Tuesday 21 July 2009

Damn those bus drivers

Stagecoach OJ09BZH
Originally uploaded by KK70088
Don't you just hate it when you try to get on the bus and the driver shuts the door just as you arrive. You knock on the door assuming that he'll see you and open the doors to let you on, but no - the ba$tard just drives off and you're left there cursing him, buses, public transport and Gordon Brown.

I was on the bus the other day leaving Oxford and I saw exactly that happen to someone trying to get on my bus. The driver could easily have let the guy on the bus, so I emailed the bus company to query their procedure.

This is what I was told:

Prior to departing a stop the driver is to:

1) look in their mirrors to ensure there are no persons intending to board their vehicle
2) Close the doors
3) Put on indicators to show that they wish to move out right
3) Look constantly in both offside/nearside/inside mirrors to look for any obstacles and ensure that persons are safely seated
4) If safe to do so move off from the stop at slow speed

Once the driver has closed their doors and started their checks we state they have commenced their manoeuvre and should therefore not pick up again on health and safety grounds.

As you can imagine the issue surrounds point 1. If the driver did not see the person in time they will commence their manoeuvre, however the intending passenger may believe they should have been easily seen creates conflict over the interpretation of the incident.

Additionally, if the driver was due to depart a few minutes earlier they will at some point have to commit to making progress and departing, as they have a responsibility to operate the service on time for the other intending passengers left waiting at stops further up the route.

Can't really argue with that. They have to pull away at some time and they are only following procedure. In Oxford, where the buses are quite popular, you can be left sitting on a bus for ages waiting for it to pull away from the city centre while there is a steady drip of people constantly getting on the bus.

Don't get me started on the summer foreign language students!

Saturday 18 July 2009

Attack of the Slugs

Attack of the Slugs
Originally uploaded by major_grooves
The cauliflower crop didn't work out too good. I don't think these guys helped. I went out with a paid of secators the other day and chopped a bunch of them in half. Mwahaha!

Thursday 16 July 2009

LoveFilm result! I think...

I got the following reply from LoveFilm after my complaint email yesterday:

Dear Steven,

Thank you for your email.

I would like to apologise for the inconvenience that this matter has caused you.

I can confirm that I have now contacted my colleague in the warehouse regarding this issue and have been informed that we have limited stock of "Battlestar Galactica - Season 3 - Disc 3" only. We are in the process of obtaining more copies.

I can confirm that I have now requested for "Battlestar Galactica - Season 3 - Disc 3" to be sent out to you as an extra disc (this will be on-top of your normal allowance).

Please bear in mind that when we wish to allocate your extra disc, and the desired title is not available to be allocated to you, no extra disc will be sent out to you. The reason for this is because I have requested for this specific title to be sent out.

In the future please bear in mind that we do have a no late returns policy which make it impossible for us to promise our customers when a specific disc will be send out. It all depend if we have an available copy of one of your high priority titles in our warehouse once we receive a disc back from you and have to allocate your next one.

Instead of waiting for one of your high priority titles to be available we will then sent out one of the other titles on your list to prevent any delays.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused by this and do not hesitate to contact us if you need more information, we will be happy to assist you.

Let's see if it turns up now!

My plea to LoveFilm

I've been having some trouble getting the next DVD in the Battlestar Gallactica series from LoveFilm. I'm waiting for Season 3 DVD 3. I did email customer support and got some generic reply, but my patience is wearing this so I decided to email again tonight. I've been waiting 4 months.

Dear Yousuf,

As I sit here, still waiting for the next DVD in Battlestar Gallactica Season 3, I look at the copies of Enchanted and Volver (chosen by my other half - they look kinda rubbish) that arrived from LoveFilm today and must conclude: I am not satisfied by your answer or LoveFilm's current level of service.

First, BattleStar Gallactica Season 3 is not a new release. I can not see why there would be particularly high demand for Season 3 Disc 3 unless, unbeknownst to me, it perhaps has an episode featuring Michael Jackson moonwalking across the flightdeck of Battlestar Gallactica itself. Given that I have been waiting months for this disc, and old MJ only died a couple of weeks ago, this explanation is quite unlikely.

