D4D

There's something I should tell you. I'm not left-handed either.

Archive for the category “Stupidity”

Changeable

The last couple of weeks – and the coming one – have been… chaotic, to say the least.  I’m used to this in general, but it’s felt like it’s been even more frenetic than usual this month, and there’ve been a lot of contributory factors that have all conspired to make it so.

Work-wise, I’ve been ending up on-site at least twice a week, rather than the usual one day a week, and that’s just disturbed things a bit. Usually I can take my work laptop on-site on a Monday, and then leave it in my own office for the rest of the week, rather than constantly lugging it around.  This month though it’s been on-site, in-office, on-site, in-office etc. etc.

Around the work stuff, there’s been a lot of other bits going on, with stuff in London on some evenings, as well as other social stuff and going to the cinema.  And it all adds up.

For example, this week has involved…

  • Monday – on site
  • Tuesday – working from home, then going to London to Mere in the evening.
  • Wednesday – in office
  • Thursday – on site, then seeing Kong: Skull Island in the evening
  • Friday – in office
  • And then just my usual idiocy in the coming weekend, another trip to London to see friends, and a social-and-food even locally on Sunday

Next week is no different really, including two London trips to the theatre, as well as all the usual work. I’m vaguely hopeful that I won’t be on-site more than once, but I’ll only find that out during the week.

Once next week is done, I’m hoping that things will be a bit quieter again. That’s certainly the plan – if nothing else, I need some downtime – but we’ll see how it goes.  In fairness, I can handle the multiple days on-site or I can handle the other stuff – it’s just when it’s both things at once that it gets somewhat harder to deal with.

Knocked Down

After the events of last week, I pretty much exhausted myself – as evidenced by the fact that since then I’ve been dealing with a heavy cold and nascent chest infection.  It started up on the evening of the Thursday, once we were back from the Fat Duck. (Of which more in other post, most likely)

As usual, basically it all kicked in once I’d stopped. It’s pretty standard with me – I can keep on going for as long as I have to, and then once I’m done, it’ll all catch up and whack me with a hammer.

I was rough on the Friday, and the Saturday was the worst, although I hadn’t realised how bad it was until too late. I’d been at the parents and doing some other stuff, and started to drive home. I’d not been feeling great, but it was only once I was driving that I knew it wasn’t good. I’d burned myself out completely, and all I could do was just get home and that was it.

For the first time in at least a decade (and that’s something else I’ll come back to in another post) I found myself thinking that I wished I’d got someone else around, someone to call on, so I could get home safely. It didn’t happen, of course, so I just got on with the task in hand, and got myself home.

I’m truly not proud of it, of having carried on and done the dumb thing instead of pulling into a layby or whatever and having a sleep. I did get home, and did so safely, with no problems. But that was, to be honest, more by luck than judgement.  I honestly can’t remember at least half the drive, but I know that if anything had gone awry, I’d have remembered it, so that’s kind-of sort-of reassuring in some warped way.

I effectively took Sunday off after that, changed all my plans so I could do as close to sod-all as I’d let myself do, and it was needed.

It’s all on the mend now, but man, that weekend was really no fun at all.

 

Advertising Standards

With the whole “Solo Dining” project I’ve been doing this year, one of my bugbears has become OpenTable (who provide a lot of the table-reservation services for restaurants) and – more particularly – their “Dining Points” loyalty plan.

As it says on that page about Dining Points,

OpenTable UK members can earn OpenTable Dining Points when they make and honor reservations made through opentable.com, or our related mobile sites and apps.

They say the same thing on another modal window to explain Dining Points.

opentable_points_explanation1“Earn points every time you dine”

Except that’s not true – not true at all.  I queried why I’d received zero points for several reservations over the last year, and they then started to say (and this is a direct quote from one of the responses)

points are only given to diners who start their search on our website and not the restaurants website as you know. This is because as you came from the restaurant website, you are considered a customer of the restaurant and they use our services  on the back end to take your reservation for them. If we started awarding points to the customers of our clients they would feel that we are trying to steal you as a customer.

So OpenTable are, frankly, liars.  They say clearly throughout the site “make a booking through OpenTable, and get points“, with no provisos, asterisks, or get-out clauses.  This isn’t even me being pedantic about something – they’ve said something (repeatedly, in black-and-white!) that’s simply not true.

This would’ve been an easy fix for OpenTable, if they’d had any sense at all. If they’d said “Oh, sod, sorry, here, have the points, and we’ll make that text clearer“, we’d be done.   But no, they started backtracking, patronising, and explaining why I was so wrong to believe their “Get points every time you book” spiel.  No apology, no “thanks for letting us know“, nothing.  All the customer-service skills of a concrete monolith.

Having hit that concrete monolith with no joy, I decided to take it further.  Having checked their criteria, I raised it with the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and I’ve now had a confirmation from them that, having done an initial review, they’re going to investigate it further.

