Category: Ranting

Pebbles, Google Glass, and all that

At work this week a colleague had a pebble watch. t’s really, really neat. 

Apart from one small thing:  it’s … one tenth of what it could be.

And all the fuss around Google glass  – again, it’s not even starting to get there.

If I’m going to wear a bit of technology, it needs some useful features.

Facial recognition: if I walk up to someone I haven’t seen for a while it should tell me who they are, when I last met them, and anything else relevant.

Navigation: if you’re heading for the pub you arranged to meet the guys at, you need to turn right here.

Money: when I look at a menu, remind me I’ve already overspent on dining out this month and to go for a cheaper option.

Seriously, guys, you can do better with this technology than recording everyone bullshitting their mates in the pub and putting it on YouTube.  

EU roaming caps – not nearly tough enough

Reports that the EU are to cap roaming charges prove the EU is still on the side of big business.

The internet is a global place.   It doesn’t cost any more for me to download my email from Google when I’m in France, or Germany, or for that matter Mongolia or Argentina. And the calls costing more is an outdated concept as well.

I expect my free minutes and free data to be valid wherever I am in the world.  It might take a while, but it will have to happen eventually.

Andy’s guide to the UK General Election

For anyone else like me struggling to decide which thief to entrust with representing their views for the next year,  I’ve decided to summarise the situation as I see it.  It won’t necessarily shed any light on the subject, but will, at least, make you realise why people get apathetic about politics.

Labour will take all your money and give it to the poor.  Conservative will take all your money and waste it.  And I still haven’t forgiven the LibDems for Charles Kennedy saying ““My priority is to get people out of cars and on to public transport”.

So we’re down to the minor parties.    You can’t vote BNP if you actually have a functioning conscience. And you can’t vote for the Green party if you think our lives are better now than they were in 1543 — which is about the technology level they’d have us return to.  And you have to ask whether the UKIP have the credibility to even be considered a half-way sensible protest vote.

The worst thing is the apathy from the parties.  I’ve had exactly ONE canvasser knock on my door in the run up to the current election – and at least he had the honesty to admit that canvassing for the Conservatives in the seat formerly held by the man who put the “con” in “Conservative” was proving a thankless task.  “Do you really expect me to vote for you when your last candidate claimed the expenses of running a second home twice over, especially when half the population of the constituency commutes into London on a daily basis at their own expense?”

I’m with the Monster Raving Loony Party on that one.  Line up some caravans on the lawns at Westminster for theose who aren’t prepared to commute at their own expense.  I actually wish we had an MRLP candidate just so I could say I was voting for him/her because they make more sense than the serious parties!

Perhaps I should have stood for the “Sack The Lot” party.  On a platform of donating the salary above the national wage to charity and not claiming expenses other than a season ticket into London, I think I’d at least keep my deposit.

So, given that none of the parties are actually credible, but that I believe you should vote, I’m left with choosing the candidate least likely to be elected with policies that aren’t actually vile and detestable.  Oh wait, that’d be the Labour party.  I think I’ll just stay in bed until it’s all over.

What planet are most customer support managers on?

I sit near customer support where I work, and I spend all day listening to people badgering customers for call reference numbers, licence numbers, serial numbers, and other trivia.

I’ve just wasted 90 minutes of my life speaking with Sky’s customer support who were polite, full of corporate doublespeak, and totally useless.

When a customer phones up with a problem, he doesn’t care what is licence number or viewing card number is.  He certainly doesn’t want bullshit about how the Sky satellite decoder is made by a third party who make crappy unreliable electronics and should have paid £70 a year for a service contract.

I don’t want to spend 45 minutes on hold before I speak to someone.  I don’t want an IVR system.  I want a person.  Someone who speaks English passably for preference, but I work in such a multi-cultural world that it’s no challenge to deal with someone who has English as their seventh language.  I can’t passably function in any other language – and I’d learn another language if I could figure out whether Mandarin or Malayalam would be more use.

I don’t want to speak to someone who repeats everything I’ve said.  It’s not polite.  It’s not helpful.  It just gives me time to think of sarcastic come-backs.

How would you like if it I repeated everything you said back to you in a normal conversation?

So you think it’s stupid to repeat everything you just said?

Please. throw out the corporate bullshit.  I’ve worked on the other side of this particular fence.  I’ve run a (small) call centre.  I’ve faced high level customers spending hundreds of thousands of pounds who aren’t happy.  Don’t think your two days of call centre training can fob me off.   I know all the excuses.

“High call volume” is a emphemism for “too few staff on tonight”.  “We’re sorry for the inconvenience” is a sop to stupid people.  If you were actually sorry, it would be “I’m sorry, and I’d like to arrange for a credit for your account by way of apology”.   And if you can’t answer my call, don’t insult me by telling me how valuable it is.  If it was actually valuable (i.e., revenue generating), you’d be a hell of a lot quicker to answer.

Just answer the phone by the fourth ring with a real human being.  And then transfer me in one go, with no waiting, to someone who has the skills to help me.  You’ve got my phone number from the IVR, so don’t ask me for it, or my name, or my mother’s inside leg measurement.  You know all that.  Stop messing me around and help me.  It’s what I expect when I’m paying for a service that isn’t being delivered.

Explain this Global Warming Thing Again

This picture was taken in Berkshire, on the 7th April.  This is the most snow we’ve seen all year.  In April?

Global Warming?  I don’t believe it.  It’s just a scam dreamt up by people who think we should all live in caves, and loved by the governments who use it to justify higher taxes.

Global Cooling???

No, really.

As reported here,  anecdotal evidence for global cooling has increased, and now the latest data from the main sources of global climate data backs this up: over the past year, the global temperature has dropped by between 0.65 and 0.75 degrees centigrade, the largest single drop in a year, and enough to wipe out the alleged effect of global warming in the last century.

A couple of things come to mind here.  First of all, the whole global warming debacle is over less than one degree in the last century?  Just get lost.  Go.  Desist. Leave me alone.  Stop confusing me with someone who cares.  That ain’t global warming, that’s noise.

Secondly, if the temperature can drop that suddenly in a year, the effect we’re having on the planet is tiny.  Even if the eco-nutters are right, the sum total effect of global warming in the last century has been wiped out by, oh, I don’t know, being at the bottom of the sunspot cycle?


Dear Gordon Brown

We live in a country with over-immigration, youths whose only qualification on leaving school is an ASBO, spiraling oil prices, punitive taxation, appalling public transport, and over-stretched public services.

So what do I find you’re most worried about?

It seems it’s how I carry home my shopping.

You are the worst kind of micro manager, obsessing about the little issues with no regard for the wider problems facing the country.  You extract ever increasing amounts of taxation (income tax started at sixpence in the pound, what are you doing with the other 38%?) , jump from bandwagon to bandwagon, giving little or no thought as to how to make the lives of the people of Britain better and more prosperous.

The only thing that’s even more shameful is that the Conservatives can’t even field a credible opponent to your woeful inadequacy.