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Gregorius
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Message 1 of 9

frustrating times with Smart Talk

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I downloaded and installed BT Smart Talk a long time ago onto a Nexus 7 tablet (a device with no SIM). I don't use it much, but it works, and is occasionally useful. I am allowed to have five registered users of the app, but the Nexus is the only one.

Today, I tried to create a second user on my new mobile phone, so I would be able to phone home from abroad free without lugging the Nexus about (it's quite chunky). I downloaded the app from the Play Store to my phone, started it, filled in all the details on the first page (name, email, password, all the usual stuff) and pressed 'NEXT'.

There was no next. Up came this error message: 'UNKNOWN PROBLEM There's an unexpected error causing a problem. Either try again, or if problems persist, please try closing and restarting the app.'

Isn't that just the least helpful error message EVER? So I tried closing and restarting. Same result. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling. Same result. I tried phoning the 0800 800 150 help line. It took about 20 minutes (and three security checks, I think) to reach anybody who even knew what I was talking about, and another 25 minutes to advise me to... wait for it... uninstall and reinstall. So I did. Again. Same result.

I tried Motorola, but gave up at an AI-driven 'chat' system which blamed the app. I tried BT help again, and another 15 minutes got me the same bloke as earlier, who gave me the same advice as earlier but with the added advice to try from somewhere with a strong network signal (I have excellent wifi in the house, but no mobile signal). So I did (even though the network signal is irrelevant - remember, my Nexus has no SIM). Same result. I never managed to get past the first screen.

At this point I had a brainwave. I have a working copy of Smart Talk on my Nexus: maybe I could set up a new user from that, by giving it my new mobile number. I cleared its data, forced stop, restarted it, and went through the oh-so-familiar first page of setting up a new user with all-new details. Again. Was that the seventeenth try, or only the sixteenth? With bated breath I pressed NEXT... and got the same error message as ever. From a device on which Smart Talk is known to work.

At this point I gave up and joined this estimable forum for two reasons. One is to see if anybody has any clue at all how I can make Smart Talk work on my phone: Motorola Moto G 4G (3rd generation). Android 5.1.1. Internal storage: 2.53GB available (and nearly all of a 32GB SD card as external storage). Over 400MB of RAM available when everything is running that is normally running. Surely that's plenty of resources? Everything else on the phone runs like Usain Bolt.

The other reason is to ask this question: why can Skype, to whom I pay nothing, provide a free app which downloads, installs, sets up and works flawlessly, whereas BT, to whom I pay plenty, can't? Oh yes, and why can't software designers come up with better error messages than those amounting to 'This isn't working' when it's totally ******* obvious that it isn't working?

And finally... no, I'm going to leave it unsaid. It's unsanitary at best, possibly physically impossible, and anyway the board of BT would never agree to doing it where I could watch.

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 2 of 9

frustrating times with Smart Talk

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from memory when you set up on the nexus you need a BTID and also a mobile number before you registered and were then able to get the nexus working over wifi.    did you setup a different BTID and use a different mobile number to get your motorola to register using the downloaded app



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Gregorius
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Message 3 of 9

frustrating times with Smart Talk

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Yes. I tried genuine, unused email adresses as a first resort. Then I tried variations on them at the suggestion of a BT tech advisor (e.g. instead of gregorius@btinternet.com I tried gregorius1@btinternet.com). Neither worked. Then, inspired by the idea that I didn't have to use real email addresses at all (or why did the tech suggest it?) I tried things like SmartTalker@somewhere.com. No result. Then, because my WORKING Nexus version has a non-email one-word User ID, I tried that (gregorius). Nothing worked.

 

I never got the option to try my new mobile number, or that's what I would have done - I never got that far in the process. Incidentally, the number used to set up the Nexus was not even a smartphone.

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Distinguished Sage
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Message 4 of 9

Re: frustrating times with Smart Talk

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It didn't need to be a smartphone it just had to be a mobile number

 

so have you setup a new BTID in MYBT linked to your account and then used this real BTID  to then setup you Motorola. Each smarttalk user needs a BTID and a different mobile number so it can be shown on your bill and allocated to the correct BT acount



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Gregorius
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Message 5 of 9

Re: frustrating times with Smart Talk

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What an excellent idea. Tried it. Worked. Thank you.

 

But dear God... what a performance. What a Byzantine, round-the-houses way of doing things. How well-hidden everything is. Why not simply have at the very beginning of the app sign-on process the instruction "First go to MyBT and create a new BTid"? Why did NOBODY in the BT tech support service suggest this? Do they not know about it? Why did it take several hours of frustration before I could do what should be such a simple thing?

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Distinguished Sage
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Message 6 of 9

Re:frustrating times with Smart Talk

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again from memory the start of the app asks for a BTID but it's not clear that it needs to be a new BTID if you have already used your main BTID  if you create a new BTID when starting the app then it will go through ok and create the new BTID and link it to your MYBT - just not obvious



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Gregorius
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Message 7 of 9

Re: Re:frustrating times with Smart Talk

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First, thanks again for the solution. It was exactly the way I had assumed I would have to do it, until the Smart Talk app told me differently and sent me off in the wrong direction. However, I don't agree with you about the way the Smart Talk app "will go through OK" if I somehow manage to pick all the right options. I did pick all the right options (eventually) but it neither worked, nor told me why it wasn't working. To say that it is "not obvious" is a huge understatement. I think you are being too kind to it, though of course I appreciate that you are working from memory.

Here is a walk-through of what is supposed to happen (but didn't):

http://bt.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/44031/~/how-do-i-register-additional-bt-smarttalk-use...

The very first screen encapsulates just one aspect of what is wrong with this app. It offers a choice of two alternatives:

a) New BT SmartTalk user? Sign up
or
b) Existing BT SmartTalk user? Sign in.

So, as someone who already uses BTST on another device, which of those should I choose? I have BTST working just fine on my Nexus tablet, which of course makes me an existing BTST user. But that's the wrong answer. Even though I am an existing user, I have to choose the other option to set up BTST on my phone.

Why should this be? In normal speech, a 'user' is a person who uses something. In BT-speak, however, the 'user' is not the person but the device. As the BT account holder I can have five separate 'users' registered to the account. So far I have two, and they are both me. There may be others in the future, and they too will be me, each one demanding a different phone number and a different email address. This is crazy. This is the kind of system that you get when your priority is the machine, rather than the person who uses the machine, and it permeates BTST (and BT, some would say).

 

In the same vein, why should I as one person need more than one BTID? It should be a unique identifier giving me access to all areas of the service. Identification at the device level should be handled quite differently.

There is a great deal more to say about the odd, de-humanised thinking behind this sort of software design, but this is not the place.

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Gregorius
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Message 8 of 9

Re: Re:frustrating times with Smart Talk

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And one final thought - I had two sessions on the phone (45 minutes and 15 minutes) with the BT help line, during which I spoke to maybe six people, one or two of whom claimed to specialise in SmartTalk. At no time did anybody even hint at this simple solution. At least one of their suggestions, I now see, could never have worked. Where do I nominate them for a prize?

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Distinguished Sage
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Message 9 of 9

Re: Re:frustrating times with Smart Talk

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I didn't have a problem when I set up my iPads and s5 when I selected new user And then followed it through - it worked. Secret is you need to get it right first time with new user

 

main thing is you have it working now



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