Category Archives: travel

esure rip off merchants

I have 2 car insurance policies with e-sure – in the near future I may have none!

I have just received a renewal invitation for one of them and this is what is says:

Thank you for choosing esure to take care of your car insurance needs for the past year. It’s now time to renew your policy and I am delighted to provide your new Schedule and Certificate of Motor Insurance
Your premium for the next 12 months is £295.52 including any optional extras and excluding interest.

Blah, blah, blah small print stuff….

Your premium last year was £216.33, including optional extras and excluding interest. This takes into account any
changes you may have made since you took out your policy and shows what the full year’s premium would have
been had these changes been in place from your cover start date.


Wow that’s some increase!! So I called them.

Now I do have to point out that during this past year I was involved in a shunt in that the person behind me was pushed into me by the person behind her!! I contacted esure but was then contacted by the person at fault’s insurers who handled the whole thing and told me to tell esure this and that the previous call was just “for information only” – which I did.

So when the nice man with the Scottish accent takes my call and I tell him my premium has gone up by 40% he has a look at my policy and then says oh that’s partially to do with the increase in insurance tax from 6% to 12% (OK that’s 6% – so what about the other 34%) then he says I can see there was a claim on the account – er, NO THERE WASN’T I correct him – oh yes he says so then he says the reason si that there was a massive increase in the number of personal injury lawyers making personal injury claims last year – he says you probably read about in the press!!

At this point I ask if that rise was in excess of 30% and he says well no, and I go on to point out that these sort of claims are not a new thing and have been going on for ages and the industry has been saying that premiums have had to rise because of them for years….

So either esure ARE penalising me for informing that I was involved in a NO FAULT accident or they are using the opportunity to blame premium increases by huge amounts because of a situation they were already aware of.

Personally I think they’re profiteering. However in a couple of weeks I should be receiving the renewal invitation for my other car – let’s see if that premium has shot up – I wonder!!

October “Rant-Fest”

Ladies and gentlemen, many apologies for my absence but c’est la vie!  Now I’m back with a bumper multi-target rant for you all to enjoy.  So this October “Rant-Fest” contains a couple of pops at the government’s idiotic approach to big society, the A34 as it goes past Oxford and the Daily Mail’s online site!  Enough to keep you going for a while?  I think so!!


OK – Big Society – aka how can  the Tory government give you the impression that they’re spending less on public services when in fact it’s all going to their cronies in the private sector.

2 classic examples of bonkers budgeting in as many days.  Yesterday we had a press conference from Clive Grunshaw, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire and Steve Finnigan, Chief Constable, Lancashire Constabulary about  ‘CATASTROPHIC’ PROPOSED GOVERNMENT FUNDING CUTS

Lancashire Police will “not be viable” after 2020 because of cuts to funding, the chief constable has warned.

It’s happening elsewhere too – today we have an announcement that nn RAF air rescue team based at Chivenor in north Devon has handed over its role to a private firm.

Bristow took over from the military at RMB Chivenor at 13:00 BST and will fly out of St Athan in south Wales.

Astonishingly and extremely concerning is the fact that the handover was delayed by four days because Bristow said it needed extra time.  Needed extra time?  I’m sure those people in need of rescue from today onwards are delighted to hear that phrase.

Aberdeen-based Bristow has won a 10-year contract to take over the service, which is being privatised around the UK.  The £1.6bn search and rescue deal with Bristow ends 70 years of search and rescue from the RAF and Royal Navy.

£1.6bn!!

Yea gods the mind boggles at the potential waste of skills, resources and the decline in the quality of the service that will be provided!


The A34 to the west of Oxford – or specifically the cretins that are responsible for the planning and delivery of road improvements in this area.  Basic physics will tell you that if you have a circular pipe of diameter let’s say “2 lanes” and you also have a another pipe of  let’s say “2 lanes” again and you want the flow from both of them to go through a single pipe of say “2 lanes” you’re going to have problems at peak flow times.

So why do you not plan to increase capacity in the area where this is likely to happen?

Because you’re cretins that’s why!

So not only do thousands of motorists like me on their way to work in the morning end up spending too much time crawling from jam to jam we are all increasing our petrol consumption alarmingly and adding to the levels of pollution as well!  Now for a council that is so right on they want you park outside the city and pay for the privilege of getting on a bus to get in this seems counter-productive.

