Tag Archives: whinge

To the management at Southwest Trains

Dear management team at SWT,

Thank you. For the privilege of furnishing me with a ticket to travel on one of your luxuriant trains. For the economies made when I purchased, at a cost of over 3000 pounds, an annual travel card. The ‘gold card’ privileges, I’m sure will furnish me with lavish and extreme comforts at some indeterminate, difficult-to-conceive time in the future.

Thank you for your convenient and spacious parking facilities. It is helpfully located, just far enough away from the station to result in a complete drenching in the event of one of England’s frequent and persistent bouts of precipitation. I find it remarkable value at over 7 pounds a day. Simply remarkable.

Thank you for the morning rush. There’s nothing like the swarm of tired, grumpy people first thing in the morning to kick start your day. It provides the perfect dose of adrenaline to get the blood boiling ahead of a day in the office. Thank you also for refusing to add additional capacity to the line – where would we be without natural selection? And after all, sitting is bad.

Speaking of which, thank you for providing such inadequate seating. It hones my hunter/gatherer skills as I cram my way past elderly ladies in search of a perch. It has made me more appreciative of what I have; I am piteously grateful when I can find a broken fold-down seat next to one of your curiously fragrant toilets.

Thank you for your cracked cooperation with the other rail operators. It is a rousing challenge when, every month when my railcard fails to be read by a barrier gate and I seek a replacement, I have to go to a SWT office and can’t be helped by your partners elsewhere in the British rail network.Truly, Nationalisation is a terrible evil.

Of late, I’ve noticed that you seem to have employed psychic train drivers… they are inevitably and persistently late when I am anxious to get home and invariably punctual when I’m running more than 15 seconds late for a train. I can only assume you have some ingenious mechanism by which the punctuality of a train is in some way powered by the collective unhappiness of the people ahead of or behind it. In this respect, you have adapted the powers of the slime from Ghostbusters 2 as a power supply and should be applauded for it.

Thank you for the disruptive modernisation works you are soon to be carrying out at Basingstoke station. Whilst I don’t immediately see the logic in modernising the perfectly functional ticket hall, in which no regular commuters spend any great period of time, I’m sure there’s a sound strategy behind it and its not at all an enormous, bloated waste of time and money.

Ah, train travel. One of the most idyllic ways to travel, and a remarkable innovation. Every time I stand perched for an hour between a drunk banker and an aromatic systems architect, I marvel at the elegy that is Britain’s rail system. I look forward to the hot, sweaty summer days ahead; to desensitising myself to empathy and building my lower back strength as I stand for the two hours a day I travel with you.

Thank you.

Broadband whinge

Having mustered the enthusiasm to blog a little more, and 8 weeks away from our wedding, our broadband has died. It’s hard to tell if its the modem or the DSL line, but I’d like to say at this point that both the modem and my service provider SUCK.

The SP – Pipex Homecall (as was Bulldog, as is some distant part of Tiscali), doesn’t have support numbers obviously listed on its website. Instead, you have to submit an online form through its tedious self service tool, RightKnow. And this is the 5th time in two years something has gone wrong with the line (well, potentially gone wrong with the line), and comes weeks after I discovered they’d been double charging me for 10 months – something they were barely apologetic for and I had to scan and send them 10 months of bank statements to prove. They promise to get back to queries within two days – which is a long time when you’ve got as much going on as I do! If broadband is the next essential utility after electricity, water and gas, these guys are going to have to get better at responding to faults. Tools.

The modem – is less than a year old and came with an 11 YEAR warranty. But I can’t afford to be offline, so I’m not going to get to call it in before I have to buy a replacement. Eat it, D-Link.

Anyway, rant over. This can be a social media monitoring test for those guys, see if anyone offers me anything by way of apology or compensation, but I think its unlikely. [sigh].

Update: It was the network. The router is still alive. Apologies, D-Link. You’re OK. Pipex, you suck.

Lovely (shhhhhhh) new neighbourhood

Love my new neighbourhood, generally. Today, however, whilst getting some much needed building work done, instead of someone having a word with us discretely to let us know that the chaps sawing up wood were making maybe a little much noise and could we maybe keep it down, they sicked the council on us. Fair enough, turns out we were working out of regulation hours, but a quiet word rather than the council watchdog would have been ample. We’re not out to annoy anyone.

Grrr. Sometimes English reticence is just downright annoying.

Damnit, Plaxo

I’ve been using Plaxo on and off for a few years now. It started off as a contact management system, which was useful, and a social network of sorts. Then it added calendar synchronisation, also good. Its latest incarnation, Plaxo 3.0, aggregates feeds from ALL your contacts social networks and plays it back to you…. which, of course, makes it completely useless as you get far more information than you need. With Scoble, Calacanis in my “network”, and people like Simon and Chris, I get far more updates than I could reasonably shake a stick at. Seriously, I start shaking the stick and it just shatters under the weight of Twitters, Flickr updates etc. etc.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about, pointless though Plaxo Pulse is. This post is about the “known issues” with Plaxo that have forced me to abandon my $50 investment in the service. The known issues are…

1) The de-duper also deletes random contacts for no reason other than, well, it feels like it
2) Calendar synchronisation over multiple PCs in the same timezone results in recurring appointments sliding further and further back in time
3) And not an issue, but could I sync my contacts with Google Mail, please?

Repeated searches through the forums flagged both of these as recurring issues for some users, and therefore you’d have thought they’d be addressed… sadly, not. I should probably log them as faults and see if I can reclaim my investment, but I suspect they’ll put it down to the vagaries of my system configuration… which will do me precisely zero good, yet waste me considerable time.

sigh. Well, my Google Analytics referral list has taught me that blog posts will sit up here and gather traffic like dust on a pile of messy PC cables, so I’ve at least put this out there for others who experience similar issues. If any of you find a solution, please let me know!