Posts tagged ‘Telstra Clear’


Contacting Right Now (a misnomer of a company name)

30.11.2011

If there’s one employee I can never fault at Telstra Clear, it’s Daniel Borgshammar, who has been following up my case with my corrupted custhelp.com profile on the Telstra Clear support site since day one.
   Unfortunately, Daniel has his hands tied. He contacts the people at Right Now, the owners of custhelp.com, and keeps getting polite brush-offs. No ETA is given.
   So, after a year, I thought I’d just ask this American company if it responds to its clients. I wonder if I will get a reply in the promised 48 hours.

Hello there:

I’m not too happy. I’m a TelstraClear customer in New Zealand, and I can’t use custhelp.com. In fact, I haven’t been able to use it for a year.
   It appears that, through no fault of my own, you’ve corrupted my profile. I push TelstraClear on this, and they tell me they push you, to get it fixed.
   A year down the track, we’re nowhere. I still can’t log in or follow up tickets. In fact, I have to send a fresh enquiry each time through its email system just to be heard. Its techs have a hard time following up on any query, since there are no service threads to speak of—just a long, long trail of email messages, as I paste in earlier dialogues each time so they know it’s an ongoing issue.
   Since a large telco can’t get a response or ETA from you beyond a polite brush-off, I thought I’d come directly, and just ask, as Joe Public: can you get this fixed, please?
   I think a year’s wait is long enough. I hope you’ll look in to it.

Sincerely,

Jack Yan

   I see Oracle is going to buy this company. Good luck, folks. Hope you know what you’re getting in to, because there are people there who are put off for nearly a year.

PS.: Right Now eventually passed this message back on to Datum, which passed it on to Telstra Clear’s James Jacques, on December 5 NZDT. It was then remedied immediately: ‘I have tidied up your user profiles and made it so you now only have one login (There were 4 or 5 active in the system). I have sent a password reset request to this email address, please complete this and use this email address as your login ID and the issues should be resolved.’ (The multiple log-ins were created, I should add, by Telstra Clear, each time one failed.) Lesson: cut out the middle man!—JY

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The internet collapses further: Telstra Clear’s DNS servers stop resolving some addresses

29.11.2011

Yet another contact Facebook-messaged me tonight to tell me that his email to me bounced. Sadly, I had to repeat the story of how emails from New Zealand now regularly bounce, that with at least one party we’ve had to resort to using the fax, and that, if he had a Hotmail or a Gmail, could he use that instead to reach me?
   It’s a ridiculous state of affairs and I can’t believe I’m even saying it. But here’s a good example that I encountered myself tonight using Telstra Clear:

As you can see, neither Cloudflare nor Lucire will load—in fact, Telstra Clear’s DNS server plain refuses to resolve either.
   Even Duck Duck Go has its share of problems, though eventually I got through.
   No wonder certain people can’t reach us. The sad thing is, it’s been going on all year, and Telstra Clear admits there’s a problem with a subcontractor somewhere down the line, with no ETA on resolution.
   It’s not doing my reputation much good when there are people asking me if I’ve shut down a business.
   Thanks to Jeremy Bank tonight, I switched to Open DNS, at least to get some work done “on the cloud” (and people wonder why I am a cloud-sceptic: if you lived here, you would know why). Things worked for a wee while, before conking out again.
   Both Cloudflare and Lucire worked for a while before something similar happened—and according to my end (on Plesk and at Rackspace) there are no problems. However, I was seeing blank pages with no data.
   In all cases, after switching to a proxy server, either Codeen or a transparent one, things were fine again.
   I’m going to have to place the responsibility squarely on Telstra Clear because it really looks like HTTP is being blocked to some websites. And when you go away from its DNSs and use someone else’s, you’re OK for a while before it blocks that, too. The only way to ensure HTTP service is to use proxies, which, of course, are slow—and usually such techniques are the province of netizens inside China circumventing government censors. Surely no such thing happens here—but then, with our politicians, about as schooled on the internet as Jabba the Hut is on personal hygiene, you never know.
   The more likely explanation is Jeremy’s, from four months ago when I first blogged about this issue: ‘If you’re primarily with Telstra Clear, then I know why. It’s to do with their transparent proxies and caching. Stale content within their system is what often causes fail loads and the like. It’s bad.’
   And it needs to be fixed, unless Telstra Clear wants certain sites to be inaccessible as it leads up to its much-publicized unmetered weekend. Or is this its intention? Block enough sites, save on bandwidth costs.
   After all, this blog and certain other sites we run—far less popular ones than either Cloudflare or Lucire—ran without issue tonight. Their IP addresses actually resolved.
   A similar problem with resolving Lucire and Cloudflare happened last week, confirmed by Twitter friends also on Telstra Clear, but, by the time the tech called back, things were working again. (But at least they call back, right?)
   I didn’t blog about this issue then because I thought it was a one-off. But, frankly, it looks related to an error we’ve been getting through Telstra Clear for several years where some document types were not served; and it’s definitely related to the year-long bug that prevents many New Zealanders sending email to us.
   Pay an exorbitant amount, and party like it’s 2001.

