Sympatico Does Not Do It Again…

Posted on September 12, 2008. Filed under: Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On a recent service call I did a speed test on a client’s internet connection. I now do this as a matter of course during any service call regardless of the ISP they are using.

In this case the ISP was Bell Sympatico. The test netted a download speed of 577 KB/s and upon inquiring with the customer they confirmed they were paying for 7 MB/s. Wow. Not bad. They were only getting 8% of their rated maximum throughput!

What was interesting about this visit was several fold:


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NDP using Search Engine Optimization

Posted on September 10, 2008. Filed under: Trends | Tags: , , , , , , |

Now that is another example of how the Internet is changing politics.

Layton targets Google search results to divert online traffic to the NDP

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More on Bell Sympatico

Posted on September 8, 2008. Filed under: Trends | Tags: , |

I am not getting into the specifics here but in the past week this is what I have experienced with Bell Sympatico:

  1. Called on behalf of customer re. speed issue (160 KB/s). Tech support insisted on upgrading client to 8 MB/s. Client wanted 500 KB/s. Tech support ignored client’s wishes and upgraded to 8 MB/s without client consent. Coincidentally Bell called client to bundle services and verified upgraded ISP service. Downgraded on client request.
  2. Speed tested one client. Paying for 5 MB/s and getting 2 MB/s.
  3. 3 clients complain of not being able to understand the accents of Bell Sympactico tech support representative. Several clients have had so much trouble understanding the representatives they have requested I call on their behalf.
  4. Tech support continually wants to upsell or change services instead of solving problem. They will NOT admit a problem and simply state that changing the service solves the problem.

Relating to item 1 and 4: this is a particularly disturbing call because the technical support representative was so aggressively maintaining the need to upgrade to 8 MB/s it bares the question:  Are tech support representaives on commission? I was in sales and the only thing I can think of to explain that tech support rep’s aggression (and I do mean aggression) to have my client buy that level of service is that they are being payed or spiffed for changing client accounts to a higher level of service.

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It is not so…

Posted on August 19, 2008. Filed under: Software, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

…easy to understand PC warranty.

If you own a computer with any Microsoft product pre-installed on it usually you are recommended to go to the OEM for support on the Microsoft product. It even says so here:

If your Microsoft product was installed on your computer when you purchased it, the computer manufacturer is your primary source of technical support.

In the case of Vista this is patently NOT the case. The moment you mention Vista to a Dell tech support technician they won’t support you unless you are willing to pay an incident fee. If not they direct you to call Microsoft. Support for Vista Service Pack 1 is currently free (and was very good and thorough) but there is a disconnect between what Microsoft says and Dell:

Dell’s limited hardware warranty does not cover:

  • Software, including the operating system and software added to the Dell-branded hardware products through our factory-integration system, third-party software, or the reloading of software

This issue hi-lights one of my pet peeves with the PC industry. Just who is responsible for software support? As far as I am concerned if a PC manufacturer REQUIRES an OEM licensed copy of the operating system to be installed in the computer you own then they have a responsibility to support it. The brand recognition is a Dell computer with Vista…not it is Vista on a Dell computer.

The end-user’s perception does not seperate the two entities and nor should it. But, if you call Dell and do not purchase additional support services they will only address what THEY determine to be hardware issues. If it is a Vista issue you get directed to their software support group and that support is fee based.

Luckily Vista Service Pack 1 issues are currently covered at no cost by Microsoft.

Remember though, there is an interaction between the hardware a computer manufacturer provides and operating system. If a manufacturer delineates a clear separation of these two areas of support there may be a tendancy for the manufacturer to “blame” the operating system and direct issues that clearly are related to the interaction of the two systems that make your computer work. Most end-users cannot delineate what and where the problem lies. They count of the manufacturer’s tech support to tell them and this knowledge could be leveraged by support to direct the client to other support options that may not be appropriate.

I have seen this before. In the days of DOS WordPerfect there were several technical problems related to printing and WordPerfect tech support would ALWAYS blame hardware when, in fact, it was the interaction of their program with video and printer drivers.

A good hardware and software vendor knows this and works with ALL parties involved to solve the end-user’s problem. The bad ones generally pass you off to another resource. After those resources are exhausted then they may help.

See this issue in context of Vista and Nvidia…

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BBC Spam Emails

Posted on August 14, 2008. Filed under: Service Alert, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

According to Websense over 5 million spoof emails about the Olympics are being generated per hour. Add to that the fact that now spam emails with the BBC moniker attached to them are now being generated.

This is what the BBC email looks like.

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Recent Blog Posts re. Sandvine and traffic throttling

Posted on July 28, 2008. Filed under: Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

CIPPIC seeks comments on Bell/Rogers throttling

Who should pay for the new net?

Why Comcast Can’t Appeal — A Story of Prior Notice and Procedural Problems.

CTIA Ponders “Open”

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81.5% of emails sent in June were Spam

Posted on July 25, 2008. Filed under: Trends | Tags: , , , |


With that high a percentage of internet email traffic being malicious and of no value you would think the major Canadian ISPs would do something about it.

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Sandvine Hit Over Net Neutrality Issues

Posted on July 8, 2008. Filed under: Hardware, Software, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Seems there is a backlash from the products Sandvine offers and the net neutrality debate going on in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere may continue to negatively impact this company on the short to medium term.

Factors undermining the forecast include “the effect of the network neutrality debate on Sandvine’s North American installed base, the reduced predictability associated with expansion into new markets such as Sandvine’s entrance into the tier-one DSL and wireless markets, and the increasing number of opportunities being pursued through the indirect sales channel,” the company stated.

I do not wish ill on Sandvine but this story only hi-lights the forces at work as this debate goes on.

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Updated Information Re. Sympatico Traffic Throttling

Posted on July 2, 2008. Filed under: Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

It seem that the numbers do not add up. This is the percentage of number of congested links taken from the most populous subscriber bases that Bell has. If you look at it it appears not that serious at all. Not near the doom and gloom Bell would have you believe.

For more information on this story see:

Link 1

Link 2

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Response to Comment on Previous Post

Posted on May 28, 2008. Filed under: Hardware, Software, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Comment:

What would you guys recommend? I am looking for an Antivirus/Internet Security that backups up my important documents online because I live in an area where power blackouts occur all the time I also need something that protects my identity because I do a great deal of online banking. I only know of one product that does that and thats Nortons if there is something else does let me know because when it comes to online security I don’t want anything but the best not saying Nortons is the best out there but I would not trust anything they give away for free online.

My response…


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