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On Not Knowing The Public Address And On Being Blacklisted

Last week, I was asked if I had also been caught up in the quagmire? No, not the affair of the Judges but the internet problems which apparently had affected half of Gaborone. The newspapers dont report such matters presumably believing that other more captivating matters, such as the BCPs continuing agonies, are of infinitely greater public interest.

Why, I still wonder, do we have so many national newspapers tripping over each but not one which targets Gaborone and its adjacent settlements. But yes, in a way the query was correct. I was indeed trapped in a quagmire but it wasn’t the internet this time around, it was the BTC’s server; at least that was what the pop up message kept telling me for an entire week. Getting the people at the end of the BTC’s fault line to grasp that this was indeed the problem, however, proved to be difficult, as indeed it was to convince them not all their customers use Microsoft. Indeed it needed a two-hour visit from a lady technician on Monday to convince her colleagues that the problem really was the BTC’s server, and then to get them to correct matters. 

In the end, she had to give up, and went home. So for the rest of that day, Tuesday and then Wednesday, I was obliged to sit at home just in case anyone from BTC happened to ring – which they very rarely did! Having no idea if anything was being done about my problem – I was told later that a BTC head of department had said that it was being ‘addressed’. It is precisely that kind of comment, however, which drives less patient customers than myself into paroxysms of fury.

Nobody wants their problem to be addressed; they want it to be solved. Thus ring Paul Taylor and tell him that you now understand why he believes that it is far too early to think of privatising the BTC.  After all, it still has little idea about customer relations; it seems to have no working routines so technician 2 is unaware that you have already spent frustrating hours talking with technician 1. And then technician 3 puts in an appearance and with him it is again necessary to start explaining from scratch. And then again, relevant heads of department with enough experience, are careful to keep well away from the action leaving it to the lower level technicians to deal with increasingly frustrated customers. One of my family members then steps into the BTC breach, does a tweak with the password and suddenly the BTC’s snuffed out server springs into life and begins delivering incoming messages.


But it will still not send anything out. But, and this is a very big BUT, the technician then explained, quote, ‘ With regards to e-mails not functioning for the past week, unfortunately the server does not keep undelivered mails for too long, it makes a certain number of tries then discards/deletes messages.‘  In other words, tough luck – what is lost is lost forever! Finally on day seven, the technicians finally crack the problem. They begin by requesting my Public Address. I have no idea what this can mean and ask others. They too know nothing. 

Obviously BTC technicians cannot be expected to help customers such as myself who are, by admission computer Neanderthals – so what are they, and we to do?  But do you know your Public Address? If not sign here under the Neanderthals column for forwarding to Mr  Taylor. But how did this server problem eventually get solved and who was it who caused the problem? Yes, you are correct! 

Like ourselves, you may have assumed that if the BTC’s server wasn’t functioning correctly the problem must rest with the BTC.

Such naivety! When the problem was finally identified it emerged that I/we were entirely to blame. Or were we? But, let me again quote from the technical advice received – but bearing in mind that mine is a mac. Quote. ‘Mail server-blocking customer IP address due to IP blacklisting, IP address whitelisting on mail server (temporary while we try remove blacklist on internet), Service restored.

Customer was advised to be careful of material they access (download) on the Internet as some material is harmful (viruses, spam) and can cause IP address blacklisting (ban).’

Unquote.  All of which prompts a barrel load of questions.  How can we be careful when down loading? Not pornography please, or music? 

How does anyone get blacklisted without the server being involved? And why does the BTC’s senior/middle management duck out of the way allowing the lower level staff to take the blows instead of intervening and making their existence, and responsibilities, known? Seemingly those technicians have not been given the kind of training they need to cope with non-Microsoft situations or the skills to quickly recognise a black listing problem. My problem of the last week has been a learning curve for me. Has it been one for the BTC?

Etcetera II



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