Customer Support – Something Canada Post Workers Don’t Understand

This blog is about MQ, Java, C, and other programming things but I need to complain/vent/bitch about vengeful, petty, Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s).

When Capitalware moved to London, Ontario, Canada 3 years ago, I thought it was a good idea to get a mailbox for mail delivery, since Capitalware might move again (to a different location within London) and getting customers to update their systems takes a lot of chasing of the customers. Hence, using a mailbox and doing it once, seemed the logical choice. So, 3 years ago, I called many different mailbox providers and decided to go with UPS Store (# 24) based on price and proximity to where I would be in London. That particular UPS Store had been in business for many, many years (early 90’s, I believe) before Capitalware ever moved to London.

So, 3 years ago, Capitalware’s new address became:

Capitalware Inc.
1673 Richmond Street, Suite 524
London, Ontario N6G2N3
CANADA

For 3 years, Capitalware has received its mail without issue except for one occurrence 8 months ago when a check was returned to a reseller. The UPS Store franchisee told me that regular letter carrier was on holidays and the replacement letter carrier returned mail for many of the UPS Store customers (no clear reason was given for the mail being returned). Everything went back to normal when regular letter carrier returned from his/her holidays.

On Wednesday afternoon (September 10th), a US customer emailed (and called) me asking if Capitalware’s address had changed because a check was returned to them. They had the last part of the mailing address as “London, ON – Ontario, CA”. I originally thought the issue was that the check went to “Ontario, California” (that city actually exists).

On Thursday (September 11th), I went to the UPS Store and discovered (1) that I had no mail and (2) the UPS franchisee had put a letter in each mailbox saying that Canada Post would no longer deliver mail to the UPS Store unless it include the “Unit 11″ and “PMB###” (rather than Suite ###). I only go to the UPS Store once (sometimes twice) a week because I really don’t receive that much mail on a weekly basis.

Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s) claim, the following is the correct format and the only acceptable format (even though the UPS Store has been in business for many years using the old format):

Capitalware Inc.
Unit 11, 1673 Richmond Street, PMB524
London, Ontario N6G2N3
CANADA

Freaking out, I started reviewing what I “should” have received at the beginning of the month. Besides the unknown number of checks from customers, I was missing 2 bank statements (CDN & USA), 2 MasterCard statements (CDN & USA) and Revenue Canada monthly payroll form. Revenue Canada is like the US’s IRS, they don’t care if “your dog ate your homework”, you must make your payments on time or else be fined. In Canada, a company’s payroll taxes MUST be paid by the 15th of every month or you will receive a fine, maybe a penalty and interest charges.

I immediately called the bank about the address and found out that yes both statements were already mailed at the beginning of the month. I asked about another copy and they said there would be a cost but I could switch to electronic statements and print them out (free of charge). I said perfect and no more mail issues.

I immediately called MasterCard and asked about my missing statements and if I could get electronic statements and they said yes. I said perfect and no more mail issues.

I immediately called Revenue Canada about the address and found out that not only did they send me the payroll form at the beginning of the month, they had also sent the quarterly HST form (HST is similar to VAT in Europe). Revenue Canada person (who was helpful) said they would resend both forms to the new address but I still needed to pay the payroll taxes by the 15th. There is zero chance that I will receive the payroll form by the 15th, so basically, I’m screwed. So thank you, you bunch of vengeful, petty, Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s).

And to put a cherry on top of my problems, early this week, I placed a huge order with VistaPrint for supplies (i.e. banners, signs, materials, etc..) for the upcoming conference. I used the original address because at the time, I did not know that the Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s) were screwing me. Of course, VistaPrint uses Canada Post to deliver the supplies. I called VistaPrint about the address but the order had shipped. I called Canada Post, gave them the tracking number, explained the situation and asked if the “Unit 11″ could be added to the shipping address. The woman said no. I asked if a note could be added to the file with the “Unit 11″ and she said no. She said if the address is wrong that it would be returned to the sender and there was nothing that could be done. She said to call back on Monday (delivery day) and “if” the packages were held at the sorting station then they “might” be able to help otherwise, the packages would be returned to the sender. So, basically, I’m screwed!!

