FrequencyCast UK Show 125: Alexa, the Birth of Broadcasting, Canine Calories and BT

FrequencyCast 125 is now available for your listening pleasure. We’d like to thank you for your patience, and your support, as we’ve had some delays in getting the last couple of shows released.

Our latest show is available for download, or to listen to online. In this month’s show, Pete and Kelly catch up on what’s happened in the last couple of months of tech.

What’s in Show 125:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: Nokia 3310, MakeTheAirFair & Nintendo
  • Focus: Pete gets hands-on with Amazon Alexa
  • Discussed: 2MT & the birth of radio
  • Feature: Fitness tracking for man’s best friend
  • Interview: Contactless Payment Ring
  • Feedback: Sky boxes & 4G interference

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 125 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Listen to, or download, FrequencyCast Show 125 (30 mins)

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Show Links:

Please Support FrequencyCast:

We’ve been serving up your regular look at UK tech for almost ten years, and now we’re asking for your help – To cover the increasing costs of hosting the show, we’re asking our listeners to make a small donation to help cover our running costs. To show your support, please go to www.frequencycast.co.uk/donate – your contribution will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

Celebrating 2MT – The Birth of Wireless

This month sees an historic milestone – 95 years since the birth of broadcasting in the UK.

On the 14th of February 1922, an experimental radio station, with the callsign of 2MT (2 Emma Toc) took to the airwaves from a small hut in Writtle, Essex. To commemorate this, radio enthusiast Jim Salmon is launching an online radio station called Radio Emma Toc. This will include documentaries, interviews and a live transmission from the original hut.

Here’s an interview with the station’s creator, Jim Salmon:

FrequencyCast Update – 95th anniversary of 2MT, Writtle

The pioneering radio engineers back in the 1920s were led by Captain Peter Pendleton Eckersley, and the 2MT station broadcast “regularly” every Tuesday evening for 30 minutes a week. What started as a request for a station for ‘calibration purposes’ for the fast growing number of radio hams, transformed into an entertainment programme like none before.

Radio Emma Toc LogoIf you’re interested in radio, have a listen to Internet radio service ‘Radio Emma Toc’, where you’ll hear radio-related documentaries, vintage comedies, & 5 hours of live programming each day including a visit to the long low hut.
For details of Radio Emma Toc, including how to listen and the three-day schedule, go to www.emmatoc.com

FrequencyCast UK Show 124: Google Cardboard, Radio Caroline and exploding Galaxies

We’re back! After a break, Kelly and Pete return with a new show – FrequencyCast 124 has been released today. We’d like to thank you for your patience, and your support

Our latest show is available for download, or to listen to online. In this month’s show, Pete and Kelly catch up on what’s happened in the last couple of months of tech.

What’s in Show 124:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: GalaxyGate, Phone Roaming & Alexa
  • Discussed: Delays & Peer 1 Woes
  • Focus: Pokemon Go Madness
  • Discussed: Google Cardboard & VR
  • Out-and-About: Radio Caroline
  • Discussed: Top Google Searches
  • First Look: BBC Microbit
  • Feedback: HDMI, Ofcom and TV licensing
Pete in the Radio Caroline studio

Happy days – Pete in the Radio Caroline studio

Kelly, trying out virtual reality

Kelly, trying out virtual reality with Google Cardboard

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 124 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Please Support FrequencyCast:

We’ve been serving up your regular look at UK tech for almost ten years, and now we’re asking for your help – To cover the increasing costs of hosting the show, we’re asking our listeners to make a small donation to help cover our running costs. To show your support, please go to www.frequencycast.co.uk/donate – your contribution will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

FrequencyCast UK Show 123: Social Media, Antenna Testing, Sweat Tracking and Smart Straps

After a short break (due to circumstances beyond our control), we’re back with our July show!

Our July 2016 show is available for download, or to listen to online. In this month’s show, Pete and Kelly chat about social media, play a couple more interviews from London’s Wearable Technology Show – we hope you enjoy the show!