I can understand that one cannot expect to get a specific movie on demand, and indeed that you will have different stock levels for different movies. However, Battlestar Gallactica is a series of episodes. This means that people usually watch them one after the other, sequentially. It helps make the storyline flow. Therefore, one would assume that a stockist of any series would have equal numbers of each DVD in the series. Perhaps you might have more DVDs of a later series overall, but one would assume (lost/damaged DVDs notwithstanding) that within a series there would be the same number of DVDs in your stock. Logically, this would enable you to send the DVDs out in order, without too much of a wait between DVDs.

Indeed, for Seasons 1 and 2 of Battlestar Gallactica that was what happened. Every time I sent back a DVD of Battlestar Gallactica, I was safe in the knowledge that the next one would be popping through the door in a couple of days. In fact, although I have quite a low LoveFilm package (4 DVDs max a month I think) watching Battlestar Gallactica was the first time I had "maxed" my allowance. I confess I was addicted to the series (have you /seen/ Starbuck!?!) so I actually welcomed the enforced breaks.

But let me show you the pattern in DVDs received from LoveFilm that makes me suspect that something is not quite right here:

Between 10th December and 5th January this is the pattern (the date is the date of the returned DVD according to my account):

Battlestar Galactica - Season 1 - Disc 1 10th December 2008
Battlestar Galactica - Season 1 - Disc 2 22nd December 2008
Battlestar Galactica - Season 1 - Disc 3 22nd December 2008
Battlestar Galactica - Season 1 - Disc 4 5th January 2009

on 5th January I also returned Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End.

Then between 9th January and 24th February the pattern was as follows:

Battlestar Galactica - Season 2 - Disc 1 9th January 2009
Battlestar Galactica - Season 2 - Disc 2 19th January 2009
Battlestar Galactica - Season 2 - Disc 3 26th January 2009
Battlestar Galactica - Season 2 - Disc 4 30th January 2009
Battlestar Galactica - Season 2 - Disc 5 24th February 2009

Season 2 was interspersed with Kidulthood, the Orphanage, Penelope and We Own the Night. It seemed for this season that one of my DVDs would always be a Battlestar Gallactica DVD and the other a normal movie.

March also saw we watching 27 Dresses and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Please don't judge me. I happened to enjoy them both. I consider Russell Brand to be a fine comedic actor, his whimsical style amuses me, and 27 Dresses was surprisingly good.

This brings me to the end of March when I received and watched Battlestar Gallactica Season 3 DVDs 1 and 2. They were really exciting! I can't tell you why, because I can't remember now it's been so long since I watched them, but Battlestar Gallactica is always exciting, so I'm gonna stick with it.

Since I returned Season 3 DVD 2, I have received 14 different DVDs - FOURTEEN!!! - none of them Battlestar Gallactica. Just for your interest, my top rated DVDs in that time were In Bruges, which I gave 4.5 stars (the missus and I really want to take a holiday to Bruge now) and the first series of The Inbetweeners, which I gave 5 stars. Yes - 5 stars! It really is that good! Fortunately the whole series came on 1 DVD!

Can you see where the pattern breaks down? I don't know if you're a mathematician Yousuf, but there is certainly a pattern in the Battlestar Gallactica DVD distribution, which kinda falls apart around Season 3 DVD 3. I can see it.

So, it has now been nearly 4 months since I had my last dose of Battlestar Gallactica. FOUR MONTHS! I doubt many people would think to themselves, "yeah, I'm really enjoying this series. What I could really do with is a 4 month break between two episodes". Nah, no one would say that because they would have to be an idiot.

Does a 4 month wait between episodes seem normal or reasonable to you?

Is there not the slightest chance that there is something wrong with your system?

I'd say I've been patient so far, but the thought of watching Volver and Enchanted has ended that.

Or maybe you know something I don't? Maybe Battlestar Gallactica gets really rubbish at Season 3 DVD3. Maybe you're actually doing me a favour! Really, I'd like to be the judge of that. The rumours I hear are that it stays pretty good throughout.