I’m not the only small business affected at the UPS Store as there are well over a hundred mailboxes, hence, a lot of small business are affected by these vengeful, petty, Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s).

Of course, you are asking why am I blaming Canada Post’s unionized letter carrier(s), well, they are on a “work to rule” campaign because Canada Post wants to layoff letter carriers to cut costs as Canada Post is losing billions of dollars every year. So, the unionized letter carriers are rejecting any and all mail that does not perfectly follow the mailing address rules. So, they punishing the customers!! Instead of making sure that their customers want to use the postal system more (meaning more revenue), nope, they are doing everything they can to piss-off their customers and drive away business. Talk about “Cutting off the nose to spite the face” or “biting the hand that feeds you”, not very bright.

– Did the Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s) send me postal mail saying that they were going to return all of my incoming mail because of an addressing issue? No.

– Did the Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s) call me or send me an email (both are available via Google) that they were going to return all of my incoming mail because of an addressing issue? No.

– Did the Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s) make ANY attempt to contact me? No.

When I was really young (a long, long time ago), I lived in a really, REALLY small town in Quebec. We used to have garbage pickup twice a week by a guy in a pickup truck (I’m not kidding). At some point, the town decided that they needed to save money and do garbage pickup (by a guy in a pickup) once a week. Things change and people get used to it.

For 15-20 years, everyone has been saying that Canada Post (actually all postal systems) are in the same boat as horse-drawn carriages and buggy whips were in 100+ years ago. It is a business with a very dismal future and if you work in this industry, it doesn’t take a genius to know that at some point most postal workers are going to be laid off. Pissing off your customers, trying to do financial harm and hardship to your customers is the stupidest thing you could do and only shows how vengeful, petty, Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s) are.

Given this behavior of these vengeful, petty people, I say, lets accelerate the future and bring this problem to a boiling point faster.

– I have already switched my business bank and MasterCard statements to electronic statements, so that is 4 less pieces of mail to be delivered.

– I’m going to try and get as many customers as possible to pay by wire transfer rather than send checks.

– Next, in my personal life, this weekend I am switching my gas and hydro statements to electronic statements. I’ll get my bank (personal accounts) and 4 credit cards switched to electronic statements plus I have a bunch of other financial stuff (i.e trading accounts), I’ll need to figure out if I can switch them. Finally, I’ll need to find out if my insurance companies (I have 3) will allow me to switch to electronic statements.

When it is all said and done, I should just about eliminated all postal mail (except for the stupid junk mail, which goes straight into the recycle bin anyway).

Will Canada join me in getting rid of postal mail? If you need a reason other than getting rid of vengeful, petty, Canada Post unionized letter carrier(s) then think about how much better for the environment it will be if we stopped cutting down trees for paper when you can get everything electronically.

Come Canada, do it for the environment. If people accelerated the switch to electronic statements NOW, then in no time, there will be no need for daily mail delivery and it too can become a weekly event just like garbage collection. Hence, Canada Post could get rid of most of the letter carriers and hopefully stop losing billions and billions of dollars every year which is covered by our taxes! I want my tax dollars to go to something important like health care and not daily mail delivery.

Actually, here’s a wild idea, if we have weekly garbage collection and weekly mail delivery, why not combine them? The garbage man/woman has to come to your home to pickup your garbage, so they could drop off your mail at the same time (we wouldn’t even need those super mailboxes). Kill 2 birds with a single stone and everybody will get home mail deliver (and think of the cost savings!). Food for thought.

So, join me today Canada, switch your postal mail to electronic format today!

