Category Archives: big brands

Laptops for schools. Some facts!

Why did Computercentre get given £480 per laptop when a suitable price would have been half that?  Because they’re Tory donors and they’re just resellers so all they would need to apply is their profit margin.  100% profit?  In these circumstances?  Hmmmm!

There’s been an awful lot of hyperbole spouted about how children at home are being disadvantaged in their education. They don’t have enough laptops comes the cry and whilst computacentre has been profiting at their expense there are plenty of ways kids can, right now, get access to educatino remotely.

For starters don’t forget that google classroom and in fact any browser based provision of education is also accessible across smart TVs and games consoles.

So with a combination of these various channels to access content getting pre-planned education to kids should be simple, right?  I mean, we’ve known this for ages so what is the fucking problem???

OK it’s a lot of hard work for teachers to generate the original content (thanks BBC for your help here) but being able to access it should not be an issue. It won’t necessarily be interactive but hey, why not get the kids to write their responses down and mail them in, snail mail or otherwise?

I hear that Gav the fireplace salesman wants schools to provide 3-5 hours of “direct” teaching a day.  And if it’s not deemed up to standard he’ll set Ofsted on them! FFS!

“It is therefore nothing short of disgraceful that the government should choose today to start threatening schools about the quality of their remote learning offer,” Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT.

Is that the same for all age groups?  Surely for the very young, whose ability to sit still or concentrate for anytime who will be supervising them?  Their parents?  Or will those parents be getting on with their own work?  Unlikely.

Once again Gav has just exhibited another knee jerk reaction probably because one of his friends who has kids is pissed off that the schools aren’t babysitting them for them! I’m getting increasingly tired (and I’m not a teacher, I’m retired!) by the volume of u-turns, pompous pronouncements and general vomiting of garbage coming out of the mouths of ministers. Clearly each morning they sit around and have a brainstorming session and whoever shouts the most stupid idea wins – it becomes government policy the same day!!

FFS can we get a plan in place?  This is just a complete shitshow, it’s embarrassing.

Tagged ,

Sly digs and Covid-19 data cockups

165px-sars-cov-2_without_backgroundJust been reading Sky’s pretty good analysis of the coronavirus data cockup…
Pretty good, as it highlights the incompetence of the people managing the system – including the management consultants and the decision makers (politicians!). But not perfect as there are several sly digs at the private sector – the people who have really been behind the massive growth in testing capacity!
“The picture that emerges is of government departments, agencies and their consultants struggling to navigate a maze of different computer systems, and a Byzantine pathology sector, of flawed decision-making based on targets rather than sustainable systems.”
Well that’s what you get when you get Ministers competing for power and wanting to control their own departmental data for fear if they share they’ll lose out in the power stakes!
“When news first broke of the virus in China at the turn of the year, the working plan at DHSC was to rely on PHE and its existing network of testing facilities.”
Typical centralised control response. If they’d asked the Home Office they would have got a totally different response – give it to the private sector – now!
“We bet on red. And it came up black. The Germans were lucky. They had lots of machines lying around and a system in place. We had next to nothing.”
The Germans have at least 90 DNA (PCR) labs, so they immediately had a much greater capacity, plus they made the correct decisions – to listen to the experts and to test, test, test as recommended by the WHO.
“But in March, the government decided to reject those advances and set up an entirely separate network of testing sites and facilities, run in large part by commercial partners.”
But instead of talking direct to them they called in Deloittes! Big mistake….
“It was a bold, disruptive move in the face of what was seen as foot-dragging by PHE and NHS labs, but multiple sources from inside government, from labs and from the technology sector told Sky News it was this move more than any other that set in motion the problems with testing results and data that have plagued the system ever since.”
The one thing that private PCR labs are set up to do is to manage and report data – accurately and rapidly. So this is a sly dig at the private sector which is totally unfounded. Slag off Deloittes and the government officials who set up the contracts but each of the private sector labs will have had robust systems in place to test, analyse and report – it’s their forte! I know – I worked in one for 15 years.
“When the vial reaches the test centres another crucial chain of events begins: the vial needs to be assigned to a specific plac2e in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine, where the test itself takes place.
Sometimes mistakes happen at this stage: the vials are dropped or contaminants are introduced.
Sometimes tests have to be reprocessed.
Sometimes mistakes happen? Cheap shot! Mistakes at reputable laboratories are rare – very, very rare. This needs correcting. Mistakes at reputable labs are so rare that each tends to be discussed at company meetings!
There are a number of comments about NHS labs thinking they were better placed to do the work, and that was probably true at small volumes but once the virus took hold there was no way they could cope.
Equally their sarky comments about it taking extra time to get the samples to private labs don’t stack up as valid criticism when they say themselves they have to send some samples to other NHS labs!!
“But the real problem was: there were too few people at the very top who understood the nature of the tests they were dealing with.”
Now we’re getting to it! Management consultants v the experts? A call to the Association of Forensic Science Providers might have been a better bet. In one fell shot you can hit the 3 biggest forensic laboratory providers who between them handle millions of samples each year and whose robotic systems could have been switched over to run Covid-19 samples.
Instead time was wasted and added layers of bureaucracy and, cost and complexity were added in – that what management consultants are especially good at!
These companies already test, analyse and report to government departments, it is pretty simple to set up a dashboard of agreed data and then regularly upload data to it. It really isn’t rocket science. But get the likes of Deloittes involved and they like to control stuff….to the detriment of any outcomes.
Here’s another dig at the private sector…
“Gaps remain. Test and Trace is not able to say how fast many tests in care homes are done, for instance, as these are conducted by pharmaceutical company Randox, which uses a different system to manage its records.”
A different system? Their test data will be held in a relational database and it will be child’s play to write a data extract that would run overnight and export, analyse and report to the Minister, or Deloitte or whoever had the “other system” and import it. If there was a problem here it was with Deloitte – trust me I know about these things.
Another point about why you need to trust the laboratory experts is from a standing start they have now matched the total testing volumes undertaken by the NHS labs…
“These new data shows that the cumulative number of people tested between the end of January and late May was just under 2 million, split evenly between pillars one and two.”
And remember is was only during March when the private labs were contacted…and they’ve managed a million samples tested in 2 and a bit months..but then for them that’s just the nature of their business, they know how to get things done.
So, as I said, a pretty good analysis, but of the people the journalists talked to, I wonder how many were in senior positions in laboratory management – I think I know the answer to that and anyway, even if the system is half arsed, surely there are more important things to analyse than dodgy data.  How about the death toll?  For more discussion on the reasons that the Covid-19 death total is so high here in the UK read this article on theconversation.com – no mention of laboratory systems here.

