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Friday, 31 October 2008

Karoo customer services.

Our incumbent ISP, Karoo, have what is possibly the worst customer services of any similar, and none similar, industry.

They often proffer an email address to which one should sent customer related enquiries. That email address is in addition to their regular one. More often than not any email sent to either addresses is routinely ignored.

As a test to make sure it was not just me that they ignore (I have been on their internal blacklist many times over they years) I arranged with some of the people on my list to send  an  email from their own computer using their own email address. Around 2000 agreed to allow me to conduct this test. I then sent such an email from the  around 2000 different customer computers and of those more than 2000 around 82% were ignored. Not exactly conclusive proof but is a clear indication of how they hold their customers in utter contempt.

Why do they ignore the emails? That can only be answered by them. However, it is well known here in Hull that the Karoo customer services team follow very closely a sheet from which they read. That is how many other companies do things as well except that in Karoo's case they  rarely, if ever, deviate from it. This sends customers tempers flaring as more often than not this tends not to solve whatever is/was the problem that prompted the question in the first place.

Ringing them up is no better either as it is essentially they same team so inherits all the same bad traits as emailing them does.

In conclusion it can be said, within the limited scope of the test mentioned above that Karoo Customer Services quite simply is diabolically bad.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Folly pure folly.

As Man grapples with Natures natural climatic changes in an effort to slow down the obvious impact on Man itself one has to wonder what nature herself makes of it all.

Species come and species go. That, by definition, is what Nature is all about. Nature can be brutal at times, mostly gentle at others but over the course of the last couple of years and no doubt in the future we are seeing her flex her muscles. Man can fight her all he likes but Nature will win. She always does.

Trillions of monies have been spent on fighting this most natural of sequences of events. Money wasted. But onwards the worlds great thinkers (tinkerers) go trying to work one over on Nature. It is all doomed to abject failure but that will not stop them wasting evermore money in their quest for absolute Human power over Nature.

Mirrors in space, iron filings dropped into the worlds oceans are two such of their ideas. As the Earth slowly, wearily, cycles through its seasons in times long since past cataclysmic events have befallen not only Man but other predominant species of those ancient times curtailing their existence to the annals of history. In more recent times (10 of thousands of years)  temperatures have risen and temperatures have fallen but Man has always survived. Perhaps what is due to come will be the end of Man as the   dominant species. Is that something to be so scared of that we enable these tinkerers to do yet more damage to our fragile planet in their efforts to keep Man on top of the food chain?

To my mind no. They are simply stalling the obvious. The Earth moves in cycles and the time is coming when Man's very survival depends not on his will to survive but by Natures say so. Some would claim that by trying to stall the inevitable  we are showing a will to survive Natures onslaught. To that I say no, that is not correct. What Man is doing will simply drive Natures desire to rid herself of Man's interference on  every known species, and natural resources we have plundered, on this Earth.

Man has slowly all but destroyed this planet with its insatiable desire to be top dog and with Man's tinkering to stave off the inevitable Nature will ensure, no matter what Man tries to do about it that we die off. If not completely then with severely limited numbers left. So few that Man will struggle.

"The weak shall inherit the Earth". And we all know that "only the strong survive".

Monday, 27 October 2008

Is it just me or?

Is it just me or is the whole Web experience slowing down? Not by ISP's slowly but surely making connection speeds fall lower and lower through lack of anything approaching decent networks but by more and more usage of PHP and SQL?

Have you noticed how several of the so called main stream web sites hit URL after URL in your browsers taskbar? This transversal of URL and after URL usually includes several hits to various advertisements which plague the Internet web experience these days which all goes towards slowing down what eventually fils your browser window.

It is bad enough when a web site uses flash to display some minor image. None are more guilty of that particular practise than news services where when going to any single one of the so called main stream news web sites it can take from a minute to several minutes even on a 18Mbit plus  ADSL2 connection for the web site to fully load into the browser.

The whole web experience today is bad to piss poor but as the web sites themselves deliberately slow down the end result (what you see in your browser window) it is only going to succeed in people looking elsewhere as they struggle to find something that displays faster.

It does not matter if one is using Internet Explorer (though one must ask you why you are using that insecure monstrosity) or Safari or Firefox or any one of the many others that are available this slowdown thing affects everyone irregardless of browser in use. It is only going to get worse.

