Electric Scooters

It’s been a long time (again) since the last grumpy moment, it’s not that I haven’t been grumpy, but I guess I’ve been too grumpy to write.
Now I’m not sure about this one, and initially it was gonna be a Facebook post with one of those… Content – discuss… posts, but it seems a bit grumpy so I write here, and move to FB.

Nice tidy early morning fully charged scooters… outside my office.

So this year, Oslo has been OVER-RUN  by electric scooters. Not the kind that people have paid for themselves you understand, that are the toys of the privileged rich schoolboy/girl as grown-ups, if you wanna spend your money on an expensive kids toy that’s fine, a hoverboard or a one wheel, or a classy-walk or the original, a segweg. 35 years ago you guys would have bought a Sinclair C5.
NO… In Oslo there are literally thousands of app driven electric scooters laying around in the street for anyone to just take and ride. “What?” I hear you cry, “That’s brilliant!”.
So how does it work?
First you download the app (currently there are 3 different companies doing it) so you might need 3 apps. You look on your app for the nearest scooter, shown on a map, along with information about how much battery there is left on each unit, so you can head for the nearest with highest charge. You then scan a barcode on the scooter and you are off!!! I must say seeing hundreds of people zooming about in the streets seems pretty futuristic, and i do think that’s pretty cool, so why am I grumpy then? Arrrghhh…. it’s a dilemma, cos they are cool, but I have so many misgivings about them, that I present them now in a Grump List.

They are not as environmentally friendly, as they seem.
There’s no doubt that they look green, all these folk shooting around on electrical energy instead of petrol, but what charges them?
Electricity.
And how is that electricity generated?
Power stations (admittedly pretty green here in Norway, chinese owned waterfalls etc), but what dirty transportation are they replacing?
Cars?
No… I don’t think people use cars around the city center in Oslo anymore, unless they NEED to pick something up, collect someone or are disabled. Oslo parking, now with the green party in charge of Oslo city council, has become basically either very expensive or impossible. No… they are replacing, either walking… or busses.
So any exercise that people were getting walking FROM their bus to their places of work or places of intended purchases is now gone in favour of whizzing there quicker. And busses (which were already environmentally friendly, being powered by Biodiesel, basically recycled Oslo folks poo) are losing revenue, to private entrepreneurs rather than the council, who might pump the money raised back into the city.

They are a mess when battery is out of charge… who´s job is that?
At the end of the day, especially weekends, there are literally piles of dead scooters all over the place, waiting for someone to throw them in a van and take them off to be charged someplace. Now I have a bit of problem with this too. OOh the mess? um…not so much… more that I have seen these people collecting them, and taking them to charge, its night work, happening after midnight, presumably also following the GPS signals they emit to find where folk have left them (rivers perhaps?). It’s obviously low paid , crap work, (Black work, as is slightly racisistly called here, meaning, “cash in hand”, no tax, no questions asked) while the investors are snuggly lying in bed watching their bank balances increase.

Dangerous
OK I don’t want to go all HMS on you (HSE to you english people). but correct me if I’m wrong, in the old days didn’t we need to to get at least a provisional license to drive a moped? Well there’s no need with these and any kid who can download the app can drive them (site says 17+ but I’ve seen 10 yr olds zooming on the streets at 20kmph). They are seriously fast, and although I have no figures Im gonna bet, there are a few accidents on Friday nights coming back from bars

Finally, cost.
They aint cheap.
It costs 10kr to scan initially and then 1-2 kroner per minute, so a 20 minute journey will cost you 35-45 kr.

OK… Discuss…

More on the Norwegian Postal service

OK firstly, its been 2 years since my last post, and yet this one is to be about posting stuff as well. So you may ask, “Have you been happy and not grumpy all this time, and whats with all these packages, is that all you do? Why don’t you do something else like Skiing or eating waffles, or one of the many other delights Norway has to offer rather than spending all your time in Post Offices, waiting for packages from China…” Well my answer to you would of course be, in the nicest possible way, “Fuck off and mind your own damn business”. To which you would of course reply, “Outside now, how dare you speak to me like that you jumped up English twat” at which point it would all become really messy.
So lets not…
So.
I ordered this thing.. ok, lets be specific…
THIS THING.. You dont NEED to know what it is, its for soldering ok?220V 858D Hot Air Soldering Rework Station Solder Iron Handle Stand W_ 3 Nozzles | eBay.png

