Last week, I upgraded my internet connection to an “Ultrafast” one – known by BT / Openreach as G.Fast. Apparently they’re slowing down the roll-out of this in favour of full FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) roll-out, but for now it’s the best speed I can get.
G.Fast offers a guaranteed 100Mbps download – and I’ll get compensation if it dips below that – which is amusingly ridiculous. When I moved here six-and-a-bit years ago, I was only just able to get ADSL and a 2Mbps connection. It was painfully slow, although it did enough for the necessary at the time. When FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) came here, I got it, and went from 2Mbps to 75 overnight. At that point I could do streaming TV and so on with no problem at all. And now I’ve doubled even that. Truly insane.
I wasn’t actually aware that this tech had been installed in my area, but BT sent me a promotional mail about it at the start of November, and I’d dragged my feet on it a bit. But then I got a “Black Friday” promotional letter about it as well, where I could also get it installed for free, for an extra £1 a month on what I pay already. Well OK then.
(As an aside, it’s the only “Black Friday” deal I bothered with at all – and only because it saved me money on a product I was actually interested in)
The engineer came round on Friday to do the installation – it needs some changes at the cabinet, and as it’s still new stuff, they’re doing it with engineers rather than self-install. This had a happy side-effect, in that he also appears to have finally fixed the line problem that’s been plaguing me for more years than I care to mention. (And has cost me the price of an engineer visit on one visit out of the five, because they worded the ‘fix’ badly, but that’s a dead issue now)
Ever since I moved in, the line has been dodgy on occasion, and it’s just got worse over time. The broadband connection has been fine in general – unless I have to make or receive a phone call. At that point the crackles on the line were enough to knock out the broadband connection. BT insisted this wasn’t possible, and that all the options I suggested were Just Wrong. (Because obviously I don’t work for them, so what could I possibly know?) In that time, I’ve had five master sockets, and swapped from ADSL to FTTC for broadband, so I knew it was nothing in the house. It was always either going to be a fault in the line (“Oh no, sir, that’s not possible, more people would be complaining if that were the case”) or in the cabinet itself (also apparently “impossible”)
Anyway, this time the engineer could hear the problem, and tested to find where the problem was. Surprise surprise, it was in the cabinet. So while he was redoing connections for my new broadband, he had a look round the cab, and the terminators on my line (I dunno) in the cab were “worryingly loose, I could just pull them off, didn’t even need pliers“. When he came back to the house, oooh look, what a surprise, no crackle on the line.
So, I’m now working with a 150Mbps download connection, and a lovely crackle-free phone line. All told, bit of a win.
Last week, I noticed signs around Milton Keynes pointing to a new development of homes, called Shakespeare Park.
I’d really hoped that they would make a big thing of puns/content based on Shakespeare stuff, but no, it’s all very dull.
OK, they’ve named most of the house types after Shakespearean characters – but still, there’s so much more they could’ve done
“Shakespeare Park – ”
- it’s no ordinary hamlet
- Your home, as you like it
- Your midsummer night’s dream
And that’s just off the top of my head. I could probably come up with a bundle more.
I just think it’s a bit sad that Taylor Wimpey don’t seem to have tried…
Note 1 : Owing to Muphry’s Law , there will likely be at least one typo in this post.
Note 2 : It may also induce eye-crossing rage/despair in some.
Anyway – this week I’ve had two emails containing images that include typos (or just piss off my pedantry) The first came from Cotton Traders.
Seriously, how the hell does that make it through umpteen proof-readers, editors, and marketing twerds? #rage
The second was a promo for a novel, and I’ve trimmed it down to just the bit that grated on me.
This one is a bit more pedantic – but it grinds my gears anyway. “A prickly woman” is fine. But crossing out the “Prickly” makes it “A Independent Woman” – which isn’t right. Find another word for “prickly” (which they’ve chosen because the title of the book is “The Cactus”) that starts with a vowel, or a synonym for independent that starts with a consonant. Then it works. And wouldn’t annoy pedants.
Anyway, now I’ve shared my irritation. You’re welcome.
On Friday, the UK introduced a “Sugar Tax” on sweet drinks, purportedly to help reduce childhood obesity. Will it work? Personally, I doubt it.
There’s a few reasons – first and foremost, that a lot of manufacturers have already chosen to reduce the sugar levels in their drinks to put them into lower rates for the sugar tax.
