Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Sony Customer Service; second to none?

Recently, I got caught in the whole Sony Vaio TZ fiasco and had to send off my machine for inspection and repair. While annoying that I should be subject to this at all, my experience with the resolution to the problem is actually worth blogging about ;-)

I am extremely impressed with Sony's approach to customer service. They did (almost) everything right :-
  • the 3 working day turnaround (they could easily have made me wait weeks)
  • an apologetic letter enclosed with the returned hardware
  • complimentary 2Gb Sony Microvault memory stick (nice)
  • new Vaio branded screen cleaning cloth (very nice as the one that came with it has seen better days)
  • friendly, helpful and local call centre staff on hand when I called up to check on progress with the repair
  • and last but not least, a nice clean machine and screen with problems resolved (laptops do get gunky after a while)
The only negative thing about the whole process was having to read about the problem in the press rather than being contacted directly by Sony themselves, even though they have my contact details that were registered when I bought the product. OK, it's a voluntary programme so I guess I can let this last point slide.

As far as I am concerned, this is the benchmark by which other companies should do business with their customers. OK, so the hardware isn't cheap, but I think this proves that you do get what you pay for (at least some of the time). It also shows that Sony actually care about and have respect for their customers feelings and opinions.

All this of course, means that Sony will keep their existing customers with the added bonus of the word of mouth effect working in their favour. It is so refreshing to see a company of this size still realising the importantance of customer satisfaction and having a duty of care *after* the sale, rather than stomping all over them or even worse, just ignoring them altogether.

Large unnamed corporates in competing hardware businesses would do well to take note of Sony's impressive example.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Time for a real blog

I've been hobbling along with an extremely basic Google Pages 'blog' (I use the term lightly) for a little while now.

Sadly, it doesn't have any of the features that I'll probably find rather useful going forward. Time for a change! So here I am, with a proper blog this time. The back-dated post feature on Blogger is great!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

netaddr release 0.4 is available

All the features I wanted are now in and tested, so I've packaged them up and uploaded the various packages to PyPI and the hosting site download page.

A decent number of changes have made their way into this release. Please see the CHANGELOG for full details.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

netaddr release 0.3.1

I ran pylint over my project and fixed a several errors and warnings. I decided not to get upset when it told me off for having module files that were greater than 1000 lines! So what?"

I also squashed my first very small officially reported bug :-)

Build It, and They Will Come"
Well, I guess we'll have to put that theory to the test. I've now created a project page on PyPI, sent an announcement to comp.lang.python.announce and created a NetAddr Google Group to discuss all things related to this shiny new library.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

netaddr 0.2 is available

Hot on the heels of 0.1 is release 0.2 with some bug fixes and a couple of new features.

The release tarball is available here - netaddr-0.2.tar.gz Alternatively, check out the latest changes from the subversion repository.

I need to announce this on the Python announce mailing list and PyPI, but I must first spruce up the wiki example pages before I do.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

netaddr 0.1 is ready

So after months of hard work, the first release of netaddr is finally up on the code hosting page. It took slightly longer than anticipated but it's all the better for the extra time spent before release it.

Get it while it's hot - netaddr-0.1.tar.gz

See the wiki on the code hosting page for examples of how to use netaddr and it's API.

It's really late and I need to get some sleep ;-)

Thursday, 26 June 2008

A new Python library

I'm putting the finishing touches on a new, open source, network address library for Python. It is (somewhat un-imaginatively) called netaddr and will be released under the BSD license.

Perl and Ruby do it better

About 3 months ago, I became frustrated with the lack of robust, quality Python code for doing various kinds of network address manipulations. What I needed was the Pythonic equivalent of what Perl and Ruby have had for years. I sadly, failed to find anything that entirely lived up to my expectations.

"If you are going to re-invent the wheel, at least try and invent a better one." - Larry Wall

Having decided to take up Larry's sage advice the overall goal was to reddress this imbalance by releasing my own library.

A Pythonic solution

Early on, I decided not to look too closely at the implementation or interfaces in other languages. I believed that doing so would have a detrimental effect on my code, diluting the elusive Pythonic flavour being sought.

This meant a not unreasonable amount of extra time and effort being spent reading RFCs and IEEE standards (zzzzzzzzzzzzz) to get to the source of what should be provided by a network address library, rather than picking up on things 3rd hand from others. I also spent a decent amount of time researching as many libraries as I could get my hands on (in all 3 languages) to see what worked and what didn't.


Thankfully, the effort has proven a very worthwhile experience. Python is a great language for implementing a lot of the ideas I've had.

My Python skills have benefitted a great deal and I've learnt a lot about network addressing too (IPv6 in particular). It'll certainly improve the overall quality and effectiveness of my current and future projects. If it ends up benefitting other members of the Python community as well, that would be a big bonus. Hopefully it will give systems administrators and developers using Python a boost and end up being appreciated by more than just this party of one!

So, where too next?

In my next post, I'll be providing details on where you can get your hands on netaddr along with examples showing you how to put it through its paces.