Half work – half play.

Today was my first day back at work since last Friday so I was nervous as to how the MiFi would perform. It has seemed ok so far albeit slightly slow, but the work interface uses sockets so needs a very reliable connection. I had lots of problem sin the morning, with the interface lagging like mad and game info not opening. However later on I took the SIM card out of the MiFi and put it into and old dongle I had which is a PAYG one. Connection was MUCH better! Work that one out lol

I noticed that the voltmeter on the wall panel was jittery the last couple of days so I set out to check the batteries and connections. Amazed to find that all six cells in each battery were dry 🙁 Big sigh cos you would think I’d know better given all the problems I’ve had with batteries. However as luck would have it I had 2 large unused bottles of de-ionised water and along with some boiled water it was enough to restore water levels back to where they should be. I believe the only reason the batteries aren’t broken completely is the fact they are huge Trojan’s.

 

Whahooo!!

I was talking to some friends about getting an Italian dongle, and my friend Valeria who is Italian helped me out with the TIM.it site and we identified a dongle I could buy. I needed an address but she spoke to them on the phone and they said if I was on a campsite I could use that address to buy a dongle. €199 gets you a dongle that allows 10 gig a month for 12 months. Not bad for Europe.

I thought I was sorted but later on I was speaking to Three Network about an unrelated matter and it turns out that not only does my phone contract work in Italy the same way as it does in the UK, but so does my contract dongle! Amazing or what!

I’m  going to sort some dates out and will likely leave 1st week in April, returning when the MOT is due on the 6th September. Woop!!

Vodafone…can they actually get any worse?

I’ve posted many times about cheating lying Vodafone on here, and how they ripped me off. However I retained one dongle as it was pay as you go, and also the deal when I got it was that your money didn’t expire at the end of each month like most. I’ve only used it as a backup so over the last 2 years I’ve taken it out twice, and both times the signal was unusable.

However this time I took it out and the tried to use it and it asked me to top up. I checked my credit and it was over £13. The only way to contact Vodafone customer support is an expensive 087 line so I was forced to call that and be told that all their tariffs are changing, and now I can only buy as a minimum 250mb for £5. That’s the lowest you can spend. Not only that, but if I top the dongle up it only lasts a month. Can they do that? Clearly they can, cos they have.

I decided not to argue as their service is so crap anyway I’ve not been able to use it for years. Sad to see the best company in the UK turn into the worst. I won’t grieve for them though 🙂

T Mobile going the way of Vodafone?

I don’t often use my T mobile dongle as 3 network is so reliable, however I keep it as a back up as T Mobile is usually 2nd best. 3 network are doing all kinds of strange things at the moment so I decided to use my T mobile dongle for a while and oh…what a palaver!

Because of the things going on here I’ve not used the internet as much anyway so I had not used the dongle for 6 months. It cost me about a fiver to find this out, as T mobile’s support line is an 0845 number, which as we all know costs on a mobile. With 3 network it’s 21p a minute on the tariff I’m on. So, 16 minutes on hold waiting to speak to someone, then another 9 minutes whilst they did their stuff means the call cost me £5.25p That’s some scam the companies have got going with these 0845 numbers eh? It’s funny that they proliferated just as mobiles were beginning to boom…

Anyway, so my dongle is live now and the next day I try to top up. Oh wait, it’s not live at all yet. What happened there? I happened to be near a T mobile shop so I called in. The staff were friendly and helpful however they can’t do a thing, I need to speak to CS. One of the staff kindly lent me their mobile to call on, I assume it was a works mobile. So the lady on CS was brisk and told me my dongle was cancelled. I said “no that was yesterday but now it’s reactivated.” She said “you can’t reactivate once it’s cancelled”, I replied “well it was only suspended, and would remain that way for 3 months unless I called and reactivated it, as I was doing.” She suddenly remembered that yes, that’s how it worked and we were able to move on to the next question.

The next one was verifying who I was and this was bizarre. She asked me for a password, which the guy yesterday did and although I don’t recall setting a password I said the second and third letters that he’d asked for and he accepted them. However when she asked for the word she said the one I gave her was incorrect. It turns out the password I thought it was had the same 2nd and 3rd letters as the correct password. How bizarre was that! Anyway, she wasn’t happy that I put her through the mill on that one but hey, every single thing now needs a password or pin. Bank, online forums, credit card and bank card, my internet, online banking, telephone banking, my WordPress account, my email accounts, for God’s sake even my bloody van radio needs a pin number! So it’s understandable that sometimes we’re going to get mixed up.

We got through that but because of the problems she wanted to verify my personal details. Se we went through that too and I failed that check. She can’t tell me why I failed, as that can offer a clue as to where I went wrong. Can you feel my frustration levels rising?

