July 11, 2010

Pain in the Lulu

Lulu.com is kind of a pain in the ass. It took me weeks of emailing support people and attempting to figure out how to trick LaTeX to embed Times (this is how), but Lulu finally accepted my dissertation. I just wanted a couple copies printed and bound to give to some Italian colleagues when I leave for Rome next week. Kinko's is stupidly expensive and produces poor-quality bindings. Since it took me so long to get this working, I had to spring for expedited shipping (still cheaper than printing and binding locally, though). My books shipped today. The confirmation screen looked like this:


I'm sure someone can tell me the significance of 12/31/69; I think it's a Unix clock issue but am not sure. Needless to say, this does not inspire confidence in Lulu. Will post a pic when the books arrive.

UPDATE: On Patrick's advice, I sent Lulu support an email noting the error in their shipping screen. I sent it at 7:39pm on a Sunday... and got a response back at 8:42pm. The tech support person apologized for the "difficulties" I encountered and said, "I would like to inform you that, I reported this issue to our QA help desk. They have made inquiries with our engineering and development team here at Lulu, and they are aware of the issues that you reported. They have identified the cause and are now working to resolve the issue. Once the issue has been resolved, we will inform you. We need your patience and understanding."

So yay. Lulu gets points for answering my support email in under an hour on a Sunday night. But they get more points taken away for being aware of their stupid Unix time issue and not having just effing fixed it already.

UPDATE 2 (7/14/10): I checked the shipping screen again this morning to see where my package was, and Lulu has (kinda sorta) fixed the problem... by just removing the shipping date entirely!

2 comments:

Patrick said...

You're right about the Unix clock. Unix time begins at 1/1/1970 UTC, which is 12/31/1969 at 7pm EDT. Lulu probably just had a zero or -1 as the timestamp. Yeah, that's a bug.

Did you report it?

Anonymous said...

If you are going to Rome in a week, can we expect more cool posts about the bones you find there, like the old Paleopathology Tuesdays or whatever? I hate to sound like the nerdy loser I am, but I have been waiting a very long time for more of those.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

 
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha