The Anonymous Widower

Why Did I Get The Samsung QLED Television With The Faulty Screen?

These pictures show the screen omn my new Samsung QLED television.

Notethe shadow down the screen.

You don’t expect that, with the price I paid.

I shall be going into John Lewis today.

January 30, 2018 Posted by | Computing, World | , , | 1 Comment

Unwanted Image Messages On My Mobile Phone

I have started getting unwanted messages from Google and an American company called Peel Remote on my phone. I seem to get at least two every hour.

If they don’t stop, my mobile phone usage will go to emergency only and I’ll switch it on once a week or so!

I am allergic to two things; gluten and advertising!

I also have started getting a TV remote for my Samsung television on the phone. That is really wierd as the TV hasn’t been unpacked from its box and all my other televisions are old Sonys.

January 26, 2018 Posted by | Computing | , , , | 3 Comments

Open Banking

Open Banking – Not for me.

But as a retired world-class programmer, I can envisage an AI-based computer system, that you can run on your laptop to guide your financial decisions!

In my lifetime, I have come across various pieces of financial advice, that proved to be totally crap.

For a start, I’ve met at least four people, who used the strength of the Icelandic banking system to lose all their savings.

Every financial expert told me not to touch Zopa. But it has paid me five percent before tax on my savings for ten years.

There’s an old City joke.

The best way to make a small fortune is to give a large one to a financial adviser.

Many a true word was spoken in jest.

January 12, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Finance, World | , | 2 Comments

Would Third-Party Rail Ticket Machines Be A Good Idea?

I travel extensively on the UK rail network and my journeys are generally of three types.

  1. Local journeys within the London Zone 1-6 Travelcard area, for which I use my Freedom Pass.
  2. Journeys to places like Brighton, Hastings,  Ipswich and Rochester, where I generally buy a ticket from a machine.
  3. Long distance journeys, where I use the Internet and pick up the ticket at a machine.

I suspect that many travellers across the UK, have a similar pattern of use.

The Changing Nature Of Cash Machines

Forty years ago, there were an adequate number of cash machines, but they were generally associated with bank premises.

I can remember my delight, when I first found a machine in a motorway service area.

Now, cash machines are everywhere and all are free. Although, there are mutterings, that charges might be made and the number of machines will drop, due to contactless cards.

A Third-Party Rail Ticket Machine

At present, the nearest to this are the ticket machines on the London Overground.

The latest ones allow you to do all the normal ticketing functions, with these valuable additions.

  • Buying a ticket between any two stations in the UK.
  • Buying an extension ticket from the London Zone 6 boundary.
  • Prices are generally the lowest you can purchase, on the Internet without using Advance Tickets for specific trains.

These feature means, that if say I’m going to a football match outside London in a few days, I’ll buy my ticket from the Overground.

Ticket machines will add more and more features.

  • Train information.
  • Itinerary printing.
  • Buying Advance tickets for a specific train.
  • Seat reservations.
  • Special tickets like Plus Bus, Plus Tram and Rover and Ranger tickets.
  • Selling railcards

Imagine turning up in a city and being presented with a screen on the same machine, which allows you to buy Travelcards and tickets for local attractions.

As the machines get more sophisticated, I believe there will be less need for ticket machines to be at train stations.

So could we see companies like The Trainline putting ticket machines in places like shopping centres, superstores and the smaller shops that service Oyster in London?

If the financial model stacks up, I’m sure we will see ticket machines everywhere!

Ticket Machines On Platforms And In Ticketed Areas

In Germany, there is often a ticket machine after you have passed the gate.

I find it very useful, as they can be used to buy tickets for a later journey or look up future connections.

I only know of one ticket machine inside the ticketed area in the UK and that is on Platform 8 at Stratford station.

We need more of these!

Would a third-party company be more likely to provide them? Especially, as they’d quickly identify the most profitable places, where there were large numbers of interchange or waiting passengers.

Collateral Benefits

Making rail tickets more available will surely increase sales. Suppose you live in Nottingham and your mother lives in Peterborough. You’ve just had a bad drive across the Midlands to see her for her birthday.

Will a ticket machine in your local superstore, lead youto investigate the trains as an alternative?

If it does, it must surely lead to more passengers on the trains.

Train companies are notoriously bad, at making sure that a weekend service has enough carriages.

Making it easier to buy tickets would surely give them a better estimate of passenger numbers.

But would the train companies make use of the information?

Conclusion

We’ll see a lot more ticket machines.

