Do not purchase items as gifts from

The title of this post really says it all. After my latest experience it is a wonder that Scan Computers, based in Bolton, is still having happy customers.

So let me explain further by starting many years ago. Scan Computers was always a cheap option for me to purchase computer electronic goods from. Their prices were competitive and products always arrived within a reasonable amount of time. I have purchased computer components including motherboards, processors, graphics cards, even a wii console when it was first released.
I stopped using them because other online retailers were becoming more competitive and when Scan were still charging for delivery others were not. So it made sense to go elsewhere and save money.
I also noticed that the delivery courier company that Scan uses was the Green and Yellow branded City Link, and their drivers reputation was going down in that their handling of packages was a bit brutal! Various forum members and website posts expressed these opinions far too much with lots agreeing.

So here we are today with my latest experience from them. For Christmas I added an item I would have liked to my list in the hope Father Christmas or other kind family member would purchase it and give it to me. My wish was granted. On Christmas day I opened my present … a new Wireless Extender, a plug in the wall item that will enable use of the internet at high speed at the top of the offices. Of course Christmas comes and goes, New Year happens and I’m away for a lot of it. I eventually get round to being back in my office early January, checking out the product information on the box and realising it will not help as much as I thought it would, I decided I would like to return the product. This is where Scan Computers,, (have I mentioned it enough yet?) falls down flat on it’s face for Customer Services.
I begin by checking the website on how to return my unwanted item. I have all invoices and receipts (which was included with the gift) and submit a return query specifying my number and email address to contact. Expecting a call or email I wait…. only to find that Scan go back to the person who made the original purchase! What’s the point of having those fields on the form if you are going to ignore them???
So next I get a phone call from the original purchaser to advise that Scan emailed him the reply and the return has been rejected because it is over 7 days! It was over 7 days even before I got to open the gift on Christmas Day, so what hope did I have!?
I called Scan Customer Services and was told I would be able to return the item. “Great” I thought, but was then put on hold again. I then get told I can’t return the product because a decision has already been made via email. HUH!? But I was just told I could and an RMA was going to be created! So Scan switched on their decision and also stood firm that I was not able to return this item that is still brand new and not in a position to be used. I now have a nice bookend/paperweight!
I did happen to ask the Scan Customer Service agent what I am expected to do with this unwanted item. He did say it was his personal opinion (and obviously not of Scan’s!) and if it was him he would put it up on Ebay, maybe losing a couple of quid from the original price!

So there we have it, Scan is not going to have me purchase anything from them ever again based on past and present reputations and experiences. Good luck to those that still purchase from them. Just make sure you get your product choice correct first time. Goodbye Scan, forever.

Develop Conference 2013 – Looking forward to it

So the Develop Conference 2013 is happening this week. I’m not attending the first day for Develop Evolve, but I’m really looking forward to the rest of the two days for Develop. I’m all registered up, got my schedule plan sorted on which sessions I will be attending. And even downloaded the app and found the names of interest.

Leaving my family behind I will be off to stay with family the night before heading into Brighton and sorting out registration and getting a good look around.

The sun has been hot hot hot over the past few days, so hopefully there is air conditioning inside the Hilton building keeping the attendees cool so the information is easier to soak up instead of fidgeting in sweaty seats!

A social evening is planned, whether it be with people I know, or new people I’ve met with similar interests where I can gain information and exchange details.

I would really love for some career changing events to outcome from this time away from home networking with professionals. I know it will require effort, but I intend to put that effort in.

For anyone interested, I have put together my first version of my Games Developer Portfolio. You can find it at

Fathers Day 2013

There are times when being a father has its perks. Fathers Day lets me never forget that what I have is special. Two children that are growing to love the same things as I love. My wife has also played a huge part in making Fathers Day great. Gifts are great, but they are not what it’s all about (but they are great to receive). I got hand made cards, sweets, and a new monitor to replace my broken one.

The day so far has been relaxed. Breakfast in the morning followed by watching Disney Princess Cinderella 3 with the children. I guess if we have time then Batman is next!

Later we are off out to spend the day with family.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Cashback

How hard could it be to claim a cashback offer online? Very hard apparently!
Back in November we purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1″ as our first Tablet. A joint gift for myself and the wife so we didn’t have to use laptops all around the house. The tablet could be placed where laptops could not. And since we’ve been accumulating Samsung products (not on purpose, but because they seem to be good quality for the prices we pay) the tablet went well to fit in and communicate well and sync up with these products nicely.
A bit of research went in to buying the product and we eventually agreed a price and a place to purchase. We had vouchers as well for money off, and the cashback offer seemed very attractive.

