Telstra and me. The RETAIL eXperience…

As I walked into the Telstra retail store on a Friday afternoon my expectations were low. Being highly skeptical due to my previous dealings with Telstra, a proud InterNode customer and supporter for more years than I can remember*1 and happy enough with my Amaysim pre-paid *2 I did not think there was much to tempt me.

I walked out of the store signed up for just under $200 per month worth of bundles *3 at the bargain basement price of only $174 per month.

How?

By being convinced that I could walk out of the store with a working Galaxy S8 Plus that I could swap for the new iPhone Plus as soon as Telstra offer it on a plan with enough data (17GB) to actually use each month without holding my breath between WiFi connections. And – a 100Megabit / 1TB NBN connection that would not interfere with my cherished InterNode ADSL2+ service (Never under 16Mbit wired, often over 20Mbit) that I could cancel without penalty if I could demonstrate less than 75Mbit as measured by fast.com.

What could possibly go wrong?

The next morning I woke with a strong feeling of consumer regret and a nagging feeling that I would be spending way too much time on hold to offshore call centres being CRM-ed to the point of tears. But hey, it would be a learning experience that might even help me do my job better as I document the sad tale and collect evidence for a possible encounter with the ‘TIO’. So here goes…

  • Reading the contract details for the Go Mobile Swap Plan I discovered, to my horror that I had to wait 12 months before swapping the S8 and that the two year contract would start again from that date! Let’s call this issue #1 – the iPhone swap deal-breaker.
  • I foolishly thought that the mobile number of the salesperson who served me (written on the cover of the lovely folder containing reams of bundle contents and contract terms – and txt to my new mobile by the Siebel CRM system) might actually connect me with that salesperson. Several calls (and days) later, I finally made contact with said salesperson and asked how long the cooling off period was. After a longish phone conversation I was convinced that my only option was to ‘fail-forward’ and to find a way to make the two year commitment I had made work. Many phone calls and at least three visits to the retail store later I had evidence that issue #1 had been dealt with and I could indeed swap the S8 for the new iPhone in a few weeks time. The reality, issue #2 – I resent being CRM fodder.
  • The solution to issue #1 was the inclusion of an additional product called ‘Mobile Swap Assure’ at a cost of $10/mth, offset by an additional rebate of $10/mth. A long (entire tram trip home) session on Telstra live chat and a special receipt printout from one of the retail store visits provided me with documented evidence that I could swap phones without waiting for a year. That little exercise triggered an obsessive download of product brochures and the compilation of the following list of bundled items that I do not want. Issue #3 – bundle madness. What I DO want is described earlier in this post. The Optional Companion Plan looks interesting for iPads etc but requires a minimum spend of $140/mth. What I DONT want:
  • A home phone line – will never connect a handset and dont want to PAY a monthly fee to suppress publication of details
  • MessageBank – life is too short to wrangle voicemails. Telstra’s default=ON required a couple of hours googling and setting of ‘welcome’ messages to ensure I never have to retrieve a voice message (even if Telstra turn it back ON).
  • Special call rates – from the line that will never be used, and which are too complex to understand anyway
  • Telstra Air (again) – already got that with the mobile plan (and I have yet to figure out how to stop connection attempts breaking my mobile data connection while travelling past hotspots).
  • Pay extra for Speed Boosts – A Very Fast Speed Boost is available for an additional $20 per month on the nbn network or a Super Fast Speed Boost for an additional $20 per month for Cable of $30 per month on the nbn network (except on nbn Fixed Wireless). Whatever the feck that means. I want the 100Mbit promised and expect to never see speeds below 75Mbit.
  • Telstra Broadband Connect – a full discount off the standard monthly charge sounds attractive but I have absolutely no idea how or if this applies to me. Happy to be pleasantly surprised.
  • Mobile Bundle Bonus – on up to four eligible mobiles on the same single bill as your bundle. Nah – I would have to be convinced that something better than my current Amaysim scheme exists for the other mobiles in our family. Very unlikely (and I would want at least one device on the Optus network for resilience on a bad day).
  • Telstra TV – already out of HDMI ports on our dirty great Samsung TV (that requires a HDMI connected ChromeCast box to do anything useful with the Samsung Galaxy S8 phone).
  • Apple Music teaser – a six month account that is complex to link to an existing AppleID and that will trigger automatic charge to my telstra post-paid account should I forget to terminate it at the end of month 6. (If it were via PayPal I could at least cancel the billing agreement and enjoy the trial worry free).
  • Billing and payment charges – $2.20 if I receive a paper bill. Hope I dont!
  • Post-Paid call charges – I have never exceeded the included calls or messages with Amaysim prepaid. I will be extremely disappointed if my $95 per month Telstra plan fails to cover my usage.
  • Post-paid data charges – on the few occasions when I exceeded Amaysim’s monthly data quota I was able to buy extra pre-paid data at reasonable rates. I have never faced data ‘bill shock’ I hope I never do!
  • Early Termination Charges – up to $637 + $1,140 (+ Device Lease Contract termination Charge up to $499 or worse if handset lost) if things go pear-shaped. $50 just to change bundles within Telstra. And I am not forward to dealing with the whole melarkey of surrendering an obsolete lease device at the end of my sentence (sorry, contract).

