Back South

We went back to South Africa for Christmas and New Year.
It was a nice 2 week break from all the madness of Ireland (especially around Christmas time)
It was also a break from reasonable internet access. It was just so slow trying to post blog updates, that I gave up after attempting to login for 5 minutes (and I’m not that much of a blog addict to sit through the pain).

So I’m back now, and I’ll be telling you all of our trip, complete with pictures and the odd video.
There is so much to say, so I’m in the process of writing it all up, and then I’ll probably have to split it into multiple posts to make them readable.

Our adventures covered things ranging from the mundane (such as waiting in queues to renew a drivers license) to the frustrating (lost luggage, destroyed credit cards), and even as far as the bizarre (elephant riding and pet zebras).
So keep checking back…

Telkom does it again…

Telkom ADSL. The perfect broadband solution for gaming, watching movies, and listening to music online.

At least, thats how Telkom advertises and sells their ADSL Broadband.

But what they really say, in the terms and conditions, is that you musn’t use your ADSL.
No really.

MyBroadband has an article today, on the crazy restrictions placed on Telkom ADSL users, as stated in the Acceptable Usage Policy. Duncan McLeod also has a few comments on it.

They warn that downloading, playing games, and viewing websites (.jpg, .gif files) are activities that they warn against.
So whats the point then?

Dont use the network, otherwise it’ll get busy and no-one else will be able to use it.
Umm.. wait, that doesn’t make sense.

Only from Telkom… They amaze me sometimes.

So if this is how Telkom treats their customers, what will happen when/if they finally get some real competition?

FNB and their antics

I’ve ranted about Banking in Ireland, I think its only fair that I rant a bit about banking in South Africa.

Now that they’ve introduced this new tax act, or whatever, things have become really painful.

I used to be able to transfer money into my South African account fairly easily. If it was less than R50000 (which it always was… alot less), then you didn’t have to fill in any paperwork and the South African Tax man was more than happy to let that slip under the radar.
Now, you have to fill in miles of paperwork for everything. Even a R1 transfer needs paperwork.

Then you have to call your bank, and let them know that all is good, and that they can go ahead and clear it.

After the first few months of calling my branch, being put on hold, being promised return calls, sending faxes, shouting at useless people (Tony, I mean you, you useless little half-wit), I eventually got the contact details of Robyn. She was great. I’d just pop off an email to her with the forms all filled in, and within minutes the funds would pop into my account, all good to go.

Now I find out that dear Robyn no longer works in the Forex department, so I’ve had to try find out who will help me.
Its been the most frustrating day so far.
The FNB email server blocks Excel attachments, so I cant even send my forms to anyone there.
Their Fax machine “must be broken, because we haven’t got any faxes all day”.
Their phones don’t even ring, just straight to Busy.

Help.. anyone?

UPDATE:
Turns out, they’ve been doing “load shedding” on the power grid in Bedfordview for a few days.
That means, 2 hours on, 2 hours off.
Which explains why I can only get through for a while, and then the phone goes dead.

Anyways, all sorted now. Thanks 🙂

Things that are easier to do in Africa

There are a number of little things I’ve come to notice over the last year.
Some things are just so much easier in South Africa.

Everything in Ireland has a website, which is great when it comes to getting information thats already on the site. The problem is, most of these places think that having a website means they don’t need anyone on the phones to answer queries.
I’ve had the extreme displeasure of having to deal with a number of companies that simply refuse to list their phone numbers, anywhere.

And now, I shall delve into the depths of Banking in Ireland.
*WARNING* This may be incoherant and rantish, mostly out of frustration.

Continue reading Things that are easier to do in Africa

Civil Disobedience

I like the sound of that… Civil Disobedience.

Its not quite what the Jawug guys were going for, but it seems to describe it quite well.

Just a bunch of guys, building their own telecommunication network for fun. They’re not hurting anyone, they’re not causing any trouble, and they’re not stealing from anyone.

The Jawug network has grown alot since I left South Africa, and I’m incredibly proud of what its been up to in the past year.
Now, there’s a Wug.za.net, which covers the whole of South Africa, and even Namibia!

Keep it up guys!

What is the South African Government thinking?

Okay… Someone explain to me what the rationale behind this latest idea is?

Some parliment seat warmers have proposed to make all visitors to the country register with the government (passport in hand) before being allowed access to the Cellular networks to make calls, even if they have a roaming agreement in place with their home provider.

Where’s the logic in that?
Hello, welcome to the World Cup. No you wont be able to make any phonecalls, until you (and thousands of other visitors) have popped in to register.

Next, they’ll be proposing a R308 million (pronounced R411 million), to look after registrations.

Whats wrong… is passport control not enough?