The issue is compounded by the apparent lethargy of the contractors to finish existing road improvements- I believe the end date for some work going on on the ring road to the north of Oxford is November 2016 – 2016!!!


Finally, and I apologise for having visited the site in the first place, I have to blame Google for this, let’s look at the Daily Mail’s website.  We all know it’s a right wing rag so the political bias of its owners and editors – neither are the sort of people you’d want your daughter to bring home are they? – aside it’s the prurient nature of its celeb reporting on the home page that is so revolting – specifically the section they headline as “Don’t Miss” it’s just trash!  It’s offensive, idiotic, rude, dumb- in fact everything you’d use to describe a daily mail reader!


Right I’m outta here!

The truth about the A34 Oxford southern bypass works

Here what the council says and what the reality is!

What is happening?
Improvements to the Hinksey Hill interchange and Kennington roundabout were identified as critical to reducing congestion on the ring road and A34.

We realise we ***ed up by not widening the A34 (a major trunk road!) when we decided to use it as the bypass for Oxford but we’re still going to ignore that issue!

Kennington
The Kennington Roundabout will be converted to a ‘hamburger’ style layout. A new carriageway for eastbound traffic will go through the central island providing a more direct route through the junction.

However we’ll still ensure that there plenty of queues as we’ll make sure there are loads of traffic lights to stop you!

For westbound traffic the roundabout will be widened to provide two segregated lanes for people travelling towards the A34. There will also be two lanes for traffic turning at the roundabout to travel into Oxford via the Abingdon Road.

Yeh, whatever

Hinksey
The improvements at the Hinksey Hill Interchange on the A34 that will include a new ‘free flow’ slip road from the Southern Bypass south onto the A34, by widening of the approach to the roundabout and removing the need for traffic to stop at the traffic lights.

Because we’re ignoring the fact that the problems are actually for traffic trying to get off the A34 both South and North at peak times – not getting onto it!

Traffic will be able to travel through the area during the work, and businesses will be open as usual. However drivers are advised to plan their journeys in advance to take account of anticipated severe delays, however, this improvement work will bring major benefits to the flow of traffic to this congested part of the city.

We’re going to make you suffer – and if you believe that this will improve your journey to work if you have to go past Hinksey Hill – you’re living in cloud cuckoo land!

The decision to allow the A34 to be used as a ring road for Oxford – without widening it in the first place – ranks along side the decision to allow Esso to build a garage in what was the obvious place to continue the ring road around Bicester. Both the product of deluded minds!

The lights! The lights! “I’m blinded”

Well dear readers it’s time for a new rant! And what subject should I choose?

The furore around Clarkson attempts to NOT us the “N” word? No I don’t think so – I’m far more interested in the good christian fellow who decided to leak the video to the Mirror – I hope he or she doesn’t live in a glass house!

Or perhaps the fact that farmers seem to be able to time their ability to leave shit all over our roads at exactly the same time it pours with rain so the shit gets transferred to our cars!

Or perhaps Bucks CC decision to paint nice white lines down our village road when we’d rather they FIXED THE BLOODY POTHOLES!!!

No, none of these – today’s rant is on the topic of car daytime running lights – why? lights We don’t live in bloody Scandinavia, it’s actually “light” as in “daylight” for most of the time that peak volumes of cars are on the roads!

As I drove down the A34 this morning on my way to work I became aware of a 2013 Honda CRV – as it got closer I became sufficiently aware that I thought I might lose my vision as my retinas were beginning to glow as the glare from these xenon, kryponite or whatever powered “LED” lights – usually arranged in some “trendy” (oh dear god do they really think that?) arrangement and designed to do what? I really don’t know what they’re designed to do.lights2 Even in grey cloudy skies like this morning around 8am visibility is still many 100’s of yards so I don’t really see the need for them.

Perhaps they’re designed to help people coming up behind them to avoid running into the back of them? Well clearly they aren’t as said CRV didn’t actually have ANY lights on at the rear – I deliberately pulled over to let it pass so I could check!

And anyway – haven’t we already got sidelights, headlight and fog lights – front and rear? So rather than trying to blind other road users – have you noticed dear reader how headlights are getting brighter and brighter? – why not focus on making lights come on and off automatically – if it’s a safety thing that’s behind them…? Well I looked into the EU – yes that’s where this came from – and their final report said this:

7. Various sources of variation in the effects of DRL for cars have been examined. It
was concluded that:

  • a. The effects of DRL are greater for fatal accidents than for injury accidents, and greater for injury accidents than for property-damage-only accidents. Evidence of effects for fatal accidents is, however, highly uncertain.
  • b. The effects of DRL are likely to be greater at latitudes further away from the Equator than at latitudes close to the Equator. The evidence for such a relationship is, however, somewhat noisy.
  • c. It is likely that DRL has a favourable effect on accidents involving pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists. An adverse effect on rear-end collisions has been found in studies of the aggregate effects of DRL.   DRL  combined with switched-off taillights can counteract this effect, as well as the use of high mounted brake lights.

So!  They don’t work for rear end shunts then – well maybe they need to be switched around then.  Make the rear lights really bright and tone down the power on the front lights! Clearly this is just another example of the McDonald’s “Hot” coffee syndrome gone mad, and those wastrels over in Brussels decided it was someting else they could claim their expenses on! If you really want to read the whole thing it’s here – Are you Mad? and for those of you who really should know better the actual EU law is here Abandon hope all yea who enter here

In all seriousness I’m beginning to wonder when the first motorist is going to use the defence of “sorry m’lud this damn Audi, Merc, Honda appeared in my rear view mirrors and it was just the the Hairy Strikers on Soccer AM – “I’m Blinded”.

 

 

Now that’s what I call customer service – NOT!

Now that’s not strictly true I had a perfectly pleasant chat conversation with a BT Broadband person. It’s just that they operate in such constrained manner they can’t actually help you. They are rigidly controlled and are dictated to as to what they can do – they have a list of tests they must undertake – even if they’re completely useless and provide absolutely no valid data to support any hypothesis they might want to propose.

They really don’t (perhaps can’t is a better word) help you solve problems they just waste your time – unless like me you decide to run with it and just see how far it can go… I’ll hold my hands up and say that I may be completely wrong on some of the technical specifics but I’m fairly confident that the overall argument I’m outlining is sound! Oh and I apologise for some of the typos – I was multi-tasking, playing with my new Jolla phone, downloading some Frank Zappa music as well… All in all time well spent I thought 🙂

Ok here it comes: first off I enter details about the problem – slow broadband speed over the holiday period and my personal details into their chat service – I only had to wait for a couple of minutes before the session started – pretty good I thought!!

SRIJITA : Hello. I’m SRIJITA . Thanks for that information, I’ll check it and get back to you in a moment.
paul west: Personally I think that in today’s technological world being unable to watch small youtube video without it stopping every couple of seconds is unacceptable and therefore you should be providing me with compensation. I’m paying a premium price for a crap service!
paul west: You’re advertising Infinity and half he price I pay for a service which has been well below 0.5 meg for most of this holiday period – that’s poor.
SRIJITA : Pau I am really very sorry for the inconvenience .. Please give me a moment while I look into the issue..
paul west: There have been no reports on your website about the bad weathr affecting broadband performance anywhere where near here – so that’s not an excuse
SRIJITA : Paul I do understand your concern please give me few minutes so that I can retrieve the account.
SRIJITA : Thank You for your patience Paul
SRIJITA : Paul is the connection slow for all the websites ?
paul west: Yes.
SRIJITA : Could you please confirm are you using a wired or wireless connection?
paul west: inside the house it’s wireless but the problem is outside the house – your service is shockingly poor the internal wirelss network is performing perfectly.
paul west: I suggest that the problem is that you simply don’t have enough bandwidth to cope with people being at home and using the internet conection at the same time – but you won’t admit that
SRIJITA : Paul is it possible for you to connect an ethernet cable from the device to the hub so that I can do the checks from my end?
paul west: No because that won’t help you – it will just waste my time – the problem is outside the house I have told you this already. I’ve gone through this waste of time with you before. So don’t waste my time get your engineers to laod test the cable from the exchange to the village I live in = that’s where the issue lies
SRIJITA : Paul I am sorry for all the issue you are experiencing however if you won’t allow me to do the checks I will not be able to book an engineer if required.
paul west: We’ve been down this route before – the problem is outside the house – it’s a capacity issue on the network – but you won’t admit it. Why not? My kit is working perfectly well – I know that because I use it every day and the performance inside the house has not changed – but the connection to the internet has suffered recently – because – your network can’t cope with the demand – just admit it
paul west: You would expect me to believe you if you said there was no problem with your network – so why don’t you believe me when I say there’s no problem with the kit at my end?
SRIJITA : Paul I do undrstand your concern however I need to do the checks before getting into any conclusion.
paul west: No you don’t – I’ve given you the information that the kit at my end is working fine – we’ve been down this route many times since I’ve been a BT customer – you’re wasting both your and my time with these checks on my kit. I have used broadband speed checkers to test te spee dof the line – it is the line thta is not performing to my expectations, not my router, that’s fine, not my pc, that’s fine – the problem is with your line in fact the problem is probably that the exchange has really old kit in it which you aren’t likely to update soon as we’re out in the sticks here and you’d yya it wasn’t cost effective. But if I change to another provider , using your kit you throttle their service so it’s worse that yours ALL OF THE TIME!
paul west: My router – actually your router – is connected to your telephone line already – that should be enough for you to conduct any speed tests yourself.
SRIJITA : Paul may I know the Operating system installed in the laptop?
paul west: Why? That bears no relevance does it
SRIJITA : Paul for the checks I need to know the OS. If you could please tell me that.
paul west: Windows 8.1
SRIJITA : Thank You
paul west: As you aren’t connecting to my pc why did you need that information?
SRIJITA : Paul please let me do the line test and for that I need to know this information.
paul west: I really don’t understand why you need the os of my pc to run a test on your line?
SRIJITA : Paul there is certain procedures which we need to follow that is the reason I ma asking you about this information.
SRIJITA : Paul could you please connect an ether net cable from the laptop till the home hub so that I can run the line test?
SRIJITA : To check the connection from the exchange till the hub?
paul west: OK but what are those procedures? If your tests is “touching” my pc I need to understand what it is doing – my pc is my private properrty and you do not have the right to access it
SRIJITA : Paul it is not touching your PC I need to know the OS as we need to put in the information to run the check
paul west: Really what impact does my operating system have on he performance of your line? If different os’s affected broadband speed over time I’d think that would be public knowledge
SRIJITA : Paul as I can see from te previous test that there is no Major Service Outage in your area
paul west: Yes I could have told you that
paul west: So wjhat is your explanation for the very klow speed thta I have been seeing. I should add that a friend of mine in a different village, connected to a different exchange also reports that his BT broadband line speed has declined dramatically – I believe he called it a”a new low”
SRIJITA : Paul if you wont allow me to run the line test I will not be able to escalate this case to our next Level
paul west: You’re free to run the line test as that is your property – what you are not free to do is to access my personal computer as you have not given me an explanation of why you need to do this and what exactly you want to do to it – as I have previously expressed to you it is working fine – there are no issues with it – all the evidence points to a demand based problem for your network….which has rsulted in poor performance for me as a consumer and for which you should be seeking to improve performance and provide compensation
SRIJITA : I am sorry Paul. Unfortunately, we are unable to help any further as we can only support a speed test based on results while connected via Ether net.
paul west: So after this lengthy conversation you havbe still not given me a good reason why you need to connect to my private computer, despite the fact that I have said that the router is connected to your line and that all the evidence points to the fact that the issue is external to my (and other customers) properties.
