Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Old News

A nice story here on the BBC website about children who were born when the BBC launched its internet site ten years ago thinking up how the news might be delivered in the future.

My only query is that for a piece all about new technologies and fancy news delivery services is why on earth does Picture Eight show a piece of paper pegged to a line with two odd pegs and written with a pen that was clearly low on ink. It's hardly high-tech.

Even in ‘my day’ we had blackboards and didn’t rely on washing lines and pegs.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Toast to Planning

Why would Tesco produce a toaster that doesn’t accommodate a normal size piece of bread?

If you are manufacturing a toaster surely the most fundamental design element it needs is the ability to house the bread, followed by the ability to toast it. I mean for a toaster that’s pretty much the main two objectives: 1) accept bread, 2) toast bread.

But for some reason the toaster we now own in our new house doesn’t do this. Despite using a slice of highly mainstream and commercial bread – a good staple size to test against I would have thought – the toaster is unable to accept the bread horizontally so it must be placed vertically. This of course leaves around 1/8th, possibly 1/10th, protruding from the toaster which means you either have to waste the aforementioned size which doesn’t get toasted, or keep and eye on the bread-becoming-toast, to turn it around to try and ensure both ends of the bread are toasted – which means the middle becomes more toasted than either end, giving rise to a slightly disconcerting taste sensation whereby the toast start mildly toasted, becomes moderately toasted before reverting to being mildly toasted again.

The whole point of a toaster is to remove the element of watching, a-la the grill which requires constant supervision, but with this method you are once again chained to the kitchen watching the toaster, wasting time when you could be doing other useful 'morning' things. And all this because the 'geniuses' who designed these infernal contraptions didn’t think to measure the average size of a piece bread before they started mass-bloody-producing them.

Every little helps? A little bit more thought would help a lot.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Troubled Bridge Over Water

Having lived in Cardiff for four years I can only agree with the sentiments made in this story about the toll charge only taking cash. Some of the comments below make interesting reading too.

It’s so pathetic and bureaucratic that in the year 2007 when people can now pay with a VISA Paywave system in shops for payments under £10 in 10 seconds people can’t pay by chip and pin on a major bridge which deals with 10 customers a second roughly.

Futhermore as many people say in the comments there isn’t even a cash machine for people to take cash out on site. Instead they are made to drive back to England to get cash – with the effort of closing two directions of motorway east and west to escort the car across the road – including if you have £5 and not the final 10p that was added on recently.

The answer here is for drivers to form an unspoken system whereby if someone in front can’t pay the fee the person behind, or nearby, pays the fee, they exchange details and send the other person a cheque for their help.

Monday, October 08, 2007


The stupidity of the modern world is almost funny. Almost.

Wanting a loan from Barclays to pay off a career development loan I have, with Barclays, was met with the information they don’t give out a second loan, even if you are going to use it to pay off the original loan that is at a higher interest rate. So even saying, “you realise I’ll just go to another bank and they will get the money instead?’ is met with a cheery “oh yes, it’s just company policy.”

So to Bradford & Bingley – a company I’ve long thought was above such random stupidity, but alas, no. Firstly they wouldn’t give me a loan because I hadn’t ‘started’ work yet – even though I had proof of upcoming employment. Then, after starting work, moving to London and sort myself out, I give them a ring, they’ve changed the system. You have to be 23 to get a loan. Why? Just new policy (admittedly I didn’t really push for a full answer but that was the gist). So despite being able to afford the repayments I can’t get a loan – they are now losing out on the money I wanted to give them instead of Barclays.

Isn’t that ageist anyway? Not giving me a loan I can prove I can afford because of my age? Probably not. But it still makes no sense to me.

What was it Jarvis Cocker said?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


This story - although confusing to read with all the mad acronyms flying about - is a really interesting example of just another way the internet uses the power of sheer numbers of people to get a task done. Wikipedia is the people’s encyclopedia and now, for example, if you wanted to comment on this blog post, you could be helping to transcribe an ancient text to the internet by typing in a blurry word - which I think is great.