Flushed by Virgin

28 Mar

I took my usual Virgin train down to London yesterday, for my presentation at Lloyds. I choose Virgin every time I can over London Midland just because of the breakfast in 1st Class 😉

Its only an hour journey so I don’t normally use the loo (my mother drilled into me a long time ago to ‘go before you go’).

I’d managed to get into a mess with the beans this time though (I’m sure my mother would say that’s nothing new), so I went to wash up.

I pressed the magic button to open the door and went in. As soon as I pressed the ‘close’ button, an announcement was made out loud about not flushing the wrong stuff down the loo. This was a little different than the normal boring stuff and made me smile. So much so I had to take a photograph of a sign backup up the announcement.

“Please don’t flush Nappies, sanitary towels, paper towels, gum, old phones, unpaid bills, junk mail, your ex’s sweater, hopes, dreams or goldfish down this toilet.”

I mentioned this in my talk, which was about being different and how it doesn’t have to cost much to get the word around – It made me tell you about Virgin Trains, didn’t it?


Presenting at the Lloyds building

24 Mar

I’m presenting to the Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA) on how to “Supercharge Your Premium Income Overnight”!

In the Old Library at Lloyd’s on Monday 27 March 2017 (1-2pm), we’ll talk about some key money makers for your business, help stop the sabotage that’s happening in your business and ensure you have the tools to be able to significantly boost your sales.


If your’e a broker for an MGA, do please tell me anything you think the MGA could do to let you sell more, or just make your life easier, and i’ll do my best to discuss it in the presentation. I promise I wont mention you in any way you can be identified..


The Kompo Club

17 Jun

I’ve recently renovated my Home-office.  New floor, new cupboards, bookcases, the lot.  Its so much better than the previous one.. and I can see out of the window from where I sit now ;0)

During sifting through the obligatory six and a half tons of stuff collected for no apparent reason, I came across a magazine called The Compo Club. Now, I say magazine – its 6 pages long and is a magazine that I published while I was at school. Its very faded because it was done on those old ‘bander’ copier things, way before photocopying was the norm.  I can even remember the smell of chemical coming off the paper 😉

It sets out to tell the story of a bunch of home computers, such as Beeby B, Spex and others. It brought back memories of all those home computers that were about in the 80’s – I had a ZX81 (still got it in fact), a Spectrum, and an Amstrad CPC464 with a colour monitor!  What did you have?

Anyways, I’ve added a link to a scanned version of the magazine here, for posterity.


Fictional Storytellers wanted – Apply Nokia Support

21 Aug

Yesterday, I wrote an article about the issues Im having with Nokia Support(

I sent them the link as a Tweet, kinda hoping for at least a response, but got nothing – so I called them today at 16:14 to see that was happening.


After the usual security questions, I explained id been waiting for a couple of days for a callback.  Apparently, the agent had tried to call (no record on mobile or house phone) but was off today, and hes the only one in the whole of Nokia that can answer my question.  This is not acceptable, so I pushed for why the phone was returned un-repaired.


The first answer I got was that the phone was damaged when received. Well after 6 trips by courier that wouldn’t surprise me, but I have the phone back remember, and its not physically damaged at all (lie).  I explain this was a made up answer, and asked to speak to a supervisor – after a 20 min hold, I got the same lady back who said she had checked and the IMEI had been blocked by my network operator.

Utter fiction again of course, remember the phone alternates between a signal and no signal, which means that for some of the time its connected and working. I ask the lady to stay on the line while I call my network operator, who, of course, confirm my assessment – both of the IMEI blocking (only if I report the phone as stolen) and of the utter nonsense being spouted by Nokia.  Nokia by the way didn’t stay on the line – past their home time, having now taken 45 minutes to get to this point.  I assume she hopes someone else will pick up the call in the morning – and ill have to start all over again.


What Nokia don’t know is that I have a way of telling if they have even looked at the phone, or powered it up. They haven’t, simply shipped back in the same container it arrived in. Ok Nokia may have looked at it but its been hardly touched, let alone tested (wonders of fingerprint tracking) – or are you going for the hat trick of lies and claim differently.


I bet when I call next, Nokia will have forgotten everything – including what lies they have told and will no doubt contradict themselves and even make up new lies to do anything but making a customer happy. Maybe they have targets on the number of annoyed, lied to customers – certainly feels like it.


The very best thing Nokia could do right now, is call me before I call them tomorrow – use the mobile number you have – ill even include it here.   07881 785909

The 2nd best thing they can do is send me a new handset. Another 920 or a 925 (ill pay the difference).

Bet you do neither Nokia.  Booo!



Nokia Phone Saga

20 Aug

Chapter 4 – The Out of warranty clause

Nokia, you are a reputable phone company, so why do you insist on treating your customers as dumb?

I have been a big proponent of Windows Phone. I had one on day 1 it was released. I’ve presented to usergroups and to groups of my peers about its virtues. I taken mockery from those with fruit as phones, and from those who think the droids people are looking for are all called Ann.

My first WP7 phone was an LG-900, fantastic device, served well, but then 2 things happened Nokia entered the game and Windows Phone 8 arrived.

naturally being someone to shout about WP7, I was going to do the same for WP8, so I exchanged gold coins for a new My Precious, a Nokia Lumina 920.


Now, ignoring the fact the Microsoft screwed up the Music aspect of Windows Phone 8 (don’t get me started on Podcasts, and the MS recommendation to use iTunes), I was pleased with the device.

Now, fast forward with that wooshy effect used in films, to early July 2013. My world ended. My Nokia 920 wasn’t working.

