Posts for Tag: wtf

Adventures at the Indian embassy (or how Portuguese services suck)

Where should i start? Ah, yes, the motivation: In about a month i am supposed to go to India in a business trip and - as such - i will require a visa.

I went to the embassy on Wednesday morning only to find out that visa applications are not handled on Wednesdays. Just my luck! It was clearly my fault, since i did not properly check the opening times on their - extremely hard to find - website. Did i mention you spend one hour in traffic just to get there? Suffice to say i was pissed, though mostly at myself. I did try to call them, but the automated response only directed people to their website. Why they bother having a phone is beyond me.

The next day i went back again (1 more hour in traffic) and finally got a ticket. The system works like this: You wait in the streets until a security guard calls you. Then he checks to see if your papers are all in order, and finally gives you a numbered ticket and sends you into the actual waiting/service room where you... wait some more. I arrived at the gate at around 11 am. I got ticket number 35. The embassy opens at 9.30 and they only had served around 19 tickets. I did my math and promptly went back home, at the risk of spending the entire day waiting. Again - probably my fault - but one should take some time to see the number of people that uses our services and get the appropriate amount of workers to be able to deal with them in a timely fashion. Two workers for 50 people, when the average time per person is 20 minutes, will not work.

Third day: Decided that i should be one of the first people to get there and get a ticket. Left home around 8 am. Arrived at the embassy at 9:15. Got ticket number 4. Not bad. Funny fact about lines in portugal: they don't exist. I arrived at the embassy gate and there were around 10 people there already (the embassy opens at 9.30, though they only started actually working at 10). I asked politely "is there a line?" and was greeted with the response "not really, you know how it is with us portuguese, we just remember who came first". This is exactly the kind of crap that pisses me off: lack of order and organization. But then again, looking at my living room right now, i shouldn't really complain :)

So, i got my number and went ahead into the waiting room. Now, the website states that - for business visas - one is required the following:

- Invitation letter from the Indian partner,

OR

- Invitation letter from the Portuguese company explaining the details of the visit.

Note the emphasized "OR".

After waiting for roughly 30 minutes, the lady tells me that i'm missing a letter from my company (i only had the one from the Indian company). I tried to explain that the website said i only needed that one but there was nothing that could be done. She told me how long it would take, explained that it had to be analyzed by two different entities and told me how much it would cost. Since - up until then - i saw everyone paying in cash i decided it would be a good idea to ask if they accepted cards. No cards. Really? What century is this? And you could put out a sign explaining that so that i would know about it - oh call me crazy - before i waited in line or - i don't know - you could put it IN YOUR WEBSITE?

So here's my summary of improvements, if anyone closely related to the Indian embassy in Portugal reads this and cares enough to help people not waste their time and money getting a freaking visa:

Update your website! Seriously, read that again: Update your website. It's the 21st century and pretty much everyone uses the web to know information about this kind of things; Put up a sign that you do not take cards as a method of payment. I do understand why you make the entrance process so explicitly phased, but people need to know what to count on when they get in there. I don't want to stand in line for 1 hour (a very typical case, trust me) only to find out i cannot pay with my card. Also, see point number 1! Get more people working there. Clearly the waiting times should tell you that you are understaffed.

There, ended up being constructive. I feel much better now :)

UPDATE: As a good friend of mine very well pointed out, i should help other people find their website :)

I would bet on this horse

Seal skin? Really, Crowne Plaza?!?

This is my fourth time in Amsterdam since i started working remotely. Obviously, once i moved back to Portugal i took all my belongings there and gave up my house in Holland so, every time i come to Amsterdam i have to stay at an hotel in the city. I have experienced three, so far: the Movenpick, the NH Caransa (in Rembrandtplein), and the Crowne Plaza.

All of them are pretty good hotels, though my preference goes definitely to the Movenpick. Probably because they are located in a place that was stolen from the waters, hence allowing them to build a proper hotel building, and not confined to an old historic, small, city centre edification. This means the rooms are bigger, and the whole place looks - well - newer. It is also closer to the central train station, though further from the city centre. But i still prefer it even though their website is done in Coldfusion. Sorry for the geeky comment but i could not help myself :)

But this post is not about the hotels; this post is about something i noticed this morning while showering at the Crowne Plaza. Turns out that the shower curtains in that place are made by a company called "SealSkin". That's right, seal skin.

Now, i'm no hardcore environmentalist, but i would assume the Plaza (and especially this company) to be a bit more sensitive about company names. Is this a thing from older times, when wearing skin was fashionable, or do typical 4/5 star hotel customers (i'm guessing filthy rich business men) still think like this?

Reddit's RSS only shows article titles

Am i the only one who is pissed off by this? Aren't RSS feeds supposed to be the awesome way of consuming information? And for what? Web page hits? Here's a newsflash, dudes, your website isn't that good looking :)

Here's what i mean: http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/.rss

Can't touch this (iphone) nah, nah nah nah

Ok, this is so freaking hilarious that i cannot help it but sharing. It seems that, when faced with the impossibility of using their iPhones with gloves on, some Koreans have started using miniature sausages (yes, sausages) for that effect. It seems that the composition of the sausage is similar enough to a human finger for the touch screen to work.

I wonder what someone in the 80s would say if you told them that - in the future - people will use sausages as a way to interact with computers...