Category Archives: life the universe and everything

These are a few of my favourite things

Agios Stefanos, Avliotes, NW Corfu.

Maltezers

Family and friends

My car

Margaux wine

Liverpool football club

The West Wing, series 1-6

Bougainvillea

Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons

Knowing that you have got the right girl when she calls cyclists bastards.

Athuruga, Maldives

The Dream Society by Ralf Jensen

Acts of random kindness

Technology…that works

Being beside the sea

Funky business

The Cluetrain Manifesto

Armani jeans

Business as usual…

As you get older you keep hearing or seeing or reading stuff that makes you think – hang on I’ve seen/heard/read something like that before – whether it’s fashion (No!  Please do NOT bring back flares!), music (whether intentionally as in sampling or “unintentionally” as in My Sweet Lord and others) or books and articles about business.

funkyRight at the end of the last millenium – yep you read that right – the last millenium, before we’d ever heard of “Millenials” (although the term was first coined back in 1987 – by William Strauss and Neil Howe) there were a number of talented individuals who were thinking and writing about how business needed to change. Some of them like Kjell Nordstrom and Jonas Riddestrale wrote books about how “Business as usual was uninspired, talent doesn’t want to work there and people don’t want to shop there” (I can no longer find the original edition – this is the 4th version of the book).   Others like Gary Hamel talked about “Leading the Revolution” while Joseph Pine and  James Gilmore wrote about the “Experience Economy” – work is theatre and every business a stage.

My personal hero Rolf Jensen at the Copenhagen of future Studies wrote about “The Dream Society” – he saw that in an age where information was ubiquitous those who could turn information into simple stories were the most valuable people.  I remember the publication of the “Cluetrain Manifesto” and how “obvious” that seemed – yet few people really got it! I was lucky enough to go to a Fast Company organised talk by Guy Kawasaki’s about his Rules for Revolutionaries – clearly someone who “got it”!

There were others, too numerous to mention here, but these are the key thinkers who formed the background of my personal development around work, business and life and, more importantly, they still do today!

For the past 14 years I’ve been working in an environment which is a complete opposite to the dynamic and invigorating world my thought leaders set out as the future – but it hasn’t stopped me holding true to my beliefs and hoping that maybe, one day, things might change 🙂

Well thanks to an excellent article on inc.com by the CEO of Hootsuite – Ryan Holmes – called “Move over, Millenials” I’ve now realised that the themes, that I’ve held true for so long, are coming back into business fashion – maybe they never really went away!!

It seems that during my “dark ages” period thinkers have continued to think – which is nice – and bless him, Ryan has alerted me to the writings of one Brian Solis and anyone who can get the following into his work is ok by me…

“There’s an old quote by Leo Tolstoy that says, ‘We all talk of change, but none of us talk of changing ourselves.’

eob_coverHe’s totally correct – there’s an elite at the top of business that live by the rules of the MBA or some other similar “method” – and they need to change their ways – pronto.  The thing is – he’s saying stuff that was said 20 years ago.

His website covering “The end of business as usual” – sound similar to the funky Business gurus’ “Business as usual was uninspired…”?  Yep thought so 🙂

Hmmm and wasn’t the same phrase “The end of business of usual” prominently positioned on the front cover of the Cluetrain Manifesto?

cluetrainOh yes, so it was 🙂

He’s also using some research from Nielsen which was published back in 2010 about the emergence of “Generation C” – and it’s good stuff, and he’s been banging on about it for at least 6 years – but it isn’t actually telling us anything more than the Cluetrain Manifesto did way, way back, before the emergence of all these social media.

And do you remember what Seth Godin said about that?

If you don’t think you need this book to better understand your market, that’s your second mistake!

Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing

I found this in a document I wrote for my current employers back in 2014…

Companies have segmented their customers into groups based on age, sex, income, and other demographics for many years, an approach which works best when you are able to develop and market discrete products and services for those segments – a “Push” approach – “tell them and they will come”.

Increasingly customers are more discriminating, they are exposed to more marketing, and more hype and more “buy me” messages.  Since the post war baby boom they have gone on a journey driven by technological, economic and social change.

Successful companies must deal with the idealism then scepticism, and cynicism that best describes modern generations.  Understanding and catering for their differing mindsets is key to engaging with them.

