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We live in litigious times, so I should say that content reflects only my opinions!

Saturday October 18 2003

My life's work trying to sort out a very simple matter with Vodafone part 976

I tried the emailing trick yesterday. The fact that the automatic acknowledgement from their server took about three hours to arrive does not bode well, but there you go. I'm doing what I can...

I just became ultimate supreme w*nker in the game London Racer. Now I can drive a taxi. It's a strange old world and no mistake.

Off to a gig now.

Posted at 7:59 pm by Jim Woods

Friday October 17 2003


Emailed them at lunchtime, thinking that this might be a more successful approach; we'll see. No reply as yet...

Low blog energy here. I'll be linking a few cool things soon, but for now here's an interesting article on Stonehenge and new carvings found there.

It wouldn't surprise me if they found Vodafone's IT department there as well.

Posted at 5:58 pm by Jim Woods

Vodafone saga continues

So enraged by being further palmed off by Voda "our computers never seem to work, although we're happy to take your money by answering support calls in order to tell you we can't support you" fone I spent yesterday playing with a form of technology that DOESN'T let me down: the Fender Strat. All day looking for one to buy, and the evening spent playing Howard's a bit at a pub jam.

Maybe I shall have another Vodago in a minute.

Posted at 12:15 pm by Jim Woods

Wednesday October 15 2003


Great stuff: first call, their "computer system was down again" although they were happy to answer and charge me for not being able to do anything. Unbelievable. Second call, the connection was terrible and the guy couldn't hear me half of the time; I'm at home, where the signal is usually fine - so I think that's their problem again. I love being told that the signal is inadequate (when I'm less than a mile from the centre of Oxford) by the people whose business provides that signal. Imagine if I'd called to complain about the signal strength? Superbly Pythonesque.

Now I shall call them on the land line at tremendous expense and have a long and luxurious go at them. Nul points for customer service so far, Vodafone. You need to try harder.

More thrills and spills as the debacle rolls on...

Posted at 11:34 am by Jim Woods

Industrial irritants

Well, two mobile telephony things are getting on my case at the moment. I have three mobiles with associated numbers; the one I always use and carry, one for super-secret bat cave business use and one that's a legacy. The first two are with Vodafone, whose network I've used for - well, nearly as long as they've been around. And I think they're pretty much the best bet still, and I've only recently begun to have cause for complaint. But now I do have cause for complaint. And how...

I bought a new Vodafone mobile, because I liked it. A Panasonic GD55; it's great for all the basics, and it's tiny and sexy. When you carry as much stuff around as I do compactness is the preeminent attribute you look for in it. I then find my old SIM doesn't work in it. They're all locked to a specific card now, I was told. Fair enough - I guess it stops those little tykes without the benefit of a classical education from robbing one another quite so much in the schoolyard, leaving them more time to bone up on the compensation culture as a career option and to speculate as to who their fathers might be. So I talk to the Vodafone people, and they are happy to swap my other number with the new one so that I can use my new phone with the number I've had for years. With me so far? Good. This works well within hours, and I am promised that my loyalty bonus (I'm loyal, indeedy) of a tenner's worth of credit will appear in a month or so. Excellent.

Six weeks come and go, the tenner does not. I feel I need to prompt them, so I call. I want my due, because I'm like that. I spend a quarter of an hour going through every menu on the automated 191 helpline, since it has no option for my predicament and is too badly designed to allow me to speak to a human from the off. I now know all those menus better than I know some of my oldest friends. Eventually I get a human. Human says she can't access her computer and could I call back so that I'll get a human who can? Ok. Costs me 25 pence per time to ask why I've been ripped for a tenner, but c'est la vie. I call back and get a human with a working computer, which you might reasonably assume is a prerequisite for doing the job. I mean, what was the forst human supposed to be doing answering the phone to enquiries and incurring a fee if there was nothing she could actually do? Amazing. Second human, an affable male, discusses things at length and says that he will alert the Voda-gods to my plight. Restitution is to follow within a day, he says. And when I grumble that I've now paid fifty pence and spent nearly an hour just to chase a debt he says he'll put some extra credit on my phone as a goodwill gesture. Yeah, right, I think but I thank him gracefully; it's not personal after all. Vodafone have considerably more money than I do, so I'm not cutting them any slack here. That was five days ago, and guess what? I'm about to call them to see why there is still no increase in my balance from any quarter. Jokers.

T-Mobile! My legacy phone is with these sods for reasons of historical overseas use. Not only is there a rotten signal, there's the stigma of being on a network which you can pretty much guarantee everyone else is not, making all your and their calls expensive as hell. And their new tariff is just peachy. 30 pence a minute for all calls to anyone until you spend a tenner a month, then 20 for the next tenner and then 10. Who the hell does this benefit except for those who make what seems to me to be really rather a lot of calls or those who make almost none? A ten minute call to a land line is therefore three quid!!! On Vodafone it's one pound ten. In what is supposed to be a competitive market this is mad. I'm all for a range of tariffs so that we can all find one that best suits us, but unless I'm missing something a tariff that crucifies the whole average-user market has to be a bad idea.

I guess someone loves it though.

These are prepay tariffs I'm comparing by the way.

Now I have to go battle Vodafone some more.

Posted at 9:15 am by Jim Woods

Tuesday October 14 2003

Dust bowl

Some really nice pictures from the notorious American agricultural disaster here. In fact the whole site is crawling with the sort of photos we need to see. Somehow mine seldom turn out like this...

Posted at 9:20 pm by Jim Woods

Now this is weird...

I have ADSL, but no dialling tone. Much though I wish that I could do all my comms via email rather than voice I think I'm going to have to call BT about this one. Could be my neighbour's tree raping my line.

Posted at 1:43 am by Jim Woods

Monday October 13 2003

Two pleasing things

I have discovered two things today - or yesterday to be strictly accurate. Firstly, after a week of not getting enough sleep all week (no idea why) I find that spending most of Sunday asleep has made me feel a lot better. Secondly I have discovered a nice feature in Vivian Mail of which I was previously unaware.

Brief digression: I've used Vivian now for eight months (ooh er vicar) and it's great. It's free, it is small and fast but has all the features I need, and the only thing I'd say is that it hasn't been updated for a year. Then again, as it has no bugs that I've found and it does the business without fuss, why would it need an update?

So the feature I've found... My ragged lieutenant the Tombo sends me email in HTML format. He's not the only one, but he's practically the only one. I get a lot of spam, and in fact quite a lot of email in general (I'm just so wired, darlings) and one way I minimise the risk of nasties is to have plain text viewing only in Vivian. I ranted enough about security a few weeks ago if you look back in the archives, so I shan't repeat myself now; trust me - you don't want to view email in HTML willy-nilly unless you're sure what it is, and more importantly what it does. Still, if you have a lot of clueless mates in this regard, and get HTML email, then you don't want to read it as text since it's a mess and full of formatting codes.

Well, having read the HTML in text mode and confirmed that the message is innocuous, I've discovered that one of the options on the context menu if you right-click on it in Vivian is to switch to HTML viewing mode. Excellent. Handy as a puppy at a fair. Even better, the option doesn't remain engaged from message to message, so you need to positively tell the mailer to execute the HTML each time if you've nobbled it overall in the options.

Vivian is cool.

Posted at 3:09 am by Jim Woods

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