Some will be from third-party operators. Just like cash machines!

 

 

January 4, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , | 1 Comment

Successful Trial Means Tube On Track For 4G Coverage By 2019

The title of this post is the same as this article on Rail Technology Magazine. This is said.

The Tube network will see 4G connectivity arrive in 2019, TfL has confirmed, meaning mayor Sadiq Khan’s original ambitions will be able to go ahead.

The news comes following a successful trial of the technology on the Waterloo & City line, where 4G technology was tested in tunnels and stations along the line in the summer.

I wonder how long it will be before all trains, trams and buses have 4G connectivity.

In some ways, I think providing 4G connectivity outside stations, bus stops and other important places is more important.

Suppose you are stuck in an area with no signal and perhaps you have fallen over and seriously cut your leg and need help or just a lift home.

Wouldn’t it be so much better, if you could find somewhere, where you know you could summon assistance or a lift?

I have two questions.

  1. Will 4G connectivity be added to the Overground?
  2. Will 4G connectivity be switch on station-by-station and line-by-line or in one go in 2019?

In some posts about this, it is suggested that a driving force behind the connectivity, is that the emeergency services are moving to mobile phone technology. So if that is the case, then the answers to these questions must be in the affirmative!

November 27, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Reliability Of Online Reviews

Wake Up To Money this morning on BBC Radio 5 was talking about the reliability of on-line reviews.

So I sent in the following text.

As a coeliac, I find if I type “gluten free restaurant” with the city I’m in, I find somewhere good. Perhaps coeliacs don’t want to drop their peers in it!

It wasn’t read out directly, but someone else had said the same thing and the two messages were combined.

The method has certainly found me some very good gluten-free meals.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Food, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Monarch Goes Bust

It is not a good time for airlines with Ryanair in a mess and now Monarch has gone bust.

The CAA has announced a web site at www.monarch.caa.co.uk, where passengers should look for information.

I checked the site out of curiosity and it seems to do what the chair of the CAA said it does on the BBC!

The internet would seem to help in these situations.

October 2, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , | Leave a comment

O’Leary Gets His Planning Wrong

This article on the BBC talks about the mess Ryanair has got itself into.

I have not flown Ryanair since June 2009, when I flew to Lamezia in Southern Italy.

In Why I Avoid Flying Ryanair, written in February 2014, I said this.

It’s not the fact that I want to avoid eleven hour delays, as these can happen to any airline, but it does seem that Ryanair don’t have a reasonable Plan-B to look after passengers in such circumstances.

In the current mess they haven’t even got a Plan-A!

Even now at seventy, I could probably write a program in Visual Basic 6, that took an airline’s schedules and gave them details of their needs for aircraft, pilots, cabin staff and lucky shamrocks for a required number of years.

Obviously, their planning doesn’t include such a system.

But I bet Norwegian have such a system!

The key to any successful business is getting your planning right!

“It Won’t Happen To Me!”

Do passengers think this when they fly somewhere.

Let’s face it, most of the journeys we do by car, bus and train in the UK, have an outcome as expected or perhaps we might get compensation for a late train.

And if the latter happens, we usually get a prompt refund.

Unlike in my adventures described in From Hamburg To Osnabruck By Train, where I suffered at the hands of Deutsche Bahn in Germany, where I had to pay for my hotel and had to buy a new ticket.

Conclusion

My rule is to use Ryanair as an airline of last resort, when they are the only airline flying to where I want to go. So if they mess up on the outward leg, I get an extra night in my own bed.

But then I can afford some extra expense and often, I’m travelling alone.

 

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Even Vauxhall Corsas Have 4G Wi-Fi

This is the case according to adverts at the side of the pitch in the England Slovakia game at Wembley tonight.

I don’t drive, so I don’t care, but it appears that this increasingly features on cars.

Bombardier have fitted this feature to Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, so will we see it increasingly fitted to all trains, taxis and buses?

It’ll certainly be something that passengers on public transport will expect.

September 4, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Internet Age Just Starting, Says Tech Guru

The title of this post is the same as the title of a short article in the Business section of the Sunday Times.

It is a summary of an interview with Marc Andreesen onside the Business section.

Some points raised.

  • The next wave of technological disruption will affect law, medicine and construction.
  • The basic cost of starting an Internet company has fallen dramatically
  • There’s something really special happening at the intersection of medincine and computer science.

I certainly agree with the title of the article.

August 27, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Health, World | | Leave a comment