Showing posts from 2013

Joke that is BT FTTC Roll Out

I've seen various delays in my area from BT OpenReach with enabling Fibre to the Cabinet, or FTTC as it is known. Let it be known this is a major project and there will be delays and problems. However as an IT professional, it is the way in which those issues are handled, progressed and conveyed which to me gives the most contention as the handling is poor, progression is slow, and the lack of information to the general public is virtually none existant. There are many people in similar situations to myself where BT have given excuse after excuse as to why their cabinet has been delayed in the roll out and each one has been proven wrong. My particular situation for the CMSPR Exchange for Hall Green and Springfield, saw a typical roll out. The cabinets were installed and connected to fibre and the first ten cabinets activated for fibre really quickly at the beginning of September. A month later, start of October, and we have ten more cabinets enabled. However my cabinet is o

Royal Mail Privatisation

It is fundamentally disgraceful to sell off the Royal Mail. The government says it is a way to bring in fresh revenue. If someone really does have £3bn to purchase the Royal Mail, how on earth are they going to be able to afford to pump more money into it to upgrade facilities? Either prices go up, or costs go down. But hey, we can't afford everything, people want their benefits and taxes to go down - but we don't want to pay for it. It is a mistake to sell off the Royal Mail, but it's a mistake for us as the electorate to expect something for nothing.

Odeon: Broadway Plaza Review

I recently went to see Kick Ass 2 at the Odeon Broadway Plaza cinema. I usually use CineWorld at Broad Street as that is a wonderful cinema. Odeon however had the film I wanted to see. There was no obvious notice from outside that the cinema was actually open. I had to tentatively scout for an open door. Very uninviting. I collected my tickets from the machine and was seen by an "usher" or ticket inspector who validated my ticket and asked me to fill out a survey. My sensors were up. The male toilets downstairs were filthy. Missing soap dispensers of which only two were available, and only one had soap. Even that fell off the wall while using it. A cubicle had grafiti and the ceiling was filthy. I purchased a drink, popcorn and hotdog. I was not told about a lift which would have helped. It's difficult enough to get that up the stairs without assistance and it was worse for me with my vertigo. I managed one flight of stairs to the landing and saw the next flight of

BT Rant - FTTC for CMSPR / Hall Green and Springfield in Birmingham

When I heard that BT was going to roll out Fibre to my local telephone exchange the CMSPR "Springfield" exchange, I was absolutely delighted. I don't like Virgin cable, and quite frankly being the second city, the fibre rollout by BT has been appalling. Other more rural locations were getting it before us.  But first the Exchange became marked as a Future Exchange and I remained patient. It then rolled over to a "Coming Soon" exchange and would be enabled by the end of September 2013. Brilliant News. I can finally move away from ADSL2+ and with BeThere being sold off to Sky, it's a good change to migrate to a new service. Far be it from me to be ignorant of how they install fibre, I've read up on how other people get their cabinets installed. Sometimes a contractor plonks a cabinet on the ground then come back weeks later to dig up and install power, trunking to BT man holes for routing cable then weeks and months later, possibly fibre.

The Upper Hand House Picture

Here's a picture of the house from the Central Television Production of the Upper Hand. The house is already on the internet in several forms in video, so I have no issue with posting this as proof I found it. But I will respect privacy and not publish the location for now.

The Upper Hand House

Im a great fan of The Upper Hand TV show. It was filmed by Central Independent Television in Nottingham using the scripts of the American sitcom, Who's the Boss as a basis. Im a fan of regional television, Central in particular being my local region and wish it would return. But I've always been curious to find the Upper Hand House. I have now found the house. I found it on Google Maps and Street View and visited the area on Sunday and took my own photographs. For security and privacy reasons, I cannot divulge the location, but once I've suitably blurred out any identifying details, I may post a picture of the house - the decision will be based on the fact that pictures of the house are available on a DVD. I would love to share with you the area, as we could have fan days and visit the local pub, but I have been advised there is a restriction on posting pictures of the house for security purposes. I don't think this is true, and nothing in UK Law stops me from d

