Category Archives: Heavily biased reviews

Cancelling Telkom

Oh frabjous day! I’ve managed to find an internet provider which isn’t ADSL, which means I can finally ditch Telkom. Oh Telkom, it’s crazy but ringing you up every two or three days to complain about slow/dropping internet just isn’t my idea of fun.

Trying to cancel your account with them is just as much of a headache as being with them though! If you ring them up to cancel they tell you that you have to do it online, and when you log into the new self service panel that they have there isn’t an option to cancel it. If you hunt around for ages you can find something to move your line, but that’s not much help now is it!

Then I googled how to do it and found this:
https://secure.telkom.co.za/today/media/downloads/Retention_Cancellation__Three_easy_ways_to_cancel_online_V1.pdf

“Three easy steps” – my left foot! Once you’ve spent the prerequisite 3 or 4 minutes hunting around their badly designed site for the right menu options you’ll get to the service page. There they’ve not named the services things like “landline” and “adsl”, but random things that you have to just do your best guess at. Secondly their website doesn’t actually work properly, half of the select dropdowns are obscured because their CSS is shit. And thirdly… check this out:
Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 18.28.46

 

If you’re the business owner you have to upload your ID, and if you’re dead you have to upload a certificate to prove it. However, I am neither a business owner nor dead (I checked my pulse and everything). What to do? If you click continue the validation kicks in and you get told you must upload something. And so I uploaded a png with my ID on one half, and a picture of my cat with the caption “ALERT! CAT STEALING OWNER’S IDENTITY!” on the other. That should give them a bit of excitement. Half an hour after I set out to cancel my account I felt relief, happiness and satisfaction finally when I clicked submit, marred by the barely civil message on the next screen informing me that  my service is not cancelled and they have to ring me to confirm cancellation. Bet they don’t, the bastards.

Stop a minute though. Did any of that make sense?

But I mean, do you really need your ID to cancel services if you’re logged in using Telkom credentials on their own secure platform? Especially when apparently it isn’t cancelled and they have to ring you to confirm before they cancel? Ooh don’t get me started on how annoying that is – why can’t you just cancel it over the phone in the first place then?

But to go back to the point at hand: do people go around hacking people’s Telkom credentials and then, like, cancelling their service?? That doesn’t sound quite right. If I was bad and had illegal access to someone’s Telkom account I’d use it to make MORE accounts for myself, not cancel current ones. Surely???

It’s almost like Telkom just wants to make it difficult enough for people to cancel so that they don’t bother and give in and just carry on paying for the shitty service that they don’t use. But I’m sure those little angels of amazing customer service wouldn’t be doing that now, would they?

Of course, I could always just not pay my bill 🙂

The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin

I thought this book was absolutely brilliant. There were several themes I found really interesting, but for me the book was primarily about freedom (and how suffering/pain is a part of freedom) vs locked rooms and building walls. Trump’s literal wall makes a great metaphor if you need to explain to somebody why this book is still relevant over 40 years after its debut.
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Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate pact

Trump retweets support for his insanity

Fascinated to learn today that US leaders think American companies and American workers don’t live on the same planet as the rest of us – they can’t do if they are “hurt” by the prevention of its destruction, can they? My brother’s favourite alien conspiracy theories are sounding more plausible by the second!

Of course if you subscribe to the Global Warming is a Chinese Conspiracy conspiracy it all makes sense.

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive - Donald Trump, November 2012

WordPress, you suck for websites with lots of pages and no posts

My recent experiences with wordpress have made me realise that it really is a terrible solution for a website with a lot of pages (say more than 30) and no posts. It’s great at blogging though. But say you have lots of pages, you’re gonna want a menu to show those pages right? And you’re probably going to want 2 menus, one for the ‘about/contact/partners/faq’ to-do-with-the-company content, and one for the primary content. If your primary content custom menu is likely to be long (as it is in my case, at around 130 pages+), then the default menu system is cumbersome and dragging things around between levels is a complete nightmare.

