Screenshots

It’s amazing news and just plain old regular news here Chez 6000.

Herewith depicted in screenshot form.

Amazing news in that I woke to the latest Superbru standings and they were these:

Best in the Country. Best in the World, nogal!
[cracks open the Moët]

Of course, it’ll never last. But I have this screenshot to show that it did at least happen.

Briefly.

But then there was this plain old regular news as well:

I’d been looking forward to enjoying Sheffield United’s game against Swansea City this evening. I’ve been gifted the (rather expensive) HD streaming package for the whole season as an early birthday present.

But HD ain’t going to stream much at 0.07Mbps, now is it?

I’m actually done with Afrihost now. Their support line closed at 5pm on Friday and only opens again at 8am on Monday, as if the rest of the modern world also stops for 63 hours over the weekend.

What they’re offering has been slowly decreasing, while the prices stay right where they are. And I’m still waiting for the FTTH they promised me back in April.

Twenty Seventeen.

They used to be a beacon of customer service. Now they’re utterly terrible.

Understandably, I’m looking elsewhere.
Your suggestions are most welcome.

Critical Care – a definition

Just how critical is critical?

I’m only really familiar with it in a medical setting:

Critical care: The specialized care of patients whose conditions are life-threatening and who require comprehensive care and constant monitoring, usually in intensive care units. Also known as intensive care.

But if you’re going to appropriate medical terminology into your customer service offering, surely it would be sensible to implement the urgency and actual processes it refers to as well?

Spoiler: I’d be dead by now.

An open letter to Afrihost

I actually sent them this letter in a more traditional “closed” fashion yesterday, but I’m so very irritated at being repeatedly ignored that I thought I’d take the gamble of publishing it here too.
‘Gamble’ because this blog is hosted by… er… Afrihost.
And because my internet connectivity is supplied by… er… Afrihost.

But while we’re here, before diving into the misery and nonsense below, let me say that I’ve been pretty happy with their hosting. That’s why my blog has been on Afrihost for many years now. Uptime is generally very good, and thus I’ve never really had to use their customer service much.
And, again, as an ISP, they’ve done the job, and done it well. Je suis content.

See. My. Smile.

And that’s why when we decided to make the switch from ADSL to fibre, I decided upon them as the service provider, through Openserve.

It’s been a disaster. Firstly, they told me that they couldn’t do it, even though their website said they could. Then they said that they could do it, but it would take 4 weeks. That was ok. Good things come to those who wait.

Long story short, I’m due some really – really – incredible things, because I’ve been waiting more than a year now.

Hawu. Eish. Wena.

And it’s not so much that I’ve had to wait – it’s that they keep promising and then not delivering. And their customer service has all gone a bit MTN.

Here’s the email they sent me yesterday morning:

Good day I trust you are well 🙂 We apologies it took so long to give you an update. Openserve have notified us that they are still working on the fibre infrastructure in your area and they have not given an estimated date of completion. We will however change your order to a pre-order for now. As soon as your area goes live we will notify you. So in the meantime you may opt for our RAIN/LTE services whilst we wait for the activation of fibre in your area. We apologize for the inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Truth be told, I’ve searched my SENT ITEMS folder, and I actually have no idea what they’re feeding back from. But that last line looked so good, so inviting, so I got in touch:

[email begins]

 

“If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.”?

Well, ok: YES! I HAVE QUESTIONS! ASSIST ME!

It’s been over a year since you promised me fibre in 1 month.

Literally, I have emails from last May (already) apologising for messing up my initial request. Lolz – warning bells, much?

To cut a ridiculously long story short, though:
In January 2018, you told me I could have it on “April 31st”. Ha!

Good day I trust you are well. We receive feedback from Openserve in regards with your order and they have informed us that there is a Project scheduled for completion 2018/04/31 . Please note that I have changed the order to pre order and will follow up after the project to confirm installation. Have a great day

But there are only 30 days in April, we joked. Lolz – warning bells, much?

Then, when “April 31st” came and went (10 days ago, in fact), you said it would now be July 31st. Here’s that email, in case you have forgotten:

Good day, I trust you are well. Please note that Openserve has given us feedback that your order is linked to a project that is estimated to complete on the 31-07-2018. Once the project is done, Openserve will be in contact to schedule you for an installation. Apologies for the lack of feedback thus far. Kind Regards Afrihost Fibre Ops

Well, at least there is a July 31st, I thought.

But now you tell me that Openserve “have not given an estimated date of completion”.

SOOOOOOO…..

How come when I go onto your Fibre Availability page (it’s here: https://www.afrihost.com/fibre/capped#fibre-availability) and check my address, I get this?

(Note: Image subtly altered to protect my home address as the neighbours don’t appreciate the hordes of fans camping outside.)

“Approx. 1 weeks”?
Really?
Really really?

This is actually complete bullshit, isn’t it?
It looks deliberately inaccurate; bordering on deceitful even, I’d say.

I mean, the cynic in me wants to suggest that if you were to put the truth there, like “Openserve “have not given an estimated date of completion””, for example, instead of that 1 week nonsense, people might not go for your offering and might take their business and money elsewhere.

