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BSNL-2

Hi all,
This post would talk about how BSNL is misleading the public specifically those who are trying to use the data.bsnl.in portal to find usage.

I have already put up a post regarding BSNL’s service in another blog which I keep for such kind of experiences. The post is titled BSNL aptly.

Anyways, to get to the point I wanted to make. The first thing I found out this time around is that BSNL is moving all the billings interface service to http://www.data.bsnl.com . The first thing I am stumped is the user-unfriendliness of the site. It took me quite sometime to figure out that portal ID is different than the username and password given to me. Why is that there are no answers from anybody.

Anyways got the portal ID from 2633480 which is office of D E (N I B ) PUNE which comes under T/C @O/O SDE(N I B)MHS BHAVAN PUNE 411001 . Source

There may be a question as to why there is an IP Address instead of a helpful URL but such questions I guess should not be asked.

Prodding on still, got my Portal ID and went on to BSNL’s data site. Logged in with my credentials. When you log on to the site the URL above is something very stupid . It talks of something like http://www.data.bsnl.in/wps/myportal/!ut/p/c5/0xxX1XXXxX!!/

Of course the above is fudged not to give real status, the point I want to make here is when logging in, BSNL doesn’t use cookie system like our beloved gmail does or any other web services do but depends on some static number which has been given uniquely to each subscriber. The 0xxX1XXXxX!! part. I logged in and out number of times and each time the number is same.

Then while I don’t like the CSS they have used and there is no way to change that but let’s forgive them this thing. There is something called My Services hyperlink on the bottom of the page. Click on it to get three fields

Service Name

Account Number

Usage Month

Service name has only broadband in my selection. There may be more as some people might have taken IPTV services as well. Don’t really know how things are there.

Account number would be most probably for corporate accounts or people having multiple accounts.

Usage month is to see usage of the connection.

The first laughable thing is when you click on broadband it goes and redraws the whole page. For all the bandwidth scarcity that BSNL says this is really stupid. What they could have done here is use some good javascript. Something like what gmail and many other web services use.

Although what is really interesting is the final view you get when you have given the above details. You get the following output.

BSNL data page viewed after coming into site.

BSNL data page viewed after coming into site.

See the small line at the bottom. It tells it can export the file in Excel format. When I downloaded the file the file downloaded as something like 24217729_11092009.xls . Isn’t that a very helpful name.

While I do not use MS-Office due for the simple fact I cannot afford it, I use gnumeric for the same purpose as its a FOSS tool.

While the view of the file was not upto the task, I used abiword . I also used both the Excel viewers as given by Microsoft .

Both of them failed as well.

Now in gnumeric I got the following view :-

xls file being viewed in gnumeric

xls file being viewed in gnumeric.

I fudged my account details and put it up as a bug-report on the gnumeric bugzilla. Bug 594789 . Few hours later the good developers of gnumeric come back and tell me that its not .xls file but an .html file while it shows up as an .xls file. As I had used abiword to fudge the details, abiword had also put some of it marks on the file as shown in the comments.

So after renaming the same in my browser I was able to watch the file on my browser.

local file being viewed in web browser

Bill finally viewed in browser

So while I am able to view those files, I am disgusted with the whole experience. The number of hoops I had to go through to get this done is not for the weak of the heart. The whole experience says to me that BSNL doesn’t want that its customers should use the resource and hence the site’s usability has been the way it is.

One of the other things I would be doing in evening is filing a bug in abiword on the same issue.

Thanking the gnumeric guys for clarifying and making things easier for me to know.

Looking forward for feedback on the same.

Update :- Using photobucket for the first time with wordpress hence there were issues with getting the whole thing right. The whole process sent me back to time where I had to do the same thing. Hope it gets easier as time passes by.

Another thing, for those who came in late, BSNL is name of an multi-service sector organization/service provider who deals in telecom (landline and cellular technology, broadband, IPTV and many other services. ) One can find more details of BSNL at its wikipedia page.

Update 2 :- While I was doing the above, on a separate track I was also consulting zoho docs. who are trying to compete in the same domain as google docs. While the people behind google docs. are usually masked, the people behind zoho are co-operative. Anyway, that’s a different topic for a different day. What I wanted to share was they looked at the file under the latest Microsoft excel and the person concerned sent me a snapshot of the same.

Error message coming up in Microsoft Excel

Error message coming up in Microsoft Excel

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5 thoughts on “BSNL-2

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  1. Atleast it is some improvement on the earlier usage details site. The previous one was absolutely the pits!

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