D4D

In the firing squad when the revolution comes

Archive for the category “Business”

Technical Dipshittery

Yesterday, I got a text message from O2, telling me that they were going to be closing their TuGo app (an app that allows phone calls to be made/received through my wifi connection, when the mobile phone signal is bobbins) at the end of November.  It gave some options for enabling better alternatives, including their ‘4G & WiFi Calling’ through a range of phones, so it will no longer need a separate app.

That’s all well and good – and TuGo has always been a bag of shite anyway.  So I started to go through the process, as ‘detailed’ by O2 of how to get it all set up on my phone.

Except that once I’d enabled it on my phone (or tried to) it told me I needed to do it via the O2 website, to activate it on my account. Bit of a pain in the arse, but OK, let’s get it done.

Oh.

The page detailed in the message doesn’t actually contain the information necessary. I can see a link explaining how great the 4G and Wifi Calling is, but nothing to activate it.

So, I start up a LiveChat with one of their Tech Gurus, who tell me that it’s still showing I’ve got Tu connected to my account, and that needs to be removed before I can do anything. No worries though, they’ll sort it out.  Give it about half an hour, reboot the phone, it’ll be done.

Except it wasn’t.

So I got back in touch with O2, this time by phone instead of LiveChat. Oh dear, oh dear.

I (eventually) got through to another of their Tech Gurus, who again says that Tu is still connected to my account, and that I have to uninstall the TuGo app on my phone in order to get rid of the connection. No idea why the previous tech person said they could do it, that’s not possible, it can only be done from your phone, sir.

So I uninstall the app, in the usual way.  Oh no, sir, you haven’t uninstalled it. You’ll need to go back to the app store, reinstall the app so you can uninstall it. (Eh? What?)  Yes, you’ll need to reinstall the app – you didn’t uninstall it, “you just deleted the little picture on your phone”.  That’s a direct quote. From a Tech “Guru”. Who doesn’t appear to even know the word “icon”.

So. Let’s see how this goes.  Phone call goes to speakerphone, so I can go through the process while the “Guru” is still on the call, and telling me what I need to do.  I reinstall the app – and in order to get in to it, I have to rebuild the connection and association with my number – because uninstalling the app has got rid of all that information . Which is exactly as it should be.

I rebuild the connection, then go into the app’s Settings and Delete the Account.  The Guru says “Oh there we go, I can see you’ve now uninstalled the app”. No, I haven’t, I’ve deleted the account. The app is still installed, I can see it.  “No, it’s uninstalled”

All the way through the call, that “Guru” couldn’t tell the difference between “Delete the Account/Connection” and “Uninstall the App”.

It’s resulted in two further interactions with layers of O2 management, telling them the problems, fixing the issues, and generally getting it more sorted.

And all the way through this, all it would have taken was for that “My Device” webpage saying “You’ve still got an active connection to TuGo – you need to remove that before we can progress. Here’s how.”  That would’ve fixed everything, and I wouldn’t have needed to speak to O2 at all, let alone a total of four times.

Sometimes I just despair of people, and companies.

King of the Air

Today, the news is full of the ‘shocking’ news of Monarch Airlines ceasing to trade.  I’m more surprised that anyone’s surprised, to be honest.

Now OK, Monarch are (semi) local to me, I know people who work(ed) there – but no-one who was in key positions, finance etc.  However, it’s no shock to me at all that they’ve gone under – in many ways I’ve been more surprised that they’ve gone on as long as they have.

The Wikipedia page contains a summary of it – but it’s stuff I was aware of anyway, having watched the news and so on.

Three years ago, they were nearly bankrupt. They got a last-minute bailout/buyout by Greybull Capital, which was all that allowed them to keep trading. Three years ago.

This time last year, rumours came up about their potential bankruptcy. They got a last-minute extension to their ATOL licence (similar to the activities of last weekend) after another £160-odd million fund injection from Greybull and other investors.