paul west: You are am multi-billion pound company with a monopoly stranglehold on broadband – particularly rural broadband supply in this country and perhaps this is why the level of service both broadband speed and customer service is so low.
paul west: I am surprised that n oprganisation of the scale of BT is unable to arrange a simple ping test to a router they must know the IP address of – I’m pretty sure I could organise that remotely using open source and freely available services.
SRIJITA : Paul the fault could be anywhere and I can only find out where the actual fault is and why this is happening only if you could help me to do the checks.
SRIJITA : A ping test or finding your IP is not going to help finding out the line fault.
paul west: I think the issue is that you have a script – a set of rigid instructions that you are required to follow by senior management which attempt to push the “blame” for the fault, poor performance or whatever the issue onto the customer rather than your organisation or your infrastructure.
paul west: It will provide the detail of time it takes for the packet to travel along the route from your location to the router – that in itself is a valuable tool. The other tests I’m surprised you haven’t picked up on are the load tests which are probably the most significant ones to be focussing on as you have already said there is no serious fault – something I fully accept.
paul west: As I have repeatedly stated there is no issue with the kit at my end – the issue – and here I refer you back to other supporting evidence form my friend in the next village – that the issue lies squarely outside of our houses and in the realm of the limited bandwidth that can be delivered over our creaking copper wires and at increased differences from the exchange. We understand that performance decreases in relatino to the distance away rom the exchnage, we understand that performance decreases when you get more user son the line – why can’t you see this? Surely checking the load logs on your network form our exchange is a simple issue – any good IT service will be able to d this.
SRIJITA : Paul what I can see from the previous tests that the hub is in sync with the exchange and the minimum guaranteed speed offered to you at the point of sale is 512 K.
paul west: I appreciate that you personally may not have this capability so I think it is better that you refer this issue (verging on a customer complaint no…) to a higher and more technical authority/
SRIJITA : And result shows the speed is higher than the minimum guaranteed speed offered to you at the point of sale.
SRIJITA : Paul if you are initiating a chat session I can do the checks only with the connection provided to you
paul west: Aha we get to the knub of the matter – the minimum speed guaranteed is only 512k. I think you’ll find the paperwork expressly suggested I should be able to receive over 2meg. So are we now talking about a marketing issue – one where I know you have already had your knuckles rapped for advertising what fantastic speeds you can get when in fact you don’t deliver anywhere near that.
paul west: I go back to my previous comment that you have a script, you can’t solve my problem so please refer me not a higher authority who can assist me me please.
SRIJITA : Paul if you want you can speak with my supervisor.
SRIJITA : Paul is it ok if my supervisor calls you on ladling?
paul west: That’s a kind offer but I don’t believe that he or she will be best placed to resolve this matter – i need to speak to someone on your network services team who has access to the traffic logs over the past week or so and who can analyse the performance you have delivered in light of my, and my friend’s comments on poor delivery.
SRIJITA : Paul I am sorry however it wont be possible for anyone to do what you are asking for un till you cooperate and allow us to do the basic steps.
paul west: Well I’m rather afraid that we’ve reached an impasse. I’ve provided you with a good amount of evidence on the issues I’m facing at my end and good reasons why I’m not prepared to go through a series of un-necessary (from my end) tests which will tell you nothing of use – unless you use the data you gain from being connected to my computer for things I’m not currently aware of. You have not been able to offer me any reason for needing to be connected to my personal and private computer to run these tests.
paul west: Using the claim of me not cooperating is rather unpleasant and not customer focussed and it really doesn’t sit well with me. I am therefore copying this entire conversation into a blog post which I will publish online in a few minutes. While my broadband speed my remain at it’s very low level until the holiday is over the futility of the process by which you claim to help us solve our broadband problems will at least be revealed in its full futility. It really is a shame that my time has been wasted- well mostly wasted!
SRIJITA : I am sorry to hear that you feel this way however Paul asking for OS does not mean I am accessing your computer, and I am not connected to your computer and not accessing anyof your personal and private details.
paul west: Why then did you not ask why you needed to know my os? It has no impact on the speed of your broadband service.
SRIJITA : OS has impact on speed to let you know.
SRIJITA : And I am afraid there is nothing more I can do apart from ask my supervisor to talk to you.
paul west: Please provide me with te evidence to support your claim that the OS of a personal computer has an impact on the speed of broadband that it is possible to delvier down a copper cable
SRIJITA : But I am sure that he is going to inform you the same.
SRIJITA : If you talk to any computer expert then you will come to know the details of the impact.If you have an old OS which has a browser with a lot of add on services on it then that will make the computer performance slow.
paul west: But as I have said on number of occasions the peformance of my computer is excellent – the poor performance is coming form your network. I’ve provided you with evidence of that – it’s not just me that is suffering
SRIJITA : Paul the fact is BT can not give you a resolution until you help BT to perform the basic trouble shooting steps.
SRIJITA : And I have given you all the information I could and I am afraid there is nothing more I can do for you if you do nto allow me to perform the tests.
SRIJITA : So I will have to end the chat here as in the last 1.5 hours we have not got anywhere.

paul west: Goodbye
SRIJITA : Wish you and your family a very Happy New Year.
SRIJITA has disconnected.

A perfectly polite end to the conversation and merely indicative of the rigidity of the process that BT imposes on it’s staff whi I’m sue frustrates them as much as it frustrates us customers – think outside of the box guys, c’mon!

Now if this had been the first occasion I’d had to contact BT for assistance I’d be spitting blood, but it must be the oh I’ve lost count of the times I’ve tried to get them to help me. Which is why I carried it on to the death. I’ve gone through those tests on my computer many times before, I’ve checked wiring, ferrite rings, rebooted, been called back again and again and frankly it still boils down to the same issue. BT are not prepared to invest in small rural communities – despite what the papers and their PR may say – which means that as long as they have the monopoly on kit in local exchanges we’re ****ed!

What’s worrying is that we have a government championing small businesses, we have a programme of investment in rural broadband (which BT seems to be getting nigh on 100/% of), we are preparing to spend (waste) £40bn+ on HS2 to get us, sorry those of us who can afford it, to Birmingham 20 minutes faster.

We’re missing the point here.

It’s the information age, a digital world – I don’t need to be in Birmingham at all – if I had even a half-decent broadband service I could be anywhere I liked, I could be boosting the rural economy, I could be cutting down of the need for energy to get me and my chosen mode of transport from A to B, I could be enjoying a better quality of life.

So in conclusion (in the vain hope that you might actually have read this far!) I’d like to recommend something to BT, and indeed to those in charge of government budget decisions – and it’s not new advice, it’s been around for years. 2 things in fact: 1. Focus on delivering what the customer wants and 2. Work Smarter!

That is more than enough!

The Road is long….

Well length is a relative concept – at least I’ve always hoped that’s true!! Anyway the real point here is about the fact that  the state of the road between Gawcott and Marsh Gibbon in Buckinghamshire feels like it’s longer than it actually is because it’s in such a shocking condition. Unless you’re in a tractor in which case you just don’t give a sh*t or a large Mercedes when you just don’t feel a thing!

Unfortunately I’m not in either of those I’m in a small low slung hard suspension Porsche Boxster S (Anniversary Edition) and I can tell you it’s a very very long way.

theroadOver the past 5 years it is clear that the local councils Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council have decided to spend the absolute minimum on maintaining them -irrespective of their claims – see “We’re working on it“.   I’ve no idea where these so-called 57 members live but it’s clear from their priorities that they’ve never had to travel down the road I’m referring to – see map.

Now I’m not saying they’ve done nothing – but what they’ve done is actually worse than nothing!  No offence but a bunch of monkeys on the back of a pick up truck with a vat of tar and some small rollers isn’t going to solve the problem.  In fact a bit of frost and hey presto not only have the holes reopened but there’s now a load of grit and gravel to sent flying around the road damaging paintwork and windscreens!

There are just sooo many potholes it needs a complete rebuilding-  yes rebuilding-  not even just resurfacing will sort this.  As long as you’re going to allow heavy vehicles trundle along it to the Calvert tip – and future incinerator you’ve also got a number of farmers who, “frankly scarlet”, couldn’t give a damn about traffic calming measures nor worrying about destroying the road edges you’re going to be pouring good tar after bad – and us motorists will start to get more organised and start sending you – Mr Council Big-Wig (Martin Tett, Leader of Bucks CC,  mtett@buckscc.gov.uk , resident of 168 Amersham Way, Little Chalfont, Amersham, Bucks, HP6 6SG – Bus. phone:  01296 382302, Mobile:  07939 278064) the bill for the work we have to have done to repair our vehicles.

Those of you who have suffered may find this site useful Potholes.co.uk – personally I think a better plan would be to kidnap kindly request Mr Tett to accompany me on a journey from Gawcott to Marsh Gibbon – I promise not to exceed the speed limit, nor to drive in an aggressive manner – although I may have to swerve to avoid a pothole or three and he may find it a bit un-nerving as I find it is actually safer  (and cheaper, when measured in the cost or replacing shock absorbers and sundry bits of suspension) to drive down the middle of the road.  However I have also posted this on their site as well!!

