L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

16 August 2007 Blog Home : August 2007 : Permalink

Service Outages

This morning was interesting because when I started work I discovered my phone and internet connections were dead. This was a France Telecom problem. But there was no information about it and no advance warning or anything.

Unfortunately there is only one way to report a France Telecom technical problem, dial 10 13 from a France Telecom phone line.

I'm sure readers can see the Catch 22 situation that follows when you want to tell France Telecom that your phone line is dead...

This has happened before and it usually fixes itself, which was exactly what happened in this case. Of course I'd wasted about half an hour trying and failing to find any neighbours who were not on holiday to see if I could use their phone before I came back and discovered that things had started working again.

So then I get on the internet and discover that Skype is dead:

Due to Peer-to-Peer network issues there are problems with Skype login. This issue is being investigated. We will give new updates when the issue has been resolved.

Fortunately Skype, unlike France Telecom, can be worked around. There are rather a lot of other IM/Chat/VoIP clients to choose from. The only requirement is that you are able to agree with your skype buddies which fallback service to use.

I'm not going to recommend Microsoft for the purpose though, I found the login and sign up via .NET Passport or whatever to be annoyingly confusing and the search for other users to be practically impossible. And then there was the fact that once you'd found someone to chat to you appear to get logged out after half an hour.

But back to Skype. Currently Skype has about €10 of mine in various deposits and I have a large community of Skype contacts. Neither of these is a great barrier to chaned IM/VoIP provider if Skype's service remains down and other service providers ones are OK. Switching from Skype to one of the others is not going to cost much or take long.

Switching from France Telecom is a rather more complex procedure, which no doubt explains why I anticipate Skype to explain what went wrong and I have no expectation what so ever that FT will do anyhting other than charge me.