I’m going to invoice South West Trains for their delays

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So, I became a commuter at the beginning of this year, my daily commute takes me from Petersfield to London Waterloo and back again on a daily basis and for these journeys I have no choice but to use South West Trains as my mode of transport.

I’m only six weeks in and I’ve already had enough… South West Trains offer an appalling service for the prices they charge. There are constant delays and overcrowding on their trains and I’ve had enough. They offer nothing but excuses for the delays and the overcrowding seems to be ‘normal service’ to them, to the degree of ‘you are lucky there is actually a train to get on’. When questioning staff about delays most of the time they just laugh and joke about it. Well, it’s not a joke to me, this shoddy service costs me a whopping £481.60 of my hard earned cash every single month. That’s a lot of money. I’d just about swallow that top dollar price if they offered a top dollar service, but they don’t… They really don’t!

Delays on nearly every single journey so far, up to 3 hour delays (standing on platforms in sub zero temperatures and rain), cancellations and overcrowding… But we still have to pay the top price for this? Surely this can’t be right?

So, from 1st March 2015, I am going to send them monthly invoices for the time I am losing due to their constant delays. I have been told that I’m wasting my time, that nothing will come of it, but being the determined person that I am, I’m not just going to put up with it. They are just not providing the service they are selling and if it were any other company or business we would not put up with it. you went to a restaurant for a meal and didn’t get a seat, would you put up with it? If your new car kept on stopping or running slow

I will be engaging with social media, the press and my contacts in the broadcast and media industry to raise awareness of this issue and while my expectations of actually getting anywhere with this are very low, I am just not going to stand back and nothing.

I’m going to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, I’m going to complain directly to the Managing Director of South West Trains (Tim Shoveller), I’m going to contact Passenger Focus and I will also contact the relevant bodies within the Government.

I will be adding more content here as and when I can.

Oh, and if you’re thinking ‘why are you wasting your time on this’? I’m doing all of this while I’m on a delayed train! My time is already wasted!

Here are some contact details:

South West Trains
South West Trains – Compensation Info
Tim Shoveller – Managing Director of South West Trains
Citizens Advice Bureau
Passenger Focus

Does anyone care about online scams?

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I run a large number of websites and inevitably I get a load of SPAM emails. Most of them get caught by anti-spam but some of them get through. As I’m normally quite busy they just get deleted but every now and then I amuse myself and reply to them to see exactly what it is they are trying to do or how they are trying to scam me out of my hard earned cash.

Some of them are very authentic and the average person could easily fall for them, they look very professional, have all the right logos, etc… You can understand how people get caught up in them without realising before it is too late.

Once I get tired of playing with them, the ones I actually bother to reply to, I always make sure that I report them, but I never really know what happens as I delete the emails and block the email address from contacting me again. I had previously assumed that as I had ‘done the right thing’ by reporting the emails (normally from Gmail, Hotmail, etc…) to their corresponding abuse@ email addresses and got that automated reply quoting ‘…thank you for reporting this…’ that something was actually happening behind the scenes.

I think I have been wrong! I don’t think anyone (with the exception of Paypal) actually seem to care about it, nor do they seem to be doing anything about it.

The latest scam that I was sent and decided to play along to was from a Mrs. Jo Whelan at the UK Debt Management Office. Now whoever is behind this has done a bit of homework as they have copied the persons name and address from the official website.

After trying to see what it was they wanted (send them money to release some more money to me) I reported them to both AOL (where the email originated from) and to Action Fraud.

This was days ago and I’m still being harassed by the poor scammer who is desperate to get some cash out of me via Western Union. In the meantime, AOL have done NOTHING to block the email address, they haven’t even replied to me. Action Fraud have a complicated online system rather than an email address that one can just forward the email onto. I do not have the 20 minutes to fill in the form. I’m doing the right thing, I’m reporting it to avoid others not falling from the scam. I haven’t got the 20 minutes each time to fill out your forms!!

Talk about making it hard to do the right thing…

Anyway, if you get an email from Jo Whelan from the UK Debt Management Office asking to send money, now you know it’s a scam!

‘Jack of all trades’ – A dying breed?

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I can’t say that I have only just noticed this today, I kind of realised that this may have been the case when I made the decision to return to the UK to further my career a few years ago.

