Freedom Mobile Rants Technology

Dear MTN Retentions Department

MTN asked my reasons for moving to prepaid. So I told them.

Good day,

Although my technical experience with MTN has been excellent, I have had numerous problems in a number of other areas, specifically related to contract.

1) Price increase during a contract term.
I signed a contract with MTN to pay a certain price for service for 24 months. Half way during this period MTN then decided to raise the price. This is MTN operating in bad faith.

2) When my contract expired, nobody contacted me to offer any upgrade opportunities. Furthermore, I was made to pay an additional R85 for a lousy 300MB of data, something which previously had been included in my contract price.

3) Billing
The invoice and billing system remains a mess. The “Last 3 months Usage” regularly repeats the month. e.g my “Last 3 months” is Feb, Feb, Jan. Statements are not intuitive. Itemised billing is ridiculously overpriced.

4) Web usability
I have a plethora of different login details for all the MTN related websites. all have different login methods and randomly get locked requiring more time to attempt to unlock them. The websites are noisy and do not form a cohesive experience. Functionality is often hidden from the user. Also, massive overlaps of functionality exist which is completely unnecessary.

5) Apps
There are 2 MTN apps for iOS that I have installed on my phone. Both are clunky and poorly designed. They appear to have been created by amateurs. They are more hassle than useful. The one also has some ridiculous USSD verification that one has to go through every time one tries to access the app.

6) Preference to Prepaid
Most specials and reduced rates, data bundles, competitions, MTN Zone, and various other products are targeted specifically at Prepaid customers. Once a customer is locked in a contract, MTN don’t give a damn about them as long as they keep paying. I’ve been a contract customer for around 16 or so years and never felt I was considered more valued than a prepaid customer, which I should be. I can’t use the R200 value included in my contract to buy a data or sms bundle – I’m forced to pay out of bundle rates even when I have an airtime balance of R1000 or more.

7) SMS and Data costs
SMS texting should basically be free – it runs over a control channel and was never supposed to be a paid-for service. Out of bundle contract data prices are still very high on the MTN network. All data should be the same low price. In the United States I paid R400 for unlimited voice, text and data for a month.

8) Net Neutrality
MTN does not support Net Neutrality. I therefore prefer to be on an ad-hoc prepaid account to allow for easier migration to a more Net Neutral competitor should it become necessary.

Please be sure to credit my prepaid account with the remainder of my current airtime, data and sms balance when doing the migration. I have paid for the airtime. It is attached to this SIM/IMEI and I am entitled to it. A failure to do so could be in breach of the consumer protection act.


Entertainment Freedom

The Hate List – 14 May 2013

In the right-hand sidebar I’ve decided to include a Hate List – A list of shit that currently annoys the fuck out of me. The Hate List will provide a psychological release for the pent-up frustration by shouting it on a public forum. I’ll update the list whenever, and change it if new things piss me off. I’ll also keep you informed when the content of the Hate List changes. I don’t want to talk about this shit, so comments are closed. But you can always tweet me @shaun.

Here’s how The Hate List currently stands with an explanation of each point:
Veritas Netbackup

Piece of shit java-based Netbackup management console. Works drag-ass slow over the network. Makes X-Windows feel like a morgue. It needs to die. Along with the whole piece-of-shit Netbackup product.


The motherfucking Guptas are gonna get away with all the shit they got up to at Waterkloof Air Force Base because why? Because they had full fucken permission from the South African government. It’ll never be admitted to publicly but they landed there with all the right papers, I guarantee you. The only fucken joke ass clown who didn’t know about the deal was probably King fucking Zuma himself. And when he opened up News24 to read the comments he got shit splattered all over his face making him very embarrassed. In fact, just as embarrassed as someone painting a picture of him with his cock hanging out. Dumbass. National Security Key Point my ass.