The purchase was made.

Now to claim the cashback you need to make the claim 15 days after the purchase. So we put the necessary paperwork and boxes to one side ready to use them when the time came. Naturally when you have busy lives it got forgotten about and now, a month later, we are still within the time span of making the claim.
So I went to the Samsung website. 10 steps to fill in! 10! I started with step 1, got to about step 3 or 4 and got stuck. It was asking for serial number and product details. This information was on a clear plastic protective covering on the back of the tablet when it arrived. This had since been removed and binned! Good job the serial number was also on the box! But the product details! All I had to go on was GT-P5110. The rest of the numbers meant nothing to me. So after a look around on websites, I finally found the right code to select off Amazon that detailed it was a white 16Gb WiFi only version.
Ok, so now on to the next steps. Equally difficult. They wanted a scan of teh receipt, simply having the receipt number (already entered in an ealier step) wasn’t enough. Since I was being hurried along for lunch it had to wait.

Lunch came and went and I eventually got round to scanning the receipt in and making it available for upload. This time the file size was too big! 2Mb maximum. Typically mine was 4Mb. So reopen the image, resize and save. It was eventually uploaded! Yay.
Next was the bank details so the cashback payment could be paid straight in to the account. Simple enough, 3 fields to fill in, step 8 here we come! *tap* *tap* *tap* and then … waiting for connection… waiting … waiting …
The connection never got made. So I closed the browser, tried again. Same thing!
It’s as if Samsung don’t want to give their money away!!!
At the bottom of teh bank payment details screen was a paragraph that stated if you didn’t want to enter your bank details online then you can call a business number and speak to someone. I don’t really want to spend any further money so I have decided to wait a while and try again!

The bad thing about all this is, I’m spending so much time entering the details for the cashback, yet there is going to be a huge period after the details are submitted for Samsung to process the claim and actually get the money back to me. Is this all worth it? If it goes smoothly next time and I get my cashback completed then yes, but if there is further problems then I will be rethinking buying and cashback offers in the future!

Family life

I have now been off work (both employed and unemployed) since January 2010 with the sole purpose of being stay at home Father to Samuel and Maisie. There are certainly hard times when trying to keep them controlled and teach them new things when they don’t want to learn, but overall it has been a great experience so far.

We do a lot of things during a week, some typical and some not so typical. Playgroup is the one day of the week we know the mornings are going to be busy, fun and tiring (for them and for me). The Team at the playgroup have certainly welcomed me as a Dad amongst the other Mum’s and it makes me stand out a bit and feel special, but then it’s all about the children and getting them to play, learn and interact with others. It has helped greatly that both Clare and myself have kept in touch with the Mum’s from anti-natal so I at least have people to talk to and meet up with that we both know.
Another activity that has been introduced is a days play over at Nanny’s. This just gives me a chance to get a days worth of studying or web work done. Samuel and Maisie also love going to see Nanny and playing.
Sleeping is getting better too. They are now in their big beds. Samuel has a double futon to sleep on(!) and Maisie has my old single bed with bed guards. So far they have slept well in them and not fallen out! Getting them to stay in bed has also not been too hard. Maisie goes straight down as long as there are Sheep Bears in with her. Samuel on the other hand needs a bit more persuading. He needs drinks, blue bear, pink bear, maybe a car, and if he keeps getting up they all get taken away until we deem it necessary to give one or two of the items back. The “process” is pretty quick and he’s usually down within 30 mins.
Eating is also not much of a problem. They have a variety of foods they like and don’t like. Samuel is more of a meat man and won’t eat veggies unless persuaded. Maisie loves vegetables and savoury but not much of a meat girl. Between them we get all the food eaten.

The next challenge we are going to be taking up is … potty training!

The cutest smile

The family are doing well. Samuel and Maisie continue to grow and become so different from each other. Samuel is still in to his books and loves to investigate things, but he has now begun to show signs of tantrums and throwing things. These usually occur when he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s usually the keys to the front door, he spots me using them and then wants them and most times it’s not convenient for him to have them!
Maisie on the other hand doesn’t really have tantrums unless she is really tired, and these are just at the end of the day when Mummy is upstairs cooking dinner and Daddy is downstairs wanting some help in tidying up the toys. But Maisie has become this little girl that has the cutest faces she pulls when she wants something. I’ve been told that she will have me round her little finger in no time at all! I am sure that will be right.