It cost nothing… OK It cost 25 dollars, and 5 dollars shipping… which is dirt cheap… Anyway, The EBay advert warned me it could take a while because, well… because the shipping was so cheap, instead of putting it in a supersonic jet and flying it over immediately, they were going to put it on the back of a donkey and send it off with a load of fertiliser destined for Peru, then on to Iran where they would be dropping off a plastic shower curtain, and picking up some kids who were going to a swimming lesson in the neighbouring city, before hopping on a buss up to Norway, where upon I would get my thing. So..” Preeze expect some derays” the honest Seller (Mr cskwin 256) advertised.

So I wait… 3 months infact whereupon Im getting a little twitchy, and check my EBay page.
“Please leave feedback about your experience with Mr cskwin256  and tell us something of the joy and delight upon receiving your item”
It said…
Yep.. as far as EBay was concerned, it had been delivered! A MONTH AGO… and infact were slightly accusing ME of being slow in responding to this poor fellow in China who was extremely worried about whether Id had a nice experience with him. Which to be honest, even if I had received it, I just don’t know… if he popped over and we went for a beer, maybe I could comment on my experience with him, but now, hes really a  total stranger to me, which makes me feel a bit odd, what are they suggesting? Im beginning to visualise toilet cubicles with holes in them now…
I digress. So it appears, that the above item had infact travelled quite successfully around the globe,  one small insignificant parcel in a sea of parcels, that are constantly negotiating obstacles of insurmountable complications, wars, hurricanes, strikes by parcel carriers, diversions, customs halls, depots, conveyer belts, trucks, container ships, docks, strikes by dock workers, more trucks and not just one thief but a whole gang of various shady characters.. No It had passed all that and gotten within 1 km of my house. Where the local postal service… Lets call them out by name shall we? POSTEN… infact lets have their logo.-

Posten.no… yep… where POSTEN didn’t bother to send me a note to let me know to come to their place (1km away) to collect it… INSTEAD… they kept it there for 14 days, all nice and warm and safe… whereupon they sent it back to China.

*sigh*

Now you see, Im a fair guy, things happen, especially in the realm of international package delivery it seems, and I would imagine, quite often wouldn’t you? “What things?” I hear you cry… anything… stuff… the list above… plus more. So a simple thing like them forgetting to send me a note, or maybe even, THE SEPARATE COMPANY THAT POSTEN ACTUALLY GETS TO DELIVER STUFF GOES BANKRUPT FOR EXAMPLE? Because they are NOT, no longer, a public company, they find any old bunch of drunks who can come up with a  business plan and a catchy name to deliver for them… we will mention THEM by name soon… please hold. Anyway… as I WAS SAYING… things happen… maybe even, (and Im not saying this DID happen, just that its a possibility) just maybe, they DID send me a note, but I picked it up with all the junk mail that they, Posten did successfully deliver) and I threw that tiny white slip with a barcode on it away… might have happened, don’t think so, but you never know…
So there you are, Mr Posten worker “Hey Bob, this Mr Grumpyenglishman hasn’t collected his thing…” you might cry…”Send it back to China, Erik!” Might come the reply…
Now don’t you think, that at this point… before the expense and the not non-existent environmental pollution that would occur, don’t you think it might have been nice if you just thought… “Hey Bob, I think Ill send him a reminder, just incase of any unforeseen difficulties!”

Unfortunately THAT didn’t happen… it got successfully back to China, with no incident, as I can see from its very exiting shipping and transit tracking report… and the Seller picked it up and put it back in his warehouse thinking… “Bonus! I take wife out for nice sleet and slour pork dinner, and we WILL have dessert. Thank-you Mr Glumpy Englishman”.