PS.: After one tech support report and reply, on November 30, 1.08 p.m. NZDT, I was finally able to put a traceroute through to lucire.com via Telstra Clear without using a proxy. That’s a lot of hours wasted.—JY

P.PS.: I may be able to let TelstraClear off the hook. Cloudflare Tweeted the following when I asked them, though I’m disappointed it has taken nearly a day for the reply. (Admittedly I had been Tweeting a Cloudflare status account, Cloudflaresys, instead of its regular account, Cloudflare.) ‘There was an issue that affected some parts of AU. Likely same issue that affected you. We have re-routed.’ I am informing TelstraClear now. Looks like we’re back to the original two issues of emails not arriving, and the broken custhelp.com website.—JY

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Posted in business, internet, New Zealand, technology | 5 Comments »


Progress at TelstraClear; not sure if you could call it that at McAfee

20.06.2011

While I still can’t get into TelstraClear’s support site, one tech has been responding to my feedback-form messages and following up—so I don’t have the difficulty of the telephone, where I have to start from scratch with people there.
   And, because Daniel Borgshammar at TelstraClear is a intelligent guy, he’s managed to get to the root of the problem: an out-of-house system, which has its own techs. He’s contacted them to get the low-down on what is locking me out.
   Thank goodness for continuity, because I seem to be often unique in discovering problems—whether it’s Google Earth failing to place the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, or Google Ads Preferences Manager lying to consumers, or Google not having terms and conditions or a privacy policy for Buzz. Funny, they’re all about Google. Hmm.
   And remember how I had spent nearly an hour with McAfee just to file a bug report? It’s now up to tier 2, and I’ve now been called to follow up on a bug report. And it’s such a doggone tiny bug, too. Can’t they just take it at face value and build it into their next update? Does it have to involve another 20-minute phone call? I’m grateful they’re being so courteous, but do they need me to hold their hand at every turn on this? It’s a bug report.

Speaking of Google:

Google Buzz

Google Buzz

I have been through this many times before. So sick of it recurring—especially as I do not have a visible Google profile, in which case gaining Buzz followers is, according to the company, impossible. Evidently it is not impossible.

Google Reader

Google Reader

   The above is also impossible, if memory serves me correctly. I do not use Google Reader and have nothing in there, yet Google claims I have five items. I’ve also gained a follower, but how could I, if I do not have a Google profile that enables me to be found for Google services?
   Now I see I have gained a contact on a service I do not even use:

Google Contacts

Google Contacts

   Unfortunately, there are client and Medinge things stuck to my Google account, all started at a time when Google was not so callous about privacy and didn’t do so much evil. Otherwise, I’d be out of there.