…and yep it wasn’t acted upon.  But hey, let’s be positive – could it be that things are about to change – will those ideas from the last millenium finally get to be understood now that we’re onto Generation “C”?

Let’s get back to Ryan Holmes article, helpfully it contains some key facts we need to know about Gen C and ways that companies can better reach and understand this key group!!

So what is Generation “C”? Well back in 2004 it was theorised that “C” meant content and it was all about their ability to create and share it.  However 14 years on and I’d agree with Solis and Holmes when they say fundamentally the “C” means “Connectivity” – how these people embrace technology to enable their “digital lifestyles”.

All the previous “Generations” are delimited by the date of birth – what range do they fall into?  Well, I love this next bit – Here’s the critical fact: Gen C isn’t an age group at all. It’s a mindset.

“What sets Gen C apart is connectivity, in its fullest sense. Members are not merely online – they’re active and engaged in online communities, from the familiar social networks to product review sites. They’re not just consuming content, they’re creating and curating it.”

woman-789146_1280

They “live” on digital media – phone, tablet, pc, Mac – to the detriment of traditional media channels such TV and Radio.  It’s their choice as to how and when they interact – and much of that is going to be on the basis of information they’ve received or gathered from their social media accounts!

So, for a business, to reach them you have to do it on their terms.  And to get the holy grail – a “word-of-mouth” recommendation on Facebook, a creative meme that goes viral on Twitter or a thumbs up from a trusted influencer – you need to work really hard and be incredibly creative AND timely – remember they love good content AND their attention span is about the size of a gnat’s!

You have been warned, don’t be the next House of Fraser, reinvention is vital, storytelling in just a few words is critical and boy you’ve gotta be fast – hesitate and you’ve missed it, just like last time 🙂

Man this is gonna be such fun!!

Praise for PayPal – praise indeed!

OK I admit it – I fell for an online scam!

I saw this advertised – well not exactly this, as the page has long since gone, but this is basically what was on offer at “a great deal for a limited time” yeah I know…sucker!!

N.B. – this post has nothing to do with any company mentioned in the above video, unless that is they are called…

Ivory Tower Tech Co., LTD

I mean you’d be mad not to want one wouldn’t you?

So I ordered one and I got an order confirmation and then I waited….

3 weeks later I thought I’d check to see how things were progressing – I guessed it was coming from China so I expected there would be a significant delay…however when i checked I got a bit of a shock

  1. the tracking number – bogus,
  2. the customer service email address listed on the PayPal transaction page – bogus.

So after a few strong words and the gnawing realisation that I’d been had I raised a ticket with PayPal.  That was pretty simple thing to do and that gave me some confidence that I stood a chance of getting some money back.

The very same day I got a DHL package – guess what?  It was a foam bodyboard, not the expected electric board, from you know who and the customs label on the outside kindly told me that the value was $10 – somewhat less than I had shelled out.  Taking this as good quality evidence of the scam I updated PayPal with my exciting new information.

I received several update emails from them over the next week and then hey presto…

We’ve completed our review and decided this claim in your favour.

Not only that but shortly afterwards came the email saying that I could transfer the money out of my PayPal account – result!  Massive kudos to PayPal for sorting this out so quickly – definitely gives me confidence in using them as a payment provider.

The moral of this story is, as they keep saying “if it looks too good – it is” – buyer beware!  In my own defence it would seem that I’m not the only person who has been caught out by their clever marketing 🙂

So, anybody want to buy a foam bodyboard? It’s definitely the best thing you’ve ever seen! [Photo to follow]

Oh and if you want to know more about Ivory tower – get in contact with Amanda!

Shenzhen Everbest Import & Export Co., Ltd is a high-tech enterprise funded by Ivory Tower Electronics (Thailand) CO., Ltd which was founded in 1996 and its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. We are a group which specialized in the designing, manufacturing of the digital products and brand running.

We always adhere to the principle of “mutual cooperation and benefit “to welcome all the customers to visit and consult. At the same time, we look forward to building bright future with you for the Chinese electronics enterprise.
Contact Info:
Contact: Amanda
Skype: amanda04620

I’m sure she’d love to chat 🙂

AR or VR?

In the week that the Washington Post’s tech correspondent Geoffrey A Fowler gives his view of the $2.3 billion funded Magic Leap goggles I think it apposite to have a quick discussion about which way forward – AR or VR?

First off some definitions:

  • AR (Augmented Reality) – a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.
  • VR (Virtual Reality) – the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.

[thanks to Google Dictionary for these)

This is the classic idea of Virtual Reality goggles – something that is truly immersive – it cuts you off from the “real” world, is large and clumpy and makes you look like a dork – especially if you choose to wear them in the open air like this numpty!  Basically you end up with a largish screen strapped to your face – sex-y!

Everything is “projected” onto that screen and you can happily retreat into your “other world” and other life!!  Hey, with people currently investing 6 figure sums on an Argentinian virtual world – which currently is pretty empty – why not!

However Magic Leap, despite looking like VR is supposedly AR – so a virtual world is superimposed on top of the real one.  To be honest Mr Fowler wasn’t too complimentary about these goggles and having read his review I can see why!!

The concept of “all encompassing” goggles is far better suited to the world of VR than AR.

I mean look at them – would you wear a pair ($2,300!)? Well perhaps if you were going to a “Matrix Reloaded” party or had decided that what you most wanted to do was to weird-out your friends then they’re perfect!!

Pokemon Go is perhaps the most widely known – and used – Augmented Reality application – literally millions of normally sane adults (as well as plenty more kids) were to be seen running noisily around the place catching Pokemon (yeah I didn’t get it either!).  You don’t need anything more than a mobile phone and plenty of energy!

My personal favourites include the late lamented Panoramio which enabled you to hold your phone up and as you turned around you coudl see lots of little cards appearing – each of these was linked to a photograph that had been shared on social media and allowed to get an idea of what was around you – it was very cool (for it’s day).  It was launched in 2005, swiftly bought by Google in 2006 and finally closed down in January of this year – boo hiss, shame on you!!

Another personal fav is part of the Google Translate app – which in itself is mighty fine – where it allows you take a photo of some text and it translates that for you -very very cool – and extremely helpful!!  And that’s key – with AR you can both interact with the real and virtual worlds and do so whilst not being locked into your own (or someone else’s) Tron-like world.

So, is VR a waste of time and effort?  Well no it isn’t.  In fact it can be a wonderful benefit – back in May this year Wired published an article which clearly showed that for people with dementia VR can be life changing!  Lucy Johnston’s moving and compelling article highlights the use of “reminiscence therapy” through applications such as Virtue’s LookBack VR, to recreate nostalgic scenes and help dementia sufferers – for more information, on this kind of therapy, visit the Alzheimer’s Society website. There is also good news on how VR can help people on the Autism spectrum to manage their condition – the Independent reported in April 2017 about VR helping children in classroom situations.

VR is also used in a range of “simulators” – for virtually visiting holiday locations, allowing F1 drivers to test their abilities and practice on virtual racetracks, and allowing otherwise specialised and therefore extremely expensive training to take place. The Virtual Reality Society (who knew they even existed!) has loads of information on the whole panoply of VR applications, headsets, bio-sensing and much much more.

But obviously the most hype around VR is in computer gaming however as you’ll see from this video – from Techradar you’ll still look like a dork!

…and my personal opinion?  AR every time, without fail.  Enhance the world around me, educate, entertain and excite me – but don’t lock me away in a place where nothing is real!

Politicians – you’re an omnishambles

Given that their job is (supposed to be) deeply serious and significant why is it that so many seem to get caught in the most ludicrous situations?  Remember Neil Kinnock on the beach and latterly on his back in the water?  Remember Boris strung up (oh there’s a nice thought) on a zip wire?  Remember David Davis’ Thick of It moment? (yes who was he?)…  They just cannot help themselves – which on one hand provides hours of amusement for us but on the other hand must give their PR people instant grey hair!  I mean can you imagine Malcolm Tucker’s response to some of these?  It hardly enhances their public standing or innate authority to carry out the roles they’re in!

