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Dear Northern Rail….

[PJ – The following is an email sent to Northern Rail… It is a long time since I have had the pleasure of writing weekly complaints to Northern Rail for their ineptness, but alas, here I go again.]

Dear Northern Rail,

Please could you explain why you have again not managed to run a single train on time this week at 07:38 from Mirfield to Leeds?

Today, your ineptness has once again cost me £10 in taxi fares at Leeds as I missed my connection (a work provided bus that departs 20 minutes after your train is due in!).

This is the 5th time this week your delayed trained have resulted in me having to catch a taxi, your “excuses” and “problems” range from being late into Mirfield (I assume this is because your bend over backwards for Express Trains), to having no platform at Leeds, and at a cost of £50 for the week I find this pretty flipping disgusting.

When you add the £50 I have spent on taxi fares to your extortionate train fare, it becomes pretty expensive for me to work, should I be expected to spend more than my mortgage (my mortgage is £311 per month) on travelling the short distance into Leeds from Mirfield with your company, I know the £300 is not all going to you on your fares, but having to spend the additional £50 per week on taxis to make up for your ineptness does really take the biscuit.

I am assuming you will accept zero responsibility for your trains being late, I assume it is my fault for not wanting to travel an hour and 20 minutes earlier than I need to? I assume that YOU not managing to get a train from Huddersfield to Mirfield on time is my fault, I also accept that it is probably my fault that YOUR train conductor is too lazy to walk the length of the train and issue tickets (which is possible up to Dewsbury at least) so that I don’t have to join the massive queues at Leeds to buy one, again, making me late. Can you confirm that this is how you expect your passengers to be treated on a daily basis, with ineptness, laziness, tardiness, and just being plain useless? Can you also confirm, that you agree that it would be cheaper and less stressful for me to get a taxi each day at a cost of about £16 rather than use your train service, or simply not work? All because you cannot run a train on time and with staff that do their job??

I know this is of little concern to you, you don’t guarantee that a single passenger will make it to their destination in one piece let alone on time, but could you please advise how I am expected to rely on your train company?

I expect you handle complaints as well as your trains, so I’m guessing that I won’t get a reply to this email, or maybe it will come late, so please take your time – I’ll probably spend longer waiting for one of your trains in any event.

Yours, a tad annoyed

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

To which I got the reply….

Dear Mr James

Thank you for your e-mail, which I received recently.

I was sorry to read about your recent experiences travelling with us. I would like to offer my sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused. [PJ – Yeah Right!]

We have seen an improvement in performance in some areas over the last few months and I am sure you will witness tangible improvements soon. [PJ – Apart from the fact that the line between Mirfield and Leeds has not improved in 10 years when I last caught the train]

To enable me to investigate further and consider a goodwill gesture, please provide me with your ticket details and full postal address. [PJ – useful, when the ticket machine at Leeds takes your ticket…]

In the interim thank you for contacting Northern Rail, we really value you. [PJ – Like fuck you value any customer]

Yours sincerely

Andy Tallon

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Facebook “Home”

Is it just me getting old, or is anyone else totally put off by a phone that comes pre-installed with Facebook Home?

Facebook is sooo 2010!

I can’t remember the last time I even visited the horrible site…

Perhaps if they got rid of that child like thing that runs the company?

Perhaps if they were not selling your privacy for a dollar per user..

Perhaps if it was relevant…

Oh hum

Catmoji – The Social Network for cats.

catmoji_icon_600x600Have you ever wondered what you cat or kitten gets up to when you leave your laptop unattended? Or why you might get the evils whilst you’re happily tapping away on Facebook??

Aside from planning their eventual enslavement of mankind, it turns out you’re cat is wanting their turn on the laptop so they can post a feline update!

That’s right, your favourite pets are long overdue for their own social network. And now, thanks to a couple of developers in Malaysia, they just may have found one worthy of them.

The site in question is Catmoji, the brainchild of Matthew Phiong and Koekoe Loo Wan Koe. "We want to be Facebook for cats," the Penang-based programmers told Betabeat.

Check it out!

 

catmoji_thumbnails_view

Firefox Address Bar – Change it back to the default!

Firefox the geeks favourite browser.

Firefox has a very clever address bar, that can predict URL’s better than any other browser in the market.

You can also search directly from the address bar. By Default, Firefox uses Google to search for user queries. Sometimes, these address bar settings are hi-jacked by toolbars and other softwares (As I unfortunately found out!).

They change the default Google search into other. In my case, after installing iLivid download manager, my default search changed from Google.com to searchqu.

In this post I’ll show you how to restore the default address bar search settings.

In order to restore the address bar search settings to default, open your Firefox and follow the below steps.

  1. Type about:config in address bar and hit Enter. A warning will be shown to you, don’t panic just press “I’ll be careful, I promise!” button.
  2. In Filter box, type keyword.URL.
  3. Right-click on keyword.URL and select Reset.
  4. If the string is not replaced with a Google url, you need to enter “http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&q=

A New Design…

To coincide with dropping 123Reg as my web hosts (No longer paying top whack for a poor service, and even worse customer service) I’ve hung some new trimmings round the domain, and given it a little tart up.

 

Thanks o2, give me another reason to hate you!

Its been a while since I’ve had a rant about o2, the last being in November when I didn’t think they could do much more to annoy me given my contract is up in May – however they have done it again.

The simple question I ask you, is how many times do you need to ask a company to stop sending you marketing materials? In the case of o2, I’ll be on my 6th request if I call them again – however I’m changing tactic.

