Internet abuse …


You may be aware that I work part-time in a local café. One of the many features of this café, is their free Wi-Fi. The access Wi-Ficode is displayed for anyone to use if you know where to look. Most customers will use the Wi-Fi for what it is there for i.e. so they can check their emails or show someone pictures on their phone, that kind of thing. However, there is an increasing number of customers that seem to visit the café with the sole purpose of accessing the the free internet.

On Tuesday this week, I arrived at work around 10:20, which is my usual time and noticed a customer sat at a 4 seater table. He had his laptop open and was also using his phone. I also noticed he was wearing Mikea pair of headphones and one of those ‘cheek mikes’ that seem to be the norm these days. I hovered around his table for a few seconds before entering the kitchen and realised that he was conducting some kind of interview Customerswith somebody. Over the course of the next couple of hours, he still seemed to be talking to someone and on a couple of occasions, he got quite animated. He eventually left at around 12:45, or at least that’s when I noticed he had gone. From what I could see, he had drunk one cup of coffee and who knows how many glasses of free water. I mentioned to the chef that he had gone and he explained that he had been sat at the table since about 09:00. Just one cup of coffee!! The table staff have been told not to move people on, but to keep asking if they require anything else. They call  it ‘good customer service’. But what about the ‘good customer service’ for the customers who cannot get a seat?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting free Wi-Fi in places I visit, but come on … lets not abuse it.



From then to now … Things can only get better !


Things did start to get better as the next few years progressed. Staff realised that I was not the ‘bossy’ type that the previous occupier of the post.

In 1991 the Government decided to ‘de-criminalise’ parking offences. The Road Traffic Act 1991 (RTA), allowing local authorities to issue parking tickets for contraventions such as: parking on yellow lines, footway parking, not displaying valid pay and display tickets or parking permits within a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). Leeds were now starting to look at the pros and cons of this new legislation. But before that could happen, Leeds needed a new processing system. I was asked, More moneybecause of my ‘technical knowledge’ to be part of the team that looked at the different systems that were available. Unusually for me, I asked what it was worth? The manager had been expecting this and offered me an upgrade in scale to S5. I remember sitting there pretending to think about and then, even more unusual for me, I countered with ‘”Could you make it S6?” I think he had been expecting this and he agreed, there and then.

There were many trips out to various Local Authorities to see their systems and to talk to users before we settled on ours. One of the the things that kept cropping up, was residential parking, or parking outside your own property. As more and more Residents Parking signpeople had cars, and the cost of parking those cars increased, many drivers took to parking in residential streets, much to the annoyance of the local residents. To try and overcome this problem Local Authorities set up Residents Parking Zones which allowed the residents within that ‘zone’ to obtain a parking permit(s) for themselves and visitors. Leeds were using card permits that were hand written with any required details and they did not look very professional.

The new legislation would give the Council control over the parking in these Residents zones, and parking-permitit was decided that any new system would have to be able to cope with the issue of more accurate and professional permits. This also meant that jobs and job titles would have to change. Parking Attendants became Civil Enforcement Officers, clerks became Customer Service Officers and a new team called Appeals Officers was created. The new system used mail-merge for the first time to create individual and personalised letters. This meant that we could now send parking permits that were no longer hand written and could not be easily forged. It became one of my jobs to both design and implement these new style permits when we were ready to take on the new service. That new service started in 2005 and things started to get better for everyone.

Everything comes to those that wait …


Well, that went almost as well as I could have expected. I finally bit the bullet (helped by a 30% discount) and upgraded Thinkingto from the Free Plan to a Personal Plan. I’ve been ‘umming and ‘ahhing since Christmas and missed the deadline for the last discount, Discountbut I finally took the plunge today. It was almost painless. The “hook” of 30% off didn’t work at first (think it was because I went through PayPal) but a quick chat with Customer Support and it was all sorted and a refund was issued. Pretty good customer service I must say.

