As a result of my the variable service intervals on the car, it is always a bit of a surprise when it announces it needs a service. To get around that, it will usually come up with a warning that one is coming up. A couple of weeks ago, the Golf announced that it would need a service in 3000 miles – no problem, on my current mileage that will be sometime next year. A while later this dropped to 2900, 2800 and latterly to 2700. When I started it up this morning it was saying 2700 miles, and all I did was take it down to Microsoft in Reading, which is urban roads and a couple of miles of motorway, came back to it tonight and with a fanfare (well an annoying dinging really) it announced that it needed a service now. Not quite sure what happened to it during the day to bring it on, but anyway, hopefully I can get it booked in next week.

Sad News

Sad news today for the forty-fourth anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who, with the news that Verity Lambert, the first producer of the series, has passed away aged 71. When she got the job back in 1963 she was the youngest, and only female producer at the BBC. Known for standing up to her superiors, and one of the people most often credited with the early success of the programme, probably the best example is when she introduced the Daleks, despite being specifically advised not to by Donald Wilson, head of serials. One of the great unanswered questions – would Doctor Who still be so well known forty-four years later had she done what she was told?

When Mailing Lists Go Wrong

I’m signed up on a good few mailing lists, last night it seems, one went wrong. Usually it is set up as an announcement list, sending out the messages that the company who runs the list wants to send out to it’s customers, however at some point it seems to have been switched over to a discussion list mode, whereby it sends any message from any member of the list to any other. As a result, after the message they sent out last night, this morning I had a stack of ‘out of office’ messages initially from some of the subscribers.

However, as with many of these problems, the situation is made significantly worse by some of the other mailing list subscribers. There were one or two ‘unsubscribe’ messages, but the real annoyance was the person who had bulk replied to all the ‘out of office’ messages asking them not to send them again – fine, aside from the fact that the messages all have a reply-to pointing to the list address and so he’d sent all the replies there instead and they had all bounced around to all the subscribers too! The original message header does say that that is what it would do, but then how many people actually look at the detail in that before hitting reply?

Fingers crossed, the owner of the list should now be in the office, and sorting out the problem, otherwise I suspect I’m going to have some more bouncing messages to deal with…

Flickr Places

Flickr have recently added a neat new variation onto their explore pages called Flickr Places.

The idea is relatively simple in that it is wrapping the place search that gets used when placing your pictures onto a map into a much simpler interface. Given a place name, it then goes away and builds a page using any of the geotagged pictures, and comes up with a page containing all those that are in the relevant place.

Of course, it is entirely dependant on people religiously geotagging all their pictures, otherwise you get results like the Finchampstead page which seems to entirely consist of my pictures…

Incompetence on a Grand Scale

I have to say that it does take a pretty impressive level of incompetence to loose two discs containing the details of every single UK family claiming Child Benefit. It’s not even as if it was one of their staff – the important discs were entrusted to TNT, who handle the departments internal mail – the package vanished somewhere in their system. Just imagine what could happen once they get their ID card system up and running…