..and let’s not even mention the number of times the BBC has mispronounced Jeremy Hunt’s name (couldn’t happen to a nicer guy) – oops I just have 🙂

You would think that it’s a case of “You had just one job…” but clearly it isn’t!  They seem incapable of behaving in a normal manner and instead make themselves look like – well, complete imbeciles isn’t too harsh a description.  OK I know that some of them are complete imbeciles, Donald Trump has to be the #1 as his imbecility has gone beyond humour into hatred – just look at his behaviour when challenged to make a statement about the recently deceased Senator John McCain.


Now compare that with the statement from Barack Obama, Trumps’s immediate predecessor in the role, and a political opponent of McCain.

“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics.  But we shared, for all of our differences a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed.  We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world.  We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way…”

Fine words indeed from a fine man – as opposed to silence from a scumbag!

But back to humour element, and for this we can thank our own PM Theresa May – and on this occasion she most certainly did!!  What was she thinking?  What were her people thinking?  I’d say a total lack of any risk assessment here…


I meant it’s not just bad, it’s hilariously, embarrassingly bad!  So bad in fact that Michael Jackson would not have used the word “bad” to describe it.  One glimpse and he’d be moon-walking off into the distance – pronto!!  However the thing here is that May has history, lots of it.  Laughing on the front bench in a manner that made her look like some weird form of alien, displaying a complete inability to eat food without looking like a demented OAP and well just look at some of these images – the final one is beyond description!


At this point I think I need to be physically ill!

There’s only one way out of this and that’s to watch the entire output of The Thick of It – life actually imitated art when Ed Miliband described a George Osborne budget as an “omnishambles” – listen to him if you really must.  It was a word coined on The Thick Of It by Malcolm Tucker – so why not!

Fighting for life? Or fit to drop?

Sometimes you know progress sucks.  I mean it’s been several years since wearable technology became a “buzzword” yet there’s still nothing really cool/useful out there.  Look at it now…it’s fighting for life, it’s fit to drop!

I mean ok, Apple Fanboys have their watch, but it really doesn’t deliver all that much.  At the same time you’ve seen crooks like Yassir Belhaj, the guy behind the Indiegogo and subsequently Kickstarter promoted Sowatch debacle that fleeced nearly 3,000 people out of a total of over $350k, screwing things up royally!  At the same time you’ve had major brands such as Samsung, Fitbit, Polar, Huawei, TomTom plus a host of others, including Apple, try and fail to deliver a killer piece of kit – and they’ve even had multiple goes at it!!
Frankly it irritates me that this market opportunity hasn’t been grabbed by somebody with an ounce of common sense and a bit of vision – just look at the “best fitness trackers in 2018” – I mean, c’mon, this is amateur hour stuff!!

[Takes a step forward at this point….]

Back in December 2014 I wrote a piece called “Convergence is the way forward” on my Wearable Tech Review blog….

Some companies seem to think that by maintaining an incredibly narrow focus they’ll succeed – well I’m afraid if you’re aiming at the end consumer – the likes of us – then they’ve just failed!

I also referred readers to what I saw as a device with massive potential – the Samsung “Simband” which helpfully they described as…

It’s our concept of what a smart health device should be.


The video promotes it as having several sensors that continuously measure and monitor a user’s biometric data. It uses optical, electrical, and physical methods of collecting heart rate, blood flow and pressure, skin temperature, CO2 and oxygen levels, EKG levels, and even simulated blood pressure, all to display real-time electrocardiograph information of it all – and it tracks movement and tells the time too!!

Way too cool!! Take my money now…

Sadly it wasn’t to be. Not even Samsung managed to deliver the concept.  Their Gear 3 is a “premium watch”…I don’t want a premium watch I’ve got one and it’s got far more cache that a Gear 3. The Gear Fit 2 wasn’t much better..a big lump of a band with a colour screen that drained the battery faster than a swarm of hungry mosquitos feasting on your arm!!

In the past 4 years there’s been a lot of activity, a lot of hype followed by a lot of half-arsed products hitting the market (I mean not even waterproof – WTF!) and a number of companies going to the wall!

I did put together what I was looking for in my perfect device – back in January 2015 – and guess what?  Nobody’s got close….

  • If you were to take the best bits from this lot, starting with my existing Rolex as the starting point and encapsulating the concept that the Simband most effectively sets out you’d end up with a replacement strap which delivers it all!

