Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Good service isn't dead it's just hard to find

If your like me you hate going to your car's dealer to get service for small issues after getting the car. My dealer (Dufferin Mazda) had a bad habit of having difficult open hours, inaccessable to the bus system after drop off, and sometime's I'd get the car back with a greasy steering wheel.

Well no more! Yesterday my car went to Avante Mazda for service a recommended dealer from a forum. Let me tell you the experience was night and day. Even on the phone the service dept was much nicer informing me of if they could perform the service and when they can get the parts by so they can combine services together. They even went through a list of known issues for my car to see if anything else needed to be fixed.

When I arrived and dropped off my car they had a driver send me to work. What amazed me more is that they offered to pick me up after work to pick up my car. Now that's exceptional. It didn't stop there, while at work they called to update me on what was happening with my vehicle. When done they road tested my vehichle to make sure that I would not be comming back concerning anything (my original dealer never did that).

Finally when I actually arrived to pick up my car I was surprised to find a new plastic plate protector on my license plate and that my car was washed. The service department said that wash and free plate protectors are complimentary... WOW.

So moral of the story, excellent service does exist. These days you really have to look hard for it. The difference is I no longer dread going to my dealer in fact the whole experience was actually fun, and made me happier.

Avante Mazda:

Pros:
* Excellent service staff, friendly and the kind of people you can chat with.
* They will drive you to work, and back again!
* Free plastic plate protectors if your missing them.
* Excellent communication they never will leave you in the dark about what's going on.
* Extended service hours (7:30am - 6:30pm) so you can go to work and get picked up any day of the week.
* The kind of service that puts smiles on your face, and that's a rarity.

Cons:
* They are a bit far for me but well worth the drive.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

HL2 first impressions

Ok to some this is old news. Even to me it seems a bit old and dated, however I haven't had a computer capable of playing HL2 until now and let me tell you reading about the innovation and playing it is completely different.

This physics engine is nothing short of incredible. I'm frequently baffled about how well it can simulate how objects would realistically behave. So much so that even in the earily parts of the game I learned to used my new found ability to interact with the enviroment to my advantage. In fact without thinking about it I did things like knock down tables for cover. Grab a barrel for protection against fire. All of which later I sat back just to let it all sink in that this game reached a level of realism previously unheard of.

And it's not a dumb shooter either. There are frequent stops along the way where the game throws you into puzzle solving scenario. These end up being stages where they demonstrate the power of their physics engine. For example in one scene there's a titer tottler type scenario where you run around the room piling up bricks on one end until the titer toter is heavy enough to let you stand on the other end without going down. Things also have boyancy, and this is demonstrated by a scenario where you have to raise a platform by making it more boyant.

I think what's most impressive about half-life is how the game never feels flat. Frequently I find myself in the toybox scenario where every game object is like a toy because the physics engine so good at modeling realistic behavior.

For anyone that has glossed over HL2 because their computer wasn't fast enough be sure to try it when your computer is. Although I would also recommend playing HL1 to understand the storyline. Although the sad part is I don't think I'll ever run into a game that's this well thought out in terms of storyline, and gameplay. More and more games go for the all graphics approach, and like supermodels they might look beautiful, but you surely get fed up with them quickly. HL2's graphics might not be as spectacular as farcry but in every other way HL2 is a more superior game, and the level of polish is above everthing I'm used to seeing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

McMaster Can't do paper work part 4

McMaster University has alot of great things going for it. Ability to do paperwork for their students is not one of them. I finally traced down the reason the OSAP loan office was sending me notices for end of intrest free status. This was because the interest free status forms I filled out over the summer only cover up to 52 weeks or 8 months and thus I needed to fill out another one over the summer. Reminders were sent out to everyone, everyone but the co-op students that is.... Ironic isn't it since the majority of students eligable for continuation of interest free status are in fact full time enrolled co-op students.

4 years in a row McMaster has manage to foul up some form of administrative work and the outcome is always the same. I find out about it the last minute because something "broke" and I have under a week to fix it.

The university is great mind you... they just can't do paper work.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Blogger's Illusion

Blogger's go about their day to day activities often not realizing that what they wrote actually gets read. Yes that's right if you blog chances are someone will read what you wrote.

I'll be honest I like most blogger's assume that what I wrote will never be read by anyone unless of course I send my friends a link to check out pictures and such. In reality though friends seem to actually read it cause I've told no one that I had my car crushed but yet weeks after I kept getting emails saying. "Sorry to hear about your car accident"

I guess it's kinda stupid for me to assume my blog doesn't get read, I mean come on what are blogs anyway? Strangely though because I had no comments to any of my blogs I was under the illusion that the blog was not being read.

So I am famous, ok maybe just a little...