The Royal Mail

The government has this morning announced a website where people can write about what they like about being British.

Frankly its all about where you live. This year has been particularly bad for the postal service. Our local Oxford postmen/women went on strike for several weeks in the spring. Not nationally, just here, having an unauthorised strike. Obviously post didn’t get through. However, When I went to tax my car at the post office, they wouldn’t tax my car because I could only offer a faxed copy of my motor insurance certificate. I couldn’t give them the real one because the post was on strike. Even though the post office was in Oxford and that’s where the strike was, they wouldn’t accept the strike as a valid reason because they hadn’t been informed of the strike – and they would not be because they are only informed of official strikes.

This morning, my wife heard the post come through the letter box. She went to pick it up and included in the post was a card saying that a letter could not be delivered because it had to be signed for. The guy never rang the bell. In fact he probably wrote out the card before he arrived at the house. I don’t know what this letter is, its obviously an important document. It might be critically important that we got it today. We won’t know until tomorrow, when I can waste more time going out of my way to make a special visit to the sorting office to pick up the mail.

There’s a note in the sorting office stuck on the inside of the window which says something to the effect that they will call the police if any customer is abusive to the staff. I hope I’ve calmed down by tomorrow!

And then there’s our 2 nearest local sub postoffices that have been forcibly closed down this year because they are ‘uneconomic’. The trouble is they provide an essential public service, so they should not have to be economic, they provide a focal point for a community. Who is the jerk of a politician who is responsible for privatising the post offices. It now takes 30 minutes to walk to the post office. plus the time you are there. It’s only slightly quicker by car but you have to pay 50p for the car park.

Yes, there’s no doubt about it, I’m proud to be British.

Microsoft

I’ve just spent the entire evening installing Windows XP Service Pack 2 on my laptop. It’s taken the whole evening because once it was installed (around an hour) I could not connect to the Internet, or any networking for that matter.

I fiddled with the settings, I tried this and that and the other. Now I’m the sort of person to whom people come when they have computer problems, so I ought to have been able to sort it out. But no, it was beyond me. I could have started uninstalling everything networky and reinstalling it all again and all that sort of thing but I thought “No, I’ll ring up the free SP2 support line”. But they closed at 9:00 pm so I could wait until tomorrow or uninstall SP2. Guess what I did!

So, I’m now my machine is very vulnerable but at least I’ve got the Internet back.

I find Microsoft epitomise all that I dislike about large corporate companies, Their telling of the truth seems to have a lot in common with the way polititions tell it. This week has marked the launch of that most wonderful creation Mozilla Firefox 1.0. When interviewed, a Microsoft spokeman said “Internet Explorer offers everything that our customers need for surfing the net”, He also said that “If our customers ask for new features then we respond to that demand”. In retrospect, as long at the response is “Do absolutely nothing at all”, I suppose he is indeed telling the truth. For many years there has been a campaign to get Microsoft to put transparent png support into IE but all to no avail. They currently have over 18000 signatures, and on their site show how Microsoft promised full png support in IE in 1999, but still haven’t bothered. As the MS guy said “then we respond to that demand”.

But my biggest gripe with MS is their insecure software. Ok it looks nice and it does functionally “work” but they have for years paid no attention to security at all. The result of all this is that viruses have streamed into unprotected PC’s through vulnerability holes in their software. Buffer overflows by the dozen. Hardly a day goes by without some problem or other. Again Internet Explorer has more un-fixed vulnerabilities announced this week. However, they still speak the truth. “Windows is more secure than Linux” and here’s the proof

To be completely fair to Microsoft, spam is the worst problem facing the Internet today and Microsoft are not responsible for that in any way at all. The spam below (Comments 1) was sent to this blog before I even posted this message, as you can see from the date. (Actually I’ve deleted it so you will have to take my word for it!)

My first post

I’ve discovered that as I get older, I’ve started becoming very opinionated. So rather than keep boring everyone around me by sounding off, I’ll let them read my musings here if they are at all interested.

I started using the internet in 1995 when I remember struggling to get the ppp drivers to work under Windows. Those were the days when Microsoft, as arrogant as ever, believed that the Internet would fade away and were putting all their resources into a separate network they called the Microsoft Network, or MSN for short, which everyone would be bound to join. Well MSN still exists but not as they originally envisaged it.

So I’ve been playing for quite a while but not really embracing everything as it came along. I have to say I quite like the blogging idea, but you have to ask, “Why would anyone want to read the life and opinions of someone nobody has ever heard of?” And there are literally millions of us, most just lost somewhere in insignificant magnetic particles on the surface of an aluminium disk.

Lets see how things go.