The #Telstra category on this blog should pull the fragments of my quest for bandwidth and tale of Trust and frustration together.

*1 Note to self: login to Internode and see how far back my billing history goes (guessing significantly pre 2004)

*2 (under $25/mth for several years, never run out of calls or txt, data good enough between WiFi connections)

*3 Best Bundle Ever $99 + Go Mobile Swap Plan $95

*4 UPDATE: on the Internode date. Note: while I seem to remember moving to InterNode while still at Microsoft, the oldest evidence I can find is an 11 year old welcome message from Internode circa 2006. (was that for my NodeMobile sim? – when did ADSL first arrive at Internode??

Fromsupport@internode.on.net
DateTue, 27 Jun 2006 12:41:40 +0930 (CST)
SubjectWelcome to Internode!

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Fang – Mike Seyfang

TriBeardLesBones

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Telstra and me. A quest for bandwidth, a tale of Trust and frustration.

My previous relationships with Telstra have not been good.

This time I am trying hard to make it work. And I intend to document the affair in bid to get reasonable value and best available bandwith, help others do likewise and to teach myself how to earn, measure and retain trust in my work-life.

The #Telstra category on this blog should pull the fragments together.

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Fang – Mike Seyfang

TriBeardLesBones

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Bot chat #1

Piss poor productions presents – somewhat annoying chatbot transcripts.

#1 Trying to get assistance with online checkin and seat allocation:

Thank you Close

Info at 17:21, Jul 21:
Thank you for choosing to chat with us. An agent will be with you shortly.
Info at 17:21, Jul 21:
You are now chatting with Iya. To keep a copy of this chat please click on the + at the bottom left and send to your email address.
Iya at 17:21, Jul 21:
Hello, you are chatting with Iya, a Qantas chat agent. How may I assist you today?
mike at 17:21, Jul 21:
when does online checkin open for my next flight
mike at 17:22, Jul 21:
on Sunday 23 July 2017 at 05:10 PM.
mike at 17:22, Jul 21:
I have logged in, manage Reference #LJOQN3Help
mike at 17:23, Jul 21:
CHECKIN button says ‘check in at airport’
Iya at 17:23, Jul 21:
Hi, Mike. I hope you’re doing great today. Let me double check into this for you.
Iya at 17:23, Jul 21:
For your privacy and security, may I have your full name/s and flight details (including departure date and destination) please?
mike at 17:25, Jul 21:
Mike Seyfang
Iya at 17:25, Jul 21:
I hope you’re still there. I haven’t heard from you for a while. Do you still require assistance?
mike at 17:26, Jul 21:
SYD
mike at 17:26, Jul 21:
QF766 Adelaide to Sydney Departs17:10 (Sun) Arrives19:30 (Sun) Duration:1h 50min
Iya at 17:26, Jul 21:
Thank you. While I’m checking on this, you may want to purchase a QBE insurance as it is recommended when travelling. If you need assistance with arranging travel insurance we have a range of policies from QBE available on our website or you can call them at 1300 783 146.
Iya at 17:26, Jul 21:
May I know if the email address and phone number on this booking are current?
Iya at 17:29, Jul 21:
I hope you’re still there. I haven’t heard from you for a while. Do you still require assistance?
mike at 17:30, Jul 21:
when does online check in open?
mike at 17:31, Jul 21:
hello?
Iya at 17:31, Jul 21:
I’m still here. Before I proceed, may I know if the email address and phone number on this booking are current?
mike at 17:31, Jul 21:
yes
Iya at 17:32, Jul 21:
Thanks for verifying. I’m currently checking here.
mike at 17:33, Jul 21:
am I dealing with a chat-bot?
Iya at 17:33, Jul 21:
Thanks for your patience. You may check in at the airport instead at least 30 minutes prior to your departure.
mike at 17:34, Jul 21:
wrong answer
Iya at 17:35, Jul 21:
Currently your flight is on airport control. This happens close to your departure when airport staff make all final safety checks. During this time, online check in is not available. I would suggest try this later on today when the airport control should be lifted. If not, you can check in once you are at the airport.
mike at 17:36, Jul 21:
the flight is sunday
Iya at 17:37, Jul 21:
Yes, that is correct. That is why it would be best to try to check in online later on today when the airport control should be lifted.
Iya at 17:39, Jul 21:
I hope you’re still there. I haven’t heard from you for a while. Do you still require assistance?