“Cloud Architects” 

If you’re gonna call yourself an IT Architect, best you be able to do some basic multiplication so you can work out how much disk space will be required if we have a data size of 30GB and we take a full backup every day for a week. Don’t come in on my shit and put pressure on me cos you can’t get your head out your ass and multiply by 7. And “Cloud”? “Cloud Architect”?. Fuck off.

iTunes 11

Apple really screwed the pooch on this one. iTunes is getting progressively worse and just does its own shit all the time. Hey Apple, if I choose to use a sidebar, leave the sidebar there, even when I close and reopen the program. And stop forcing iCloud updates on me. Are you *trying* to actively make your users lives more difficult? Cos if you carry on I will Samsung the fuck out of your little closed-wall Garden of Eden.

And breathe…

Freedom Hacking Technology

The Idiots Guide to Jailbreaking the iPad

Yes I know there are loads of other better guides out there, this post is to help point out where all the useful info is.

So because I’m so filthy rich I decided to buy an iPad for myself. Yes I’ve wanted some sort of ebook device for a while, and you can’t really beat Apple when it comes to quality and hack-satisfaction-level. I’ve been impatient with the Apple/Core Group/Vodacom festering ringworm and their inability to get the iPad imported officially, and so decided to just jump the gun and get one through the usual covert channels. Looking at and was all good and well, but I’d made the impulsive decision and wanted the device on the same day, no wait, I wanted it in under an hour, not in 15 days time. Enter They had the stock (it was on special), they were willing to take my money, and I could get it from them within an hour or two.

Pay, drive, collect. 1 times iPad be mine!

So what the hell does one do to make the iPad(or any iOS device) truly worthwhile? You jailbreak it! Now? Yes, before you start loading crap and then then something fucks out that you have to restore the default settings and reconfigure all your apps again. Well firstly DO NOT UPDATE to the latest official firmware – that stops the  jailbreak option dead. Instead head on over to with Safari on your device (preferably on a stable WiFi connection) and slide your finger to run the jailbreak. Then wait. Be patient. It will work. Just wait.


So what does jailbreak mean? It installs an app called Cydia which allows you to install other unofficial applications on your device.Those that aren’t in the Apple store. And Cydia also allows those extra features like multitasking and shortcuts to settings.

And if you add Installous into Cydia you can get legitimate apps (to try before you buy, of course).

But more on those tweaks later.

Let’s get your Gmail working properly on the iPad. (More here, and here’s what I mean by “properly”) iOS 4 actually fixes this crap, but the iPad is still iOS3.

Then sync your Google Calendar(s) with your iPad.

Install Firefox Home to get your bookmarks and open tabs syncing for later reading from the iPad.

Install VLC from the Apple store cos its the best media player in the business.

Back to Cydia. Here’s a list of Cydia jailbreak apps that work with the iPad. Ignore most of them for now.

Apps you do want from Cydia: (Install them in this order or you may have to restart from scratch)

iFile, Openssh, Installous, SBSettings, Backgrounder.

iFile allows you to browse files and directories on the device (windows explorer like). You need this app to edit a file to correct a bug with the openssh install, which disables the location tool.

Openssh lets you ssh into the iPad over the wireless interface. When you install this your device now runs an SSH server. Once the install is completed go change the default ‘root’ and ‘mobile’ passwords. The default password is ‘alpine’. Make it your own. (Details here.)

Installing OpenSSH will probably break location based services, but here’s how to fix that:
using iFile, go to
and change the false under OnDemand to true.
Save and reboot the iPad (Hold home key and lock key for a while). (Info here)

Next you can add SBSettings and Backgrounder. For these two there is a package called MobileSubstrate which gets installed and this tends to cause the iPad to hang with a spinning wheel of death. This gives you two options:

1) Uninstall the packages over WiFi and SSH

2) Hard reset (Hold home button and lock button)

I first tried installing Backgrounder and the iPad hung, so I uninstalled manually from the command line. Those Backgrounder unbricking instructions are here.

Later I decided I still wanted Backgrounder so I first installed SBSettings (which installed the MobileSubstrate). This sort of hung so I waited a while before performing a hard reset. After a slowish boot everything was back to normal and all was well with SBSettings installed and working. I then installed Backgrounder and it behaved nicely. Yay!