Google's front page shows what can be done but even that is slowly caving in to the ever more loaded pages.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Government Databases.

I surely am not alone in being scared of our government, be they Labour, Conservative or any other political party, being ever more willing and in some cases already doing, huge one point databases am I?

They either plan or have implemented all encompassing databases which will include every man, woman and child resident in this country, whether they be nationals (defined as born here irregardless of creed, race or faith) or tourists (business or otherwise). Another database will contain every child and so on.

The number of 'lost' names in recent times is scary enough but a single point database (which means only one entry for access to) containing who knows what of every individual just fills me with dread. I don't know how hackers (defined as those who break into such databases).

We already have the police database, the passport database, the drivers database (think DVLA), a doctor's database and hospital databases, registered with banks and so on. We are first on the goverment radar after being registered at birth and from that time to death, which is also registered) we voluntarily sign up for most, if not all of the services mentioned above. We leave information at various shops where we purchased something. That signals to the bank that at that moment in time where we were, what we  bought and what we spent. All that sort of thing while not voluntary is just part and parcel of everyday life. Having all that information stored in one place and accessed  via one single means is just plain scary. It is bad enough that the number of databases holding all manner of information on individuals exist and some link up so verifications can be made. The fact that this huge database is government run (for now until they decide to sell the information as will surely happen within 25 years of it starting) and owned make it all the more scary.

Our government, or put another way our elected officials, has an appalling track record regarding such things and it is widely and well known that the government, at any level from Westminster to local councils, are useless at governing  any IT project be it small or large. This huge database comes under the banner of the latter.

During the last year various government departments 'lost' private and confidential information. They 'lost' laptops and notebooks with monotonousness regularity usually containing unencrypted data. Their track record is appalling.

I,  for one, find these huge government mandated databases scary.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008 does it again.

In this article on the web site we see once again the underlaying knowledge is sorely lacking. They lable the, by now ancient, Anarchists' Cookbook  a 'terrorist manual'.

At a risk of being tagged by the all seeing police state which Great Britain has become as a terrorist myself I put Anarchist Cookbook into google and once passed the obligatory adverts the first hit returned was on Wikipedia. It says there that it first appeared  circa 1971. And just to show how easy it is, even now, to download the Cookbook, at the end of the Wikipedia link it leads you to here.

Not exactly hard to find is it. Though as the FAQ on that web site says the original Cookbook cannot be downloaded anymore there are several other similar Cookbooks available some of which can be downloaded from there.

Anyone who has traveled since 1971 through Fidonet, the early none WWW based Internet through to its modern WWW equivalent, the all singing all dancing Web2.0 based Internet, knows that that 'Cookbook' has been around for years. I do not know when it first surfaced nor if it is still being added to or updated in any way as I have not seen a copy of it for at least 10 or more years. It has probably been around for 30 years or so.

I cannot remember when I first came upon it, suffice it to say it was uploaded to my BBS (old style BBS not its modern meaning) which I ran from 1977 until 1997 or so. Having taken a quick look at it, as all good SysOps did when something had been uploaded to their BBS, it became clear very quickly that while the information held within was aimed at doing things considered illegal there was not much aside from  homemade bomb making, that would lead to anyone getting hurt. Sure, telephone companies would (more on that later) but as everyone considered them money grabbing thieves they were considered fair game.

If you never lived through the days before the Internet existed or the days before Broadband access then it is hard to think of such things as 'phreaking'. Phreaking allowed one to play a tune, usually using a penny whistle (also known as a tin whistle), which fooled the telephone exchange which then allowed one to make a free telephone call. If you get it right you could fool the exchange to allow a free call to be made and also to 'dial' the number for you. All considered clever stuff back in those days Modern telephony systems are no longer prone to being fooled in such a manner. There are, or perhaps were, many such olde worlde things in the Anarchists' Cookbook that the BBC author called a 'terrorists manual', that bare no use in the modern technologically laden world. Whether this has changed and such things within it removed i have no idea as i have not seen a copy of the Cookbook for years.

This basic lack of in-depth writing is proliferating all across the
news reporting media. Be they an on-line  place or part of the dying
dead tree newspaper brigade. One can see it everywhere one reads the
news. It is as alarming as it is appalling.

Do the BBC consider everyone who reads their articles to be under 10 years old? On reading some articles the answer would appear to be a resounding yes. It is this appalling lack of both quality and knowledge that has infiltrated the BBC in the last couple of years that makes reading such a joy and irritant at the same time. The BBC of course will say that it was the police who made such comments and all they were doing was reporting the news. But that in and of itself is no excuse.

Perhaps because those who write such articles are a new breed they do not know such things have been available for 30 or more years but surely in that case it would make perfect sense, as well as add some credibility to the author, to seek out some information on it? Is that really asking too much of a modern reporter that they do some very basic sleuthing so that they do not appear amateurish?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

My ISP and ADSL2+ (part 11)

On each FORCED reconnection due to unsettled weather conditions our sync rate gets lower and lower.

The only thing that is constant is the fact that the sync rate gets lower.

ADSL2+ is a waste of time on the ancient copper network (from house to exchange) here.

Karoo run fibre almost everywhere else so why can't they replace the aging copper that is left and give us users the at least the speeds they claimed from ADSL2+? Only they know the answer to that one but I can speculate.

They KNOW ADSL2+ is poor and they KNOW how to fix it so that everyone will get a nice speed bump but they WON'T do it. They STOCK refuse to do it. why? Because if they did a part of the company would disappear.

Karoo's stock is dropping faster than rain from a black cloud. The company is dying and they know it. They are ripe for the picking but we users do not want that to happen because if it did the cost of both telephone calls and braodband access would go up.

They know that to replace the ancient copper here is the way to go so why don't they just get on and do it?

Monday, 13 October 2008

Huge monetary figures.

I have long been amused when I read articles such as this one where they tout  figures of $2 trillion and $5 trillion. If, like me, such figures make you gasp in amazement as much as the induce a thought of incredulity then they will also invoke thoughts of utter disbelief.

It appears to me that people such as scientists, be they scientist of nature or scientists of medicine, in fact irellevant of doctrine, use such huge and ultimately useless  numbers as a way of backing up their often outlandish claims. Look closely at that referenced article and then try to understand the underlaying ideology behind it. Do you reach the same  conclusion as I do?

My conclusion of it is that to claim such outlandish figures against something that is not ultimately measurable makes the effort used to collate and process such data utterly futile. The commonman, and woman, cannot comprehend such huge numbers. This has been, err, scientifically and mathematically, proven so why do these people persist in producing such huge figures? They do it because their ultimate goal is to garner ever more money from Governments the world over. They are not aimed at Joe and Jane in the streets. So one has to wonder why the BBC produces such articles.

I suppose the BBC's aim to to educate and inform (yes, yes, I know they often do not get the mix right but let us forget that for now) and by producing such articles they are doing exactly that. But, that does not help Joe and Jane comprehend such numbers. So, ultimately the article is wasted material on the intended target audience. Wasted because as ones brain struggles to comprehend such huge numbers what follows is not stored in ones brain.

We are seeing such figures on a daily basis now with the banking mess that is hitting the world's countries but that does not help the common person to comprehend such numbers. Instead the common person who walks and works in the everyday street simply ignores the numbers and tries to carry on as they always have carried on never caring about such numbers.

Madness. It is all unadulterated, unmitigated madness.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

ISP speeds (a rant by any other name).

Whether actual speeds or publicity speeds are getting ever faster. Except here in Hull where ADSL2+ is a mess of slow sync and throughput speeds for the vast majority of customers. Our incumbent ISP claims, but never gives out actual provable figures, that their home customers are happy with ADSL2+. They will not provide any figures to back up that claim though not even to us, us being those of us who were supposedly on a monthly scheduled meetings with them.

Virgin Media have announced plans for a 50Mbit/sec service. How many of their customers will acheive anywhere close to that remains to be seen, but the fact they are publically declaring such speeds is admirable. Our ISP touts  service improvements then fails miserably on the  actual  giving part of that service, ADSL2+ is one such example. Okay, Virgin Media are a cable company probably using DOSIS3 9or whatever it is called) but the simple fact they talk to their customers via various news outlets is in stark contrast to how our ISP operates.

Many times our ISP  replies to  questions with the boilerplate reply of "That is being tested." which actually means "We have no idea what you are talking about.". Our ISP's technical people are a joke beyond the pale. Anything that goes outside of their abilities is immediately debunked as "not being worth the effort".

There are many people who offer up free advice to our ISP's technical people and those people offering up that advice known that of which they speak but, without fail you can bet your last penny that our ISP's technical people will not have the  abilities  nor brain power to do what it is that was asked of them.

Whether this is due to the limitations of the software used or is because those technical people have never dared to venture beyond the absolute basics or even if they are simply stuck in their ways not wanting to try and find out what sort of power the software they use provides is all open to debate. My own feelings and thoughts on the matter is that it is a mix of the first two.

To give an example. We asked them about offering their users, home users, multiple IP's as standard on their top tier service but what came back from that  request was both astounding and mystifying. The reply said "We cannot offeer multiple IP's because it would create too much work." Imagine that! Technical people   saying so and so would be too much work to implement.

There is a whole list of such replies that  seriously impacts peoples thoughts on their technical prowess.

Not that long ago I set up an ISP. The basic setup took under an hour to do. Over all the time taken from start to a fully fledged ISP setup was 52 hours. And here we have our incumbent ISP claiming something was too much work to setup. Simply amazing!

But back to speeds. With just about every ISP offering   40Mbit/sec plus it seems we users in this city with our incumbent ISP as the    provider will be stuck with slow speeds for years to come. It seriously impacts the beiief of their customers in the ISP ability to do anything beyond the absolute basics to provide a connection. They are stale. They are old hat. They are simply rubbish at every level possible.

Due to how they have handled us in recent weeks, the ignoring of emails, it is my remit now to make life for as many people within the company as uncomfortable as possible. I have instigated an E.U. investigation into their Hull operations. Particularly in what they charge other ISP's, be they  one already out there or new startups, with realtion to LLU or sharing of cabinets. I have contacted OFcom, the relevant E.U. departments (!2 in all) and am in the process of using the contacts I have within the newspaper industry to get the word out.

We are suffering here from a crap service. A service that is fixable but whether they have the ability within is open to debate. I have had to do this sort of thing before and I have no qualms in doing it again.

My ISP and ADSL2+ (part 10)

With the local people here getting evermore annoyed at slow sync speeds I read this article with some alarm and amusement. If, as that article says, the main backbone trunks have capacity to spare and the usage of is getting cheaper by the hour and the so called 'last mile' is the only bottleneck to a good consumer experience then one really has to wonder why such as our incumbent ISP lacks the relevant ideas and plans on gaining the upper hand for local customers by getting rid of that last bit of copper.

The E.U. complaint (re)started last week is gaining ground. This morning I received an email which basically asked me to all the data I have, less any identifcation bits such as names and IP addressed, from the various people who sent me such information. This I did straight away. I had already compiled such information in anticipation of such an email coming in so it was a simple case of replying and attaching the data.

Where does this go now? At this stage I don't know. What I do know is the complaint is gathering pace and we now have traction within the E.U. so something may be done. When that will be however is open to question. The E.U. council are not known for their speed but at least the complaint is on its way which means that we may see something happening before we realise it.

They ask me if I wanted them to contact our ISP so they could put their side of the story. Knowing how our ISP lies consistantly about just about everything to do with their network I requested that at this stage I would rather they did not. So, unless they read this blog series or any of the emails I have sent them over the last 14 or so days they will, for now, remain blistfully unware of what is actually happening.

Fun times indeed.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

My ISP and ADSL2+ (part 9)

And so after many none replied to emails to 3 separate departments at our incumbent ISP I have renewed the E.U. complaint started a year or so ago.

There is much interest in the U.K. ISP situation within the E.U. with none being more closely watched than our incumbent ISP. To renew the complaint all it took was an email to the E.U. department handling such things. Once that email was received and processed a person within that department was assigned to the complaint. Once this stage has passed it is then a simple case of getting them back up to speed from where the complaint was left.

As I keep emails for years and years (some go back to 1988 and are in fact fidonet to email messages but I digress) all I had to do was give them the email headers and date stamps then they did whatever they do and retrieved all the relevant documents at their end which they sent back to me after further verification to make sure I was the one who started the complaint procedure. For my end all I needed to do was search through my email archives and locate all the relevant emails as well as the original case number(s).

The procedure is now (re)started in earnest. I have been tasked with gathering as much data as I can from both my router logs (stored on a log server located  somewhere in our house) as well as  data directly off the router. Apparently, they will use my line as an example of everyone else. Further, I have emails from various people around the city and with a bit of identification scrubbing the data some sent to me can also be sent. There is other stuff they have requested I do which I will do and send to them.

Going on the contact had so far (6 days excluding Saturday and Sunday) they seem to be very conscious about the lack of true speeds throughout the U.K. and within that target demo graph Hull itself. From what they have said they have give or take a few, 1000 people around the U.K. involved with their probing and of those 6  reside in Hull itself.

This is going to be very interesting. Knowing, as I do, how the E.U. complaint procedure works will alow me to leverage those procedures to my own advantage

The last time  our incumbent ISP pissed me off  to this extent It ended up with our incumbent ISP MD contacting OFcom (or whatever name they used back then - circa 1999) who sent me a letter protecting the then MD from further proof I was providing about that subject matter. Shortly after i had received that our incumbent ISP saw sense and implemented what had been under discussion. I was left with a ban from posting to the then ISP controlled news groups which really wasn't such a bad ban anyway. I wonder if the MD will use his, or rather the companies, monies to protect them this time around?

They will surely learn that this person still has the same teeth as he had back then and I will use whatever the E.U. law allows in an effort that will hopefully benefit everyone connecting via our incumbent ISP.

They will rue the day that they pissed me off enough to do this. I can and will, as much as one person can, make life very uncomfortable for them.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Countries and banks.

With ever more countries around the world,from the U.S.A. to little Denmark underwriting or buying out banks thereby nationalising them the world is heading for a socialist government.

Previous to this banking nightmare the Western World was a free world. The U.S.A. was a free(ish) country. And yet, today we have many of the worlds biggest banks being bankrolled by various governments. This is the world slowly but surely moving in a socialist fashion to a true socialist world.

In the years previous to this happening governments around the Western World including the U.S.A. slowly eroded whatever freedoms their people had. Some, closed or severely limited their borders to stop illegal and some legal foreigners from entering. They systematically installed cameras to watch over their people. All in the name of security of course but watch over their people they did.

Further, they gave their police forces unprecedented powers to stop and search their citizens. Again, all in the name of security.

But, what all this means is that the various governments of the Western World have curtailed whatever freedoms their citizens had and now we find those same governments that eroded their citizens freedoms are now placing those citizens in years of debt to save a few already rich people who are owners of the various banks.

The few get richer and richer while the rest of us suffer possibly years of hardship.

A true socialist world we now live in.

My ISP and ADSL2+ (part 8)

In this "My ISP and ADSL2+ (part X)"  series I have tried to document what is going on here in Hull and what our incumbent ISP is doing, or rather trying to do (and ultimately failing to do) regarding ADSL2+. I have tried to do this without giving too much away as there are somethings they need to ensure are not mentioned due to business issues best left alone. For our part we have done this while at the same time  explaining various issues. For their part they have consistantly broken their own word.

Here is the latest twist in this series.

A week or so ago there was an agreement between myself and the incumbent ISP. That agreement basically was that they woud remove any limitations placed on our line so that we could find out how stable a line can get when the SNR drops to 0.1. As it turned out the line was stable at an SNR of 0.1. This removal of the shackles placed on my line also allowed the line to sync higher than the ill-conceived settings they assumed would be better.

Now, without a word they have once again placed limitations on my line. The sync rate is shit, the max rate is shit. The SNR hovers around 4.0. The line is stable but what got me was that no contact was made by them to inform me they were going to break the agreement.

A week or so ago, after the the agreement was agreed to, they did some upgrades on their network. For all I know these upgrades  could be why the line now has limitations placed upon it. To me, however, this is irrelevant.

The idea behind the agreement was that they and I could see how stable a line sync could be when no predefined limitations were placed on a line. That was the basic premise behind the agreement. I gave them an unfettered allowance to do whatever they needed to do in an effort to suss out why ADSL2+ is so crap for the vast majority of people. I told them I did not care how many times my connection dropped (it never did, not once).

And yet towards the end of the first week they (re)placed the limitations without so much as a word in my direction. Several emails requesting clarification have been sent with no reply. They have broken they agreement.

Because they have broken the agreement and because they have not said anything this says to me we can no longer trust their word and the word of the infrastructure manager in particular.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

My ISP and ADSL2+ (part 7)

So, the war of attrition has begun. Totally out of our control the masses have taken it upon themselves to hit our ISP head-on in the war over ADSL2+. The fall-out is not going to be nice. Damage control is the best our ISP can do but will that be enough to stop ever more people joining the rank and file? I somehow doubt it.

Once the cat is out of the bag that will be it. On and on it will go until something is done to placate them. What that something is however is open to question.

What they want is simple enough. For years and years the vast majority of users here have been happy with their connections. Sure, there has been the odd one or two who suffered bad connections but the majority did not and were a happy lot. Then our ISP brought out ADSL2+ and the rank and file suddenly found that their connections became unstable, became slower and so on. Suddenly the rank and file where not a happy bunch and they are looking to bite the leg of their ISP.

The ISP, perhaps not surprisingly, have gone very quiet and it is that quietness that has made the rank and file irritable. When they become irritable they look to let of steam any way they can. In the first instance that means writing articles for newspapers, radio presentations, news web sites etc etc and then go from there.

The ISP for their part only needs to fix the issues plaguing their users connections.

How this can be done without spending millions of pounds on their network infrastructure, particularly the so called 'last mile' is unknown. We do know they are not using all of the available spectrum that ADSL2+ allows so perhaps if they did then many, if not all, would find their connections both stable and faster. We won't know until they use the available spectrum. Will they? I don't know. But, they have to do something and fast otherwise they will be facing a huge backlash which even coordinated damage control will not contain.

Once that happens and ranks  fill out with more and more people who know what will happen then?

Fun times indeed here in Hull.

Friday, 3 October 2008

My ISP and ADSL2+ (part 6)

Now at the end of the week. Many emails have been sent to my ISP, some to the guy who we hold meetings with, some to a contact I have had there for years and a couple to their so called customer service email address. Every single one has gone without a reply. I get the feeling that just like several times before i am on some internal ignore list.

What is all the more surprising is that the guy who we hold the meetings with is the Head of Infrastructure for their entire network across the whole country. And here he is pissing me and everyone we represent off.

Perhaps others outside of the KC/Karoo service areas are used to be ignored but here, especially when they asked us to setup a meeting, is  not a good thing to do. They know we will spread the word to every newspaper, radio station and news web sites faster than they can put a stop to us doing it. They know that when we say we are pissed off we are really well and truly pissed off.

My own thoughts on why they are ignoring us again is that they know their ADSL2+ is a massive mistake. A total and utter and utter mess and no matter how much data we throw their way they have not got the slightest clue how to fix the mess ADSL2+ have left them with.

They can ignore us all they like but once we have had enough of them ignoring us and the problems, real problems people all over the city are having with this ADSL2+ mess they will regret the day they ever considered ignoring us  a good thing to do.

I shall continue on a daily basis to collect all the moans that keep arriving in my inbox, on my mobile in both txt and calls, via snail mail and so on from people within our own group as well as from some, a lot actually, outside it. So far that count has hit 2126 unique telephone numbers. The numbers are growing. They cannot ignore them just because a few old ladies and gentlemen say their connections are stable.

It is the power users of Karoo that define who they are. Pre the ADSL2+ mess the service was quite simply brilliant. Now, after the ADSL2+ mess was instigated it is  a nightmare. They have to face up to this fact sooner rather than hope we all go away. If they don't then the first ISP that comes into the city will get their custom and once customers start moving others will surely follow and if that was to happen it will sound the death knell for Karoo as an ISP and quite probably for KC as the telephone line provder for this area. If not the death knell then surely they will not be top dog.

The time for action is growing ever nearer.

The Internet experience.

Or  the Internet WEB experience as it stands today.

Being a staunch advocate of free software  tools (also known as FOSS) as I am I find it increasingly furstrating to see web pages the exclaim only Mircosoft 5.5 and above browsers can use this page and other such messages designed/created to help the user. Of course, that kind of help is no help and is simply caused because whoever created the web site was too lazy to design it properly using well established standards so that the web site works across all known browsers.

Then, of course, there are those designers that use closed source tools to design the web site with the associated lock-in those closed source tools have.

Too many companies hire Web developers who have never used any non-MS tools.  These people view W3C-compliant code as "nonstandard", and adamantly insist that Microsoft Malware Magnet is the One True Browser. That's the charitable interpretation.  I'm sure Microsoft never slips companies money or heavily-discounted software under the table in exchange for Web pages designed to look like crap on any browser that doesn't emulate MSIE's bugs, right?

Of course, what "Best viewed with MSIE 5.5 or higher" really means in
most cases is "I'm too lazy to test with any other browser."

Plus there are those designers that still use ActiveX controls within their web designs. ActiveX has been proven time and time again to be the single biggest hole in any browser ever but designers don't care about your security as long as they get paid for their creations.

I don't know how many web sites are left using such lock-in designs as it is would be almost impossible for me to seek each and every one out but I see enough of them during my daily web travels to know that some are old enough to have been created before Firefox and friends in the open source world came to be but there are some still being designed and it is those new ones that really have no excuse.

I lay the blame for all of these poorly designed web sites squarely on Microsoft.

Designing web site like this is a sure fire way to lose custom.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

I had to smile.

I read this article on the BBC web site with some amusement. Here in the KC catchment area they simply turn up and remove the telephone box. Totally unaware of any concerned the people local to that telephone box may have.

This is yet another way our incumbent telco provider differs from BT.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

My ISP and ADSL2+ (part 5)

It has to be said. Here in Kingston-upon-Hull (Hull) ISP's are something of a rarity. Even more of a rarity is that we have one, ONE, ISP offering ADSL services. So, when I get emails from people outside of the ISP servicing area saying "Switch ISP's if your own is so bad" I have to question their knowledge of U.K. telecommunication history. Okay, not many are interested and even fewer even know we have our own telephone network totally autonomous from BT.

There are many people here that would love to have a choice of both telephone provider and of ADSL provider. That number is growing all the time as more and more people become aware of what ISP's offering services outside of this area offer. Some have gone so far as to initiate contact we some ISP's outside of this area in an effort to persuade them to setup camp in Hull all to no avail as KC have steadfastly stifled the market to ensure their foothold in local territory stays that way.

KC, of course, resolutely denies this and has said on numerous occasions that their prices for wholesale broadband is competitive with those of BT. While the actual cost of purchasing such IS comparable to BT the provision of such services is not. But, say KC, these are details that are looked at on a per customer basis. Not that that makes any difference to actual costings. So, we have the situation  where the local incumbent telephony company openly invites outside ISP's to come into the city any ISP looking into such says that the local incumbent telephony provider has things locked up price wise so they will not come here.

There is a company supposedly offering fibre services to businesses but I know of no business here, large or small, that has taken up such an offering. No doubt cost of installation is the main barrier to penetration.

Our incumbent ISP had better pull its finger out. Customers are getting evermore wise to how things work and here ADSL2+ while offering fantastic line stability (until it rains then all bets are off) has SLOWED DOWN the vast majority of peoples speeds. That's correct. ADSL2+ which was hailed as the faster of the ADSL technologies has proven itself to be a duck egg for the vast majority of people here. I have serious doubts that they can fix the slow sync/throughput speeds so what are they to do? First, they have to admit that ADSL2+ is a waste of time on their aging network copper lines. Second, they must ring forward whatever plans they have for fibre installs. Third, they must ensure those fibre installs are right up to peoples houses (so called FTTH). Fourth they must ensure that throughput speeds on FFTH lines are at least 50MB and preferably 100MB or better.

Failure to heed any of those will eventually lead to one of two things. One, the Karoo ISP will disapear as a going concern. Two, others WILL come here and offer comparable or better fibre connections.

My own patience with KC/Karoo has worn very thin indeed and I am now actively speaking with ISP representatives outside of the Hull area with a view to having them setup camp in the city or as one of them told me "so that we can provide you with the technologies you will need but you and your partners will be the front end for us".

We will see in the coming year where this leads to. I, however, will be doing everything within my capabilties to make sure it happens. The ISP's I have spoken with hold all the cards so if they get weak knees about such plans there is little, right now, I can do about it.