yet to find a distributor in the United States.

The Telegraph says:

However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as “a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder”. His “half-baked theory” directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to “atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering”, the site stated.

Wowzers.  Only 39% of Americans believe in evolution?  What is it about education that scares so many Americans?  Maybe it is just easier to believe whatever the book says – typical lazy American idiots.

I hope the movie gets released here because I want to see it.  I also hope it gets released here because that would show that at least one company isn’t too scared of the nut jobs to release a simple bio pic.

Obama Speaks on Healthcare

10 09 2009

Left —— Medium —— Right

The political spectrum according to Obama.


Jolly jeepers it would be nice if Obama kept one of his campaign promises.  Just one.  He did get a dog, but that one doesn’t count.  Evidently insurance will now be mandatory under Obama’s healthcare reform.  He says he favors a public option, but stops short of saying it is a requirement.  One reason I liked Obama more than Clinton in the primaries is that he didn’t favor making insurance mandatory.  One of the reasons I liked him better than McCain, among many, was his strong support of a public option.

Oh well, I guess I should have voted for Clinton and McCain’s love child.  I guess I did.

But what is key here is that the Obama camp left themselves with no room for compromise.  Those of us actually on the left wanted a single payer system – we have compromised.  The public option seemed like a good middle ground between us and the right.  But by starting with the public option, Obama has given the right the ability to try to reach a compromise from the public option.

Oh well, I guess healthcare REFORM will have to wait for the next president.  Obama has got some good ideas but ultimatly is leaving healthcare in the hands of insurance companies. . . and we’ve all seen how that works out.

Dysfunction’s Role in Religion

28 08 2009

From Newsweek (believe it or not):

In brief, the number of American non-believers has doubled since 1990, a 2008 Pew survey found, and increased even more in some other advanced democracies. What’s curious is not so much the overall decline of belief (which has caused the Vatican to lament the de-Christianization of Europe) as the pattern. In a paper last month in the online journal Evolutionary Psychology, Gregory Paul finds that countries with the lowest rates of social dysfunction—based on 25 measures, including rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, unemployment, and poverty—have become the most secular. Those with the most dysfunction, such as Portugal and the U.S., are the most religious, as measured by self-professed belief, church attendance, habits of prayer, and the like.

What is also disturbing about this is that the US is considered a country with more dysfunction.

That’s How They Get You!

27 08 2009

The Ethiopian Review has a great article listing the top ten reasons why we should hate cell phone companies.  I’ve always thought that I was getting screwed, and evidently I was right:

For example, Verizon plays: “At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5.”

Everyone already knows how to leave a voicemail message. Apple required AT&T to drop the requirement, for example, and somehow iPhone users are still communicating with each other.

Pogue estimates that Verizon, for example, takes $620 million a year away from customers for all the collective “minutes” required to listen to these messages. That’s just one carrier, and just one example of how carriers make money by optimizing what they call Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).

I’d love to hear a rebuttal to this article from the cell phone companies.

The Sexual Orientation of the Earth-Worm

21 08 2009

Lesbian worms.  Need I say more?

By altering a gene in the brain of a female worm, scientists were able to change its sexual orientation so that it was attracted to other females. Scientists activated the gene that makes male structures develop in the body, but only turned it on in the brain.

Here’s a dirty picture:



Oh sure, you laugh now, but wait until my army of lesbian worms is complete.  World domination my friend, world domination.

The Necessity of Cable News Quacks

18 08 2009

When one thinks of people like Glenn Beck, Keith Olberman, Bill O’Reily, and Rush Limbaugh, one often finds oneself wanting to stab ice picks in one’s ears. These people are commentators, not newsmen, but this distinction is not understood by a lot of people.

But let’s imagine a world in which these vitriolic opinionated ass-hats didn’t exist.  It would be a world of reporting only the facts.  “People gathered outside the capitol today and protested the legality of President Obama’s birth certificate.”  “Some republicans are upset about the death panels that would be created under the congress’ health care reform bill.”

The point is that there are some truly crazy people out there and perhaps it takes some crazy people to cover them.  I’ve seen the so called serious news cover these events and with only a few exceptions they are far more interested in not offending anyone that they don’t say anything at all.  They’re afraid that if they point out that there is no way that Obama isn’t a citizen they’ll be accused of being left wing and biased.  The right has embraced so many lies that it is impossible to report the truth without appearing to be leftist.

When we have actual US Congressmen (I’m looking at you, Michele Bachmann) who think that the census leads to internment camps, who receives huge amount of campaign donations from the insurance companies and proceeds to act as their puppet, who has consistently worked to incite violence against those who oppose her, who thinks CO2 is natural and therefore harmless to the environment, and who thinks  that we need to go through and purge the congress of all of those with what she has determined to be “anti-american” philosophies – why shouldn’t we have crazy people on tv talking about them?

Until we start electing serious people there will be no possibility of serious news.  This is not to say that there are not good news sources out there, and it is not to say that all cable news commentators were created equal.  But it is to say that the serious news should spend less time complaining about the so-called “fake” newsmen on cable news and start complaining more about the “fake” people who are deciding our fate.


USSA – No Way!

6 08 2009

obama healthcare

This comparison brought to you by Rush Limbaugh.  Coincidence?  I think not.

With all the allegations being tossed around by the right wing nut jobs I find myself wondering where it all comes from.  What does it say about American culture that this seemingly large number of people are so unabashedly ignorant?  Just today I came upon some people with signs protesting the health reform currently being considered in congress.  One of their signs pointed out that the plan we all about killing old people, and another preached against socialism.  Both of the people were what I would consider to be elderly and it was entirely likely that they were receiving medicare benefits.

Someone told them that these things were true and they didn’t care to look into it for themselves.  They want to hate it so bad that they will latch onto anything, regardless of how ridiculous it is.  When did reason stop being a virtue?  Was it the rise of consumerism that was the demise of intelligence?

I don’t think Glenn Beck should be fired for calling Obama a racist.  I find it utterly depressing however that he isn’t taken off the air because of low ratings.  The fact that there is a market for him – that people like to hear what he has to say regardless of how many times he has proved himself a clown.

Does Canada have any vacancies?