Remember your mileage may vary – I can’t guarantee any of this will work on your iPad, but this is the success I have achieved with just the smallest amount of research and a bit of confidence.Just remember to read what it says on the screen and you’ll be fine.

From here on in you can continue to load more apps, games and books and just get more from your iPad experience.

Entertainment Freedom Music Rants Security Technology

MusicDNA Is MusicDOA [Audio Format Foolishness]


It’s sprayed all over the SA IT media: “MusicDNA will rescue the MP3 from oblivion”, “MusicDNA to succeed MP3“, “MusicDNA predicted to rival MP3“, “MusicDNA: New digital file that is son of MP3 unveiled“. And it’s all a crock of shit.

MusicDNA should be MusicDOA.

Why? Well firstly, (Mail and) Guardian, file formats are female, in the same way that LPs are female. They always have been, and always will be – ask any geek. So, if MusicDOA is the son of MP3, then it’s not a welcome part of the music family.

But issues of gender aside, Apple has already invented MusicDNA – they just called it the “iTunes LP“, a much nicer name. Bundling additional digital content and interweb-link-crud along with the MP3 is not the revolution. It’s not even a warning shot over the bow. It’s more like “a tribute to the zip archive”. Yet some musically challenged business-moron (Stefan Kohlmeyer, the chief executive of Bach Technology, which has developed the file) feels that *this*, a rehash of MP3, will save the record companies?

C’mon, guys, it’s already over. The music label is done. Over. Archaic. Closed. Piracy does and always will prevail. Artists will make money from performing. Additional revenue streams will open up here and there, but the giant middle-man of music has been turned away at the gates, left to wonder (and wander) at how they ended up hat-in-hand, shunned by the masses.

We simply don’t need another audio file format. MP3 / FLAC / AAC is probably good enough, until we have flying cars anyway. And we especially do not need another proprietary format that is riddled with DRM and all kinds of consumer-abusing mechanisms (think tracking cookies, spyware, behaviour profiling). And of course alongside this “MusicDNA archive” will be the potential to literally hack the shit out of the consumer who buys and uses it. No longer will viruses be delivered by email, but by iTunes (or equivalent) instead. If we ever do need another format, it will be open source, patent-free and flexible, such as Ogg Vorbis.

So here’s to MusicDOA and the millions of stupid dollars spent developing an obfuscated zip file. Well fucking done, clowns. When you’re done pissing money away, please build me my flying car.

Freedom Technology Web

The Big Broadband Battle Begins

Partial map of the Internet based on the Janua...
Image via Wikipedia

I can hardly contain my excitement: R145 for 5GB! Kick ASS! Competition in the broadband market? Cheaper prices? I think I just peed my pants.

I’m just posting it straight here: (source)

Afrihost set to shake up ADSL market with R 29.00 per GB ADSL service

Local hosting company Afrihost has released the proverbial cat among the pigeons with its R 29.00 per GB ADSL offering.  The company today announced that it has cut the price of its ADSL data bundles from R 57 per GB to R 29 per GB.

Afrihost’s 1 GB data bundle now costs R 29.00 per month while the company’s 2 GB, 3 GB and 5 GB ADSL data bundle pricing has been reduced to R 58, R 87 and R 145 respectively.  Data top-ups have fallen to R29 per GB and their prepaid data lowered to R49 per GB.

The ADSL bandwidth is provisioned over the Internet Solutions backbone and all accounts come standard with email accounts and webmail access.  The accounts are month-to-month contracts with no long term lock-ins.

“With our new offer we wanted to make as BIG a splash as possible and give the most value to our clients – so after much debating and calculating we decided to go as low as we can go,” explains Afrihost CEO Gian Visser.

Afrihost made it clear that it is a limited offer aimed at early adopters.  “Remember we can’t guarantee that we will offer this R29.00 deal forever – but what we can guarantee you is that if you are quick enough and signup in time then your price of R29 per GB will be locked in for whatever package you bought,” Visser said.

Existing Afrihost ADSL clients may be happy to hear that their subscription price has also been changed to R 29.00 per GB.

Thank you Afrihost. Much love. Let us hope others follow where you have led the way.