Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2014

How hard can it be to pay for something? My experience with EE

I'm truly sick of Vodafone ( after having been sicker of O2 ). Both networks aren't networks in that a network is meant to connect things - and my phone doesn't connect to anything most of the time. Vast swathes of the UK are invisible to it, but especially the barren unpopulated wastes (not) of Surrey. My biggest gromble is about the lack of signal (3G especially) that I experience on the train between Guildford (county town of Surrey) and London - a distance of around 35 miles through some of the most densely populated parts of the planet. Wealthy too. At best you get a Vodafone signal for half the journey and perhaps only 5% of it is usable for data (ie 3G). This independent comparison research explains why I decided to experiment with a new network, EE (Everything Everywhere), who have combined the masts of Orange and T-Mobile: I have an iPhone 4S on a Vodafone contract which recently expired. So I'm due either an upgrade from them or I can easily move to a n

Tome Searcher - The world's first AI search agent

In the summer of 1986, I met a guy in a pub. At the time I was between jobs having left mainstream marketing at BMW and trying to make a go of Marketing 4 Motorsport (most of my start-up businesses subsequently contained a numeral... 2nd Byte, 10ACT, Calls2Account, R9 etc). The bloke I met, Tom, was a freelance systems engineer (a sort of software expert) who had formed a company called Tome Associates Ltd with another systems expert, Carl Mattocks (now living in New Jersey). Together with an academic duo - Alina Vickery and her husband Professor Brian Vickery, from the University of London, who were much published in the field of Information Science... or librarianship - they formed a company called Tome Associates. The Vickerys had developed some pioneering software with a small team of computer experts at UCL that used an expert system to formulate and then modify boolean search strategies (sets of words combined with AND, OR and NOT that you could use to search textual databases) f

Make Elections Boring

I've arrived at the conclusion that the Conservatives can improve their chances of victory at future elections by making them as boring as possible. My non-PC logic is as follows: Nobody will disagree that we need more and better national infrastructure, education, healthcare, defence, law-enforcement, support for the arts etc etc. The question is, which party has the best chance of delivering it? The ones who prioritise how we can afford it  or the ones who prioritise doing it Ask the average voter if they want more money and more public services, and the answer's bound to be 'yes please'. And turkeys never vote for Christmas (although if turkeys could think a little clearer, then the only reason they exist at all is for Christmas/Thanks Giving - so not voting for Christmas etc means extinction. But I digress). So it's really easy to make the majority believe you're nicer and on their side. The problem is, countries like ours need tough love. What's

Mugged at Paris ATM - Scammed by a Piece of Paper

I was in Paris this weekend to watch England very nearly beat the French at rugby. Really close game, only marred by a) not winning, and b) getting mugged that morning at an ATM for €200. It was about 9.30 in the morning on a relatively quiet road. I needed a top-up of Euros having arrived the evening before with my wife and two (female) friends for a weekend of rugby (yes, I know). So naturally we'd run out of cash since the shops had already been open a good hour. (Note to self... rugby trips are cheaper with blokes). I went up to an ATM outside a post office while the girls stood to one side. I had noticed a couple of teenagers hanging around nearby (one bizarrely was sitting on a grating in the pavement (sidewalk) apparently warming his butt), but I paid them no attention. I inserted my card, entered my PIN and then realised that the kids had flanked me on either side. The guy on my right held a piece of newspaper on top of the lower screen (the one with the keypad buttons).