Cyberpunk, Spirituality and Technology - The Voidspace Blogspot

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Feeling Old and More Idiots Inc.

emoticon:cat Over the last few weeks I've done blog entries on companies that have annoyed me with their idiocies or have treated me badly: LloydsTSB, Virgin Media and Ashby Lowery.

With blogs becoming ever more popular I wonder if this will change the way even big companies view their customers? I hope so. Every time I make a major purchase I always check the web first. The power of search engines means that nightmares caused by bad service can usually be tracked down.

Perhaps something more is needed than just google (TM) to find these reports though. Delia and I have just booked a holiday. This is very lastminute (we leave in a week), so we used Some of the very cheap holidays they offered looked like good value, but when we checked the hotels on Tripadvisor I found some real scare stories! We settled on Cyprus and I'm really looking forward to it.

The thing is, that whilst I find blogging about idiot companies a real release (much more satisfying than sitting at home and raging), I'm not sure I could find the motivation to contribute to an external site. Hmmm...

Anyway, all this is irrelevant to this blog. This week I felt very old, I arranged a pension. Surprised

(Scary stuff, but I find the advice on Money saving expert very helpful. In the end I figured that any reputable pension was much better than dithering...)

Doing any kind of financial stuff like this (as well as being scary) is made more of a pain by terrorist hysteria [1]. You need to (in the UK at least) provide proof of identity and address with authorised copies of your passport or drivers license and a utility bill (or similar). They can only be authorised by certain people - bank officials, MPs, accountants and so on.

Whilst I was in town I visited Alliance and Leicester, who I have an account with. The lady I spoke to was fairly helpful and went off to photocopy my documents. After about ten minutes she returned, with my originals in hand and no copies. Her boss had told her that she wasn't allowed to help me, because sometimes people use authorised documents for other purposes - meaning that I might use them to move my account to another bank!

So if I was an annoyed customer, they would rather go out of their way to make me furious than provide me with any assistance whatsoever! Incredible. Mad

I wasn't in the mood to argue, so I went to another bank who would help, got several copies and am moving our account away from Alliance and Leicester.

Be warned though, if you are or become a customer of theirs, they will do their best to obstruct you leaving...

I guess I should balance this blog out by reporting on a few companies who don't annoy me. That doesn't happen quite so often though...

[1]Actually I guess they are fairly sane precautions, but they're still a nuisance.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-06-30 00:44:46 | |


Technology: Social Networking and Webcams

emoticon:cat This blog is supposedly about Cyberpunk, Technology and Spirituality. I usually reserve the geeky stuff for my Techie Blog, so I thought it was time for a technology related entry.

Social networking websites are now a dime a dozen, but they are something I have always resisted until recently. They allow you to maintain a list of friends or contacts and keep a profile with contact details interests and so on. All the different sites have a slightly different focus, but they all share one thing in common: the more work you put into developing your network and maintaining your profile, the more page views (and therefore income) you generate for the site owners. I'd far rather put my time into developing this site where I have complete control over all the contents.

I do use one actually, LinkedIn. This site focusses on developing professional contacts. I don't spend much time on it, but I've actually made some useful contacts through it. (Recently someone from Mozilla contacted me through my LinkedIn profile to see if I was interested in a job - I wasn't, but I did put them in touch with someone who was. It is an extremely interesting project and hopefully readers of my Techie Blog will be able to hear all about it soon.)

About a week ago my webby friend Justin started experimenting with some of the social networking sites and invited me to join Facebook. I signed up but didn't think I would use it much.

It turns out that five different circles of friends I know are using facebook: some of my family, people who go to my church, colleagues, friends from town and some of my programming contacts. bizarre

So within a short period I've got quite a long list of friends. Not only that but it is surprisingly addictive. You get to see all the recent news from people in your friends list, hunt for new friends and send silly messages to each other. Smile

Of course all this activity means that the big social networking sites are in a battle to the death to be the biggest. Most of my friends use facebook, so I will stay with facebook. Whichever site becomes the biggest will gradually sideline the competition.

I thought it was cool that my church was getting so technologically hip. Facebook seems like it could be a useful way of keeping in touch with friends and contacts. Uhm... that was until I read this article:

The article claims that the different networking sites divide along the lines of social class, with the middle classes favouring Facebook and the poorer classes going for MySpace.

Personally I always find MySpace pages loud and difficult to read with all the strange background colour and picture business going on.

This is also terrible news for my church friends, the Jesus Army prides itself [1] in being a church of the poor. Looks like it's time to switch to MySpace guys! This doesn't include our Coventry folk of course, who are that bit more intellectual than the rest of us. Wink

Anyway, all that guff is just the first half (but don't worry - the longer half) of this blog entry.

The second half is about webcams. Smile

Technology can be a controversial subject. On the one hand it is fun and exciting, but some would say it is leading to a fragmented and more isolated society (more obsessed with updating their facebook profile than real human contact).

The webcam I bought months ago finally got put to use. Delia (my wife) comes from Romania where her parents still live. Her family don't have a computer, but the next door neighbour does, and today Delia talked to her family over Yahoo Messenger [2].

Being able to see and talk to her family regularly is going to make a big difference to Delia. Maybe technology isn't all bad. Cool

[1]And rightly so... Jesus had a lot to say on the subject of money, and the core of the Jesus Army live in Christian Community together - sharing their income.
[2]Not my choice!

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-06-30 00:35:17 | |
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The Old Blog Archives

There was so much ancient wisdom distilled into my old blog, that I couldn't let it just creep ignominiously into the pages of cyber-history. More to the point I'm still getting some hits from google with the old entries. Here are the archives of my previous Blogger based blog.

The Old Voidspace BlogThe Old Techie Blog

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