Friday, February 26, 2010

On Customer Service

One thing that makes me stay with a company is customer service. I haven't done much on the HTPC front because I'm moving house. So stuff is packed, and I can't really get into it. When you move house you obviously have to deal with the relocation of utilities. Things like electricity, phone, internet, etc.

In my previous post I was really annoyed at the lack of internet infrastructure here in the land down under. I checked out some competitors and they were offering what I wanted, but not at the price I wanted to pay. This "price" also includes the hassle of transferring providers, and paperwork. So not only were they more expensive from a cost perspective, but there was the transfer.

So why aren't I willing to fork up the extra cash, and change providers? It boils down to two reasons:

  1. Not enough incentive. The other providers do have the tech, but my provider is catching up. They might have the equipment in a couple of months. So changing providers (for the increase in price), coupled with the usual contractual obligations is not worth it in my opinion.

  2. Customer service. Whenever I ring up with a problem, or a query, I can talk to an intelligent individual who can talk the language. Working in IT, I get how the internet works. Being able to have an informed discussion with someone I can understand is what keeps me.

I just wish all customer service operators listened to me (us) instead of pushing new products. I'm looking at you 3 Mobile.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No naked for you

Australia is such a backwards country technologically. If this chart is to be believed; in terms of Internet speed Australia is fifth from the right. Sooooooo slow.

As well as the lack of infrastructure, the current federal government is planning to introduce a National Broadband Network that is going to get shot in the thigh, or, some other major organ by the proposed mandatory filter that our nanny state wants to put over us. What the frell is the point of giving us 100Mbit/sec speeds if the filter becomes the bottleneck. Despite the rhetoric my local MP mailed me back when I wrote to him condemning this atrocity; all the experts I've read and spoke to seem to agree that it's going to be a gigantic farce and waste of tax payers money.

I don't want to reiterate all the objections to the idea, but technically speaking I use a combination of VPNs and SSH tunnels at work. If I know how to do this in a legal capacity for my job, what's to stop me doing it illegally. As I pointed out to a friend (who's an arts student) if you have SSL to protect online financial transactions (for example), what's to stop me using that technology and using it to encrypt and exchange material of an illegal or questionable nature. I'm ALL for stopping child porn, but this isn't going to work Mr Conroy.

And to top it all off - my primary rant for this article is that by moving house 20 kms I have to dumb down my Internet connection. I currently live in Fairfield, and am moving to Mitcham. At my current residence I use what's termed as Naked ASDL2. The best bit of being naked as it were is no line rental fee. I pay an extra $20 to my ISP (which also gains me an extra 15GB of quota) and save between $30 - $50 by not renting my line from Telstra. I love it. I don't call people much anyway these days. Even my mum's on MSN and Facebook. I don't need the phone.

But alas because we're such a backward country over here, 20 kms means dumbing down to ADSL, and a phone connection. I might dig out my old modem in case dial up is required. If you look at the linked map, I'm not exactly moving to the middle of nowhere. Melbourne is so behind the times in every aspect of it's infrastructure (don't get me started on public transport).

I hear New Zealand's nice this time of year.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So you want that new Video Card

Something I'm planning on doing is making my own home theater PC. I've also got some code that takes a while to compile so I can double the box as a massive compiler to make use of those extra CPU cycles. My old man has recently upgraded, and I got his old box. However he decided to keep his video card. I've been looking at the Radeon 5450 since it's been getting some great reviews as a HTPC card.

However I'm planning to use XBMC as my front end, on a Gentoo Linux OS. So I need Linux drivers. Are they listed on the AMD drivers page. Nope. Does googling around find them. Nope.

I did find a review of the card which was benchmarked under Ubuntu. So after some posting on the forums turns out that the Catalyst driver bundle will work with the card.

I have yet to buy the card, so I can't say for sure. But I do feel a lot more confident now.

Oh and AMD - please actually update your release notes when you put out new cards. If it's not in the release notes under the supported cards section, then how are consumers meant to know other than trial and error.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Quick to the blog mobile

Blogs can provide valuable information. I personally have found that little piece of information that helped me solve my problem on a blog post. My RSS reader is full of other peoples blogs.

This blog is where I can post solutions to problems I've solved, discuss my musings and general randomness.

If someone gets something useful out it, that's great. I'm glad that I could help. Chances are I got helped by your blog.

Onwards and upwards.