(Sorry, meant to post this earlier but I've been fighting this flu thing that's been going round lately most of the week.)

So, the Vodafone card arrived as promised on Saturday (nice and early, too).

Installed it - I even followed the instructions - plugged it in and booted up the software. Pressed connect, only to get an error along the lines of:

Error: Couldn't open port.

Please try:

1) Rebooting the machine.

2) Check no other software is using the card.

I did 1, not expecting anything - and as I anticipated, that didn't solve the problem.

Was fairly sure nothing else was using the card, apart from the Vodafone software itself, so was stuck.

Now, since our company mobiles are also on Vodafone I figured it was worth a shot trying it with that SIM on the off chance that it was something to do with the SIM and not the card or installation.

Sure enough, with my work SIM it connected without a hitch (to GPRS not 3G since I don't have that enabled on it yet - but still proof of concept). Ah ha, I thought, Vodafone hasn't activated my SIM yet - that should just be a five-minute call...

Phone the number on my 'Welcome to Vodafone' letter. Wrong number - voice message to dial another number.

Phone new number, tap in some numbers (one of which is my account number from the letter Vodafone sent me) and wait until human picks up.

I explain that I think my SIM needs activating. She asks me for my phone number. I explain I don't have it, since my SIM hasn't been activated yet. Oh, she says, I think you might have to go back to LaptopsDirect to get it. Really? I say. Fairly sure, she replies. But I do have an account number, I throw in on the off chance (you'd think she'd know that - since I typed it into my telephone keypad while I was trying to get connected to a human, but hey). Hmm, she says, I'll give it a go but you'll probably still have to go back to LaptopsDirect.

Am put on hold. She returns - yes that's fine sir, your SIM is being activated now.

Now, here's the thing. I know (pretty much) what I'm doing when it comes to this stuff and there was nothing in with the card (that I could find) to say: if you get the above error message, your SIM will need activating.

There was nothing in the welcome letters from Vodafone to tell me to phone up and activate my SIM.

Had I not had a working Vodafone SIM to use, then I may not have figured it out for a good couple of hours.

Even when I knew what the problem was, what needed doing to fix it and how to go about solving it, Vodafone still managed to muck it up.

And finally, what's the point in having an automated telephone system that asks people for their account number if that information never makes it to the operator when you actually get to speak to one?

Can't wait to actually try using this thing...