The Anonymous Widower

Beware Of Getting Hospital Appointments Wrong

On Monday, I had an appointment for an ultrasound examination on my liver at the local hospital at 09:40.

The appointment had been arranged by telephone and I also had a text which included the phrase “Please refer to your letter for pre-attendance advice and instructions.” I had been given basic instructions over the telephone, but I did not receive the letter. This is not the hospital’s fault, as I have received many letters in the past from the hospital and its Trust.

But my post has been very erratic these last few weeks and I suspect the letter is delayed somewhere.

As it happened, it didn’t matter, as the basic instructions sufficed and the ultrasound was a success all round.

Perhaps, in these days of problems with the Royal Mail, it may be prudent to include minimum instructions in the text message reminder.

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail Will Affect The Buses

This article from GetWest London is entitled Improved bus services for Hayes to prepare for Crossrail.

The article talks about how Bus Route 90 is going double-deck and buses through Hayes will be improved as Crossrail, with the new Hayes and Harlington station is constructed

Provision of improved and rerouted bus services will happen at many of the new Crossrail stations.

My nearest Crossrail station will be the double ended giant at Liverpool Street that will serve both the current Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations.

From close to my house I can get a 21 or 141 bus to just outside Liverpool Street station, although coming back I have to walk to Moorgate for a northbound bus.

After Crossrail is opened, I predict that when I use Liverpool Street station, I will get a bus to a stop that will be connected by weather-free subways to any of the existing lines in the area and of course Crossrail. Coming back, these or other subways will connect me to a northbound stop to get a bus home.

I actually suspect to get the bus, it might be best to be at one particular end of a Crossrail train, so that you use an entrance to the station, that is convenient for your bus. Getting the carriage right could save you quite a walk with a two-hundred ,metre long train.

If what is provided, is not better than the current interim arrangement at Liverpool Street/Moorgate, I will be very surprised and will complain like an irate rhinoceros.

Most of the stations on Crossrail are served by London buses, also under the control of Transport for London. So improving the buses, as at Hayes and Harlington will be a matter for Transport for London, with input from the appropriate London Borough.

But what will happen at places like Brentwood, Burnham, Iver, Langley, Maidenhead, Reading, SloughShenfield and others,which are outside of Transport for London’s influence.

So that Crossrail has one holistic design from East to West, buses at these outer stations must conform to the rules that apply in the London area.

  1. Buses must be cashless, with payments either by Oyster, contactless card, concessionary pass or an extension to an orange rail ticket.
  2. London-style bus spider maps must be provided at all stations.
  3. A state-of-the-art bus arrival system must be provided in the same manner as in London, either by display or text message.
  4. All buses must be fully-accessible to match the fully-accessible stations.
  5. In an ideal world, all buses must display the next stop and be front entrance and centre exit, to help blind and disabled passengers and speed the buses on their way.

Looking at text message bus alerts like TfL’s Countdown, allowing a sixth digit to the text system would probably enable every stop in the South East to be covered.

Incidentally, according to this article in The Guardian, there are less than 500,000 transport stops in the whole UK, so six digits and one text number would cover the whole of the country.

But would the Scots, Mancunians and the Cornish, embrace a system that was designed in and for London?

Crossrail is a rail system, but it is going to affect lots of parts of our lives.


August 23, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Just Sent A Text From My Landline

A guy rang me and a text was the best way to send him some info.  So I used my BT6500 to send him a text.

July 2, 2013 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Not The Best Automated Text!

When I booked my ticket on Virgin Trains yesterday, I got them to text me the details.

It was a two stage process, which as they had my mobile phone number seemed a bit pointless, unless they were harvesting it to make sure, they’d got the right one to send me marketing spam.

But on the phone I use, it was useless as you can’t read the stupid eight digit reference number from the message and type it into the machine at the same time, as it’s not the first line of the message, which is where it should be. You’re of course half-way through typing it in and the display of the phone switches itself off too.

It would be so much better, if you could say which reference number you wanted, when you booked.  That way, you wouldn’t need to write it down. But I suppose they wouldn’t get your mobile phone number.

In the end, I did send the phone a message of my own from my computer with the reference number.  But this new phone, unlike my superb Nokia 6310i, only shows messages in the Inbox, by who sent them and not by the first line, if it doesn’t recognise the number.

Such is Nokia’s ten years of product improvement!

I suppose I could write the number down, but I haven’t for years, as I could always handle it with the Nokia 6310i!

To be fair to Virgin Trains, they’re probably no better or worse than all the other companies.



February 8, 2013 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Ministry Of Justice Deals It Out to Claims Firms.

This article on the BBC web site, says that the Ministry of Justice has shut down 209 rogue claims firms in the last six months.

This is good news.  But I wonder how many people have been involved in more than one firm.

I also would love to see a database published of all those involved. It would be an interesting analysis.

December 31, 2012 Posted by | Computing, News | , , , | Leave a comment

Technology At The Olympic Venues

One thing that has dissappointed me has been the information at the venues about what is happening elsewhere. For instance, I really didn’t realise yesterday how we had won the team show jumping until I got home.

Perhaps it’s because everybody relies on their smart phones.  But I don’t! I would have paid for a medal update text alert. But I couldn’t find one.

August 7, 2012 Posted by | Computing, Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Reading Your Partner’s Messages

There has been a bit of a discussion, about celebrities reading their partner’s text messages and e-mails.

My late wife, C, never learned how to read or write text messages, much to the dismay of her work colleagues and friends, so they used to send any urgent messages to me anyway.

I wish she was still here, so I could still pass them on as necessary.

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Computing | , , | Leave a comment

Improving The Rail Ticket System

With all the tickets, I’ve been buying for my challenge, I’m starting to get strong views about how the system should be improved.

Global Account

The first thing that is needed is a global account that works for all of the train company sites.

It would be a complete profile and contain.

  1. All your personal details.
  2. Your preferred station for picking up tickets.
  3. Your preferred seating arrangements.
  4. Your credit card details.

It would of course have all of the tickets you’d ordered in a database, so you could use them for purposes like calculating expenses or rebooking a similar trip on another day.

The site would be run by ATOC and not by a company such as the trainline, which charges you a booking fee and doesn’t always give you the most logical routes.

So let’s say I want to book a London Liverpool train on Virgin similar to one I bought a month ago.  I would click the Book Similar link on the previous ticket and this would put me into the Virgin site, showing me the prices I would be charged  I would then book as normal, using the global preferences. It would make the process a lot simpler.

User-Defined Pick-Up Passwords

To pick up tickets you need the eight-digit reference number.  Recently, I picked up seven tickets, with different reference numbers in one visit to Kings Cross.  It was a nightmare, especially as my left-hand isn’t 100%. I do text the reference numbers to my mobile phone, but that only simiplifies it a small amount.

If you could define your own pick-up password, then the process would be much simpler.  I might use VG1234 for Virgin, where 1234 is the last four digits of my phone number. This would mean the pick-up is as secure as it is now, but I should also be allowed at my risk to pick up the tickets on a credit card only. I would always use a simple password, I could remember.

Text Alerts

Virgin and others can text me details of my trip, but they send too much information and we need more messages.

I would just like the eight-digit reference followed say by Euston-Liverpool Lime Street, as this would then display the reference, when I held up the phone without opening the message, so it would be easier to pick-up the tickets.

But how about these messages.

  1. An alert if there was any engineering work or delay before the train leaves.
  2. An alert a specific number of minutes before the train leaves.
  3. An alert with the platform number.  This might clear out the space in front of the departure boards.
  4. Alerts if the train was going to arrive late.

October 24, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment