Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Tale of Two Companies (And Their Support)

Part of this post of photo related and part is not.  The point, though, is to compare the experiences of customer support from two companies.  I bought a bike trainer from Wahoo late in 2022.  I was really happy with it and got a lot of good use from it.  At some point, when I was climbing a steep hill on the trainer, it started to make odd rubbing noises.  I was able to repeat this a second time.  The Wahoo website suggested, if you have an issue, film a short video of it and upload it for them to diagnose.

This I did and I got a swift response.  They thought something was lose inside and that I needed a replacement trainer.  They dispatched one to me and said the delivery crew would take the old one away without me having to do any packing.  This happened as planned, even if it took a while to get to me.  I could still use the old trainer in the meantime.  Unfortunately, when the replacement came (and my old one had been collected), it turned out that the replacement had something wrong with the crank and it wouldn’t turn smoothly.  Needless to say, I was pretty annoyed, not least because I had just given back a trainer that at least worked for most situations.  The team at Wahoo were super apologetic, arranged to ship me packaging so I could return the bike direct to them for them to investigate further.  They also arranged to ship to me a new trainer to a newer spec than my own.  None of this was convenient but they handled everything promptly and with good communication.  I now have the new trainer and all is good.  Well done Wahoo.

Let’s contrast this with a company that I have been buying products from for years – Canon.  I have been shooting Canon cameras since 1990 and have been using various of their digital cameras since the early 2000s.  I have acquired quite the collection of lenses and accessories and have also subscribed to their Canon Professional Services for quite a while.  Since upgrading to the R3 bodies a year ago, I have been happily shooting with both new RF lenses and adapted EF lenses including my favorite 500mm f/4L IS.  However, a recent firmware update came out and this has killed my 500mm.

I started to get the camera locking up when shooting a burst of a moving subject.  That is the majority of my shooting so this became a bit of a problem.  As soon as I released the buttons, a brief period would follow and then the camera would recover but, by then, the subject would be gone.  I wondered if it was one body but both were affected.  I tried changing the adaptor to my other adaptor but the same issue.  My 100-400 was working without issue.  If I wasn’t panning, then everything was fine.  The fact that the new firmware update had a function called Panning Assist seemed awfully coincidental.

I contacted Canon to discuss this.  They were not helpful at all.  They kept telling me about my faulty lens and I pointed out it had been working fine until this firmware update came along and the lens was not the issue.  They offered me a wonderful upgrade program.  This lens was $7k when I bought it in 2008 and the current versions are over $10k.  That is not a great option for me.  The said the lens is no longer supported for service which I know.  However, I am not trying to get it repaired.  I am trying to stop it being rendered redundant but their firmware when it has worked great so far with this body.  They also said there had been no reports of a firmware issue which isn’t true because I am reporting it.  I don’t know how many people shoot this combination but it might not be a lot.  However, one thing Canon has like to advertise about shooting with their lenses versus third party lenses is that you get reliable integration as updates are made.  I guess not!

They finished the correspondence by asking if there was anything further that they could help with.  Since they hadn’t helped at all, I thought that was pretty cheeky.  All of this is to point out how different an experience you can get with companies supporting their products.  Wahoo bent over backwards to help me out and left me feeling very satisfied despite having been quite inconvenienced by the whole thing.  Canon left me fuming.  There is a post script to this tale.  Canon released a firmware update which resolved the issue.  The release notes include the specific issue I had so the idea that no one else was reporting this is clearly rubbish.  It just reinforces my annoyance at their “support”.

Deer On Orcas Island

Our trip to Orcas included a fair few encounters with deer.  Sometimes this was while at the place we were staying.  They would wander through the yard.  If we came down the steps and they were behind a bush, they might just freeze and wait to see what we did before leaping off to safety.  Out in the parks, we would come across some while driving or hiking.  One was standing right by the road as we drove up and it didn’t care at all.  I wound the window down which, I thought, would spook it but no.  It actually nosed up to the car.  No camera at that point of course.

HMS Monitor

I didn’t even realize HMS Monitor was an exhibit at the Royal Dockyard at Portsmouth.  I was looking at something online and saw it mentioned as being alongside Victory.  Since I had some aerial photos of the docks, I decided to see if I had photographed it without realizing.  Turns out I did.  Not a large ship but an interesting one nonetheless.

Ten Years of the Blog

March 14, 2011 was the day I first posted something on this blog.  At the time I did it, I didn’t have any idea how things would develop.  Initially posts were sporadic.  I then started to have a post every other day.  I would draft them ahead of time – as I still do.  However, I was developing quite a backlog and transitioned to a daily post to get the backlog back under control.  I haven’t changed since then and still I post daily.

