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Productive Messenger Bag Full – What I Use

July 28, 2016

2016-07-28 08.35.48When I am on the road trying to be ultralight but still productive, I have a minimum level of equipment I carry with me. That equipment is:

  1. 9″ 2 in 1 Laptop/Tablet – because you need a full OS producing stuff – no compromises
  2. iPad Mini for consuming content, specifically video and magazines, and as a secondary Kindle reader
  3. Kindle for reading books and reference documents – including those added using Amazon’s Docs features – you need a collection of your best reference PDFs with you at all times and the ability to read it when working on (1) and (2)
  4. A 20,000mAh charger for keeping all the devices running as long as possible – we need to run a whole day…. regardless of how much we use the tech
  5. My Android Mobile phone – not shown as I used it to take the photo
  6. Smartwatch – LG G Watch on my wrist for notifications…

A key part of all of this is that all of the above devices charge via USB, even the 2 in 1 Laptop – one of the key reasons I got it in fact.

With all of this, I can work all day with all my cloud services…

Twitter Night / Dark Mode

July 28, 2016

It seems that Twitter is experimenting on me with a new feature… Night mode. Very reminiscent of Tweetdeck in execution, I like it and hope it carries through to the main app just like the UI changes that most recently happened that allow me to better identify which account I am using for a tweet. If you have it, it can be configured it the main options.


More Vodafone issues and an ending…

July 3, 2016

vodafone_rapid_delivering-phoneI posted about many of my problems with Vodafone almost three weeks ago. It would have been nice to say that it all ended well, but the problems continued through until it was finally the issues with my SIM were resolved on Wednesday afternoon, July 29th. By that time however, Vodafone had lost me as a customer and I took steps to exit from the service having already subscribed to an alternate service on Monday July 27th. I now have a view of the whole problem and it does not show Vodafone in a good light at all, and they know it. The travesty of the last few weeks is set out as follows:

  • Simple request to change ownership in late May
  • Poor handling of the switch by sending a new SIM to the wrong place
  • Not transitioning the services on the original SIM to the new SIM
  • Messed up the tariff transfer
  • Sending the wrong SIM type (seemed it was not a UK SIM), which required me to switch to a new SIM by going into the store
  • Leaving customer data in two different billing systems.
  • Multiple Customer support operators using incorrect records to mis-activate multiple SIMs which simply was not resolved and left me with a split service for over a week. Split service means various services on various platforms rather than one.
  • Using the ‘replace the SIM’ approach despite it being obvious from the beginning that it was a network issue
  • Continued inability to resolve a simple admin issue of the records
  • Promising to fix it the next day so often that it almost should have been a recording, and still not fixing it.
  • Failing to provide the PAC code when requested, it took three days.
  • Finally understanding what they had done and giving me free exit from the contract (thank you)

According to the news sources, Vodafone is suffering many issues just like mine which points to serious issues in the management of their UK operation through their inability to deal with the underlying issues. I do hope that they hurry up and resolve these as if my experience goes they must be haemorrhaging customers.

I was perfectly happy until this issue occurred. Then I suffered significant effort to resolve the issue, and I was without a critical service for two and a half weeks in all. Now I cannot recommend them at all, and suggest that no one uses their services until there is a clear sign that this is resolved.

The EU Referendum – Context and Facts

June 20, 2016

Good video shared via Facebook…

Racing at Rochester #blog

June 19, 2016
via Instagram

Vodafone, cockups and loss of services

June 13, 2016

Vodafone have launched a replacement phone service for SMEs today.

Info about the new service

Vodafone has done its homework and says that for businesses, a day without a smartphone means a day they lose up to £12,000.On its behalf, YouGov has surveyed more than a thousand of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK and, according to the survey’s results, such a business has four new opportunities each day. The report says each opportunity is valued at more than £3,000, although it failed to elaborate more on how it got to that figure.Nevertheless, not having a smartphone means fairly big losses, and Vodafone would hate to see well-paying customers fail. That is why it now introduced Vodafone Rapid, a very fast smartphone delivery service for businesses.

Source: A day without a smartphone means £12K losses for SMBs |

This is somewhat of a joke considering what has been happening to me over the last two weeks and became a new major issue today. With Vodafone I transitioned a mobile phone account from my own name to my company which resulted in two days of outage – that was very poor but I could expect that as they felt it necessary to send me a new SIM (No idea really why – makes no sense).