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And now, another website that locks me out: TelstraClear

16.06.2011

TelstraClear

Apologies to Daniel at TelstraClear for getting the full story detailed below, but if I don’t recount it, I’m going to continue getting the brick wall there.
   Essentially, the following email says, ‘Dear TelstraClear: please let me update my own tickets.’
   Right now, and certainly since January, the company won’t let me.
   Unfortunately, despite repeated phone calls and emails about this, I’m keep getting stuck at tier 1. Telstra “upgraded” me to tier 2 support on this issue after an hour-long call on Wednesday, but all I got back was a message on my answerphone saying, ‘We tried it, it works.’
   Um, no, it doesn’t.
   When I called back to tell the technician he was wrong, I got stuck with a tier 1 support staffer who wouldn’t even qualify for organ donation. He heard only what he wanted to hear and ignored the ‘We did this two hours ago’ protestation—only to arrive at the conclusion, after another hour, that it had to be upgraded to tier 2. We did this two hours ago.
   I have not heard a whisper since that call—just like in January when I first reported the issue with TelstraClear’s faulty support site. So I’ve resorted back to TelstraClear’s email form.
   Unlike January 16, the custhelp.com site believes I have an account with them—though it’s evidently not one that can be accessed.
   So for the last few days, it’s been, ‘Yes it works,’ ‘No it doesn’t,’ with TelstraClear.
   Not good enough, because, like all bugs, I am usually right and the experts are usually wrong.
   This is not the first time. In 2000–1, it took nearly two years of complaints to get TelstraSaturn, as it was then, to acknowledge that it was the wind causing internet outages here. That time, too, the drones answering the phone did their best to prevent the matter from going to technicians higher up. Eventually, a technician drove down from Palmerston North, looked at the cable, and said, ‘The wind’s causing your internet outages.’ He then called another technician.
   Here’s the latest email which exposes some of the crap I’ve gone through—and this is just trying to log in! We haven’t even got to the original matter that I complained about, which TelstraClear has already admitted is their fault (and that’s got to tier 3).
   Will this take two years again? It feels just like the Vox issue of 2009.

Hej Daniel:

I appreciate your getting back to me, but as advised in my many earlier messages and my last two phone calls, the username and password given do not work on your custhelp.com site. I cannot respond to any TelstraClear ticket.
   This is the same username and password combination given to me over the phone, although I note that TelstraClear has given me a variety of different ones since January 2011. I was given three different ones on January 14 and 15 alone.
   Even if I were to log in at the URL you gave, it does not help with support. The password only works for the basic Customer Zone, which is not where I have an issue. Once I go to the support section (Customer Zone > Service Information > Online Help > Still Need Help) or click on the ‘To access your question from our support site, click here’ in your emails, I am confronted with a new log-in page.
   At every turn, and regardless of which password or username I use, your site returns, ‘The username or password that you entered is incorrect or your account has been disabled.’
   According to your colleague Karen Hardie on January 15, the Customer Zone and custhelp.com are two separate sites governed by different log-ins and passwords. It was never resolved then and remains the issue you see now.
   Interestingly, TelstraClear staff have given me conflicting advice on the case sensitivity over the last half-year. I’ve also had TelstraClear staff call here and say, ‘I’ve tried it, it all works,’ though I fail to see how that is possible.
   This all began because I am simply trying to update a ticket.

Kind regards,

Jack

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It’s nice to be believed

21.04.2011

The bug I wrote about a few days ago that’s emerging when I use Autocade is now filed with Telstra Clear—and it’s been escalated.
   For years I would report various faults, including with Telstra Clear, and I would not be believed. What a difference now that I am believed.
   For around two years, no one at Telstra Clear believed me when I told them that the internet went down when it was windy. They kept blaming me and how I used my computer. I guess the wisdom was that wind caused computer operator misuse. Until one day, I said, ‘I know what your script says. I have done [x, y and z]. Now, here’s what I want you to do.’ The technician came down from Palmerston North and confirmed there was a loose wire. He then called another technician. Zero marks for efficiency, though the error was eventually fixed.
   Or the Vox error, which went on for months in 2009, blocking me from using the service. When I complained to Six Apart, which ran the now-defunct blogging platform, it was apparently my fault. Or my ISP’s. Or the internet’s. Until, again after a long, long time, I gave them my username and password. Only then did they confirm that something was wrong: they could not log on as me even from their own HQ.
   Even Mozilla took its time, though happily, when they got on to it, they were remarkably quick in solving my reported bugs. And these days, I find I am not disbelieved there.
   Now that Lucire is on Cloudflare, I’m also finding that speedy service and, last night, confirmation that they did, indeed, suffer a DDOS attack. There are no doubts there, either—just rapid acknowledgements and very personal service, answering my concerns about various settings, the Google bot, and the way Cloudflare works.
   The latest one is the Google Ads Preferences Manager, though I was told today at our monthly Vista lunch by Jim Donovan that he had been checking his, and found that his opt-out had been respected. I wonder if Google is only respecting the choices of Chrome users.
   I have had a few friends discover their Ads Preferences Manager behave the same way as it does for me, but maybe there are some people for whom it’s working.
   Nevertheless, the Network Advertising Initiative, to whom I have informed of this issue, has not responded, which I imagine amounts to being disbelieved.
   All I can say to the disbelievers is this: I am a reasonably intelligent person. I have been playing and working with computers since 1978. That means, if I say there is a bug with your service, there is a greater chance that I am right, than there is for your belief that I mucked up.
   This time, it’s plain nice for Telstra Clear to come back to me without questioning how I use my computer. Or saying I pressed the wrong button. Or used the wrong finger in pressing that button. Here’s hoping it can be resolved for, as the tech told me yesterday, it’s very hard to identify an intermittent error. (However, today it is not intermittent: I have been consistently unable to get on to Autocade without adding www to its URL.) From my point of view, it’s just great that the right people are dealing with the right issue in my world.

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Chromium remains buggy; and I get charged twice for parking (thrice if you count my rates)

18.03.2011

I am happy to say that Firefox 4 Release Candidate 1 is working smoothly with no crashes to date. It reminds me of, well, Firefox 3·0, before Mozilla started doing weird things to it and we had the multiple-crashing 3·5 and 3·6. Let’s hope this situation lasts.
   Meanwhile, the bugs I reported to the Chromium people in October and November 2010 have finally received responses. It’s too long compared with Mozilla. I told the chap that I had given up on Chrome, but I downloaded it today just to see where things were at.
   Based on the latest Chromium, the incomplete font menu bug has, indeed, been fixed, though various font-changing ones still appear present. There are still font-linking and character-set issues. (The images below have had their colour depth reduced for faster loading.)

Chromium 12
Chromium 12Above and left: When Chromium hits a ligature, the line or part of the line changes font. Opera does something similar: it changes the font of the one word that contains the ligature.

Chromium 12Left: Chromium might just decide to change fonts anyway—likely a Postscript error already sorted in Mozilla thanks to the likes of Jonathan Kew.

Chromium 12
Above: The font-linking problem on the home page of Lucire still has not been solved. There is no problem on IE8, Firefox or Opera. I can’t report on IE9 as my psychic powers are not strong enough to determine what is being told to me through the heavenly dimensions.

Chromium 12
Above: This one paragraph is properly linked—what causes it to work and the others not to is unknown.

Chromium 12
Above: Go outside the regular Latin set, and Chromium falls all to pieces, just as it always did.

Chromium 12
Above: At least there are fewer font changes than last time—though Chromium continues to struggle with soft hyphens.