They have both started to nod in a yes motion when you ask them and question and the response is a positive one. Sam has also learnt to say “No!” and uses it quite well. There are sometimes where he just repeats it over and over to all questions, even if the answer would be in his favour.

There was also another success recently where we went to stay for a week in North Hayne Farm Cottages, down in Devon. It is the greatest of places where children get to feed the animals morning and evening, there are facilities for both children and adults, and the people there are extremely friendly. The accommodation cottages are really lovely and do feel like a home away from home. And this holiday was the first we have seen from start to end and not had to come home early because of illnesses, or sleep issues, or anything else bad. We all had a fantastic time. I really loved watching Samuel and Maisie walk around in their wellies, collect the buckets of food and head off to feed the animals. They fed the rabbits, chickens, pig, alpacas, goats, and even got to go on a donkey ride after feeding. This is certainly a place we will be looking to go back to in the future.

Change in milk formula

The past few days has seen a complete change in Samuel’s behaviour in relation to sleeping and how he is generally. He has gone from a baby that moans and cries out in his sleep, constant wake ups, moaning and biting during the day, and has become a baby that has been able to sleep through two nights in a row (that’s a great achievement for him!), happy and smiley at everything, plays nicely with his sister Maisie, and goes down quicker for naps and bed. He has even gone from biting his sister to hugging and kissing her!

What has caused this change? We aren’t sure exactly but there have been a few changes all at the same time.
Samuel has stopped teething from what we can tell so all Nurofen and Calpol before bed has stopped, he now sleeps on a comfy blanket on top of his cot bed sheet, when having lunch and dinner we try to give him his water beaker after he’s finished eating so his food doesn’t sit on liquid as much, we have tried to give him dairy/milky products earlier in the day (breakfast and lunch) so that there is a longer period for his body to process them before he goes to bed, and his milk formula before bed has been changed from Cow&Gate toddler milk to SMA Lactose Free.

All these combination of changes seem to have resulted in a child that now sleeps peacefully at night. Now that I’ve blogged all this I’ve probably jinxed it all 🙂

The cute and the annoying

Children can certainly be cute, like just now, Maisie was walking in and out of the room and as she came back in she would pull a lovely grin and crinkle up her nose and then walk out again. The same with Samuel, he will laugh and laugh and laugh at the silly things his Daddy does until his laughs become fits of histerior, making everyone around him laugh even harder.

And then there is the annoying side. Samuel will continue to wake up during the night and scream! And when you get to him and pick him up, sit him in front of an episode of Peppa Pig then there is nothing but silence. The moment you try to put him back down to sleep in his cot the screams come back and even louder! Maisie can also be annoying in that when she’s woken up from Samuel’s screams she takes a few hours to go back to sleep. And during these few hours she is acting sleepy so we persist in the rocking and shushing, but it’s all in vein.

At the moment there seems to be much of the cuteness from them both, and at night it is nothing but annoying! Not very helpful since it’s at night time that us parents are supposed to recover our energies to make it through the next day.

Today, Clare was so tired she set off for work and managed to clip the front tyre on the kerb and cause it to puncture. Luckily it was just down the road so turning the car around and getting it home wasn’t a problem. All these troubles caused by two 15 month children (no longer are they babies since they are all toddling around now and understanding a lot more than we credit them for!). All these troubles could be solved by just having them sleep properly.

Escape Adventure

Seeing my little ones grow up first hand being a Dad at home all day is great. The latest adventures involved Samuel. He is now walking and enjoying doing so. So much that he wants to walk anywhere and everywhere. The last few days have been nice weathered sunny ones, so we have ventured out in to the garden where Samuel and Maisie get to play and adventure. The state of the garden is great, the flowers are beginning to grow and blossom, and everything has been cleaned and glistens in the sunlight. The fence on the other hand has suffered damage from the past bad weather, and the gate doesn’t stay shut because the post wobbles and undoes the gate bolts. Samuel waited and took the opportune moment to head out of the house, in to the garden, then through the opened gate and down the alley. I managed to capture his adventures on video since we had been filming other things that morning.

Other videos of Samuel and Maisie can be found at the Rayment Family website.