The Anonymous Widower

A Design Crime – The Average Smoke Detector

On Saturday Evening, the smoke detector in my bedroom decided to go off.

I was able to silence it about three times, but it refused to go off permanently.

I then decided to take it down, by standing on the bed.

Unfortunately, I slipped and broke the detector.

It is not the first altercation, I have had with the cheap and nasty smoke detectors in this house, which were probably bought in Istanbul market for a few pence.

  • In my view, there is a need for a superior type of smoke detector wired into a building in a better way.
  • It should be possible to replace a failed detector, like I had on Saturday in a simple operation without any tools.
  • There should also be a master switch in the house, that switches off all the smoke detectors.
  • Instructions on how to deal with the smoke detectors in case of failure should be in an obvious place in the house, like on the door of the meter cupboard.

Smoke detectors are too important, to be designed down to the cheapest possible station and most are a true design crime.

March 31, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Is A Microsoft Surface Pro, Windows 10 and OneDrive A Toxic Combination For This WordPress User?

I have now got a brand-new Microsoft Surface Pro and quite frankly except for the large screen, it is a load of old crap!

I run Office 365 and store my files on OneDrive and I have done for nearly a year, but the combination seems to lock me out of my Excel files on the OneDrive all the time.

  • I can’t seem to Autosave like I used to, as it says that I am blocked.
  • It also keeps showing me non-responsive login buttons to OneDrive.
  • It tells me I am required to sign in to save the file, but won’t let me sign in.

Knickers and twist come to mind!

And then there’s WordPress.

I am trying to change a picture, which I want to upload into a post.

I get the Select File page, but it is totally unresponsive.

Luckily, I could change the picture using a Windows 7 laptop.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Computing | , , | 3 Comments

Will The Queen Be Amused?

The picture shows another terrible bus livery in dark colours.

Try spotting one of these in the distance with dodgy eyesight!

There seems to be a design competition, to see who can design the most camouflaged bus!

When I first saw this bus, I thought it was advertising Crown’s new paint for the Army!

December 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

How The Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks To A Software Developer

The title of this post is the same as this article on IEEE Spectrm.

It is the best article, I’ve read on the disaster and I agree with nearly every word the writer has written, except perhaps some of his spelling.

Like the author, I am a software developer and I have had over a thousand hours in command of light aircraft, although I don’t fly now!

I have this feeling that this affair, will go down in history as one of the worst business disasters of all time!

I certainly won’t fly in any 737 again! Or at least not for a long time!

August 2, 2019 Posted by | Business, Computing, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Boeing Loses Big Order For 737 Max Aircraft

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

The first paragraph says it all.

lyadeal, the low-cost Saudi Arabian airline, has cancelled an order for 30 Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

Nothing will persuade me to fly in one of these aircraft and this story just adds to Boeing’s woes.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

I Have Just Setup My July Tax Payment

I received my Self Assessment Statement yesterday and have just setup the payment on-line.

My father didn’t do any Government printing, as he said, that they always wanted very small type and at fifty, his eyes weren’t up to it.

I find in checking the account to pay the money, that the form is still confusing and I need to get my magnifying glass out.

  • There would also appear nowhere to print a large format version of the instructions.
  • Or details in another language for that matter!
  • There is a help web-address at the bottom. In very small type. It should be in an easy-read twelve point type.

HMRC can do better!

But they don’t care, as if you put in the wrong amount, it’s your fault not theirs.


June 22, 2019 Posted by | Finance | , , , | Leave a comment

They’re Supposed To Be No Frills Airlines

I am going to Switzerland next week and needed a ticket from Geneva to London to get back.

The process to buy a ticket has grown from a simple choose a flight, put in passenger details and pay, to a complete conversation with the Devil.

I don’t want a hotel, car hire, to pay extra for anything, so please can we have a secret door to by-pass all that junk?

And whilst I’m at it, why not abolish duty-free, as this slows down boarding and costs everybody on their ticket.

I would have taken the train back, but Eurostar is almost sold out and I might not have the flexibility I need in Switzerland.

At least Eurostar has a fairly streamlined booking.

September 9, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Hotel To Avoid

My hotel in Berlin is definitely one to avoid.

These are current anoyancies.

  • The television can’t receive BBC World.
  • The glasses are small thin plastic things in plsstic bags, that break easily. McDonalds provide better ones!
  • There is no plug for a laptop by the desk.
    That doesn’t matter as the desk isn’t big enough for a laptop.
  • The doors are heavy steel ones that are hard to open and hit you as you go through.
  • There is no place to put clothes

I shall be glad to leave tomorrow.

I will mot return or use another of this group’s hotels.

I’ll name the hotel, when I get back to Blighty and I have put my vitriol on Trip Advisor. I can’t fo that now, as I haven’t got my account details with me. You always forget something!

These are a few pictures I took.

