D4D

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Archive for the category “Stupidity”

Parking Penalties

Way back at the start of November, I went to a restaurant in Cambridge, and parked up in a marked parking area where you either displayed a ticket, or used an online payment app. There was a sign saying “Maximum stay 2 hours“, but nothing about “no return within [x] hours” or anything.  I paid using the RingGo app on my phone, and decided that if I exceeded that 2 hour limit, I’d simply buy another ticket via RingGo.

Anyway, the meal took a lot longer than the two hours – but when it came to the time, I started to get another ticket, only to be told “No return within an hour” by the app – the first time it had been mentioned anywhere. (The parking was too far from the restaurant for a “quick dash” to pay cash for a new ticket, as wellBollocks, thought I.

Once the hour was done, I got another ticket (yes, the meal went on that long) but I was pretty sure I’d have a ticket when I got back to the car.

And I did.  I also re-checked the signs, and took a photo of them, to prove there was nothing about the return clause on the signage.  Once I got home, I paid the ticket – I couldn’t argue that it had been issued correctly, after all! – and then appealed it, becaue of the lack of information and signage.  Despite information on the website saying I could (and indeed should) pay and then appeal, immediately it started throwing problems of “You’ve paid this, so can’t appeal it” and so on.

I ended up getting in touch with Cambridgeshire Parking by email, explaining the situation, that the signage and app made no mention at all of the ‘no return’ clause, including the photos and screenshots. And once it was sent, I waited. And waited.

Two weeks later they came back, saying “It says about no return on the ticket machine. Appeal denied”.  And that was pretty much it. Nothing else about how to appeal a decision to an independent review (which, according to the website, should be provided every time an appeal is denied) or anything else. So I wrote back, explaining the situation again, that I’d gone nowhere near a ticket machine – having paid online – so never saw the one place they say the clause is detailed.

Another two weeks, and another “Nope. It says it on the ticket machine. You should’ve checked. Appeal denied” response. (Admittedly I’m paraphrasing – but not by all that much!)  And still no information about how to take it to an independent adjudicator.

Eventually though, just before Christmas, I ended up speaking to a manager. My sense of humour had utterly failed, I’d escalated it to a full-on complaint, and got the call.

The entire situation is ridiculous. In order to get the information about the adjudicator, I’d have to get my initial paid fine refunded, let the council go through DVLA to find the vehicle owner, send me a formal notice, then I could appeal it, get denied, and get the information about the adjudicator. Which might take up to three more months. Utterly, utterly farcical.  But still, I was prepared to do it – not for the money, but simply for the fact that Cambridgeshire Council seem to think that it’s OK to not provide the information, and then fine drivers who haven’t actually walked to the ticket machine.

Anyway. Common-sense finally kicked in. The fine will be refunded, and they’ve accepted that signage (and app information) needs to be improved.  The manager still insisted that “no signage mentions the no return clause, that’s a national thing” and so on, but there’s going to be a review.

The real icing on the cake for that, though, was that after two months of dealing with this, I was back in Cambridge the following day, and parked at a different piece of on-street parking.  And lo and behold, on the information for that one, the signs say about the no return clause, and so does the app.  Which means it’s definitely about inconsistent information within the council, rather than my being utterly wrong.

And yes, I did re-email the manager to tell them that as well…

Weekend Of Idiocy

The weekend just gone was the one that had been noted as being a completely daft one, even by my standards. It involved a lot of mileage, a fair amount of walking, and a piss-poor amount of sleep.

Saturday had been “planned” for a while, with a full day in London – starting off with the festive version of the Taste festival at Tobacco Dock. I’d got in early (as usual) and walked down to Tobacoo Dock, getting there in plenty of time.

Also as usual, the organisation of Festive Taste was… kinda flawed. The tickets said it started at 12-noon, the email from the ticket people said “Ooops, sorry, we meant 11.30“. Except it actually opened at 11. Genius.    And once we were in, it turned out that none of the food places were actually starting until at least 11.15, and in some cases nothing was ready ’til 12.  Not good – but standard.   The Festive version also appears to be far more focused on booze than on food, which (for me) is annoying, but there we go. It was still worth going, but I was out within 90 minutes.

In the evening I was at the theatre, seeing Stockard Channing in Apologia. It’s an interesting play, and I really enjoyed it – there may be more thoughts later, I’m not sure yet – and then headed home, getting back at around half one.  Which would’ve been OK, except that…

On the Sunday I was on the road by 7.30, heading up to Middlesbrough to see friends, and then on to Durham in the late afternoon to see the Lumiere festival, one of my favourite events. Again, I’ll probably write more about it later on – for now though, The Guardian has great pictures of a lot of it here.

A great day, but a long one – and then drove home, getting back about half two on Monday morning. It would’ve been earlier, but it turns out that the M1 was closed (and hadn’t been announced anywhere when I was driving up) for two whole junctions, and the diversion that was in place added a good forty minutes to the drive. Which was a pain, but there we go.

And even that would all have been sensible (ish. Kinda) if it weren’t for the fact I was also on-site in the other office on Monday morning, so I was in Chesham by 8am…

I really am an idiot.

Technical Dipshittery

Yesterday, I got a text message from O2, telling me that they were going to be closing their TuGo app (an app that allows phone calls to be made/received through my wifi connection, when the mobile phone signal is bobbins) at the end of November.  It gave some options for enabling better alternatives, including their ‘4G & WiFi Calling’ through a range of phones, so it will no longer need a separate app.

That’s all well and good – and TuGo has always been a bag of shite anyway.  So I started to go through the process, as ‘detailed’ by O2 of how to get it all set up on my phone.

Except that once I’d enabled it on my phone (or tried to) it told me I needed to do it via the O2 website, to activate it on my account. Bit of a pain in the arse, but OK, let’s get it done.

Oh.

The page detailed in the message doesn’t actually contain the information necessary. I can see a link explaining how great the 4G and Wifi Calling is, but nothing to activate it.

So, I start up a LiveChat with one of their Tech Gurus, who tell me that it’s still showing I’ve got Tu connected to my account, and that needs to be removed before I can do anything. No worries though, they’ll sort it out.  Give it about half an hour, reboot the phone, it’ll be done.

Except it wasn’t.

So I got back in touch with O2, this time by phone instead of LiveChat. Oh dear, oh dear.

I (eventually) got through to another of their Tech Gurus, who again says that Tu is still connected to my account, and that I have to uninstall the TuGo app on my phone in order to get rid of the connection. No idea why the previous tech person said they could do it, that’s not possible, it can only be done from your phone, sir.

So I uninstall the app, in the usual way.  Oh no, sir, you haven’t uninstalled it. You’ll need to go back to the app store, reinstall the app so you can uninstall it. (Eh? What?)  Yes, you’ll need to reinstall the app – you didn’t uninstall it, “you just deleted the little picture on your phone”.  That’s a direct quote. From a Tech “Guru”. Who doesn’t appear to even know the word “icon”.

So. Let’s see how this goes.  Phone call goes to speakerphone, so I can go through the process while the “Guru” is still on the call, and telling me what I need to do.  I reinstall the app – and in order to get in to it, I have to rebuild the connection and association with my number – because uninstalling the app has got rid of all that information . Which is exactly as it should be.

I rebuild the connection, then go into the app’s Settings and Delete the Account.  The Guru says “Oh there we go, I can see you’ve now uninstalled the app”. No, I haven’t, I’ve deleted the account. The app is still installed, I can see it.  “No, it’s uninstalled”

All the way through the call, that “Guru” couldn’t tell the difference between “Delete the Account/Connection” and “Uninstall the App”.

It’s resulted in two further interactions with layers of O2 management, telling them the problems, fixing the issues, and generally getting it more sorted.

And all the way through this, all it would have taken was for that “My Device” webpage saying “You’ve still got an active connection to TuGo – you need to remove that before we can progress. Here’s how.”  That would’ve fixed everything, and I wouldn’t have needed to speak to O2 at all, let alone a total of four times.

Sometimes I just despair of people, and companies.

Situation Standard

Yet again, I appear to now be idiotically busy over the next few weeks – well, really ’til the end of the year, what with one thing and another.  I still don’t quite know how I end up doing this to myself, but it’s pretty much standard behaviour these days.

I’m not complaining – in general I like being busy, and prefer it to days doing nothing  – but every so often I look at the calendar, and the board that holds all my upcoming tickets, and think “Lyle, you really are a bloody idiot“.

So, just in the next six weeks, and in no particular order, I will be…

  • Seeing Sir Ian McKellen as King Lear in Chichester (and staying overnight, possibly stopping off in Oxford on the way back)
  • A one-day conference in Birmingham, which may or may not happen, depending on other work commitments/stuff
  • A day-trip blitz run to Sheffield
  • A day in London doing a food festival in the morning, and a play in the evening
  • followed the next day by a day-trip run to Middlesbrough and Durham (for reasons I won’t go into now, as it’d identify the dates I’m away)
  • a weekend in Newcastle (which is, of course, not the same one as being up in Middlesbrough, despite proximity and so on)
  • A day trip to Cambridge
  • An evening in London, via Oxford (there’s reasons, but yeah, still idiotic)
  • And at least two other visits to London (with another one in early December)

Not just those travels, but somewhere in there also needs to be

  • Finally getting the starter motor on my car replaced (a hassle/fight that’s taken way too long, and will get written about some other time)
  • Seeing a number of films, which I’ve already got tickets for
  • other (more local) food things
  • Working (of course)
  • And finishing off two other projects.

In short, all a bit mad.

I know I’ve said it before – but for next year I need to start doing a little bit less, not being so booked up, and allocate some downtime for myself.  I just need to get some perspective on it all – because ‘downtime’ for me is also car-time and driving-time, it’s time where I can just float a bit, figure things out and so on.

Mind you, that’s also what I’ll be doing over the next six weeks, so I can figure bits out and what I want to do (and how) in 2018…

Murdered And Left To Die

Every so often, it’s my misfortune to go onto a local news site – in this case the MK Citizen – to find out about something that’s going on.

However, sometimes the ‘other news’ section produces gems of the lost art of sub-editing, like this…

Now OK, it’s a terrible story and so on. But really, “murdered and left to die”?!? Fuck sake. That one’s not even difficult to parse and go “Hang on, if he was murdered, he was already dead, and couldn’t have been left to die.“. Or is that just me?

New Boots

As I’ve mentioned before, at the end of September I’ll be doing the Shine Nightwalk marathon in London. I’m mainly looking forward to it, although I can’t deny that there’s a dose of trepidation to balance things out a bit.

Anyway, following a particularly ill-fated walk last week, I discovered that my boots – the ones I was planning to do the marathon in – are pretty much destroyed inside, to the extent that they’d caused me some really unpleasant blisters during that walk.

So of course that’s meant I’ve had to buy new boots for walking, and now have to break them in over the next couple of weeks in order to be ready for the end of the month. Thankfully, the ones I prefer are more like trainers inside, rather than being hard-core ‘proper’ walking boots, so the process shouldn’t be too complex/painful. (Crossing my fingers like no-one’s business there)

In fairness, it’s not the first time this has happened when I’m doing one of my bigger walks – I should know better by now.  Indeed, the first 10km walk I did, the boots I was planning to use fell apart on the morning of the walk, so I ended up doing it in my normal everyday Cat boots instead, and came to no harm.  But still, a marathon is four-and-a-half times that distance, so I’m trying to be a bit more prepared. (Not massively so, but enough that I don’t make a complete twadge of it all)

Anyway, the new boots arrived yesterday – fairly impressed, ordered them on Saturday through Cotswold – they were even on a better online price than expected – for supply to the local Cotswold store, and they arrived as expected, even over a Bank Holiday weekend. And the wearing-in process starts today.

The proper test will be on the weekend, when I’ll be using them to walk from Euston Station to Tobacco Dock (four miles, give or take, depending on which route I aim for) for Meatopia, then five-ish back to Camden for a concert – and then a similar Euston -> Tobacco Dock and back on Sunday for the same thing.  If they’re not broken in by then, I’m going to have problems.

There are a couple of other walks between now and the end of the month (I changed some plans around to give me time to do so) and all should be fine by then.  But we’ll know more when it happens…

Lightly Battered

On Thursday, I walked with friends to the National Burger Day event, and slightly broke myself along the way.

The walk (from Euston to Canada Square) should be about 5 miles. However, it’s not a location I’ve walked to before, and I hadn’t prepared properly for doing so, so I made a couple of mistakes.  We were going in generally the correct direction, just by a less-direct route than it could/should have been.

Additionally, it was a bloody warm day, I hadn’t got any water with me, and (as it turned out) my walking boots were pretty much dead, so I ended up knackered, hot, sore, and (by the end) pretty dehydrated. Which also added to the mistakes in the route-finding and map-reading.  All told, that walk ended up being just under 8 miles. So yes, definitely not my finest day, by a long chalk.

When we eventually got to the pub we’d planned to stop at, I was – not to put too fine a point on it – fucked.  I drank two and a half litres of water just while we sat there. That’s never a good sign.  (Also, it turns out that my hands swell when I’m dehydrated, which is kind of odd, but good to know for future reference)

We still did the event, and it was OK – but there wasn’t anything that massively stood out for me, to be honest.  As a result, I think there’s going to be some changes for me going forwards, but that’s going to be a post for another day, when I’ve thought about it some more. Change is afoot, to be sure.

When we were done, we decided to get the Tube back to Euston, and home. Much more sensible. And once I got home, taking off the boots and finding just how twatted my feet were was… interesting, and not entirely pleasant.

I’d say I’ll use it as a learning experience, and never do the same thing again, but we all know that’s not true, and that at some point in the future I’ll do something equally stupid. Or more so.

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