This is a shortened rewording of what formed the Editorial to the most recent SLS Journal and Newsletter (J912 July/August), a bi-monthly magazine which I now edit and giving the reasons for my missing the task of making blog posts here during both April and June.
SLS Stand ready for show opening Easter 2018
Firstly my apologies for the fact there was no blog post made during either April or June. This was disheartening as I had been consistently managing one a month before then. However, during the run up to the expected dates I was ill and with mycommitment to getting a Journal out, and attending the York Model Railway Show over the Easter weekend both as a Show Director and with the SLS display stand, all my spare time just vaporised.
What I had thought it was initially, hay fever, it almost certainly was not and I therefore looked around for possible alternatives.It was probably not legionnaires disease as such but the symptoms were similar hence mentioning it in this post. Hopefully the illness’ cause has now been traced to either bugs coming through from the car air conditioning unit or bugs in the car screen washer system (both, obviously, now sanitised). I would certainly encourage anyone suffering any odd flu like symptoms to consider getting their car air conditioning unit and the screen washer system checked out. This illness has hit me three years running and I had not previously correlated it to warm weather and the first early season use of the car AC. Whilst the flu like illness may be unrelated to that it has not returned since the work was carried out on the car.
Both images by and copyright the author. NOT FOR REPUBLICATION.
I ended last month’s blog expressing hopefully “What would have been the January content will therefore appear during February when I get back home and resume normality.” Well that hoped for return to normality during February went well, or not! What it ended up as was a month of solid editing to get my second SLS Journal and Newsletter out on time. My problem; not the page layout et al, but all the catch up reading of back submissions to find the content ready to drop in. It is easing, the third edition will be a bit easier again from the experience gained from editing the first two. I am already planning content for the issues through to December.
Is there a lesson to be learnt by other Societies – yes – succession planning. That said, we did try, but no other suitably experienced member volunteered. My lesson learnt, if you know at the back of your mind that reality is you are going to get roped in regardless, give in early and take the longest lead in period you can get.
The earlier editing job
As mentioned in the November blog post I was also Production Editor for the SLS in producing the first two volumes of material from The Stephenson Locomotive Society Archives.(Cover images above)
Narrow Gauge & Miniature (From The Stephenson Locomotive Society Archives Vol 1)
Eclectic Electrics (From The Stephenson Locomotive Society Archives Vol 2)
Sales went live on the Society stand at the NEC and copies will also be available from us at the London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace and over the following Easter weekend at York Model Railway. They can also be ordered from me direct by post. The SLS Board has approved electronic selling but I have yet to get the system into place on the Society website.
PayPal and other computer gremlins
The most recent editing nightmare, a fault with the way the Google app on i-phones and i-pads interacts with the code we got from PayPal to sell tickets on the York Model Railway Show website. (I am Website Manager) The culprit is not Google Chrome, that is fine, but their search app. The app ignores the shopping cart it is supposed to open and tries to log directly into the customer’s PayPal account. This system has worked properly for eighteen months, why does the mighty Google feel the need to make changes that then b*****s up other systems that were working properly. Not good customer care by them, although I like to think our own response was better than the other customer care issue discovered recently – Apple repair fault logging and repair protocols (See next item).
Apple’s appalling customer care protocol
This final item is a bit of a rant and gives me another Victor Meldrew feeling about the sanity of some modern ways of doing things. Have organisations learnt nothing about customer care?
Scenario – I drop my Apple laptop it needs a fix as the display becomes intermittent. Oh yes I think to myself there is an Apple dealer in Bournemouth, I’m in Bournemouth tomorrow, I will drop it off for repair. Off I duly tootle to the said Apple shop (Solutions inc) who I have used before. To paraphrase –
“I’d like to drop this off for repair please.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No I just want to drop it off for repair.”
You can’t without an appointment.” (Duh thinks I – a shop that doesn’t want you to buy the service!!!)
“So I have to waste time and money driving home today, ring you, and then come back again? That’s madness and unacceptable!”
“But it is Apple’s policy Sir, no appointment, no drop off, no fix! (Shades of Jobsworth, or worse, me thinks)
At this point I got very firm and eventually a techie deigned to appear from the bowels of the shop, discuss my issue and take the lap-top in.
Dear Apple – Either the staff at your dealership are a complete bunch of numpties or your accredited repair logging system, they claim they have to use it, is the most ridiculous state of BAD customer care I have ever come across. How about this – It’s a shop and authorised repair dealer, you walk in with a repair job, they take the order and any due examination/inspection fee money and then a techie looks at the job later in the queue (customers are not stupid – we understand queues and waiting lists), it then gets fixed/can’t be fixed and the customer is rung and advised either it is ready or is bust beyond economic repair. How difficult is that?
Finally – Dippy the dinosaur in Dorchester
Despite the horrendous monsoon like half-term weather on the day over half term we had booked, and the car failing to start, we visited Dippy with the family. The outcome was two awed grand-children and four very impressed adults.
PS A final note
It’s not that February was a hectic month or anything but this update for the month got posted almost at the deadline of midnight on the 28th. Final editing took place today, Thursday 1st March!