Thursday, 28 January 2021

For the food, I can forget

You switch power in time

I have not normally had much interest in the utilities I use, I acquire the service and arrange payments and leave it at that. Then I realised these utility companies will take undue advantage of loyal customers, your initial contractual period runs out, they do nothing to woo or keep you about, they just let it roll giving attractive discounts to new customers and heaping on annual increases just because your direct debit details allows them to coast along.

About two years ago, I notice my energy company was about to implement an eye-watering price hike and for the first time I thought, I am having none of it. So, I log on USwitch that does price comparisons for energy, broadband, and mobile telephony with seamless switch to other providers and found a better value service.

I saved myself about 50% then the utility company after a year was about to hike rates, which led me shopping for another deal. How annoying can it be that within a quarter of a year, this new offer is again at an unreasonable price hike that it is almost like musical chairs? USwitch is not slacking, as anything I can save more that £50, I am alerted to the opportunity much as I glibly ignore many offers. Here we go again.

App on the blink

Over a year ago, I acquired a NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 R8000 router because all other access points that I got to replace the moribund Virgin Media Super Hub 2AC wireless service were not giving me stable and reliable connections especially when working from home. When setting it up, I was offered an app to install on my Android mobile phone to manage the hub, which seemed a rather nice idea.

However, every time I logged on the router to update the firmware from my mobile phone, I was told there was no new update and I believed it. All I was able to do was restart the router on occasion and I thought nothing of it. A few days ago, I thought of installing my ExpressVPN service on my router by logging on via a web service and found my router was so far behind on firmware updates I needed to perform an intermediate update before the latest one.

A virgin I am not

This brought me to my Virgin Media broadband service that provides Internet, television and land telephony of which the last two I can do without, considering most of what I need on television comes from my Amazon Fire Stick 4K, they want to add 5% to my subscription having had my custom since August 2014. I have been paying too much already and I was not going to stand for this.

In South Africa, I was using the Amazon Fire Stick Lite and bought ExpressVPN which allowed me to watch shows I will normally get to see when in England. Murder, She Wrote, NCIS, Columbo, and Law & Order are amongst my homely comforts. There are other uses of the VPN along with giving me access not normally available in the UK.

I eventually found time to call up and 45 minutes into the call from the land telephony service I have with them, I was ready to cancel, but they made me some interesting offers that I could not decide on yet as USwitch seemed to have better deals until I realised how much of a hassle it would be to change providers.

Delivered from lagging delivery

This morning, I called again, and we went over the whole provision, something was marketed to me to retain the services I had for a 30% discount for 18 months. I think I can take that, but I am not going back on that outrageous tariff in 18 months’ time. Meanwhile, I am getting a new hub and I can install my VPN on it.

Since I am sorting out a few technical things, I thought of getting a new laptop for my test lab activities, one that has some particularly critical security features I need to take through its paces and acquire some knowledge and practice. I had my designs on a Dell laptop which I was ready to pay for when I saw the delivery date 26 days hence. That, for me, was not good enough, if they could not turn it around in just over a week, someone else will get my custom.

Anyway, no time for a rant. What’s for supper? 

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