Archive for May 28th, 2008

A fog free day

Hi Mike,

After your parting wish of a fog free day this morning just before your insightful announcement that ACTION's new direction would not fit in before the news, I felt compelled to tell you how much I like fog. I've always been quite partial to a good fog.

I do remember one day in winter of 2006 at work on a particularly foggy day when I commented about the "nice fog" one of my co-workers informed me that there was nothing appealing about a fog. Naturally I disagreed, fogs are wonderful mysterious things that change the visual landscape in a different way every time, some bits are thick and other bits aren't…and it wafts, I love a fog of varying density that wafts. There is something very special about standing in a fog with a torch and watching the beam of light change as the fog wafts past.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart

1 comment May 28th, 2008 at 05:30pm

Who wants my job?

On Monday I resigned from my job as Senior Customer Service Representative at AussieHQ for mostly personal reasons. The job has now been advertised, so the question now is who will get it when I leave?

AussieHQ Senior Customer Service Representative
AussieHQ Senior Customer Service Representative
(Image taken from the Seek version of the job advertisement)

If this sounds like the job for you, then you might as well apply because I won’t be in the job for much longer. The job advertisement can be found on Seek, CapitalJobs and Whirlpool.

Other jobs currently on offer at AussieHQ
Customer Service Representative: SeekCapitalJobsWhirlpool
Customer Service Manager: SeekCapitalJobsWhirlpool
Assistant Manager – Corporate Services: SeekCapitalJobs
Accounts Receivable Officer: SeekCapitalJobs

For what it’s worth, I have every intention of remaining a customer of AussieHQ and think anybody who is interested in one of the available jobs will enjoy the work environment. For those of you who do decide to apply, best of luck with your application.

Samuel

1 comment May 28th, 2008 at 12:23pm

Frank and Dale are back

I’m a tad late welcoming them back, but none-the-less, welcome back to the only animated online series (Samuel In Dolgnwot) excluded, that has really every interested me. Frank and Dale are back for a second series. A quick warning though, there is some coarse language so if you don’t want to hear coarse language, don’t follow the link.

By the way, do any of the 2UE (or associated network stations) listeners recognise one of the character voices? I’m not going to say any more than that right now…maybe next week if nobody gets it earlier.

Samuel

4 comments May 28th, 2008 at 11:24am

Can anybody identify the music please?

It’s been driving me nuts since the beginning of the NRL season, so I’m hoping somebody here knows the answer.

2CC have been using the following as one of their program intros for the Continuous Call Team (their NRL coverage sourced from 2GB in Sydney) this year. It sounds like something which is commercially available rather than production music to my untrained ear, but it is a long way out of my usually preferred genres of music.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download MP3

If anybody recognises the music, feel free to leave a comment below or email me. If necessary, as a token of my appreciation, I can reward the first person to identify it with something more interesting than a picture of Tim Campbell hosting Million Dollar Wheel Of Fortune (although to be fair, that could be just about everything on the face of the planet).

Samuel

3 comments May 28th, 2008 at 08:24am

How can this possibly be illegal?

Apparently Japanese robots can have you arrested for calling them multiple times…

TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese man was arrested for calling a food company’s toll-free number 500 times in 16 months because he wanted to hear the woman’s voice on the automated tape, police said on Monday.

The 38-year-old plumber, who was arrested on Sunday, made 3,100 hours worth of free calls to the company, costing it almost 4 million yen (19,500 pounds) in phone bills, a police spokesman in Takasaki, northwest of Tokyo, said.

“He gets excited by the woman’s voice on the guidance tape,” the spokesman said, adding that the voice sounded normal to the detective who was involved in the investigation.

Source: Reuters

So what is the crime here? A business has a “toll-free” telephone number which effectively means that the business pay for the calls they receive instead of the caller. This is a very common practice, in Australia it is generally used in the form of numbers with a “1800” prefix (usually no cost to the caller) or a “13” prefix (usually at a cost of 25 cents to the caller). These numbers are generally setup to provide some element of convenience to the caller such as an easier to remember number or reduced call cost in the case of a business which expects calls from outside their local area. The cost to the business operating the toll-free number varies depending on factors such as the length of the call and location of the caller.

Most of these numbers are answered by an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, probably best described as a robot which directs your call to a particular person or department depending on the button you press or its (often amusingly bad) understanding of your spoken instructions. The automated messages which you hear from these IVR systems are generally professionally recorded by a voice artist which usually means that the message is well-spoken and the voice is at least remotely appealing…after all, you don’t want potential customers to hang up simply because they can’t stand the voice answering the phone.

As far as I can tell, this man was not harassing any of the human staff, in fact I don’t think he ever spoke to them as he was only interested in listening to the voice on the IVR. This leaves me wondering what he could possibly have done that was illegal. Whilst there are laws against harassing people on the phone by calling them multiple times when they don’t want you to, an IVR not only isn’t human, it’s also not going to be annoyed if somebody wants to keep listening to it.

Perhaps it is illegal to call a toll-free number with the intention of costing the other party money if you have no intention of doing business with them. That would be a very difficult law to write as I’m sure most of us have called a bank or telephone company’s toll free number with the intention of challenging a fee or billing error, which if proven would be a call for the sole intention of costing the other party money, although I suppose it could be argued that discussing an “accounts matter” is “doing business”. In that case I’ll expand on my theory. If you were to call a company to cancel business relationship with them immediately and your account balance was zero, it could be argued that this was a call for the purpose of “cancelling business” rather than “doing business” and as the call cost the company an amount, and a reasonable person would know that the call would cost the business an amount, the call was made with the intention of costing the business some amount of money.

It would make for incredibly bad publicity for the company (eg. a headline of “Man jailed for closing account over the phone” with the company named in the article would not be a good look for the company), but the conviction would stand. I think we can probably rule that out as a law in any sane society.

So what’s left? A law against admiring voices? I’m quite partial to the voice on the IVR in my current workplace, a voice which also happens to be used by the ticket system in many St. George Bank branches. Would I be breaking the law if I sat in a St. George Bank branch all day listening to “Ticket B5 to counter seven”? I doubt it.

I just can’t imagine a plausible law against what this man is accused of doing. If he knew that it was costing the business money to place the calls then I believe that he was ethically in the wrong, but it’s not illegal to be ethically wrong. As far as I can see, the only thing which he could possibly face is a civil lawsuit from the company to reclaim the cost of the calls, in which they would need to prove that:
1. He made the calls for a purpose other than the purpose for which the toll-free number was setup, and
2. He knew that it would cost the company money

From a legal perspective, the whole case sounds very flimsy. I’m not a lawyer, but I think they (the business receiving the calls) would be much better off getting their toll-free number provider to block calls from this man, or just reaching an agreement with the man that they will provide him with a copy of the IVR recordings on the condition that he does not call them again. I’m sure that the man would be happy with a copy of the IVR recordings as they would be of a higher quality than what he hears on the phone, and may even include some recordings he might not normally hear on the main menu.

I just hope that the police didn’t spend much time on this investigation. It seems like an amazing waste of police time and taxpayers’ funds to me.

Samuel

May 28th, 2008 at 01:04am


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