Archive for June 2007

Sometimes you want to scream

Here's a letter I mailed to Rogers today, not email, not submitted via web form, I had to get all old school because their web site sucks so bad I can't submit a "contact us" form and they don't publish any email addresses, so it's back to old school, who would of thought in the 21st century I'd be sending a complaint via mail, needless to say I'm totally pissed off and when your pissed off I understand the best thing to do is to act immediately!

So here's my little missive to good old Rogers:

To the Rogers Web Site group,

When trying to view my bill on-line I’m experiencing a number of problems. In Internet Explorer when selecting “Download Bill” I get a new browser window that eventually gives me the standard IE “cannot find the webpage”. In Firefox selecting “View Bill” tells me I don’t have a plugin installed, I have the Adobe Acrobat Reader 8 plugin installed so there should be problem, when selecting “Download Bill” I get a new blank window, no error message this time. Your session timeouts are too short, the first time I composed this message using your “contact us” form when I selected submit I was told the session had timed out and I would have to sign in again, very frustrating. After signing in I was taken to the main page not to the “contact us” page where presumably I would see your comments were successfully submitted message. So now I don’t know if my comments were submitted or not, doubly frustrating (So I’m forced to compose this message off-line and cut and paste it into the form) Your Web Presence is truly underwhelming and unwelcoming. AND YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBER FIELD WILL NOT TAKE MY ROGERS CABLE BILL ACCOUNT NUMBER AND TELLS ME I NEED A VALID ROGERS WIRELESS OR HOME PHONE NUMBER, I TRIED MY FIDO PHONE NUMBER WHICH IS OWNED BY ROGERS AND YOU STILL DON’T GET IT. I CANNOT SUBMIT THIS COMMENT, and pray tell why do you need a Rogers phone number instead of a Rogers Cable account number (by the way the field length won’t support a cable account number either) when I’m LOGGED into your system, you should already have this information. What if I’m a consumer interested in some aspect of you services and I don’t have a Rogers home phone but want one, how on earth can I contact you via your on-line form.

Honestly this is way beyond common sense. I’m forced to send this via plain old mail, thank you for bringing us into the 21st Century, Bell Satellite TV is looking better and better.



Rogers finally responded via email of all things, the galling thing is they ask you to phone them to get help. Here's the email, what a bunch of buffoons. Even better the email didn't even have a subject, WTF? I originally posted this email on March 26, so it took them 3 months to the day to respond, lightning customer service in the new millennium. It would appear that they fixed their problem a few days after my original complaint, it sure is hard to find good help these days.

Thank you for taking the time to write to us, we appreciate your use of online customer service.

In your recent email, you have informed us that you are unable to access your online bill due to technical problems.

In response to your email,  we are sorry to hear about the difficulty experienced with your online account, as its somewhat difficult to troubleshoot via email, As this will necessitate some dialogue on the specifics of the problem, we do recommend that this be done over the phone. This will enable our technical representatives to assess the situation, determine the best course of action.

We suggest you contact the Website Support department at 1-877-343-5745, open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  They will be able to assist you further regarding this matter.

We apologize for the inconvenience that we may have caused. Thank you for choosing Rogers.

For future reference with respect to this e-mail, please quote reference number


Suzanne V.

The tale of two iTunes APIs (one of these things is not like the other)

I find this somewhat amusing but mostly exasperating:

To save album artwork with the Apple com library on Windows you do the following:

artwork = self.GetCurrentTrackArtwork()
if artwork and len( artwork ):
    artwork[0].SaveArtworkToFile("/PATH/TO/THE/FILE" )

Looks pretty simple, nice and clean, no problems, but take a look at the AppleScript library on OS X:

artwork = self.GetCurrentTrackArtwork()
data =

# PNG HEADER ?     P     N     G
substr = [ 0x89, 0x50, 0x4E, 0x47 ]
idx = self.FindSubstring( data, substr )

graphic = None
if idx:
    graphic = data[idx:-1 ]

    fout = file( ARTWORK_IMAGE, "wb" )
    fout.write( graphic )

