Category Archives: Rants

Hewlett Packard customer support – there’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one!

I’ve had some strange replies to questions/complaints before, but this one really takes the biscuit. A nearly new print cartridge packed up, and it should be covered under warranty, so I tried to ask HP how I should return it.

At this point readers should either give up, or make themselves a cup of tea and settle down for a long read. And all that just to tell me that they couldn’t help and I needed to ring someone. And he has the audacity to tell me “I understand how you feel” and then claim “superior customer service”. Wrong on both counts!

Dear James,

Welcome and thank you for contacting HP Total Care.

My name is Alexander from HP All-in-One E-mail Support Team. From the issue description of your e-mail, I gather that your HP Photosmart 2575 All-in-One is experiencing issues related to printing from your old HP 344 Tri-color cartridge. I note that while printing a color copy, your old HP 344 cartridge had suddenly stopped working. I also noted that you had replaced with a new one and the printer is working normally. I had noted that your primary concern is to know whether the old cartridge used be returned and can it be used for a replacement or refund.

James, I understand how you feel, and would like to help you and I will be with you until the issue is totally addressed. I regret for all the inconvenience that you had experienced and I appreciate for your efforts in resolving the issue at-hand. I am sure by working together we can resolve the issue. I seek your kind co-operation.

I believe that you had performed the steps given below :

a) Manually clean the cartridges :
1. Gather the following items to clean the contacts on the cartridge and in print carriage:
* Clean distilled water. Use bottled or filtered water if distilled water is not available. Tap water may contain contaminants which could damage the cartridge.
* Clean cotton swabs or any soft, lint-free material that will not stick to the cartridges (coffee filters work well).
* Sheets of paper or paper towel to rest the cartridges on during cleaning.
2. Open the printer lid and wait until the print cartridge carriage stops moving.
3. Remove the cartridge and place it on a piece of paper with the nozzle plate facing up.
NOTE : Try to clean the contacts quickly enough that the cartridge is not outside of the printer for more than 30 minutes. The ink can dry and clog the nozzles if the cartridge is outside of the printer for too long.
4. Unplug the printer.
5. Dip a swab in the clean water, then squeeze it to remove most of the moisture. The swab should be only slightly damp.
6. Clean the print cartridge contacts. Please do not touch the nozzles.
7. Clean the contacts in the print carriage, inside the printer. The print carriage contacts are copper, and are located in the carriage so that they align with the cartridge contacts when the cartridge is installed.
8. Wipe the cleaned area with a dry swab to remove any moisture, then reinstall the cartridge, plug the printer back in, and close the printer cover.

b) Power Cycle the All-in-One :
Power cycling the unit will remove any electrical surges from All-in-One.
1. Verify that the unit is switched on. Unplug the all-in-one from power and disconnect the connection port.
2. Wait 30 seconds.
3. Plug in the power only.
4. Repeat steps 2-4 two more times.
5. On the third time after plugging the unit into power, reconnect the connection port from the all-in-one to your computer.
6. Restart your computer and check the functionality.

However, I note that the issue had been resolved after replacing the HP 344 Tri-Color Cartridge. I am sorry to inform you that as an e-mail agent, I am not authorized to provide any transactions related to shippment of cartridges out of United States of America. As a result of geographical constraints, I cannot provide you any refund or replacement of the cartridge. However, there is another alternate in this regard. For your convenience, I am providing you the contact numbers of our Phone Support in United Kingdom and I request you to approach for the Phone Support, in order to resolve your concern.

Here are the contact numbers for the HP Phone Support in United Kingdom : All-in-One printer products :

In-Warranty : 0844 369 0369
Mon-Fri 08.30-18.00 (except Bank Holidays)

Out-of-Warranty: 0906 477 0 477
Mon-Fri / 08:30-18:00 (except for Bank Holidays)

James, I hope that the information provided helps you. I really appreciate you for giving me the opportunity to assist you with superior customer service. I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for being one of our most valuable customers. Please contact us again if you require any further assistance. We are available 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

I look forward to assist you. Have a nice time.


HP Total Care.

*****Do Not Delete Service Ticket*****
[ticket Number { ############# }]
*****Do Not Delete Service Ticket*****

Our advice is strictly limited to the question(s) asked and is based on the information provided to us. HP does not assume any responsibility or liability for the advice given and shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages in connection with the use of this information. Always back up your data. For more information, including technical information updates, please visit our Web site at

Dinosaurs and humans coexist in U.S. museum display

I do try not to delve into politics and religion, at least not in public, but I’ve just been reading about a place where dinosaurs and humans coexist in a museum display.

Now, if evolution had deemed to give humans feathers then I can assure you that mine would be seriously ruffled right now. I know that kids can go to Disneyworld and see talking mice and flying elephants, and hear stories of beauties who have slept for hundreds of years, only to be woken by a kiss from a charming handsome prince (why can’t they ever be ugly and grumpy, and be woken by a good slap?), but that’s all done in an environment where no-one, of any age, would perceive it as anything but make-believe.

