Tag Archives internet


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Zain should change their name to Shain, it would be more appropriate!I am about this close to ditching the crap they call Zain – which I have now only started calling Shain – and throwing my lot with the devil.

What the bloody hell is happening with this company? Since they changed their “brand identity” they’ve gone almost completely down the toilet, at least as far as their wireless Internet service is concerned. It keeps dropping out and has become really unreliable. Their support is no great shakes either, there is no one on support after 10pm and before 8am, the speed crawls rather than walks and the whole of yesterday and this morning I couldn’t get connected at home.

It is almost daily that I call their tech support and tell them to reset my equipment from their end because they just go belly up and I could not get connected. This is stupid, absolutely diabolical and the service is a hell of a lot worse than I anticipated.

Because of the constant frustration with their service, it is really not worth staying with them.

If they think that “rebranding” just means changing their logo and colours and ignoring quality of service, then they might as well call themselves “Shain”, in this case, it is actually much more appropriate.

“shain” is Arabic for bad – against “zain” which means good.


Batelco Blocked!

In a reversal of fortunes, Batelco finds its own site blocked by a much higher authority than the one it kowtows to: Google!

Several people emailed me a screen grab of Batelco’s site in the latest FireFox browser which severely warns people from having anything to do with Batelco; in fact, it offers a very expeditious get-way for would-be visitors by offering them a button which says “Get me out of here!”

While the dire warning of having anything to do with Batelco is not new, nor is it unique, it is quite germane to the company that offers us untold amount of spam, and through whose servers and collection of IP addresses our business get affected. I am sure that others have suffered from those petulant “undeliverable mail” syndromes that hurls emails back at senders like gleaming hot coals due to their association with Batelco due to its status in the black lists of almost all the major spam-detecting engines.

So thanks to the dependable Google for protected me and countless others who have the forethought to insist on using Firefox which allows for the display of such warnings:

Batelco site blocked by Firefox 3 warning of malicious content
Batelco site blocked by Firefox 3 warning of malicious content

What is the current listing status for www.batelco.com?

  • Site is listed as suspicious – visiting this web site may harm your computer.
  • Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 1 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?

  • Of the 843 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 284 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 07/27/2008, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 07/27/2008.
  • Malicious software is hosted on 27 domain(s), including butdrv .com, chds .ru, kgj3 .ru.
  • 1 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including butdrv .com.

Lackadaisical security policies? Or is it once again complete indifference on Batelco’s part?

I would err on the side of both; why should they even care if they are the de facto source of internet communications in this country? A privilege they hold on to and will continue to do so with the complete aid and support of our very own Government – being its largest shareholder, and one that does not care to put any pressure whatsoever on its child to engender creativity and competitiveness in order to allow Bahraini individuals and companies to compete in a global and much more connected marketplace?

The reason must be manifold of course, but could the chief reason amongst them is the perceived indifference that our own government holds us in by allowing the perpetuation of this situation? Robbing us of our chances of a much more creative and competitive marketspace that cheaper and unrestricted communication could very well engender?

In any case. I urge everyone who has to deal with Batelco to exercise extreme caution. You never know when (not if) you will be breached because you are beholden to them.


Firefox 3 ROCKS!

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Get Firefox!My brother told me about the new beta release of Firefox first, but I just discounted it and told him that I’ll wait until it’s officially released. I’ve been bitten by betas before and as Firefox is my main browser and I depend on it for my work, I didn’t want to take an unnecessary risk by installing a still unofficially released product.

I know the limitations of version 2, especially in the Arabic rendering, which is a major annoyance. So when I got some free time, and as I am completely protected by Time Machine, I thought what the heck, let’s install it and see what happens.

Once the download and installation finished, though, I was utterly blown away! It was a true “wow” moment. The first thing I did after that was check out alwasatnews.org which is one of the worst designed newspaper sites I have come across, but certainly one of the best for their content. I was blown away there too, no more question marks in the Arabic script and even the hamza was rendered perfectly.

I’ve just downloaded and installed Release Candidate 2 which was a painless exercise. I encourage you to try it out, you would be doing yourselves a favour. So go grab a copy of Firefox. You can thank me by commenting about your experience with it here.


Why I hate Facebook

facebook frustrationYes, I’m resurrecting the issue again.

I realised that I don’t like it much because it forces you to install what they call applications which in turn forces you to share your private information regardless of what you think. You can’t even read a message someone sends you unless you agree to install an application of sort, again, only after agreeing to “share” your information to nameless authors of that application.

Why do you like/dislike it? Tell me please? I just want to really believe that it is actually useful.


Zain’s closed, please call back later

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All of a sudden, the Internet stopped working at home, that happened earlier today, at about 6.15am. No big deal. I restarted the router but unfortunately that did not resolve the problem. So I called their helpdesk and after going through the usual hoops of their IVR by selecting the right options then inputting the Zain’s WiMax telephone number and password and waiting for I think 3 or 4 minutes more on hold (I love their signature music, don’t you?) the guy eventually comes online with their now traditional greeting, which again I much appreciate, especially when the alternative at Batelco is akin to a rabid Rottweiler’s barking, he sweetly tells me that the WiMax people did not start work yet and if I could call later!

I just looked at the phone in disbelief! I asked him whether he was joking, but no, he was as serious as a heart attack. He made the again Zain signature apology sweetly and I put down the phone completely in disbelief.

Zain sells WiMax, an Internet service and they don’t have a 24 hour support team in place!


I got in my car and came to the office to carry on with my work. But the first thing I did was to confirm the above and once again called their help center. I went through their IVR, made my now memorised choices and got to an operator and asked, sweetly, what the WiMax helpdesk’s operating hours were. She very sweetly replied that it is from 8am through to 10pm.

