Friday, 24 October 2014

Nouvea? Retch.

I often wonder what heinous crimes I committed in a previous existence to deserve the punishments I get in this one.

It all started so simply.

My Desktop was running PCLinuxos11 - a bit long in the tooth and still 32 bit, but it was all working and I kept up with the patches. But then at the last round of patches, the Chromium browser stopped working - a broken dependency. I try to fix the dependancy - but get a 404 from the respository. I trid to revert but can no longer find the previous package. Oh well, I bite the bullet and try to do a dist upgrade - which completely trashes my machine.

First I try installing PCLinuxOS14 - but it uninstalls all of KDE (but I still have openbox which I added some time ago to play around with). Then I try OpenSuse (I used to run Suse on my servers up to about version 8) the current version looks nice and it all works but OMG is it SLOW! And it also trashes the PCLInuxOS installation completely! Then I try MINT 17 - which won't even boot. Then I find an old MINT 15 DVD which boots OK and I install that, mount my /home filesystem and recreate the accounts. I roll forward the patches, and I seem to have a working (and usable system). Only I can't install any more software as it seems this version of the distro is no longer supported.

Why is this stuff so hard? I know you guys don't want to maintain lots of different versions of your software, but is it so hard to just leave the old packages online and let us upgrade through them? 

After a lot more digging it seems that my graphics card (Nvidia GeForce 6150) does not play nice with recent versions of the nouveau driver. Hence my only option is to hope that the nVidia supplied versions will work with whatever flavour Linux I try next - which I need to boot up and install with the nouveau driver blacklisted. But for a short while I think I'll stick with having a working computer.

Nothing Nowhere - Thanks Orange

I've had the same mobile SIM (and number) for least 12 years from Orange - a basic PAYG account. In recent years my work has provided me with a contract phone, but I keep the Orange SIM in an charged phone and top up the credit every so often - formerly using scratch cards, more recently via ATMs.

This weekend I'm stuck in the house and needed to add some credit - surely I must be able to do that online? So I find the site, and yes, I can top up online but first I have to create an account - ho hum - a bit of a hassle, but I'll play along. I type in my details, they send a text to the phone with an activation code. I don't know why I can't make an anonymous online top up via the internet when I can do this at any ATM. But surely just a few clicks and keystrokes and I'll get there.


First the registration process process fails to redirect to the account. Then When I do eventually get logged in, I can't do anything unless I provide the 4 digit PIN code they say they sent me when I registered the phone. WTF?

So I click on the "I don't have my PIN" link - it says to call 450. I call 450. I then spend around 10 minutes pressing buttons trying to find my way through their IVR, then just when I think I'm getting near to my destination I get disconnected. I try again. 10 minutes later disconnected again.

FFS, Orange I'm trying to give you money!

So how do I contact them via the website? Is there an email address? No. Is there a form I can submit a request to? No. The only option appears to be to call a mobile number (which I can't do without any credit on my phone).