I was going to come back to the company that delivers.. as it happens, I cant find the details right now and wont be accused of not fact checking, so Il come back to them.
But one thing…
Who’s wise idea was it to decide that MOST of our packages get delivered to a Post Office in a shop near us (not a shop we use you understand, not a shop in the neighbourhood of other shops, so we might combine our Post Office collection visit with a visit to the book shop, pet shop, food shop or library.. oh no.. another shop we have to DRIVE TO), who’s great idea was it, that some, not all, some other packages, will be handled by a completely different company, and, far be it from them to have a meeting or two and agree to deliver to the SAME SHOP… no no no.. they have to deliver to another shop, far away.. a few kilometres away, that I must DRIVE TO (or an old person might have to take 2 busses to get to.)
Who thought THAT one up?.. is my question…
Please give me a name… so I can find a picture of them, draw a moustache on them and post it here…

So lets finish this post with a nice big picture of the Posten website, and its encouraging message?
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FED UP (Or.. dont get tiny stuff sent to you in Norway via Fed Ex)

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Sorry for the long delay since the last post, I guess I haven’t been that grumpy, until recently.

It may have come out that I’m a musician, an electronic musician, and theres nothing more I like than to make my own circuits. I buy all the parts from wherever, China, Thailand or indeed, for the purposes of this story, the good old US of A.

So one day I had 27 teeny tiny things send from a huge company in the US called Mouser. They are the Ikea or the Toys r us or Amazon of electronics. in other words HUGE! The only reason YOU haven’t heard of them, is that you are not a sad electronics nerd. I am..

Anyway, before they turned up I got a phone call from FedEx.

“We have your stuff, but we need a detailed invoice in order to “clear the items for customs”

Thats odd? Never happened before, so I go to the Mouser website and download the invoice and send it to the lady at FedEx who called.

“Thank you, that will do nicely”

I wait, the stuff turns up, and I get to work building a weird synthesiser module.
A quick note on the items. These things are tiny, really teeny tiny, I use a microscope to solder them, if you exhale, they go skittering off across the desk and become house dust. See this asterisk * thats a resister.. see this //// Thats a microprocessor with 40 legs 10 on each side.
The resister costs 0.1 kroner. Thats 10 of them for 1 kroner. You cant buy 1 actually… well you can, but that would be silly. I buy 100s of each…
The microprocessor however costs 100 kroner… I buy 2 of each, its basically a computer on a chip, you burn it with your own software later… (sorry, getting geeky)

Anyway:
FACT 1:
In my package I had 27 DIFFERENT ITEMS, and this is important, remember that fact.
FACT 2:
The TOTAL cost of my bill was 1000 kroner (due mostly to the few microprocessors…

So 2 weeks layer, a bill turns up… from FedEx.
I HAD been expecting this, this is Norway, don´t you know, we are not in the EU (not that would have made a difference as the things came from the US) and we expect to pay VAT (called MVA in Norway)
Now VAT is 25% in Norway, yes ,yes, don’t go there… we choose to live here so its expensive, we know…
So my bill should have been 250 kroner, right?

Right!

So I pay it…

But then… a few days later ANOTHER bill turns up…

This one was for 1400 kroner!!!
I get on the phone…

“Its the charge for “clearing” your items for customs”

“But I just paid that bill, whats this?”

“Its the charge for “clearing” your items for customs”

“OK, THE charge or YOUR charge?”

“THE charge, its for clearing customs…”

“But why is it so much? ”

“We charge 60 kroner PER LINE ITEM”

Huh? (notice how smoothly it went from THE charge to OUR charge… I think she was trying to get away with the THE wording,m but then had to come clean that it was a WE charge not the THE charge…

“For every item on your bill we charge 60 kroner”

I should point out at this stage, that this conversation DID not go like this, this information, that Im delivering to you here has been edited and made smooth and understandable by me, in reality, this all came across in many, many phone calls and many, many emails…
The people on the phone didn’t really know how to answer me (I could tell they didn’t really agree with company policy, bless ’em) I was courteous and clear throughout, but it did get a little frayed on occasion, I was handed up a level to managers, and then handed back down to lowly “advice givers” when their management status didn’t really impress me…

“Oh if the MANAGER says it is so.. than I get its all alright!”

(For those wishing to follow the whole sorry thing I might post the emails here later…)

So, lets recap, just so you understand, WHY I was so determined and angry.

