Dec 16, 2015

Orange's La Fibre is a master of Theatricality and Deception

I recently wrote about Orange's high speed internet services being available in Mauritius and the region where I live. I was excited about being able to watch a 5-minute video on YouTube without the latter dying on me because "my connection isn't supa dupa fast enough". As it turns out, this was Theatricality and Deception just like in the Batman Trilogy.

The truth is that when you phone Orange to request for their technicians to visit you for the upgrade, it may not get in the system. What this means is that it will definitely not be recorded in their system and you need to chase them like their shadow to make things happen.

Picture this.

I originally phoned them on Monday 30 November to ask that they upgrade my line. That's more than two weeks ago. The girl on the line, whom I presume works for CSL, tells me my request has been recorded in the system and that their technical would contact me soon. To ensure that I'm not forgotten (and mostly because I'm an asshat), I also apply through their website.

Then comes the waiting part.

Optics. Serious business.

It's now Monday 14 December, which makes it exactly two weeks since I had asked them to do whatever they are supposed to do. As nobody ever contacted me, I dial 8902, the most dreaded telephone number in my world, and ask why I'm being taken for a fool and Orange does not want my money. Imagine my surprise when I am informed that no such request exists in their system. I am this time assured that someone would contact me this week.

Today is Wednesday 16. Since I would really like my Internet speed to be upgraded, I decide to phone them to enquire when someone would actually contact me to discuss my request for their high speed internet.

I am again informed that no such requests exists in their system for my landline.

True story.

I explain to the representative that this is the second time I'm being told I never applied for an upgrade. I know I'm sometimes crazy and forgetting stuff because I get older every year but this is beyond comprehension.

I also explain that this cannot be happening as I also applied online ages ago. Imagine my surprise when the representative's answer is that I should not use the online form posted on their website as it is not a guarantee that my request will be processed. Her advice is I should go in one of the Orange shops to make my request in person there.

In other words:
1) Orange creates a form on their website for customers to apply for services but their representatives are of the opinion that this form is bloody useless.
2) Orange has a hotline where representatives state that the hotline is pretty much useless and I should instead go to the shop.

Here are my arguments:
1) Orange wants everybody to go online but apparently ignores online requests via its own website. In that case, I cannot imagine why they would send me an email confirmation after my online application. Silly me for thinking that the Internet was supposed to make things simpler.
2) If you have a hotline, it is your duty to ensure that your staff or contractor or whoever handles the line does not tell me that I'm wasting my time with that same hotline.

When I started to get pissed off, the Orange representative again searched into the system and changed her argument. Apparently, there was "something" in the system about my request but it was ignored by everybody. For my request to be processed, I would have to escalate my simple request to a complaint which is one of the most fucked up things I've been told by a business. It's basically as if they have a complaint target for the year and they want customers to complain to be taken seriously.

The question however remains: how many complaints does it take for them to consider my humble request?

And when exactly do I get initiated to Theatricality and Deception?

Dec 6, 2015

4 common Internet myths DEBUNKED

In no particular order. I came up with the idea of writing this post after a discussion with someone about the .tv domain.

1) .tv top-level domains originally had absolutely nothing to do with televisions. They were created for the country Tuvalu but have been snapped up in a frenzy by people who at once saw the opportunity of having a domain ending with TV. And yes, nobody knows where the hell Tuvalu is.

2) Shopping online is as secure as shopping in a traditional store. You just need to use your common sense just like you would do when shopping in Port Louis or Bagatelle. If paying by card over the Internet sounds super scary, sign up for a PayPal account but even card payment is safe as long as you are not buying stuff through shady websites. To eliminate these risks, do your online shopping on reputed websites only and when doubt strikes, do some research about the website through Google or Startpage. A simple search using "the website's name + reviews" usually suffices to inform you whether a website is safe or not. Here's a very visual example of a search for a website you should not rely on.

3) What happens online does not necessarily stay online. And the true Digital Age is getting perilously close. Use social media at your own risks. Or better yet, limit your social media use. YOU are the product of social media, not the other way round. I find it funny how so many people have absolutely no problem working for free for Facebook but are always complaining about their job.

4) It is extremely easy to fake emails. Those fake emails you get daily in your inbox and junk folders do not require extensive programming skills and can be done via numerous free online tools (just do a search). The good news is that most of these tools are not good enough to circumvent your email provider's spam tool.

Note: I wrote only four instead of the standard five because I'm a rebel!

Dec 4, 2015

LA FIBRE is almost here!

I dream of this every night...

Finally, after months of waiting and randomly harassing Orange employees, LA FIBRE, which I now consider Orange's flagship Internet product in Mauritius, is available where I live. I talked to them this week and they said their technical team would get in touch with me once they are ready* to upgrade my line. I am currently on the ADSL 1MB package coupled with a Netgear router I bought separately for Wifi (this is a long story which I may write about later).

I took another look on the Orange website and I'm going to upgrade to the Broadband 10M package for Rs 799 per month. It comes with unlimited data but only the first 75GB at maximum speed and I don't need that much anyway. I'm not a heavy downloader and typically use the Internet mainly to browse websites, check my email and occasionally listen to songs on YouTube.

Orange also has the MyT packages which include TV channels but since I don't watch much TV except for a few documentaries, I have absolutely no interest in it. As it stands, I am currently wasting money on Canal Satellite to watch only half a dozen channels.

*may take forever

Dec 2, 2015

The Mauritius newspaper L'Express has had a website makeover

And it's really slick. You can visit the new website at It's visually great and there's tons of things to like about it.

L'Express homepage

I however have two major gripes with it:

  1. I now have to scroll down to skim through the headlines as the new layout means each article takes more space on the homepage.
  2. I frequently get errors when viewing the website on my Samsung Tab 4 which runs Firefox - usually unresponsive scripts.
I also feel the homepage* is needlessly long and there are tons of unused space. This again lead to a lot of needless scrolling.

*Note: I'm focusing on the homepage because it's usually the only page I check to keep up with the news in Mauritius - too much news-reading is actually a bad thing.

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