Almost Back Online

Well, this is a short one to say I am almost back online now, although the process has been far from easy. It is entertaining that in today’s modern world, having a short spell offline can cause more problems than you can shake a 32gb memory stick at.

It it hard to work out where to start with my ranting over this recent debacle, so I may be disjointed (no change there though). Some recent examples of the “traumas” (which are, admitedly mostly trivial!), have included such things as working out when the rubbish bins will be emptied. My house now has two types of bin (recycling and landfill), with a note saying they will be collected on alternate weeks. Nothing else. No idea which day of the week, or which week is which. Wonderful.

What the note did say was that to find out the day of collection, and which week was landfill and which was recylcing, I was told to “log on to the councils website and enter my address details.” Brilliant, except I didn’t have an internet connection. Continue reading

Offline

This is a short post to let people know that Admin and myself will be off line now for a couple of weeks. Hopefully it wont be long before a functioning ISP / Net connection is re-established (will it be Sky? Will it be Pipex? Who knows but it bloody wont be Virgin Media!).

In the interim Heather will try to keep ranting about idiocy, bad science, bad philosophy and the like.

Bye bye for now…

Site Matters

Just a few “site admin” comments to make, so I thought I would make them all in one post.

First off, WordPress 2.2 has been released. Normally we would follow the generic Compuskills advice and wait a while before upgrading but, following some off-line playing, it seems this blog could upgrade sooner rather than later. For this upgrade we will have to delete all the existing files and upload new ones, so there could be a period where this site becomes unavailable or unusable. As, recently, we have been having a fairly continuous run of traffic (around 360 visitors per day) there seems no “low traffic” time to do this. All I can offer is an in advance apology if you get funny page layouts and the like.

Secondly – I will be getting rid of some plugins and experimenting with new ones. Your feedback is welcome, if one annoys you or breaks your feedreader or what ever, then please tell us. I think the “Sphere It” plugin will have to go, as it looks like it is slowing down the pages by a considerable amount now.

Lastly, as I am about to move house there will be a significant interruption of service. Hopefully Heather will be able to hold the fort, but given VirginMedia’s abysmal service there is no guarantee. Please, feel free to continue to comment or email us. They will be read eventually.

On a related note, if any one is a Sky Broadband customer I would love to know what the service you have had is like and how reliable it is – also is the service really uncapped? (Sky Max). I have my doubts over the veracity of Sky when the broadband thing gives three options – Base (£40 set up, no monthly charge, 2MB bandwidth, 2GB cap), Mid (£20 set up, £5 per month, 8MB Bandwidth, 40GB cap) and Max (no set up, £10 per month, 16MB bandwidth, no cap) – all of which seem amazing value for money.

Worryingly, when I put in the telephone number for my current address, I am told the only broadband option is Sky Connect (not one of the above) which is 8MB bandwidth with a 40GB cap (looks suspiciously like “Mid” above) but this will incur a £40 set up fee and £17 per month. Why on Earth does it cost over three times as much as “Mid?” Does this imply Sky have headline services and rates (which are very good) but in reality customers can not get them? (Would this even be legal?)

Still, I will for a while give Sky the benefit of the doubt and consider it as an option- unlike Virgin Media which I would, now, only consider if it was free and uncapped…

[tags]Site Admin, Why Dont You, WhyDontYou, WordPress, Blog, Blog Software, Admin, Web Design, Broadband, Cable, VirginMedia, RSS, Feeds, Plugins, Feedburner, XML, Technology, Virgin Cable, Virgin Media, Internet, ISP, Upgrade, Sphere, Sphere It, [/tags]

I told you so?

Ironically, a mere ten minutes after I made my last post about the terrible service provided by Virgin Media, I got a phone call from Heather saying the Engineer had been round. Now, this is the second visit booked by Virgin Media (i.e. two days off work) and Virgin have had eight days to get things sorted out. You would think this visit was going to be little more than a formality to plug in a new cable modem.

You would be wrong.

The engineer brought the cable modem, but didn’t have the right power cable. Sheer brilliance. Now, not only is there no way of knowing if that is indeed the real fault, but Heather took her second day off work for no reason at all. A new visit has been booked for Tuesday (13 days after the fault was reported), and hopefully this time the engineer will bring everything they need to see if it works. If it turns out to not be the modem, Thor only knows what they will suggest (another visit a week later, maybe?).

For some odd reason, Heather seems reluctant to close her account with Virgin (attachment to email address / website I suspect), despite the fact she could pretty much get an ADSL contract up and running in less time than this has taken. At it’s longest, I have had ADSL set up in 10 days… Virgin have not been able to help an existing, long serving, customer in that time. I suspect this is an example of a company which spends too much of it’s money and time trying to attract new business, rather than maintaining it’s current customer base…

[tags]virgin, virgin-cable, Thor, virgin-media, virginmedia, cable-tv, cable, bad-service, bad-shops, rant, rants[/tags]

Will Virgin Come Through?

Although heather has been without a functioning Cable Broadband service for over a week now (reported last Thursday), hopefully Virgin Media will have sent someone round to sort it out today. Personally I am not holding my breath that, even if they do, it will result in a functioning service worth the massive costs.

Shamefully, even though there have been multiple faults and several off-line periods in the last few weeks alone, all Virgin Media are giving as compensation for 8 days without a service is a £20 refund. I would find that almost insulting.

As I have mentioned one or two times previously, I am about to move house and looking at my options for a new internet service provider. Until about six weeks ago, I had Virgin as one of the main contenders and thought the TV/Broadband combo was well worth getting. Now, you couldn’t pay me.

I must say a big Well Done to Virgin Media, they took over cable companies with good customer service records, and generally very loyal customers, and managed to make a complete hash of everything. Brilliant. I bet Sky are laughing themselves to sleep every night…

[tags]virgin, virgin-cable, virgin-media, virginmedia, cable-tv, cable, bad-service, bad-shops, rant, rants[/tags]

Side Admin

A couple of asides for general information. First off, I have been working my way through emails lately and a few people have asked for a return to the “old” theme. While I suspect most of these people are Heather, I am sure not all are, and there are a few valid points made (apparently this theme breaks on IE6 or older, which makes up over a third of the visitors). As a result, while a bespoke theme is being worked upon, we will revert to the Fallseason theme of a few months ago. Personally, trying to settle on a “nice” theme which works for as many people seems a task which I will never, ever, manage.

Secondly, as mentioned the other day (“Not Many Posts“), there have been a few problems with Heather’s access. Virgin Media were supposed to send an engineer out today to fix it. As a sane person would have guessed, the engineer never turned up (an accident was to blame, no more details known) and now she needs to rearrange the visit. While accidents do happen, it is a shame that cost cutting measures by Virgin have meant that they had no slack in the system to work around this and it could be another week Heather goes without access. What great customer service…

Not Many Posts

Very short one. Things have been quiet here for a while (especially when you look back at January / February’s post rate!) and this is likely to remain the case for another week or so – with occasional bursts of activity 🙂

As the moment, I am on the road quite a bit (this is being sent by the wonders of a hotel WiFi link and isn’t cheap!) and, as is becoming a regular occurance, Heather’s Virgin Media cable connection has died. Virgin have assured Heather they will be out to fix it by Tuesday (she reported it on Thursday) so things may improve.

All I can say is, especially as I am looking at a new ISP, the last one I would consider is Virgin media.