Musings on a Saturday

posted in: Life and things | 0

Like many Australians, we signed up to Qantas’s frequent flyer program years ago and we acquire quite a few points when we go OS. I imagine everybody knows frequent flyer points are pretty well useless for getting anything flying related out of an airline, though I think I scored an upgrade once, many years ago. We gave up on that a long time ago and tend to use our points to buy stuff from their store, so at least we get something out of them. Lately the Qantas FF program allows users to exchange their points for Woolworths gift cards. We do most of our standard shopping at Aldi, but as the ads suggest (that one where the woman wants smoked sardine paste or something) they don’t stock everything, so we are forced to pop into Coles or Woolworths every now and then for the exotics. I could use our points to buy gift cards to cover our infrequent forays to Woolies. It means I’ve had to use my smart phone to pay for our purchases, but I’d hate to be one of those Boomers who eschew the new-fangled technology. So our Qantas points are used for useful things like piccalilli, branston pickles, and other goodies Aldi doesn’t sell. Works for us.

By the way, I really think the airlines should rename the programs to what they really are – loyalty programs. You don’t have to fly frequently to be in them.

Getting back to Aldi, we’ve noticed that there must be people living in our town who amuse themselves by scattering items in the wrong places on the shelves. For instance, a packet of mince abandoned in the bakery aisle, or brussels sprouts shelved with the cheese. At first I thought it was somebody too lazy to return the item to where it belongs. But it happens too often to be an innocent mistake. It probably happens in the other stores as well. Oh what fun!

Has anybody else noticed that the big internet providers are all getting out of email services? We’ve been with iiNet for many years on and off – and certainly for all our time in Queensland. iiNet was a great service. Based in Perth, Western Australia, their phone support was terrific, provided by staff in South Africa. On the rare occasion I needed their help, they were friendly, efficient, and knew what they were talking about. And then iiNet was taken over by Malaysian firm TPG in 2015. Basically, I think the company became too big and quite unwieldy, trying to keep the existing structure while cobbling on other bits from taken-over entities. For example, we had an email address from netspace, an entity that was swallowed up years ago. We had to use that email address, long defunct, to log into iiNet support. The website must be a quagmire.

And then last year we were told that TPG would no longer provide an email service. It would hand over email to The Messaging Company. If we wanted to retain our email address we could agree to be transferred. TPG would pay for the service for about a year, when TMC would inform us what the ongoing cost would be.

This article in The Guardian tells the story. Australia’s internet providers are ditching email, to the disgust of older customers. “TPG – which owns brands that have historically offered email including iiNet all the way back to OzEmail – informed customers in July that it would migrate their email to a separate private service, the Messaging Company, by the end of November. Users will keep their existing email addresses on this service, and would get it free for the first year. After that, there will be options of paying for a service, or an ad-based free service after that. The amount to be charged from next year has not yet been decided.”

We agreed to the transfer, but started looking for alternatives, such as moving our ISP to Telstra, expecting to get an email address. You might have noticed in that Guardian article that the author thought Telstra was still offering email addresses. But when we went to visit the Telstra people we were told that Telstra, too, was getting out of email.

I’ve been quietly replacing all the many links across the web to my iiNet email address to my Gmail address. Of course, I can access Gmail from anywhere so if I wish to change ISP, there’s no need to port across my saved email. Gmail’s interface isn’t wonderful – but it’s easy enough to connect an email client like Thunderbird to Gmail if that’s your preference.

I’ll end with a couple of nice pictures. I don’t know if you’d call this AI? Each image is of two photos taken by me and combined (by me) through the magic of Photoshop.

Brahmani kite

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