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Amazon Music

Is bad.

No, not the streaming. Not the selection (there's an amount of stuff for Prime subscribers, and loads more for Music Unlimited subscribers. It's even heard of Kalafina.

No. The app itself.
Is really bad.

Here is an example screenshot of the app when you're looking at the contents of an album:

The three icons on the top are to play the album, whether to play in order or random, or download the music to your device in order to play it when offline.
Along the bottom, go to the app's home screen (lists of stuff it thinks might interest you), search for music, "My Music" for, well, all your music. And they've stuck a version of Alexa into the app for some reason. You'll be pleased to know that it's disabled by default.

So far so good, and if that's all you plan on using the app for, it'll work for you.

The problem comes when you purchase something and want to download the music outside of the app. The aforementioned download option only downloads to a hidden location within the app. Amazon Music is distinct from your normal music selection, though you can play your music through the app if you switch it to offline mode (but then it doesn't seem to find streaming music that you have downloaded to the device in offline mode).

If we back out to the list of albums and look at the menu:

The top option is Download which will download the entire album...to the app. The second to last option is "Remove from My Music".

This is where things get really bad.

Let's say you've bought this album. You've "Download"ed it, and discovered it has faithfully retrieved the lot, but it isn't what you wanted - it's in the app and not as MP3s that you can play in the app of your choice and merge in with all those CDs you ripped.
Okay, clear the music out of the app and keep on fiddling around until you discover the right option on the right menu. Just "Remove from My Music" to stop your device being cluttered up.
NEVER EVER DO THIS

Seriously - do NOT ever use this option.

It will do exactly what you asked. It will remove it from "My Music". What is not made clear is that "My Music" isn't a part of the app. It is your entire Amazon account's cloud-based music library for purchases, stuff you like, AutoRip CD titles, and so on.
So essentially this is the digital equivalent of purchasing a CD and tossing it into the bin.

The app does NOT prompt for confirmation, nor does it warn you that you are deleting the title for good.

Oh, and this process is irreversible.

 

There is a menu option somewhere, "Delete from my device", that I found once upon a time, but I'll be damned if I can remember where it was. Nor did I remember before tapping the "Remove from My Music" option, because that seems like the logical option, don't you think?

 

So I sent an email to Amazon Customer support. Because the "official" word on the Internet is that if you've deleted something, you'll need to buy it again, but customer support might be able to help.

A man speaking French with what sounded like an Indian accent (!) called me back. From London according to my phone. I explained the problem, and he gave me some things to try. None of that worked, so he suggested that I uninstall and reinstall the application. I told him I've already wiped the cache and the data, but he said I had to uninstall and reinstall it.
So I did.
It's massive. Something like 46MiB. I spent the awkward long time mocking my rural internet connection. It didn't help that Google Play was being slow, it took nearly ten minutes. I should have been able to download it three times over.

Fired up the application, and magically everything was present.

I rather suspect that looking in the account logs showed "files added after purchase" and then "deleted by idiot user", so it was a bit of a magician's sleight of hand. I'm distracted by reinstalling the app, while he simply either revoked the deletion, or added the files again.

If you want to download songs as MP3s, you need to go to My Music, then to Playlists, then to Purchased

When you are in there, tapping the '...' to the right of a song will pop up an identical menu to the one you saw above. Only this time the "Download" option may pop up a request asking you which device you want to download to (if you have a µSD installed). Then it'll download to /Music on the media selected.

You need to do this for every single track. There is a way to download everything (back up to the playlist list and tap "..." beside the Purchased entry. But this will download everything in your Purchased playlist.
There doesn't appear to be a way to download a purchased album in one go, or to select multiple specific titles to download.

 

I doubt Amazon will ever read this, but if they do, please - for the love of God - make these three changes to the app:

  • REQUEST CONFIRMATION FOR DELETING ANYTHING FROM MY MUSIC with a message clearly warning that you are not simply deleting the song from the device, but completely.
  • Replace most of the "Delete from My Music" menu options with a "Delete from my device" because that's probably what the user wanted to do in the first place.
    Why is it so simple to download titles and so hard to remove them to free up space?
  • Change the Purchases menu to say "Download MP3" so it is really clear that this option is different to the others.
    Or maybe do something useful like add a "Download as MP3" option directly into all of the menus of albums and tracks that the user has purchased. After all, why on earth would the user fork out money to do what the app already does? There's a reason they chose to pay for that...