 

Things the world can do without – pt 3

Wow it’s been over a year since I completed part 2 of this thread – sorry troops that’s retirement for you – it makes you blissfully unaware of anything that was once important 🙂

Anyway mind now focussed, thanks to Scottish Power – grrr.

So, for now, this is the final part of this thread – clearly there are plenty more things that irk me – but there’s plenty of time for them…later 🙂

Mosquitoes

As National Geographic succintly puts it:

Few animals on Earth evoke the antipathy that mosquitoes do. Their itchy, irritating bites and nearly ubiquitous presence can ruin a backyard barbecue or a hike in the woods. They have an uncanny ability to sense our murderous intentions, taking flight and disappearing milliseconds before a fatal swat. And in our bedrooms, the persistent, whiny hum of their buzzing wings can wake the soundest of sleepers.

Oh yes indeedy, they are especially irritating!

I mean what positives do they actually offer – apparently food for other things – and basically that’s it.  They cost me money every year when I’m travelling no the continent – sprays, plug-in machines amongst a variety of strategies to avoid the little buggers nibbling me!  And if they do get through that just adds to the irritation – literally!

This just in!!!

According to a new study published in the journal Acta Tropica, listening to electronic music — specifically dubstep, produced by U.S. artist Skrillex — could protect against mosquito bites. The BBC reports:Sound is “crucial for reproduction, survival, and population maintenance of many animals,” says a team of international scientists specializing in mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. They subjected adults of the species Aedes aegypti, known as the yellow fever mosquito, to electronic music to see whether it could work as a repellent. Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites, a track by Skrillex which features on his Grammy-award winning album of the same name, was chosen because of its mix of very high and very low frequencies.

“In insects, low-frequency vibrations facilitate sexual interactions, whereas noise disrupts the perception of signals from conspecifics [members of the same species] and hosts,” the scientists said. Female adult mosquitoes were “entertained” by the track and attacked hosts later and less often than those in a dubstep-free environment. Scientists said “the occurrence of blood feeding activity was lower when music was being played.” The scientists also found that mosquitoes exposed to the song had sex “far less often” than mosquitoes without music. “The observation that such music can delay host attack, reduce blood feeding, and disrupt mating provides new avenues for the development of music-based personal protective and control measures against Aedes-borne diseases.”

Who would have thought it?  That’s my holiday soundtrack sorted!!

 

Whaling

Cetaceans are some of the world’s most intriguing animals. So unless they are historically part of your diet – I’m thinking the Innuits here (where there is no pork or lamb wandering around to be eaten) – let them be.  They are doing you no harm and indeed provide such joy.

…and even protecting us as the above example shows.  So Japan, Norway and the rest of you – just stop it – NOW!

 

Irish pubs

Just why?  You’re in the middle of somewhere fantastic like Lisbon and suddenly there it is, the green facade, the smell of stale beer and quite possibly the smell of a stale drinker comatose on the pavement.  Just NO!

The beer in Portugal is better, the wine is a far better bet so please don’t export this form of culture – phew never thought i’d have to use that word in this section!!

 

Pay for view TV

Bit political this one but how do you feel with a few players dominating the media space and therefore forcing what they want you to see on you?  Sky, Fox and the like are gobbling up everything you ever wanted to watch – sport, news, entertainment and then dicing and slicing it to get their message across (Trump/Johnson) and ripping you off for the privilege.

From Wikipedia about Fox news viewers..

A study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs, as published in the Winter 03–04 issue of the Political Science Quarterly,[62] reported that poll-based findings[63] indicated that viewers of Fox News Channel, the Fox network and local Fox affiliates, including New York and Los Angeles, were more likely than viewers of other news networks to hold three misperceptions:[62]

  • 67% of Fox News Channel viewers erroneously believed that the “U.S. has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al Qaeda terrorist organization” (compared with 56% for CBS, 49% for NBC, 48% for CNN, 45% for ABC, 16% for NPR/PBS).
  • The erroneous belief that “The U.S. has found Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq” was held by 33% of Fox News Channel viewers and only 23% of CBS viewers, 19% for ABC, 20% for NBC, 20% for CNN and 11% for NPR/PBS.
  • 35% of Fox News Channel viewers erroneously believed that “the majority of people [in the world] favor the U.S. having gone to war” with Iraq (compared with 28% for CBS, 27% for ABC, 24% for CNN/HLN, 20% for NBC, 5% for NPR/PBS).

Old data I know but here’s a recent poll

I rest my case!

Give me the old BBC, properly funded, independent of government and allowed to “entertain” us all.

 

Scottish Power customer service/ Michael Ryan/Ryanair

I’ve grouped them together as they’re both crap – like really, really crap. Don’t believe me?  Well you have a couple of choices.  First off you can read my previous posts on the subject – this is the most popular post I’ve ever written (I’m still getting comments!) – I’m still working on one which is a real doosey!

… or check this out from – Which.