Between those warnings, the drop in customers in markets that were key to them (tourism to Tunisia and Egypt, primarily) and other competition, and the general atmosphere post-Brexit, it was no surprise at all.  I fully expect a couple of others to collapse as well.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a shitty situation – for the people who work there, and for the passengers and customers who are currently wondering what’s going to happen.  But it still shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Personally, I know that I wouldn’t have booked anything with them, regardless.

Of course, every cloud has a silver lining – I suspect RyanAir are ecstatic about all those extra Monarch pilots and crew suddenly becoming available (and without even needing expensive relocation packages) that can fill the gaps in their current schedule.  Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if RyanAir didn’t aim to buy up a lot of the Monarch stuff – planes, staff, routes etc., and make money off the misfortune of Monarch.

Moving Emails

Over the weekend, I ended up moving a lot of my email processing over to Amazon’s “Workmail” product. So far, it’s gone pretty well, but we’ll see what happens over time.

The email server/service I was using (via a company I do a lot of my hosting with) was generally OK, but had some significant issues which they didn’t appear to be able (or willing) to fix. The main one was that emails with attached files – particularly PDF and Word documents – would occasionally disappear. They wouldn’t bounce back to the sender, and they wouldn’t tell me (the recipient) that something had gone wrong, they’d just disappear with no notice to anyone.

Generally it’s been survivable, but last week there were things for HMRC and others that didn’t make it – things that were, safe to say, bloody important.

So I’ve moved the primary accounts over to Workmail, and it’s been quite smooth.  The setup didn’t take long, and while there were a couple of teething errors when it came to migrating the emails from Old to New, it all worked pretty nicely.  Once I knew what the hell I was doing (and/or looking for) it became even easier/better.

After that, the main ball-ache has been putting the new accounts onto all my devices, and getting everything to syncronise properly again. It’d be nice if you could just push the new account to your devices, but that’s a level of tech that’s above and beyond what we’ve currently got, sadly.

Still, it’s all worked, I’m fully moved over with all my key accounts, and it hasn’t made me want to throw computers through windows. Even that is pretty noteworthy, I think.

Working Motion

This week, I’ll be changing office.  Nothing major – just at the other end of the building from my current one, and on the back of the building rather than the front.  There’s a number of reasons for it, but it’s mainly because the front of the building is a sun-trap, and it all turns into a rancid sweatbox. The back of the building is cooler (or at least more consistent) and that’ll be nice.

I also wanted a bit of change – it’s not a major one, but it’s still a change, a new view, and sorting out all of that stuff.  As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m in a bit of a stasis block at the moment, with no change in (for me) way too long when it comes to house, job, contract, clients and so on. Location-wise, I’m likely to be staying where I am for another year-and-a-bit, so moving office (even while staying in the same building) means just a bit of change.

I’m sure there’ll be more coming in the future, but for now, this should be enough.

Along the way, I was also pleased to see, when I prepared to move the office, how little crap I’d actually accumulated in the eighteen months or so that I’ve been in the current one. I was able to move everything within an hour, and had a half-bag of rubbish to get rid of along the way. And that was it.

So on that score, it’s all been pretty successful.  For the office itself, we’ll see how it goes, but all told it’s not really much of a change, so should all be fine.

Fixing Things

So far, this year has involved a number of customer service clusterfucks, some of which I’ve mentioned on here, and it looks like a number of those issues are now on the way to being sorted, thankfully.

That list includes

  • The Cat boots – successfully returned to manufacturer, and a replacement pair are (apparently) on the way
  • The Credit Card company – seems to be sorted, with outstanding issues rectified.
  • My Accountants – this has been something that’s been ongoing for a year or more, where they’re just ridiculously slack and uncommunicative. If it weren’t for the fact that they’ve been free (for the last 18 months!) then I’d have moved on well before now.
    The free stuff is a story of its own, but basically when I complained to director level at the end of 2015, they told me I wouldn’t be charged until they’d fixed the issues.  Eighteen months later, the issues are still there, although having had some productive conversations with the Operations Director, I think they’re turning the corner at last!
  • BT – Hopefully, that’ll be sorted today. The engineer is due between 8am and 1pm, and fingers crossed things will be sorted.

There’s a couple of other things coming up that so far seem positive, but I’m waiting for them to come through properly before I write about them.

All told though, yeah, it’s all feeling a bit more fixed and positive.

Connectivity

Yet again, my home broadband connection has gone to pot over the weekend.

It’s an ongoing problem – basically, there’s a leak in the outdoors part of my connection, so when it rains heavily, water gets in, and corrodes the connections in the master socket.  I start to know it’s going to be bad when any phone call I make (not that I make many on the landline, but still) starts to get crackly.  After a while, it then gets bad enough that the next ingress of water breaks things properly, and leaves my modem/router dropping the connection and reconnecting on an all-too-frequent basis.

In the five-and-a-bit years I’ve been in this house, I’ve had four master sockets. Now soon to be a fifth.

BT refuse to believe that this is the problem – this has been going on for ages, and they’ve done line checks etc., but won’t replace the outside part of the connection, for some reason.

So we go through the farce of doing fault-tracking, “We can’t find anything” and then booking an engineer to come out.  Every time, I get told “If it’s a problem past the master socket (i.e. with my own wiring) then it’ll cost £129.99 on your next bill”.  It won’t be with my wiring, because I’ve got precisely one socket, and one connector/splitter (also supplied by BT) on it.

Everything else will be fine, it’ll just be corroded connections in the master socket. Again.

This time, I’m going to aim to get the engineer to reinstall the master socket, but do so higher up the wall (so water doesn’t get in, as it can’t climb cables) or on a longer cable inside the house, so I can put it on a shelf or whatever, and again, let gravity deal with the problem.

The engineer’s coming out on Wednesday morning, so we’ll see what happens from there. It’d be nice (and really quite novel!) to have it sorted properly this time. But only time will tell whether that’ll happen or not.

Slow Roads

Every so often I have a day where I just want it to be over – not in any kind of self-harm way, just when a lot of things have turned to shit, and all I want is to go home.

Unsurprisingly, today has been one of those days.

It started OK – it was cooler last night, so I actually got some sleep. I’d got a meeting down near Reading, so once I was awake at 6am, I left to get down there while avoiding the worst of the rush-hour traffic, and aiming to be down in Reading before it even really started. That mission was kind-of successful, in that I was down there by 8.30 – but still, it took two and a half hours to do a journey that I can do on a weekend in an hour, or just over.

The meeting itself went OK, and I’ve got a bundle of work to do, which will make life entertaining.

Afterwards, fortunately I checked routes home on my phone, and found that the M1 had been completely closed due to a fatal accident.  It’s an area I know pretty well, so I knew I’d got a bundle of cross-country routes I could take, and that’s what I did.

However, it seemed like every single part of that route, I was preceded by slow-moving drivers who had nowhere to go, or no desire to get there.  The entire way back was spent going at 30 or 40mph on roads where the limit was 60, and all on what turned out to be the hottest June day in more than forty years – warm to the point where even the car’s air-conditioning wasn’t really managing anything.  (I may need to look at re-gassing it, but we’ll see)

All told, the journey home took two and a half hours – most of which was just due to being so much slower than I would’ve been on quiet/non-busy roads.

So, by the end of it, I was just wanting to be home, for it all to be over and done with.

It’s going to be the first day in several months where I haven’t achieved my steps-per-day walking target – I could still have done it, but frankly, with the temperature and everything else, I just couldn’t be arsed.  In fairness, I’m already well up on the week’s target anyway, so a day off is perfectly doable (and I’m doing a bigger walk at the weekend too) but still, it’s also the first time in ages where I’ve had a day with such levels of failure to be arsed.

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