Connected to that, diet and zero-calorie versions of most of those drinks have been available for years. If people haven’t chosen to swap by now, will paying 10p extra make them change? Probably not. There’s not even a really visible price difference – at least two of the shop chains I use regularly have upped the price on all the drinks, not just the sugary ones, which also defeats the object. If there were a visible difference ( “I can buy 500ml of the sugary one for £1.50, or the diet one for £1.35, so I’ll save money”) then it might work, but without that, I don’t see that there’s a real driver to force the change.
Alongside that, I *personally* have a problem with government telling me how to be healthy, and attempting to enforce that. I have the same issue when it comes to smoking, the way government encourages people to stop smoking, while also getting massive amounts of income from the tax and duty on cigarettes. (This also applies for alcohol, telling people to drink less while getting the income from the tax and duty, and so on and so on)
I also suspect that there’s a lot more damage done by the ‘invisibly’ sweet drinks – the bizarre creamy milky super-sweet concoctions from Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Costa et al – which now seem to be far more prevalent than sweet fizzy drinks. I suspect there’s a lot more of the obesity blame that can be laid on the coffee culture now than can be laid at the soft-drinks industry. I’m not even sure that the coffee chains are being hit by the sugar tax – I haven’t seen any mention of it being on anything except the soft-drinks industry.
It’ll be interesting to see the results – although of course the government will always claim it to have been a massive success, even when it’s a clusterfuck of monumental proportions – but I really don’t expect to see it have any positive effects on reducing obesity, whether in children or adults.
Out of interest, how the hell do the BBC get to promote a show as “Brand New!” when it’s been exhumed from the 80s and 90s (and potentially the 2000s, too)
Yes, I’m referring to the “Brand New… Generation Game“.
What. The. Absolute. Fuck?
At the moment the media is full of the story about Cambridge Analytica, and it’s use of Facebook profiles/data in order to (allegedly) provide personality profiles and feedback to campaigns such as the 2016 US Presidential Election.
Personally, I’m more surprised at how shocked and amazed most people are about this.
Facebook has never really been about being useful to people – it’s always been a marketer’s wet-dream, getting people to voluntarily enter information about themselves, as well as about their interests, social connections, preferences, brands, and so on. The ‘social network’ thing was effectively a mechanism to make things work better for advertisers and marketers – it drew people in, it made them happy to give up their data, and their ‘reward’ was to connect with other people.
In the case of Cambridge Analytica, they appear to have taken the submitted data and linked profiles (as well as the ‘friends of friends’ profiles, which is pretty dodgy as they didn’t consent to it themselves, but again, I’m pretty sure that was part of Facebook’s allowances at the time) and then made use of that data for their own uses. Which isn’t – or at least shouldn’t be – Facebook’s problem. Supposedly the data from Facebook ‘wasn’t meant to be shared with others’, but that’s pretty tricky to word. If a vendor has sold me something (regardless of whether that product is data, goods, services, or whatever) and I’ve paid for it, then it’s mine to with as I will. It’s no longer the vendor’s responsibility. Otherwise we’re saying “I bought a car and drove it at people, it’s the vendor’s fault, they shouldn’t have sold it to me“, which is frankly fucking ridiculous.
There’ll be a lot more of these ‘stories’ to come out now, from any number of different data providers/handlers. Now Facebook are in the media’s gunsights, they’re going to have a tough time getting out of it. (And bearing in mind the ubiquity of Facebook logins on other sites for things like commenting, etc., it’s going to be quite the shitshow, I suspect)
All told, though, it’s just utterly unsurprising – except for the apparent shock of so many people who seemed to think that Facebook was some kind of benevolent ‘let the world stay in touch’ thing, with no cynical over-arching purpose, budget, plan, or activities.
As usual, I did absolutely sod-all for Valentine’s Day. (A revelation that comes as no shock at all to anyone who knows me)
However, I am glad it’s over and done with. To me, it’s the end of the really useless marketing cobblers for a while, all the materialistic shite about presents, cards, gifts and the like. Sure, there’ll still be useless marketing cobblers about other stuff – Easter, Holidays, Hallowe’en and whatever, but at least that’s all at a greatly reduced level than the shite that goes around the Festering Season and Valentines.
Onwards and upwards, and all that piss.