In 2019 they surveyed nearly 4,000 people about the customer service they’ve received from 100 UK retailers, and discovered sharp differences between sectors. Airlines, telecoms and energy providers came out worst overall. Respondents rated how valued companies make them feel, how helpful and knowledgeable staff are and how well they handle complaints. Here’s the bottom two – ooh look!!

  • 99. Scottish Power – Scottish Power customers say they don’t feel valued – a third described the energy company as ‘arrogant’.
  • 100. Ryanair – Very poor at handling complaints and most likely to be described as ‘greedy’ and ‘sneaky’.

I rest my case.  Both organisations should simply be shut down, their senior management forbidden ever to work in a position of authority again – end of!

 

Tattoos

Once again just why? I know it’s your body and your choice but I don’t get it – it doesn’t improve things as far as I’m concerned.

 

tatt

Tribal tattoos are ok – on tribes people, as it’s a cultural thing but not on Dave from round the corner though!!  Read up on their history, here’s an interesting article on the Sarawak (Borneo) tattoos, don’t just cover your arms in black ink!

I could go on but that’s enough for now!!

 

Windows 10 update history – FAIL!

Is it just me or does my desktop pc has a love hate relationship with Windows 10 – specifically the updating of the software?

I’ve lost count of the hours I’ve waited expectantly for the machine to spring back into life like a phoenix from the ashes of each system update – but no, I’m sadly disappointed and deflated each and every time.

  • Feature update to Windows 10, version 1903 – Failed to install on ‎18/‎06/‎2020 – 0x800701b1, and Failed to install on ‎20/‎12/‎2019 – 0x800701b1
  • Feature update to Windows 10, version 1909 – Failed to install on ‎06/‎05/‎2020 – 0x80240034, and Failed to install on ‎19/‎11/‎2019 – 0x800701b1
  • Feature update to Windows 10, version 1903 (3) – Last failed install attempt on ‎06/‎05/‎2020 – 0x80240034 and Last failed install attempt on ‎03/‎04/‎2020 – 0x800701b1
  • Feature update to Windows 10, version 1903 (2) – Last failed install attempt on ‎22/‎01/‎2020 – 0x800701b1
  • Feature update to Windows 10, version 1903 (4) – Last failed install attempt on ‎03/‎10/‎2019 – 0x800701b1

Here’s the complete list of Feature Fails!  I’ve tried loads of things and even going through MS online help, who were very helpful – except that they didn’t solve the basic problem…

ms

So I’m still on version 1803!  Which means I’ve missed out on the following feature updates:-

Not impressed but not surprised.  Luckily the machine is still working but every time it tells me it needs to update my heart sinks – there goes another couple of hours of my life (that I’ll never get back) while the machine goes through all the steps to download and install gigabytes of updates (does Microsoft have shares in broadband companies?) – only for it fail close to the end and then have to spend more time uninstalling all the updates – what a waste of time!

Are all power companies equally bad?

unnamedYou will know of my dealings with Scottish Energy – 2 visits to the ombudsman and 2 victories for me 🙂  Well I changed to EDF and my god, they’re just as bad.

I’m having exactly the same issues:

  • inability to add readings online that the system will accept
  • transposed readings in my bills
  • actually just garbage figures in the bills
  • extremely slow customer service
  • not a joined up company as in the online team seems to have no links to the rest of the business (are they even in the same country?)

Well I’ve just spent a few minutes “chatting” to them and getting nowhere.  Basically I’d got my first bill, lost the plot and phoned them.  I explained the situation and said that I was happy to continue paying the Direct Debit at the current figure but if they changed it (nearly trebling it) I would cancel it and see them in court – or words to the effect (I think I said I’d cancel it until they got it sorted).

So I’m waiting for them to get back to me – I’ve given them my mobile and I’ve asked for the reference numbers of the 2 new complaints (mentioned below) and the outstanding one.

Anyway here’s the transcript of my “chat” – enjoy 🙂  In the following text I am my dd is wrong, oh, apologies fore the typos! 


Info at 10:54, Jun 25:

Thank you for choosing to chat with us. An agent will be with you shortly.

Info at 10:54, Jun 25:

** Please do not share your credit card information, CV2 (Security Code) during this chat**

 

You are now connected with Sudeep.

Sudeep at 10:54, Jun 25:

Welcome to EDF Energy Online Customer Service Team. You’re chatting with Sudeep. How can I help you?

my dd is wrong at 10:54, Jun 25:

name is adrian paul west

my dd is wrongat 10:55, Jun 25:

my dd is wrong. I told you not to change it and you have. Sort it now or I’m registering a complaint with the ombudsman

Sudeep at 10:55, Jun 25:

I understand your concern. I will check the account and try my best to assist you further regarding this.

my dd is wrong at 10:55, Jun 25:

It should be £135

my dd is wrong at 10:57, Jun 25:

You are supposed to be investigating my meter readings – your system is transposing them. I have 2 previous successful complaints to the ombudsman about this. I even sent you the text of the last judgement….this is gross negilgence!!

my dd is wrong at 10:57, Jun 25:

I keep getting emails from you saying you’re still investigating it. Why is it taking so long and why, after my express request that the dd remain the same until the issue had been sorted have you increased it?

my dd is wrong at 10:58, Jun 25:

Apology required and dd put back to original figure, refund issued today and then sort things at your end…or else!

my dd is wrongat 10:58, Jun 25:

Maybe this time I’ll consider a larger claim and take you to small claims court…

Sudeep at 10:59, Jun 25:

I can understand your concern and Please allow me some time to review your account details.

my dd is wrong at 11:00, Jun 25:

Maybe I’ll also cancel the direct debit, then you’d have to take me to court to get your ooney, and as history has proven – you’d lose

my dd is wrong at 11:00, Jun 25:

It should be a simple matter….

my dd is wrong at 11:03, Jun 25:

C’mon how long is this going to take?

Sudeep at 11:03, Jun 25:

I am disusing this with team.

my dd is wrong at 11:04, Jun 25:

Discussing it? It’s a clear cut case. You are failing to do your part of the deal, you need to refund the £319 NOW and then reinstate the £135 DD until you can manage to read the details of the ombudsman’s judgement that I sent to you….

my dd is wrong at 11:05, Jun 25:

The fact that it has taken this long, from me sending you ALL the necessary information, is simply unacceptable.

Sudeep at 11:06, Jun 25:

Thank you for waiting.

my dd is wrong at 11:07, Jun 25:

I’ve been waiting for WEEKS for you to read my email….do you think that is acceptable? I’m sure a court wouldn’t – even given the CV19 situation

my dd is wrong at 11:08, Jun 25:

I also want to see that your system is updated so that whenI log into my online account it shows the DD as £135…

Sudeep at 11:09, Jun 25:

As I can see that your issue is highlighted and concern team is working on this. I am reducing your Direct Debit to £135 for time being till that transposed reads gets resolved.

my dd is wrong at 11:10, Jun 25:

and the refund ?

my dd is wrong at 11:10, Jun 25:

And why is it taking so long for your people to “resolve” things. I have given you the evidence – just sort it!

Sudeep at 11:11, Jun 25:

It is to inform you that it needs to be investigated and it takes time to correct the transposed reads.

my dd is wrong at 11:11, Jun 25:

Sorry what about the refund of the overcharge that you put in place AFTER we had discussed the matter and your people had saisd they would sort it…weeks ago?

my dd is wrong at 11:12, Jun 25:

You’ve had weeks and weeks – actually months since I frst reported the issue – so why is your team so pathetically slow?

Sudeep at 11:12, Jun 25:

I will process the refund for the difference of difference amount.

my dd is wrongat 11:13, Jun 25:

And when will I see the money in my account? And when will your online system beupdated?

Sudeep at 11:14, Jun 25:

I will process the refund for the difference amount of £184 and also changed your Direct Debit to £13.

my dd is wrong at 11:14, Jun 25:

And how much longer do your people need to resolve natters? Have they even bothered to look nito it yet? I doubt it..

Sudeep at 11:14, Jun 25:

Sorry.

Sudeep at 11:14, Jun 25:

I will process the refund for the difference amount of £184 and also changed your Direct Debit to £135.

my dd is wrong at 11:14, Jun 25:

I think you mean £135…

my dd is wrong at 11:14, Jun 25:

When will the money be back in my account?

Sudeep at 11:15, Jun 25:

It takes 3 to 4 weeks to complete the investigation in this matter.

my dd is wrong at 11:15, Jun 25:

Well you’ve had that at least…so what are you doing? My patience is weari g thin – especially when you pull strokes like this dd matter

Sudeep at 11:15, Jun 25:

You will receive the refund with in 3 to 5 working days to your bank account.

my dd is wrong at 11:16, Jun 25:

Not good enough I want it today. It’s my money and you’ve taken it in contravention of an agreement we had. Get it sorted today

Sudeep at 11:16, Jun 25:

Please be rest assured You have ongoing complaint and we are working on it to get this resolves as soon as possible.

my dd is wrong at 11:17, Jun 25:

oh you’ve spotted that have you? Interesting that it hasn’t made a blind bit of difference in terms of your performance

Sudeep at 11:17, Jun 25:

I am sorry to inform you that refund take 3 to 5 working days to get credited in the bank account.

my dd is wrong at 11:18, Jun 25:

OK then I’d like compensation please. Interest charged at 5% per day…

my dd is wrong at 11:18, Jun 25:

..and actually you could sort it today, I do understand how compannies work. You just can’t be arsed to ask the people in authoriuty because it’ll make your team look bad…

Sudeep at 11:19, Jun 25:

I can understand your concern Adrian.

my dd is wrong at 11:20, Jun 25:

No, I don’t believe you do, and as I’ve never met you before this I think Mr West would be a more appropriate form of salutatyion

my dd is wrong at 11:20, Jun 25:

I want my money in my account today please.

my dd is wrong at 11:21, Jun 25:

And I’d like to rasie a second complaint, maybe 2 in fact..

my dd is wrong at 11:22, Jun 25:

  1. the length of time it has taken you to sort the meter readings (and you haven’t actually managed to sort it in truth) is unacceptable and holding emails are not the answer..

my dd is wrong at 11:23, Jun 25:

  1. Is the fact that you’ve have taken £319 out of my account after a conversagtion with your people on the phone when it was agreed that the dd would remain at £135 until the readings ere resolved – you’ve breached that agreement

my dd is wrong at 11:23, Jun 25:

Please send me the reference numbers for these 2 new complaints and the existing one

Sudeep at 11:24, Jun 25:

We can process refund and it takes 3 to 5 working days from bank to get this credited to the customers bank account. It is the normal procedure of refund However, If you wish refund today then please contact your bank ask then get your money back.

my dd is wrong at 11:25, Jun 25:

OK because you are in breach of the agreement I will stop the dd until the matter is resolved. This too should not come s a shock as it was highlighted on the call…

my dd is wrong at 11:26, Jun 25:

I am not spending anymore money to get back what is owed to me, and owed to me today – not when your bean countrers can get round to doing it. If it;s anything like your team investigating the readings then it could be months before I get my money back

my dd is wrong at 11:26, Jun 25:

Please inform me of the new complaint references..

Sudeep at 11:28, Jun 25:

Let me transfer our chat to senior advisor to assist you further in this.

Sudeep at 11:28, Jun 25:

Please stay connected.

my dd is wrong at 11:32, Jun 25:

oh, anytime today….

my dd is wrong at 11:34, Jun 25:

this isn’t improving my mood you know. Being left “on hold” with no indication of when things willprogress.

my dd is wrong at 11:35, Jun 25:

I’ll give you a couple of more minutes and then I’m afraid I’m going to have to drop off. But rest assured I will copy the details of the conversation and publish it on social media

 

Info at 11:36, Jun 25:

You are now being transferred to Balaji.