I then went overseas on Wednesday last week and found myself without data as they did not transition the services properly, which took several hours to resolve. Then at around midnight last night, Vodafone deactivated my SIM for ‘unspecified’ security reasons. Trying to access their online services for my account result in no info about my account and now no access as they require SMS authorisation for online account access. Calling and escalating to a manager has not resulted in resolution and I am still without services. Stuff can go wrong, but not like this – this is just idiocy – particularly as it is still NOT resolved and I am still without service.

Based on their own calculation for their new replacement phone service, I could have lost upwards of £36,000 and still counting. Pity they don’t have a way of fixing their own service that does not require shipping physical devices. It looks like I have no alternative to wait and consider alternative providers, because even though I don’t value my time as much as their new service does – I do value it sufficiently to know that this level of pain is not supportable.


Still no real news other than it seems the disconnection of the service is not explainable. That is not a good thing for any operator to tell a customer. The best thing to tell a customer when a mistake is made is the absolute full unadulterated truth. Vodafone is failing right now, like the other issues I have had recently, to actually communicate with a customer in a poor situation. If they did that, they could save them and not build up the lack of satisfaction so much that they just want to leave…


Overnight, the SIM was still deactivated so I duly made contact with Vodafone. This time the operative looked at what was wrong and ticked an on-screen box and BANG – my SIM was reactivated. That took 5 minutes. There is no explanation from Vodafone for why after all of the last day and a half, they seemingly could do nothing but one person just did it this morning. Random and bizarre. I have submitted a complaint about the issues I have had since transition and the lack of support to Vodafone. I don’t expect anything back. I am just glad that my service apparently works…


Plusnet Customer Support Woes

May 18, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 12.40.07

The Issue

I was on a conference call via a VoIP system last Thursday at 16:20 and everything was fine… and then nothing, complete disconnection. No Internet. Call was gone. I check my router and it showed disconnected, but all the VDSL lights were active. I went and had a coffee. I came back and checked again, still nothing, so I went online to my ISP’s (Plusnet – website via my mobile phone. I could see no faults reported, but there was some status reports that were a bit strange as they showed 0 days of outage but other parameters show months of outage on services that patently were working (like the very portal I logged into). I called their support line but it said there was a 15 minute or more wait time so I turned to social media. I bitched about my connection being down, and asked the Plusnet account whether there was an outage… they posted back a link to do basic checks on my line and service (I had already done these). They seemed to not want to answer the question about whether there was an outage (by this time I had heard that others in my town from other providers were also having similar issues). I formally reported the fault and checked back with the Twitter account. Still they avoided the questions. Finally they said there was NO outage (despite this now being confirmed by other providers to friends and neighbours). I settled down to an evening without my Internet connection (so did my family which caused some consternation amongst the kids). I received a notification in the fault system that there was an issue (but still not apparently with everyone – just me according to Plusnet) and that the next time to provide an update was Sunday.. SORRY! Sunday? What the hell! This cannot be true, so I waited and waited. In the morning, I made alternate working plans and still nothing from Plusnet.

The Follow On

By the afternoon, we checked in with our neighbours who confirmed that their ISP (not Plusnet) had been in touch and after 13:30 it was all resolved. For me though, this was 17:00 and I had just asked for an update and still nothing had come through from Plusnet. I did the checks and rebooted the router and all the connectivity was there. Still nothing back from Plusnet. I asked them again what was going on. Nothing. I raised the issue in the system that I was appalled that there had been no update and gave them until Monday to respond, after all they were supposed to check back on the issue on Sunday.


As of this moment – nothing, no information, no response, the issue is still open in their system and I suffered a 26 hour outage but it was fixed for everyone on Friday, and the best source of updates was my neighbours and my own investigation (I had identified that the fault was with the concentrator in the exchange). I did all that work. My ISP did nothing apparently.

Plusnet has been a reliable and good service for over 10 years for me, but this last incident has pointed to a falling away of performance and capability that I wish they would answer. After all – I don’t pay £9.99 for my service – I pay a lot more for a higher tier, and I don’t expect it to operate totally without fault but I do expect any ISP to be able to provide customer support and information about what is going on in their service and to be honest. Your turn to respond Plusnet.