    Naturally I’ll want it to learn about my normal “biometric” behaviour as it monitors me so it can identify anything “abnormal” and then warn me about it!

    It will also be required , via the back end of the service, to provide me with those actionable alerts – not to mention the reason why I need to act upon them – and of course praise when it’s deserved – sorry when I deserve it 🙂

And look how many of them are still going…Pebble, Nymi, Kairos, GoBe, Amiigo, Micorsoft Band?  Where did they go? If only they’d listened 🙂

 

Just take my damn money…please!

Look I’m all in favour of Tim Berners-Lee’s idea that the World wide Web should be free for everybody but sadly there are too many people out there today who insist on screwing it up by riddling the useful content with shite, highly intrusive, extremely irrelevant and hugely irritating advertising!  It’s got so bad that I’m coming round to the idea that for some things I’d actually be prepared to pay a monthly fee to make these damn pieces of time-wasting crap disappear!

..and don’t think I’m not talking about you Spotify – you’ve got the nerve to take my money and then send me crap about new releases by those artists who are able to pay you enough to invade my privacy on their behalf!

There are a number of aspects to this…

  1. what am I prepared to pay for
  2. how much will I be prepared to pay
  3. why online advertising is so shite, highly intrusive, extremely irrelevant and hugely irritating.

Let’s start with the “What”:

The birthplace of the web was CERN – Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989. The web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world.  See that…the sharing of information.  And the definition of sharing is?

To allow someone to use or enjoy something that one possesses. 

No mention of charging for it anywhere is there?  That came a lot later when less pure minds that Sir Tim’s decided that all these people provided an opportunity to make money – and lots of it, shed-loads of it in fact – big huge aircraft-hanger sized shed-loads of wonga!  And like me, Sir Tim’s not a happy man, although his beef is probably purer than mine which is just about advertising.  He’s more concerned with the rollback of net neutrality protections, the proliferation of fake news, propaganda and the web’s increasing polarisation!

“Gas is a utility, so is clean water, and connectivity should be too,” said Berners-Lee. “It’s part of life and shouldn’t have an attitude about what you use it for – just like water.”

So what am I prepared to pay for?

Stuff that I want to consume – stuff that entertains me like music, (that’s why I pay Spotify each month for a service I can’t stream to my hi-fi because the quality is designed for mobile phones and my GigaClear 50MB broadband is so flaky – and the router is a piece of poo! – that streaming hi-res is a non-starter!) and I’ll happily pay Amazon for the ability to read a book while I’m on holiday (Agios Stefanos NW Corfu since you’re asking!) or maybe to stream a movie as part of my Prime subscription – that’s cool, I’m happy to do that.

I’ll even pay for knowledge or software that helps me to consume and to create – such as specific training or apps from Adobe or even bloody Microsoft’s Office 365!

But I won’t pay for news!

That should be part of Sir Tim’s original idea about sharing information.  The WWW is meant to be a tool to enable us ALL to understand what’s going on in the world, to bring us closer together (yeah well done Boris you twat!) and generally make the world a better place.   However I WILL accept a limited amount of advertising to get this as I realise that information providers (except the BBC and I already pay my licence fee £150+) aren’t charities – they need to make money to pay their staff!  But I won’t pay them a subscription as it’s not worth it – not to me anyway!

And how much will I pay?

Well, this is more of a case of how much am I already paying!!  If you total up your household outgoings on things like your TV licence, SKY, broadband, mobile phone data, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc etc you’ll be amazed by the figure you get to.  I reckon I’m spending over £1,000 per year!  And I’ve cut back!  It’s easy to spend more than £1,500, maybe even £2k!!  OK, don’t be pedantic, I know that SKY tends to be delivered over satellite – it’s the overall cost of accessing content that’s important here!

As these things are pretty much standard across UK households today, and with the average take home pay of <£21k per annum, you’re likely to be spending over 7% of your annual income on this stuff – maybe as much as 10%.  Now 7% may not sound a lot but imagine if your salary was cut by 7% – how much harder would that make life?? Exactly!

