During the lockdown, relating to COVID-19, I’ve put my customer service needs on hold, just stop going forward until life gets back to normal so I don’t bother many companies whose staff I am sure are having a tough time. Here is a review on how things have been going.
I personally don’t use this domain and web hosting company but my clients do. It’s not the worst company but it’s not the best either, I have never been a customer with them as I was warned off for the following reasons:
Customer service tries to sell you useless things you don’t need.
Once you are a customer they make it as difficult as possible for you to leave.
The only time I try to reach out to them is when my clients have downtime on their websites, which has been significant of late. There was nothing about outages on their status page but checking out Twitter many customers seemed to be experiencing the same issues. Someone on twitter tried to reach out to them on Live Chat but the waiting time was 14 hours, which is quite scary. GoDaddy has never responded to any of the messages I sent them.
I don’t know what their staff are going through especially when there is an outage, maybe they are finding hard to coordinate with technicians, but it leaves many customers in the dark.
I don’t enjoy going in Costco on a normal day but have always had good experiences with staff either in stores or their administration offices over the years. Recently it seems to have gone in the other direction, the result of which will be me keeping away from them unless I have a dire need to use them.
There were two incidents I was kind of disturbed about recently.
Went into Costco for a prescription with the hubby.
Staff: Keep 6ft away from him.
Me: I’m married to him.
Staff: You still need to keep 6ft away.[Sees straight couples together, none of which were told to stay 6ft away from each other]
Me Shouting: I go to bed with him, and not caught anything yet.
15 mins later staff member apologizes, but if I had left the store I wouldn’t have heard that apology.
Hopefully, the member of staff isn’t homophobic and just over-thinking his job right now, he could have started the conversation by saying “are you two together” then it wouldn’t have got out of hand.
Goes online to try and amend an address in the My Account area of the Costco website.
System wouldn’t let me change the postcode.
Wrote an email to Costco asking them to make the amendment.
They wrote back with the message “you have to go into the My Account area to change your address”.
Obviously they never read my email properly. Maybe they are just inundated with issues to handle right now but I would have thought that one is a synch to fix.
Namecheap is a well known company for letting scammers buy domains in bulk for various evil purposes, I thought they were ‘leaders’ in the market but now a new company has appeared on the scene. I had never heard of NameSilo before, the reviews I have seen of the company appear to be good, however, it seems that they are allowing scammers buy domains in bulk too. All of a sudden I started to receive a huge amount of spam, I looked up domains and discovered they were purchased via NameSilo.
It might be the case that no one is hosting via NameSilo but have bought domains via another company, in another country. I noticed that all domains in my spam have very similar format; three letters followed by four numbers, mostly .com tld’s. I would have thought this would have generated some suspicion at the company. Anyway, like Namecheap, NameSilo get an F rating at the Better Business Bureau because they fail to respond to customer complaints that are escalated there.
There are some companies I deal with that are known to have poor customer service but I just assume I am not going to get anything done during this period, so I have left them alone.
Compainies I don’t usually have issues with haven’t been doing that well during the lockdown but I just put that down to these chaotic times.
We’ve gone to some stores where staff are clearly unhappy but I can’t blame them really, on the whole we’ve had a brilliant experience with other places. So, it’s hit and miss during these times.
Since I enjoy Shreddies I thought I would pick up their new product called Shreddies Granola, here in Canada, to see what it was like.
In Canada, the Shreddies family has 4 different products; original, honey, banana bread and now granola. The honey and banana bread products don’t appeal to me at all so I was intrigued by the Granola one to see if I liked it. I didn’t.
The Shreddies in the box looked like the original we all know and love. Within the box were clusters, of varying sizes, of Granola chunks. The flavour of the granola tasted a little bit over the top, a little bit too false, and that had transferred onto the Shreddies themselves. I prefer my Shreddies with warm milk so maybe that spoiled the product, but I don’t think I was to eat any more. It was a good try though as the combination does sound interesting.
As long as they don’t mess with the original it’s no big deal as I will still continue to go along and enjoy that.
It looks as though the UK has a similar product to Shreddies Granola, they call it Shreddies Max as in much more protein, that is how they are marketing it. There are two “Max” products, one with and one without Canberries. They have released a video advert for it, below. Shreddies in the UK also has Frosted Shreddies which is my favourite, I’m sad they don’t have this in Canada.
UPDATE 18 May 2020
Since opening the box we had problems getting rid of the smell of this product, must be the sugar content. Very powerful.
Since I wrote the last time I’ve been mainly doing bits and pieces of work relating to a new client and a couple of existing ones. It’s kept me busy and I don’t think much of what is going on in the world.
