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Torsdag, June 03rd, 2010 | Författare:

Why I’ve left MTN

So I’ve been shopping around in a non-serious fashion in the last few months trying to figure out how best to leave MTN and how get the best deal for me. I don’t like MTN since I became anirate“, as I might call such a customer in the ISP industry. MTN’s Customer-Service Call Centre had rarely been helpful or knowledgeable on their own systems. The final straw however was when their systems let me screw myself over and Customer Service was as helpful as a dead redshirt:

I had a billing issue where, admittedly, it started of my own fault. MTN has a feature where you can call in to find out the amount owing on your account. Only, as Murphy would have it, this amount was inte the amount owing on the account but the last amount that was billed.

So one month my account was about R900. I called the number, mis-heard R500, paid the amount I thought I should: R500. 15 days later MTN suspended my account. No wrong done, right? Wrong.

First off, I received no notification of any kind. An sms would make the most sense, especially since it would cost MTN almost no resources: “Your account xyz is in arrears by R400. Please contact blah blah blah”. They could phone me, they could email me, something, but nothing of the sort happened. Suspend without Prejudice. Thats the best way to get the customer’s attention!

Now, not only could I not make calls and sms’s, I could not receive calls or sms’s. Further, I could not even call MTN’s toll free phone number. I had to use someone else’s phone to get to the bottom of the problem. After two days of haggling I finally found a lady kind enough to re-enable the account. Ten days later my salary goes in, I call the same number and hear a number close toR900”. I think to myself maybe I should double-check juuuust in case I mis-heard. I call again, I hear the same number again. Right. Pay the R900. Fifteen days later, my phone is suspended AGAIN. WTH?

Remember what I mentioned earlier?: “this amount was inte the amount owing on the account but the last amount that was billed.” So, in spite of the fact that the voice prompt specifically saysPress 3 for Balance Due; [Presses 3] ; The Total Outstanding Balance is; Nine; hundred; och; #whatever ; Rands; och; #whatever; cents”, I actually owed them R900 plus the R400 that I’d paid short the previous month. Ingen, I do not know if MTN has fixed this. I no longer care. Since I figured this out I started waiting for paper statements to see how much was actually due. Interestingly, their paper statements were also wrong. Only they had the opposite problem: “This invoice: R1300in spite of the fact that on the next page it says opening balanceR400”, closing balanceR1300”. Pah! Is it fixed? Igen, I don’t care.

I let them know I wasn’t renewing the contract and I’ve now already ported my number away to Virgin Mobile. Because I want to keep my number and port it elsewhere, the store said I could not putunsatisfactory serviceas the reason for ending the contract but that it should simply sayporting”. Apparently by putting anything else there they might notnoticethat I want it ported. WTF.

What next? (without MTN)

In my research I’ve found that contractdealsare most popular. Typically, you can get a R8000 phone for R800 per month over 24 months with R500-odd worth of airtime per month. This amounts to you paying R19 200 over a 24-month period for a phone worth R8000 which will be obsolete within 12 månader. You will get some airtime every month so you might feel its not a complete loss. However you should also remember that it costs the cellular companies nothing when you make those phone calls. Vinst.

There’s a better way

There are much cheaper contracts, contracts for between R50 and R200 which include cheapish phonesphones that work damned well as a phone but won’t let you play games on the train. Most of these contracts actually give you the same airtime value (sometimes more!) as what you are paying. So for R100 you might get R100 worth of airtime plus some free sms’s, and a cheapish phone. The best deals I’ve seen recently have all been for the Samsung STAR, an understated but good cell phone, available from a number of retailers for between R100 and R200 per month. In most cases the deals have included the full amount of airtime. Virgin Mobile has probably the best example here: The cost is R199 per month which includes R200 in airtime and 1000 sms’s (ja, you read that rightone thousand!).

Virginal Service All the Way!

Another reason I’ve gone with Virgin Mobile is a little something no other service provider does: AmixedContract/Prepaid facility. I get R200 in airtime however, if I go over that, the extra just gets added to my invoice. With MTN this could go sky high without the option of a limit! With Virgin, because I asked, it has a limit of R300. Men, I can still add prepaid airtime (with cellphone banking, nogal). No other service provider lets you do this!

Remember that R8000 cell phone I mentioned earlier? My plan is to get the Samsung STAR and spend less than R300 per month. I’ll have saved enough money to actually go and buy a more expensive phone (or laptop) with the cash I’ll have saved! Naturligtvis, if you actually use that R800-worth of phone calls, I guess the best available deal is where you spend the R19200 anyway. Maybe at least with a more critical view on your choices you’ll save yourself a good amount of money in future. Good luck in your search for your best deal!