8am to 10pm is a regular job, NOT an Internet help desk! What the hell is up with that?

I’m starting to get a few goosebumps here people. A few days ago – last Saturday to be exact – a similar situation happened. The Internet just stopped working. After the guy assuring me that restarting the router would resolve the problem. It didn’t. So half an hour later I follow-up only to be told – politely – that my initial suspicion was right and that they do indeed have a problem with their platform. Okay, that happens, well how long will it take to get resolved? I asked, to be answered with: “well a few hours at most sir, can I do anything else for you today?” – A FEW HOURS?, and I converted to Zain because I wanted a better price and reliability?

Yep, Zain can do something for me today for sure, they can take their WiMax and shove it where the sun don’t shine!

At least until they operate proper helpdesk mechanism that actually works around the clock, like any self respecting ISP would.


M.Report – S01E06

Oooh, a minister DISRESPECTED parliament today. They went ape and I have footage to show it! Other than that, Batelco (aka Fashelco) decided to “look nice” but the process resulted in it receiving some deserved ridicule.


M.Report – S01E04

In this one, I introduce my initial experience with Zain, my new broadband supplier, I talk about the government’s decision to rescinds its order requiring decent transport to be provided to workers and Filbert makes an appearance!


[email protected] connected

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This post will be a running record of my experience with [email protected] and compare that with Batelco’s offering as I experience it on a daily basis.

They have just connected the equipment at home and it’s working. I didn’t do any tweaks or fine-tuning (if there are any, let me know please) so it’s a raw connection. The antenna is turned toward Saar which is about 3 kilometres away rather than the tower immediately opposite our house, a mere 20 meters, because the latter has not been switched on yet for some reason.

I’ve done some very quick preliminary tests on the connection immediately they installed it through dslreports.com and the efficiency is much better than Batelco. I’ll post a comparison this evening when I get home.

For now, here’s the (frustrating) results we get at the office this afternoon. There is no other user on the network other than me running the tests:

batelco adsl efficiency chart

Dispicable isn’t it?

Note that the last two upload figures were tagged as possibly the upload has signs of being compressed, so those last two figures should be disregarded. But to get an average download efficiency of just 37% on average for all the servers is diabolical, especially when we are assured time and again that as a business tariffed customer, we get better contention ratio, which means that we should average much better than this crap with Batelco, but what we end up with is a ridiculous download speed of 330kbps.

When you go to the average upload speed, the real thing I was suffering from since the weekend as I couldn’t upload the daily M.Report (thanks Fashelco!), the efficiency there is a mere 23%! That means the connection – if it was running at all – was running at approximately 58kbps!

This situation is actually endemic as well, we have never enjoyed a “proper” – okay, anything better than 50% efficiency – with Batelco in the office, ever.

Dial-up speeds for BD125 ($330) anyone?

Let me test the [email protected] for a few months and if it proves good enough, then you can guess what my next step is going to be. But its early days yet. I’ll keep a beedy eye on [email protected] and let you know my experiences with it.


Ma fee bandwidth

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Thanks to Batelco, we’re on restricted rations in the house since the 14th, when they told us that our allocation of bandwidth has been exceeded and we have to live on food stamps until the 3rd of next month when they will be benevolent enough to give us full speed again, for a couple of weeks at the most, and then go into this cycle once again.

You know why this sucks? This is one of the reasons:

no bandwidth, batelco strikes again

Trying to upload a 12 minute video takes upwards of 3 hours. For just 150MB file, it has to be overnight, and then I come to check on it and the number of minutes remaining hardly have changed.

I’ll have to go to the office this morning to upload it, the uplink speed is just a miserable 256kbps, but it’s still better than the throttled bandwidth we have here.

I can’t wait for Zain to finish the installation at home. I’ve got my own electrician coming this morning to route the cable which was too difficult for Zain’s contractor, after which I hope they will come soon enough to do the equipment connections etc. Hopefully then with higher speeds (4x as much as I’ve got at home now) and with the larger bandwidth (again 4x as much as we “enjoy” at the moment) for just 40% more money, we can actually do this vlogging without busting a few blood vessels!


Internet down. Again.

“We are working as fast as we can.”

Said the Egyptian official off the coast of whose country the severed cable lies. A single cable which has disrupted Internet services across the majority of Middle East and India, bringing some businesses down to their knees. It’s not going to be fixed any time soon, either. It might take up to two weeks to restore data and voice services, predicted some reports.

Severed undersea optical cable

The question is how was this allowed to happen? Not that the cable was severed, this is just an accident which is recurring with much familiarity. The real question is, how is much of the fastest growing economies in the world dependent on a single undersea cable? Didn’t anyone think of a redundancy plan which covers just such an eventuality? One which would withstand such a technical disruption with complete transparency to the customers?

Obviously not. They’re too busy thinking of those grandiose and totally useless schemes of new cities built on man-made dredged islands whose owners are those select few institutional investors who lather at the thought of those billions in profit extracted from the vastly cash rich Sovereign Wealth Funds. A laughable spectacle really, because it’s nothing more than taking money from one pocket and depositing it in the other. But it’s a good scheme. The numbers are pretty. Just like Enron’s.

Regardless. We have a problem, which – in the presence of those funds as well as their generator’s continuous appreciation in world’s markets – could be easily fixed. Our own parliament could contribute too by just once thinking long term and chucking those 40 million [translate] into a fund to create a redundant alternative. An alternative whose profits could easily cover the requirements of those in our community which escalating commodity prices have hurt.

But I won’t be holding my breath to see either solution being adopted.

Short term solutions to long term problems managed by fools does not progress make.