Category: Rant

Kia Rio; Known Problem

By , 18 November, 2011 8:13 pm

Well, on the 31st of December 2010 I bought a brand new car from Ipswich Central Motors.  From the time I drive off I noticed that the air bag light on the dash would not turn off.  So I called them up and explained.  They told me that I needed to bring the car back so they can look it over, which I did.

An hour goes by and they said that their equipment is malfunctioning and they can not find the cause of the problem.  They give me a loan car (which was nice) and they have the car for the day.  They finally find the cause and I was informed that the reason the light was on was because a pin that an electronic cable was connected to was not push into its connector correctly, but I digress from the real problem.

After a couple of days I notice a noise coming from the back left of the car and over the next few weeks it gradually gets louder.  As I got attuned to the noise it became very irritating and I was able to hear the noise over the radio.  The problem I have now is that the Brisbane floods have hit and Ipswich Central Motors is underwater.

A couple of months pass and I call Ipswich Central Motors back up to hear that their service division is not operational and that they will call me when they are.  A month passes (now in March) and I have to do something about it.  I call Motorama Moorooka and organise a time to book in the car so they can look at it.  They give me the usually spiel that noises are not covered under warranty.

So they look at the car and tell me that the noise was caused from the “Striker”.  I was told it was realigned.  I drive off and all is good.  About 3 days pass and then the noise comes back quiet at first and then louder and louder over the next few days until it was like it was before. A week goes by and I take it back.  They reckon nothing was wrong and ask me to take someone for a drive to hear the noise.   So I do and to my surprise there was no noise.  So two weeks goes by and I am happily driving my car and the noise slow comes back.

I’m now (still in March) starting to think I should drive the car into a wall and get insurance to replace the car for me.  I’m thinking I bought a lemon and it is pissing me off.

November rolls around and the car is ready for it first service, 15K. I book it in and ask for someone to come for a ride me with.  I don’t say anything and when we are driving I say there is this noise coming from the back.  When you lower the back left seat the noise goes away.  I said to him that you have had this car twice to fix this problem.  I asked him does he know what it is.

He says to me something along the lines of, well to be honest it is a known problem with this car.

Well finally I have some acknowledgment that there is a problem and that something will be done about it.  Later that day I pickup the car from the service and they tell me that they have ordered a part.  For about 3 days there was no noise but in predictable fashion the noise comes back.  I’m not too concerned as I know there is a part on order to fix this problem.

A week later the part arrives and I take the car in for them to install, fix whatever needs to be done.  They ended up changing the “Lock Assy-RR Seat Back”.  I drive the car away and all seems good, but I can’t be too sure until a couple of weeks or a month goes by, and this is where I am now.

So if you are going to buy as Kia Rio, be aware that you may have a problem with the Striker and or the Lock Assy-RR Seat Back.

I’ll keep you posted if this problem comes back.

CyanogenMod 7 on the Galaxy S I9000

By , 5 August, 2011 3:22 pm

Over the last month I have been going back and forth between the CyanogenMod 7 custom ROM and the stock Samsung ROM.  I get full of enthusiasm towards a ROM that promises fast speeds and wonderful customisations only to be bitterly disappointed.

The first time installing CM7 onto my phone I was completely confused as everything looked and felt different.  So I rolled back to the stock ROM.  Sometime later I had another attempt at installing CM7.  I was able to understand more about CM7 and what things were called.  I was reasonably impressed, until I went to take a photo.  The Camera application in CM7 is very basic and has none of the features that the Samsung camera does.  So I rolled back once again.

So I used the Samsung stock ROM for some time until I decided I had to install CM7 once again. So I did.  Everything was great.  Things worked really fast, I understood the camera was not going to function as the Samsung version but I wanted speed and full customisation of the user interface.