And a final note to Amazon - I downloaded the two Kalafina albums to my phone to enjoy on car journeys. However having listened to them a few times, I wanted to delete them to free up space for trying different things.
It's so damned difficult to find the correct option to remove the files that I decided the much simpler route to getting the job done was to call up the app settings and clear the cache and the data.
Yes, it was easier to yank the rug out from under the app than to do something that should be simple.
You really need to go back and have a good rethink about your app's UI. You don't supply instructions with the app so things need to be really clear.
Clearly (see what I did there?) they aren't.

 

Orange

I have taken over the phone contract. It was originally in my mother's name as it relates to the home owner. But now she is no longer, I had it transferred to me.
I sent a copy of the death certificate, and something official addressed to me here (my last tax statement?) to Orange as evidence of what was going on.
They replied with paperwork to fill in. One of the papers was a "SEPA" form to authorise monthly payments from my bank account.

I filled out the paper, and included a printed piece of paper with my bank account details (it's called a RIB in French), stuff like account number, IBAN, and so on.

I also sellotaped a BIG notice to the paper saying that I already had authorisation to pay these bills so the current account details were correct - nothing needs to be changed.

 

Since this is Rick's b.log, you know where this is going, right?

 

I received a text message from Orange on Thursday telling me that the direct debit had been refused and that I must contact customer service within 24 hours or the world will end.
I checked my account - I'd only just been paid so I had money. And nothing was showing up as having been refused.

So I dialled 3900 and wrestled with the automated service. I said problem with payment, and got thrown into a service to accept payment by bank card.
Redialled, asked for "customer support", then "payment". The automatic service took a long time telling me about ways I can pay before tossing me to the same payment service.
Redialled, "customer support", "account details incorrect".

Finally I got to speak to a real person, who spotted the problem on my account, and informed me that the direct debit from the account ending in "L03"(etc) was refused by the bank.
I told her I wasn#t surprised as that's not my bank number. It's a 'C' not an 'L'.

She had me read out my entire IBAN, and I heard her say "oh" a few times when I said five and three (two and eight?).

I then paid the current bill using my bank card, so I hope it'll be all correct for next month. However, thank you Orange for ignoring my note to leave the account details alone, and thank you again for employing somebody dyslexic to deal with customer account information.

Oh, God, I've just realised - this will show up in my account details as a new prélèvement (the old and the new). Hmmm...

 

Petrol Diesel

I usually fill up Felicity when the fuel tank gets to halfway. It used to cost me €8-something, but thanks to the Iran situation that's €9-something now. Much better than the ~€25 weekly that I used to put into the 1. I think I might spend that on fuel in a month!

This has left me in a difficult situation. I want to look to getting driving lessons sort of Spring/Summer(ish), but I'm wondering if I should bother. The Playmobil car gets me places. Okay, 50km/h isn't fast and it drives the Frenchies nuts, but it takes me a little under 25 minutes to get to work. Mom, who used to do 80km/h outside of the towns did the journey in a little over 20 minutes. That's right, 30km/h difference for maybe 9 or 10 km and it's only a couple of minutes difference.
Plus Felicity is really dead cheap to run. Sure, I haven't gone to Ancenis, and I don't know when I'll next get to Clisson (it'll take about 2½ hours, 30-45 minutes longer than it took mom); but for the journeys around here that I do, mostly to work and back, it is so inexpensive. Which is a bonus when the price of fuel shoots up!

Yesterday I topped it up, given that the militant CGT wants to block every refinery in the country for the entirety of next week. I very much doubt that will happen, the government doesn't like the refinery blockages, but if people start to panic-buy again... So better to top up when there's nobody at the pumps.

Uh... It cost four euros.

Thankfully it's a place I go to a lot, so she didn't make any fuss (the pumps say "Minimum delivery 5 litres"). But, still, damn. Everything about Felicity is "fun size" isn't it? ☺

 

And

And speaking of money, yesterday I received a bill from local government on behalf of CHU Rennes (the hospital). They want €196 for... well... I have no idea. It gives a bunch of reference numbers, it mentions my mother's name, and demands exactly €196. It doesn't say anything else other than "pay within 30 days or the world ends" which is almost amusing given it took them almost three and a half months to issue the demand. It also says thirty days after notification which for me would be the 10th of January. Eleven days after the letter was posted a mere 60km away (and in the same region).

Well, I have decided I'm not going into town today, just going to take it easy this weekend and probably waste plenty of time with Netflix. It's sunny outside, but also damned cold, it's noon and only just passed 5&dec;C so I don't think I'll be doing anything outside. Yes, I think I'll upload this and then see what I think of Travellers, The Rain, Mirage, and Shadow Hunters.