One thing I did was change the focus on odd days.  Having aviation related posts was not of interest to lots of friends and family so I decided to alternate between aviation and non-aviation themes each day.  This has proved to be a good formula for me given that the arrival of new subject matter can be erratic at times.  If you ask Nancy what I am thinking whenever we are out somewhere, the answer will be something along the lines of “thinking of blog posts that will result”.  What would have been a single post in the early days is now likely to be broken down into individual topics.

I have no idea how long the blog will continue.  Viewing numbers have been stable for a long time now but that isn’t really the purpose.  Now it is a personal challenge.  I am coming up on 3,000 different posts and that is something I would not have thought likely when it all started.  I haven’t used the same tracking system from the beginning so I can’t say for sure which is the most popular post but this is the one about a 767 that never was currently shows as the most read and the most read non-aviation post is about the desert side of Maui.  We shall see how long it goes on for.  Thanks for coming along on the journey.

What Is It With the Dorniers These Days?

The Pacific Northwest suddenly seems to have a bunch of Dornier 328Jet ops at the moment.  I posted here about one coming in to BFI.  I saw another one on the BFI ramp recently too and Paine Field had a visitor over the holidays.  The weather was pretty nice for this one when it showed up so I popped out to get a shot of it coming in.  I was not familiar with Taos Air.  They had made a couple of stops before arriving at Everett and departed for California shortly afterwards.  I wonder what the story was behind that?

Frozen Kelp

Previous posts have included some of the frosty scenes from the beach at Tofino during our visit there last year.  Aside from the logs, the strands of kelp that had become washed up on the beach were also frosted.  The kelp itself seemed to have maintained its moisture without being damaged by freezing but the surface had accumulated a layer of frost that looked really pretty in the early morning light.  As the sun got high enough to warm the kelp up, the frost was soon gone.

Blossom in the Neighborhood

The walk around the block was one of the things were were allowed to do when shelter in place took effect.  This started at a good time for the local flora.  As we walked up the hill near the house, we could see across to the grounds of a large plot near the street.  They had a row of bushes that were all in flower providing a beautiful burst of color.  I was carrying the small M6 but took a sequence of shots to stitch together.  I also include a few other shots of the flowering we saw walking around.

Will There Be Any New Posts If I Can’t Go Anywhere?

I write these posts as I think of them based on what has been going on.  They tend to get scheduled out ahead of time so I might write something weeks before it shows up on the blog.  As I write this, I am sitting in my local pub with a beer in front of me and a safe distance from everyone else.  COVID-19 is causing everything to be shut down (I hope this place stays open!) and the chances of going out and doing stuff are pretty limited.  I wonder what the near future will hold.  I anticipate that, in due course, the virus will run its course and things will return to normal for many people.  For some it won’t.  For others, the economic impact will change their lives significantly.  We don’t know what will occur.  I just hope it works out okay for as many people as possible.  Maybe by the time this posts, it will all be cool.  I hope so…

UPDATE:  Well, that was the last day the pub was open.  Things are definitely not cool right now.  We’ve been at home ever since and things have been pretty awful for a lot of people either medically, emotionally, financially or combinations thereof.  Another month of restrictions in our area so who knows what will come along.  All posts for quite a while will have a throw back element to them since, even when this ends, it will be a while before we have done much that is new.  Hang in there everyone!

Old British Locomotives

In the process of scanning so many old negatives, I come across shots that I had no idea I had taken.  When I still shot film, I would not go nuts taking shots but I was certainly willing to take a shot of anything that I found interesting at the time.  Since I had no idea that I was going to have a career in rail, I didn’t think trains would be very important.  However, I am an engineer at heart and any big mechanical items catch my interest.  It isn’t surprising that I found a few photos of trains.  Some of my old colleagues will find these of interest.  Others may just like them because they like trains.  My sister will probably like the Class 50 just because she used to commute to work behind them for a number of years!

IPMS At Museum of Flight

The IPMS has a gathering of their members for a display of their models each year at the Museum of Flight.  I went along to say hello to my friend Jim and to see what creations were on display.  While it is held at the Museum of Flight, it is not restricted to planes although there are plenty of those.  I was interested to see quite a number of rocket models including a great Atlas/Mercury launch pad diorama.

Everything was laid out on the main museum floor around the M-12 which is certainly not a bad background to have for an event.