UPS My Choice: No Thanks!

2. August 2012 12:48 by Forrest C. Shields II in Reviews  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (1)

UPS My Choice...Paying for UPS's Convenience

I know. This is a technology blog. So how does a shipping company fit here. Well, I know it is stretching it a bit but I have quite a few electronic items shipped to me on a regular basis. The real truth is that I just had to comment on it and this is my only blog.

UPS currently has an advertising campaign pushing their free "My Choice" program. While it has some nice features such as advance delivery notifications via e-mail or text message (but not both!?!?), I was really interested in the capability to delay delivery of my packages if I was on vacation.

Once you are signed up, you can go to the UPS My Choice Vacation Settings page. You are given the following notice:

For vacations lasting up to 14 days, you can reschedule your deliveries for a later date.
For vacations lasting up to 7 days, you can either reschedule your deliveries for a later date, or deliver your shipments to a UPS Retail Location (e.g., The UPS Store).
...
Note: A transaction fee will be charged for each package delivered during your vacation period.

Wait a minute... "A transaction fee"? What's that? Why won't they tell me what the fee is?

There is no further help on the page. So after a little digging in other areas of their site, I come to discover that I will need to pay $5.00, per package, to have them delay delivery!  So now I see why they didn't put the rate on the page...they are embarrassed about how much they are asking.

Why does this cost so much? Well, I'll tell you why it shouldn't:

  1. I'm saving the UPS driver 3 delivery attempts by letting them know I'm on vacation.
  2. I'm saving UPS the cost of sending the package(s) back to sender if I'm not there for 3 days.
  3. A per-package fee!  Come on! The work the driver has to do is the same for 3 packages as it is for 1.
  4. All of this happens in the sorting centers, not on the truck anyway.
  5. Storing it at a UPS Store is practically a no-cost situation for you because they are the last stop for the delivery trucks at the end of the day, and they'd have to store the package for free for 3 days anyway during your redelivery attempts.

Quite honestly, I think that that this service should be free since it mostly benefits UPS. However, I'd be willing to pay up to $2 per vacation period for the feature since I also get some benefit. However, this just looks like another attempt to nickle-and-dime me out of my money. What could have been a marketing coup for UPS (if done correctly) has turned into a negative.

I've been a big fan of UPS in the past, but this is very disappointing.

Introducing the Raspberry Pi

3. July 2012 19:00 by Forrest C. Shields II in Embedded Systems, Raspberry Pi, Reviews  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

What is the Raspberry Pi?

It is a full-blown Linux computer with HDMI (1080p) output, USB ports, and General Purpose IO (GPIO) pins for expanadability... all for ony US$35!

Below you will find a link to the presentation that I gave on July 3rd to the Colorado Springs Embedded Systems Group:

     Raspberry Pi - ColoSpgs Embedded Systems Group.pdf (1.09 mb)

This was just a cursory introduction to the Raspberry Pi.  There will hopefully be more posts as I have time to play with my new board.

If you are interested in learning more about the Raspberry Pi, here is a list of the most useful resources:

Please give me feedback on your Raspberry Pi experiences.

About the author

Forrest C. Shields II is a Technology Consultant at iServices.com, LLC in Colorado Springs, CO USA. Forrest has worked as a consultant for over 22 years where he specializes in using technology to find solutions to business problems in the small-to-medium sized business sector. His expertise covers the entire spectrum of Microsoft products, including: SharePoint, Exchange, SQL Server, IIS, Hyper-V, and the entire Microsoft Office Suite.

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