I take a wild guess and say hey, I changed my address a few weeks ago, I bet you didn’t update it despite my phone call giving the new address? Sure enough, I gave the old postcode and she had a smiley face on again.

So let’s take stock. So far I’ve paid over £5 of my money and half an hour of my time, then God knows how much on their bill and another 20 minutes so far of my time, and so far we’ve established my address, password, and the fact I have  a problem!! lol you have to laugh, really.

Anyway, I explain that I can’t top up or login to my account online so there must be an error. After some time of clicking keys she says ok that’s it, all sorted. I have no idea what she sorted but she said you can top up online now. We also registered a top up card so that I can use that. Excellent. Away I go a happy bunny.

Maybe.

Well sorry, but this story doesn’t have a happy ending yet. I try to top up the next day and…what a palaver. I can’t log in to my online account, and I can’t top up. One of the problems is that when I try to login, it says the page cannot be found. That’s 4 days that’s been off now. There was some weird way I managed to finally get at the top up screen and I honestly can’t remember how I did it, so I went to stick £2 for one day and guess what…it wouldn’t work lol

I gave up eventually and stuck £15 on which did work, then tried to select a one day out of that top up which will cost £2 out of my £15. Guess what? hahhahaha It didn’t work!! I even topped another £5 just to make sure but I tried and tried and it just wasn’t having it although when in my frustration I clicked on 7 days, it worked! Well I’m angry at that cos I don’t want 7 days but at least it worked so that’s something. I connected to the internet, worked well, no problems. Maybe I can put this all behind me….lol

So the next day I try to log in and guess what? Yup…you need to top up!!!

Stress levels through the roof now. Got onto Twitter, and rapped T mobile them for being useless, and someone actually replied! However all they did was ask for some details, and 24 hours later I got a reply asking me to verify my account with some numbers. I did that. Next day they replied sorry, some of that info is incorrect. Taking a stab in the dark I say maybe my postcode? Here’s my old one? Yep…now they’re happy lmao Believe it or not this went on for 4 days. Eventually they tweeted back that you could indeed top up one day now.  I replied that that was the lesser issue and the main one was that I’d paid for 7 days and only got 1. And the outcome? Take a deep breath….”Hi Gary, if you did not get full use of your MMB data, please call 08454122993 for MBB support. Thanks”

*sigh*

A little bird tells me that since merging with Orange and creating EE, they actually haven’t merged. They merged as companies, but the structures to administer accounts are apparently still separate and they are having massive problems trying to work between T mobile and EE, as Orange are having massive problems merging their Orange structures with EE. Clearly they suffer from the British company disease which infects almost every business I know. Don’t plan, just grow as quick as you can, and solve the problems later. It does remind me of Vodafone. When I had an account with them there were parts of their site which were broken for an unbelievable 2 years.

So now I have a choice. Use up a gallon of diesel to go to the T mobile shop and use their phone to sort this all out, or use my own phone and sort it all out spending the equivalent of a gallon of diesel on 0845 charges.

People still call 3 network to me and slate them as being rubbish, with foreign call centres, poor connectivity and cheap devices but hey, you all know how I live and 3 network rarely fail me all around this country. And when they do they usually fix it there and then, if not, really quickly. *touch wood* You don’t get attitude off their staff and contrary to popular belief I have never yet had a problem understanding them.

All hail 3 network, I hope 4g is up and running soon.

Connecting wild

Rannoch Moor
Rannoch Moor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a view of Rannoch Moor, taken on my little snapshot camera, the Canon S70, as I still don’t have my DSLR back yet.  What you see here is pretty much what I see no matter where I look. This part of the moor is beautiful, but empty. just how I like it. Luckily there’s a small gravel standing by the road big enough for a couple of motorhomes. So I’m parked in it, absolutely loving the surroundings. Anyway, I thought I’d try my phone to see how it connects, and I get quite fast speeds when tethered to the laptop. Easily enough to work, but also for some minor UL’ing and DL’ing. I’ve UL’ed a few photos to one of the POD sites this morning. Out of curiosity I decided to try my MiFi. The MiFi from 3 network is what they call 3.9g. It’s not full 4g as they haven’t rolled theirs out yet, but it’s faster than simple 3g or HSDPA. And way out here, in the middle of nowhere, I got 3.9g! How cool! I love 3 network lol

Vodafone, Otelo, Ofcom and flying pigs.

Today I finally, after 5 months, got the response from Otelo that they promised last summer I’d have in 4-6 weeks.

When you have a problem with Vodafone, you contact Otelo who deal with it on your behalf. Ofcom don’t actually get involved at all. However your problem must have existed for 12 weeks before you can contact Otelo, (this is set to change to 8 weeks this year) and you must have used Vodafone’s internal complaints system. Well that part actually makes sense.