I was happy for about 12 hours until I tried to play some videos.  The videos froze and force closure windows appeared.  I tried downloading different players but nothing succeeded. I’m heading to New Zealand soon and I need some entertainment during the flight and not been able to watch some movies or TV shows that I have downloaded was just not going to sit very well with me.

So I rolled back to the stock ROM and here I am going to stay, no matter what; having said that I may try it again once the product has matured.  CM7 has released RC1 so I think I’ll wait until it has release the final product to market.

The major problems I see with CM7 are:

  • Limited camera functionality
  • No video calls
  • Unable to play common video formats.
  • SMS conversation views are not very nice and I found hard to view

The last version of CM7 that I tried was build 76, 2011-08-03

What I don’t understand is how custom ROM’s like CM7 and others can make the phone operate very responsively but the companies that release their phones can’t or won’t.

E-tax and Income – Gross interest. You have to wait!

By , 13 July, 2011 12:15 pm

OK! all you E-tax fans get ready for the latest.  Screen 1302, Income – Gross interest.  This is where you enter what interest was paid to you from your financial institution, that typically pay around 0.5% interest.  If your total interest paid is less than $1 then you do not have to declare interest paid.

Well I got to this stage and you cannot enter the amount of interest that was paid.  You have to wait for your bank, building society etc. to send the details to the ATO.  Once the ATO has the details you can then pre-fill your return which will supposedly have all the correct amounts.  You then specify what percentage is yours, if it’s a joint account.

The problem with this is I’m ready to finalise my tax return but the financial institutions have until the 15 August to post the amounts to the ATO so I now have to wait.  Apparently this is a new thing that the ATO brought into E-tax this year.

I was on the phone to the ATO for 45 minutes this morning to sort this out. Even the people at the ATO did not know about this.  I was passed onto many layers of the ATO to find out.  Shouldn’t all the people employed in the E-tax department know?  Obviously not!

So no-one is able to complete their E-tax until their financial institution posts all interest paid to the ATO.  Good luck in waiting if you want to complete your return now.

The goCard by TRANSLink, friend or foe.

By , 4 September, 2009 4:48 pm
goCard by TRANSLinkWith the release of the goCard some time ago, travellers in the South East of Queensland Australia can now use a card which is pre-paid and can be topped up for the use of  travelling on public transport.  The idea is that all busses, ferries and train stations have a swipe point that allows you to swipe your card when entering or leaving a station, bus stop etc.  Each swipe tells TRANSLink where you got on and off and what type of public transport you used so they can calculate what your fare would be.

So why use a goCard?  According to the TRANSLink web site they claim the following.

  • Quicker
  • Great Value
  • Convenient
  • Easier
  • Smarter
  • Reusable
  • Safer

I won’t go into all of the bullet points as there is one item in particular that I would like to expand on, and that is their claim of Great Value.

They claim that by using the goCard you will receive 20% to 35% discount off of the usual full fare, and if you use your card more than 10 times in a week (Starting first service on Monday and finishing last service on Sunday) you will get 50% off of the cost of any fairs (after the first 10) for the remainder of that week.

So, let’s take a closer look at this Great Value.  I’ll use the station near me as an example but if you are in zone 5 like I am then the figures below will be identical.  I will also need to assume that your travel is for getting to and from work, so 10 trips per week.

Using the goCard, each trip will cost you $3.44 at 10 trips per week will come to $34.44. Now let’s compare that to a weekly ticket which will cost you $34.40. Hmm, that’s interesting; I don’t see how by using a goCard that it gives you Great Value.

Maybe I’m not using the full potential of the goCard.  Maybe if I used the goCard more often during the week I can take advantage of the 50% rate that is on offer.

Let’s examine the comparison with going to and from work for a week and then adding in a weekend trip to the markets or a ride on the City Cat.