This past Friday’s shopping trip seemed a little bit more stressful than usual. People seem to forget the social distancing so avoiding people coming any closer is becoming more troublesome, especially with seniors who may not understand what’s going on. We had to go to 2 stores with the Asian supermarket being the best and we ended up with everything we needed.
We noticed the gas/petrol prices are very low at the moment, this is the price per litre in our neighbourhood, see picture right. However, the prices in Calgary are almost half that since they don’t have to pay taxes on it, I believe.
Today is the first day we had wet and cold weather, however, we’ve been out every day for a walk to try and keep active.
We went for a drive down to White Rock, mainly to recharge our cars batteries. The traffic was busy on the way down there, like there was no outbreak, mainly around Surrey, British Columbia. However, down by the waterfront it was fairly quiet. Most of the shops were closed, the promenade was closed as was the pier. People were jogging in the middle of the road as though there hadn’t been any traffice for quite a few days.
In The News
Well, as I said I hadn’t been paying too much attention to it, it has been pretty miserable out there.
Not sure what is going on in the US, it seems madness with a minority wanting to go back to normal despite it being too early to do that. But, I guess that is what the US has always been like, needs of the few lunatics outweigh the health and safety of the many. I am just pleased I’m not down there. Some American’s are blaming China, making racist remarks, and even Missouri taking legal action against them. China is still providing aid to the US in the way of protective gear.
Sad to hear the passing of Tim Brooke-Taylor and Eddie Large, two British celebrities who died due to COVID-19 complications. There has been so many deaths, all equally sad, I hope they all continue to be honoured and their stories shared.
I like looking at data, as grim as it can be, and this is a snapshop I find particularly interest. I compare British Columbia (BC) and Colorado (CO) as the population sizes are very similar, unforunately the latter has it worse than we do. The data for the US keeps going up and up by the minute so it’s difficult to be accurate, but for a developed country they really aren’t doing well at all. Whereas Taiwan, has far few cases than either BC or CO and have a much larger population, they are a country not a State or province. Then, there is the UK, so many issues, especially with the supply of protective equipment, and such are large number of deaths.
So, it’s all very grim, but luckily I have plenty of distractions to keep me sane.
Maison De Police (メゾン・ド・ポリス) is a Japanese TV show broadcast in 2019 about how rookie detective Makino Hiyori, while investigating a crime, becomes involved with a “share house” of ex-police officers. The 10 part series is adapted from the novel of the same name, “Maison de Police”, by Katō Miaki.
As the series develops the story focuses more on the suspected murder of Makino Hiyori’s father who worked at a construction company and somehow some ex-officers in the share house are involved in the previous investigation of the crime.
The show aired between 11 January to 15 March 2019 every Friday night on the TBS network. I understand a DVD is now available.
I really enjoyed this series, it has some light comedy, the actors of the share house were a little eccentric adding to the charm of the show, and quite a bit of drama with unexpected plot twists.
The first 7 episodes were more stand-alone than the last 3. The first episode was so-so, could have been improved, but after that, we were hooked.
Certainly, the last 3 episodes were the best of the series and were very well done, linking all elements of the story to a dramatic conclusion.
Other reviewers appeared to be familiar with the cast, however not watched many Japanese TV shows myself I didn’t know them at all. It’s difficult to focus on any 1 or 2 actors being the lead but I would say the main focus was on:
Takahata Mitsuki who played the main character rookie detective Makino Hiyori. She was absolutely perfect for this show, she is a great actress who bought a little shyness, clumsiness, yet determined trait to the character that improved her policing skills over time.
Nishijima Hidetoshi who played main character ex-detective Natsume Souichirou. A brilliant actor playing what seems like a private person in the share house but turns out to be the action man of the show. Looking through his biography the actor has had quite an impressive career, I must look out for other shows he’s been in.
I give this show a 5 out of 5, loved it, must watch if you love Japanese dramas and a great introduction if you’ve never watched any before.
The Rise of Phoenixes (天盛长歌) is a 70 episode Chinese television series that aired on Hunan television between 14 August and 17 September 2018. Each episode was about 45 minutes in duration and was loosely adapted from the novel “Huang Quan” by Tianxia Guiyuan. The show was placed on Netflix on 14 September 2018.
The story is fairly complex but revolves around two main characters which pretty much sums up series:
Fing Zhi Wei (pictured right) – the illegitimate daughter of the Qiu Family who is banished from the clan after being falsely accused of a crime. She cross-dresses as a man to attend the prestigious Quingming Academy when she stuns the world with her talent and becomes loyal to the reigning Emperor. Zhi Wei wants to take revenge on her enemies including her lover Ning Yi.