The huge expansion of the digital world has made it particularly hard for some companies, notably newspapers, and apart from the rag that is the Daily Mail they aren’t really succeeding (The Mail was always full of small ads anyway so it was a natural development for them, and their readership).   And I’m not going to help them by paying to get past their firewalls while the likes of Twitter are around – it’s quicker, more opinions so you can read both sides of an argument and of course it’s free – except for the sneaky ads!!

In fact it’s Twitter, or rather another player in the arena of social media that provided the straw that has broken the camel’s back –  so to speak.

So I’m now at the stage where I would be happy to pay for access to certain social media applications (it begins with a “F”) in order to avoid bloody advertising – if nothing else I’m sure the saving in blood pressure medicine would offset it!! (Relax that’s just an analogy I’m not on beta-blockers or anything similar)

So, why is online advertising so shite, highly intrusive, extremely irrelevant and hugely irritating?

….to the extent that now I’ll even pay to avoid it!

Well let’s go back to a bit of online business 101.

First off, if you’ve got that great idea, you want everyone to know about it and the web is really helpful here, as it allows you to reach a lot of people.  Let’s say these people like your great idea and flock to it – hey presto you have what is called in the trade “an audience” or lots of “eyeballs”.  So whereas people used to have to stick posters up in the street, things developed as people could get newspapers to print stories about their great ideas which other people then thought, hey if they like that maybe they’ll like mine to so I’ll make sure information about my great idea is in there too.  Next came TV which offered an even bigger channel to the audience and even more people started to “advertise” their great ideas, although now there so many great ideas – they weren’t all great!

With the growth of the web a number of great ideas got really, really, popular – like billions of people popular!  And the people who owned these great ideas thought to themselves…hmm I can make money out of this – it’s called “monetization” by the way!  So they started to allow advertising on their great ideas.

Look at possibly the best great idea ever – Google!  Originally just lists of stuff that matched your search term. Then 3 “sponsored” results appeared at the top of the page.  Today?  Maybe on the first page you’ll be lucky enough to find 3 “natural results” amongst the 20+ “sponsored” ones – that’s what Google calls advertising btw!  And Google make a massively, gigantic shed-load of money from it – as do some other great ideas.

What they also do is get make of these ads pop up on other websites you might visit – and have you noticed the order in which websites load?  The site’s branding is followed by all the adverts and only then does the content you actually wanted in the first place appear – naughty, naughty!  In other words it’s highly intrusive and hugely irritating!

But what about extreme irrelevance?  Surely, you shout, they’ve got algorithms that make sure that the advertising you see is relevant to you!  It’s true that if you search for something via Google or Bing (does anybody actually use Bing? And what a stupid name!) you’ll be bombarded with ads for whatever that was for ages – EVEN AFTER YOU’VE BOUGHT IT!  How relevant is that?  And let’s not even go into the activities of travel sites that rack up the prices if you leave and then come back!!

OK time to get to the absolute nub of this rant!  Facebook, yes Marky boy this one’s on you, recently decided to make life difficult for their profile users.

“As of August 1, Facebook no longer allows third-party platforms to post to personal Facebook profiles. As a result, Hootsuite no longer supports scheduling and posting to personal Facebook profiles.”

They wanted to stop us using the likes of Hootsuite, WordPress et al to automate/schedule our posting to our personal profiles.  They still allow scheduling to “pages” just not “profiles”.  So what do I do?  I choose to create a page from my profile, and to be fair it didn’t take too long to achieve that but once I’d “published” it, the troubles started.

Clearly Facebook believes that if you’ve got a page you’ve got money to spend, so they put an “advert” on your news feed (which only you can see) prompting you to spend money promoting your page.  Now that’s fair enough, their business model is about making money so I let the first one go..and the second, and the third.

But when I realised that they were bloating my news feed with multiple – and here I mean it might be one of their ads every 3 real posts – adverts, on and on and on.  Different creative suggestions but loads and loads and loads.

Now in amongst the reams of “help” they allegedly provide there is absolutely NOTHING about how to stop this.  Basically I don’t think you can and frankly I’m, not prepared to hang around to see if they eventually give up, so I’m deleting my page – screw ’em!