   Meanwhile, after I reported spam faxes (a breach of the Telecommunications Act) to Telstra Clear, I was surprised to learn that my case was never examined. I had to open a new ticket with new faxes today. The excuse was the backlog of work post-Christchurch earthquake and, in the circumstances, I had to accept that.
   One was for a law firm, as far as I could make out. I wouldn’t hire a lawyer who breaches the Telecommunications Act. They shot themselves in the foot with that one.
   My main reason for calling, however, was the Text-a-Park service that the WCC offers. I hate cellphones, but had brought one with me on one of those rare occasions, and decided to give the service a go. I fed in the code, dialled 7275, and was told by the meter that the transaction had failed. No parking ticket was generated.
   Just as well. I prefer to use a credit card anyway, and fed that in. I got my ticket and my credit card was charged.
   Problem: as I walked away from my car, I received an SMS saying (sic), ‘Thanks for using TXT-a-Park. Your transaction for $6.50 has been accepted.’ I have no idea how one gadget says it’s failed and another says it’s succeeded, and my quantum physics isn’t good enough to figure out into which alternative universe this supposedly successfully printed ticket went to.
   Of course, the charge appeared on my Telstra Clear bill today.
   There’s a reason that jokers like me don’t use cellphones. Because, each time we do, they bite us on the bum. Though a buttcheek bite is better than testicular cancer.
   I’d urge folks to check their bills—if you haven’t received a ticket from a Wellington parking meter, and you still got charged for it, then give the telco a call.

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All I wanted to do was to say, ‘Thank you,’ to Telstra Clear

15.01.2011

I seem to be to computers what Frank Spencer is to life.
   Long-time readers will know that in 2009, Vox locked me out. We went round and round for months, with the company suggesting all sorts of solutions, usually putting the blame back on me or the ISP.
   I had tried logging in to blog from three cities till I got fed up, gave them my password, and said: log in from San Francisco, where your offices are. And tell me if you can get in.
   Only then could they confirm that I was, indeed, (effectively) blocked from using the service, but no one knew why. It was never remedied. I left the service in December 2009. It ultimately closed in September 2010, pissing a lot of people off in the process for the short notice it gave, taking a multitude of sploggers with it.
   Through 2010, it was the constant crashing of Firefox (one down already today—I expect three more), despite Mozilla claiming it was its most stable release ever. I’m not alone: as I meet more friends and discuss it with them, they all report constant Firefox crashes. The difference is I have an obsessive–compulsive streak so I stay on it. Fact: Firefox 3·6 is the most crash-prone browser Mozilla has ever made. And how can you misuse a browser when all you do is blog and surf?
   Let’s not forget Google and all its constant mess-ups (here’s one), or Facebook in 2009 making false accusations over copyright that could not be appealed.
   The latest is with the folks at Telstra Clear, whose website seems to behave at odds with what they believe.
   It all began when I sent a tiny suggestion via its site about Telstra Clear’s decision to end the unmetered broadband for Ziln and Ecast TV.
   I got a very nice email from a Susan Taite and I wanted to thank her for her courtesy.
   I clicked on the link in the email, ‘To access your question from our support site, click here.’
   Unfortunately, I could not log in at all, despite having only three passwords since 2000. None of them worked.
   I called the company and listened to several numbers from Carl Doy’s Piano by Moonlight to make sure my thanks to Susan was recorded. Two Telstra Clear reps responded, one to pass on the thanks and one to sort out my access problems.
   I was told a new password, which, interestingly, was my 2006 one but all in uppercase.
   I could finally log in to the Customer Zone but could not fill out my profile. My postal address would disappear from the field immediately after entering, and I failed every one of its Captchas. After yesterday’s blog post, I began taking screen shots of the Captchas and my responses, just to make a point:


Neither of these were, apparently, correct.
   So I told them.
   Again, a very nice person responded, Luke Tipa, who gave me my password again (in lowercase) and noted:

Although there are no known issues with Customer Zone at the moment, this does sound like a fault and I apologise for any inconvenience it has caused. Can you please advise what username you were trying to set up as a Customer Zone profile so I can see if this has been partially or incorrectly created by our system.

