Tag Archives: fundamental shortcomings

Such a simple idea

So why hasn’t it been done?

Safe with charging point

OK, you’re at the hotel and your phone/tablet needs charging but you’ve to be elsewhere right now. A situation common enough. Do you a) take the phone with you and hope the battery lasts? or b) put it on charge in the room – and hope no-one steals it while you’re out?

Most hotels provide in-room safes so that valuables can be left securely, yet it’s hardly secure to leave an expensive phone/tablet charging on a table. Should it get stolen the first thing the hotel would say is “Why wasn’t it in the safe?”

The solution seems, to me at least, very obvious. It’s hardly a mammoth task to install an electrical socket (& vent) into the safe.

Any hotel that did provide such a facility would have a USP to encourage guests and would almost certainly quickly recoup any costs through increased visitor numbers. I know that, personally, given the choice between a hotel with the facility to securely charge my phone and one without, I’d pick the “with” every time.

So why isn’t it available?

May I suggest readers do as I’ve done and request each hotel that they visit installs such a facility. With enough requests commonsense might just prevail.

Set in Stone

IT MUST BE TRUE

Set in StoneEver noticed how, when shopping, the assistant has unquestioning faith in the computer?

Even for a single low-value item, they may have sold many of immediately prior, and where the price is boldly displayed on the item itself, the assistant will scan it and then glare at the screen before telling the customer the cost. It’s as though the price may have changed in the intervening minutes between sales! Or maybe it’s just that the assistant is incapable of reading – or trusting – the price label on the product.

Whatever the reason, human thought has been dispensed with! The computer is king! Heaven help them if the screen should display as above! How many would actually do it?

And what happens when the computer is “.. a bit slow today“, or “.. has a problem“? The customer must wait while a manager is summoned, or the computer decides [“decides”, hell, it’s just a machine!] to work again.

We now have a generation of people, little more than robots themselves, who can’t use initiative & common sense. Clearly the education system has much to answer for! And they call this progress…

Hotel Safety

DO THEY TAKE FIRES SERIOUSLY?

Fire safety in hotelsThe question of hotel fire safety is one many people take for granted – until it’s too late!

We’ve all seen the notices about escape routes, assembly points and, of course, the “don’t use lifts (elevators) in case of fire”. Most often nothing goes wrong so we tend to forget about them, but we still need to have them so that if the worst does happen we can get out quickly, under our own steam.

But what if the guests are disabled or have reduced mobility? Clearly then the hotel is obliged to provide the required assistance, but in an emergency such as a fire hotel staff have many things to do. Are they able to help PRM guests?

Imagine a disable guest located on a high floor, who can’t use a lift. The problems are all too obvious.

Forward planning, both by the guests and the hotel, would be helpful. The guest would for example, when booking, advise the hotel of a disability. The hotel could then ensure that a ground floor room is allocated, thus alleviating the problem of stairs (one less issue). It would be easier and safer for both guests and hotel if this simple procedure was followed. So why isn’t it?

Most hotels, when accepting reservations, take “requests” for such things as views, room types etc, and for most people this is satisfactory. However, for disabled people a request (as above) for a ground floor room is more than simply a “would like” it’s a “must have”, yet hotels say they can’t guarantee such things.

Why not?

With the exception of walk-in guests, reservations are made in advance so hotels are fully aware of requirements at particular times, so of course they can allocate suitable rooms. The fact that they won’t shows that they don’t rate guest safety as a high priority!

As said, most times problems don’t arise, but travellers who are willing to take risks and accept less than satisfactory hotel policies are dicing with death – literally!

Isn’t it time legislation was introduced, & enforced, to make sure hotels safeguard guests in these situations? The same goes for travel agents, they too should do more!

In the meantime guests have the ultimate weapon, choice! Don’t accept unsafe practice, choose a hotel that cares about its guests!

BlackBerry Bombard Users With Ads

THEN CHARGE TO REMOVE THEM!

BBM Rip OffBlackberry, the company behind the messaging application BBM, have hit on a money-making idea that really annoys users.

Sponsored content (in others words adverts) appear in channel feeds, but if you don’t want to see these ads then, at one time, you could simply block them. Simple, ad gone!

Not any more. Blackberry weren’t making enough dosh.

Obviously users didn’t like the ads so blocked them, so Blackberry responded by removing the option to block these annoying adverts, UNLESS you pay!

That’s correct. When pressed BBM support replied, in a private message so that most people wouldn’t see it, with “Advertisements can be removed from BBM for $0.99 USD per month with the No Ads subscription. This subscription removes all ads from your feed, and you will no longer receive sponsored invites from our partners.

They may argue that $0.99 / month is a small amount, but multiply that by the hundreds of millions of users! A tidy profit, just for annoying people!

Companies that use such tactics deserve to lose customers, and they’ve certainly lost this one. BBM isn’t worth the hassle!

Why do cars…

…OFTEN REFLECT THE DRIVERS PERSONALITY

Cars reflect drivers personalityNot true in every case, though there’s a strong argument to support the theory. Butched-up pickups driven by guys who can’t be bothered with seatbelts, who’re on the phone as they drive, and who think speed limits are for everyone else. Expensive 4×4’s (the Chelsea tractor), designed for off-road terrain, yet driven by a female accompanied by 2 kids on the school run, the aim of which is to “be protected” from every other road user. Then there’s the boy racer, been driving 5 minutes yet knows it all, car trimmed with every conceivable gadget designed to make the motor sound faster than an F1. There’re many other examples, and I haven’t even touched on white van man!