Ning Yi – the intelligent sixth prince of the ruling Tiansheng kingdom who hides his personality behind a carefree attitude to calculate a strike on his enemies in order to overturn the evil within the Empire.
The first few episodes felt really slow moving and wondered how I would ever get to the end of the series.
A few more episodes in and we were hooked. We watched 2 episodes per week so the series lasted quite some time for us.
The best episodes were the last 10 with bigger budget special effects and twists in the plot.
The last episode was a bit of a suprise and many fans of the series were quite dissappointed. I read comments online which said “I will only watch the show if it’s a happy ending”, well, not all shows are like that unfortunately. Thinking about it now, the ending did make sense given the events that had happened throughout the series.
The star of the show was Ni Ni who played Fing Zhi Wei, she gave a great performance. I notice from her bio she has plenty of work going on right now, which is great news.
Chen Kun, who played Ning Yi, played his character well. The Royal Family were certainly a band of psycho misfits and this character was played well giving it a creepy, sneaky yet loveable persona.
The Emporer was played by Ni Da Hong who I immediately recognized from the first series of Ever Night. I actually preferred him in Ever Night but I think he was more loveable in that series than he was in Rise of the Phoenixes.
My favourite character absolutely has to be Gu Nan Yi played by Bai Jingting. Very quiet character, strong, yet got into quite humorous situations. Pictured right.
It was a good series that was quite well made. The acting carried it more than the story line which anyone watching need to give it time to develop. I would give it a 8/10, this is pretty much the same rating others have given it, that I’ve seen anyhow.
We had problems viewing the subtitles for a good portion of the series. The customer service at Netflix was pretty much non-existant. However, we found out that the when accessing Netflix via our cable provider Shaw it affected 50% of the subtitles in any given show. I moved Netflix from Shaw to a regular SmartTV app and everything was fine. I sent feedback to Shaw but they never responded, obviously weren’t interested.
I’ve kept away from the news of late for a couple of reasons, there is way too much information out there with never ending opnions, everybody wants to tell each other what to do or their advice is the best, and I have too much work to do.
I’m currently involved in a website redesign project and in discussions with a new potential client, both great news for me. Also, I have tons of other projects, like many training training courses to start or finish, my own website redesign, and a book I want to complete as well.
As advised by health care professionals we are still stuck at home not able to go out so far. I guess that’s ok, everybody is in the same boat. Every Friday we go to the supermarket and we are finding Asian stores are more stocked up than others. Today, we went to T&T and bought a ton of goodies plus so to-go meals for tonight and another day or two. T&T are starting to do voluntary temperature checks, I like that idea very much so I partcipated, it’s important to protect store staff and other customers.
It’s good to see our neighbours make some noise in support of health care workers. I don’t think there are many in the profession in the area and no hospitals nearby but maybe they will put it online. This is the video I took:
In The News
Internationally it’s not good news at all. As I write this there are now 1,699,632 cases worldwide with 102,734 deaths, very sad news. The US reached over half a million cases today, bringing it to a total of 502,876, the highest in the world. The UK has a total of 73,758 cases with 8,958 deaths but their recovering figures appear to be non-existent or incorrect at 355; I really would have thought they would want to share some glimmer of good news. In total Canada has 22,148 cases and 569 deaths, obviously we have a lower population than US or UK but I would like to believe we are doing better than them. I think Canadians obey instructions given by health care officials and the government more than other countries. The US is in such a mess with such dreadful leadership and I really wouldn’t know where to begin in dissecting what is happening there.
I’ve done a comparison between the last data I displayed on this blog against today’s figures. We do seem to be in a better position than anyone else.
Obviously, there is no chance of any “stay at home” being lifted anytime soon. It’s coming up to the Easter weekend so they are warning people not to be tempted to go out. Seems some smaller communities in BC are seeing arrivals as they go on “holiday” and potentially bringing the virus to them.
As of today there 128 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 65 in intensive care. I hope they will recover soon.
Health care officials says masks are a personal choice but the medical variety should be reserved for those in the profession.
Justin Trudeau said normality wouldn’t return until a vaccine is developed, who knows when that will be, if at all.
I am starting to receive Coronavirus related email spam now although the majority of it appears to be the usual stuff from before. I expect any domain procurement company to scrutinise their customers tightly during this time period, many are stuck indoors with they isolate, some spending more time online in a vulnerable mindset. There does appear to be many bad domain sellers as there are spammers.
Here is some analysis over the past week and some tips on dealing with spam.