What’s in Show 123:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: Windows 10 upgrades, Sky Cinema and Google privacy
  • Discussed: The end of the first social network
  • Hands-on: Home security with a Smart Dog
  • Interview: Antenna testing
  • Feature: Smart Watchstraps
  • Discussed: Tracking your sweat
  • Feature: No more lost keys
  • Feedback: Sky Q, Discovery and SCART

 

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 123 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Please Support FrequencyCast:

We’ve been serving up your regular look at UK tech for almost ten years, and now we’re asking for your help – To cover the increasing costs of hosting the show, we’re asking our listeners to make a small donation to help cover our running costs. To show your support, please go to www.frequencycast.co.uk/donate – your contribution will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

FrequencyCast UK Show 122: Wearable Tech, Trackers & Virtual Social Networks

Our April 2016 show is available for download, or to listen to online – a couple of days later than normal, but it’s been a very busy week for us. In this month’s show, Pete and Kelly chat about social media, explore what happens at electronics fairs, and look at how women in tech are treated – we hope you enjoy the show!

What’s in Show 122:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: Kindle updates, touch pay and bots
  • Celebrating: Ten years of FrequencyCast
  • Focus: Wearable Tech 2016 in London
  • Feature: Wearable kids mobile & tracker
  • Interview: A sociable virtual network
  • Hands-on: Fitness tracking rings
  • Feedback: PVR, Discovery and cassettes
  • Help us: Show your support – make a donation!

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 122 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Please Support FrequencyCast:

We’ve been serving up your regular look at UK tech for almost ten years, and now we’re asking for your help – To cover the increasing costs of hosting the show, we’re asking our listeners to make a small donation to help cover our running costs. To show your support, please go to www.frequencycast.co.uk/donate – your contribution will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

FrequencyCast UK Show 121: Facebook, Girls in tech, Snapchat and adjustable eyewear

Our March 2016 show is available for download, or to listen to online – a couple of days later than normal, but it’s been a very busy week for us. In this month’s show, Pete and Kelly chat about social media, explore what happens at electronics fairs, and look at how women in tech are treated – we hope you enjoy the show!

What’s in Show 121:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: DAB Channels, Pi3 & no more Nook
  • Discussed: All change for Facebook Like
  • Focus: Girls in Tech
  • Out-and-About: Electronics Fair
  • Discussed: Paper-thin lenses
  • Interview: Eyejusters reading glasses
  • Discussed: Snapchat updates
  • Help us: Show your support – make a donation!
  • Feedback: Record on a Macbook & Marshmallow

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 121 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Please Support FrequencyCast:

We’ve been serving up your regular look at UK tech for almost ten years, and now we’re asking for your help – To cover the increasing costs of hosting the show, we’re asking our listeners to make a small donation to help cover our running costs. To show your support, please go to www.frequencycast.co.uk/donate – your contribution will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

FrequencyCast UK Show 120: Tim Peake Radio Contact, De-stressing and a 10 hour movie

Just to let you know, our February 2016 show is available for download, or to listen to online. In this show, Pete and Kelly chat about Tim Peake on the ISS and some exciting things to watch.

What’s in Show 120:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: 3 tariff swap, Sky Q and BBC 3 news
  • Update: The Riutbag Backpack
  • Discussed: A crowd-funded 10 hour film
  • Focus: Tim Peake ISS radio contact
  • Interview: De-stressing with Interaxion
  • Look ahead: Sci-fi Ball & Wearable Tech
  • Feedback: TVPlayer and BBC radio sport

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 120 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

Interview with Sarah from Riutbag

It’s always great to see one of the people we’ve interviewed getting some press coverage – whether it’s on Dragons Den, or in the national press.

Today, it’s the turn of the RiutBag to get some attention, in the form of a piece in the Daily Mail.

Keen listeners to show 112 may recall that we interviewed Sarah from Riut when we met her at Gadget Show Live in Birmingham. She’d taken the concept of the backpack, and literally flipped it on its back. Of interest to us in particular was the way she designed, funded and prototyped the product, proving that anyone with an idea can bring a product to market.

Here’s our interview with Sarah Giblin, from April 2015:

Riutbag Interview (5 mins)
Play Show buttonDownload show now button

You can find more info on the innovative Riutbag at www.riut.com

Kelly sporting the Riutbag backpack at Gadget Show Live 2015

Kelly sporting the Riutbag backpack at Gadget Show Live 2015

Pete interviewing Sarah from Riutbag at Gadget Show Live

Pete interviewing Sarah from Riutbag at Gadget Show Live

To see the Daily Mail’s article, go here Daily Mail Riutbag Rucksack

Well done to Sarah for the great product, and for getting some coverage!

FrequencyCast Show 119: Review of 2015, Jim Bacon and Power Cuts

Happy New Year from Kelly, Pete and the team at FrequencyCast! Let’s hope it’s set to be a great of tech!

The first show of 2016 has just been released, a couple of days later than planned, due to a very busy start to the New Year. In this show, we take a look back at the last 12 months of tech and make a few predictions – not only about the future, but about the weather.

What’s in Show 119:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: BBC hacked, EE recall and AVG issues
  • Focus: Tech Review of 2015
  • Discussed:Weather with Jim Bacon
  • Discussed: Hyperlocal crowdsourcing
  • Feedback: Power cuts and Pi VPNs
Pete interviewing meteorologist Jim Bacon

Pete interviewing meteorologist Jim Bacon

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 119 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

FrequencyCast Show 118: Raspberry Pi Zero, Black Friday and BBC Three

Greetings from the team at FrequencyCast. Just to let you know, we’ve just released our latest show – FrequencyCast 118 – this is our December 2015 show, where we continue talking to some of the exhibitors at the Westfield Shopping Centre in London’s Gadget Show Live showcase event. We also get hands-on with the new Raspberry Pi, and talk about the end of BBC Three.

What’s in Show 118:

Here’s a full list of what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: Tim Peake, Vtech Hack and BBC Three
  • Hands-on: Raspberry Pi Zero
  • Discussed: Facebook Word Cloud risks
  • Disliked: Black Friday
  • Discussed: The end of BBC Three
  • Featured: TomTom’s new products
  • Featured: Orbitsound 360 speakers
  • Features: Character Options kids toys
  • Feedback: Sky phone & Windows 10 start
Gadget Show Live Showcase in London's Westfield Shopping Centre

Gadget Show Live Showcase in London’s Westfield Shopping Centre

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 118 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

FrequencyCast Show 117: Samsung Gear S2, Mood Lighting, Home Security and USB

Greetings from the team at FrequencyCast. Just to let you know, we’ve just released our latest show – FrequencyCast 117, dated the 1st of November 2015 show. For this show, Pete pays a visit to the Westfield Shopping Centre in London, for a Gadget Show Live showcase event. We also talk about Instagram and USB-C connectors.

What’s in Show 117:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: TalkTalk, BBC Store & Windows 10 Update
  • Discussed: Instagram… why?
  • First Look: Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch
  • Featured: Samsung contactless payment
  • Featured: Philips Hue lighting
  • Featured: Y-Cam home security cameras
  • Hands-on: Wraps headphone wristband
  • Feedback: New USB-C connectors and Loewe TV
Gadget Show Live Showcase in London's Westfield Shopping Centre

Gadget Show Live Showcase in London’s Westfield Shopping Centre

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 117 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

FrequencyCast Show 116: National Hamfest, Contactless Cash and Instant Ink

Greetings from the team at FrequencyCast. This is to let you know that our October 2015 show is available for download, or to listen to online. In this show, Pete gives Kelly a guided tour of his man-cave… will she survive? Listen to find out…

What’s in Show 116:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: LG Selfie-phone, Chomecast Audio and iOS bill shock
  • Discussed: Facebook Privacy hoax
  • Mentioned: Support your local Air Ambulance
  • Focus: National Hamfest Radio Rally
  • Featured: Contactless Coffee
  • Reviewed: HP Instant Ink
  • Interview: Gadget Girl Nikki Moore on the Kodak Moments app
  • Feedback: Cloud storage, pair stealing and the Principality of Sealand
National Hamfest 2015 in Newark

National Hamfest 2015 in Newark

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 115 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

FrequencyCast Show 115: Cloud Computing, Pete’s Man Cave and TV Scheduling

Greetings from the team at FrequencyCast. This is to let you know that our September 2015 show is available for download, or to listen to online. In this show, Pete gives Kelly a guided tour of his man-cave… will she survive? Listen to find out…

What’s in Show 115:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: Data breaches, new stuff from Apple, drones & Facebook M
  • First Look: Around Pete’s Home Office
  • Focus: Office 365 & Cloud Computing
  • First Look: whatsonit scheduling app
  • Interview:MySmartRemote car security
  • Discussed: TX Factor – Radio enthusiast’s TV show
  • Feedback: BBC iPlayer on old iOS, Flash security, solar meters and powerline

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 115 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

BT OpenReach Accidental Disconnection?

Apologies to those who weren’t able to access our online radio show or podcast at the weekend. Due to an apparent BT Openreach mixup, we’d lost our phone and broadband for a week. This post documents our issue, and has been posted this in case it is helpful to others in the same boat.

The Problem

On the 30th of July 2015, our phone and broadband dropped out. Red lights on the hub. No dial tone. Outside – 2 Openreach vans:

The possible culprits? O lost service as they were working on a neighbour's line

The possible culprits? We lost service as they were working on a neighbour’s line

I had a chat with one of the guys – he’d been working on a fault two doors down. I suggested that what he’d done may have knocked me off. No apparent concern and he told me to report it as a fault, as he couldn’t work on a problem that he’d not been assigned to.

After reporting online and finding the problem was “near my property”, I finally got a message two days later that there’d be an update on the fault by the end of the following week. We endured 7 days with no phone or broadband, and very poor feedback from BT and Openreach. It was only by persistent blogging, tweeting and posting in BT’s forum that we were able to get any information, and to get back online.

The cause

After doing some online research, and chatting with a former BT engineer, I have a clearer picture of what has probably happened. When working on a neighbour’s fault, the Openreach engineer either accidentally damaged our connection, or “switched pairs” – which was explained to me as selecting a new set of wires to that customer’s house from the nearby green Openreach cabinet.

Other possible causes have been offered: accidental disconnection of a line at the pole DP (Source: BT forum) or dampness in cabinet due to recent rain (BT’s Indian helpdesk). Given the two Openreach vans out front, I find it hard to buy either of these.

Faulty Fault checker

Since Day 2 of the fault, the online BT Consumer Fault Tracker appeared to have developed a fault too. So, no help there!

BT's faulty fault checker - 03 Aug 2015

BT’s faulty fault checker – 03 Aug 2015

Note the interesting grammar in the error message:

Getting info from BT

Trying to find out what’s happening has been a challenge, largely due to the fact that BT and Openreach are separate organisations now.

If you need to get information on the status of a fault, here’s some advice:

Don’t phone them:

Don’t waste your time with the BT Call Centre. Wait times seem long, it’s a faff getting to someone who can help you, and the Indian call centre you get connected to, whilst they try very hard to be helpful, just don’t have access to any quality information.

Don’t tweet them:

BT’s @BTCare Twitter service is actually pretty good – For general enquiries, and for first-line advice, they’re OK – but they don’t seem to have access to any information, or the power to action anything. From the responses, we’re guessing the feed is run from the UK (Northern Ireland?), presumably by a PR team keen to make sure BT looks responsive without actually doing anything or solving problems. Messages are chatty and quick, but not overly helpful:

  • “Sorry about this. Do you have a fault with your services? Have you been advised at all what the problem is?” (yes, as per tweet – no broadband for 7 days)
  • “Can you chat to us here (url) and we will look into this for you?” (this received after posting a screenshot of a poor chat experience)
  • “Sorry to hear that – you can check your fault online” – (Although their fault reporter is broken)
  • “Let me know how to get on on the 7th” – (Would rather you told me the status, not the other way around)
Example of feedback from @BTCare twitter

Example of feedback from @BTCare twitter

Do – Chat online

A former insider at BT has been in touch to report that live chat is the way to go. Generally less wait, and although, like phone support, this is outsourced to India, the staff on the other end of the online chat generally have a better grasp of English and have time to look into problems as opposed to running through scripts.

Online chat - Come back in a week, nothing to see here!

Online chat – Come back in a week, nothing to see here!

So, online chat seems to be the best option – but if your line’s been disconnected by Openreach, don’t expect any information any time soon…

Do – try the BT Community forum

An often forgotten resource, but this yielded results for us. Go to community.bt.com, create a free account, and post about your experiences. Messages to the forum seem to be answered largely by volunteer BT supporters. The chap who was helping us is an ordinary BT customer who’d posted over 50,000 messages! You may not get an answer from a BT person, but you may get the information you’re after. For uis, we made a couple of useful contacts from similarly-affected customers, and it;s also a great place for research – reviewing the successes and failures achieved by other customers helps to build a strategy for getting results from BT & Openreach. Well worth a read.

The Latest

  • Day 1: All service lost whilst BT Openreach working on neighbour’s property. Reported fault online
  • Day 2: No update
  • Day 3: Call from India that they were hoping to look at the fault by the end of the following week. Online chat – Told “no updates for a week”
  • Day 4: No update
  • Day 5: No update
  • Day 6: Online chat – See below. Research into “pair pinching”
  • Day 7: We spent several hours posting in the Community forum, digging into aspects of how Openreach work, and spreading the word about “pair pinching” and the “123 test” – more on this later. The perseverance worked, as we got our service back within a few hours.

Day 6 was an interesting one, as we got the following admission via an online chat – an admission of a mistake by Openreach, as opposed to a fault.

“Pete i am sorry that a silly mistake by the engineer has disrupted the service in you’re house but they will fix it. At this moment the back office haven’t updated the further work they have carried out”

A week of waiting, and fixed in under an hour. But what happened?

A week of waiting, and fixed in under an hour. But what happened?

We’re now pushing to find out what happened, so we can close the book on this. Hopefully BT will be able to get the requested status report from Openreach.

Reason for the problem? Not sure…

We’ve asked BT for a summary of the fault, and were told that the fix involved “jumpering in the Primary Cross Connection Point” – “There was a problem in the junction of 2 cables inside that box which has been replaced by the engineer”. Not quite sure what that means. Does “replacing two cables” mean a new pair was assigned?

The BT support person contacted a colleague, to be told that a “dual-skilled engineer reached the site today and did some jumpering in the distribution pole” outside the premises. Openreach appears to be claiming that this was a network fault, not a mistake/accident/”pair-pinch” by the previous engineer.

BT support staff admitted there seems to be a conflict in the information from Openreach, but have no way of getting more information from Openreach from their office in India. They didn’t seem to know what to do next, so it’s been escalated to the Level 1 Fault Desk Service Manager’s Manager. We’re due a call tomorrow…

 

Compensation

Apparently this is possible after 3 working days have elapsed, which they have. Not tried this.

 

Line Loss due to “Pair Pinching”?

In searching around for information, I see the concept of Openreach taking a working line (accidentally or deliberately) and giving it to someone else isn’t that rare. It seems that if Openreach, or one of its contractors, needs a replacement line (known as a “pair” – pair of copper wires), they hunt through the mess of wires inside a cabinet for an unused pair. On occasions, it seems that they have “robbed” a working line by accident.

We’re very grateful to listener ‘Speedyrite’ for pointing us at the following story. An example of a line contractor being caught engaging in the process known as “pair pinching”, “pair stealing”, “pair theft” or “stealing copper”. This story contains detailed information about the problem, and especially issues due to work by Kelly, a subcontractor to BT Openreach. There are numerous comments to the first two articles giving even more information on the practice.

BT Community – We’ve been discussing our ongoing fault over in the official BT Community forum, where forum user John46 (one of their ‘Distinguished Sages’), tells us that there’s a “better chance of winning the lottery twice in a row” than having your line accidentally reused by Openreach. From the above links, it’d seem there’s an awful lot of double-lottery winners out there!! The thread is here: BT Community – Line down – Come back in a week

The “123 test”

We’ve seen a recent report from three customers in July 2015 reporting phantom short calls to the speaking clock on 123 – Could this be the “123 test” referred to in Alex’s article? BT Community – Phantom 123 calls. Been charged 38p for a call to 123 you didn’t make – it could be an Openreach man in a cabinet or up a pole spending your money. Please contact us if you’ve been affected so we can see how widespread this is…

 

Happened to you?

If you’ve been affected by a similar problem, we’d love to hear from you to see just how widespread this is… please contact us, or add your comment below. We might feature your experience in a future radio show…

FrequencyCast Show 114: Windows 10, Apple Watch, Ultra HD TV and SkyQ

Greetings from the team at FrequencyCast. This is to let you know that our August 2015 show is available for download, or to listen to online.

What’s in Show 114:

Here’s what we cover in the latest episode of FrequencyCast:

  • News: Ultra HD channels, SkyQ, Angry Birds 2 and the HomTom
  • Focus: First look at Microsoft Windows 10
  • Discussed: Fitbit and Nike Fuelband Trackers
  • First Look: Living with the Apple Watch
  • Hands-on: Contactless Payment Explored
  • Discussed: Planned Obsolescence petition
  • Feedback: Smart meters, Gmail unsend and 4k TV

Windows 10 Desktop

How To Get The Show:

You can download Show 114 to your smartphone, computer or MP3 player, or you can listen to the show online at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/latest.html , where you will also find instructions on how to subscribe (for free, of course).

Got an iPod, iPhone or iPad? Get shows and updates first via iTunes: http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/redirect.php?id=additunes

Show Links:

Spread The Word

As you know, our shows are free. We rely on you, as a regular listener to FrequencyCast, to spread the word to your friends. Instead of paying for expensive advertising, we rely on word-of-mouth, and your recommendations are truly appreciated.

Until the next show… Share and Enjoy!

www.frequencycast.co.uk

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