I get the feeling that the ‘jack of all trades’ may still work in smaller companies, but it definitely doesn’t appear to be the case in larger organisations.

My first company was a small one, I set up a small repair centre for TV, video, Hi-Hi and satellite systems. It was a small business and I had no choice but to learn about a lot of different systems, it seemed the only way forward and the only way to make money. I made it my business to know how to repair things, how to install satellite systems, how to build and re-build computers.

After this I went into commercial radio and made it my business to make sure that I always knew exactly what everyone did, in detail! I felt that I couldn’t allow myself to be in a situation where someone went off sick or didn’t turn up to work one day and everything would fall apart. So I made it my business to learn about production work, recording techniques, audio processing, studio equipment, IT  systems even presenting radio shows! The technical aspect I already knew pretty much inside out, but I just couldn’t imagine not knowing every aspect of the business.

After this came an internet business and the same thing happened. I felt I had to know exactly what was going on at all times, in great detail, for exactly the same reasons. What if I found myself in a situation where someone left the company, or didn’t turn up for work. What would I do? What would happen to the business?

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change any of it as I learnt a lot of things about a lot of things. But… this is the problem and the point of my post today.

Right now, where I am in my ‘career path’, is there any value about knowing ‘a lot about a lot’ or being a ‘jack of all trades’ in the technology industry? The answer would appear to be ‘no’! As I said at the beginning of my post, this hasn’t come as a great shock.

It would appear that the only way to move forwards and upwards is to know ‘everything about one thing’. Becoming a specialist seems to be the way to go. The problem is, from all the things that I enjoy doing, which way do I go now?! I like computers, I like programming, I like building, re-building and repairing PC’s, I like writing programs and writing scripts. But I also like radio… As people involved in radio will confirm, once you have that radio bug it never really goes away.

I think the brutal realisation came when a recruitment agency recently said to me ‘I’m struggling to put you in a box’. That was when I realised that the nagging feeling of being a ‘jack of all trades’ was not really working became quite real. There appears to be no need for someone that ‘knows quite a bit about a lot of things’ but instead knows ‘a lot about one thing’.

Unfortunately, if you have managed to read this far(!), there is no end to this post at the moment as I am not sure what the answer is. I’m still trying to figure it out…

Shocking video footage of tourist wrestling a crocodile in swimming pool in Rhodes, Greece

Man wrestles crocodile in swimming pool
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This is shocking footage caught on camera of a tourist wresting a crocodile in a villa swimming pool on the island of Rhodes in Greece while on holiday. Watch carefully as man fights and wrestles with the crocodile and it drags him under the water. All this while another tourist in the pool watches without helping. Amazing shocking video footage.

OK, what does this have to do with my website?

Well, I’ll explain! The idea is to see how social media works (in sorts) and to see how much publicity can be given to a comedy clip uploaded onto YouTube. Obviously the title of the clip does not mention that the crocodile is a blow up toy!

It is more of a social media experiment than anything else, so do me a favour and share this page and tell your friends and let’s see how the experiment works…

Please share it and help me with my social media experiment!

Find out more about me

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Personal bits – Non work related!

OK, this bit is totally non-work related and is a bit more about me and what I like and enjoy. Any posts under the ‘Personal file’ are my own personal view and opinion!

– Electronics and Broadcast – Yep, pretty much all things electronic, and in particular broadcast are of interest to me.

– Programming – Learnt GW Basic years ago (don’t laugh) and currently learning Visual Basic.

– Computers – The first one was an Inves monochrome dual 5 1/4 floppy drive machine… need I say more?

– The Fast Show – Nice… I have to admit I’m a fan, so much that I actually bought (yes, bought!) the DVD set. More here.

– CSI – Las Vegas and Miami, not too keen on New York one.

– Music – Hmmm, not an easy one when you’ve worked in radio for a looooooooooong time, favourites along the way are Delta Goodrem, Dido, Mecano… will add more stuff here soon. Basically if it makes it onto my CD in the car it must be good!

– Bungy Jumping – No, not a personal favourite at all, but as I’ve got a copy recorded of it, I thought I’d share the one and only time I have (and will) bungy jump off a crane, listen to it here.

– Piano playing – Yep, Got myself another piano and am trying my best to practise as often as I can. Used to be able to play a loooooooong time ago, but it’s been a while!

– Sky News – I was on Sky News! Click here to take a look!