And there is no solution. You can display page hierarchies instead, but this sucks because it’s useful to think about your site in terms of the menu structure, and to do half of your menus using custom menus and half of your menus using page hierarchy is shit. It’s also impossible to get your menus to automatically sync with your page hierarchy. I miss drupal. Here’s hoping this post annoys someone enough for them to post and tell me an easy way of doing what I want (just a simple menu which is easy to manage!).

Sexism in The Big Bang Theory

I’ve really tried to like this show. I’ve had it recommended to me so many times by so many different people. But I just don’t get how anything so lazy and tired and boring can be funny, and my goodness I find the sexism really offensive.

Maybe it’s because I’m into fantasy books, sci fi shows, video games and I’m a programmer in my day job. I am fed up to the back teeth of women being portrayed as bimbo airheads who are only interested in clothes and guys and who would never get nerdy computer/maths/physics references. TV is FULL of these stupid stereotypes which are harming our society (yes, yes they are). Do we really need another show with them? I surely can’t be the only person who’s bored of them?

I’m not of course (this is a really good article) but in all the universal acclaim it feels like I am. Even the Guardian, my favourite newspaper, seem to like the show. And well, you know, possibly it does get better later on, but I couldn’t force myself to watch any more than the first 3 episodes it was so painful.

On the other hand there is a silver lining. Shows like this are why I still find programmes poking fun at blind, backward, sexist men – like the 90s Irish “Father Ted” for example – absolutely hilarious. Hurrah!

Compulsion games’ Contrast

I have no idea why this game seems to have got so little attention and praise. It is excellent, the concept is incredibly cool (you are a little girl’s imaginary friend who can slip into shadows), the dialogue and writing is awesome and hilarious and the voice acting is great. Even the plot is pretty cool. The gameplay is a bit iffy at times but it’s so original and so clever that I can certainly forgive that.

One of my favourite scenes in the game is where you end up having to play as a cut-out paper character in a little theatre (games within games, people). You play as the princess, and there’s a handsome prince who has come along to win your hand in marriage from your father. But the prince turns out to be absolutely useless, and you as the princess end up having to go off on adventures and kill dragons and whatnot to save him. It’s really well done, really funny, and the way bouncing up animation of the prince whenever he gets rescued is hilarious and endearing. And so the princess decides to give this useless prince a try, although the narrator lets us know that in another story the princess says “screw this” and goes off adventuring on her own. It is so rare to find that kind of approach to female characters in games, I cannot tell you.

I really loved the characters too, the little girl (Didi), who is very solid and real feeling, as well as the mother. Johnny was a bit more of a caricature, but Vincenzo was super as well. The relationships were realistic, maybe a little overly dramatic but that added to the fun. The noir atmosphere and jazzy bits of the soundtrack were sooooooo cool as well. The gameplay sometimes made the puzzles a little frustrating, but apart from that it was top-notch! And yet critics only scored it 59% on metacritic. The world is inexplicable.

I don’t want to go all conspiracy theorist, but I kind of feel as if it’s been dismissed a bit because you play as a female character, and the other lead character is a little girl. Maybe I’m wrong though, maybe I just have a completely different taste in games to the rest of the world, maybe I’m being extra kind to it because I enjoyed playing a game with strong female characters. But check this out: “Feminist/lesbian agenda – Does this game contain feminist or LGBT agenda? This will affect my buying decision. The game looks very promising though.” http://steamcommunity.com/app/224460/discussions/0/810938810495435947/ YUCK.

The most useless mobile phone service provider in South Africa

20 minutes on the phone speaking to 5 different people have earned Cell-C the new crown of most useless mobile phone service provider in South Africa. Although actually no, I’m not sure that they reach the same dizzying heights of ineptitude as Vodacom. The odd thing is I wanted to give them MORE money, so you would have thought they would have been reasonably open to the idea.

This screenshot has only been doctored slightly to remove the ads:

Cell-c as the most useless service provider

Documented for posterity