This is already music to my ears: someone believing me instead of blaming me with ‘You must have entered the Captcha incorrectly.’ Thank you, Luke.
   However, to respond to Luke, I had to click, again, ‘To access your question from our support site, click here.’
   Guess what? It doesn’t work.
   I tried re-entering the Customer Zone, which I still could at this point, to see if I could get to the support site. If it’s there, I couldn’t see it. Support seems to be totally separate from the Customer Zone, or, perhaps, one cannot reach it if one has an incomplete profile on the Customer Zone. And, as we now have established, it is impossible for me to complete my profile in the Customer Zone because the Captcha always says I am wrong—that’s 100 per cent of the time.
   With me so far?
   So, I had to fill out yet another support request from scratch and paste Luke’s and Susan’s emails into it so the customer service rep could see that this has been going on for a while. This time, it was to tell Luke the username I was trying to use.
   New person responds:

You should be able to log into the Customer Zone website with your account number: … and account password … [in uppercase this time] I have checked that your account has not been locked and everything is fine from our end. If you still can not access the Customer Zone website, please let us kow [sic] how you are logging in.

This is the classic ‘It’s your fault’ response, but I can’t hold it against Karolina, because she’s only telling me what she knows after checking Telstra Clear’s system, and she worded things politely enough.
   So I told her. I’m using the link you give. I use the passwords (upper- and lowercase) and all I ever get is this:

And when I now click to enter via the Customer Zone, all I now get is this:

Your system, just like Vox’s, has it in for me.
   Here’s another thing: despite my constant failure to complete my profile, I have six automated emails from Telstra Clear, which came long after my attempts to register, thanking me for registering. So can I indeed fail a Captcha and register? If so, how come I can’t get in to the site?
   Bear in mind this all began because I was trying to send a thank-you note. What can I say? No one has yet made a Jack-proof website.
   To those of you who were able to blog at Vox from 2006 to its demise in 2010, whose Firefoxes don’t crash, and who can use the Telstra Clear site, you don’t know how lucky you are.
   And people want me to do online banking. Not while websites remain totally unreliable I won’t. I want a bill of exchange, in print, which is governed by an act of Parliament (Bills of Exchange Act 1908) that I know, and which hasn’t been corrupted by poor drafting.
   I am available for bug-testing. But I expect to be paid.

PS.: Karen Hardie at Telstra Clear finally sorted it all out (January 16)!
   1. The passwords are not case-sensitive.
   2. My original password—which, I might add, has worked for most of the last decade—doesn’t work today because the new system hates punctuation. Karen changed my password to omit the punctuation and I was able to get in and create a profile. My address still disappears on entry but the Captcha now works!
   3. The Telstra Clear Customer Zone and the support site (telstraclear.custhelp.com) are actually two separate sites governed by two different passwords. I was never given one for the latter—which suggests a problem with their emails always providing me a link to the latter. It’s also a little tricky considering both sites look exactly the same—I think it was natural to presume that one password would work on both of them. I explained in my final response that since I had accomplished what I needed to—sending feedback and a message of thanks—I would decline to set up yet another account for custhelp.com, and I was satisfied with the registration process for the Customer Zone. Phew!—JY

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Posted in business, humour, internet, New Zealand, technology | 3 Comments »


What the suck?

14.01.2011

I think Telstra Clear’s Captcha for its Customer Zone is broken. I wish I took screen shots of each failed attempt now, since it’s kicked me off after five tries.
   But this one was intriguing. I never expected to see a quaint s, especially in a context as digital as a Captcha, in usage in 2011:

Telstra Clear Captcha

Who am I, Shakespeare?

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Posted in humour, internet, New Zealand, typography | 4 Comments »


Ziln shifts to promoting Kiwi content

13.01.2011

Initially I was disappointed to lose the foreign channels on Ziln, the New Zealand service that was broadcasting DW-TV, TV5 Monde, al-Jazeera English, etc. When I wrote to them, one of its bosses replied—on Christmas Day!
   He explained to me that Ziln’s focus had changed to promoting New Zealand content, so if I knew anyone who was willing to provide some, they could get in touch and have a chance to have their work promoted.
   Who could argue with that, especially with a bloke who was working on his day off? I’m all for seeing more local content—and if it gives our entrepreneurs a chance at exposure, then all the better.
   In addition, the foreign channels hadn’t disappeared: they had been shifted to Ecast TV, and TelstraClear is continuing (at least till the end of March) to offer customers unmetered usage.
   I’m hoping they’ll continue it past March, and have written to them accordingly. I’ve been following Ziln since the beginning, and it’ll be a shame to limit access to innovative Kiwi content.