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

Capitalware, General Leave a comment

WebSphere MQ FixPack 7.5.0.4 Released

IBM has just released FixPack 7.5.0.4 for WebSphere MQ
http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21682720

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

Linux, MQ, Unix, Windows Leave a comment

MQTC v2.0.1.4 Gold Sponsor: IBM

Capitalware would like to announce that IBM is a Gold Sponsor of MQ Technical Conference v2.0.1.4 (MQTC).

For more information, please go to: http://www.mqtechconference.com

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

Capitalware, Education, MQ, MQ Technical Conference Leave a comment

3 Weeks until MQ Technical Conference

MQ Technical Conference v2.0.1.4 (MQTC) is only 3 weeks away – September 29 to October 1, 2014 at Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, Ohio.

MQTC will offer 85+ sessions that are designed to enhance the skills of IT professionals who are using IBM’s WebSphere MQ on AIX, HP-UX, IBM i (OS/400), Linux, Solaris, Windows and z/OS.

The regular price for the conference is only $399.00 which includes 3 days of MQ sessions, breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks!!! That’s $133 a day to be feed and trained.

    Reasons to attend:

  • 85 technical sessions – 43 unique technical sessions
  • 13 vendor sessions
  • 19 MQ speakers – 8 from IBM
  • MQ Sessions for all major platforms including z/OS
  • Breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks are included
  • Hor d’oeuvres served between 5:30PM and 7:30PM in the Vendor Pavilion
  • Regular price is $399.00 per attendee

For more information, please go to: www.mqtechconference.com

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

Capitalware, Education, MQ, MQ Technical Conference Leave a comment

MQTC v2.0.1.4 Schedule Updated

I’ve made some small modifications to the schedule at www.mqtechconference.com/schedule.html

A session list by topics can be found at www.mqtechconference.com/sessions.html

Here is a list of sessions by speaker:

Technical Sessions:

Mark Taylor of IBM:
– What’s New in IBM Messaging
– IBM MQ Disaster Recovery
– IBM MQ Internals, Performance and Tuning For Distributed Platforms

Lyn Elkins of IBM:
– IBM MQ for z/OS: Latest Features Deep Dive
– IBM MQ in a ‘plex: Shared queues and applications
– New with MQ V8 on z/OS: Channel statistics and accounting

Lyn Elkins & Mark Taylor of IBM:
– IBM MQ: Are z/OS and distributed platforms like oil and water?

Morag Hughson of IBM:
– MQ CHLAUTH rules – including V8 changes
– MQ SSL/TLS Channels – including V8 changes
– MQ Connection Authentication (new in V8)

Dave Ware of IBM:
– MQ Publish/subscribe topics – objects, nodes, strings…?
– Publish/subscribe in an MQ network – including V8 changes
– What can you achieve with MQ clusters?

Matthew Whitehead of IBM:
– MQ Light session
– MFT session
– JMS 2.0 – supported by MQ V8

Chris Frank of IBM:
– Considerations when using IBM MQ and JMS with JEE Application Servers
– So You Think You Understand Multi-Instance Queue Managers?
– Performance Considerations with IBM MQ and IBM Integration Bus

T.Rob Wyatt of IoPT Consulting:
– How To Build & Operate a Certificate Management Center of Mediocrity
– WMQ Toolbox: 20 Scripts, One-liners, & Utilities for UNIX & Windows
– What I did on my summer vacation (in Hursley)

Bobbee Broderick of IBM:
– High Availability Option for MQ
– Integration Bus Overview
– WLM and Policy in Integration Bus

Paul Clarke of MQGem Software:
– Keeping MQ Channels Up and Running
– MQ Clients
– MQ Triggering

Glen Brumbaugh of TxMQ:
– IBM MQ Performance Analysis
– SSL and TLS Explained: A User Perspective
– IBM MQ “Golden Image” Queue Managers

Roger Lacroix of Capitalware:
– Introduction to MQ
– IMS Adapter and Bridge Overview
– MQ Security with CA ACF2

