Top Broadband Customer Satisfaction Poll

I have kind of a love-hate relationship with my ISP. Their speeds are pretty good (I think, anyway) and their culture (if you like) or their philosophy, is great.

I like the wee touches like their community forum and blog and I love their geographic (01) phone numbers for support. I’ve never had to use them so I don’t know how good they are once you’re actually on the phone, but at least you don’t have to worry about the cost. 0p a minute works fine for me.

I know I always mention it, largely because it’s my only real complaint, but I do hate the peak-time usage limit of 8GB per month*. I understand bandwidth costs them money and I know I can get more for a relatively low cost either through additional bandwidth bundles, pay-as-you-go or a £5 package upgrade, but I don’t really fancy any of those options. It would seem I’m just expecting too much, but it does leave me feeling content or happy with the product, rather than delighted. I’ve suggested extending the unmetered/unlimited usage ‘off-peak’ period (currently midnight to 8am) through to 10am or midday, but it doesn’t seem likely (cost reasons, apparently).

I blame the big providers for spreading the myth of unlimited usage (while growing ever tighter in their so-called “fair use” policies). They’ve clearly set my expectations too high because have come out top in a customer satisfaction survey of the UK’s top 10 ISPs; it’s always nice to have your choices reaffirmed. Bigger names like AOL, Orange, Tesco and BT didn’t come off quite so well.

I have also sent a strongly worded complaint to Broadband Choices regarding their unforgivable (they’re supposedly a consumer site after all) use of the headline figures provided by these companies (like BT’s infernal £8.95/month bullshit) instead of the actual charges. I find that behaviour scummy, but unsurprising, when the companies trying to sell you their own product do it (caveat emptor and all that) but for a self-proclaimed consumer site to take them at face value (possibly something to do with their affiliate/referral fees?) is a disgrace.

* Since the time of writing the peak time usage limit has increased to 15GB – which is much better. I still do the majority of downloading at night, but don’t need to worry if I decide to lie in at the weekend and let it run til noon or have to download the odd large file during the day.

Solved: Override Default HTML Title in b2Evolution 2.x

I’d set up my 1.x installation of b2Evolution to use a custom HTML title in the format:

<title>[Post/Page name – ] Blog name</title>

On installing 2.4, however, I noticed that the default title is just the post/page name if it exists and the blog name if it doesn’t (i.e. for the posts list). This was based on a function call to a function called request_title. Google didn’t tell me much about this function (not the 2.x version anyway) so I went hunting and found the function in the file: \inc\_core\_template.funcs.php

Continue reading “Solved: Override Default HTML Title in b2Evolution 2.x”

Another 640KB moment?

OK, so Gates denies ever saying the infamous line “640K software is all the memory anybody would ever need on a computer,” but I still think it’s the best illustration of the pitfalls of making predictions about the future-proofness of a technology.

Discussing the impending inclusion of IPv6 records in the internet’s root servers the BBC’s technology news proclaims today:

Under IPv6 an effectively inexhaustible pool of addresses becomes available.

I haven’t studied the matter in any great detail but surely that’ s a very bold claim.

Solved: Comments Disappeared / Error after WordPress Upgrade

I’ve just upgraded a WordPress blog to the latest version 2.3.2 and when I went to write a new post I realised all my categories had disappeared.

They were still in the database but the list to the right of where you type your posts was empty. As well as this, I noticed that adding new comments was giving a 404 error in the middle of the page. This second issue was reminiscent of another one I had (and solved) upgrading to 2.2 – the errors were actually 403 errors, but redirecting to 404 error pages because there was no 403 error page defined (i.e. the 404 was happening when the server looked for the 403 page).

I noticed a file called error_log (no extension) in the wp-admin directory and had a look. Apparently some database tables (‘wp_term_taxonomy’ and ‘.wp_terms’) were missing. After reading this support thread I investigated the possibility that my database was out of date. I followed MichaelH’s suggestion of navigating to /wp-admin/upgrade.php, which informed me that my database was up to date. I didn’t believe this to be true though; certainly not after learning that tables were missing. At a hunch, I guessed that when I’d been upgrading through Fantastico, I must have run out of space (a semi-regular occurrence) so the database upgrade was probably left half finished. Assuming that WordPress would determine whether or not I needed to upgrade based on a single configuration or database field I soon found the wp_option.db_version field, which was set 6124.

The Solution

As I suspected, 6124 is the db_version value for WordPress 2.3. I changed this field’s value back from 6124 to 5183 (the db_version value in WordPress 2.2) and hit the upgrade.php page again. This time it told me to upgrade, I did, and the categories are back.  Adding new categories still caused 403 and 404 errors, but that was because I’d deleted the .htaccess file created previously when trying to fix the first problem! Recreate that and we’re cooking with gas again.