I did think about video recording the journey but the camera would be shaking so much you wouldn’t be able to see it clearly – hey ho.

Another sneaky Apple trick

I use to have an iPhone – now I’m a confirmed Android fan – just loving that I can do this whenever I choose – or this for that matter – the freedom is fantastic!  Freedom is the issue I’m focussing on right now….the freedom to do what I choose with photographs I take.

Recently I decided to rebuild my personal website and as part of that I thought I’d try and pull into one place a lot of the things I’m interested in.  Part of that was to link some of my current online photo albums from Google’s Picasa site to my latest site – built using WordPress.  As is often the case with WordPress someone has usually already built the app to help you achieve that so thanks to Mikhail Koslov in this instance.

Linking the albums seemed to be a piece of cake….or so I thought!

Most of the albums that I’d created using my Panasonic Lumix camera got linked across seamlessly!  However I noticed that whilst other albums were linked the photographs wouldn’t load to the new site.  On further investigations it appeared that these were photos taken with my iPhone.St Lucia 470

I had to resort to opening the images individually in Fireworks and then saving them as new files and uploading them to Picasa again- guess what?  They synced across without a problem!

I can only infer that one of 2 things has occured:

  1. Our friends in Cupertino have added something to the properties of the file that do not allow them to be transferred to a secondary web site.
  2. Google has added some code which stops this happening.

On the basis that Google allows all my other photos to be transferred it has to be the weasels in Cupertino.

The worst case of rubbernecking – ever!

This morning, the 1st of May has been another dreadful day weatherwise, grey skys, rain, and more rain.  Obviously for those of us who have to drive to work the weather is a major contributor to the quality of our journeys – rain just adds to the misery.  There is however one other thing that can dramatically impact on travel times – “Rubbernecking”.

This is the “lemming-like” practice which requires every man, woman and dog to slow down as they approach the site of a traffic accident and take a good hard look at someone else’s misfortune or stupidity.

Naturally the already kangaroo like procession of traffic during rush hour is transformed into a barely mobile linear car park on the carriageway.   Now this is almost bearable when it’s on your side of the carriageway – that’s just bad luck and you have to grin and bear it.  When it’s on the other carriageway it’s bloody infuriating, but when it’s not even on the main carriageway (as in on a slip road) it simply beggars belief!


I’ve marked the spot on the image – it’s the black X in the red circle.  This screengrab from Google was taken 90 minutes after I crawled past heading south – you can see the traffic is still held up by what would appear to be a continuous stream of rubberneckers. Why must you all do this?

So to finish a personal plea – whilst I accept, as does the Association of Advanced Motorists, that you need to be aware of what’s going on around you why do you need to slow to a crawl in the fast lane to stare at something that is of absolutely no relevance to you or your driving whatsoever?  Keep on going, don’t slow down and cause a hazard to other road users.

Paradise

OK so the odd Chinese/Japanese/Korean might have made things less than a perfect 10 – but by the cringe Athuruga in the Maldives is truly paradise.

..and looking the other way…

and then on one of the trips….

Don’t just take my word for it read what Adrian Neville the main man behind www.sevenholidays.com has to say –

Athuruga is a case where the saying ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ is inappropriate. This resort has been two of the best-maintained and consistently popular resorts in the country, yet it has had massive changes and come out the other side even better. Looking Beautiful.

Too damn right!

More hoo-ha regarding 4G!

It’s not just about filling in rural ‘notspots’.

A committee of UK MPs has criticised mobile operators for fighting over how to share out the airwaves that will deliver next-generation services.

In a report examining the spectrum auction, the Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee says Ofcom is generally taking the right approach – but slams the network operators for their constant infighting and special pleading.

But it’s much more than that it’s about having end to end coverage. How many times are we told to travel by train – why? The mobile signal is not constant and the onboard wireless is a bit of a joke. And don’t think that special trains like Eurostar will be any better – they’re actually worse – no wireless at all!

The only sensible way to have a conversation or to do some work using a mobile device is – sorry to disappoint you road warriers out there- but it’s to stand still!

How sad we’ve come so not very far at all and here we are talking about 4G – strewth get 2.5G sorted first!! Then 3G and only then think about 4G!