Dela med sig
Onsdag, 22 april, 2009 | Författare:

Arch Linux installationsprocessen dokumenteras på Arch wiki. Jag rekommenderar att personer nya Arch prova den utmärkta Nybörjarguide istället för Officiell Arch Linux Installationsguide. Även om både wiki poster täcker liknande mark, den nybörjarguide ger en mycket mer relevant information för de nya till systemet. Den Nybörjarguide är inriktad på skrivbordet installation och, som jag installerar en server, Jag kommer inte att gå igenom installationen av den grafiska miljön alls. Förutsatt att du följer min installation, antar att jag har följt nybörjarguide ända fram till och med installationen av sudo. Jag har installerat SSH-demonen efteråt snarare än under den första installationen men.

Några små rekommendationer och anmärkningar om installation:

  • Om du kan, överväga att använda ett USB-minne för installatören och ha den till hands för framtida installationer.
  • Jag behålla en kopia av min lokala “slutförvar” installerade program på min installations minne. När installationen är klar jag spara lite nedladdning och uppdatera tid genom att kopiera detta till den nya servern / var / cache / pacman / pkg / mapp. Förvaret på mitt skrivbord är typiskt 1.7 GB stor
  • För rc.conf, Sydafrikanska-lämpliga regionala inställningar:
    LOCALE =”en_ZA.utf8″
    TIDZON =”Afrika / Johannesburg”
  • Jag har ställt in nätverket mycket enkelt, enligt styr, och kommer att expandera på nätverksinställningarna i ett senare inlägg.
  • Eftersom det är en server, min icke-privilegierade användare på servern är bara en del av 3 grupper: hjul (för sudo), lagring, och användare. En stationär användare kommer sannolikt att vara i många fler grupper.

Jag föredrar att använda ett program som heter yoghurt istället för Arch standard pakethanterare. Yaourt har exakt samma användnings syntax som pacman förutom att det stöder några extra alternativ. Det är faktiskt en wrapper program genom att det, i tur och ordning, använder pacman. Viktigt, yaourt stöder installation av program från Arch s GULD. Den GULD är ett förråd av installationsskript byggda av Arch användare för Arch användare att enkelt installera program som inte är officiellt stöds av de viktigaste Arch förråden. Yaourt kan ladda ner och installera program från AUR eller huvud förråd med samma kommando, behandla AUR som “bara en annan arkiv”. Pacman tyvärr inte stöder detta.

Igen, installationen är täckt i wiki. Jag rekommenderar den enkla vägen som nämns i wikin om du är ny på Arch. Dess alltför mycket för tidigt att göra det den hårda vägen (också nämns i wikin posten).

när du är klar, uppdatera systemet genom att ge enda kommando:

yaourt -Syu


pacman -Syu

och följ de givna rekommendationerna.

Dela med sig
Onsdag, December 31st, 2008 | Författare:

A very important topic in South Africa is to do with firearms and our rights to our personal säkerhet. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not in the belief that everyone should have the right to bear a bazooka, M82, eller AK-47 * – not unless you have to defend yourself against an army **.

Men, I do believe that I have the right to own a weapon of some sort for the purpose of self defense. I doubt I’d ever purchase a firearm however, not even a small pistol, but I’d prefer to think that should the need arise, I still have the right.

There are 2 opposing teams. There’s the pro-gun team and the anti-gun team (pro-control). I once thought that it would be okay for, say, the pro-control team to win all the battles until we get down to where only small firearms are allowed, or perhaps larger firearms under very strict circumstances. Recently, my thinking has shifted. If the pro-control team wins all the legal battles up to that point, what’s to say they won’t win the next battle as well and outlaw firearms completely?

I’m on the pro-gun team simply because I believe that I should have the right to own, possibly, that small pistolwhich in a way is silly because I’ll probably never exercise the right. Its most definitely not pointless however. Igen, I’d rather have the right and not need it.

Picture this highly unlikely scenario: You want to protect your right to own a small pistol; personal bazookas and gatling cannons are legal; legislation is in place to start making bazookas and gatling cannons illegal. Assuming you’re pro-pistol, should you stand aside and let the opposing team (pro-control) win that legal battle? Its an important moral dilemma to think aboutand one that you should probably apply to all your other political beliefs.

Here is some food for thought:

  • South Africa has the highest (or second-highest, depending on who you ask) crime rate in the world.
  • 98% of gun-related crime in South Africa involve the use of illegal (unlicensed) firearms (dvs, gun control laws do not adequately curb gun-related crime).
  • Due to relatively recent changes in firearms laws requiring the re-licensing of all previously-licensed firearms, the CFR (Central Firearms Register) has been tasked, for the period of 2006 till 2009, to process more than four times the number of license applications each year than ever previously processed in an individual year.
  • It now takes between 12 och 24 months to get a firearms license.

To be honest, I’m still of two minds on this one. I’m very much in favour of being responsible for our country’s firearmsbut I certainly don’t want the pro-control group to make any moreprogress”.

Maybe the world could learn a thing or 2 from the Swiss. Their citizenry has been armed to the teeth since the 19th centuryand they’re also the only country to have stayed out of both World Wars.

* For those who do own firearms, I sincerely hope you’re not delusional about the dangers. I hope you have the ammunition stored in a safe separate from your firearm’s own safe, and that everyone in the household understands and respects how dangerous firearms really are.

** Not likely.

Dela med sig