What IS a line item?
Well it turns out that EVERY single thing on your invoice, IF DELIVERED BY FED-EX, is checked by a member of Fed-Ex staff, for a number of things. For example, where it comes from… But thats America, for the whole package, I hear you cry.. No, they check WHERE IT WAS MADE (almost certainly China), now WHY they do this, I still don’t know…they won’t say, but I suspect I know the answer…

BECAUSE THEY CAN CHARGE TO DO IT!!!

It wouldn’t be reasonable to charge for stamping a form and giving a set price based on the value of the package, so they check every item… why they don’t paint a picture of the package, compose a poem about it, stroke it lovingly with pig skin gloves and charge for THAT service, I don’t know…

So an item that costs 1 kroner for 10 is charged 60 kroners for checking…
Let me put that another way… and please correct my math if Im wrong thats a 6000% charge.
Ok, if I import a combine harvester or a nuclear missile, 60 kroner doesn’t seem so bad, and I should point out that its not PER ITEM, but PER LINE ITEM, which means that whether I buy 100 resisters or 42 combine harvesters or 5 Nuclear Missiles, the charge is the same, 60 kroners.
So thats nice!

Anyway, the air went out of my balloon, I had even written to the Consumer Council and they told me…

“We cant complain to Fed Ex on your behalf, because you are not FedEXs customer.. “

Say what?

“Yes, Fed Ex has been employed as a courier by your supplier, Mouser, they can complain, but not you.”

I… what?.. splutter… um… I didn’t ask for… um… splutter.. er… what?

Yeah… so because I didn’t employ them as such (although I suppose i did click a button on the Mouser website saying “Delivery by FedEx”) I couldn’t complain, as they were not MY courier, but Mousers…

So I got ready to pay… but before I did (A couple of months had past, I was waiting for “Inkasso Varsel” (Norwegian late payments fines) by now… I decided to tell Mouser about THEIR delivery supplier… and how unfair their costing was… heres what they said.

Oh yes, Fed Ex are awful, they used to hold our stuff up in warehouses for weeks, and we have just heard about this new charging system… you know what…? We’ve had enough of them, we will remove them as an option for Norway on the website and… hang on.. just let me talk to my colleague… (mutter mutter) Yes.. hello? Yes,

WE WILL PAY YOUR BILL FOR YOU!

… hello… hello? are you still there?

After getting up off the floor, with tears streaming down my face, and offering to be a godfather for all their children should they have them.. I thanked them… and sat down (I had been pacing up and down for 2 months) and had a cup of tea, and wondered about moving to the US, with their gangs, guns, awful healthcare, terrible TV, smog filled cities, car obsessed lifestyles and their excellent customer service…

Thank you Mouser!

And Fed Ex?

Fuck off!

Parking

Here is a car.

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This Car belongs to a bastard! This bastard took my parking space.
There I was, circling the car park, as per, when In My mirror I noticed a light come on and a car sild out if a space behind me. So I rushed round the circle again, but, as i past the Car park entrance, a sleek black BMW snuck in… ” Thats Ok” thought I, ” He knows I have first dibs on any spaces ( or whatever Norwegian for a dib is) but No! Straight into the space he went, no hesitation.
Ok, some if you may think that Im being a little paranoid? “he didnt know you were there, or that it was by rights your space!”
Well you see, I stopped, right In front of him, and stared… open mouthed. He did nothing, In fact I think he locked his door, and waited until I had driven on, before emerging.
I tell you… he knew!

Anyway, I cruised round once more, passing him as he walked to the exit, I rolled down my window, but all I could manage was a curt, sarcastic…

“Takk!”

The microscopic button of pointless functionality on Nordea online bank.

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I tried to buy an big expensive thing last week. I’ve wanted one for ages, and finally one came up a little reduced in price from the normal price that things usually cost. I informed the buyer that I would buy his thing and he confirmed that I would indeed be the proud owner of his thing, after receipt of monies sent via some form of electronic wizardry.
I am a huge fan of PayPal, it makes buying things so easy, maybe too easy my wife may say, but as this is an expensive thing and PayPal takes a cut, (Why do they take a cut???) I thought a more mature and grown up “bank Transfer” would be the better option.

So I head over to my friendly neighbourhood bank, and they transferred the money for me… NO.. wait… thats right.. I forgot..

