Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

I hate spammers!

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

I just got spammed with backlinks to all sorts of questionable websites, so comments have been disabled until I can find a better verification system.

InCite Smart Services Suck!

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

Living in a new development does have its perks, one of those is 24/7 internet supplied by InCite Smart Service. Hey I thought, no having to deal with Telkom, befok! Well the grass is pretty much the same on this side. This is a long story so lets start at the beginning….

Shortly after we moved in (the month was April) I connected my laptop to the jack in the kitchen (of all places!), called the number, got an IP address and network details and was up and running in 5min. I thought to myself, what a pleasure! The speed was (and still is) very decent. Nothing compared to the River Ankh speed experienced at the Tygervalley Waterfront units.

A month or so went by and then suddenly the internet would just be down in the evenings and over weekends. I then discovered the first problem, no after-hours support, which is exactly the time I use the internet. One particular Saturday I called the office number, the voice message said to call an 0860 number for after-hours support, so I called the number and got the same message! I then called in the week and got the cell number for the after-hours support person. Not long thereafter something broke on a Saturday. I then happily called the number only to be told that they could not help me (probably because the only person who could was not on standby) and that it would only be fixed in the week. Bloody useless I thought. I poured my frustrations out on the poor technician. Thereafter I also had a very long chat to Karen, the support person. Anyway they did seem to get their act together and started sending out notices when things went down and things seemed to stabilise.

In July I acquired a wireless access point. Due to the size of the IP range I was originally given I could not add the access point and required a larger range. On the morning of 10th July I mailed Karen at InCite requesting a new IP range, and waited. I followed up by phone the following day and was told the technical people are not in the same office as Karen. She would send the request again. I then phoned again later in the day and got told by Karen that she would call them. I expressed my unhappiness and left it at that. By the 12th I still did not have my new IP range so I called Karen and told her I could not understand why I had to wait 3 days for a new IP range. She said she would contact the technical people and get back to me. By about 2PM I still had no new IP range, so I called. Karen was unavailable so I explained the the receptionist what I was waiting for. She promised to give Karen the message. Not 5 min later the receptions calls me back and says they are already dealing with my request. At this point I lost it. I told her that I was not happy that I had to wait 3 days for something that would take 5 min to do and that I wanted my IP range before the end of the day! 30 minutes later there was an email in my mailbox with my new IP range. Why, why, why do I only get helped once I start shouting at people?! Fortunately for them the new range worked and I could now sit in the study and surf rather than in the kitchen.

So this is now where things get interesting. Included in the levy of the unit is 250MB worth of internet traffic. If you go over that it costs you 50c/MB. There are also data packages of 1/2/3GB. Which if you do the maths, the 2GB is the cheapest per MB (go figure). I did look at buying one of these packages but there was no tool to monitor your usage, which I believe is crucial, so I gave it a miss. Anyway I don’t really download much while at home, and I have a rough idea of what my usage is in a month. I did think I was over once or twice, but well within the realms of reason. I was also not sure if the bill would end up with the landlord or with me, but I never heard a thing, so I just forgot about it. Imagine my surprise when on 7th September I received my first bill for internet, a whopping R409.10 (June R407,57 and July R1.53). I replied, requesting a usage report, but got no response. Then on 13th September I receive an invoice for August amounting to R310.49. Once again I requested a usage report and pointed out that they have been promising a tool to monitor internet usage online for months now. Again no response.

Then on the 14th a circular was sent out by Marshay Daniels signed by Alan Dean (too much cut’n’paste?) requesting that everyone sign up for one of their data packages no later than Friday the 13th (is that not the 15th Marshay/Alan?) or have their accounts capped at 250MB. The attached application form also indicated that non-payment would result in the suspension of your account. Lovely stuff! So I replied to Marshay indicating that I would not sign up for any of their packages until such time as they make the tools available to monitor your traffic. I subsequently noticed that the message had been CC-ed, exposing my and about 40 other peoples private email addresses. I started fuming at this point. So I hit reply to all and sent the following:

Dear Marshay

It is obvious that you and your company still have much to learn in they way of net etiquette. By cc-ing everyone rather than bcc-ing them or using a proper mailing list you have just exposed a large number of people’s PRIVATE email addresses to everyone included in your mail. This kind of thing makes me really unhappy. I also feel sending out a mail 24hrs before the deadline is rather rude.

Regards

I have yet to receive a reply from anyone at InCite. I did exchange some email with another resident who had huge problems simply getting connected. His problem was only resolved after speaking to the complex manager. I think I might just give him a call myself.