Info at 11:36, Jun 25:

** Please do not share your credit card information, CV2 (Security Code) during this chat**

 

You are now connected with Balaji.

Balaji at 11:36, Jun 25:

Hi Adrian

Balaji at 11:37, Jun 25:

Please allow me a few minutes to read your chat.

my dd is wrong at 11:37, Jun 25:

No offence but what has been gonig no for the past 10 minutes?

my dd is wrong at 11:37, Jun 25:

…and as before I think Mr West is more appropriate..

Balaji at 11:38, Jun 25:

Sorry for that Mr West. Allow me a couple of minutes please.

my dd is wrong at 11:39, Jun 25:

At this point you have repeatedly said that you can’t get my money back to me today so i need you to is to raise the 2 new complaints and give me the refernces for them and the exisitng one. Thank you

 

Balaji at 11:41, Jun 25:

Well, I have reviewed the above chat. We are happy to refund you the difference of £319.00 – £135.00 = £184.00. This may take around 3-5 working days to reflect on your bank account as per the standard online banking process. If you want it to be credited instantly, you need to contact your bank today. I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

my dd is wrong at 11:42, Jun 25:

so notyhing new n that..a wadte of time waiting for you sof ar

Balaji at 11:43, Jun 25:

We have given you all the options. May I know when did you agree via call to keep it at £135.00 ?

Balaji at 11:43, Jun 25:

I will right away check that.

my dd is wrong at 11:43, Jun 25:

Also it’s not about being happy to refund the money it’s being apologetic for taking it in the frst place…

my dd is wrong at 11:43, Jun 25:

check your records…you record the calls

Balaji at 11:45, Jun 25:

I do not see any recent telephonic interaction regarding the Direct Debit. Please confirm the month or date when you agreed to it.

my dd is wrong at 11:45, Jun 25:

I specifically remember saying that you had got the bill wrong, so there it was around the date when you posted me the bill, and that I’d supplied all the informatino you needed to confirm that what I waa telling you was thew truth and then I said I was happy to continue paying the £`35 , until it was sorted, but that if you charged me at this new higher rate I would cancel the dd…so I’m being pretty reasonable just asking for my money back I think…don’t you?

my dd is wrong at 11:47, Jun 25:

oh dear….are your records not complete? Perhaps that would explain why your team hasn’t managed to sort the readings issue yet then

my dd is wrong at 11:49, Jun 25:

have you got the emails I have sent previously? The one with the ombudsman’s final judgement attached is probably the same day that I called…

Balaji at 11:49, Jun 25:

Okay let me check.

my dd is wrong at 11:50, Jun 25:

Have you raiswed the 2 new complaints yet? I really wan their reference numbers, and that of the outstanding complaint and then I can get on with the rest of my day…

my dd is wrong at 11:50, Jun 25:

why are you only checking now…surely the first thing you should have done was to read all communication on the account…the mind boggles

Balaji at 11:52, Jun 25:

Mr West, I am checking the account and it may take some time. Please allow me a few minutes.

my dd is wrong at 11:53, Jun 25:

ok tell you what. You have my contact details. Please raise the 2 new complaints, then email me the reference numbers. If you need to speak to me call me on my mobile 

my dd is wrong at 11:53, Jun 25:

I’ve spent more than enough time on here trying to sort things, and I don’t feel thatb I’m making much progress. So take the time to investigate things at your end and then get back yo me.

Balaji at 11:54, Jun 25:

Can you please confirm the date and the contact number used to ring us?

my dd is wrong at 11:54, Jun 25:

The one on the bill

Balaji at 11:55, Jun 25:

Okay. Allow me a few minutes as we would not be able to call you back as we are from online services. I will resolve it in the next few minutes. Please bare with us.

my dd is wrong at 11:55, Jun 25:

Ah, a joined up company then.


Ah, the joys of a 2 phase electricity supply…

Regards!!

Aegon and the Great British Pension Robbery


Aegon
expects you to have read its terms and conditions.  In fact if you haven’t read their terms and conditions they’ll refuse to enrol you into their schemes.  Now we all know that people don’t usually read the t’s and c’s – we all just tick the box – especially as companies don’t make their t’s and c’s user friendly – they’re usually full of legalese and cross referenced – I’m sure that corporate lawyers can understand them but – you and I – the people who are supposed to be protected by them – can’t!

I recently tried to combine my workplace pensions (my company decided it would be a good thing – for them – to change the pension a few years ago) and on my second telephone call (plus emails btw) I was asked had I read the terms and conditions.  I was informed that they ran to 180 pages – I kid you not – I asked her to repeat this figure several times – and because I said obviously I hadn’t read them she refused to do what I had requested – so I’m moving my money elsewhere – to hell with them.

Now I have already identified that the wording of these terms and conditions will be painful for the average human being to read AND then understand what they mean to him or her so here is a list of books – yes that’s right whole books – some of them classics which are under 200 pages….

Here’s just a few of them, how about:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I’m sure a lot of us will have read one of more of these books – but just how long did it take, did you have to go back and re-read bits, did you understand what was going on whilst you were reading a passage or did you have to look elsewhere before you could fully understand it?

…and these were primarily for entertainment, your pension and future life wouldn’t be impacted if you failed to grasp the subtle meaning of a phrase here and there…

I’m going to try and find the document/s that make up this 180 pages and post them here for your enjoyment.  But in the meantime here are some short stories to keep you going…

Here’s just a few of their documents they expect you to have read.

…and there are loads – and of course every so often they update them – it is beyond the wit of man to keep up with them – but of course that’s exactly what they want!

I shall return to this topic once I have completed my download task!!

Watch this space!!