Anyway, the reason I'm telling you this is because I've probably saved a third of that bill by not going out. ☺ Still, it'll be nice when everything is settled up and finished. Still have not heard from the notaire, but I think there's supposed to be an official notification posted for a number of months.

 

 

Your comments:

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David Pilling, 12th January 2020, 13:53
So the old "reinstall Windows" advice actually worked. 
 
In UK being a good driver and passing the test do not completely overlap, driving instructors do know how to pass the test. 
 
There's loads of info though, including some put out by the powers that be - videos and so on. Teach you things like "MSM" which a lot of driving methodologies base everything around. 
 
MSM is mirror signal manoeuvre which in times of stress I render as manoeuvre mirror (do I need to save face?) signal. 
 
There are in the UK driving enthusiasts organisations, to name one "Advanced Motorists" people interested in driving who delight in improving people's driving skills as a hobby. 
 
VinceH, 12th January 2020, 17:38
Surely that's MSMM, David - Mirror Signal Mirror (again) Manoeuvre? 
 
The other version you describe (MMS) is surely for BMW/Mercedes/Audi drivers, and anyone on the M6*. 
 
* It's not as bad now, but for many years if I was heading North up the M5 then M6, it seemed as though driving standards were lower on the M6.
Rick, 12th January 2020, 17:59
Oh, the reinstall Windows option was because back in those days it was frighteningly easy for Windows to trash its own registry - a massive binary file containing the entire system configuration. When that happened, it was pretty much game over. 
 
No, I don't think the uninstall/reinstall did anything except waste time. As I said, I'd already deleted all of the app's cache and data, which should have taken it to a "just installed" state. 
I think it was to allow him to restore the purchases without actually saying that he was doing that. Your average user will be used to stuff going wrong, crashing, etc. So yank the app, put it back, and "magically" everything is fixed. 
 
This is France. This is a country with "priorité à droite" in many places. 
At the top of my access lane there is a single width road heading towards the village. Just before the village my minor road joins a normal two lane road. It's a more major road. However I would be entirely justified in just driving out in front of a car doing 70 on that road. 
Why? Because I'm on their right. I have priority. 
I wouldn't, it would kill me, and the idea that a minor road has priority over a more major road is nuts. 
But there you go. There are differences between the UK and France when it comes to driving... not least, the other side of the road! 🙂
David Pilling, 13th January 2020, 14:58
The Windows thing was a reference to generic tech support's use of "delete everything and reinstall" as a solution to anything they don't know. Reinstall Windows, delete your browser cache, delete all the programs from your set top box... 
It might work, but it will also get you to go away for a very long time, and possibly you will not bother. 
 
I found https://www.thelocal.fr/20190808/how-does-priorit-droite-really- work-when-youre-driving-in-france 
 
Interesting. Never heard of "priorité à droite". In the link it describes how different roundabouts have different rules - amazing. 
 
Think you'll find BMW drivers just do the big M and also have priorité at all junctions. 
 
Different motorways have their own atmosphere. M6 is a long road, the 4 lanes in both direction stretch around Preston is very different to that way up in the North. 
David Pilling, 13th January 2020, 14:59
Another go  
 
https://www.thelocal.fr/20190808/how-does-priorit-droite-really- work-when-youre-driving-in-france 
 
First effort has a space in it.
David Pilling, 13th January 2020, 15:00
There should be no space in that URL after "really-" seems to get put in after clicking submit.
Rick, 13th January 2020, 15:31
The comment code adds spaces to long strings to allow them to wrap on "lesser" browsers that wouldn't wrap correctly otherwise. 
 
Yes, roundabouts work on the basis that those already on the roundabout have priority, which is completely the opposite of "priorité à droite". 
Yes, it's madness. 
 
The sad thing about "reinstall it all" was that it tended to be the quickest way to fix Win95. 
Things got better with 98SE, but I don't think it was until XP (NT?) that Windows attempted to keep backup copies via the periodic restore points.
David Pilling, 13th January 2020, 23:04
"France distinguishes between two type of roundabout: a rond-point and a Carrefour à sens giratoire. 
For a rond-point you are expected to give priority to vehicles entering from the right, even if you are on the roundabout. 
But at a Carrefour à sens giratoire priority is given to the vehicles already engaged on the roundabout." 
 
I think Jaguar drivers are the most courteous. 
Rick, 6th February 2020, 19:59
That bill was for the mortuary service. She was in a box in a chilled building that was mostly underground for, what, three days? And it cost 196? Damn, I've been in hotels with room service and a minibar that were cheaper than that!

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