First, here are some analytics from one of my email accounts for the past week. The following is an analysis from an account I don’t use so much but that email address was the one I used on LinkedIn which was hacked. Now and again I do have legitimate emails going through .
Number of Emails Received: 135
Number of Legitimate Emails: 61 (+2 that were marked as spam but went on to be legit)
Number of Spam Emails: 73
Number of Emails Quarantined: 65
Number of Emails Rejected: 8
Number of Emails I Released from Quarantine (not spam): 2
Number of Emails with Domains Registered with Namecheap: 63
In general most of the TLDs (top level domains) I receive email from are the non .com .org domains, the most popular ones this week were:
Why are the majority of spam emails I receive associated with Namecheap? That is a question I have been asking them for a couple of years for which they refuse to answer. What is wrong with their process that allows so many criminals buy on their system? They have blocked the purchase of domain keywords associated with the Coronavirus, which is good but doesn’t provide a solution to criminals using domains that don’t use those keywords from buying domains. I’ve read some minutes from ICANN meetings that include a Namecheap representative but don’t see any discussion on what the company is doing to solve this issue. Maybe they just enjoy the money coming in a little too much.
You can report abusive or spam emails to Namecheap, however, with 63 emails this is virutually impossible to do when having to include headers for each, which is why they should be addressing their bad workflow issue, but unfortunately they don’t care.
Deciphering A Spam Message
Below is a typical spam message I received. Although the subjects of much of the spam is consistent with the past 2-3 years I am now seeing Coronavirus type spam, in this case for masks which people are desperate to buy.
You must deactivate automatic downloading of graphics in your email program. In most emails, companies and scammers alike, have embedded an invisible graphic which pings back to the server the message was sent from. This sends a huge amount of data back to them, the worst being that they know you exist, it is sending to a legitimate email account, and that they can send you more scams. Also, your email will likely be sold on to other bad actors, or placed on a dodgy server for nasty people to download and use.
It is easy to look up a domain in ICANN, just enter the URL/s from the email and you will receive quite a bit of information back if you dig deep enough. You can find roughly the company the site is hosted or the domain supplier. It is possible to report the domain to the supplier so others aren’t victims, however, if you receive so much spam it’s impossible task to do that. If you are receiving too much spam in your inbox, contact your internet service provider or check on their website for instructions about decreasing that, for example, sending into the spam folder or elsewhere.
The unsubscribe link at the bottom of the message is most likely fake and just another way for the scammer to confirm you exist then go onto send you more spam. Do NOT click on any links within the email, it could redirect you to a site that will infect your computer will a virus or malware.
Some scammers include an address at the bottom of the message, it is quite easy to investigate what is exactly at that address, assuming it exists. When looking up the address I’ve seen all manner of obscure places.
I looked up the address on the above email, it is a company that rents mailboxes. You can’t get a mailbox without some kind of registration but is the box number real? Most likely not. If it is a legitimate company they are most likely have an office in a real building but if it’s a mailbox then you know any old person off any old street can rent one, assuming it is real.
Just doing a basic search, in Google, on the address, has also bought up some information from the Better Business Bureau. That address is also being used for another fake company “Russian Beauty Online: Online Dating Services”. Even though the emails from the “Russian Beauty” rubbish might be going out with the same address in it, the domain is registered via Enom with a another address.
The majority of people have wised up to these scammers now and can determine what is a scam or not:
Uses a non .com, .org, .edu, .gov etc domain
Don’t recognize who its from (not from a friend or someone you do business with)
Doesn’t speak your language properly, like broken English
Is a cold calling type message
The promises are too good to be true
The most problematic messages are scammers pretending to be from legitimate businesses or government bodies.
It’s best to be extra careful right now as scammers take advantage of people in vulnerable situations such as during a virus epidemic. Don’t expect domain registrars to be your friend, they are either uncooperative or your email has been shared to so many bad actors it will forever be impossible to stop the spam.
As I write this there are now 859,556 total cases in the world, that is known about. Also 42,332 deaths and, on the positive, 178,300 recoveries. Every time I look at the US numbers they appear to shoot up, maybe this is because they are finally ramping up their testing: 180,510 cases, 4,076 deaths and 7,109 recoverings. The UK appears to be the only country in the Top Ten that how a less recoveries than deaths: 25,481 cases, 1,793 deaths and 179 recoveries.
BC is not as hard hit as most places, but as I said before 1 person severely ill or 1 person dying is too much.
As expected, health officials are saying there is no chance of lifting social distancing before May.
19 long term Care Homes seem to be affected by the virus, which is very troubling
BC hasn’t really seen the peak of infections as yet
There are 4,171 bed available in BC, as elective surgeries have been cancelled, which is good, assuming that number isn’t breached.
