The Economist on Kindle is not what it used to be

Reading magazines like The Economist in the Kindle app, with full pages (as in the printed version) in high resolution on its beautiful screen, is one of the reasons I even have an iPad. One of the disadvantages of this is the huge weekly download (slow on a South African connection at home) but I have always found it worth the trouble. The page images are no longer a pleasure to read however, as below.

Further, the plain text version (that flows on the screen and is nice to use on a smaller screen as well) now suffers from frequent bad formatting, as below. For me, "upsetits" is really confusing...

Finally, for some reason the date at the top of the page is now always "January 01, 1970" and although I can well imagine this to the fault of Amazon or of Apple, it is exceedingly silly!

If this does not improve soon, I shall seriously consider unsubscribing.  The Discover panel of the new Opera browser is really nice anyway and, for me, a Google News killer.


Does Uber have a payment problem?

A few weeks ago, friends and I used Uber to get a car from the station to a rugby game and were then stuck at the stadium in the dark because Uber had decided to suspend my account because of a (yet to be specified) payment problem. I wrote to them and was asked to send all manner of documents, which I did. Nevertheless, I was put off until Uber seemed like a really convenient option once more on a weekend. Nothing! My original card (copies of which had been sent after the first incident) did not work and neither did two others, on one of whom Uber nevertheless managed to make a R10,00 verification charge.

In total, I have wasted at least to hours trying to get Uber to accept my cards and I have now finally given up. In South Africa, Uber does not accept PayPal so there really is no way forward. Is it any wonder that Uber is apparently starting to accept cash payments in Hyderabad?

This leads to the following obvious question: do companies have any idea how many customers they lose through miserably bad services? How would they (and investors) know how many people just walk (actually, navigate) away and are probably lost forever? Is this problem worse for the Internet economy than for brick-and-mortar commerce?