FFS

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Fang – Mike Seyfang

TriBeardLesBones

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Grandma’s old Kindle

Granny was given a Kindle as a gift.

Never did create an amazon account or get it registered.

I inherited it, that was fun (not).

Looks like a Kindle 5th Generation running v4.1.0 software. Connects to WiFi but cannot *reach any websites or servers (including amazon to register). Download and install v4.1.1 then 4.1.2 then 4.1.3 (latest).

Connect to home WiFi, register, all good!

Factory Reset? Nope, no need.

Error Messages:

Web Browser is unable to establish a secure connection with this web site (wikipedia or setup kindle, create an account from your kindle).

Your kindle is unable to connect at this time. Please make sure ou are within wireless range and try again. If the problem persists, restart your Kindle from the menu in Settings and try again (register using existing account)

Fang – Mike Seyfang

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Find it, use it, cite it.

The frontiers of human knowledge are constantly pushed forward by researchers who find related work published in peer reviewed journals, use that work to guide their own questions and experiments and cite it when publishing their findings. This whole process grew out of analog systems made possible by widespread access to the printing press and is beginning to show signs of strain in the digital age.

Similar patterns have been emerging on the internet since it got easy and convenient to ‘publish’ stuff. I would argue the ‘Read/Write Web’ or Web2.0 that emerged in the form of blogs, podcasts and now accelerated by people ‘swiping right’ and ‘scrolling down’ on their smart-phones has been a catalyst.

I would like to think that with a bit of thought and effort we might be able to amplify some of the great work being done by researchers everywhere and maybe even improve the formal academic publishing process. What follows is a random collection of examples I have seen and would like to start conversations about.

  • Find it.

Google is now a verb, use it to find interesting stuff online. Social networks are great filters for information we care about – ‘like’, ‘favorite’, ‘star’, ‘tag’ (you get the picture…) stuff. RSS Aggregators still exist and are a great way to craft a flow of interesting information about any subject, niche or mainstream – subscribe widely, read, comment, trackback and re-blog. Podcasts are an awesome way to scan vast amounts of information for gems of wisdom from people you find interesting. And YouTube has changed the nature of television. Forever.

If you are a research institute – do this a lot. Talk about this with your researchers, brag about great achievements and promote a culture of inquiry beyond formal literature reviews.

  • Use it.

We can now ‘publish’ to the internet by touching ‘like’ on a smart-phone. (This is somewhat simpler than the act of crafting a home-page in the early 1990’s). So, whenever you notice something interesting on social media or in a literature review, keep track of it in a way that you and others can follow along.

See some cool research on FaceBook – like it, maybe even share it. Got something to say about it – comment or write your own related post. Same thing on twitter, instagram, whatever – heart, fav, like, re-tweet to build on the ideas of others. This gets even better with YouTube and other videos or audio recordings. Share interesting content, if it is long tell others at what time to good bits occur. Better still snip out interesting pieces of audio and video and mash em up into your own and share. If you are really inspired by something you find online, write your own blog post, embed your own shared video mashup, link to other interesting stuff and share the post on facebook and twitter.

If you are a research institute – encourage this behavior, pay someone in the admin office to collect online stories from your researchers. Spend some time noticing interesting ‘uses’ of online media from your group and write up a narrative of hi-lights for your annual report.

  • Cite it.

Could be as simple as a hyperlink. May be as complex as a formal citation in the bibliography of a paper. Make it easy to know when your own work has been ‘cited’ informally in online social media. Consider making your work available under a Creative Commons ‘Attribution’ license (like this blog post) and encourage forms of attribution that you can track and measure.