Things the world can do without – part 2

Profiteering

Disproportionately large or grossly unfair profit, generated often through manipulation of prices, abuse of dominant position, or by exploiting a bad or unusual situation such as temporary scarcity. There is usually no governmental control over profiteering unless it involves illegal means or the government can be arsed to sort it as it benefits their cronies!!

Think about the privatisation of power supply – I mean how has that benefits us, the masses?  Answer not one iota!  You’ve got the likes of Scottish Power and their friends constantly claiming that costs need to rise (presumably so they can pay their own bonuses) yet the service that you and I receive is appalling.

Apple is another company that has promoted profiteering – and sadly the rest of the mobile industry has caught on – I mean when you can buy a touchscreen 15″ laptop with shed-loads of memory (RAM and ROM) and a whole host of components and that massive screen for around £300 – why does a phone have to cost £1,500?  Simple – so Tim Apple can sit on a $285Bn cashpile – that’s why!

 

 

Donald Trump aka f**kwit!

Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Nov. 8, 2016. He has been a real estate developer, entrepreneur and host of the NBC reality show, “The Apprentice.”  Trump’s statements were awarded PolitiFact’s 2015 and 2017 Lie of the Year.

Born and raised in New York City, Trump is married to Melania Trump, a former model from Slovenia. Trump has five children and eight grandchildren. Three of his children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, serve as executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization.

Basically he’s a self-publicist and a liar!  Here are some of his lies…

He claims to know more about almost anything than anyone else and that he is an extremely (perhaps the most) successful businessman ever…really?

Well here are some of his business failures:

  • Trump Airlines
  • Trump beverages
  • Trump the game
  • Trump casinos
  • Trump magazine
  • Trump mortgage
  • Trump travel site
  • Trumpnet
  • Trump University

Yeah basically he’s the son of a successful businessman who is pissing his father’s inheritance up against the wall – and sadly forcing us to watch.

Putin’s calendars

One month, there’s Vladimir Putin topless in the woods with a gun. On the next page, he’s fishing in a white button-down shirt and trousers. No, they’re not pictures from the Russian president’s eHarmony page.

They’re from a calendar devoted to pictures of Putin that make him look strong, yet likeable. P-lease!

Enough of this fake fandom – this is an odious individual with a personal image complex.  We do not need to see images of Vlad topless (unless he’s missing his head that is) nor on horseback, nor cuddling leopards, holding up gigantic fish or even petting fluffy (but sufficiently manly large) dogs!

And of course it’s only going to get worse.. Those man-boobs are going to sag further, the bingo wings will develop and the comb-over will slide further and further back.  Vlad it’s not going to look pretty so just stop it please.  you know it makes sense!

Brussel Sprouts

“19 things you didn’t know about Brussel Sprouts”, yep somebody (Olivia Parker) actually wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph on that very subject – and some of them defy belief – powering Christmas trees ffs??

I can tell you a number of things about sprouts – they are, most definitely, the spawn of the devil, not only do they smell disgusting when being cooked they taste disgusting too.  Any recipe which includes sprouts as one of the ingredients like Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Chestnuts will ruin those other ingredients – instantly!

Frequently sprouts are boiled to the consistency of Ulva Lactuca – otherwise known as Sea Lettuce – it’s an algae and frankly pretty gelatinous once cooked.

They’re now an integral part of Christmas – though lord knows why – some have suggested that it appears to be a case of timing. Not only is sprout season slap bang in the middle of Christmas, but the modern roast dinner was invented around the same time that sprouts were first imported to a large scale.

Either way they’re disgusting and we don’t need them – I’ll get my vitamin C from an orange every time!

 

Trophy Hunters & Poachers

Trophy hunters, those who kill animals for recreation rather than out of necessity, imported more than 1.26 million trophies to the U.S. in the decade from 2005 through 2014, according to an analysis of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s import data by Humane Society International and the Humane Society of United States. That’s an average of 126,000 trophy imports a year, or 345 a day!  And that’s disgusting!

I’m delighted to see that there’s a Facebook page dedicated to publicising the morons who think that killing animals for sport is perfectly acceptable thing to do!

Poachers are doing the same thing put this time for money, think of all the elephants and rhinos that are systematically slaughtered for some ludicrous alternative therapy or for the vanity of many around the world.

An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts, leaving only 400,000 remaining. An insatiable lust for ivory products in the Asian market makes the illegal ivory trade extremely profitable, and has led to the slaughter of tens of thousands of African elephants.

In just a decade, more than 7,912 African rhinos have been lost to poaching.

Enough is enough people!

Middle lane dawdlers

The British really do have some appalling diseases and this is one of their worst, an almost pathological fear of being in the inside lane on a motorway.

New fixed penalties were intended to reduce the number of people lane hogging and carrying out other acts of careless driving on UK motorways, but it’s still prevalent today.

With the number of traffic police falling, it’s increasingly difficult for police to fine lane hoggers, and it’s not something that can be monitored using cameras in the same way speeding can.

Education, rather than punishment, is a more viable way of reducing the number of lane hoggers in the long term.

The Government has announced motorway lessons for learner drivers will be an option from 2018, but they will not be mandatory. If learner drivers were given practical lessons in lane discipline, this would help reduce the number of lane hoggers.

Wasps

Not the rugby club, nor even the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants but the annoying stingey, stripey things that appear to serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever.  Wasps aren’t just annoying – if you are unlucky, you might end up with a sharp reminder that wasps, like their close relatives the honeybee, pack a powerful sting. That combination of nuisance and pain makes wasps many people’s least favourite animals.

Unlike bees, the vast majority of wasps play no role in pollination – at all – however according to scientists from University College London (UCL) and the University of Gloucestershire a world without wasps would be a world with a very much larger number of insect pests on our crops and gardens!

Apparently the social wasps that irritate us sooo much consume 14 million kilograms of insect prey across the summer!  Hmm I’m still not convinced that I think there’s a better way!!