So the moral of the story: we may all hate Telkom, but you don’t have to go far to get equally shocking service. This is not over… As they say; watch this space!

Update: I just noticed there is now a Monitor Usage button on their home page. Pity no-one has sent me a user name and password yet…

Top tips for the “okes” who hide behind little bushes

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Fairly uneventful week, only interesting news was that my fiancée’s mother got a ticket for skipping a red light. The only problem was that even though the number plate matches hers its not her car! She has now been to the Goodwood traffic department three times, and each time she gets turned away because no one there can help her. On the last occasion she was there she asked to speak to the chief, but surprise surprise he was nowhere to be found. They also do not have the technology at the traffic department to view the offence, talk about incompetence. She has now been told to come back on Monday.

I managed to get a print-out of the offence from payfine.co.za, so hopefully armed with this piece of information, a picture of her car and the license registration she will be able to clear her name. What do you think will happen with the real offender? My guess is nothing, and the next time he/she jumps a read light it will be the same run-around again.

This is not an uncommon occurrence in South Africa, and the traffic department is well aware of it. Yet they don’t appear to be making any changes to their system to address the problem. Surely if they can lookup your license plate number to find your address, they can easily compare the make and colour of your car to that of the photo. Any discrepancies can then be flagged for review by a living being, who at that point can hopefully make an intelligent decision and at the same time flag the car and false number plate into a database which can be used at road blocks.

It appears to me that the traffic department is spending a lot of money trying to catch you in the act, but they are not making the most of the technology at hand. Surely they should be able to see the immediate benefits of minimising mistakes resulting in a more efficient ticketing system. If they are vigilant about keeping track of vehicles with false plates, and use it along with their number plate recognition technology found at many road blocks, the cash should come rolling in.

I think I should send them a bill for this top piece of consulting 😉

Sterkinekor Sucks!

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

I really seem to be having a bad run with South African e-commerce sites. Today Sterkinekor is broken. I received the following nasty message in both IE and FireFox when trying to view the available movies:

Server Error in ‘/SKWebsite’ Application.
Security Exception
Description: The application attempted to perform an operation not allowed by the security policy. To grant this application the required permission please contact your system administrator or change the application’s trust level in the configuration file.

Exception Details: System.Security.SecurityException: Requested registry access is not allowed.

Source Error:

An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.

Stack Trace:

[SecurityException: Requested registry access is not allowed.]
Microsoft.Win32.RegistryKey.OpenSubKey(String name, Boolean writable) +473
System.Diagnostics.EventLog.CreateEventSource(String source, String logName, String machineName, Boolean useMutex) +444
System.Diagnostics.EventLog.CreateEventSource(String source, String logName, String machineName) +11
System.Diagnostics.EventLog.CreateEventSource(String source, String logName) +11
SK.Common.EventLogger.LogError(String strError, String strSource, EventLogEntryType eventLogEntryType) in C:\LocalProjects\skCommon\EventLogger.cs:29
SK.Common.EventLogger.LogError(Exception exception, String strSource) in C:\LocalProjects\skCommon\EventLogger.cs:45
SKWebSite.NewWhatsShowing.Page_Load(Object sender, EventArgs e) +944
System.EventHandler.Invoke(Object sender, EventArgs e) +0
System.Web.UI.Control.OnLoad(EventArgs e) +67
System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +35
System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain() +2112
System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequest() +218
System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequest(HttpContext context) +18
System.Web.CallHandlerExecutionStep.System.Web.HttpApplication +IExecutionStep.Execute() +179
System.Web.HttpApplication.ExecuteStep(IExecutionStep step, Boolean& completedSynchronously) +87

Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:1.1.4322.2300; ASP.NET Version:1.1.4322.2300

Computicket Sucks!

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

So on one the few occasions that I visit their excuse for a site they are offline. I was greeted with the following message:

Dear Customer

We are currently upgrading our system.
Our system will be back online on 23 July 2006
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The fact that they are upgrading is understandable, but today is the 23rd! This means I will have to drive to Canal Walk to go get tickets for the comedy festival.

Update: So I went to Canal Walk and after getting the run around from the touch screen map (it was incorrect) I finally found Computicket hidden inside MTN and guess what? Not only is the site down, but the whole system is being upgraded. The site now says it will only be online again on the 24th.

As it turns out this was not the Cape Town International Comedy Festival, which is only in September, and is is the one we actually want to go to.