Suganya Rane of Prolifics:
– Migrate from older versions of MQ to MQV7.1/7.5/8.0
– An Overview of MQ Clustering

Barry Lamkin of IBM:
– The top ten issues in IBM MQ and WebSphere MB

Tim Zielke of AON:
– IBM MQ Problem Determination on Linux

Allan Bartleywood of TxMQ:
– IBM MQ Just Works

Cindy Gregoire of TxMQ:
– IIB Scalability & Performance Management

Peter D’Agosta of Avada Software:
– The Value of MQ Stats by Business Unit

Richard Nikula of Nastel:
– Leveraging WBI (Broker) Monitoring

Bob Zerbe of BMC:
– Using WebSphere Exits to Track Transactions Thru Composite Applications

Vendor Sessions:

Roger Lacroix of Capitalware:
– Application API Tracking
– File transfer with Universal File Mover
– MQAUSX & MQ v8 Authentication

Peter D’Agosta of Avada Software:
– The Value of Visibility Amongst Interconnected Middleware Assets
– Infrared360 and the Internet of Relevant Things

Richard Nikula of Nastel:
– Beyond just monitoring MQ
– If You Can’t Clone Yourself… Delegate!

Allan Bartleywood of TxMQ:
– TxMQ Introduces WebSphere MQ Performance Pack

Paul Clarke of MQGem Software:
– MO71’s Hidden Gems

Barry Lamkin of IBM:
– Application Performance Management

For more information, please go to: http://www.mqtechconference.com

So, hopefully there is lots of MQ content that will keep attendees busy for 3 days. :)

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

Capitalware, Education, MQ, MQ Technical Conference Leave a comment

Shortlist of Open Source Software that I Use

I read this article today: Shortlist of open source software used at NASA lab and I thought I should do a quick write up of the open source (and free) software that I use.

I develop/create software under 3 umbrellas: open source, licensed as free and commercial. About half of the software is written in C and the other half is written in Java. The target platforms are AIX, HP-UX (RISC & IA64), IBM i (OS/400), Linux (x86, x86_64, POWER & zSeries), Mac OS X, Solaris (SPARC & x86_64), Windows and z/OS (mainframe).

Open Source Operating Systems that I use:

– Fedora Core 4 x86 64-bit (yes, it is old but some customers are back-leveled)
– Fedora 9 x86 64-bit
– SLES 11 SP2 x86 32-bit
– SLES 11 SP2 x86 64-bit
– SLES 11 on POWER 64-bit
– SLES 10 on z/Series 64-bit

My main development desktop PC runs Windows 7 (64-bit). Yes, I could run a desktop Linux distribution and someday I may but for now, I am very efficient using Windows.

Here is a list of open source (or free) software that I use:

Eclipse (for Java and C development) is, in my opinion, the best IDE for programmers.
Microsoft Visual C++ Express 2010
Microsoft Visual C# Express 2010
Oracle JDK (many versions)
Open Object REXX
Apache HTTP Server
Inno Setup is an installer for Windows programs.
LibreOffice (alternative to Microsoft Office)
Eudora is an email client (alternative to Outlook)
Firefox is a web browser
PDFCreator is simple tool but is awesome. It is an application for converting any document into a PDF document.
Adobe Reader is a PDF viewer
WinAmp is a great music player
CDex is a CD ripper
Irfanview is a graphic viewer
Kee Pass 2 a tool for managing your passwords
PuTTY for logging into Unix / Linux servers
TN5250J for logging into IBM i (OS/400) servers
x3270 for logging into z/OS (mainframe) servers
TightVNC for controlling other servers (Windows, Linux or Unix)
Skype
FAR is a great file manager
Visual Diff is a really good program that compares the contents of 2 files
7-Zip is a file archiver
Virtual CloneDrive allows you to mount ISO, BIN & CCD files
Cobian and RoboCopy are great programs to backup / synchronize your files (BACKUP YOUR FILES!!!)