Anyway, Yousuf I'd really appreciate it if you would look in to this for me. I really have enjoyed using LoveFilm's service over the past few years, but this experience is putting me off. I may consider cancelling my subscription if I don't get the next Battlestar Gallactica DVD soon, and I fear that jobs at LoveFilm may be put at risk by the loss of my £7.82 payment every month. I couldn't cope with having that on my conscience Yousaf.

Yours Sincerely


--- On Wed, 1/7/09, support@lovefilm.com wrote:

From: support@lovefilm.com
Subject: Re: Feedback:: Re: Film and TV queries: Battlestar Gallactica - LF8230560TID
To: xxxxxx@yahoo.co.uk
Date: Wednesday, 1 July, 2009, 5:06 AM

Dear Steven,

Thank you for your email.

We would like to confirm to you that that the priority system is not intended as a way
of queuing your selection exactly in the order you wish to see them. Instead it is only intended as more of a 'preference'
system, by which customers can indicate which films from their selection they would prefer to see, from those that we have available in stock to dispatch to you at the time your last return is received.

Please understand that although your priority titles selection serves as an indication to us of which titles you would prefer to see first, I'm afraid we are unable to guarantee the dispatch of any particular title within any time frame. As we do not offer a 'Title-on-demand' service, the allocation of titles from your list on the day of dispatch is simply dependent on availability. If none of your priority 1 titles are in stock on that day, we will send you an alternative from your list.

I'm afraid it is the nature of our system, that we are unable to guarantee that we will always be able to send you any one particular disc (or priority of disc) at any one time. We simply cannot do so as we only have a finite stock of
any disc, and it is impossible to predict when the ones you want to rent will be in stock. This is especially true of new releases, which are always the most heavily requested for the limited stocks we have. Because we know this is not possible to offer this guarantee, we have the selection list system, and not an order queue. We will always dispatch you a priority 1 DVD if it is available, but if not we will dispatch a priority 2, and if that is not available, then a priority 3.

Hope this has answered your query. Should you have any more questions, please do let us know and we will be happy to assist you further.

Please let us know if this answered your question.
If yes, click here:

If no, click

Kind regards,

Customer Services
Find the films you want to watch

LOVEFiLM UK Limited is a company registered in England and Wales.
Registered Number: 06528297.
Registered Office: No. 9, 6 Portal Way, London W3 6RU, United Kingdom.

Major Groove wrote:

> For the love of the Almighty I have still not been sent the next BSG DVD!
> What happened? Did you get a cheap batch that only had one copy of S03 DVD3??? I had them one after the other then I have to wait months for this one!

Tuesday 7 July 2009

N97 or iPhone (or G1)

I've had my N95 for over 2 years now. That's at least 6 months longer than the minimum 18 month contract I had when I got the N95.

When the N95 was announced I couldn't wait to get it. A phone with GPS - it seemed brilliant! When I got it I was actually pretty pissed off. The GPS barely worked and it was only when I hacked the phone and installed new firmware that it would actually get a GPS signal in any reasonable amount of time.

That made me pissed off at Nokia, for releasing a phone that I don't think worked properly out of the box, and at Orange for being so damn slow with their firmware updates that I had to hack the phone to get a decent firmware update. Oh, and of course Orange removed the Voip software from the phone because, "it would confuse customers" or something like that. Yeah, not because they were scared of nobody ever paying for a call again, eh?

However, since getting that firmware update I've been pretty happy with the N95. It's a pretty decent music player, the GPS works ok especially with Google Maps (what is the point in Nokia Maps unless you are in a no signal area?).

Now I would like a new phone but I don't know which one to get. iPhone 3G S, Nokia N97 or the Google G1 phone. It's difficult to find objective, comparative reviews. People who are fans of one, seem to be haters of the others. Lots of the reviews, are actually just comparisons of the specifications. I want to know what they are like to live with.

iPhone I would like because the UI and apps look great. But I don't want to feel like I'm jumping on a crowded bandwagon.

Nokia - well I've had Nokias for years now, but they never seem quite perfect. I don't understand how they manage that, being the biggest phone company in the world. I kind of like it that it is European. I've always thought it was cool that a kinda random country like Finland ended up spawning the world's biggest phone company.

G1 - well I don't know much about it.

Hopefully some really objective phone reviewer will happen along this post and make a recommendation.