iOS 7.0.3 – sync still bad

I just updated to iOS 7.0.3 and iTunes 11.1.2.32, and while I like the fact that you can now turn off the dizzying animations of the start screen icons, syncing music is still problematic. The first time I plugged my iPhone into the computer after the update, iTunes copied to my iPhone 1143 items that were already on the phone.

soonI hope they fix this soon.

The Old Reader and stale caches

oldreader

When “The Old Reader” goes bad …

I just had a problem today where “The Old Reader” website was displaying really weirdly in Firefox (my default browser), but was looking OK in other browsers such as Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.

Turns out that “The Old Reader” site has just recently been updated, and my Firefox browser had cached versions of files from prior to the upgrade. Simple fix was to clear the cache using the Options dialog and Network tab.

clearcache

Clearing the cache in Firefox

 

iOS 7 and iTunes sync is really bad

As I mentioned in a previous post, since upgrading my iPhone 5 to iOS 7, synchronising using iTunes has become really buggy. Try googling “itunes sync hangs waiting for changes to be applied” and you’ll see I’m not alone.

albumartistA lot of the time, syncing happens fine, but sometimes it will do bizarre things. For example, I had a 10 track album where 7 of the tracks had just an “Artist” name entered in the song data, and 3 tracks had both “Artist” and “Album Artist” set to the same value. On my iPhone, the album only showed the 7 tracks where the “Album Artist” field was set. After clearing the “Album Artist” on all the tracks, the album then showed up correctly on the iPhone.

Also on random occasions, the sync process seems to hang at the “waiting for changes to be applied step” and then after about 20 minutes want to re-sync thousands of my songs to the iPhone for no apparent reason.

itunes-sync
Frustrating.

Fun with scammers #2

On a semi-regular basis, around about dinner time I get phone calls from the Indian scammers – you know the ones that ring up with a bogus story about how they’re from Microsoft or Microsoft partner and they’ve detected a large number of errors emanating from your PC and they can help you fix the problem – the reality being that they want to either trick you into paying for some ‘fix’ that you don’t need and/or take control of your PC.

I can usually predict a scam call when I answer the phone, because there is a slight delay in the person at the other end starting to talk, an artifact of their auto-calling phone system and the fact that the call is from overseas.

When they ring I take the view that, as long as I’m not super busy on some other task, I’ll try to talk to them as long as possible – every minute they’re talking to me is a minute they’re not taking advantage of some other poor soul who is not wise to their tricks.

To keep them talking as long as possible I have to play the conversation as straight as possible, playing the part of a worried but slightly incompetent computer user. Doing this I can easily keep them on the line for 15 to 20 minutes at least. But that gets a bit boring, so taking inspiration from Troy Hunt who is a master at this game, I’ve been trying to mix it up a bit to add some self-amusement. Of course, the wackier I get the more quickly the scammers hang up, so its a delicate balancing act.

Some approaches I’ve tried out so far are:

  • Every time they ask me a question, I ask a question back at them. (That was much harder to do than I anticipated. Quite a challenge.)
  • Play dumb at first, to get them going, and then increasingly ramp up the technical level of questions back to them.
  • Play the conversation straight at first, and then suddenly challenge the person on the ethics of what they are doing. The person at the other end vigorously protested their innocence, but not very convincingly.
  • Every time time they ask me to press a particular key (e.g. Ctrl key, Window key) pretend to not be able to find it, then explain to them, that I have an Australian keyboard, and that in this country the X key is called the <australian animal> key.  That was a fun call –  I managed to get through the ‘kangaroo’ key, ‘platypus’ key, and ‘echidna’ key before the scammer hung up on me.

I’ve got a few more ideas in reserve for future calls – stay tuned.

Mixed message from NRMA insurance

I’ve just tried to ring the claims department of NRMA insurance, where for 15 minutes of being on hold I’m repeatedly told

“… we realize that your time is valuable. Please continue to hold and a member of our team will attend to your call as soon as possible”

If they truly did think my time is valuable, why are they asking me to continue to hold for an indeterminate amount of time, instead of either
a) giving me an indication of waiting time, or
b) giving the option for me to leave a callback number?

I gave up after 15 minutes – after all, my time is valuable, NRMA Insurance told me so.