About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

08 July 2009

Neotel's Neoconnect Service is Kak

I got a Neotel account in April, and it has been a big waste of money. Yes, price wise they are very competitive - but if only they would deliver a service that they are offering. This is supposed to be broadband, but I have never got download speeds exceeding 100 KBps (or 800 kbps). The normal speeds I do get on a good day, is usually half that - averaging between 40 and 50 KBps.

But it is not the speed that is the most frustrating thing - it is the latency. And coupled with that - the failure to really deliver true broadband usage. Streaming video - forget it; unless you are willing to buffer it all and then play it back (so not useful for any live streaming). Streaming audio - if you must, at very patchy and unusable rates. File downloads ... hope it does not cut out - but sometimes it is so bad that even download agents give up because they exhaust the number of retries!

As for their phone service - I don't really use it to give real input. But the speaker phone functionality (on the hardware side) is awful and the voice quality is not exactly crystal clear. It has come to the stage that I am seriously considering cancelling the contract and going with Telkom - because I have no faith that Neotel will actually manage to fix all these issues with their service.

So far, in my experience, the 3G services from Vodacom has been the most reliable and the only service that offers reliable and usable broadband. However, it is just too expensive to really use it for everything - but Neotel is certainly not competing on quality.

Music: Sun to Moon Festival

Jo'burg clubs seem to have a lot of "festivals" - days where a number of bands come togetehr and play for more or less the whole day. The prices are very cheap (usually around R50) but the bands are usually not much to sing about; and hence I only go in the evenings and catch the final few bands. This time around (last Saturday), the bands had decent 45 minute sets, and the mixing was of a much higher quality - definitely increasing listening pleasure.

I only saw the last couple of songs from Laconia - a Pretoria (sorry Tswane) based metal band - and they seemed quite interesting; although none of the songs seemed anything particularly special.

Soil 7t7 was a wierd addition to the playlist at this point - as their music has quite a bit of reggae/ska influences. They also try the Linkin Park idea of combining rap and rock - but not very well. The guitarist is very good though - and they have excellent variety in music - so they are worth checking out just for that.

Runica, a goth/metal (of some label or other) band, had a great performance - and had some good music; although I cannot say that there was something that stood out. I quite liked their show, and would like to see them again sometime.

The interestingly named Mrs B, was the last band of the night. Playing mostly classic rock, they were definitely the standout performance of the night - with an amazing stage presence. They really combine well on stage, and look like they are all having a lot of fun. The music is very lively, and combines well with their stage antics.

Nothing to Hide

Air New Zealand's new ad campaign has gone viral on YouTube, and is certainly a lot more interesting when compared to other viral videos. The ad features pilots, air hosts/hostesses and ground staff in nothing body paint, with a tag line that they have nothing to hide - especially in their pricing.

They have also redone their safety video (Bare Essentials of Safety) - and what struck me as a fairly frequent flier; is that is actually a lot more effective in conveying information - even if the staff were to be dressed normally. The information on different brace positions, how to correctly inflate a life jacket (and not just telling you to pull tags) or what the indication lights at the floor level actually look like, is a lot more effective than safety videos of any airline I have flown in the past two years.