Vodafone femtocell: customers sponsoring giant telco?

Recently I got an advertorial brochure for Vodafone‘s (re-)launched Sure Signal service (previously called Access Gateway).

The service involves Vodafone sending me a piece of hardware that I plug into my broadband connection, which tunnels 3G traffic back onto Vodafone’s network. This helps me, and anyone in the immediate area, get a better signal on the Vodafone network.

I was intrigued. I was wondering how much Vodafone would pay me for hosting this cell on my property for the purposes of enhancing their service.

But no. Vodafone want to charge me £50 for this. And it’s only that cheap because I’m already paying a huge monthly rate, otherwise it’d be £120. Eh?

Let me see if I get this straight. The device is using my electricity and my broadband connection, and its purpose is to improve Vodafone in situations where their existing signal is poor. Surely the value proposition is going the wrong way around, here?

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Security questions? You rang me!

Don’t you just hate it when your bank rings you up, and then asks you security questions?

I’m not stupid, I know what authentication is for. But I also know what phishing means. So when someone calls me claiming to be from HighStreetBank Limited and starts asking me for my date of birth and passcode, even if I have an account with HighStreetBank and have a good idea what they might be calling about, I get highly suspicious. Especially when the caller ID isn’t one I recognise, and they won’t say why they’re calling.

So then we start a dance where they have to partially prove they know who I am, before I tell them anything. It’s all quite silly really. Especially when the content of the phone call is innocuous, far less damaging to me than if I’d just inadvertantly given my bank secret passcode away to some scam artist with an 0844 phone number…

Bluetooth headphones are a must-have commuter accessory

I must get myself some bluetooth headphones.

Getting off the rush-hour tube, my headphone cable caught on someone else. The resulting forces caused my shiny N900 to leap out of its holster and fall the metre or so onto the carriage floor; right between the doors, centimetres from falling under the train.

Not only is it a miracle that it didn’t fall onto the tracks; nobody stood on it or kicked it (despite crowds leaving and boarding the train), and it fell battery-side down thus protecting the screen from the impact!

Still works perfectly (I’m writing this post on it), unlike my nerves which are in tatters…

Landline broadband tax? I’m going wireless

So the Government are going to press ahead with the £6 ‘tax on land-lines’ to help push wired broadband out into rural areas. What exactly are they expecting to achieve by this, other than encourage people to abandon the 19th century concept of wired communications?

I’m already questioning the need to have a wired phone line at home. I’m not actually at home very much, so I’m already paying a fair amount of money each month for something I’m not there to use. Even if I do feel the need to call somebody, I have more mobile minutes than I know what to do with as part of my mobile phone plan.

Why would anyone purchase a land-line these days, when you can’t take it with you? If I were to move house, I certainly wouldn’t bother getting a phone line put in. My mobile broadband is good enough, thanks. It’s always there where I need it.

Postie: Please strike forever and end my junk mail

The Communication Workers’ Union have voted for strike action against the Royal Mail. Good; it’s the perfect way to finally kill off this old dinosaur. Already major business users of the service – Amazon, eBay, Argos – are abandoning what has become an increasingly unreliable service provider and are looking to alternatives.

All of my bills and bank statements are sent to me electronically, and those that I can’t pay by direct debit I pay securely online. I swap birthday greetings on Facebook and other social networking sites. So what is the Royal Mail doing for me?

Nothing. The only stuff I get through the post are mail order catalogues and “personally hand delivered” junk mail, all of which goes straight into the recyling sack unread.

It’s sad and unfortunate that people will lose their jobs, but when you are providing a service that people increasingly don’t want, then that’s what happens. Just ask the media industry which is currently undergoing exactly the same issues with being replaced by Internet alternatives.

Certainly the last thing Britian needs is for obsolescent industries to be bailed out by the taxpayer!