Friday, June 03, 2011

T-Mobile Samsung Loss Leads To Bad Oakland Service

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The loss of my T-Mobile Samgung Galaxy Variant in a taxi cab has led to bad service encounters at T-Mobile's Oakland, California store at 3201 Lakeshore Avenue.

The obvious point aside, which is specifically to watch what pocket you place your phone in, that's no reason this blogger should get the minimum level of service at a T-Mobile story.

Three visits to the T-Mobile Oakland Lakeshore store this week have resulted in being told that the store did not have a hotspot-capable (even with a file download) 3G phone, when I knew damn well it did.

And who told me that? A T-Mobile sales person by the name of Grace.

And that was just the highlight of a period of bad treatment. 

Grace simply did not want to help me. She basically told me that the 4G phone I wanted to buy was $500, but in a way that implied I could not afford it because I didn't want to pay that amount all at once. Then, she failed to even try to call T-Mobile and arrange for a discounted upgrade for me, saying that I was two months before my upgrade period.

That's not a big deal; T-Mobile has actually waved that in the past, when a sales person bothered to call them.  

But the kicker for me was Grace's statement that I could not get a 3G phone with a hotspot so I could access the Internet. That bad information, for which I asked Grace if she was sure of what she was saying twice, caused the T-Mobile customer service person I talked to, to say "That's just wrong. I'm sorry you had to go through that."

See, the last time I was in a similar situation to today was last fall, in October, and a different crew worked at the T-Mobile Oakland, Lakeshore store. A much more helpful one. So much so that I made this video to talk about the G2 Phone versus the Samsung Variant Galaxy, using the live-stream video upload system called, which sends a copy of the video to my YouTube channel:

No such luck getting a sales person who was that helpful this week, and Grace was a disgrace at the job. It's not that she wasn't nice, she was but superficially so; she did not take any initiative at all, seemed eager to do at little work as possible, and was happy when I left.

The fellow in the video did take the initiative. He called customer service himself and arranged a discounted upgrade for me.

And he worked at the same T-Mobile Oakland store location.

T-Mobile should not allow this imbalance in service to continue.

James Arness Passes At 88 Years Old - Legendary Star Of Gumsmoke

Gunsmoke, a favorite television show of this blogger when he was little, and a program that seemingly would never die until it's last episode aired in 1975, was the place where the name Marshal Matt Dillon became a household word.

Matt Dillon was expertly played by James Arness, who passed away at the age of 88 today, of natural causes, according to his website.

James Arness was a man's man, and comes from a time when we expected actors to be taller than we were; he stood 6-foot-seven-inches in height. Arness, and his character Marshal Dillon, also stood tall in character.

"He had to specifically obey the letter of the law, no matter what else was going on," Arness said to the Archives of American Television. "He, number one, which I think was a totally different approach to other westers, even western movies, is he hated violence, particularly shooting. He hated to kill a man. And I tried to get that across, in the early going. I tried to get that across... It's something that not had been done, up to that point."

Here's a scene from Gunsmoke:

Arness also starred in the iconic science-fiction films Them and The Thing From Another World. Arness played the Thing because of his 6'7" height.

His website's message concludes with this:

Jim will be deeply missed by his family and friends. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donation be made to United Cerebral Palsy in Jim’s name.

Jim is survived by his wife Janet, 2 sons and six Grand kids. The services will be private for family only.

Here's an interview with Mr. Arness with an introduction by John Wayne:

Stay tuned.

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, Dogwood Bar, Mark Uptown Oakland

Last night this vlogger trekked down over to the Uptown District in Oakland to just check out how the scene was changing. The result? The video you see above.

It started with a walk over to the Fox Theater, with a look at how the much-anticipated Oakland version of Emeryville's Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe was coming along. As it turns out the owners were hosting what California Capital Group's Mark McClure called a "soft launch," but considering the tweets we've exchanged, like this one...

@RudyCantFailCaf Rudy'sCan'tFailCafe
@zennie62 not quite yet...a couple more weeks...we'll keep you posted! Check out the RCFC-Oakland FB page for the deets!!!

You figure they'd have invited me to the damn thing, right?

Oh well.

But that aside, the Oakland Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, which occupies a space that was once an adult book store, officially opens this coming Monday from 7 PM to 1 AM, and just as I'm leaving town. Reportedly you will be able to eat late every night there, which is good news for Oakland's growing list of Uptown bars, like Dogwood.

According to Lexy, the owner of the three-month old establishment at the corner of Telegraph and 17th Street, a late night eatery was the missing link connecting all of the establishments. "It's much needed," she said.

She's right. With The Fox Theater, Cafe Van Kleef, The Den At The Fox, The Uptown, and other bars, the only food place to this writing was Flora, and that closes at 10 PM. Meanwhile, what's a patron who just groved to a band supposed to do for late night food? Well, the on-street cart serving the hog dogs was one answer, and there's a small closet-sixed eatery that was open just a few doors down from Cafe Van Kleef, but that was it.

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe will change all that.  But the bet here is you're going to have to compete with the other bartenders for a seat at the place.

Stay tuned. 

Yemen President Injured In Palace Attack, Civil War Looms

Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has taken up what seems to be a kind of fever in the Mid East of late, attacking one's own people, was injured in an attack by soldiers for the opposition movement on the Presidential Palace, according to the New York Times.

Saleh's spokesman said he was in the middle of starting Friday prayers just before noon. But according to CNN, Saleh had it coming.

The Yemen President's decision to attack what CNN calls "a key tribal chief has brought the country to the precipice of a civil war."

CNN claims that all U.S. President Barack Obama can do is sit back and watch, as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) "extend their influence in tribal regions," but the question is, where is there actual proof that this is happening outside of what its author Barak Barfi writes?

The reason the question's raised by this blogger is the entire CNN article is based on the assertion that al-Qaeda is involved here in Yemen, but there's no clear proof of this. Mr. Barfi writes:

The violence and the instability it has engendered have allowed Islamist militants with possible ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to overrun key towns in southern provinces where a secessionist movement has been agitating against Saleh since 2007.

Note "possible ties to Al Qaeda" in the paragraph. In other words, Barak Barfi isn't sure, and CNN's basing the promotion of an entire article on something that's not proven, and a fear of Al Qaeda in America.

But given the side these Islamist militants are on, against the Yemen President, could it be that they're fighting on the right side of the equation? In this case, perhaps having a good relationship with Islamist militants in Yemen's not so bad a thing?

Just saying.

Economy Is The Problem

What's the real cause of this?  Yemen's terrible economy and public sector.  With oil production far less than necessary and the government's reportedly bloated public sector, coupled with corruption and "bad management," Yemen's public corporation's not able to effectively care for its people.  

Yemen has an unemployment rate that stood at 42 percent last year, up from 35 percent in 2003 according to the CIA World Record and Fact Book.   

The numbers are all over the place, but still high. Yemen itself reports an unemployment rate of 16.2 percent for the period of 2004 to 2008.  But those unemployed also have an education problem: a 30 percent illiteracy rate.