Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Virgin Saga Continues

Well.  No sign of an engineer over the weekend, surprise surprise, so Monday I came home from work early (costing me 3 hours of billable work) and waited, and waited, and waited.  By 6pm I had not heard from the engineer so I called NTL, whoops sorry I mean Virgin, and after a 30 minute wait I get told that he will be here in 10 mins.

7pm comes and goes so I call again.  This time I am on the phone for 50 minutes and Sarah tells me that he has been delayed but he will definitely  be coming tonight and he will call me to confirm.

8pm no sign so I tried to call.  Guess what.  They have closed for the night!

8am and I am on the phone to NTL.  I am informed that errr..  a, They have no idea why the engineer did not come and B, My phone number is not in the call text and the engineers cannot see the customer record, so how was he to call me?

You would think that after screwing up so badly they would try to make amends, but no.  The best they can offer me is that an engineer will be round from 8am until 12pm.  Hmmm…  I said OK it will have to do.  Five mins later I get a call telling me “Make that 12pm until 7pm”!  Just like yesterday!

I expressed my dissatisfaction and was basically told (by NTL) yes this is rubbish, but we can’t get the staff!

3pm and an engineer arrives and swaps the box in 5 mins.  For reasons best known to himself he moved all the plugs around behind the TV, thereby messing up the energy saver that was installed.  I have just spent 30 mins putting it all back!

So I have spent about 8 hours of my life chasing and waiting for NTL to pull their collective fingers out, for a job that took 5 mins!!!  We have been without cable for 5 days.  Good thing that my internet access comes from else ware.

To add insult to injury I now have to call them, to get compensation.

As before Some advice for NTL.

a, Stop lying to your customers, It starts from a small lie i.e. You can choose your music on hold from a choice of 5 music types.  Problem is that all 5 choices just repeat the SAME 4 tracks!  Since when has “American Pie” been Blues?  and graduates to a big lie i.e. we care about our clients!

b, If an engineer is supposed to call the client GIVE HIM THE PHONE NUMBER!

c, Give your Indian staff post code lists and maps.

d, Man (Woman) the service desks after 8pm!  and at weekends!

e, Give your staff E-Mail!

I am sure I can think of more, but frankly this is getting as boring for me as it is for you.  Is it too much to ask for a little customer service?

Why is it that every time I have to deal with this shoddy company I have to deal with this rubbish?  Get your act together NTL.  You will not be the only game in town forever!

Friday, March 27, 2009

NTL (AKA Virgin) Drop the ball again

There we are, kids in bed, ready for a Friday night of chilling in front of the goggle box....


The box packs up. Oh C%^ now I have to talk to Customer Services. Before doing so I did all the usual stuff, reboot the box, attempt to reset the box....

Ok here we go. Call them and navigate the silly auto attendant. Get to support queue and wait....and wait.... and wait... and... get cut off!

Start again. Call them and navigate the silly auto attendant. Get to support queue and wait....and wait.... and wait...

Finally Cherry Jain answers (is that a real name?? Not convinced). Ahh.. Guess what?? She can't find my details Surprise Surprise!

She wanted to transfer me to Customer Services, but I said that I did not want to spend another 20 mins waiting in a queue. Solution? she spends 10 mins in the queue and calls me back. Hmmm... She still can't find me.... We spell out all the details again (letter by letter) and e find that she was looking for FE12 not SE12. Why can't they give them post code lists? Or a map of England may help.

She makes me repeat the same tedious tests before deciding the box is broken! Well Doh!
At least we have made some progress. So when can I have an engineer? MONDAY EVENING!!! between 4 and 7PM! Are you having a laugh? Nope. She is serious. This is clearly not acceptable. I put some pressure on her and she calls the engineering department. Guess what??? They are going home! What about tomorrow or Sunday? Nope, no chance. Can I speak to Customer Services now? Nope. They have gone home too! Complaints Department? Nope... They've gone home.

What kind of Mickey Mouse company is this?

I though that when NTL became Virgin Media things would change. NTL were renown for being rubbish, but I have always thought of Virgin as a company with some customer relations nous that cared about their clients. Apparently not!

A little bit of advice for Virgin.
Most of your clients (especially the TV/Internet users) will be watching TV in the evening at at weekends. Try having some staff on!

Bloody good thing that by broadband is from Demon, so it works, or I would be even more upset! Also a dammed good thing that I do not use the Virgin phone or I could not have called them!

NTL had the worst customer service I have ever experienced. I have had run ins with them in the past but, ever the optimist, I was hoping things had improved (and I really do not have a lot of choice. Nothing has changed, well that is not true. They have out sourced the support. Bloody typical. What's my choice? Well I guess we could move to Sky? That is a definite option. We will see.

Do Virgin Media Care about their clients? I think not!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bailout Mascot Debuts

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

DVDs, damned DVDs, and region restrictions.

Just seen this:

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the gift Obama gave to Gordon Brown when he visited the White House last month - 25 classic American movies - was spoiled by a technical glitch.

When the Prime Minister went to watch one of the movies the other night, he found the films only worked in DVD players made in North America and the words "wrong region" came up on his screen. A Downing Street spokesman said he was "confident" that any gift Obama gave Brown would have been "well thought through": well, perhaps not *that* well thought through.

Now, can we please get rid of that nonsense?

Dream on.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Putt's Law

"Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand."

George Carlin

"Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?"

Monday, March 16, 2009

What’s it all about Charlie Brown?

Hmmm…  Over the past weeks (and months) I have been deluged by a stream of firms that want me to resell or recommend their products.  Now I realise that it is nothing personal and that they are just mailing the world, but I find it rather interesting.

Products and services that, up until now, would have cost money, are being “given” away.  I say “given” as typically you get a reduced level of service, but still, I have been able to get some web sites hosted for nothing (thank you 5quid host).  This was good for me as it let me test their service and was good for them as I soon ran out of space and have started to pay for more, but I could have used the 40Mb they originally gave me forever and a day for free.

I get this mode of selling, with disk space relatively cheap the only cost to them is bandwidth, and I assume they bulk buy that so the trial uses are a drop in the ocean.

What I cannot see is how firms such as Twitter are going to monetise what they do.  You can get free, open source microblogging platforms that can be installed on you own server, that will give the same functionality.  The only thing that Twitter has is the head of steam it has built and the press it is getting.  But even with that “So What??”  Would I pay to be on twitter?  I don’t know.  It certainly has an impact on the traffic to my sites (not huge, but noticeable) but would I pay for it?  Would I tolerate someone else’s adverts on my tweets?  Probably not as they would likely be competing with whatever it was I was trying to say.

Certainly the podcasting/publishing industry has cottoned on (or at the very least is beginning to wake up) to the fact that giving away your stuff is a good way to success (ala et al).  See, I like his stuff so much that I have plugged him and will probably buy the book that he is in the process of giving away.  But the big difference is that he has a “product” that he wants to sell.  I guess that the Twitter product is Twitter itself.  Are they just waiting for someone to buy them?  Or is there some other sinister plan? 

The only answer that I can see is that at some point they will start to inject advertising into the stream.  Much like Facebook has lots of info about you that allows them to channel ads, Twitter can see who you are following and hence what you like.  The stars such as Stephen Fry, Robert Llewellyn, and Adam Curry, ok may be not Adam :)  are attracting a large following, I’m sure that ads dropped into Brittany's stream must have a value.  Or will it have a negative effect?  Will people just jump to another platform that does not have ads?

Actually, I think the answer is slightly different.  I think that if they inject ads some people will move and some will stay.  As has been shown by other services, every dog has it’s day.  So though they may accelerate the demise I do not think that they will kill Twitter.  All that will happen is that something else will come along, as it would have done anyway, that offers other, better??  alternative functionality, and people will jump ship.

Ok, what has this got to do with the price of eggs?  Well it’s all just a comment on the state of the world.  To survive in the modern internet you need to have a level of faith in mankind, that you would not have in the real world.  You need to believe that, if you give your stuff away, people will pay for it anyway.  This is actually quite refreshing.

Maybe it will be a brighter future.

Syndication! Fame at last

I have just registered my blog with..

Blog RSS/Atom Feed Aggregator and Syndicate

Not entirly sure what the benifit is, but we shall see....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dispute Between Neighbours

Dispute Between Neighbours - this is a true story...

A city councilman in Utah , Mark Easton, had a beautiful view of the east mountains, until a new neighbour purchased the lot below his house and built a new home.

The new home was 18 inches higher than the ordinances would allow, so Mark Easton, mad about his lost view, went to the city to make sure they enforced the lower roof line ordinance.

The new neighbour had to drop the roof line, at great expense.

Recently, Mark Easton called the city, and informed them that his new neighbour had installed some vents on the side of his home.

Mark didn't like the look of these vents and asked the city to investigate.

When they went to Mark's home to see what the vents looked like, this is what they found...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Pollyanna communication and moaning

Bad telephone connection 
An Arkansas farm wife called the local phone company to report her telephone failed to ring when her friends called - and that on the few occasions when it did ring, her dog always moaned right before the phone rang. 

The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog or senile lady. He climbed a telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed the subscriber's house. 

The phone didn't ring right away, but then the dog moaned and the telephone began to ring.

Climbing down from the pole, the telephone repairman found:

1. The dog was tied to the telephone system's ground wire with a steel chain and collar. 

2. The wire connection to the ground rod was loose.

3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the number was called.

4. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning and then urinate. 

5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to ring.

Which demonstrates that some problems CAN be fixed by pissing and moaning. 

Thought you'd like to know that. 

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I have been testing this great program for protecting you online. Sandboxie allows you to run your browsers (or for that matter any program) in a Sandbox. What this means is that any changes that are made to your system, by a malicious program or other can be contained and reversed very easily.

The following link takes you to their website...

Sandboxie Website

Give it a go...

Why you are so fat

Is it bad if that all looks really tasty to me?

Check out the Bacon Cheese Pizza Burger on page 3



Rye Bread

Two old guys,  one 80 and one 87,  were sitting on their usual park bench one morning.
The 87 year old had just finished his morning jog and wasn't even short of breath.
The 80 year old was amazed at his friend's stamina and asked him what he did  to have so much energy.
The 87 year old said, "Well,  I eat rye bread every day.  It keeps your energy level high and you'll have great stamina with the ladies."
So,  on the way home, the 80 year old stops at the bakery.  As he was looking around, the lady asked if he needed any help.
He said  "Do you have any Rye bread?"
She said,  "Yes,  there's a whole shelf of it.   Would you like some?"
He said,  "I want 5 loaves."
She said, "My goodness,  5 loaves ...  by the time you get to the 5th loaf,   it'll be hard."
He replied,  "I can't believe it, everybody knows about this shit but me."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Creative Images

Creative Images 

Perfect Breakfast

She's sitting at the table with her gourmet coffee. 
Her son is on the cover of the Wheaties box.
Her daughter is on the cover of Business Week.
Her boyfriend is on the cover of Playgirl.
And her husband is on the back of the milk carton.

Keep reading-they get better!!!

'Cash, check or charge?' I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. 
As she fumbled for her wallet
I notic ed a remote control for a television set in her purse. 
'So, do you always carry your TV remote?' I asked.
'No,' she replied, 'but my husband refused to come shopping with me, 

and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.'

I know I'm not going to understand women.
I'll never understand how you can take boiling hot wax, 
pour it onto your upper thigh, rip the hair out by the root,
and still be afraid of a spider.

A man
 walks into a pharmacy and wanders up & down the aisles. 
The sales girl notices him
 and asks him if she can help him. 
He answers that he is looking fo r
 a box of tampons for his wife. 
She directs him down
 the correct aisle. 
A few minutes later,
 he deposits a huge bag of cotton balls and a ball of string on the counter. 
She says, confused,
 'Sir, I thought you were looking for some tampons for your wife? 
He answers,
 'You see, it's like this, yesterday, I sent my wife to t he store 
to get me a carton
 of cigarettes, and she came back with a tin of tobacco 
and some
 rolling papers; cause it's sooo-ooo--oo-ooo much cheaper. 
So, I figure
 if I have to roll my own .......... so does she. 
(I figure this guy is the one on the milk cart on!)  

A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. 
An earlier discussion had led to an argument and 
neither of them wanted to concede their position.
As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs,
the husband asked sarcastically, 'Relatives of yours?'
'Yep,' the wife replied, 'in-laws.'

A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day.
30,000 to a man's 15,000.
The wife replied, 'The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men... 
The husband then turned to his wife and asked, 'What?'