I’m going to publish my content elsewhere, I’m going to prompt readers of my social media diatribes to read the content on other platforms and even though they won’t give a damn – I’ll feel a lot better – and that’s the important thing here 🙂

What would really help me, and I’m sure millions of other people, is if some philanthropist kinda person decided it would be really cool to provide an open source advertising free or a subscription based social media channel.  I’m pretty sure that it would have a rapid uptake.  If Camelot allows me to win the Euromillions lottery this Friday I promise I’ll have one built and if Sir Tim permits I’ll call it TimsWeb, or Tim’s Place or Worldies or something similar!

 

 

The “A” to “B” of advertising standards

So, it seems that the UK Government has got it in for Amazon, and despite me thinking that Bezos is not a very nice man, and that his company’s customer service can be really poor at times, I don’t think this attack is fair.

It seems that one of their adverts has been banned for being misleading.  Now I find it interesting that they can take action against one of the world’s largest companies yet they seem unable to apply the same logic, values and even advertising laws to the Brexit debate.

I’m referring to those adverts, speeches the bus even which all displayed the line about giving the £350m we paid the EU to the NHS.

I find it especially interesting as we all now that that claim was a lie!  So, not even misleading, but a downright lie!

Do you remember it now?

Well apparently the UK advertising regulator (ASA) has said that it received 280 complaints, mostly from Amazon Prime customers who reported not receiving their packages within a day.  The basic premise of the Prime delivery service is that you WILL get your package within a day – and from personal experience – it works!  However these 280 good fellows weren’t satisfied so they complained and, well looky here, the ASA agreed!

From memory trading standards and advertising laws do allow for a degree of flexibility, you don’t have to deliver what you promise EVERY TIME, just most of the time – missing a few is fine.  It seems that Amazon does pretty well, in 2017, Amazon shipped over 5 billion items worldwide through Prime – almost one for every person alive!  So you’re roughly talking about 280 complaints based on 50+ million deliveries in the UK.

If that was my business I’d be deliriously happy – if I was a lawyer I’d consider that claiming a one day service was ok with that data – proving it beyond any reasonable doubt.  But not the ASA.

Interestingly the most complained about ad last year was a KFC one – 755 said it was disrespectful to chickens and distressing for vegetarians.  Thankfully the ASA thought this lot were barking mad and let it go.

They felt the same way about 8 of the top 10 most complained about ads actually – the other 2 were withdrawn so never investigated…so lesbian kissing, gay men kissing, a woman in a wheelchair eating maltesers and having a spasm were fine (and I’m totally in agreement with that!) but only, apparently, achieving a 99.999% delivery on your promise just isn’t good enough!!

BUT!!!

..downright lies ARE ok!  The UK Statistics Authority no longer says that the £350m claim is potentially misleading, but misleading plain and simple – Nigel Farage has admitted that it was a “mistake” to promise that £350million a week would be spent on the NHS if the UK backed a Brexit vote, and Treasury figures clearly show Britain’s EU budget rebate was £4.9bn. Deduct that from £17.8bn and you get £12.9bn – or £248m a week. This is the sum now recognised by the independent fact-checking organisation Full Facts!

So nobody took any action.  The misleading claim was allowed to continue to be broadcast within any retraction demanded, no penalties applied and Boris and his chums simply allowed to ride roughshod over the general public.

I mean c’mon – what’s the bloody ASA for if it isn’t for this?  Would you rather have 280 unhappy people or would you rather **** the country for decades to come?

Don’t answer that because we already know that Jacob Rees-Mogg has shifted his companies finances away from the UK – and guess where – yup, the bloody EU!

Oh c’mon Boris, p*** off!

According to the BBC – “Paris baulks at ‘horrible’ eco-friendly public urinals” and frankly Scarlet – I’m not surprised.  The city has always had a relaxed attitude to us chaps taking a leak – I remember the intrigue of entering the metal confines of the old circular “pissoirs”.   However, I thought with the advent of the advanced passenger toilets that Jean-Claud DeCaux delivered many years ago that progress had been made that enabled both chaps and chapesses to answer the call of nature, but obviously there’s a recidivist majority on the city council!

Apparently if these devices weren’t in place les gentilshommes would be pointing Percy at almost any thing they found on the streets – apparently lampposts are a particular favourite!  Sacre nom de Dieu!