So, that’s going to be entertaining.  I’m assuming that getting an ASA investigation done isn’t a trivial step, nor one that the ASA do for the fun of it.  I’m also assuming that, because they’re investigating, the complaint has at least some merit.

As and when I hear back, I’ll write more here…

Slack Data

In the car I hired last weekend, it had a load of built-in tech – Ford’s Sync system – that was quite interesting, not least for the fact that it worked really nicely and easily. Connecting my phone to the car was a doddle, the satnav worked well (and better than my usual stand-alone device in several ways) and it all just seemed pretty easy.

However. It’s obvious that it was designed for a standard “family car” scenario, rather than a vehicle that would be hired to many different users. Which makes sense, but leads to an interesting longer-term problem…

Basically, people are lazy – and don’t think about their data. So the convenience of connecting one’s phone to the car system for hands-free calls etc is great, as is the simple download of the phone’s address book to the system. But if you then don’t delete it when you take the car back to the hire place, it’s all available to the next user. The same applies to the satnav system – ‘recent destinations’ is a goldmine of activity, right down to house number and location. (And I suspect, with a bit of work, one could connect the destination to a phone number in that downloaded phonebook)

It just interests me, how little people care (or understand) about their information. I cleared down the whole car system before I returned it, which took less than five minutes all told. So it’s not much work, but it’s still work, which most people don’t seem willing to undertake.

I’ve suggested to the hire company that it should perhaps be part of the car sanitising process when it’s returned (or before it’s hired back out, whichever) although I realise that makes it more hassle for them, and there’s a lot of different setups in the various cars.

Of course, it’d be better if people cleaned up after themselves – or the car tech had a “forget everything” button/process (although that would still be too much effort for most people) that did the job. But that won’t happen until people realise how important this shit can be, and sadly that tends to only happen by negative paths/occurrences/events, and will always be learned too late.

Wipers

As regular readers know, I have a few guidelines when it comes to spotting drivers who are likely to be idiots – I know it’s a lot of horrible generalising and stereotyping, but at the same time, stereotypes exist for a reason.

The current list is

  • BMW drivers
  • Citroen Picasso drivers (I’m sure that if BMW made a people-carrier, Xsara/Picasso sales would drop to zero immediately)
  • Drivers wearing hats in the car
  • Cars with a Christian Fish emblem/badge/sticker

With the rotten weather of the last couple of months, I’ve added a new one

  • Drivers who, at the first sign of rain, whack their windscreen wipers straight to double-speed

I don’t know what goes through people’s minds in these situations – surely when it’s just spray/drizzle and they’re at double speed, the whining/scraping noise must drive them crackers.

Still, none of it is my problem – as long as I notice these things, and pay more attention to these people on the roads, then it’s OK and handled.

Second Thoughts

As I wrote a while back, I’ve signed up to the NSPCC’s “Climb the Gherkin” challenge in about eight weeks’ time. It involves walking (or, if you’re a lunatic, running) up the 38 flights of stairs inside the Gherkin in London to get to the top.

It’s fair to say, I’m having some doubts and second thoughts about the wisdom of it. It’s a lot of steps…

I’ve looked it up – because I’m an idiot – and now know that it’s over 1,000 steps to the top, and that’s making it all a bit real. There’s a lot of me to lift up that many steps, and really not many places where you can get to train or prepare for something like that.

I’ll still go, and I’m sure I’ll complete the challenge. It’s just that it might destroy me along the way…

Negative Company

On Sunday, I travelled down to Reading, lending immoral support to a friend who was running the Reading Half Marathon. (and did bloody well!) It was her first time running it, and I was at the end of the last hill of the run, on one of the main junctions. As it was, I got to stand next to a couple who were the most unremittingly negative people I’ve listened to since my grandparents were around. *Everything* was bad. (I bet they read the Daily Mail. And agree with it)

Highlights were :
Well, I won’t be pleased for her if she’s running it this slowly” and “These people in fancy dress are just detracting from the seriousness of the race” Yes, they seriously said that – and with no sense of humour whatsoever.

However, my absolute favourite was her saying to him “What’s the next time marker?” and he responded “The last one was 1hr 55, so the next will be 1hr 60” (or two hours, as it’s known to most sane people) and said in all seriousness, not a stupid comment like I’d do. Pompous bellend.

The finale was when other people appeared and stood in their oh-so-precious sightline, to which he tutted loudly, and complained (loudly) about how some people were so selfish, it was outrageous, just turning up and standing in front of others. (Bear in mind that they could’ve moved forwards too, due to there being loads of room. But no, that would’ve been far too understanding)

I think my “muttered” comment of “Well, you could always fuck off” may* (*bloody well was) have been heard, as they tutted and sodded off quite soon afterwards.

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