My basic problem is, my mobile broadband dongle with Vodafone stopped working very well, then stopped working at all last year. Between January and May I had problems which resulted in it being unusable. I was still paying the monthly fee the whole time. Vodafone sent me two new dongles, but as a program on Radio 4 recently highlighted, it’s the service itself that is at fault. They have basically oversubscribed their service, are not willing to invest anymore money in it, but are still actively selling the service. It’s not just me either. Visit Vodafone’s online forum and you will see hundreds of people with the same problem.

So after months of deliberation, Otelo has decided that even though I have constantly been paying my monthly fee, have had little service since Jan last year and none at all from May, their decision is that Vodafone should send me a written apology and refund me…wait for it…£30.

So as far as I am concerned, Otelo is just another paper exercise, same as the toothless trading standards and other useless organisations.

My advice to anyone suffering problems with Vodafone is don’t go down the complaints route you will get nowhere. Best just cancel your contract and go to O2 or Three both of whom offer a reasonable mobile broadband experience.

Another new hope?

I travelled down to Taunton in Somerset last night to Vanbitz, to get the Alden Netmaster fitted. For £3,500 this is billed as the best commercially available mobile internet you can get without being  a lottery winner. I went off on my bike while they fitted it, it took most of the day for some reason. But they said I could hang around for the night to test it out if I wanted to. Given the history of disappointment I’ve had from Datastorm I said I’d do that.

When I went to pay them the bank would not let me spend the £3, 250 owing, so I phoned Alliance and Leicester, knowing it was an unusual amount.  They said over the phone that they could not fix it cos it was some kind of error lol. It took me four attempts and about 20 minutes to finally pay them. Anyway, I tested it as best I could and it seemed to be quick and work fine. I really like the simplicity but I’d rather get off somewhere and test it properly so I prepared for an early start in the morning.

Adios Datastorm

The satellite is clearly not ever going to work properly, and despite all the promises from Barry Lieberman at Ethnet, he has failed to get it to work and the only thing he’s good at is collecting his £70 per month connection fee.

I’ve decided to call it a day and cancel anything to do with Datastorm.  £8,000 totally wasted. I’m gutted but what can you do? Trading Standards don’t want to know as “the case is too complex”, Isatlan are out of the picture and Ethnet simply don’t take my calls anymore. Speaking to Datastorm in the US it’s apparent that Isatlan sold me a second hand mount which was at least 18 months old when I got it, however there’s nothing they can do.

My dongle has always proved reliable anyway so I will stick with that for the time being. Amazing how a £30 piece of kit smaller than a packet of cigarettes can outperform an £8,000 satellite system…

Yawn … satellite not working

Picture of colourfully painted shops in Llanberis
Llanberis

Well I’m having a fantastic time here in Llanberis, it’s a shame that the rig isn’t. It failed to connect yet again and Nick is now not answering his phone most times I call. Barry Lieberman still calls, to ask for his £70 a month connectivity fee.

Thank God for the Vodafone USB modem! It was supposed to be a backup but it’s my main form of communication with the internet and work now!
So much for Ethnet ‘guaranteeing’ to make things work. The fact that they won’t answer the phone anymore kind of says they’ve given up on it.

Anyway, this is a view of Llanberis high street, including the fabulous Pete’s Eats. If you’re hungry this is the place to go: real tasty food at reasonable prices. It get’s crowded in the season but well worth the wait. I can also recommend the Chinese takeaway across the road 🙂

Sick of the sight of Stoke now

Nothing personal, just that driving into Sandbach now reminds me of failure and the fact I face a day of listening to motor-whine as the dish goes round and round and round interminably without ever working.

Actually Musa had it working within half an hour of getting here. However he clearly doesn’t know what he’s done to get it working grr!

I wish I’d kept  a record of how much  diesel I’ve used continually coming back here.
Thank God I kept my Vodafone internet card. I’d be buggered without it!

Datastorm finally?

After many minor setbacks I have the final date for the Datastorm to be fitted, 9th December. It’s a lot of money but the thing is I have had none stop problems with Vodafone. I upgrade to the latest dongle, I keep my laptop in tiptop shape but, it constantly fails me and their customer service constantly makes mistakes. I was cut off not long ago because for some unknown reason they decided to apply a limit to my account. I rang and some person said it was a mistake and sorry I’ll take it off. Then later they blocked my access to the works website because it has links to gambling! Duh…it’s a bingo company! LOL

The connection is good usually but the constant problems mean it’s just too unreliable. The satellite system is £8,000 but not only do reviews say it’s reliable but the freedom it affords is fantastic as I can connect at broadband speeds anywhere in Europe! I can’t wait!