I have a few ideas of interactive exhibits that they could try out, but I think I’d better stop now before I get myself into hot water. Instead I’ll leave that to the more than capable columnist Mark Morford, whose recent article I must give credit to for a) providing the link to this story, and b) giving me ten minutes of stimulation and provocation.

Turning the news inside out

I bought a newspaper for the first time in ages yesterday, an early edition of the London Evening Standard, on my way back from finishing the Christmas shopping.

I was struck by the way the stories were arranged, and am left asking myself this question: why is it that all the nasty stories (rape, murder, drugs etc) and banal features (the best Christmas window in London, the city worker with the 51 million pound bonus, and the luxuries of Julie’s restaurant) get pushed up to the first few pages, whilst the homeless in Paris, NHS waiting lists, and most notably one lady’s story of her Tsunami survival, and subsequent charity cycle ride across Cambodia, just get buried in the middle? Is it a lack of courage by the editor, or a sad reflection on what people actually want to read about?

What’s even more sad is that I’ve just been to Fiona Callanan’s fundraising page (Charity cycle for amputees in Cambodia) and there’s not one recent donation, despite of the fact that the web address was featured in the article (and before you say anything, I’ll be popping there in a minute to make my small donation).

Now a cunning plan, and a challenge:

It is widely claimed that any given person is connected to every other human being by at most six other people. So just how hard can it be to search out Pierre-Henri Flammand, recipient of the above-mentioned mega-bonus, and get him to do his little bit to redress the balance? I’m no fan of chain letters, but just this once it may be worth the effort of sending this on and trying to make a difference. After all, Fiona only needs another £650 to reach her £20,000 target, and I bet M. Flammand wouldn’t hesitate on popping into Julie’s Restaurant and spending that sort of money on a quick lunch. And nor would the editor of the Evening Standard either, I suspect!

But whatever you do, don’t forget to call in at Fiona’s page and give a small donation.

Little shites

Damien Whitworth (who he?), writing in the Times Online, eloquently describes a situation I have often found myself in, namely looking at other people’s kids doing stuff I’d bawl mine out for doing, and desperately wanting to say say something but wondering how. In his words:

I made a real hash of bollocking some children at Kew Gardens the other day. The kids were tugging at huge water lilies. Two mothers stood by doing nothing. I dithered. I wanted to tell the women to get a grip of their kids before they destroyed splendid specimens at a World Heritage Site, but was loath to interfere; people go ballistic at the slightest suggestion that they might be bad parents. “Pop!” A lily was snapped off. The women said nothing. A small hand reached out to another thick stem. “Please don’t do that!” I snapped. The kid stopped. The mother bristled, weighing whether to give me an earful. In the end she moved the children on, reluctant to concede in front of me that they were out of order on her watch. Next time I’ll be straight in with the bollocking. Of the gormless mother.

The last bit hits the nail on the head. The kids are just the soft targets; it’s the parents who are ultimately responsible for their little shites behaviour (funny how you can add an ‘e’, put on an Irish accent, and suddenly a phrase becomes acceptable). Who can possibly stand by whilst their kids are ripping plants apart, or tearing up and down the aisles in Sainsburys, or chatting incesantly whilst (supposedly) watching a film at the cinema? Unfortunately all too many so-called parents seem to be able to. But equally, how many of us have the nerve to give the parents the b$£%&*king they deserve, however tempting it may be?

Email amnesty?

One of the departments where I work has announced a cunning plan to hold an email amnesty on Friday. They say that they’re not going to read or send any emails that day, because it apparently reduces the time they spend doing their work and “potentially alienates us from colleagues”.

Instead we have to either call them (some of us reckon many of them have been employing a permanent telephone amnesty for years now, so that won’t work) or ‘pop in’. We may even be made a cup of tea. That’ll help them get their work done. No, seriously, it will. It’s been working for ‘us Brits’ for centuries.

So, apart from making copious cups of tea (and no doubt the consequences of loss of productivity due to increased loo breaks), their solution is to abandon perhaps the most significant development in communication in modern times. And what exactly do they think will happen? Well, I can have a guess. On Thursday those of us who have read their announcement and taken it on board will bombard them with anything we think we might need from them before the end of the week. The other 99% of the organisation will carry on as normal and just keep sending. So on Monday they will just have twice as many emails to read and act upon. It’s a bit like what I call ‘holiday syndrome’, where you spend the week before you go away doing twice as much work finishing off everything you know you have to do before you go away, you then go away for a week, and when you come back you spend a whole week working double hard to catch up what you’ve missed. Net effect, you’ve done an extra week’s work!

They say that if this day is a success they may make it a monthly fixture. How exactly are they going to measure success, and success for who?

Trapping hackers in the honeypot – yeah, right

Why is it that some reporters, including those writing for the BBC – Trapping hackers in the honeypot – seem compelled to sensationalise stories just to get people to read them? At best this one could be regarded as trying to oversimplify things so much for the non-techno-knowledgable but just taking it too far, but I fear at worst it is deliberately misleading.

Just two questions for Mark Ward. Exactly what is your definition of the word “trapped”? And once you had them suitably trapped, what did you do with them?