Kick Ass 2 - Victim of Zero Publicity

I've been a little dismayed to see that Kick Ass 2 hasn't been quite as successful at the box office as it's predecessor. It is true that nothing can hold a candle to Kick Ass, but Kick Ass 2 is still a great movie in its own right. If the UK is anything to go by, I think the problem has been a complete lack of advertising. Nobody I know actually knew the thing had been released. I wasn't even aware of the first Kick Ass until my brother showed it to me to be frank. When I talked about Kick Ass 2, the reaction has been "when's that out?". I've had to say it's been out three weeks! As far as I can see, apart from Jim Carrey and a huge poster on a relatively quiet road, there's been virtually no advertising. No wonder it's performing poorly. Looks like it's near the end of it's run, so go see it people. Simon


I've been hearing a lot about bangernomics recently - which essentially about finding the hidden gems of automobiles, cheap, high mileage, well looked after, used cars, not necessarily all three, loving them for as little as possible and then running them into the ground without worrying about high cost repairs. This I think comes from the idea that when people looking to change their current car, should check to see how much the current car costs in terms of how much it costs monthly to fix, vs loan repayments and then only changing it when the monthly cost increases. I believe this is somewhat of a false economy. First off the simple premise, you don't get anything for free. So even the banger has to be bought from somewhere, and even though you're not spending wild amounts of money, still has a cost to it. So it is a case of minimising that cost. Now most will buy their banger with an MOT, use it for a year, sell it on. But, my car cost me £3000, I've had


Im thinking of using a little money to follow my vocation. First step, is to purchase a new bass guitar. For many years, I've had a Vintage V900 (Vintage - a brand name of John Hornby Skewes). It is a reliable bass, but I've had problems with it over the years. Take the back plate off to change the battery and you're left with a mish mash of wires and what looks like a possibly second hand Active Bass electronics. The wiring is substandard and brittle and I've had to resolder things several times. There's no electro magnetic shielding in the battery and electronic compartment and this could explain the hideous humming you get when waving the bass near anything electrical such as a monitor. The action was too low causing hideous fret buzz, and the tuners kept detuning, poor poor parts, and needed to be replaced. Very poor in my opinion. But it has been my reliable steed. However the pots are now disintegrating and unusable. So Im considering a Fender

Gripe about Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

Before I get going, let me just point out that the staff are fabulous, PALS are fabulous. It is obvious they are working under difficult situations and making the best of it. This gripe is about the "system". I've been due to have my gallbladder out. They called for me last Tuesday to advise the operation had been cancelled as they had run out of space due to Norovirus doing the rounds and the other hospitals closed. Although I failed to get the message, they did however leave one, and they have been busy with other issues since Norovirus. No problem there. The biggest gripe I have is that neither reception, or the nurses said my operation had been cancelled. They just said there was a problem and left me waiting in the waiting room for two and a half hours. They eventually got back in yesterday. Nil by mouth again since midnight, hanging around waiting, waiting, no feedback. Just patient waiting. I was there from 8am and the doctor finally saw me at 2.30pm to say t

Privatisation of the NHS

I hear many debates about the privatisation of the NHS, some make arguments that it would be good, others bad. It is hard to know where to tread in this minefield. However, I am conscious, that any private company exists, mainly and solely to make a profit - unless of course it is a truly philanthropic company, but given that most companies have shareholders, and shareholders by and large care about making a few quid through the stock market, then to me the idea of private companies running parts of the NHS is an absolutely abhorrent idea to me. Competition is the thing that is lauded. Competition is good. Is is. But in this captitalist and greedy culture we live in, that competition will seek to cut corners. It will either save costs through mergers, or cutting back of non-essential services. Employees, namely doctors (and most likely nurses) will have to work longer hours, more oncall hours, perhaps less pay reviews, less benefits, less investment in equipment. The only way

Church Should Reflect Society

It almost amazes me when some downtrodden fetishist group declares the Church has lost touch with Society and that the Church needs to reflect society. How can we ask Gay Bishops to be celibate? The Church has clearly lost its way. Gay bishops, Celibacy, right or wrong, Im not here to debate that point. Im here to debate the principle that the Church is expected to almost follow mainstream society. What is good for society, is good for the Church. Er, if that was the case, we should be tolerating alcoholism, recreational drug use, casual and promiscuous sex, divorce, consumerism, materialism etc. The Church may be an outdated concept, but I believe the Church and its leaders have a position to be the last vestige of moral ethics, a beacon, a guiding light in the decaying fabric of society. Instead of wanton permissiveness and selfish greed, we strive we something more, something better, purpose, meaning, self-respect. Our greed and permissiveness can be seen in marriage and div