Mintaka’s Message for Xmas Shoppers

I went to the supermarket yesterday. It is now obvious that Christmas is coming. Mintaka’s message bears repeating. Here it is once more, for Christmas shoppers everywhere.

Merry Christmas from Mintaka
Merry Christmas from Mintaka

My name is Mintaka. I am a stranger here on Earth; I was born in the Nebula of Orion.

Your species is dominant, but weird. The only time in the long calendar of the year
when you are kind, forgiving, charitable and pleasant to each other is at Christmas time.
It is the only time when “men and women open their shut-up hearts freely”.
(One of your famous writers pointed this out a long time ago).

I am not sure I understand you. Why don’t you behave in such a way on all the other days of the year? I am watching you and waiting to see you beautiful and brave.

Maybe one day….

BT’s Systems on Go Slow?

I registered my complaint in writing about Monday’s broadband outage with British Telecom at 15:12 yesterday afternoon. Their website assured me that:

BT promise a response to complaints "within 4 hours"

BT promise a response to complaints "within 4 hours"

Almost immediately I received a confirmation email saying:

Thank you for contacting the BT Business Help & Support team.

Your message has been received, and your incident number is 111006-001250

We’ll endeavour to answer your query as soon as possible.

The time currently is 20:48 on Friday 7th October. I did hunt around BT’s business support forum this afternoon and found some useful information that might well come in handy should such a problem ever occur again. However I have received no other form of communication from BT.

Enough said? I need a drink!

An Open Letter to British Telecom Wholesale

To whom it may concern,

We have a BT Business Broadband account. At 12:32 on Monday 3rd October our internet connection went down. I have been attempting to discover the underlying cause of this problem ever since.

Starting today at 13:44 BST I had a long conversation with William Baskerville in BT Retail Broadband Technical Support. He was most helpful, but nonetheless unable to answer my questions in detail. William informed me that the ultimate problem actually lay within BT Wholesale, and that BT Wholesale do not communicate directly with BT Retail’s small business broadband customers. Nonetheless I would like to communicate urgently with whoever within BT Wholesale can explain to me exactly what went wrong on Monday, in as much technical detail as possible.

Here is my own log of events thus far:

I will be adding this email to that log shortly.

Yours in anticipation,

Jim Hunt

Managing Director

BT’s Systems Break Broadband of Two Million Businesses?

It’s 07:26 the next morning. Nobody from British Telecom has called me back yet, so I phone them yet again. I am informed yet again by BT’s automated systems that there is a queue. Once more I inform them of my name and number.

I’ve just got up from my chair to go and make my first mug of coffee, when the phone rings! It’s Abida getting back to me from BT’s broadband technical helpdesk in Dundee. I tell her my tale of woe. Abida tells me that “the problem” affected up to 30% of BT’s business broadband customers, around 2 million in total. Abida apologies to me on BT’s behalf, and asks that I understand that in those sort of circumstances BT’s response times might not be all that we both might wish.

I tell Abida that I don’t want apologies, I want answers. I ask her to escalate things to the desk of someone who can provide those answers. Abida goes away for a while to consult her supervisor, then helpfully suggests that I fill in a complaint form on BT’s website.

That will have to wait, because today Kasia and I are rushing off to The Slaughterhouse in Plymouth to see part of the British Art Show 7. Maybe we’ll record a video or two while we’re about it?

British Telecom’s Systems Advise “Power Down”

It’s 07:28 the next morning, and already I’m sat at my laptop, which has been left running all night. I have lots of catching up to do. My internet connection isn’t working again!

I call one of those BT helpline numbers, which automatically suggests I power down our router for 3 minutes. For the umpteenth time in the last 24 hours I do as bidden by BT’s systems. Based on recent experience I hold to speak to a human also. BT’s systems tell me the queue is currently 10-20 minutes, so they helpfully take my number and promise to call me back.

At 07:31 I turn on our router again. Would you believe it? All the lights are green, and the one labelled “Internet” starts flashing happily!

I start browsing the World Wide Interweb and discover that according to the Birmingham Mail:

Power cut in Birmingham city centre hits national broadband network

Western Power Distribution said a total of 7,295 customers in Birmingham city centre and surrounding areas were affected just after 11.40am. Power was restored after eight minutes but it continued causing problems for BT broadband customers across the UK for the rest of the day.

The fault at the major exchange meant a loss of internet service for BT customers in several parts of the country, including Cardiff, Bristol, East Yorkshire and London.


BT said the “brief outage” at the exchange in Birmingham affected hundreds of thousands of customers. However, the company stressed this was no more than 5% of the total broadband connections over its network. All services have now been restored, with the majority of BT’s consumer broadband customers’ service being restored within just one hour. Some business customers’ broadband service may have been affected for a slightly longer period.


As I prepare my first mug of coffee of the day, I reflect on the fact that we Dreamers are the beneficiaries of a 0.5 Mbs BT Business Broadband connection in the countryside between Exeter and Dartmoor. What about us!

At 8:05 the phone rings. It’s Kim from BT, and she assures me she is a human from Dundee. I tell her my tale of woe, and she tells me she can find no record of it on her system. I suggest that possibly Pasquale McNamara uses a different system. Kim goes away to do her due diligence. When she returns she informs me that Pasquale hails from Alness. She will investigate further, and get someone to call me back.

At 23:15 I decide that I could do with a slightly earlier night than of late.


British Telecom Pull the Plug on our Dreams

Today is almost over. We had dreamed of it being a big day, with several simultaneous launches. It has been a big day, as well as a long day, but not in quite the way we had planned.

LMAX were due to launch MultiCharts today. I blogged about it on our Trading Gurus website at 10:22 BST. Then I announced it on LinkedIn. Then I posted a link to our announcement on the Trading Gurus private Skype group, and then hit the return key on a further message to the same group . Skype said the time was 12:32 BST, but their little spinning circle kept on saying “Not delivered yet….”. Then the internet light on our BT2700HGV broadband router turned red.

Skype eventually started working again late in the afternoon, and a member of another group on there informed me that:

BT had a major outage in Birmingham which took out most of the country…..not me tho’ 🙂

BT’s outage certainly took out our particular portion of South West England. I’ve been phoning all the BT helpline numbers I have a record of regularly ever since that red light turned on, and I’ve finally managed to speak to a nice man called Andy. It is now well after 11 PM. Andy told me he thought it was a “backbone” issue. He also said that even after broadband connectivity was eventually restored many BT Business Broadband users with static IP addresses, like us here at Marketing Dreams, had been allocated the wrong one.

I told Andy that whatever the cause of the problem, it had cost my business a quantity of £ with several noughts in it. He said he would ask his supervisor, Pasquale McNamara, to call me back. I said OK, but it would need to be before half past eleven because I’d be heading for bed then. Andy said that if Pasquale was tied up until then they would hand matters over to the Day Team in the morning, and I should expect a call from them shortly after that.

Night night.