So, the genie is out of the bottle as the saying goes. I’m quite giddy if the truth were known. I keep telling K*** that “I’m a Dot Com now! What do you think about that?” She of course is totally bemused by it all and a lot of ‘nodding and smiling’ is going on while she tries to look pleased for me. But I’m happy and that is all that matters.

Now what? I think (or possibly hope) that having paid good money, I should at least now have the required impetus to post more than I have been doing. I have tried with the ‘Daily Prompt’ but it sometimes leaves me uninspired. Here’s to an improvement, and maybe now I have 6GB to play with you may see more photos.

I just have to get Open Live Writer to update to the new domain and I’ll be even more pleased

Stuck for a title ……


   The IT testing went okay. It took a lot longer than anticipated. I ended up doing two sessions, 9:30 until 12:00 then 13:30 until 15:00. Once again, the problems were at this end. Things that should have been done that hadn’t been done. Files in the wrong place. Wrong data paths. Mind you, the upgrade was run differently this time. There was a lot more for me to do. Last upgrade, the client was installed on the server, and the software house dialled in and did all the work. This time it was done from a local PC. Lessons have been learned, I hope. What I think is needed, is a concerted effort on both sides to communicate more. Next time I will insist on a project plan, with a detailed list of tasks and responsibilities. Next time, I will take more of a lead.

   I’m more than a little pissed off with the DVLA. I want to pay my car tax online, but because my insurance runs out at a similar time, the DVLA will not let me. They say that some national insurance database, has not been updated with my new insurance detail. So that means a trip to the post office in the next village. I though technology was supposed to help and make things easier.

   Tesco ‘green’ points are a funny thing. You get loyalty points for every bag you reuse. So basically, you take your own bags. A couple of weeks ago, I was shopping for a number of things, and unfortunately, forgot to take my bags into the store. Because the car was parked near to the store exit, I declined the offer of disposable bags, and put all the shopping back into the trolley. When I checked my receipt, I noticed that there were no ‘green’ point, so I toddled off to ‘Customer Service’ to query this. The very nice lady at the counter told me that I could only have the points if I re-used bags, and that the cashier would need to count how many bags I re-used. Totally bizarre. You should have seen the look on the Customer Service lady’s face, when I asked for 6 plastic bags to put my shopping in !!!!

Yah ….. nine days and no work …


Today went as well as can be expected. It appears G*** is not too happy with me. Seems to thinks she has done something to upset me !!!! How long have you got ???? If she thinks she can p**s up by back and get away with it, then think on. I’ll bide my time. Even though nobody takes it serious, I will not forget that.

I’m now on holiday for a week. Nine days if you count the two weekends. I don’t think we will go far, just have odd days out. But it will be a break.

I’m going to fix up S****’s computer tomorrow. There is not too much to do, but I am going to install some new ink in his printer. Mind you, it may be wise if I let him install it himself. It’s not been used for a least two weeks, so the ink that in may have dried up a bit. I’ll then have to check the web site and order some more. Now do I have it sent to his flat, or have it sent here ??? I don’t know how the post works there. An ink package would not fit in that wall box, and I don’t know if the postman can get inside to put post in their pigeon hole.

I had to get an extension cable for him. My idea was to buy 4 or 5 metres of 3 core, 13amp cable from B & Q, and use the trailing socket that I bought before. I know it’s orange, but I didn’t think that would matter. At first I could not find blank cabling, so, unusually for me, I asked one of the assistants. They promptly advised me that it would cost me £16.45 for 4 metres, but I could get a ready made 8 metre extension lead for £9.45 !!!! How does that work ? The guy saved me £7.00. How’s that for customer service.

Youngest seems to be a lot happier tonight. No problems so far, however it is 10 minutes to 11, and he does not seem to want to turn his computer or his TV off !! No sound of any ‘droning’ so far. Now 11:05, and he has settled down, PC and TV off, all serene. This is a good sign !! I bet the little bu**er is up at 6am though!!

I think that’s about it. May not be much to say over the next week, but we will see.