118 is a Tragic Number

A couple of weeks ago, British Telecom lost its monopoly 192 phone directory service. Another ten companies stepped into its place, all starting with the numbers 118. Offtel's argument being that competition would reduce costs and stimulate the market.

The first claim may or may not be true as the charging systems are so complex that it isn't easy to work out, but it certainly feels more expensive. BT charged 40p for up to two numbers, but one of the new services charges 25p connection charge plus 30p a minute, so the charge is at least 55p whether they find the number or not. Read more ›››

There is nothing the media loves better than a good health scare story -- MMR, SARS, vCJD, the list goes on and on. The first real biggie in my memory was AIDS. There were acres of newsprint and countless hours of tv predicting the demise of mankind (sorry personkind ), and has it happened? No.

But the coverage can have a major impact on people's behaviour. During the above AIDS coverage (it wasn't HIV then) I happened to be spending a week at the Department of Health's press office. A minister had been cornered into saying (by the Sun, I think) that he would have no qualms in drinking from a cup that someone with AIDS had drunk from. Read more ›››

Dive, dive, dive!

I cannot believe all the fuss and bother on the sports pages yesterday - football players diving? How shocking. Robert Pires of Arsenal taking a tired tumble in the box, and similar by Kevin Phillips for Southampton? And the point is? Non-footie fans look away now.

It was ever thus. Weren't Franny Lee and Jurgen Klinsmann both known as the 'sub', not because he started the game on the bench, but for their diving antics? There may be some out there who recall a 'pure' game, played by gentlemen who would always set a fallible referee right, that they tripped, and it wasn't the clumsy defender who tipped them over. Yeah, right. Read more ›››

In at the Deep End

Brilliant news that the old Victoria Baths in Longsight has won a BBC poll as the building most worth renovating by viewers of their Restoration programme. It is a great triumph for the Friends of Victoria Baths who have been campaigning for years for it to reopen. However, before we get too excited, the £3.5 million will only pay for the restoration of the turkish baths, and not for the swimming pool which will cost an awful lot. But it is a start. Read more ›››

We are where we are

"Boip! 'scuse me." The steak was cooked to perfection, even if I do say so myself. A very enjoyable barbie, especially for our dog Jack who must have scoffed pretty near half his weight in left-over sausages etc.

The above title was a favourite saying of my boss that some wag translated into Latin - Sumus Quo Sumus - which became our work motto. Read more ›››

It has been quite some time since I posted anything to my blog, but I have been incredibly busy at work for the past two or three weeks and have had neither the time nor the energy. I've also been struggling to get the archiving feature to work, so bear with me on that one.

The sun is shining here in Stockport, a typical English Indian Summer day. I'm not quite sure where that phrase comes from, but it is likely to be of American derivation. Whatever, it means summer hasn't quite left us yet and we are planning what might be the last barbecue of the year.There are some excellent bbq recipe idea at the British Barbecue site, although me and the kids are more plain steak people. (Sorry about the Rule Britannia music on the site.) Read more ›››

Binary Powered

I had to take our dog Bingo back to the vet tonight (see last Thursday's post). One of the wounds has become infected and whiffed a bit. Old bucket head is now on antibiotics (applied wrapped in pate) and eye-drops (mostly a wrestling match) and another £16 to the bill.

I took him in my wife's car which is better equipped to carry dogs. On my way back, I glanced at the unfamiliar dash and thought that's bloody binary code! This little screen read 010101. Now I know that we rely on microchips to run our cars, but this seemed over and above. You're ahead of me - it was the odometer, but a bit of a coincidence nonetheless that I chose that moment to notice it for the first time. Read more ›››

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