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Posted in business, culture, internet, New Zealand, publishing, TV | 2 Comments »


Retrograde steps for our cellphones

07.11.2010

Nokia 2730 ClassicLast week, our company’s Nokia 2730 Classics arrived as part of a contract with Telstra Clear, of whom we’ve been a customer since the 1980s. They are a reminder of how technology is regressing.
   Remember that scene in Life on Mars, where Sam Tyler, or Samuel Santos in La chica de ayer, tells Annie Cartwright, Annie Norris or Ana Valverde (depending on which version you saw) how LPs had been replaced by MP3s and digital music, and that the sound is ‘much, much worse’? That’s sort of how I feel with these new gadgets.

Left Not quite the same as ours—the display is different—but this is a publicity shot of the Nokia 2730 Classic. Below Life on Mars’s record shop scene in its various incarnations (from left to right, top to bottom): the UK original in Manchester; the unaired US pilot, set in Los Angeles; the US remake, set in New York; and the Spanish remake, set in Madrid.
Life on Mars music store scenes

   On the surface, the new phones aren’t much to look at. Compared with the 6275i phones that the 2730s are replacing, it’s clear that they are built to a price, cost-cutting for easy manufacture in China rather than Korea. There’s not much of an excuse here for design simplification: this is manufacturing simplification.
   I have reason to be cynical. I’m sure it’s part of a conspiracy to force us to get a nicer model. I remember buying a Microtek scanner for around $600 in the 1990s—probably around 1996—and it lasted me for years, till around 2002 when I ordered an upgrade. I looked at the specs for the latest scanners and thought, ‘Wow, here’s one with a higher resolution going for half the price.’ I brought it back and the scanning quality was total crap.
   I wrote to the distributor in Auckland and they informed me: the equivalent model to my old one is this other machine costing $600. The difference is that the half-price one has a plastic lens and my old one had a glass lens. So if I wanted one with comparable quality, I would need to pay twice as much for one with a glass lens. In other words, it would still cost me $600.
   I bought the glass one and they were as good as their word, although I had to put up with a smaller scanning area (but I got a faster speed). The resolution figure, it turned out, was meaningless, because the actual quality of the product was so poor.
   Technology didn’t really advance in six years. I still had to pay the same price for a machine with actually less capability on the primary function, which was scanning an area of x cm².
   This seems like a repeat. I have yet to try what it’s like as a phone, because the switchover’s not till the 8th, but for many features, it’s poorer. It has a better media player. The speaker for playing music and movies is better. The graphics move more nicely. Nokia supplies some free maps (which, incidentally, get deleted when you eject the memory card, though you can re-download them for free from its website).
   But (and there must be a but given the headline): the camera is worse (judge for yourself below) and the battery life is shorter. I might not be an initié when it comes to cellphones, but I know that people have been using them for telephony and photography for a lot longer than as MP3 and 3GP players. On at least two of the three major criteria on which a cellphone can be judged, the 2730 is worse than the mid-decade 6275i.
   Judge for yourself below. These are photographs (reduced) taken at Massey University’s Blow festival exhibition, currently on at its Wellington campus.

Nokia 6275i
Massey University Blow Festival 2010

Nokia 2730 Classic
Massey University Blow Festival 2010

Nokia 6275i
Massey University Blow Festival 2010

Nokia 2730 Classic
Massey University Blow Festival 2010

   And what is the point of that? Unless Nokia now tells me: if you want the quality of the old one, it’s this other model, which will cost you an extra $300.
   I know there are many exceptions to what I’ve just written. The Asus laptop I type this on is way fancier than one that cost twice as much with a fraction of the power in the mid-2000s. But just because one area of technology marches so rapidly doesn’t mean every area follows suit.

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