28 Mar 20
31 Mar 20
New Cases Today
Monday we went to the supermarket, they were empty some items but picked up what we wanted more or less. We are doing ok. Neighbours have had some issues picking up eggs.
We had a neighbour who was on a cruise where many passengers caught COVID19. He continued to have respiratory symptoms after the virus left his system and unfortunately died from them. His wife and children are finally able to bring his body back to Canada. When they arrive home they will be quarantined in their home. What a traumatic experience.
I am coming up to doing my end of month reporting so I will be busy over the next couple of days.
Monday was wet, today has been fairly decent. We don’t go outside of our gated community, just walk around to get the blood circulating. We notice senior neighbours will get together and drink wine in the afternoon, outside their houses. They keep their distance from each other, most of the time, I don’t think I want to take the risk.
I should get into the flow of trying achieve more. I do feel the business world is on hold right now but I guess I could get into the flow of my rebranding myself.
Overall it doesn’t seem we are doing as badly as other places but it’s sad to hear about people dying fro this virus, 1 death is too many. Maybe people are adhering to the rules a bit more, I guess it takes a while for them to be drummed into people.
New Cases 28/3/20
It seems totally unbelievable that, as I write this, the US has 124,377 cases and the UK has 17,312 cases.
In Colorado, where we used to live, which has a very similar population to British Columbia, they have 1,740 cases. Colorado also has twice as many deaths as well.
The main news coming out of Canada is how they are instituting more rules about staying at home, altough some of them seem to be a little late. Being reactive seems a very similar trait among other countries as well. Like elsewhere, there is discussion around helping those who have been disadvantaged by the virus such as unemployment.
The Trump leadership in the US appears to going from bad to worse and I am quite concerned about my friends who live there, especially the vulnerable ones.
We went out on Friday 27th March to get a takeaway and some other essential food items. The restaurants we wanted to pick up from were closed until further notice. We did go into T&T supermarket for some asian essentials, they had quite a good stock in there, we were very pleased to pick up what we did, even dessert!
We are noticing people are starting to behave themselves a little better with the social distancing, or Phystical Distancing as they decided to call it now, from other people. The seniors were the worse due to being in denial of the situation.
We’ve been for our usual walks, to get some exercise in, ensuring we keep a distance from everyone and not touching anything as we enter/exit the building. I hurt my right foot so I have been stumbling when walking around.
I am continuing to work and learn new stuff from the online training courses I have signed up to.
The weather has been sunny until the past couple of days when it changed to be more rainy and cold.
Another week starts with even more escalation in the Coronavirus outbreak.
In The News
In British Columbia
48 new cases since Saturday, not bad considering previous days were in their 70s.
There is now a total of 472 caes
13 people have sadly passed away
33 have been admited to hospital, 14 of the those are in ICU. I understand hospitals are overwhelmed already because many are going there with Coronavirus type symptoms but it seems a small percentage actually have the virus.
100 have recovered
BC is now able to conduct 3,000 tests per day
Trudeau will meet with Provincial leadership today to go through options which might include greater enforncement of the stay at home recommendation.
Ontario have closed all non-essential businesses.
There are now 2,088 cases in Canada with 25 deaths, most of them in BC.
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, has announced a lockdown. Only businesses that are allowed to open are supermarkets, pharmacies and so on. I believe many were not paying attention to the “stay at home” recommendation and congregating in 50+ crowds outside supermarkets so the PM was more or less forced to do this. The Labour Party has given it’s thumbs up to this development
The US does appear to be in a mess with a distinct lack of leadership and I’m not sure what is going on there. Number of cases is unclear due to lack of testing but from what we know they are in the region of 46,400.
We went to the supermarket to see what they had. I was a little bit nervous about going as I had seen chaos via social media at some outlets. However, at our local there wasn’t many people there, many items were in stock so we picked up salad, vegetables, fruit, chicken, cream and much more. We didn’t go overboard, just items we absolutely needed. Didn’t look as though other people were going overboard and everyone was being polite despite some grim faces.
We also went to the nursery to pick up some soil so we plant stuff such as growing potatoes. We were successful with those last year.
I was thinking, now that I can shave my own hair I might not need to go to a hairdressers again, this pleases me a lot and will save a lot of money. Probably save $20 per month, $240 a year, which can go towards other things.
We continue to walk round our gated community to get some exercise, I am worried that I will drastically put on weight during this period of isolation especially as I don’t know how long it will last. If the government restricts our movement further I suspect we’ll still be allowed to walk around our community but not much further unless we need to go to the supermarket or pharmacy.