Monday, 1 April 2013

BT (attempted) cable theft

A few weeks ago our BT phone line at home stopped working. No big deal as we have FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) so our 80 Mb/s broadband (though the amazing and wonderful Andrews & Arnold) still works.

Fault not repaired in three days (their target) and as I completely fail to get an update any other way, I make a "complaint". Surprisingly this results in a long email and apologetic phone call. Apparently someone had a go at stealing the copper cable. Talking to the City Council it turns out that they are applying pressure to BT to get this fixed faster as around 3000 people are affected.

It could be worse. The normal procedure for the chavvy wavvies is:
  1. Cut really thick cable on one place.
  2. Cut cable again in another place further down the road.
  3. Grab one end and pull really hard
  4. Scarper
However, in this case, they missed the critically important step 2, so the cable "only" needed splicing (presumably).

[ Update: I'm told there were actually 5 cables cut within 3 days and more like 5000 lines affected! They were cut in such a way that they couldn't just splice and so lengths had to be replaced.  - Thanks Nancy ]

On 30th March BT text me to say fault will be fixed by 21st March (sic)!

On 1st April (Bank Holiday - wow) we get a visit from a cheery chap who says he's a BT engineer. He asks if the phone is working. I report that we have dial tone. He asks if it's on the right number. I suggest (and he thanks me for the incredibly clever idea) that he should ring our number. After asking me for the number, he rings it and all is well. I'm guessing he's probably not actually a C.Eng.

I mull for a while why they didn't simply ring me - and guess that actually coming out in the van on a Bank Holiday probably puts some money in someone's pocket. Sigh.

Wonder if I'll get compensation.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Carpe Diem Style - Combat Bullying

This is a shameless plug for my young friend Lewis who has launched a new social enterprise to combat bullying, especially the kind of bulling that happens when young people wear the "wrong" clothes.

They've just ordered their very first batch of polo shirts, please support them by buying one (or ten).

Carpe Diem Style

Friday, 25 January 2013

The ABB Tipping Point?

In 2013 English universities will be allowed to take all the students with ABB (or equivalent) grades that they can get. This is incredibly exciting as it gives students the choice of where to go, not limited by government quotas.

ABB is an interesting set of grades as (forgive the stereotype) these students are most definitely bright and capable, but for whatever reason have not quite achieved the grades required by some institutions. So why do these institutions want better than ABB - and what happens if they reduce their entry criteria? It might be because they simply want the best students they can get (despite the widening participation agenda) but I have a suspicion that in some cases, only the most academic students (that's not quite the same as the brightest students) can survive.

So why do really bright students get "only" ABB. Sometimes they are only OK at one specific thing (like maths perhaps), or they are a little dyslexic. Maybe they don't have parents who have the academic background to help them with study skills. The great news is that some universities already welcome ABB students and understand how to help with all of these things. They have excellent courses, their best academic staff teach (and don't hide away doing only research), their libraries are designed to be good places for undergraduates and it's all a bit friendlier. Interesting things will happen if these universities start to get more of the ABB (and AAB or AAA) students - I wonder if there's some kind of tipping point here!