One Man and His Blog: March 2004 Archives

March 2004 Archives

March 31, 2004

When Blogs Meet Vanity Publishing

Blogbinders - making a book of your blog without all that nasty "getting a publishing deal" business.

Lousy Customer Service

I'd just like to congratulate Internet Cameras Direct on some of the worst customer service I've experienced in a long time. To be fair, my Mum experienced it, not myself. The firm left her sitting at home waiting for a camera delivery for three days, while their phone representatives proved magnificently unhelpful.

Mum e-mailed them suggesting that they might make some compensation for her lost time. This was the response:

Unfortunately we cannot offer any compensation as the goods were dispatched from us on time.
Sorry for any inconvenience

Katie Hollingworth
Sales Supervisor

Now, this is clearly arrant nonsense. Our contract was with the web retailer for delivery of the camera, not their subcontractors. It doesn't matter if they use a delivery firm, particularly beefy pigeons, trained burrowing voles, or drive the camera to the delivery point themselves, it's the retailer's responsibility.

This dismissive, rude treatment from Ms Hollingworth contrasts sharply with the apologies and assistance I had from Apple last year when they had problems with their delivery sub-contractors. Thus, I am forced to the major recourse left for a dissatisfied consumer: not buying from them again. Of course, that's useless unless they know I'm not buying from them again. So:

Dear Ms. Hollingworth,

Thank you for your reply to my mother, copied below. Thank you for embarrassing me, who paid for 50% of the order under discussion, and who recommended the service to my mother.

Thank you for showing a total lack of concern for the days of my mother's life
wasted by your inability to manage sub-contractors correctly. Thank you for being almost entirely incorrect in your reply below. You'll find our contract for next day delivery was with yourselves, not your delivery sub-contractors, and thus it was you who failed to perform to that contract. It doesn't matter if you use a legion of trained burrowing voles or a bunch of incompetent deliverymen in Norwich to get the cameras to us, as long as it arrives when promised. When it doesn't, that's your problem, not ours. Thank you so much for making it ours.

Most of all, though, thank you for making it perfectly clear that my intended order for a Fuji F700 (
and a Canon EOS30D ( to replace my aging SLR system should go to a retailer with some interest in customer service, rather than yourselves.

For that, I am extremely grateful.

Adam Tinworth

Oh, and I copied in the managing director.

From the "you've read this carefully, right?" files

Samizdata has possibly the funniest correction published by a newspaper in recent years. Check it out.

Congratulations on Casino Avenue

Congratulations to Inspector Sands of Casino Avenue, for surviving a year as a blogger.

He's managed to annoy the yuppies of local gated communities and gain the emnity of fans of the Evening SubStandard. Good work, sir.

March 30, 2004

Token Post

Busy, busy, busy working on GRID right now, so blogging time is limited. I have come up with a good idea for the blog's new name, though...

In the meantime, here is today's picture:

Trafalgar Square

I was forced to take a major diversion on the way home this evening, as the police seemed to have blocked off everything within two blocks of Leicester Square (something to do with this, perhaps?). Thus, I found myself in Trafalgar Square. I was struck by the way the light struck the buildings on the east side of the square, highlighting them and leaving the main part in shadow. Strange to say, I've never really noticed the buildings around the square before. It made me see the square in, very literally, a new light. This was my attempt to record it.

March 28, 2004

PoYd 10: Disco

Disco Ball

No smoke without...?

We know smoking is bad for us. We know there's a link between smoking and lung cancer. Hell, we know that other people's smoke makes our clothes reek after a night in the pub.

For the first two reasons, but almost certainly not the last, governments are perpetually tying to wean us (well, not me. I don't smoke) off the evil weed. Of course, they don't try too hard, becuase the huge tax revenues from cigarettes are at risk. Oh, and the hospitality industry squeals that their profits will take a nose-dive if bans on smoking in public places are introduced.

Well, that theory's being put to the test. Ireland has settled on a date to introduce a smoking ban in public places. So, one way or another we'll find out if the hospitality industry was right.

I don't have any particularly strong feelings one way or another about smoking in pubs, to be honest. I'm not keen on it in restaurants, but few allow it or have the sections well enough segregated that it's not a problem. I'm just interested to see both how the practicalities of such a ban can be enforced and if the main arguments against it stand up. One to watch.

March 27, 2004

Debate Is Dead

You may remember me bemoaning the poor quality of political debate in this country. This is a nice illustration of just how bad it can get:

Maggie Thatcher is Dead!

Sure, the woman made some bad mistakes in her time, and went in some dubious directions, but so have pretty much all Prime Ministers, the current incumbent included. Indeed, I find Blair's constant shift of Government towards a more authoritarian model far more worrying than any Labour or Tory government of the past century.

This is just puerile faeces-flinging at a time when we badly need a decent level of debate in this country.

[via Casino Avenue]

March 25, 2004

Three More Pics of London

Office near St Paul'sVernon PlaceReflections in a City office
Click for larger versions

March 24, 2004

Token Post

No post tonight. I'm far too busy sorting through the images for the next GRID. Mmmm. Some of them are lovely.

No, you can't see them. Not yet. Soon. But not yet.

March 23, 2004

3 Views of London

Contrasty sunlight on LewishamWoman on mobile phoneBuilding Cleaners
Click for larger images

March 22, 2004

Off White

I have left the white earbud brigade. For the last two years, I have proudly worn my white iPod headphones, giving me that distinctive look that my wife describes as "looking like you've got some medical equipment attached to you". I've shared that knowing look with fellow iPod users on trains, tubes and on the street. I've felt like one of the elite.

And now, it's over.

When I walked to work today, a plain black cord sneaked out from my jacket pocket and into my ears. The music still came from the iPod, but any external signs of my membership of that proud band have gone. Why? Well, for one, the cachet has gone. Everyone has one, and as soon as the iPod Mini hits London's streets, so will Everyone's Wife. More to the point though, I really, really don't want to get mugged for my iPod. So, sweet musical anonymity is now my watch word.

You know what? I never realised just how crappy those white headphones were. Hurrah for improved sound quality and (relative) safety.

Water for Africa

Hey, you. Stop reading this. Go here. Click on the page. Repeat every day. Raise money to give Africa clean drinking water.

Good work.

March 18, 2004

Whitehall, NYC and Size Issues

People in Whitehall think that the internet "is a high-tech scam". Oh, joy.

Ground Zero Pics

iPod Killer? Given that it's "11.5 ounces and is roughly three times as thick as an iPod and twice as long", I think not.

Wireless Wonders

iBook in StarbucksYeah, I know it's a bit of a crappy picture, but I grabbed it in a hurry on the way into work yesterday morning. It really struck me just how much people are using the WiFi hotspots in the two Starbuck's on Wardour Street. It's a pretty rare day when I walk past and there isn't somebody in there using a laptop (an iBook in this case - this is trendy, Apple-using Soho, after all) and catching up on e-mail or the web.

I know we all have a healthy dose of scepticism about new technology, thanks to the claims of the dotcom boom, but this shift to wireless working really seems to be coming true. How do I know? My mother-in-law wants me to show her how to surf the web in her local Starbuck's. It's mainstream, folks.

Underground, Overground: subways to scale

Go take a look at this map of world subways all at the same scale. It gives you some idea of just how huge London is compared to many of the world's cities, with only New York rivalling it.


March 17, 2004

Found in the referrer logs

Fretnoise is a blog of a 20-something geek, who has linked to me for reasons best know to himself. His gallery of pictures is rather nice and well worth a look, though.

Update: It appears his linked to me by mistake, as he was actuallt after one of the other blogs with this name. I still like his pics, though.

Another One

Dammit. When I first set up this blog I checked very carefully to see that no-one else was using it. It appears not everyone else is so careful. Just a few days after I found another One Man & His Blog, yet another One Man and his Blog turns up, this time barely a couple of months old.

This guy, though, has had the foresight to actually register an appropriate domain name. So, should I go ahead and do something I'd been considering anyway, and change the name of the blog? Names punning on blog are sooooo 2002, daaaaahling.

March 16, 2004

BE Links

I'm working on the next GRID, so it's time to beef up my collection of built environment links:

The Slatin Report - what GRID US's editor did next

A Daily Dose of Architecture - just what it says - RIBA's web presence

CoolTown Studios - urban villages with a good financial basis?

ArchNewsNow - a round-up of today's architecture news

archlog - an architecture blog (possibly moribund)

Built Environment TV?

Those who read this blog because of my built environment links my find my employer's latest venture of interest:


The Prescott interview and speech in the MIPIM section are of particular interest.

March 15, 2004

BBC: Vindication

No, it's not that BBC story. It's the other one. The BBC has launched its online clips archive and, as I predicted, it's all in-house documentary stuff. The reasons are exactly as I predicted:

The first phase will concentrate on material that is fully owned by the BBC.

In future, the BBC hopes to talk to independents and other rights holders about clearing the rights to other clips.

You'll have to wait a little while for those Dr Who and Monty Python clips everyone was getting so excited about. So there.

A Strange Silence

Dr Adrian Warnock comments on something that I'd noticed as well: there was precious little commentary or acknowledgement of the Madrid bombing in US blogs for the first few days after it happened. Why was that?

Any thoughts?

Me Again

Yes, I'm posting again. A tone of work, both day job and freelance, caught up with me all at once. Things are beginning to quieten down a little, so hopefully posting will return to normal.

Familiarity breeds...?

Is it me, or does the name of this blog sound very familiar?

Why, I oughta sue...

March 6, 2004

Too late, mate

I really should have called yesterday's entry And so it continues...

March 5, 2004

One Year Ago Today

In The Beginning

It's been one year since I kicked off this blog. In that time, it's changed hosts, URL and blogging system. I've gone through several different visions of what it should be and may different schemes for giving it a focus.

I've given up on all of them. I do this 'cos its fun, and I'll do what I think is fun for as long as I find it fun. I hope those of you out there reading it have had fun doing so.

Ever get the feeling that you are disappointing your readers?


March 3, 2004

Moblogging The Oscars (briefly)

A journalist took advantage of her press access to stars on the Oscars night to quickly moblog the event with her mobile phone. moblog the event with her mobile phone. She was pretty quickly asked to stop, but not before getting some great candids from the occasion that make a refreshing change for our visual palates, so dulled by endless rounds of PR-approved images.

The journalist discovered that uses of mobile phone or PDA cameras were banned at the event. I find the excuses on offer interesting, as they mostly rely on the security issue: "don't take pics as it might help terrorists". I'd love to hear them explain that statement, just to see their expressions as they desperately struggle for a coherent rationale.

"Uh, they could, uh, beam the pictures to, uh, Afghanistan where, uh, um, Osama Bin Laden could say somthing rude, errr, morale sapping about Nicole Kidman's dress..."

It's probably inevitable that people who are involved in security that they regard any new communication technology as an inherent risk. However, in one of the most televised events in the world, banning the use of mobile phone cameras amongst a carefully controlled press pack just seems disingenuous.

March 2, 2004

PoYd9: Blue

Click for larger version

March 1, 2004

You like to recycle, watch and snap, don't you?

A lesson from the referrer logs

For the first time ever, my last month's referral logs have been interesting, with a rather distinct pattern forming. Let's see:

12 Feb: britney leather skirt pic
12 Feb: does sex sell? christina aguilera
17 Feb: "leather skirt" sex - someone really dedicated to sex and leather skirts. My site doesnt appear in the first 10 pages or so of results...
18 Feb: look like christina aguilera
18 Feb: jewel's image
19 Feb: jewel's image

There's a message here for me: write about celebrities and sex more often. Oh, and mention leather skirts. My wife has a leather skirt, you know, but it goes all the way to her ankles, and so probably isn't what these people are looking for...

Mind you, I really don't want to know what the person who searched for "many ladies one man picture" was looking for. "eight members" pop music is a bit of a mystery, too.

More London, please

Let's kick off March's blogging with a couple of photos. I grabbed these this afternoon down by London Bridge, and I love the juxtaposition of ancient and modern in both of the pics.

click on thumbnails for larger versions:
Tower of London from the southTower Bridge and the Greater London Assembly


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2004 is the previous archive.

April 2004 is the next archive.

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