Right – that’s enough for part 2.  In part three we’ll finally get to topics such as whaling, Irish pubs, Scottish Power, tattoos and yes, RyanAir!!

 

 

Things the world can do without – part 1

This is in no particular order – other than that’s the order I wrote them down in initially – I was having a coffee at Wisley – the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens in surrey when the idea/s came to mind.  This list is definitely not exhaustive – I’m sure more will come to mind as I’m writing it – and yes maybe it is cathartic – so ignore what some people might say – when it is done it is sorted, packaged and filed away – and the world is once again a pinker and fluffier place 🙂

So let’s get stuck right in:

Nigel Farage

Let’s be honest – what a twat!  A lying, self publicist who slags things on one hand whilst trousering their dollars with the other.  Like Boris Johnson (see later) he shifts his position with the wind.  He’ll spin a story, bend the truth, hide the evidence and generally slither around like the odious piece of human excrement he resembles.

One of these days the media is going to realise that he’s a clown, and deny him the air of publicity he thrives on.  Go on Nigel bugger off – for good!

Christopher Chope

Like Farage before him this man also smells of shit.  But this one is actually worse. This insane individual who believes that he is really helping by blocking the sort of legislation that needs to get through Parliament asap because there is some itty-bitty technical misspelling or something needs to be de-selected as a matter or urgency.

He claimed £136,992 in parliamentary expenses in 2007-8.

He helped to lead backbench support for the motion calling for a referendum to leave the European Union.

He voted against the legislation for same-sex marriage in 2013.

He voted against requiring all companies with more than 250 employees to declare the gap in pay between the average male and average female salaries.

He objected to the second reading of the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill.

He blocked the passage of a private member’s bill that would have made upskirting a specific offence.

He objected to a bill which would have amended the Children Act 1989 in order to increase the protective power of courts over girls at risk of female genital mutiliation.

He really is a self-centred nasty, mean minded individual.  We need him out of our lives – pronto!!

Chris Grayling

This one is more dangerous as he has more power (unbelievably).  He’s held any number of high level government posts – yep at Ministerial level.  but there’s one thing that marks his tenure at each of these and that’s his complete incompetence.  He really is a fuckwit!

The list of his cock-ups is legendary, Owen Jones, writing in the Guardian sets them out far better than I could 🙂

The following is a direct lift from his wikipedia page:

He published a number of books as well as working for the BBC and Channel 4 before going into politics. A member of the Social Democratic Party until 1988, he then joined the Conservatives. First elected to Parliament in the 2001 general election for Epsom and Ewell, he was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet of David Cameron in 2005 as Shadow Secretary of State for Transport.

From 2007 he became the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and in 2009 he was appointed Shadow Home Secretary. Following the 2010 general election and the formation of the Coalition Government, Grayling was made the Minister of State for Employment.

In September 2012, he was appointed to the UK Cabinet as the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice from 2012 to 2015. He was the first non-lawyer to have served as Lord Chancellor for at least 440 years. He was the Leader of the House of Commons and the Lord President of the Council between 2015 and 2016.

I’m flabbergasted….how can this happen?

Momentum

Momentum describes itself as a new kind of politics.  Really?  Seems pretty Stalinist to me – with its attempts to erase any form of alternative viewpoint than Saint Jeremy’s anaemic view of the world.  Hmm what it has actually done is to polarise things. So rather than build momentum behind getting rid of the Tories and installing a decent Labour government it has alienated a large chunk of the centre Labour vote.  so much so that even this ludicrously incompetent Tory government is still ahead in the pools after all the crap they’ve dumped on the British public- it really beggars belief!

Infuriatingly Saint Jeremy has contributed to this by basking in their fawning glory and refusing to have any sensible opinions of his own!!  Twat!

Momentum isn’t all bad – getting everyone eligible to vote on the list is a good thing, as is opposing the Tories per se but they’ve just gone about a lot of things the wrong way.  We don’t need them.

Racism

I’m sorry but I really really don’t understand why the colour of a person’s skin should make any difference what so ever.  People are people – some are nice, and some are nasty, some are funny – some aren’t, some are criminals – some aren’t. In fact it clearly isn’t just the “colour” of your skin it’s the “shade” of the colour of your skin.

This is getting ludicrous.

I’m white and I’ve experienced racism and it isn’t good – but that was a single occasion and it was over fast.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to experience it – day in, day out.  But focus on the core issue not some spurious argument based on tribal differences.

 

Religion

Where do I start? Look I get it, some people need a “religion” to enable them to make sense (or rather abrogate any intelligent thought on the matter) of their place in the universe. It’s a scary thing to try and get your head round the ultimate question – no not that one – the other one “Why am I here?”

But if we were to say, outside of any religious connotations, that we had an imaginary friend, who spoke to us we’d be carted off to the funny farm or dosed up with chemicals to manage the medical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Worse than that the people who claim to be “holier than thou” are actually a bunch of money grabbing, misogynisitic, paedophiles!!

You might argue that Buddhism is a nicer religion but it’s still based on beliefs which cannot be proven scientifically – so I’d argue it’s just safer to steer clear of them – all of them!!  They just cause too much trouble.

Anyone who voted for Brexit!

You are all complete idiots.  see definition of idiots

  • noun: very stupid person, or alternatively fool, jerk, moron, nitwit, stupid, twit, blockhead, bonehead, cretin, dimwit, dork, dumbbell, dunce, ignoramus, imbecile, kook, muttonhead, nincompoop, ninny, pinhead, simpleton, tomfool, out to lunch.

 

In part 2 read what I think about topics such as profiteering, Donald Trump, Putin’s calendars, trophy hunters and RyanAir – amongst others 🙂

 

Bravo Mr Bezos

Ok for starters, let me say upfront, that playing away from home when in a relationship is not a good thing. It’s often symptomatic of a relationship that is already broken. However in this particular instance the are others issues, issues that impact on many more people that take priority over any moral indignation.