# JPEG HEADER                                    J     F     I     F
substr = [ 0xFF, 0xD8, 0xFF, 0xE0, 0x00, 0x10, 0x4A, 0x46, 0x49, 0x46, ]
idx = self.FindSubstring( data, substr )

if idx:
    graphic = data[idx:-1 ]

    fout = file( ARTWORK_IMAGE, "wb" )
    fout.write( graphic )

To say there was a little hoop jumping going on here is an understatement, I also had to write the substring method to
search for the ordinal values, and if Apple adds a new graphic format for the cover art, my OS X version breaks and I have to
release a fix, not exactly flexible or easy to use, but maybe that’s the point. Tsk, tsk, tsk…

rTunes version 0.9 for OS X released

I’m very happy to announce I finally have a working version with no loss of features in the port. Album art support was looking pretty iffy for a while, until I made a break through this morning and some very dirty image hacking to strip off the .itc header of PNG and JPEG images, very frustrating.

The app is supposed to be in Rosetta (universal) binaries, but please let me know if it works on intel macs, since I only have an old G4 which is running 10.3.9 and is very slow.

Download your rTunes app

rTunes OS X Support

I have a working port of rTunes for OS X, all I need to do is clean up the distribution, and make sure it will run on intel macs since I’m using a very old and slow G4.

My plan is to release on Monday.

Is it any wonder that Real Media is almost no where in 2007

I’m trying to watch Larry Ellison’s keynote from last year, and I get to see 30 seconds and the real media starts this annoying “communicating …” shtick, which goes on for 10’s of minutes at a time. No wonder they are almost forgotten in 2007, to those of you who think real media is the way to go for your streaming media concerns, get a clue and switch to you tube, you’ll have much happier customers, and no annoying install ware. At the current rate it’s going to take me 3 or 4 hours to watch his keynote in 30 second chunks, fun wow.


Seam’isms: Comments in JSF/Facelets

I’m not sure why this isn’t a default but c’est la vie, and this is certainly something that has irked me from time to time, so I was quite pleased when I stumbled upon this in the seam forum  which is the little bit of magic to ignore comments in facelets/JSF.

Add the following to your web.xml file:


rTunes version 0.9 released

I’m happy to get half of this monkey off my back, the Windows version is available, after I discovered that iTunes version 7 broke rTunes version 0.8 badly. This release has only been tested with version of iTunes, let me know if you run into any issues. I’ve included a new application rTunesRemote which you can hookup to a RF based USB remote control unit like ATI’s Remote Wonder and then control your iTunes from anywhere in the house (or your RF range of the remote.)

I had quite a few issues packaging this since iTunes changed the windows com interface in version 7.

The Mac version is near completion, but I have to go back and test against version 7 of iTunes, also it may seem odd, but the Windows com access is superior than native Mac access where python is concerned. Once the testing is done, I have to figure out the packaging of the application and various minor platform issues like power pc vs. intel.

Get your update here:


Safari for Windows, cool?

I’ve mostly had a big hate on for Safari, since we had to ensure our software worked with it just like all the other browsers, our client is very Mac centric. Needless to say, the hoops, that had to be jumped through to get a rather simple application to work, which I might add was working great under FireFox and IE were too many to mention and the real pain was that the code came out looking like a piece of shit with browser detection logic and all kinds of stupid html tricks in the forms. I wasn’t a happy camper.

At WWDC 2003 I had a colourful conversation with the head of Safari development (I don’t recall his name) and at that time I said why don’t you port safari to Windows, after all in those days it was IE or Netscape (at least I was using NS, but I don’t think too many other people were by then and Firefox wasn’t a household name yet) I’m glad to see they finally listened to me.

So far, Safari 3 seems pretty fast, I always liked how they incorporated the progress bar into the url field, that’s smart thinking and nice design. Safari 3 is compatible with our old Safari 2 version forms (a small yeah.) Finally I probably don’t have to run a virtual machine to boot linux so I can use Konqueror for browser testing anymore, very nice. (Safari is built on the festering bones of Konqueror)

We may have a new browser war, back to the future…