So using my goCard I would have the ten trips at $34.44.  Let say I take a ride from Southbank to Eagle St on the City Cat, with a return journey which would cost me $1.92 each way, but as I have exceeded 10 trips for the week that would make the fare $1.92 and not $3.84.  Now that’s not a bad saving.  My weekly cost would be $36.36. So how does that compare to a weekly ticket.  My weekly ticked would cost me $34.44.  As my weekly ticket covers the cost of all transportation for the 7 day period within zone 5 there would be no additional expense using the weekly ticket.  I’m now starting to see the value in the goCard (sarcasm if you’re not aware).

Let’s take this a bit further down the time scale.  Maybe the Greater Value is over a longer time period.  Let’s look at it over a 12 month period.  Surely the goCard will offer better value for this period.

As there are public holidays, annual leave and sick days to take into considerations I’m going to base the amount of trips to be 440.

How did I work out the 440 trip calculation?

52 weeks to a year
4 weeks a year holiday
2 weeks a year public holidays
2 weeks a year sick leave

44 weeks at 10 trips per week comes to 440 trips.

So 440 trips per year comes to $3.44 times 440 which is $1,513.00 using your goCard.  If I was to purchase a yearly ticket which covers 5 zones the cost will be $1,376.00.  That makes the goCard $137 more expensive to use.  The other advantage of the yearly ticket is if I go to the footy or just use public transportation more often I am getting better value with a yearly ticket rather than using the goCard, as the yearly ticked includes all travel within zone 5.  In reality I only take 2 to 3 weeks a year for holidays and I’d be unlucky enough to take 1 week’s sick leave and not two which makes the yearly ticket so much more value than the Great Value goCard.

In summary: For those people who only use public transport once or twice a week at the most, the goCard offers great value, but for those who use public transport 5 or more times a week with return journeys then you are much better off without the Great Value goCard.

Is selling on eBay really worth it?

By , 3 August, 2009 11:30 am

Over the last couple of months I have starting selling all items that we no longer require around the house.  I started selling books and then moved onto the kids and wife’s old clothes.  Now I’m starting on the the kids old toys.

I’m at a point now where I am wondering is the time and effort really worth it. Let me give you a scenario that is pretty typical.

We listed some clothing and have a starting price of 99 cents (as recommended by eBay to get more buyers).  Typically there is only one bidder with the occasional 2 or 3 bids on some items which push the selling price up to about $2.50, but typically with one bid the item sells for 99 cents.  With clothing weighing in more than 500 grams you need to send the item in a 3 kilogram parcel for $9.90.

So the person pays 99 cents for the item plus $9.90 for postage, totalling $10.89.
It will cost you 30 cents to list the item on eBay.  If the buyer then payees by PayPal then there is a  56 cent fee (commission) involved.

So that 99 cent sale just made a profit of 13 cents.

Wait a minute, you meant I made 13 cents that cost me in time about 20 minutes to list on eBay.  Now there is a really good hourly rate.  By the time I take photos of the product, crop them and make it look presentable, select the correct category to list the item in eBay, select and entered all the detailed category information, and then write a description about the product I can make 13 cents.  WOW.  That doesn’t even include the cost and time of driving to the post office and then waiting in line to post the items.

I also forgot to take into account of the commission that eBay charges for selling an item.  On a 99 cent item they take a further 5 cents which leaves only 8 cents for me.

Sure this is the worst  case cenairo (but most typical).  Unless you can list items that are going to be popular and there is going to be a lot of interest I think you are wasting your time.

What really gets my goat is when you add $2 for Postage and Handling how people get upset and feel they are getting ripped off.

Don’t even get me started on how people pay 99 cents for a couple of items and they want to come around to pick them up. They expect you to bend over backwards to accommodate their needs and having to put up with the bull shit of them changing the times.  When you have to deal with a few pickups at the same time it becomes a full time job just for a few cents.

I have had some success selling on eBay.  The biggest was a split system air conditioner that I listed for $200 which  ended up selling for $470, even though I paid $600 and it was never used.

I think unless you can sell an item for over $10 plus postage with a small handling fee it is not worth the hassle.

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