I’m referring to the recent public admissions of infidelity by the head honcho of Amazon, Jeff Bezos.

in this instance AMI, the publishers of the National Enquirer, had managed to get hold of some intimate texts and “dick-picks” that the Mr Bezos and his paramore had been sending to each other. AMI has been trying to use these to blackmail Bezos into stopping an investigation into how the tabloid obtained text messages exposing his extra-marital affair.

Federal investigators and legitimate media have of course suspected and proved that Mr. Pecker has used the Enquirer and AMI for political reasons. And yet AMI keeps claiming otherwise:

“American Media emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise.”

Of course, legitimate media have been challenging that assertion for a long time.

AMI threatened to publish the pictures and the texts thereby embarrassing Mr Bezos into stopping this investigation.

However, rather than capitulate to the blackmail, Mr Bezos decided to go public about it and has published the specific details of what AMI have actually said, including the detailed descriptions of the texts and images!

Well done Mr Bezos, in this instance – even though some might argue that being one of the richest men in the world he has an ego similar to that of Vladimir Putin and the idea of people seeing him as some kind of Lothario, at his age, might just give him a semi!!!

But well done anyway for exposing the extortion, the corruption and the hypocrisy that exists in Trump’s America.

But not so much well done in the infidelity bit!!

The folly of phone design

So, tell me, why after the development of phone design over the past 20 years that has claimed to make them so robust e.g. Gorilla Glass, ceramic backs and the like are they so bloody fragile?

My Samsung Galaxy S8+ is actually cracked in 2 places on the front and the back has several cracks running the full length.   I was quoted £250 to replace them but as it turns out to be an “International” version the company wouldn’t touch it.  I’m not even aware of how it got so damaged.  The only thing I can think of is that it came into contact with something else in my trouser pockets – possibly a key or possible a coin.  I’ll admit to having dropped it a couple of times but on both occasions it has either been fine or been protected by the case I have had to purchase to protect it since it got cracked!!

This from Tom’s Guide – Phone Drop Test results 2018:

Good news: Chances are, your phone will survive a 6-foot fall onto wood and, if it’s lucky enough to land on its edge, withstand drops onto concrete with minimal damage.

Bad news: If you don’t have a screen protector, there’s a really good chance something’s going to break.

It seems that the Motorola Moto Z2 Force was the winner – in fact, Motorola guarantees that the screen on the Moto Z2 Force won’t crack – and in Tom’s test’s – it didn’t! – but the rest suffered in varying degrees.  Sadly they aren’t planning on producing a Force version of the Moto Z3 – shame on you Lenovo!

So what else is happening in the world of screens and screen protection – improving that area is absolutely key.  Well the current leader in this area has to be Corning and their “Gorilla Glass” product which has been lauded around the globe by just about every phone manufacturer.

Visually stunning, incredibly tough Corning® Gorilla® Glass enables today’s sleekest smartphone and tablet designs, while providing exceptional damage resistance to the scratches and bumps of everyday use. Gorilla Glass is sensitive enough for today’s most sophisticated touch applications, and is available with an easy-to-clean coating.

Hmm the scratches and bumps of everyday use…I’d like to see their definition of that!  As millions of phone owners will testify Gorilla Glass is about as robust as a paper bag! Samsung did announce in July 2018 that they’d developed a bendable and unbreakable screen – I’d settle for unbreakable – the folding phone is interesting but not essential – an unbreakable screen IS essential!  and why do I say that?  Well it should be obvious – just look at the sumptuous photo shots that are being used to sell us this year’s latest phone – just check out those curves – I mean phaaw, c’mon!  Manufacturers have invested billions in designing “sexy”, “cool”, phones but sadly they also appear to have built in “built in obsolescence” as well.  I shouldn’t really be surprised.  However as the price of these phones skyrockets it is inevitable that replacement cycles will grow longer – so c’mon guys make the bloody things last better!

In some products’ life-cycle the manufacturers can make as much profit from marketing the accessories as they can from the main device itself but the ludicrously high cost of today’s phones (and no I don’t buy the precious metals argument I bit!) is such that it wouldn’t be worth the issues of product inventory management – lots of low value accessories is a real pain to manage!!  And easy to get wrong!

So please, will someone get the cost of producing Micro-LED screens down so we can start using them, thus saving power (and therefore eliminating the current issue of running out of juice) and at the same time due to their power efficiency and increased brightness can we have plastic coating applied which stops them cracking so damned easily – please?

What are Micro-LEDs I hear you ask? Well this – thanks to Anroidpit.com for the words!

Micro LEDs is a new technology still in its infancy, but it has great potential to become the next big thing on the display market. Micro LED displays work similarly to OLED panels, but are even thinner. They consist of inorganic semiconductors, specifically a gallium-nitrite combination. Like OLEDs, these are light-emitting diodes, but they are much smaller.

Backlighting is not necessary with micro-LEDs, nor is a polarization filter required. The glass layer above the panel can also be slimmed even further. The brightness per watt, which simplifies the efficiency of the displays, is even better than that of OLED panels and beats LCD by far. With the same brightness, a micro-LED display requires only half as much energy as an OLED screen, in some cases even less. The extremely small diodes also allow higher resolutions on the same surface – a 4K smartwatch would be conceivable with micro LEDs. Last but not least, micro LED screens are not as susceptible to pixel burn-in as OLED displays.

And as wireless charging is the de facto standard these days let’s just make sure that the phone back will allow inductance charging, avoid unnecessary fingerprint smearing and oh yes – stop bloody cracking!!

So c’mon Lenovo, Samsung, OnePlus etc etc – let’s see all of this in the new Z4, S10, 7T etc etc- I know it’s CES time – so go for it guys!