No Signal, Some Signal, No Signal, Some Signal. There would be 3 or 4 bars on the signal meter, until you tried to make a call, and you’d get a no service. Put the phone down and the bars come back. The 920 was being a tease, tempting me to think all was ok, but annoying enough to think Jeremy Beadle was hiding around somewhere.


Nokia support was summoned, and a quick form filling in on the web executed. A nice man from UPS turned up and my phone makes its way to the Phone hospital in the sky (well, Thetford). Two days later, the same UPS guy is back with my phone. As I sign for it, he tells me not to hold my breath, that hes seen enough of these boxes to know its a phone, and that its been to Thetford, and that his next collection is round the corner from me for another phone whose trips to Thetford is now in double digits. Now Thetford might be nice, but I cant see a phone wanting to visit that often if it had a choice..


Naturally, I smile politely and completely ignore him, far too eager to lay my hands on My Precious again. I open the package like a 43 year old Dad ‘helping’ his son on Christmas morning, and there she is all 5 inches of her. I remove my SIM from behind the clock on the mantlepiece and gently insert it into the 920. Power on. I hold my breath for the few seconds it takes to power up. There it is… Signal ! 😉


No Signal, Signal, No Signal. It has taken me approximately 45 seconds from power on to determine that the fault is still there. Nokia, you said you tested this. How?


Oh well, now as disappointed as discovering that the present is really a garish itchy jumper from your Gran, I contact Nokia, who, full of apologies arrange another trip to Thetford.


3 days later and the 920 is back. It had seen all to be seen in Thetford and had returned without even sending me a postcard. Never mind, nice to have a working phone back, I tell the UPS man. He smiles and shakes his head – “Unlikely” he said… Again, I tend to ignore him. Nokia cant POSSIBLY be THAT INCOMPETENT.  But hes right, its still exactly the same fault, diagnosed in as few seconds as before.


The Thetford travel hotline, known as Nokia support, apologies profusely, I get a couple of callbacks while they investigate. The phone gets an third, all expenses paid trip to Thetford. I send it off with a YouTube video of the problem and a note saying exactly how I know there’s still a fault, that I have another Lumina to compare it with so I know what I’m expecting.  Now, I suppose things can go wrong, even in companies like Nokia. They just CANT be THAT INCOMPETENT to screw it up a third time.


So when the UPS GUY turns up with my phone again – that’s 6 visits to my house, people will start to talk, my wife signs for the package.  I open it, take the phone out, and read the piece of paper that says…


“We have examined your Nokia handset; unfortunately we were unable to repair it as it has suffered damage that is not covered by the warranty. You may still get it repaired of warranty by taking it to a Nokia care point….. This option may incur costs.”


I can only imagine that the various trips to Thetford have finally driven the 920 mad. I know its annoyed the heck out of me. Nokia dont say whats wrong, nor what the damage is, unless I pay for it. Nokia, WHAT are you PLAYING AT? I’m now left waiting for another callback from you….


To summarize, its been 3 attempts and  39 days since I had a working Nokia phone.

All Nokia seem to do is re flash the phone and post it back to me, with no obvious testing or checking, as I’ve found the fault quickly on return.

UPS are making a fortune out of Nokia, more than would pay for a new phone.

I have another Lumina so I know what to expect, Nokia apparently, doesn’t.

Nokia don’t always behave this stupidly. Others have gotten a replacement easily (


meantime, the LG-900 has been working well during this time, its kept me sane, and I still like the windows Phone 7 interface.  LG, do you make a Windows Phone 8?



Showcasing Amber, the next version of SchemeServe

06 Feb


In the middle of all the snow and ice came an event to warm your cockles. We launched the next update to SchemeServe Insurance Software – codenamed Amber.

Dispite all the bad weather, loads of our customers came along to the shindig in Cambridge to see what new innovations we had for them..



Halloween Jack O Lantern

31 Oct

As its Halloween today, I thought I’d finally get round to carving my very first (yes, ever) Pumpkin. Its nothing that you would find in an art gallery, but I’m quite chuffed with it.

See what you think.

PS. I’ve washed my hands 3 times so far, and they still smell of pumpkin juice 😉


Posted in Just Cool


Windows 8 – Get it Here

15 Jun

This is a short post containing the location of the Windows 8 Preview downloads, so its easier for me to tell people where to get it.

Also, while the product key needed is on that same page, I still get people asking what it is, seems they get excited and hit the download button as soon as they see it and dont read the next two lines!

anyways, heres the product key TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF

It’ll work until the RTM version is out, then you’ll have to get your own 😉


Kinect tracks your hands and lets you play with balls in real time

24 Oct

At the first DDDNorth, I did a session on Kinect and the Kinect SDK. One of the question I get asked is “can it track my fingers?” Well, the SDK doesnt let you do this – yet. However, because you have access to the raw video streams, theres no reason why you cant do it yourself.

Microsoft Research have taken a Kinect, and using the reflection on a piece of glass from a normal monitor, and managed to recreate a HoloDeck environment, right on your desktop – Called HoloDesk.

It lets you manipulate 3D objects in real time, and allows intrgration with real world objects. Its much better to see than explain, so watch this video.


DDD North – My Session on Kinect – Feedback

13 Oct

Thanks to all of you for the great feedback on my session about Kinect. I’ve shared the feedback I got on this post, but you might need to click on the picture to make it big enough to read, but I wanted to share it in the same format as I got it.

Looks like I need to work on the abstracts a little, but overall I’m pretty damn chuffed – thanks.