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Archive for January, 2013

TNT Sucks

TNT Sucks

TNT is not so well known as a courier. Maybe it’s better that way. Nobody should ever use TNT as a courier. Their service is poor and they charge a lot for this very poor service.

Context of our 4-hour experience with TNT is as follows. After my wife had spent an entire morning trying to get TNT to get their collective behinds together I fired off the following polite message (at lunchtime):

I am writing on behalf of my wife, who wasted about 4 hours today trying to get your service to import a document, all in vain (the service was very unsatisfactory). When she used the E-mail address you gave her it bounced back with an error (see below). So I am attempting to send it from my own account. Please phone her to acknowledge receipt of this message with this form.



Dr. Roy S. Schestowitz

Attached was the completed form, already nicely scanned and ready for action from TNT (where immediate service should be critical given their target customers).

Here is my wife’s original message:

To whom it may concern

I am not a client of TNT yet. Here is the information needed for me to do any transaction with the above courier.

No response all day. In fact, it bounced although it was sent to the correct address. The error received was as follows:

Reporting-MTA: dns;

Action: failed
Status: 5.1.1
Diagnostic-Code: X-Notes;… not
listed in Domino Directory

After wasting an entire day losing valuable time and suffering a bit of fury and anger (directed only at TNT) we decided to throw TNT where it belongs, or rather, throw some TNT at TNT:

My wife and I would like to cancel this transacting. Your service has been utterly appalling and the excuses very poor. Your staff is unable to communicate internally, so the explanation needed to be provided 5 times. The E-mail to your address, which you provided repeatedly, bounced back to the sender with the following message from IBM Domino (it had been sent from Yahoo!, which is no ISP/relay that should be blacklisted).

So, after forms and details had been prepared for hours this proved to be an exercise in futility. 5 times in recent months we used DHL and never have we had to jumped through such hoops and receive deficient service. TNT said they would call when the order is received, but no contact was made. In fact, rather than the customer coming first it seemed assured that we were way down the list because we are no Big Business which makes up a large source of revenue for TNT. Keeping the customers waiting in vain is worse than doing nothing at all. We will never do business with TNT again and we shall discourage others who ponder doing so.


Dr. Roy S. Schestowitz

If this post harms TNT’s reputation, then we are happy, not sorry. TNT deserves this.

Fullstack Circuit

Age 31, 89 KG, after a one-hour workout session, all natural (no supplements). This video was taken just a couple of hours ago despite the fact I had done a heavy workout beforehand. In the future I will do more repetitions, not just 4-5. In my early 20s I could do better, but on the shoulder press I struggled a little at maximum weight.

Medivasc Ltd.

Heart-shaped flower

A side project of mine, FXI/Medivasc, has a new Web site with some new layout that incorporates animation. I only used Free software to produce all the graphics.

Prof. Black Explains US Economy

The following show covers many of the key issues people must be aware of if they ever wish to know what caused the fiscal crisis, which is actually a passage of wealth from the poor and the middle class to those who cheat the system, and are typically already highly affluent. This audiocast is not a time waster.

Here is some background on William K. Black.

Aaron Swartz on Stopping SOPA


Graphically Managing Server-hosted Drives (Over SSH)

On interacting with various file servers or client servers as through they are local


Sometimes we may wish to allow users, logged in remotely (away from their main workstations) or wishing to connect to another host where essential files are located, to access those files. A convenient way to achieve this without proprietary protocols is SSH in SCP ‘mode’, meaning that OpenSSH is being used to gather information about remote filesystems and pass files across the network upon demand. There is a convenient ways to manage this in UNIXy file managers These are unified by the universal command-line syntax, but the front ends may vary and be based on Qt, GTK, etc. Here is a demonstration of how it is to be achieved in Dolphin (KDE) in order to remotely log in to an SSH-enabled (running sshd) host.

Connecting to the Server

File managers typically have an address bar, which in simplified interfaces are not editable unless one clicks the universally-accepted CTRL+L (for location), which then replaces a breadcrumbs-styled interface with an editable line. Here is an example of Dolphin before and after.


Now, enter the address of the server with the syntax understood by the file manager, e.g. for KDE:

fish://[USER name]@[SERVER address]

One can add ":[DIRECTORY path]" to ascend/descend in the accessed server.

The syntax is the same for Konqueror and a few other file managers, with the exception of the “fish://” part, which is handled by kio. Here is what the password prompt/dialogue may look like.


Syntax may vary where the protocol, SSH in this case, is specified, but the port number if always the same and Nautilus can handle this too. Once the remote filesystem is shows like a local file system it can be dragged into the shortcuts pane, bookmarked, or whatever the file manager permits for fast access, including the facility for remembering the password/s (handled by kwallet in KDE).

The Nautilus Way

I have installed Nautilus to document the process for Nautilus as well.

The process can be done with the GUI in Nautilus. This is to be achieved slightly differently and it take a little longer. Here are simple steps:

Step 1

Open Nautilus (installed under KDE in this instance, using Qt Curve in this case).


Step 2

Collapse the “File” menu.


Click “Connect to Server…”

Step 3

Choose SSH, unless another protocol is desired in this case.


Step 4

Enter the server name (or IP address). Optionally enter the port number (if different from the standard port for this protocol), path (called “Folder”) and of course the username (“User Name”). Shortcuts can be created by using the options beneath.


Step 5

Finally, enter the password and access is then granted.


By keeping passwords in memory or disk one can more rapidly and transparently access the remote drive again, reaching files seamlessly.

Working on Files Remotely

This is where a lot of power can be derived from the above process. Using KIO slaves in KDE, for instance, files can be opened as though they are stored locally and when an application saves (applied changes) to those files, KIO will push the changed file into the remote file store (working in the background). This means that headless servers can be interacted with as though they are part of the machines that access them. No need for X Server, either. Since many machines out there are configured to be minimal (no graphical desktop), this sure proves handy.


WordPress for Galleries

A new site I’ve launched, Maria Chain, uses a blogging software, WordPress, to act as a sort of photos gallery. This is the first time I set up such a Web site, presenting an artistic portfolio using WordPress.

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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