Friday, March 20, 2009

Gloria In Excelsis

The seven day BT customer service nightmare is nearly over, the second line engineer detected a line fault that the first had missed (apparently "damp" in a junction box somewhere) but still couldn't get a connection, so we're due a broadband specialist engineer today.

But at 11pm last night the ADSL light suddenly stayed on. I then spent an hour trying to connect (with the old modem - there was nowt wrong with it - £45 wasted on a new one) but just couldn't get a BT internet link.

Come down this morning - all lights are on and the connection is 50% faster than it was before ! Still only 768K, but it was 512 when it went off. We are at the end of several miles of wire - the next house up the road is on a different exchange - at the limits of the technology - so any wiring problems and we're sunk.

I say the nightmare's 'nearly' over. We now have to tell the broadband engineer not to come out. Ring the BT Broadband help number in the book, after many an option it asks you to ring a different number. Ring that one (Bombay) to be told 'you have to ring this UK number - but only after 9am'. The engineer might be on his way by then - still, I did try.

My letter to the Customer Services director of BT, which opens 'I write as one who is rapidly losing the will to live', should have arrived yesterday. He must have the thickest skin in the UK - I have a vision of a Durham postman bent double under the weight of a huge sack of complaints letters - which then get emptied into the furnace to heat the offices.

Blogging will recommence tonight.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A People's Bank

"Making the Post Office the "people's bank" could secure its future and help those not served by banks, a coalition of MPs and interest groups is arguing.

They are due to outline plans for a Post Bank, offering a wide range of financial services at its branches.

Unions say it would help those without bank accounts while business groups say it could create as many as 11,000 jobs.

Ministers, who want post offices to offer more products, "welcomed" the ideas being put forward."

Supporters of the Post Bank model want it to become a fully fledged "socially inclusive" alternative to commercial banks, serving more than 20 million customers every week.

Didn't we used to have banks like that ?

The Trustee Savings Bank, or TSB as it was commonly known, was a British financial institution which specialised in accepting savings deposits from the poor. They did not trade their shares on the stock market and, unlike mutually held building societies, depositors had no voting rights nor the ability to direct the financial and managerial goals of the organisation. Directors were appointed as trustees (hence the name) on a voluntary basis.

Whatever happened to them ?

In 1995, the TSB merged with Lloyds Bank to form Lloyds TSB.

Oh. I must say, I'm not sure what services the rump of what used to be the Post Office Savings Bank still offer. But I do think you can save with them. A British 'National' organisation run by a German company with the back-office jobs in Madras (aka Chennai) - what's not to like for a Labour lefty ?

PS - the engineer came yesterday, and without testing announced it was the ADSL modem. One new ADSL modem and £44 later I still have no ADSL signal. La lotta continua.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Golden Age of Steam II

I haven't stopped blogging, broadband's been out for the last few days. God willing, having finally negotiated my way past the Bombay helpdesk ('no, I am not going to turn all the computers on the network off and on again') the BT engineers will be doing something about it today.

I must just go and put some more methylated spirit under the modem's little boiler ... blogging will be light until it's fixed.