Machines making no sense


Computers have mammoth amount of power to do mathematical, logical and many other critical functions.

The computer systems of modern times can ‘think’ via artificial intelligence (AI). However, they can sometimes make horrible and laughable mistakes unknowingly.

Some of these mistakes are as a result of system designers who do not thoroughly think through certain situations.


It could also be that the system designers never envisaged a certain situation would arise. All the same, such blunders can be a source of entertainment, annoyance or both.

For those that have Windows Phones, be it Nokia, Nokia Lumia or Microsoft Lumia WhatsApp stopped functioning on those models. Microsoft stopped support for Windows Phone on January14, 2020 and consequently WhatsApp made Windows phone aliens on their platform.

While WhatsApp stopped working on those handsets, I still continued to receive messages from Airtel reminding me that my WhatsApp bundle would expire on some date.


The messages go further to coerce me to buy another bundle in advance. Come on, Airtel, how I am going to use the bundle on a phone that has WhatsApp that is not functioning?

Bundles are not transferrable, or are they? Are they not as Escom prepaid electricity tokens; each unique to a meter?

Even the WhatsApp bundle that I only partially used before WhatsApp died on my phone is not redeemable yet Airtel computer system has the audacity to remind me to buy yet another bundle for the same WhatsApp that is not functioning.

This is what Airtel should do. Run a script on that system that should do batch processing and identify all Windows Phones registered on the system and spare their users this dosage of torture. These customers, after all, are already frustrated with Microsoft’s bad decision to kill own child.

It is 9:30 PM and there is this beautiful documentary about Bill Gates and late Steve Jobs showing on Aljazeera. Suddenly electricity goes off. It transpires that the electricity credit has run out. Being technologically minded, I fire NBM Mo626. The system verifies my meter number with Escom’s and asks me how much I want to spend on the token. And an activity cursor appears that runs for a minutes or so.

A beep follows and there is a message that says that the transaction has run out of time. Then another beep and the message appears, “K20,000 has been debited from your account for bill payment”. I repeat the process, and I get the same result. No token is transmitted.

At that point there are no more funds in the account to transfer to either Airtel Money or TNM Mpamba so I could try to buy the electricity token from those systems.

Annoyed I go to bed in darkness. NBM manages to refund the funds into my account the next day in the afternoon. By that time the documentary is not running anymore on Aljazeera.

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