The Anonymous Widower

What Development Is Going On Around You?

I found Planning Finder through an on-line advert. I’ve just tried it for my home and it has found some interesting but innocent planning applications.

I would certainly use this web site to check out, where I was buying a house.

December 13, 2015 Posted by | Computing | , | Leave a comment

Train Departure Information On The Go!

I took this picture of my Samsung S5 just before I left to get the connecting train to Leeds, before my scenic trip to Manchester Victoria.

Train Departure Information On The Go!

Train Departure Information On The Go!

I just used the phone’s browser to access nationalrail.co.uk, chose Live Departures and then entered Leeds and Manchester Victoria. In the end I caught the 09:26. A god thing about this example, is that it shows all companies and routes for direct trains,

I also use it on a train, when I’m making a connection, to find out from which platform my next train is leaving. Or not as the case may be!

So simple and it works for every station and route in the country. To prove that, I’ve just found out that the 08:55 from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh is on time.

Who needs all the hassle of downloading an app for every train company you might need?

March 10, 2015 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Will The Real Leroy House Please Stand Up

Leroy House is a rather drab  1970s office block near me.

They are updating the building for the twenty-first century, so I went to look.

It’s actually a business centre with lots of serviced offices, but you wouldn’t know that from the outside. It is extremely anonymous and could contain something that doesn’t want to be noticed like the Islington Parking Revenue Collectors.

If it was my building, I’d do the following.

1. Whilst the building is being updated, I’d put up some information on the wall, about what is happening and why you would want to use offices and services in Leroy House, when the updating is finished.

2. I’d give the building a web site like businesscentre.islington or leroyhouse.london and put that in clear signs on the building.

3. If the domain name extension of .islington does not exist, then I’d either get the council to create it or if they thought it wasn’t a good idea, then I’d get it for the building. It might become a nice little earner for every butcher, baker and candle-stick maker in the Borough.

4. Once the building is updated, I’d think carefully about what was plastered all over the building to entice punters to come inside.

5. A lot of the pictures I took, were taken from the top of a passing bus. The 38 actually load up the tail-gunner outside the building. So why not give all those bored passengers something witty to read? You never know, they might know someone who needs an office.

6. I would develop the cafe, they are planning to put inside, as a local business meeting point.

Updating the building as they are planning, seems to be a good idea and I can’t see it will cause local residents any problems unless offices are rented to someone with totally unacceptable political beliefs and this provokes massive demonstrations outside.

February 9, 2015 Posted by | Computing, World | , , | 2 Comments

Why Is This Story Popular?

This morning, this story about the execution of Saddam Hussein, was second on the most-read list on the BBC News web site.

It’s still at number five!

Why? It was written in 2006!

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Computing, News | , | 2 Comments

The Real On-Line Criminals

This article about unfair terms and conditions in agreements with on-line retailers is enlightening.

The companies they name and shame are Microsoft, Netflix and Apple. I never deal with any of these on-line.

I think the only company, I regurlarly give money to over the Internet, that doesn’t have physical presence, is WordPress, where I host this blog.  I just give them a few dollars for extra storage and so I can use video. But as Facebook found with Instagram, I would vote with my fingers and move, if they did something I really didn’t like.

The article on the BBC, does give the name of a project that rates the Terms and Conditions of web sites call TOS; DR. It’s here.

June 6, 2013 Posted by | Computing | , , , | Leave a comment

Are Google Adverts Sometimes A Waste Of Time?

I buy a lot of things on-line.

Three companies I deal with this way are East Coast Trains, John Lewis and Southern Railway.

As when I want to go to any of these companies web site, I know where to look, surely displaying their embedded adverts in other web sites is a waste of time for me and that advert won’t get me to use their company, as I would anyway.

So they are just preaching to the converted!

Interestingly, I’ve only ever got train company adverts from companies that I use.

So how much of the money paid by companies to Google to promote companies and products is wasted?

Incidentally, I think, I’ve only ever bought one product because of an advert on a web page. I have though thought, that I won’t use that company or product because of their intrusive adverts.

But then i like to think I’m not susceptible to advertising.  Or at least in the way that advertisers want me to be!

June 1, 2013 Posted by | Computing | , , , | Leave a comment

American Express Password Problem

I should say first that it wasn’t AMEX, who had the problem, but me, as I’d forgotten, what my login to their site was. I never write anything down or store it on the computer, so I had a problem, as the Mark One brain had forgotten it.

But their site is very professional in the way it dealt with someone like me.

Firstly, it asked me to enter my card details, and then it sent me a temporary password to login to the site.

This password was a six character alpha-numeric code, with the alpha characters in upper case.

On typing this in to the site with my customer ID, I was able to get in and change my password.

AMEX passwords are simple and must be a mixture of alpha and numeric characters, where case is irrelevant.

All very simple and as it’s AMEX, I suspect it’s a lot more secure than it looks in the first instance.

If all websites had such good security and simple passwords, on-line systems would be much more secure.

May 9, 2013 Posted by | Computing, Finance | , | Leave a comment

More From The Institute Of Economics and Peace

the web site of the The Institute Of Economics and Peace is fascinating.

Shown here, is a comparison of the various US States. As most would expect, Maine and Vermont are at the top, but to me, there are some surprising states in the bottom ten.

And here is a global terrorism index.

Both reports have very good interactive maps.

I think research like this is invaluable, when it comes to sorting out the world.

April 24, 2013 Posted by | Computing, World | , , | Leave a comment

Why Do Web Sites Get Redesigned?

I’ve used the East Midland Trains web site, many times in the last few years and have found it excellent.

But now it has had a makeover and I had to have a couple of attempts to get my tickets for the Ipswich match at Derby.

I always book a return in First Class, with the outrun being timed to get to the destination by something like 14:00 and then a fetch after 17:00 to get back to London.  Usually, this is because, I won’t find anything to eat in the destination and so go straight to the ground. As Pride Park is close to Derby station, this would definitely be the case at Derby.

But the site kept telling me, I’d put in the wrong times, as I suspect someone had got his checking wrong. It was only, when the site handed me over to the ticketing engine behind the booking site, did I get some sense.

In the end, I’m travelling from London to Derby and back for the extortionate price of £29. And that’s in First Class with tea and drinks!  If there are any snacks, I’ll forgo them, as they won’t be gluten free.

April 3, 2013 Posted by | Computing, Sport, Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

The Giraffe Web-Site Has Crashed

Tesco have taken over the Giraffe restaurant chain, as is reported here in the Guardian. This paragraph explains their strategy.

For a retailer that accounts for more than one in every £8 spent in UK shops, with UK sales of £47.3bn, the deal is pocket change. But added to the grocer’s recent 49% investment in artisan coffee shop Harris + Hoole, the group’s Dobbies garden centre business, and a stake in the embryonic, luxury bakery Euphorium, and the beginnings of a bold strategic shift begin to emerge.

I also wanted to look something up on the restaurant’s web site and got this message.

Due to today’s Tesco announcement we are experiencing extremely high volumes of traffic to our website.

We are currently working to accommodate the extra demand and will be back online later this evening. We apologise for any inconvenience.

I wonder if the wags will come up with jokes about Tesco swapping horse-meat for giraffe-meat.

March 13, 2013 Posted by | Business, Computing, Food, News | , , | Leave a comment