Friday, May 30, 2008

Me & Technology

For a geek, I'm not particularly bothered about technology. My thinking is "it's a tool, use it, don't get hung up on having the latest tool if the one you currently have works well." And this used to suit me fine. Okay, I used to get the piss ripped out of me for having a phone that was 'insured against Viking raids', but it made and received phone calls & texts and that was exactly what I wanted it to do.

Three years I had that phone, and it was still working perfectly when I was persuaded to get a newer one. So I got a shiny new Nokia about a year ago, and that too worked very well. Plus, unlike the other one, it had a camera on it. My my, how I'd moved into the 20th Century.

Then it started to go a bit mental in January. Nothing major, just a glitch taking a photo and then the whole phone locked up. Did the standard techie thing of turning it off and then back on again, and this fixed it. Or so it seemed. I think that was actually the start of the breakdown. Since then, I've had intermittent problems receiving texts, and - very occasionally - calls.

Last weekend, however, I realised I hadn't had ANY text messages whatsoever for about three days - which is very unusual for me - so I tried to speak to Orange Customer Services. Go through the convoluted menu options to be told that calls to Customer Services will cost me 25p. Okay, not a lot, but annoying anyway. Press the button to continue, then get another message telling me that Customer Services are only open between the hours of 8am and 10pm.

Wow. A company that isn't 24hr! I was surprised. Very surprised. Rang back the next morning to explain my phone problems, and was told by Customer Services that I had probably got a faulty SIM and that they would send me a new one, all configured with my number etc, and all I'd need to do was pop it in the phone.

SIM duly arrives, and in it goes. Nothing. Read accompanying instructions. Seems I need to call to get the SIM activated. Fair enough, assume this is so they know I've got it. Call Customer Services yet again, then get told the spectacular news that the SIM doesn't actually have my number on it yet, and needs to receive some SIM updates in order to work. These SIM updates will be sent by text (problem 1) and at some point over the next 24 hours (problem 2).

That was 24 hours ago. Obviously the SIM updates still haven't arrived as my phone can't receive texts - hence I needed a replacement card. So since yesterday morning I've been uncontactable. Which hasn't been too bad at all, but mainly because I have a new phone: with a new number that only one person knows.

This situation will be changing very soon, as I'm porting my old number across to the new phone. Which brings me onto something else. Orange told me - when I first rang up for the PAC number - that they *had* to send it out by post and it would take three to four days and I'd need to have ID to sign for it.

Slight problem there, fella. Can't wait that long to start the porting (which seems to take three days itself) & I don't have any ID. "Well sir" the man says "those are the rules." Now I see this sort of thing as a challenge, so I rang them back on a freephone number they don't tell you about, and asked to speak to the Complaints Department. Told I may have to wait 15 minutes, told them this was fine as I was on their freephone number and it would be costing them more money to leave me hanging.

Amazingly, get put through in less than a minute. Told the same as before, "those are the rules" then I asked the guy if there was someone there who was paid more money than him in return for being shouted at. Was escalated to said person. Nice chap, told him the problem, he then gives me the PAC number over the phone. That number goes to my new phone company, and my old number will be on my new phone on Monday.


I now have a phone with a 3.2 Megapixel camera (with Carl Zeiss lens, no less), free internet connection, free text messages and 400 minutes of free calls to any network. Oh, and the phone was free as well. I'm now in the 21st Century, and it's okay so far.

So if you've been trying to contact me, this should explain why I've not been responding. Dull, I know, but there you have it.

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