update to correspondence with a corporation

BT support finally called me back again today (two days late, but hey) and again attempted to transfer me immediately to the Broadband Talk support department. Before I allowed them to do so, however, I made certain that the person I was talking to fully understood my problem. I believe she did. But she confirmed that there was absolutely nothing that she or anyone else in the broadband support department could do to help me – the problem lay with another department. Despite my protestation that we had been around this particular tree before I allowed myself to be transferred.

As before, the guy I was transferred to at Broadband Talk support had no idea what my problem was and I had to explain yet again, why I was attempting to get support. (As an aside, I find this lack of joined up support apalling. The recipient of the support call should have the full details of the caller’s problem on-screen when he or she takes the call – particularly in cases such as this where the support organisation has actually placed the call). As soon as he realised I was not using a Home Hub, the problem became clear to him. My router is at fault.

Actually, no, my router is fine. It works perfectly for all other services and actually works fine for VOIP services on FWD. But no, BT is correct, I am wrong. To be fair to this particular support person, he offered to provide me with a replacement Hub (an offer I eventually accepted, if only so that I can check its configuration in detail to compare against my ST780).

Maybe I’m overly paranoid, but I get the distinct impression that BT has decided to lock its services to the Hub rather than allow people to use alternative products on its network. I actually prefer to have something that I control, rather than something that BT control. When my new Hub arrrives I’ll dump its configuration and try to figure out how BT are locking out my ST.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2006/12/31/update-to-correspondence-with-a-corporation/

DMT for linux

I have just found a rather nice tool for querying my Thomson DSL modem. It is rewrite of a tool originally written for windows by A. Matthoefer. The author of the linux version is Timo Boettcher. The tool compiled cleanly and worked first time with my ST780WL. It should work equally well with the BT hub (but I can’t test that of course….). Below is a sample output from the tool – a neat graphic.

DMT-UX Graphic

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2006/12/30/dmt-for-linux/

correspondence with a corporation

Recently I have been experiencing a small problem with my BT broadband connection. I should point out that in general my experience wth BT’s broadband offering is very good. Whilst not the cheapest around, the quality and reliability of the connection are better than I have heard reported from friends and colleagues with other ISPs. But for the past two weeks I have been having great difficulty in getting the support department to fix (or even recognise) a problem I am having with my VOIP connection.

I upgraded to BT Total Broadband (up to 8Mbps) from my previous 2Mbps BT contract for two reasons – firstly the additional bandwidth obviously, but secondly because it offered free VOIP calls after 18.00 and at weekends. Thus I would be getting a second phone line for no additional cost. Indeed, given that the contract I changed to was actually cheaper than my existing BT contract, I was initially quite pleased.

Too soon.

The BT Total Broadband contract includes a DSL router made for BT by Thomson) and branded by BT as the “Home hub”. That hub offers VOIP connectivity and WiFi access as well as wired ethernet connectivity to the net. Despite the fact that BT have heavily customised the standard Thomson Speedtouch interface, it is still an attractive package. However, I am not the standard user that BT intends to support. For a start I use Linux, not Windows. This normally gives support departments problems.

Having signed up, taken delivery and configured my Hub all was well until I opted to include what BT calls its “softphone” package as well. This is a software only SIP package which is supposed to allow PC users to make VOIP calls from the PC in addition to using a standard phone (or DECT phone) attached to the hub. This can be useful for laptop users for example who may be using their machines in rooms without immediate access to the telephone handset. Obviously, being a Linux user, the BT softphone is useless to me, so I downloaded some potential alternatives – linphone, wengophone and x-lite to try. Unfortunately for me, my Hub threw a fit when I fired up the softphones. Indeed, after attempting to use linphone, the router rebooted, and rebooted, and rebooted, and rebooted. Eventually I tried a hardware reset to get back to factory settings, but even that failed and the hub now just broadcasts BOOTP requests over the ethernet connection.

Having fritzed my hub I went back to using my D-Link router until I could source a replacement. I soon took delivery of a Thomson Speedtouch ST780WL (big brother to the hub). I configured this in the same way as the hub in the expectation that all would be well. My mistake. Whilst, indeed, all is well with my standard internet connectivity, I cannot get the VOIP service to work. In desperation (trust me) I contacted BT Broadband support. That started a thread of correspondence which has lasted so far for two weeks and has descended to the level of farce. No-one , but no-one in BT support seems capable of reading and understanding my request. My experience is shown at Problems with BT Broadband I have anonymised the relevant contact details for obvious reasons.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2006/12/29/correspondence-with-a-corporation/

Mike Harrison

I admire the offbeat, the unusual, and the plain weird. I came across Mike Harrison’s site when I was looking for information about Tesla Coils. It is well worth a visit – I mean the man collects thermionic valves such as this:


A bit bigger than a transistor

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2006/12/26/mike-harrison/

first post

I am not a great fan of blogs. Before blogging became popular, people who wrote diaries used to do it in private and wash their hands afterwards (to misquote Heinlein). But occasionally I have found a blog which has been useful to me. Typically such blogs have been single topic or specialist sites devoted to descriptions of how the author has solved a particular problem.

This site may develop like that.

Or not.

(Addendum dated 9 September 2009 – added when I moved to my own VPS)

I’m actually impressed with myself that this blog is still going nearly three years after this post. Hell, I need to get a life.

(And another addition dated 23 December 2013 when I was reflecting on the year ending. So – seven years after starting, I’m still going. And I haven’t run out of things to say. Astonishing.)

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2006/12/24/first-post/