Is this what the Common Market has become?  Have the pressures on the Economic Union meant that a combination of eco-madness and the desire to cut costs has really gone this far?  (I note that the end product of these “devices” is designed to aid fertilization of the city’s flower beds…!)

Personally I think Boris and Steve Bannon could be behind this.  It’s the sort of bonkers, barking-mad scheme that their deluded minds would dream up to make the British public believe that being part of Europe is wrong.

My response to that can be summed up by a conversation my partner and I had with a young lady in the queue for the Portaloos at last year’s Common People festival in the refined confines of Oxford during which she happily confided to us that she had had sex in a Portaloo – at a previous event I hasten to add!! So I’m calling them out on this one – it won’t work – we’re far more liberated than that (well some of us are anyway)!!

Furthermore I’d like to see Boris taking SteveO’s place in one of those memorable early Jackass stunts – c’mon Boris, are you man enough?

Not my kind of Summer Dream!!

More of a nightmare!! Poor service, slow service, food not as described, how’s that for starters?

OK finally got round to completing this one.  As regular readers of my various social media missives will now I love Agios Stefanos (NW Corfu)!  It’s my second home.  The mix of sun, sea, sand, scenery, food and friends – from home and from there, all work together to make a heady mix that soothes and stimulates the senses – at the same time.

But it isn’t perfect – and we all know that – even if on “some other places” you aren’t allowed to say so!!  It’s like the buildings – there are loads that they just haven’t got round to completing yet.  They have excellent, long term disputes about stuff – hey, the Avliotes by-pass has actually been totally completed – even down to 50kph speed limit that totally nobody respects!

The Greeks have a more relaxed attitude to life, although when they are speaking to each other you’d think the 3rd world war is about to break out – but relax, it won’t, it’s cool.

That said there are 4 things this year that aren’t perfect – there maybe more but hey; I didn’t experience them…anyway.

  1. The litter – guys you really, really need to sort this one out.  Even the temporary refuse stores you guys put in place to cope with things while the negotiations continue are overflowing – literally onto the road near to Kassiopi.
  2. The weed on the beach – not the lack of long haired dope sellers but the naturally occurring weed that just keeps on coming.  You need to be a bit quicker in rounding that up and disposing of it – the likes of Mistral and the Waves had their beach fronts blighted by build up of weed and then by the tyre tracks from the digger.
  3. Vehicles on the road – there are way more than just a couple of years ago.  Some of them, these new quad-bikes, are the size of small cars themselves and seemingly driven by complete novices with no regard for other road users. The parking coming into Afionas is now mental – one Sunday we simply turned around! And it’s not as if the restaurants up there are benefiting – the visitors weren’t in them!
  4. The service at Summer Dreams.

This last one was not good at all. It’s turned into a pizza place with a fancy new pizza oven clearly on display.  Unfortunately the service wasn’t as new and sparkling.  To start with when we ordered – one of our party likes chilli (a lot) and asked for extra chillies on his choice of pizza. It already had chillies in the list of ingredients.
When the waitress said “are you sure” he naturally replied Yes – this is man with a cast-iron stomach.  An hour later after we’d chased them for service and when the pizzas finally arrived the foreheads of 2 of the party showed signs of distress.

This was a surprise indeed.

On further investigation of the pizza we discovered that instead of extra chillies the tomato base appeared to have been replaced by lashing of hot chilli sauce! I mean of course the rest of us were howling with laughter but in all seriousness this was a reckless piece of work by the restaurant.  You either get your menu written up correctly informing the customer that this has chilli sauce on it and is already very hot or you start behaving responsibly.  This felt like someone trying to get their own back on customers.

Now ok it may have been a genuine mistake but it wasn’t the only one.  I ordered a pizza with Parmesan and rocket.  From my recollection Parmesan doesn’t melt in quite the same way that say Cheddar does and rocket isn’t invisible…

While we were waiting for our food to arrive I heard someone who had ordered a take-away asking where it was…and the poor girl behind the bar was not being helped by the other two waiting staff – they just stood around waiting for her to complete each individual order..

And with no expectations about service times being set by the waiting staff I’m sorry Summer Dreams but you do not get a recommendation this year.  Hopefully by next year you will have sorted things out – I’d like all my meals to be fantastic!