King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Thursday, June 10

On international texting

TDT and I text each other a lot. In fact, I'd go so far as to say we text each other more than anything else. I can keep in touch with her at work, she can keep in touch with me when I'm out and about. I ask her does she want anything from the shop. She tells me when she's leaving work so I can text her at home. The problem is this isn't cheap. UK Tariffs mean that to text internationally typically costs you about 25p a text. When you're sending 1000 texts a month, this can get expensive (do the math), and so we had to find alternatives. Tania got the easy option, with O2 in Ireland allowing free texts to another O2 mobile no matter where it is in the world. This means I have an Irish mobile to receive texts. But no UK provider allows the same service from over here, so I came across a company called unlimited texts, based in Kent. The idea is simple enough. They negotiate with over 150 country's providers, and get the best rates. They then dial into the provider's message centres and send texts from there. The text must have the phone number with the added +country code included at the start, and then the rest of the message afterwards. I find it easiest to keep this as a template. I then send the message to a UK mobile number, and they forward it on for me. It costs them pence to send the message, and if they do it in bulk, it saves them even more money. The other country's message provider then delivers it instantly.This is obviously all automated.
Or so you'd think. The problem is ever since I've used them, I've had reliability on par with an unsupervised footballer in a Spearmint Rhino. The service is best described as "non-urgent" and at worst "complete and utter shite." About once a month I find TDT's not receiving my texts, normally signified with "aren't you talking to me today?", and then I know something's up. 2 days later I might get a message "We're experiencing problems with our servers, please use this alternative number." So, for a couple of days, TDT then starts to get the messages, and all is ok again. Then, the server that has the problems comes back to life. Today, for example, TDT started to get messages from 5 days ago. I was up very late last night, and so when she texted me at 8:30 this morning, I thought something was wrong.
I just had a message "Good morning. Shouldn't you sleep in a bit if you got to bed so late?"
I then got another. "Would it be easier for me to email you then?"
Then another. "I'm confused. Are you ok honey?"
Then another. "what do you mean you're nearly home? I thought you were in bed."
Yes, she was receiving the backlog. I then started to text her back, saying I thought she was getting old messages. We too-ed and fro-ed with messages for an hour before I finally got up. I've contacted the text provider more than once. The fuckwit in charge is not only utterly snowed under by the stress of having his servers (I suspect it's actually an old 386 with Procomm serial communication software running on it), he can't even be arsed to answer my complaints. Contempt is not the word. But the problem is, what choice do I have? He knows that, so I can't see him even attempting to fix it in the near future. In the meantime, I'll keep texting TDT.
A week later, she'll get them.