THERE ISN’T ONE!!

Nope, now due to the wonders of the internet, and the advances of modern technology, all the banks have closed their doors, the staff are all drug addicts or bar staff  orweb designers, and the managers are slowly working their way up middle management of Statoil, from the bottom.
Nope no banks round here… So its to the internet we go…
Is so easy! all this new tech stuff, so lovely, don’t have to leave my fat arse chair.

Open Chrome (my preferred browser, used to use firefox, before, but someone tells me Chrome is better, seems the same, but without a menu bar… that must be it then.. less is more and all that… WONDERFUL!
Go to nordea.no
Click on Login Private, good nice and secure…
Type in my birthday, nice, they’re probably going to surprise me!
The website requires Java, please download here
Handy! They provided a link! fabulous!
Download from Sun Systems, follow install routine
Please close all browsers Continue installation
Open Chrome
Go to nordea.no
Click on Login Private
Type in my birthday
The website requires Java, please download here
Hmm.. fishy.. Not to worry! I’ll try Firefox, plenty of browsers to choose from on THIS computer I can tell you!
Open Firefox
Go to nordea.no
Click on Login Private
Type in my birthday
The website requires Java, please download here
Dang… Surely I don’t have to use Safari? I mean, what would my colleagues say if they knew I was resorting to “the default browser”
Open Safari…
You are a about to open a program you downloaded from the internet, are you sure you want to continue?
Strange, apparently I never opened 

Safari before!
(hmm looks a lot like Chrome… must be a mac thing)
Go to nordea.no
Click on Login Private

Computer Hangs…  wait… wait…
Up comes a java box YIPPIE SUCCESS!
Do you want to run Super Clever Java widgit V.2000000? Click OK to continue
I click OK to continue..
OK ok
I’m not going to write out the whole thing now, cos thats another post, haven’t I written about it before, I think so.. Birthdays passwords, and little credit card sized calculators for generating totally pointless codes?… Exercise one, write a sentence with both the expressions “Modern Age” and “Palaver”… You got it!
Insert 5 more steps here…
anyway, I get in and click on
Send Money Overseas
Consider yourself clicked!
Please order “Sending money over seas by clicking OK here”
HUH?
I have to ORDER this functionality? Why? DO they make me order clicking on the left hand side of the screen, do they make me order the functionality of writing on their website in my underpants? While Im at it, can I order going to the loo during a transaction, it might come up?I click the button
And quit the website…
Sleep…
Next day (What service!!!) I get a reply, “Yep go ahead and send money overseas you lucky lucky bastard, and by the way have you got any small change, I need heroin”
Open Chrome
Close Chrome
Open Safari
login etc
Fill in details
(lots, I was ready with bank IDs, IBAN numbers, creditors names and addresses, the lot.. I was SMOOOOOTH and efficient!)
And there its is… finished.. lying in a list of what Nordea calls
Unconfirmed Transactions
Done, finished, Just have to wait for Nordea to “confirm my transaction” then!
Suppose they´ll send a mail when they do…?

tum ti tum…
Waiting…

1 day…

2 days…

1 week goes by, then the seller contacts me
“OI! You want this thing or what???!”
So I head on over to my favourite internet website on the World Wide Web..
nordea.no

And there it is… STILL!
In the list of Unconfirmed Transactions
The money for my thing!
Why???
I examine my details… all look good..

I look closer…
Closer still…

There at the bottom, is a teensy tiny button, no bigger than my little fingernail.
And on it it reads…
confirm transaction

AGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH Ficúck Shhhheeeeiii!! Pisssssing cunttttttttting fuckkkkkinga shystar MUVVAAAPHAKKKEEERRR!

So it was MY fault? I was supposed to “Confirm the Transaction”
It wasnt even that simple, first I had to
SELECT THE TRANSACTION YOU WANT TO CONFIRM, then hit the teensy tiny button!

