Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mountains and fjords

Saturday, July 26th, 2008
Hardangervidda

Having waved goodbye to Christine’s Mum at Geilo station the next leg of our journey took us away from the railway and up on to the Hardangervidda plateau. Perhaps due to the bright blue skies overhead it didn’t look quite as bleak and barren as I had imagined it to be. It was a pleasant enough drive though with some nice white peaks in the distance and the odd glacier to add to the scenery.

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BT refund

Friday, June 6th, 2008

I’ve previously blogged about my annoyance at having to fork out £10 a month to BT purely in order to avoid the pleasure of paying them even more money when we return to the UK. I therefore wasn’t best pleased to discover that this month they had added some additional charges. On enquiring it turned out that these were to cover the free services (caller display and BT 1571) that apparently aren’t actually free if you make less than two calls a month. (This, presumably, is to penalise those who use another call provider over a BT line.) This seemed a bit of a liberty given that, in their online account management, is there any way to unselect them. The services have now been cancelled until we return. It took a second e-mail repeating the fact that I had previously had a conversation with BT support about minimising the amount we paid whilst abroad before they (or at least so they say) refunded the charges levied so far.

Vegas to Oslo

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

It wasn’t a good sign to arrive at the airport and discover those from the earlier flight to Newark still sat trying to sleep at the gate. Weather (presumably bad) in the New York area was the reason given for the delays. We eventually boarded the plan about ninety minutes late but, having pushed back from the gate, then had to wait another half an hour to be allocated a take-off slot. This was all particularly annoying as a) the aircraft was packed full and b) it was so new that they hadn’t got round to fitting any entertainment system yet! The time passed quickly enough though as I practiced some Norwegian vocab on my laptop and then read.

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Shutting up shop

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I’m back in the UK this week catching up with the family before we all head out to Oslo on Monday. I’m glad to say Emma still remembers me! I spent a merry couple of hours this afternoon trying to tie up some loose ends with the house which will remain empty whilst we are away:

  • Our current house insurance won’t cover us for this long an absence (30 days is pretty much the standard maximum). I’ve only had one quote back so far and that’s £200 over our current policy.
  • Apparently it’s fine for us to leave the car on the driveway of our unoccupied house whereas we would not be covered if we left it at one or other of our parents’ places where there would be someone to keep an eye on it.
  • We won’t be getting anything off our council tax (they just consider we’re on a long holiday).
  • We can, however, put our water, gas, and electric on hold.
  • BT were their usual unhelpful selves. After 15 minutes in the queue (entirely unrelated to the fact that I’d selected the disconnection option I’m sure), I was told that the only way not to pay the minimum line charge of £10.50/month whilst we’re away would be to disconnected and they’d then charge us £120 to be reconnected! If there was an alternative to BT I’d happily ditch them like a shot.
  • This has finally given me the excuse to say goodbye to PlusNet as our broadband provider. Yeah! Needless to say I didn’t take them up on the offer of having the account put on hold whilst I”m away. I have to say they were actually remarkably efficient in closing the account. I’m currently thinking I’ll go with either Be or UK Online when we get back.

I think that just leaves the council garden waste recycling scheme (although if we renew early it will cost us just the same as if we don’t renew until we get back), the TV licence (which I’m not paying if they won’t let me watch iPlayer abroad), oh, and finding a taxi to the airport which will somehow transport Emma but without us taking her car seat away with us!!

Customer service: the good and the bad

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

With a stack of watch type batteries needing replacement I headed over to the first online purveyor that Google threw up: Battery Force. (Yes – I know they paid Google to be at the top of the list but that doesn’t make them bad people – just good at marketing!) As promised the batteries were dispatched by four o’clock on the next working day and duly arrived in the post the next morning. The packet may have been small (it fitted through the letter box which is always a bonus) but they managed to squeeze in a discount voucher for my next purchase and a Belgian chocolate!
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Party pooper

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Happy New Year (or not as the case may be)! Being parents took its toll and neither of us managed to stay up until midnight last night. To make matters worse, I was up shortly after midnight when Emma made her presence felt. It wasn’t particularly surprising that she was awake though as there was a continual barrage of fireworks banging away for the next half an hour or so. I can’t imagine they were very good to watch as there appeared to be a heavy mist. Didn’t we use to have fireworks just once a year? I blame the millennium!

Wanted: one appendix

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Thanks to Neil for sending me a link to this Guardian article. It seems that I may wish I still had my appendix if I ever decide to become a hermit!

JMS connection pooling again

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

I gave Paul’s original article a plug back in August however the second article in his series on JMS connection pooling with WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere MQ is another mine of deep technical information so is worth another mention. The piece on surge protection in particular was new to me.