In some ways for me, the non-existent glasses was worst.  Because of my stroke, I like to drink out of a glass, as I can’t use a straw.

This hotel is totally unsuitable for solo travellers like myself, who need to charge devices. It would also be terrible for a couple, as the average woman would have no place to put everything.

C would have gone potty.

If I were to give the average Premier Inn 7 out of 10, I would give this Metro One hotel by the Hauptbahnhof in Berlin, a score as low as one.


February 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Have Your Say On Our Plans For Kennington Park Head House And Landscaping

Transport for London have asked for comments on their plans for the Kennington Park Head House for the Northern Line Extension.

This picture is from their consultation.


What surprises me is the scale. If you compare this head house for some of those of Crossrail, the Jubilee and the Voctoria Line , they seem larger and more intrusive.

This is a visualisation of Crossrail’s shaft in Mile End Park.

Mile End Park Ventilation Shaft

This is the actual Jubilee Line head house at Durant’s Wharf.

And this is the Victoria Line head house in Gibson Square.

A Curious Building in Gibson Square


It should be noted that the Durant’s Wharf and Gibson Square structures are for ventilation only.

But even so, I think that a better design for the Kennington Park Head House can be created.

Where are the curves for a start?


July 16, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Where Are All The Class 700 Trains?

Yesterday, as I returned from Ilkeston station, there were large numbers of Class 700 trains in sidings along the Thameslink route from Bedford to St. Pancras.

But this morning, when I sat in the sun on West Hampstead Thameslink station for an hour and a quarter, I saw the following trains running Thameslink services.

There wasn’t a reliable service due to an earlier train failure.

On a rough calculation 65% of all services are still run by the previous fleet and only 35% by new Class 700 trains.

This article in Rail Magazine, which is dated September 2016, is entitled 29th Class 700 delivered to UK.

This is said in Wikipedia about the first delivery of the Class 700 trains.

The first delivered train arrived in the UK by the end of July 2015, and was delivered to the Three Bridges depot The first test run on the Brighton Main Line took place in December 2015.

The first train in service was unit 700108 forming the 1002 Brighton to London Bridge service on 20 June 2016.

So it would appear that Siemens have delivered about two trains per month.

That would mean that since September 2016, another twelve trains have been delivered, which would make a total of 41. This works out that 35% of the Class 700 trains have been delivered.

So that means that, the proportion of services run by Class 700 trains, is the same as that of the number of trains delivered.

Perhaps not too surprising!

It will be interesting to see this percentage in say a couple of months time.

Delivery Of The Complete Fleet

This article in Railway Gazette International is entitled Thameslink Class 700 testing to begin soon, says this about the completion of the fleet’s introduction into service.

The first units are expected to enter service with Govia Thameslink Railway in spring 2016, initially on the Thameslink route and then on Great Northern services by 2017. All Thameslink services would be operated by Class 700s from 2017, with the full fleet in service by the end of 2018.

So this means that if there were 29 trains in the UK at the end of September 2015 and there will be 115 trains in service at the end of December 2018, this means a delivery rate of about three trains per month.

An increased rate of delivery is probably to be expected, as Siemens learn more about the production process.


As to hard facts on train reliability, there is very little.

In the January 2017 Edition of Modern Railways,, Roger Ford compares the first few months of the Class 700 with the first few months if a Class 444 train.

This is said.

The lesson is clear; no matter how good your product or how many thousands of miles of test running accumulated at Wildenrath or Velim, the real world is a different matter.

Roger Ford also says the following.

  • The performance of the Class 707 trains, which are Class 700 clones, will be very interesting, as they’ll have all of Thameslink’s experience.
  • Put a ten pound bet on improvement.

So reliability is probably what to expect.

Comfort, Wi-Fi And Cup-Holders

If the Class 700 have a problem it is the interiors.

In By Class 700 Train To Brighton And Back, I said this.

I would describe the trains as adequate for the core route from East Croydon to West Hampstead and Finsbury Park, but they do have limitations for long-distance commuters.

  • There are no tables or even anywhere to put a drink.
  • There is no wi-fi.
  • There are no power sockets to charge a laptop or phone.

The new Class 345 trains for Crossrail, don’t have tables either, but they do have wi-fi and 4G. But these are short-distance trains and unlike the Class 700 trains, which are taking over from Class 387 trains with tables, most of previous stock that worked from Reading to Shenfield didn’t have tables, wi-fi or power sockets.

Govia Thameslink Railway must be really pleased to get a set of trains, without some of the features their passengers demand.

To be fair it’s not their fault, as these trains were designed to fit a Passenger Focus report which can be found on the Internet, that was written in the dying days of the last Labour Government.

Read the document and draw your own conclusions.

It’ll be interesting to see how long the trains are in service, before they have a refit!


It looks like the trains are being delivered as promised and, their reliability could be as expected, but the interior is not what the passengers need or want.


April 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment