Monday, June 13, 2011

I finally got to Vodafone this morning, to ask them about their new low-cost XS6 service. This has a cuota of 6 euros a month and a minimum cost of 9 euros. This smells to me like a minimum monthly bill of 15 euros, even if i have the phone switched off. But the lady there assured me of two things - Firstly, they don't yet offer this service, even though it's cited in current press articles; and, secondly, I would only be charged 9 euros a month, if I neither made nor received any calls. So, what function does the cuota serve, then? Does it exist as  base line for calls and messages? So that, if you  run up a call/SMS cost of only 2 euros, you pay a total of 9 (6 + 2 being lower than 9) but, if you run up a cost of 4 euros, you pay 10 (6 plus 4). Does anyone know?

The Pontevedra Indignantes are still in situ, as are others around Galicia. But the main Madrid camp has been struck and here's IberoSphere's timely retrospective on their achievements. By the way, when I passed the camp at midday today and asked about a pan being heated with solar energy, I was invited to take a coffee there tomorrow morning. Awfully nice people. And very good with dogs.

I see that speed bumps may have reached the end of the road in the UK, for one reason and another. Would that this were the case here, where the city and its environs are plagued with the bloody things. Some of them at least 6 inches (15cm) high. Almost necessitating oxygen.

I've mentioned that shops are closing with fearsome regularity down in the city of Pontevedra, justifying my very long-standing surprise there could be so many of them selling the same things. But this isn't the entire story as some new shops are opening, in at least partial compensation. So far, I've determined three categories:- 1. Sweet shops (candy stores); 2. Gold buying kiosks; and 3. Upmarket outlets aimed at rich women ("Ellas" being one of these). In addition, at least two shops have been converted into meeting places for Evangelical Protestants. But no synagogues or mosques as  yet.

Which reminds me . . . Zapping through the news channels this morning, I came upon a new one - Press TV. This, would you believe, comes out of Tehran, in English. And it naturally betrays the obsessions of the government there - The Syrian government's discovery of a mass grave of its soldiers; Israeli spies in Egypt; paedophile rabbis in Israel; nuclear weapons in Zionist Israel; and globally destabilising US nuclear weapons all over the place. But it became almost surrealistic when it featured an Englishman (called Shakespeare, no less) spitting blood about the violent repression of citizen revolt by the corrupt Bahraini government and its "scum" friends around the world (the USA, Zionist Israel and the UK, of course). I can't imagine repression happening in Tehran, can you? I wonder who on earth this channel can be aimed at. George Galloway? Anyway, the female news reporter was so swaddled in scarf, coat and overcoat(?) she looked as if she was talking from an industrial freezer, rather than a news office.

On a paint tin I've just used, it says the contents provide excellent "hiding properties". Not knowing what this meant, I checked the Spanish text, to find the word "cubrición". This seems to come from the verb "cubrir" (to cover, etc.) but it doesn't appear in any of my dictionaries. Anyone know of it? Anyway, I don't agree that the paint provides excellent hiding properties; every time I look at the wall I can see it quite clearly.

You'll all be aware that Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) was born in Poio and not in any of the other vainglorious claimants to this honour. What you might not know is that this event is being celebrated here in Poio this week. So, if you're anywhere near, do come and participate. And check out his restored birthplace and the new museum attached to it. I certainly will, one day.

Finally . . . For those interested in Spanish wines, here's info on a free magazine, called Mi Vino. You can download it from the web or pick up a copy from outlets around Spain. If you register, they'll tell you where you can find it in your neck of the woods. Unless you live in Quinto Pino.


Midnight Golfer said...

The six in xs6 is the cents per minute supposedly charged on the average call made under this plan. Yoigo has a 4 cent plan, etc. etc.
None of which matters, as all the carriers have chosen 'small print' that essentially makes none of them that much better than the others, for the vast majority of users.
As always, it rests on the customer to attempt to decipher the plans, points, minutes, minimums, subsidies, data rates, cost per message, and coverages, in order to figure it all out... Almost all of this information is not provided in any comparable form, from carrier to carrier, and past performance rarely is reliable, except that none of them have customer service to shake a stick at.

If your primary concern is a low monthly payment, even if you were to go a month with practically no calls, you may want to compare the new "low-cost-per-minute" plans with the old Pay As You Go cards.

There are still a few reaming, I mean remaining, forms of PAYGo, but all of them still have expiring minutes, and horrible cost per minute, but if it's essentially for emergency purposes, and you can divide the cost of the card across the full time period the minutes are valid for, it can mean considerable savings.

It's a lot of math, though.

I'll take a quick look at the carriers websites, as it's been a while since I've done acomparison, and get back to you...

good luck.

Colin said...

Many thanks, MG. Really appreciated. I did find a site making a sort of top-level comparison and I will try to find it now.

OK here it is . . .

Midnight Golfer said...

Yes. Upon a cursory review of all the new gimmicks, all the sales departments of the various carriers are putting an exceedingly great amount of effort into differentiating eachother from one another, and at the same time plowing the current market with a copious amount of, well, chaos.

Seems as good as any - just to be thorough.

Jazztel is attempting a foray into mobile coverage, and are undercutting the way the do in the Internet arena, but results may vary, as they say.

Colin said...

Thanks, again. Can't access the site for some reason. Forbidden,

Colin said...

Slight change . . .

Midnight Golfer said...


I meant.

Typing on the iPhone, laying in bed, and my already low standards for comment quality go right out the door.


Colin said...

No problem. No need to apologise.

Midnight Golfer said...

My desktop computer, up until this week, had been a little Mac Mini. It seemed I had just barely finished setting up, with my desk and monitors and everything, in preparation to being able to work from my new home here in Madrid, after having moved from Málaga...

And Pow! Pow! Two lightning strikes within a minute of each other, right near my new home. The first one caused my backup battery system to work as designed, in order to give me enough time to turn everything off and shut everything down, and switch to my laptop.
However, it did still sends sparks flying out the wall panel circuit breaker, burnt out the garage door motor, and left a very strange metallic smell in the air everywhere, even outside the building.

As I was waiting for the computer to shutdown, and I had already (thankfully) unplugged the monitors, the second bolt hit, and fried the TV receiver, the ADSL modem, the landline phone, the desktop computer itself, the power inverter for charging the laptop battery, and a USB+Firewire hub, and went backwards through the backup battery system, ruining it as well.

I now know to unplug everything first, and isolate the batteries from everything else, including the aerial antennae, the phone line, and not just the line (mains) power.

At least the hard drive is okay, And I've still got a little old Powerbook G4 laptop, but it isn't compatible with a lot of what I need for work, and the battery's almost dead, so... the iPhone it is.

I just wish I'd got my renter's insurance up to date before using the computer in an electric storm.

All be warned: Pay your insurance. Unplug your phone and antennae, and power. And ground your masts, while you're at it. Also, if you have a three year warranty on your hardware, including a three year warranty on your battery back up system, and it's been over three years since you purchased said hardware... You're 'living' on borrowed time anyways.

Colin said...

Blimey! Will issue a warning tonight. Thanks for taking the trouble to advise.

Diego said...

All of the speed humps that are disappearing from the UK are showing up in Oviedo, it´s now impossible to find a street without them. These are the huge prefab ones that surely cost a bundle.

On the mobile rates front if you are a low minutes person i´d go with one of the "virtual" carriers, i had simyo myself until i needed a new phone and went with the movistar dark-side just to get an iphone. As soon as my "permanencia" expires i´m out the door.

I was not educated in Spain, so all of these "new" verbs sound very weird to me, for example visionar meaning to watch a video or tv. Why go to the trouble of adding 6 extra letters when you can do with three as in "ver"

Colin said...

Yes, I would go with one of the low cost providers but the opposing consideration is that I can get a big discount on internet provision with a major supplier and the premium for using their phone may be less than the value of the discount. I have to run the number. Will be checking with another Vodaphone outlet this morning what the bloody 6 euro cuota really is.

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