Bigger Than Rufus

Tech, opinion, and other stuff.

Its over

Well, I meant to write a closing entry to this blog a while back, but somehow never got around to it. It looks like my last post was over 6 months ago, yet when I logged in I found out I still had people visiting this blog. Wow! Never would have imagined it.

Well, let me say…I really enjoyed writing this blog, for the short time I did, but unfortunately other commitments have come up and they prevent me from spending any time on this. I have a couple different outlets for writing however; creative writing in Ulysses III and journaling in Day One. Those are my go-to apps for now.

But who knows, one day I may go ahead and restart this blog.


Yodobashi camera is a stinky one

Anyone with any inkling of buying electronic devices in any major city in Japan should be familiar with Yodobashi Camera. Although Yamada Denki holds about 25% of the domestic marketshare for consumer electronics retailers, Yodobashi is well known in the major cities.

Anyway, just an aside about customer service in Japan–It basically stinks. See my previous post on the topic of a broken iPhone case. But that wasn’t the only issue I’ve had with Yodobashi Camera. The first was a few years back.

Back then, after having spent thousands of dollars the previous week to furnish a new apartment I had just moved in to, I went back to Yodobashi to buy a hose to hook up a generously donated gas range (Thanks N-san). However, I bought a hose that was too short.

When I tried to exchange the hose for a larger one the next day, the shop staff told me I couldn’t since I had opened the package (i.e. I had unstapled the plastic bag containing the hose). Keep in mind this hose was less than $3. I eventually got a manager to come over, and I explained that despite spending thousands of dollars the previous week, they wanted to haggle over a $3 hose? Give me a break.

Eventually, the manager relented to my arguments (and slightly raised voice) and exchanged the hose for me.

Lesson: Japanese customer service is practically non-existent. I’ve had good experiences here, but only with foreign owned stores (the Gap), or large multinational chains (like Uniqlo). If you buy anything here, make sure you really got the item you want/need and hope it doesn’t break.

This is true customer service. Thanks Speck.

A couple months ago I bought a Speck Candyshell Grip for my iPhone (highly recommend this one by the way, it really is awesome to use) but unfortunately the case cracked after a couple months. I tried to exchange it at the store I bought it from, but they really gave me a serious case of the runaround. Literally. The shop staff in Yodobashi Camera denied my request for an exchange, despite the fact that it had only been a couple months and I had the receipt and box. After I argued with them for about 20 minutes, a manager said I could get it exchanged, but since they didn’t have a white one in stock I should go to the customer service agent downstairs to fill out some paperwork for a new one.

So I went there, waited for 20 minutes in line, got to the CS rep and was told that I couldn’t exchange the case since it was damaged. WTF?! That’s the whole reason I want to exchange the case you idiot. He even called the guy upstairs about it, and confirmed that I couldn’t exchange it.

So he denied my claim and sent me along my merry way. After wasting an hour at Yodobashi Camera, I decided to write Speck customer service about it, and since the case has a one year warranty, I explained my issue and attached some photos of the crack and was promptly (and I mean promptly) sent a replacement.

This is customer service. This is a company with which I will do business again in the future. This is how to treat your customers.

Yodobashi Camera…you suck.

Why Bigger Than Rufus?


  • The first question people ask me when I say I have a blog.

Whenever I mention to people that I have a blog, they often give me a blank stare. I think they are just unsure of what to say. I imagine that the first image that pops into their heads might be those old geocities webpages that everyone seemed to have back in the 90s.

Before they get over their initial instinct to quickly change the subject to a more interesting topic, I usually blurt out the name of the blog and:


  • The second question people ask me when I say I have a blog.

I have to wonder if people think they misheard me. I suppose Rufus is not the most common of names. And if they did catch Rufus, maybe they’re wondering who’s Rufus and just how big is he. If the they decide they did hear the name correctly:


  • The third question people ask me when I say I have a blog.

The answer is quite simple, if not a bit disappointing: All variations, permutations, and deviations of my name + .com, .net, .org, and .whatever were already taken. I also discarded a bunch of other names which I thought sounded remotely interesting, and what was left was Rufus Sufur (his name is an anagram). Since was also already taken and seemed difficult to type, I decided that my blog would just have to be bigger than all that, hence the name.

See, I told you it was a bit disappointing.

Living with Witopia

Don’t let the strange title throw you. Witopia is not some affliction, but rather my VPN service provider of choice. Their rates are reasonable, customer service is approachable and readily available if necessary, and for me, their service works well. I don’t know what I would have done without a reliable VPN while living in Japan.

I’ve used them for the past two years, and plan to renew my annual contract again this December (there are monthly plans available too). There are some other free VPNs I’ve tried in the past, but can you really trust those companies? I don’t have any proof (so take that as you will) but I started having issues with my previous PC after using HotSpot Shield. I can’t be sure what the cause of the problem was, but after installing and using it for a few months my computer slowed down significantly and started acting like crap. Well, the cause could have been any number of reasons, but it coincided with my use of Hotspot, so I didn’t feel like trusting it much.

After some digging through reviews, I found Witopia. They have a free one month trial so test it out if you like. After the first day though, I knew I was going to subscribe.