In the old days of blogs and podcasts it was common practice to conduct daily ‘literature reviews’ using an ‘RSS Aggregator’. Blog posts (or ‘publications’) that are interesting would be marked or tagged on social bookmarking sites like pinboard.in. One could quickly and easily engage with the author and other readers via comments. The practice of writing a new, related blog post with one’s own thoughts and ‘citing’ the original via a special hyperlink called a ‘trackback’ made it easy for authors to track re-use of their work.

Today the same principles can be applied to facebook posts, YouTube videos, tweets photos shared on instagram or flickr. Let me share a personal example:

If you imagine flickr as a ‘peer reviewed journal with a good reputation’ then I might be imagined as an ‘established author’ with a good h-factor. One of my photos has been viewed more than eighty eight thousand times. More interestingly, that photo has been re-used and ‘cited’ in many places that are very interesting to me. Sometimes people even go to the trouble of leaving a comment on the photo to thank me and link to their work in which it appears. Feels a bit like ‘citizen science’ to me!

flickrAttributionCopyright/           Copyright Symbols

 

If you are a research institute start collecting evidence as ‘Qualitative KPI’s’ for your group. Look for interesting examples, start defining and promoting best practice. Be on the look out for emerging standards and tools to make collecting (and counting) evidence of informal ‘citations’.

Video remix or mashups are great examples of more sophisticated re-use of digital text, images, audio and video. The ‘Trump v Clinton’ debates are inspiring many video mashups with some remixers going to great lengths to tell their own stories. At the time of writing this search yielded 36,900 results. Inspiring potential future scientists to create video stories using content from research institutes ought to be a Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

LancasterFBvideoMashupTrumpCapture

Until sophisticated re-use of digital media becomes mainstream it will be difficult to count or quantify this activity. So, begin with some ‘qualitative’ analysis. Start collecting and sharing stories (narrative) about the interesting uses of online media.

Follow up:

Imagine a ‘qualitative’ version of events that could improve on existing formal academic research practices (such as h-factor).

Make a mashup of the catalyst episode that was a catalyst for my thinking and the invention of the ‘green-beam’ digital signature…
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Fang – Mike Seyfang

TriBeardLesBones

Posted in Computers and Internet, work | 2 Comments

HowTo: save FaceBook comments to excel using PowerBI

Ever wanted to save a bunch of FaceBook comments? Looking for a better way to find old posts that get buried in the timeline? Turns out that Microsoft PowerBI desktop (free download) and Excel (with PowerQuery COM Add-in) can help.

The Short Story:

  • Start a new Query and Get Data from FaceBook. Use ‘Me’ or the ‘ObjectID’ of a page as source. Leave the ‘Connection’ blank, we can drill into timeline or posts on the fly. (hint: ObjectID of a page is simply the last bit of the URL for the page)
  • Drill into the connections Record (the string ‘Record’ is a hyperlink that will expand to show available connections). Drill into either the posts or feed Table (if in doubt, start with posts).
  • If you get an error it is most likely an API limit that can be worked around by munging the source string in the M-language (Advanced Editor). Try something like:
  • Find the post you want (hint: filter ‘message’ column to get a nice alphabetical list of posts which is by far the best way to read mainstream media pages!). Expand the comments Table to reveal the comments you are after.
  • Expand the from column to get name of the commentor, and the object_link column to get other interesting information. (count of likes is always interesting).
  • Close and Load your query, create a simple report table to expose the fields you want in the order you want and either publish them to PowerBI.com or export to a spreadsheet (this whole process can be done from within Excel using the PowerQuery COM add-in, which requires the right kind of Excel license from Microsoft).

PowerBIforFaceBook

PowerBI Desktop makes a great FaceBook browser (and it’s a free download for windows)

The Long Story:

 

Coming soon…

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Fang – Mike Seyfang

TriBeardLesBones

Posted in blog, howto, Munge, work | Leave a comment

Well, well, well

Guess who’s been playing ‘Citizen Analyst’ with Microsoft PowerBI and open data from the Government of South Australia?


PowerBIwells

How is this done? -> to share a powerBI report/visualisation to the web

  1. Fire up powerBI.com in web browser and login, find your report.
  2. In the report window, file Publish to WEB to generate iFrame embed code
  3. For wordpress.com blog (like this) iFrame is stripped out so grab a screenshot of your report and link an.img to the URL for your powerBI report

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Fang – Mike Seyfang

TriBeardLesBones.

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