To cut this story down a little, it started last March when I said NO to marketing messages from o2. I’ve now sent several requests for them to stop sending marketing messages to me, as well as calling them and asking them to stop – but still they persist. – I now think someone at o2 is taking the piss.

Well rather than complain to them again, and get the same pile of $hit from them I’ve decided to go directly to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) – I’ve taken screenshots of all the messages they have sent me, and have sent it all off for the ICO to make a complaint on my behalf.

I’ll post updates as I get them, but as far as o2 are concerned with me, they are the worst mobile company in England (and yes, I have used worst mobile company as my linking text for o2, just to give them a little SEO love 🙂

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Twitter Against Hate

 

Yesterday I went to watch the Britain’s Got Talent Auditions at a theatre nearby. It was hellishly dull and only served to remind me of how much better television is when it has been edited down into snappy entertainment. I left at the interval, bored to death and came home. As usual I switched my PC on and checked Twitter. I noticed a tweet from several hours ago, linking to this blog: http://goo.gl/83Kzp. No one had seemed to pick up on this, it had gone largely unnoticed.

 

 

I read it, then reread it. As a gay man I felt personally insulted and reading further blogs by him I began to notice a trend. Homophobia and Islamophobia were prevalent, hate speech at its worst. Foul abuse directed at minority groups. The law is clear about this; it’s a criminal offence.

 

 

In the weeks previously, a certain person on Twitter had been making comments about anorexia and causing massive controversy. I refused to comment on this, believing that any further comment would only add to this obvious attempt at publicity seeking. A nobody from a reality show trying to drum up some interest in his sad life is of no real importance and should be ignored, starving him or her of the notoriety they so clearly crave.

 

 

This case was different. Richard Carvarth is a member of the Conservative Party. He had stood as an MP in the general election (gaining 0.91% of votes) as an independent candidate, having been thrown out of the Tories. He has since been allowed to rejoin the party and intends to stand again. He wants to represent his local community in Parliament and use that position as a platform for his hate. Although thankfully this is unlikely to ever happen, the fact that he is trying worried me and I felt in this case it was necessary to let people know what was being said, especially those of whom he hopes to one day represent.

 

 

Let me just clarify: I am one of those bleeding heart liberals you hear about. I will defend freedom of speech until I am hoarse and truly believe that one should be able to express opinions unencumbered. But the law is there to protect people and oppressed minority groups have that protection for a reason. We have fought long and hard for our acceptance and still have a long way to go.

 

 

So I took it to Twitter.

 

 

I started innocuously enough, encouraging my followers to read it and comment if they too felt it was inappropriate for someone wishing to become a politician to write with such venom. I am not a big presence on Twitter, far from it. But my followers are like minded individuals who were also incensed by what they saw and started spreading it to their followers. This was great news, but I wanted to go further. I had already reported it as a Hate Crime and emailed the Prime Minister, asking if he would like to comment on this particular member of his party. I decided that I needed to contact some high profile Twitterers to see what sort of response I could get. I was not expecting what happened next.

 

 

Overwhelmingly the response was a positive one. People were happy to retweet what I sent them and before long my “mentions” and “retweet” timelines had gone crazy. People from all over the world were contacting me, thanking me for drawing their attention to the vile bile being poured forth on the blog. From local journalists and bloggers to Nancy Sinatra and Russell Tovey, people were furious and wanted to offer their support for my concern. My inbox could hardly cope with the stream of new follower notifications and direct messages. I had to ask my partner to log on to Twitter to reply to friends on my behalf as I was struggling to reply to all the people who were tweeting me. Without wishing to sound gushing, I was genuinely moved by the response. People were offering to report the blog to the police and its hosting site. They were emailing their MPs. They were writing to local and national press. They would start Facebook groups. They would make sure that their friends knew. They wanted me to know that they were from the same constituency and did not share these bigoted opinions. We laughed and shared jokes about the archaic nonsense being written as well as debating the merits and drawbacks of further drawing attention to his blog, all united by a common desire to see this kind of hatred stamped out for good.

 

 

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Chris_Billett/status/25974778481352704″]

 

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/NancySinatra/status/26167375887863808″]

 

Eventually Richard Carvath became a Trending Topic in the UK. I was astounded. Was it the right thing to do? I believe so. Rather than starve him of publicity I feel people need to know that a prospective local politician holds these views and, presumably, would want them acted upon if he were to be successful. As I said, a nobody from Big Brother is a different matter entirely. If I felt for one moment that Richard Carvath was simply trying to be provocative or create publicity for his campaign then I would have ignored him as just yet another “troll”. But it is clear that he is not. These are deep seated beliefs that he holds and wishes to share with the rest of us through government. Not only is this completely unacceptable, it is harmful. And illegal.

 

 

Twitter is becoming a very powerful tool for people to use when they want their voice heard and a subject discussed. Recent events in Tunisia and controversy surrounding a certain soap opera have proven this. I feel proud of myself and my fellow Tweeps that we were lucky enough to be able to draw attention to something so unpleasant and potentially dangerous.

 

 

So thank you, sincerely, everyone who has been involved and continues to be so. I will keep you updated. In the meantime, should you wish to report the blog yourself, use http://www.stophateuk.org/

 

 

Hope not Hate. We shall overcome.

Edit: I’d also like to cross post
to

Christheuke
who has wrote an additional post on the subject of Richard
Carvath – Paul.

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