Robotic Tendencies
The personal blog of Robert McQueen

April 12, 2005

Pathological incompetence

<rant rage=”incandescent”>I’d rashly assumed that the optician service at Boots would be competent, being as it is a large nationwide corporation who are likely to only hire appropriately qualified staff. This is, I think, true in the case of the actual opticians, who I have seen two of, and have been impressed and had no cause for complaint. However, the woman whose job it was to teach me how to insert, remove, clean, etc my new contact lenses is clearly *not* qualified to do so, and deserves to 🤬 after 🤬 in some kind of 🤬.

Today was my 5th day of wearing contact lenses, and thus far I’d been finding it very difficult to put the lenses in correctly, have them stay in place and not fall out, sometimes experienced blurred vision, etc. It’s now exceedingly obvious why this is, but I’d been putting it down to lens n00bishness – not being used to them, or being inexperienced at putting them in. When putting the lens in today I noticed it had numbers on, which actually say 123, but I thought they said 125 and indicated the prescription of the lens. This surprised me given my prescription is -1.75… aha I thought… wrong lenses? Looking at the box, I saw they were correct, but that the numbers were there to correctly orient the lens. The diagram quickly revealed the reason for my discomfort and persistent problems – the woman at Boots clearly, explicitly and repeatedly explained to me the COMPLETELY INCORRECT AND UPSIDE-DOWN orientation of the lens, with the edges forming a convex shape rather than the obviously correct concave shape (much like that of the cornea, no?).

If they think I’m going to sign up to their “vision care plan” and give them a penny more after the humiliating torture of having the woman sit and watch me try for an hour to put a lens in when it was upside-down, followed by these 5 days of absolutely inexplicable frustration, they can go and 🤬 themselves with a 🤬. I’m going to go and 🤬 them tomorrow. 🤬!</rant>

Update: Went to see them today… spoke to a “Team Manager”. She apologised and said she’d talk to the person involved, and gave me 1 months’ free lenses. Not sure that quite makes up for the level of incompetence and the discomfort I faced. I may still write to them, complain next week at my aftercare appointment, or just change optician.

posted by ramcq @ 11:42 pm
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March 29, 2005

Argh, nosebleed

I worked at an ISP in London one summer a few years ago, and one of the guys there used to say things like “argh, total nosebleed” when things weren’t going well or proving to be difficult. I didn’t really adopt the phrase except on one occasion when I actually did have a nosebleed and went to the bathroom to sit it out until it stopped. I’ve always had intermittent spells of nosebleeds for as long as I can remember, particularly when its hot during the summer, or I’ve got a cold like at the moment. Nobody realised what had happened or why I’d rushed out until I got back to the office and I explained that there was no problem, I had actually just had a nosebleed… It seems particularly apt at the moment, I’ve had 5 or so in the past 3 days whilst stressing about completing a PhD application I’ve left until absolutely the last minute (through nobody’s fault but my own hesitation about whether or not to apply). Argh, complete and utter nosebleed!

posted by ramcq @ 1:05 am
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March 22, 2005

Momentary clarity

My eyesight’s not bad, only slight short sightedness, but I took to wearing my glasses all the time in school because it irked me to have to keep putting them on and off to see certain things. On a bit of a whim I decided to give contact lenses a try, and I had an optician’s appointment today to check I was OK to get some, and have them fitted.

After a few tests and some pondering she put a pair of 2-week lenses in for me to try out, and let me have a wander round town for 20 minutes to check they were comfortable and fitted properly. It was so cool, you don’t realise how much glasses suck until you’re given the opportunity to see clearly without them. Peripheral vision without turning your head! And contact lenses won’t wear holes in the sides of my nose, I don’t have to take them off to go rowing (or swimming? dunno), and I’ll (hopefully) stop compulsively poking myself in the nose to push my glasses back up (which I do even when I’m not wearing them).

Whilst graced with such visual lucidity I dropped in to Carphone Warehouse and discovered my O2 contract was ripe for termination, so got myself a new Nokia 6630 on Vodafone 3G. I went back to the optician and she took the lenses out and ordered some for me, and then discovered I have to wait up to a week for them to arrive and go back for a lesson in poking myself in the eye, etc. It was intensely frustrating to walk back in to the optician with contacts on and out again with my crappy old glasses.

In other news, I discovered Galloway & Porter (a bargain/factory return bookshop in Cambridge) have a large number of foolishly cheap O’Reilly books in the basement, so I bought four (Perl Bookshelf, Perl Cookbook, C# Nutshell, SQL Nutshell) for only £30. Wahey! Returning to college I found out that my Nokia 6630’s locked to Vodafone and nobody’s cracked the locking codes yet, so I can’t put my O2 sim in – I’m unable to use it until next week when my number ports over. Roll on next week!

posted by ramcq @ 7:33 pm
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March 18, 2005

Beer, Ubuntu love, project stress

Although I was still feeling pretty ill yesterday, I went out last night for a few pints with mjg59 and robsterat the Free Press in Cambridge, a nice non-smoking pub with a few Greene King ales and some interesting trinkets on the wall. Despite having been there several times with Debian folks, and it being just over half a mile from where I currently live, I always have to walk round the wrong way and find the other three pubs in the vicinity before I manag to find it again. Thankfully, on the way back from there to my place to sample some gin and horrible cheap vodka, mjg59 showed me the correct unmarked lane to get directly between the pub and the main road, betraying the fact he’s been in Cambridge for far too long (although in his defence he has lived in the area)…

Later on, as an acid test for Matthew’s ACPI work, we tried installing the Ubuntu Hoary Preview on my really appallingly crappy FIC Celeron 366 old laptop, which previously under Linux did things like never enabling the CPU fan, so hard locking intermittently, and suspending to disk (with APM) when the battery was low, even though the AC was plugged in. It’s also got a really dodgy LCD (not TFT) screen with burnt patches, and weighs a ton. It took quite a while for Ubuntu to install, but booted in pretty decent time after that thanks to magic readahead and hotplug tweaks, and to my absolute amazement actually hibernated and resumed correctly, and suspend to RAM worked too when we enabled it. The CPU fan came on at 55C after making it do some work too, although the GNOME battery applet didn’t seem to notice when it was taken off AC, and lifting the lid doesn’t send a wake-up event like it claims to. Even so, I’m still glad I bought an X40, which is about half the weight and a hell of a lot quicker, and I’ve upgraded the acpi-support packages on it to Hoary’s latest versions to sort out some niggles with stuff not working after resuming from sleep – need to fiddle with my kernel and get hibernation working too. As a side point, I was also really impressed with the Update Manager & notification applet now included in Hoary – it’s exactly what the people I’ve given Ubuntu to in my building need to remember to install security updates.

Today I caught up quite a bit of sleep and felt a lot better, until I realised I had to go and see my project (I know, it’s fairly crackful…) supervisor and report on my progress this term. Unfortunately, I’m mind-bendingly behind schedule due to essentially having achieved nothing at all for several of the weeks in this term – I was hacking on it beforehand and my last darcs patches were from early February. He really wasn’t happy with me, and it was an awkward half hour or so while I explained how much more needed doing. The frustrating thing is even after I’ve done the coding, I have to write a dissertation, and I get marked for that only, and not the code… Now that lectures have finished, and supervisions are winding down, I’m staying in Cambridge over some of the easter break to try and nail it before next term and exam stress kicks in. Had a few pints in the college bar (lots of St. Patrick’s day drunkards around) and a game of Mao with my friends, and now I’m off to bed…

posted by ramcq @ 3:41 am
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