Even though I have Visual C++ Express IDE installed, I don’t use it. I use Eclipse and makefiles for my C development. I rarely do any GUI development in C, so switching back and forth between Visual C++ Express IDE and Eclipse just slows me down. Hence, I can code much faster if I just stay in Eclipse and do all of my development in it. And yes, I said I use makefiles. Developers get so freaked-out when you say makefiles. But there is nothing wrong with using makefiles. All it means is that the developer needs to understand what components his/her project uses. I have to use makefiles on AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris, IBM i (OS/400) and z/OS (JCL actually), so what is wrong with using makefiles on Windows? Absolutely nothing.

I create/update all of the product manuals (open source, licensed as free and commercial) using LibreOffice. I currently have roughly 100 product manuals and I have no issues using LibreOffice. It works really well and I like the 1-click button to create a PDF.

My contribution to the open source community is to create and publish open source projects of my own. I have created 9 top-level open source projects and hundreds of 1-off programs that can be found: C code, COBOL code, Java code, Jython code and Rexx code.

So, if you are not using and/or contributing to the open source community, give it a try, you might like it and learn something new.

Finally, if you are a developer or not, make sure you backup your stuff. Besides, Cobian and RoboCopy, there are lots of open source programs to backup your important files, pictures, code, documents, etc. It doesn’t matter what you use, just use something.

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

C, Capitalware, IBM i (OS/400), Java, Linux, Mac OS X, Open Source, Programming, Rexx, Unix, Windows, z/OS Leave a comment

Mozilla Firefox 32.0 Released

Mozilla Firefox has just released Mozilla Firefox v32.0.
http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/

Mozilla Firefox is a free and open source web browser descended from the Mozilla Application Suite and managed by Mozilla Corporation. To display web pages, Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine, which implements most current web standards in addition to several features that are intended to anticipate likely additions to the standards

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

Linux, Mac OS X, Open Source, Windows Leave a comment

MQTC v2.0.1.4 Silver Sponsor: NetFlexity

Capitalware would like to announce that NetFlexity is a Silver Sponsor of MQ Technical Conference v2.0.1.4 (MQTC).

For more information, please go to: http://www.mqtechconference.com

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

Capitalware, Education, MQ, MQ Technical Conference Leave a comment

Bob Zerbe will be Speaking at MQTC

Bob Zerbe of BMC will be speaking at Capitalware’s MQ Technical Conference v2.0.1.4 (MQTC). Bob Zerbe will be presenting the following session at MQTC:

  • Using WebSphere Exits to Track Transactions Thru Composite Applications

For more information about MQTC, please go to:
http://www.mqtechconference.com

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

Capitalware, Education, MQ, MQ Technical Conference Leave a comment

4 Weeks until MQ Technical Conference

MQ Technical Conference v2.0.1.4 (MQTC) is only 4 weeks away – September 29 to October 1, 2014 at Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, Ohio.

MQTC will offer 85+ sessions that are designed to enhance the skills of IT professionals who are using IBM’s WebSphere MQ on AIX, HP-UX, IBM i (OS/400), Linux, Solaris, Windows and z/OS.

The regular price for the conference is only $399.00 which includes 3 days of MQ sessions, breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks!!! That’s $133 a day to be feed and trained.

    Reasons to attend:

  • 85 technical sessions – 43 unique technical sessions
  • 13 vendor sessions
  • 19 MQ speakers – 8 from IBM
  • MQ Sessions for all major platforms including z/OS
  • Breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks are included
  • Hor d’oeuvres served between 5:30PM and 7:30PM in the Vendor Pavilion
  • Regular price is $399.00 per attendee

For more information, please go to: www.mqtechconference.com

Regards,
Roger Lacroix
Capitalware Inc.

Capitalware, Education, MQ, MQ Technical Conference Leave a comment