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August 09, 2003

Superlube - Pembina Review

Rating: So-So

Normally I find Superlube to be quick and efficient. On my last visit I was disappointed. I've never seen anyone clean windows worse than on this visit. The service personnel did not check my tire pressure or fluid levels, let alone top them up. The person dripped oil in my engine compartment, something I hate. The bill says 10w30 even though I asked for 5w30, who knows what was actually put into the vehicle. The bill also lists a whole bunch of things they "checked", but I doubt they did. The person also didn't seem to be following their standard safety procedures, nor were they very alert or attentive.

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August 06, 2003

Eastwood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Service Review

Eastwood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Service
Rating: So-So

I've been pretty happy with most of my vehicle service at Eastwood. They are friendly, close to work, and handle work quickly and professionally. However the last service event was rather disappointing. Due to the cold weather they were skipping the usual car wash and doing an interior cleaning instead, this didn't happen. On receiving the vehicle back, I found the steering wheel and some door fabric covered in greasy dirt. There was also a dirty shop towel left in the car. On the exterior, there was evidence that something had been dragged over the hood of the vehicle. Under the hood, some liquid, appeared to be oil, had been dripped in the engine compartment and all the way out onto the body work and no noticeable evidences of any effort to clean it. Later I spotted a dent in the upper door frame which is supicious of someone leaning on the vehicle with a tool in their hand. Don't know conclusively if that came from Eastwood, but there aren't any other occasions that come to mind which could have generated that.

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August 05, 2003

MTS (& Escape) Internet Review

MTS (& Escape) Internet
Rating: So-So

I've had DSL service with Escape (now MTS) for several years. It has been a bunch of problems, but can I expect or should I expect better from a low cost service, I think so.
Early problems:
- Interference with the phones, even with a filter, additional noise is present, adding two filters to the same phone seems to help
- Frequent disconnections, inability to reconnect for long periods
- The joys of PPPoE, namely the very poor software which would frequently lock up my machine and the "MTU" problem, which requires reconfiguring your machine for a non-standard MTU
- Untrained tech support, their procedure manual had 3 steps (1) reboot modem 2) reinstall PPPoE software 3) Reinstall windows) for every problem, occasionally steps 1 or 2 would work, I always refused to perform step 3 and it was never the issue, nonetheless, as soon as I refuse that step, tech support ends
- No notification or notices of outages or changes
Problems encountered with Escape after MTS purchase:
- While constant phone noise is removed by the filters, the ADSL modem appears to train itself into an audible frequency occasionally and its impossible to use the phone
- Mail servers are unreliable, outages for ~15min/day plus a couple hour outage per week
- Tech support still pretty unhelpful, but improved
- Incorrect billing
- Frequent outages of the DNS servers
Problems encountered after switch to MTS:
- Switch over from Escape was poorly documented, username and passwords provided were wrong, MTS contact information was wrong, no information was provided as to how to access to new servers (email, www, etc.), my website was transferred between servers numerous times incorrectly, each time overwriting the fixed version I had installed
- Overly dynamic IP, using their Radius system I assume, a new IP is generated for each connection and the old one given out quickly, rather annoying if you want to connect to your system, while a dynamic IP is part of the service, DHCP can provide a more static IP for those who are "always on", this is a new system and while the switch over was announced, it occurred before the date stated in the announcement
- Still have fairly frequent disconnections, perhaps every other day
- MTS switched their billing system and that required me to reinstate my service agreements, according to their documentation, I needed to do this between 12:00 and 12:01 on the switch over date. As it turns out, couldn't change anything on that date or for a month afterwards, luckily everything sorted itself out
- Invisible caching proxy server for www, while most everyone is using one of these, this one is particularly poorly configured, stale content is encountered frequently without recourse to update, pages are cached with errors in them, pages are half cached so they have mixed new/old information, pages become inaccessible
Update:
- A modem replacement has reduced the number of disconnections and interference, although the modem does get in a state where its connected and can reconnect but cannot pass traffic and needs to be re-powered
- I don't use the mail servers at home any longer, however I use them at work and the problems continue even after numerous upgrades to improve service
- Tech support has improved, they can actually solve some of my problems now
- The web proxy is less noticeable but still problematic for low traffic sites it appears
- Major changes made to the email/spam system without notification which resulted in blocking my email
- Outgoing email is spam/virus filtered, but not bounce back if it fails (i.e. there is no way to tell if your email is being delivered or not)

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