Sunday 24 September 2006

Bye-bye bikes.

A quick trip to Sainsburys yesterday to pick up some essentials turned into a nightmare.

Both our bikes were locked to a steel post buried in the concrete and then, within 40 minutes, were stolen. No lock, bikes or witnesses.

Sainsburys have CCTV cameras for that area, so hopefully the bastards will get caught but we don't expect to ever see the bikes again. :(

We tried to report the incident at Islington Police Station but the front counter was unattended.

Some other people had been waiting for more than 30 minutes with no one there to help. We could see staff in the station, behind the scenes, but no one wanted to come out and help any of us.

Do we still wonder why no one respects the police anymore?

Now, where's my Oyster Card...?

Friday 15 September 2006

Tirade to PlusNet

To whom it may concern,

First of all I would like to apologise for emailing all and sundry about this but as I find it extremely difficult to get a hold of a human at PlusNet – this is my last resort.

I would like to register with you my level of rage with PlusNet’s customer service.

I originally signed up with PlusNet in April 2006 and was happy with everything. My Internet usage is extremely heavy and I quickly exceeded my package limits. So I decided to switch ISPs and find someone with a package that would better suit my needs.

I informed PlusNet of my cancellation and paid the required cancellation fee promptly. I then requested a MAC Key so I could transfer to the new ISP seamlessly. PlusNet informed me that they were unable to provide a MAC Key as I wasn’t with BT and MAC Keys are only required when transferring within BT Wholesale.

After some back and forth with the new ISP and BT it was confirmed that a MAC Key should be provided by PlusNet. I logged a new support call for a MAC Key and I was informed that a request for the MAC Key was put through to “the provider”. (ticket #19835421)

Some weeks passed with no response from PlusNet, despite my requests for some kind of reply on how the situation was progressing. One month after the call was logged, the call was closed by PlusNet. I was unable to open this closed call as there is currently a problem retrieving previously closed calls on my account. So, I logged another call with Customer Service to either email me the response from the closed call or to paste the response into this new call.

The response turned out to be another question. This process of retrieving a MAC Key can take up to 7 days, I’m told, but in my particular case it took about month – and then I only ended up with yet another question for my new ISP.

At this point I have simply given up with trying to deal with PlusNet’s customer service team. I registered my grievances with OFCOM and have logged a new support call with PlusNet requesting that my cancellation goes through completely so that the line is clear of any ADSL service so there will be no problem signing up with the new ISP.

This means I will be devoid of any Internet access for probably about 2-3 weeks as the cancellation goes through (up to 5 working days, I’m told) and then my new ISP can submit the new connection request which will take up to 15 days to process — all because of PlusNet’s general level of incompetence at dealing with my request for a MAC Key.

This says nothing of the number of connection issues that have continued to plague PlusNet in recent months. I realise that some things are outside of PlusNet’s control – such has power outages in Telehouse in London’s Docklands, but PlusNet should have had contingencies in place. PlusNet’s RADIUS and DNS servers should have been geographically disperse so that they could failover to a DR location in the case of such an event.

As a consequence of all this, my saga with PlusNet is now a source of amusement amongst my family, friends and work colleagues. Almost every day my tales about either the lack of response to my service calls or lack of Internet connectivity leaves them rolling in the aisles. Almost everyone I know is now wary of dealing with PlusNet as are many others.’s forums are littered with people complaining about the same problems that I’m experiencing. Whilst this is a small comfort to myself – I am sure PlusNet’s investors must be (or, at least, SHOULD be) very worried.

I am almost certain that my complaint(s) will fall upon deaf ears but I wanted to at least try to make someone of influence aware of the issues within PlusNet.

Yours respectfully,

Scott Wallace.

(PlusNet user ID: ********)

PlusNet are dead! Long live Demon!

After writing a long email to PlusNet's board of directors and complaining about their lack of competence and support, they phoned me and tried to sort out my problems.

They offered to cancel my cancellation and attempt to work with me and my new ISP to get me transferred, seamlessly, using MAC Keys.

Unfortunately the cancellation had gone in to their provider, Tiscali, ahead of schedule and I had already been disconnected.

So I let Demon know that the phone line should be clear of any ADSL and that they could proceed with their installation. They quickly confirmed that the line was clean and that my installation request had been put through to BT.

Within 2 days I was online.

Demon are prompt, their support is brilliant, the connectivity is fast and extremely reliable. If anyone is using PlusNet and reading this - I urge you to switch ISPs.

PlusNet are truly hopeless.


It's been a while since my last blog.

Nothing too exciting has happened but I will let you know about some quality entertainment that passed my way recently.

First, for Craig's birthday, we went out to see Blue Man Group. One word: fantastic. The whole show from start to finish was really good and when the end came I was left wanting more. From what I saw, each show would be slightly different but I won't say too much more just in case I spoil it for someone. Awesome music - a bit like Simple Minds meets Mike Oldfield. There are some great special effects too.

The second is Severance. An extremely good mix of thriller/horror and comedy. It was filmed in Hungary and probably on a low budget but I think that's what made the movie so good. Definitely one for the boys.

Tonight, Katie and I are off to see Right at your door. It hasn't had great reviews but I've always found myself at odds with reviewers' opinions anyway. We'll see!

Update: It wasn't very good.