It’s also true that many traits crossover between drivers.

When we get into our cars it’s as though we put on a cloak of invincibility. We become the best driver around, and all the problems are down to other “idiots”. Heaven forbid anyone less able than ourselves should be on OUR road when we are using it. Here comes road-rage!

Vanity – Image… Come on people, grow up!!

Some might say “why aren’t police tackling these problems?” Cuts, in funding from government, but that’s a different issue (too big to deal with here).

Why can’t we police ourselves? Whatever happened to courtesy? It’s simple enough; traffic laws are there for everyone’s benefit, and apply to everyone! Ignoring them isn’t clever, that just makes you one of those idiots you so vehemently despise.

If everyone drove as though they were carrying their most precious cargo, every journey, roads would not only be safer but a lot less stressful too.

Drive-2-Arrive

What’s wrong with society?

ANSWERS ON A POSTCARD!

CrimeSocietyI won’t attempt to provide a definitive response to that question, what I will do is put forward my thoughts on how things can be improved in at least one or two areas.

Take for example Crime. The government wants to save money, so public sector resources such as police are logical targets. The police are continually under pressure to solve more & more crimes with fewer & fewer officers. Why are there more crimes? Because there are fewer officers to prevent them!

There are various levels of crime though, ranging from the petty right up to, well, anything you care to name. Clearly the major crimes such as murder, robbery etc attract most police resources, which necessarily means that there are fewer officers to deal with the lower level crimes.

However, with very few exceptions, most criminals begin small & work up. What starts out as stealing a bar of chocolate from a supermarket can easily progress to street muggings and even on to armed robbery. Obviously not every criminal develops that way but the point I’m making is that if they get away with small crimes then the temptation is there to go for bigger rewards. 

The same thing can be seen on our roads. Someone gets away with parking where they shouldn’t; others see it and do the same. Then having got away with that one, it’s only a small step to not wearing a seat belt, or speeding, or using a mobile while driving. All relatively low-level offences in isolation but what if everyone drove around ignoring the rules? There’d be chaos & devastation.

It’s easy for police to say “we don’t have enough officers to deal with minor crimes”, but those are exactly the crimes they should be focusing on. Punish the minor crimes and deter the progression to anything bigger. Nip it in the bud, as the saying goes.

Clearly though it’s not as simple as that. In order to bring about such radical policing policies there’d need to be changes in other areas of law too, like the way offenders are dealt with (courts, prisons etc.), and that would then have a knock-on effect for other sectors. A massive undertaking.

I’ve hardly scratched the surface on this subject and it’s already becoming complicated, so to imaging any politician would have the will to embark on such changes is wishful thinking at best. That doesn’t alter the fact that the theory is sound. As a former Prime Minister once said, we must get “back to basics”, get the foundations right & the rest will follow just fine.

So “Mr Policeman”, the next time you see someone breaking the law don’t look the other way because it’s too much trouble. Make a start at doing your bit. ACT!

 

Election Time

WHO KNOWS HOW YOU VOTE?

Ballot PaperVoting in any election is supposed to be secret, no-one should know how you’ve voted. That’s the theory anyway, so why are postal voting slips (ballot papers) numbered?

Each ballot paper has a serial number printed on the back. Along with that ballot paper is a form each voter has to complete to confirm his/her identity, a Postal Voting Statement, which contains a matching serial number. It therefore follows that by comparing the serial numbers it’s possible to know exactly how a particular person voted. The secrecy is blown wide open!

Of course there needs to be checks to prevent fraud, but there must be a better, more secure and private, way of doing it.

I’m not alone in feeling that such a system is open to abuse. Perhaps someone from the Electoral Commission or other regulatory body would reassure me of the anonymity of our voting system.

Update 27/04/15“Ask, and it shall be given”, & so the Electoral Commission responded as follows…

“It is a requirement of the election rules that the elector number is written against the number of the ballot papers issued to a particular elector on the corresponding number list. This system is essentially an updated version of a system that dates from the Ballot Act 1872, which was introduced to avoid the possibility of counterfeit ballot papers being used and to assist with the detection of alleged fraud. Clearly, if the ballot papers are numbered, it is far more difficult for an unscrupulous person to introduce copies of official ballot papers into the ballot box. If a fraudulent act has occurred, it would be possible to detect the offence by reference to the corresponding number list. There is a safeguard to prevent the ballot paper numbers on the corresponding list being linked with the marked ballot papers. At the close poll, the corresponding number list is placed in a sealed envelope by the Presiding Officer at the polling station. The sealed envelope is then taken to the Returning Officer. The only occasion when the sealed packets can be opened is on the order of a judge as a result of an election petition or in furtherance of an investigation into an alleged election offence. Even then, it is very rare for the documents to be examined except in cases where fraud or personation (i.e. someone voting illegally on someone else’s behalf) are being investigated. Because of these safeguards, it is virtually impossible for any person to be in a position to marry up an elector to a particular ballot paper. For that reason, electors can be confident that the ballot remains secret. Electors have no grounds to fear that the way in which they voted could be detected, except under the very special circumstances outlined above.”

So, there you have it. Decide for yourself how safe your vote is.