And your footnote:

Installation lead times are a guide based on averages and will vary. Line activation and connection times need to be added for full turnaround estimation

suggesting that that 1 week time is based on an average, means that you must be installing literally within MINUTES somewhere near here, because, as we’ve been through above, you have no estimated date of completion for Openserve in our area, so God only knows how you can suggest that 7 days timeframe as an average.

Who does this kwik maffs?

I’ve been in touch via email before. And on twitter. I’ve held for ages on your phone line before giving up.
But I’ve (quite literally in that last case) had no answer as to what’s going on with my installation and as to why you’re still punting a product that you – knowingly – simply can’t deliver.

What happens now?

You’ll blame Openserve, I guess. “It’s out of our hands”, “they need to do the infrastructure work” etc. etc. you’ll tell me.
But if you know that, and you don’t know when that work is going to be done (like you told me above), why are you falsely advertising to potential new customers that you can provide a service on that same infrastructure within a week?

I can’t wait for your reply.

 

[email ends]

I will wait though. Experience tells me this.
And when I get it, it will promise feedback, which won’t ever happen.

To be honest, I don’t know if anyone else can provide fibre to my home more quickly that Afrihost can. If they’re right and the infrastructure isn’t there (despite the fact that several neighbours have fibre and have done for over a year), then there’s nothing much anyone can do. But really, I’d much rather work with a company which is honest and open about the limitations of providing their service.

And not one which is clearly making false claims and has consistently broken promise after promise.

Things do go wrong. Any reasonable person can understand that, and I can like to be a reasonable person. It’s how you deal with the things that go wrong that makes the difference.

So, last chance, Afrihost. Let’s play the decent customer service game like you used to do, and let’s have the truth about my fibre installation, please.

It’s back

After 11½ days, our phone line and internet have been restored.

All hail the technicians who slaved for literally minutes outside our property to make this happen. It’s taken so many “escalations” through various agencies that our connection must be so high that it’s in danger of getting taken out by passing aircraft.

It’s been an irritating, frustrating and eye-opening experience. I’ve learned a few things. Here they are, in no particular order.

We use the internet a lot at home. A lot.

Are we dependent on it? No, not quite. We survived, but only really because we knew that it would come back at some stage. And only then because emails could be written at home and then sent at work. If there had been no outlet like this, it would have been very difficult.

This goes for the kids too. Their school (correctly) assumes that its students will have access to the internet at home. Homework is set appropriately. And so last night, after her music lesson, my daughter sat in the school car park doing her (online) maths homework via their wifi.

It’s simply too expensive to operate on mobile data for any prolonged length of time. Look, mobile is fine for the little things, but then the little things lead to bigger things and suddenly, you’re R200 down after 30 minutes and that’s before you’ve even thought about music or video downloads or streaming. Or blogging.

I know a lot of people, especially in South Africa, don’t have the luxury of the internet at home. Much like electricity and running water (for the moment anyway), I do recognise how privileged we are. But as I mentioned somewhere when we were going through loadshedding – you adapt your life to having these things. When you suddenly don’t have them, you are far less able to cope than those who didn’t have them in the first place. As Phil Collins once quoth:

We had a life, we had a love 
But you don’t know what you’ve got ’til you lose it

I have a lot of catching up to do. Mainly music to download, videos to catch up on, but also pictures to upload, articles to read. Updates to update.

According to one source (because there were differing accounts as to what went wrong), our outage was due to copper theft. I was therefore looking forward to getting our fibre connection sorted. That was until I found that the copper thieves often nick that too, not realising that it’s not copper. Ugh.

I’m disappointed that it took so long to fix. And I do wonder how much longer it would have taken if I hadn’t chased and harried and generally badgered Afrihost and Telkom. It’s been a pain. I’ve been a pain.

I’m not home just yet (writing this during an incubation period on my experiment). But I can hardly wait until I am.

Fair Play: Afrihost sorted my internet problem

You may have read that I had issues connecting to my blog from home and from the lab yesterday. There was plenty of to’ing and fro’ing with Afrihost (who are both my ISP and hosting provider) on email and twitter, but nothing got sorted.
Many kind people made suggestions here and on twitter, but I had floppy beagle issues last night (Colin got snipped and chipped), so I didn’t get chance to do a lot of exploration.

Then, this morning, incoming email from ‘Critical Care’ at Afrihost. I had no idea I was in such a perilous state. And here’s what they had discovered:

As suspected from my side, the Netstat rules for your IPs on your public connection were on the temporary prohibit list which I have now removed and you will be able access the website from all devices from your home network.
I have investigated the reasoning behind the listing and the reason seems to be that the website was attempting to be accessed from these IPs during an update – when security becomes most strict – and rather to be safe than sorry they were listed.
These updates only happen once a year so the likely hood of this happening again is extremely minimal 🙂

Thanks, Michael.

I don’t really understand what went wrong, but to find some sort of analogy, it seems that my home and work network were being tjatjarag and the website felt threatened, probably remarked something along the lines of “So you think you are a king?”, pushed them to the floor and barred them from entering the metaphorical building.

All is sorted now.

Oh, and Colin is much recovered this morning too. Thanks for your concern.