I’m back from an extended break part due to moving house, part due to getting wound-up by Telstra, and the rest down to having a break over Christmas. Things are getting back to normal, but first I’ve got to get something off my chest. I apologise as it’s a bit wordy and I doubt Telstra will be happy if I use their logo on what is effectively a rant.
Moving is a sod. I hate it, but I seem to do it more than most. The worst part of moving isn’t the packing, the lugging of boxes or the dragging of furniture. The worst part is sorting out the the internet.
ISPs, thankfully, do not provide electricity. If they did, families would spend a week post-move struggling by candlelight wait for the power to be connected. Australia’s main teleco is the awful piece of shit, Telstra- a firm who have, over the years, been taking the piss out of the Australian people. The former state telecommunication company’s lack of infrastructure investment is responsible for Australia’s 3rd-world, aging cooper-based telephone network. The Australian Govenment (i.e. the Austrailian taxpayers) are now bailing them out with the National Broadband Network (NBN), something that wouldn’t have been needed if the company had invested in the network rather than line the pockets of its shareholders.
At the last house I had to swap from the gamer-friendly Internode to Telstra’s cable network due to the poor ADSL in the area. I had to sign a 24-month contract with Telsta for cable internet. When it worked it was fantastic. For the couple of periods where the service was poor, dealing with Telstra overseas (Filipino, I think) customer service people was a nightmare. They are some of the rudest and condescending fuckers that you are ever likely to have on the end of your telephone.
The new house doesn’t have cable internet, well, Telstra cable internet, anyway. Not the end of the world, I’ve coped with a decent ADSL connection for years.
Unfortunately, it was not a simple exercise. First off, I did the move request via Telstra’s online moving portal; which effectively meant that my request disappeared down a big black hole, never did get to the bottom of that one. Going through the whole process again on the phone (where a Telstra person told me that it was best to do this sort of thing via a telephone call and not online), I was offered a free ADSL modem and advised that the contract would just continue as it was a “technology change” I also asked if I could increase the plan from 200GB to 500GB, of course I was told this wasn’t a problem. The telephone would be connected on the moving day and the internet a few days later.
Telstra’s telephone people and their internet people operate independently. So, whilst a moving person did call me to say that he would be following the process all the way, he never called again.
Also, it turns out that it takes a week from the telephone being connected for the internet to be connected. I got a call from Telstra to say that the internet order hadn’t been done properly and asked if I wanted to have the cable disconnected at the old house (which I’d already moved out of).
That was the last call I got from Telstra.
With the internet all up and running I then got an email congratulating me on renewing my 24 month contract. WTF? Turns out that I’d been signed up for a new contract due to the different service. Also, none of my services had been bundled (which means about $40/mo. more). Throughout the move, everything, apart from a few emails from customer services people, had been verbal. At no point did anyone advice me of costs, or bundles etc. As you would, I just assumed, based on that initial conversation that it was a simple “technology change”.
Subsequent emails and telephone conversations (some of which are still contradictory) has resulted in me having emailed confirmation that my existing remaining contract period will be honoured and that they can bundle the service for $125.
It has been a war of attrition and I’m not out of the woods yet. Telstra passed me a bill for a whopping $940 full of bullshit cancellation fees, reconnection fees and inflated cost due to the unbundling of the services. I’ve already argued a credit of $500 off the bill, but this is just not good enough.
I’m going to switch over to Optus cable, which offers unlimited internet, free local and national calls, cheap international call all on a month-by-month plan for $125 (and I get a discount due to my mobile account with them).
The plan is to sort this out and deal with Telstra afterwards.
Moving house is a stressful time anyway, moving your internet connection shouldn’t be the most trying part of it. It seems everybody in Australian has there own Telstra nightmare story which makes me wonder why they are still around.
Anyway, normal service will resume soon. In the meantime check out some of the my work that’s been published on other websites:
I’ve been having a lot of fun with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and I’m just about to put the finishing touches to my review of the Xbox One version of Ubisoft pirate adventure. I had a play with the AC4 Android companion app for Shanethegamer.com, which was one of the most interesting of these tablet-based game extension programs that I’ve used so far. Not only is it a real-time moving map when synched with the main game, it also allows players to take the game with them on the move, via a cool little ship trading mini-game in a similar vein to the assassin’s guild contracts in previous AC games. Check out what I had to say about it here.
So the next-gen is now current-gen and the current-gen last-gen, or whatever. I picking sides I chose the same one that I did in 2006 and picked up Microsoft’s Xbox One. I had my reasons. As with it’s predecessor, I’ll pick up a PS4 for Uncharted; until then it can wait.
I went to the midnight launch at my local EB Games in Hurstville. Hardly the fanfare enjoyed by those invited to the big shindig in town but, by my watch anyway, I think I was out the door with my Xbox One a little bit before the strike of midnight. Being a bit of a wierdo, instead of ripping open the packaging and enjoying a bit of early hours gaming, I instead documented my first impressions of Microsoft’s new console. This is what I thought of it. I’m intending to follow this up in the future, as I’ve got a bit more to say about the console.
Before I could wax lyrical about the Xbox One, I had to take a dip into the Marvel Universe, at least the Marvel Universe according to Lego. The PC version of Lego Marvel Super Heroes looks fantastic and whilst I’ve played a few of these Lego games, I’ve never reviewed one before. It was a weird experience. On the one hand I loved the story and the way the game tapped into the catalogue of Marvel heroes. But, my god, is the game frustrating. I was pulling my hair out. I’ve not screamed at a game so much for years! Check on the review on Shane the Gamer here.
Over on the Game Console pages of NZ’s Techday.com I got all excited about FIFA 14 on Xbox One. The story was based on an interview that I had with the next-gen version’s producer, Peter Trenouth. Not my best interview as I was feeling pig-sick at the time. A shame, really, as the venue the Ivy Penthouse in Sydney was superb. The interview basically consisted of me continuously asking why should fans buy FIFA 14 again. At the end of the day, FIFA 14 is pretty-much a must-have game for Xbox One owners. Read more here.
The Need for Speed Rivals review was a funny one. I first played EA’s latest entry into their veteran racing series on the PS4, so it was a bit old being presented with an Xbox 360 version to review. To my surprise the game looks absolutely stunning on the the 360 benefiting, I believe, from the some of the extra effort required to make it a cross-gen game. Certainly the textures are better than usual and the lighting is fantastic. There a little bit of clipping in the distance with rival cars turning into just labels when they get far away. But on the whole, a fantastic game. Check out the review here.
My first Xbox One review was not was I was expecting and probably the most challenging review that I’ve ever had to do. Before I could start to review Madden NFL 25 I had to learn the rules of American football, rules so esoteric that most Americans, let alone the players themselves doesn’t know them. After countless Youtube videos and internet articles my opinion of the USA’s most popular sport changed from that of a shit game of rugby with padding, to the sort of respect due to a game that is at once brutal and cleverly tactical. I found it a refreshingly new experience and got a real sense of achievement in learning all about a new sport. You can read my review on Techday.com, here.
That’s all for now. I’ve got a pile of Xbox One game to go through that are well past their review deadlines! Until next time Vic out.