A man said to his wife one day, 'I don't know
 how you can be 
so stupid and so
 beautiful all at the same time. 
'The wife
 responded, 'Allow me to explain. 
God made me beautiful
 so you would be attracted to me; 
God made me
 stupid so I would be attracted to you!  

A man and his wife were having an argument about who 
should brew the coffee each morning. 
The wife said, 'You should do it because you get up first, 
and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee. 
The husband said, 'You are in charge of cooking around here and 
you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee.' 
Wife replies, 'No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.' 
Husband replies, 'I can't believe that, show me.' 
So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says . 'HEBREWS'

The Silent Treatment 
A man and his wife were having some problems at home
and were giving each other the silent treatment.
Suddenly, the man realized that the next day, he would need his wife to wake him
at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight.
Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, 
'Please wake me at 5:00 AM.' He left it where he knew she would find it.
The next morning, the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and he      had missed his flight Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't wakened him, 

when he noticed a piece of paper by
 the bed. 
The paper said, 'It is 5:00 AM. Wake up.' 
Men are not equipped for these kinds of contests. 

God may have created man before woman, but there is always a rough draft before the masterpiece 

Scot Free! (JFK board game) (New from Parker Brothers)

No, not really...   It is a funny clip from "The Kentucky Fried Movie", but I thought it might give a chuckle to all those following conspiracy theory info....

Zombie Bank

Monday, March 02, 2009

Free stuff

Here is a few suggestions for useful places for people in business, all of which are free.

Search the insolvency register to make sure you're not giving credit to the wrong people:

Check a companies registered address and basic details:
use the webcheck services.  You can pay and get extra reports and accounts and information about directors.

Check a company to see if they are registered with the FSA for regulated services:
this one will avoid you dealing with people who are trading illegally

Check the Data Controller contact details for any company registered for Data Protection and check to see whether a company is registered or not, though all companies who hold any computer records for non-domestic use should be registered, though most are not:

Check UK telephone numbers and find out which company operates them and therefore how much you might pay to call it.  Remember, when a person switches mobile providers and takes their number with them, the original company still owns the number and determines the charge to call them.  For example, if you move from O2 to Orange and keep your number, you will still be charged as if you were calling an O2 number.  Why does it matter?  You may have free Orange to Orange calls and think you are calling an Orange number, but in fact you may be calling an O2 number.  Good for anoraks like me too!

Not sure if this counts for business, but I'll let you decide, I find it useful:

FSA still, but their news feeds is a good source of information:

HM Customs and Excise, register here to file your VAT online and you get an extra week to file after your normal paper deadline and if you pay by direct debit, then don't take the money until about 10 days after that.  Also means you can literally file at 23.59 on the last day and don't have to allow any time for postage.  It's secure too and you can't lose your VAT return in the post.
Select the VAT online link

Stop getting cold calls and sales calls by registering here:
They are paid by OFCOM to run this service and are official

Get a completely free fax to email number, either 0844 or 0870 (which are now free to call for BT customers with included minute plans):
Used these people since they began and they do a great job, best on the market and totally reliable.  I have about 100 numbers with them and no problems.  Sign up for a free number and convert it into a fax to email number straight away.  Loads of our customers now use them for 0844 fax numbers so they can have an incoming fax if people really need to send them a fax.

Online collaboration and info storage place for free:

Free online backup system for up to 2gb (you do have to pay for more) but I use it and it works well.

Find out the details of who owns any .uk domain name at:

Use these people to check any email account when you're out and you don't have webmail access, they sell services as well, but the check any account is very good, often use it:

Get a free temporary email address, useful for signing up for free downloads and free trials, without being bombarded by advertising after that.  Lasts for an hour, excellent service, use it all the time for those "free downloads" which need to email you a link to get the downloads:

Place to get some good free fonts for your advertising and materials:

Excellent free to-do list that you can share with other people and also works with a free iPhone app too, so excellent for sharing lists on the move:

Sunday, March 01, 2009

From Private Eye

Who is the odd one out of this lot?

Lord Stevenson, former chairman, HBOS
Andy Hornby, former chief executive, HBOS
Sir Fred Goodwin, former chief executive, RBS
Sir Tom McKillop, former chairman, RBS
John McFall MP, chairman of Treasury select committee
Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Sir Terry Wogan, presenter of Radio 2 breakfast show.

Answer: Sir Terry Wogan. He is the* only* one with a banking qualification.