I can see the functionality they are going for here, they are expecting that we are all sending all sorts of multiple payments Overseas all the time, and that our secretaries (slaves or wives) fill in all the possible payment details, and when the whim takes us, we can holler orders across the room like..
“Pay the man in China”
Or
“Pay for the things.. wait… wait…. wait… NOW!!!!”
But for me… it was just too much work. NOW I see why PayPal charge a percentage, they do all this work for you, just like a real bank.
Not Nordea.. They make a fancy website (In Java for Christs sake!) put some hotshots in super high paid financial crookery positions.. “maximising profit” and “investing”.
Fire all the normal “hello, how can I help you? people. And leave the rest to you!

Everyone has to be a bit of a banker now, go in, look at numbers, columns and columns of numbers.

Well thats progress for you!

Fingers crossed that there still money in my account for my thing!

 

 

The continuing saga of “My Bademiljo bathroom”

Please refer to previous posts regarding my bathroom.
English vs Norwegian Bathrooms
Norwegian Workmen… Do they work?

So yet again, water is running into The living room.

I dont actually live there anymore. But My tenants upstairs had a bath, and therfore My tenants downstairs got a shower.
So I rush over, they had saved the floor, so I check under the bath. Water… In the pipe. WHY? Now im no plumber but i Looks (feels) like to me that The pipe that takes waste water away, is horizontal under The floorboards! Horizontal! It doesnt take a scientist to know that water flows better DOWNHILL!
So what happens is that instead of The force or gravity removing silt, or hair, it collects in a horizontal pipe.
I flushed it alot, used to pipe unblocking liquid, sent Shit loads of Ammonia down there, and tested. No rain In The living room.

Jesus, I really think Bademiljo should come over, rip out The bathroom and do it again … except…
Well as previously explained, the office that installed it are now bankrupt, and the main office (the one that puts out all the fancy adverts and presumably reap the profits from all the franchise owners) don’t take responsibility for one of their branches.

PLUS…
Do I really want them in again?

I think not.

“Kantslått” Grass Verge cutting In the country

I live In the beautiful countryside just outside Oslo, where nature is wild and imposing.
But for The last few weeks I have noticed a determined band of kommune workers meticulously mowing and strimming all the grass verges in the area.
Why? Its the country??? ITS SUPPOSED TO BE OVERGROWN!
Whats the point in spending public money on giving a small strip of natural countryside The look of a cricket pitch or bowling Green?
It must cost a fortune In manpower, equipment and petrol! But its just going to grow back In a few weeks! Are they going to do it again? Is this for Some new golf course idea, mixing golf with traffic?
What about the wildlife that make their homes In The hedgrows and roadside brush?

Why do they think we In the country want our environment to resemble a city park? We dont! Thats why we live here!

and this is from a Kommune that complain that they are one of the poorest In Norway, as residents here pay taxes to the kommune where they work, here In Nesodden, Thats Oslo, we all work there, apart from a few Hair dressers and shop keepers!

Save your money then IDIOTS!!!

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EMERGENCY! Lunatic friendly woman spotted on Nesodden, obviously dangerous!

Yesterday I was in the local green grocers shop, and the woman in front of me in the queue, who had been perfectly well behaved and quiet before, upon arriving at the checkout… actually engaged the shop worker in… friendly conversation!!!

I of course reached for my keys in my pocket, hoping that the long sharp one might be some kind of defensive weapon, should I need it.
First she asked him where he was from. Him being Pakistani was obviously confused and severely frightened by this most obviously racist quip, so spluttered “Hommlia” (an area of Oslo) before correcting himself and blurting, “but now we live here, from 4 years, but i don’t really work here.. only once a week…” She, oblivious to his fear, ploughed on with her ill conceived friendly approach.. “Oh, are you at college?” “Yes” he replied “Media and communication high school”… She didn’t stop there… question after smiling question she casually asked, over and over and over again.. until the goods had al been run through the checkout, and she had paid, and left.
I could see the look of relief on the shop workers face when I nodded and spoke in monosyllables. What a day!

Of course last week I was in the UK, and there everyone is super friendly. In fact in Waitrose (supermarket) on a Wednsesday at about 10 in the morning, they had EVERY checkout working, and each one had a queue of ONE!!! And yes, EVERYONE was deep in friendly banter with the checkout girls… but thats England.. over here, I must say that yesterday was the first time I have witnessed such a display in Norway…

Whatever next?

Please and thank yous?