Archive for General

Compare and Contrast

I’m not an open source bigot, although I do like to use it where I can. But it doesn’t look as though the government’s that interested in pursuing non-commercial solutions, does it?

Disabled badges

I work in Camden Town in the north of London, a mecca for youngsters shopping for the more outlandish kinds of outfit, and one of the most difficult places in the known universe to park in. Jamestown Road, just off the Camden High Street, is a popular spot for parking with a good view of the pay-and-display machine. Of course, if you’re entitled to a disabled person’s badge then you or your driver can park without paying (within certain restrictions). Now there’s obviously nothing to prevent someone who’s disabled in some way from being the owner of a fast and expensive sports car. But when you see three or four of them a day parked along the road, proudly sporting their Blue Badge, you stop and wonder…

… and sure enough, there are periodic newspaper reports of a thriving black market in Blue Badges. Obviously, there are greater threats to humanity, but you do wonder whether the veritable swarm of traffic wardens which Camden Borough appears to employ for no better purpose than to maximise their income from parking revenues might not be employed to better effect by standing by Blue Badged cars and waiting with a video camera for the entirely able-bodied driver to show up!


Warning: this post will mean nothing to you unless you live or have lived in London. It may — and this is entirely the point — still mean nothing to you even if you do!

It boggles me how many people — including, apparently, professional sign-writers — still think that London is divided into two telephone codes: 0207 and 0208. Having lived through the 01/081/0181/020 debacle, I entirely understand where the misunderstanding comes from. But it’s been nearly ten years. And there are otherwise intelligent people of my acquaintance who refuse to accept my explanation that all London numbers are eight digits long and have the exchange 020.

Not around from Jan 3rd - Jan 8th 2008

Bit of a non-post, but in case anyone’s hoping for immediate help from me, I’m not around for the next week. (And we’ve had no internet connectivity at home since Dec 21st, so I’ve not been around much anyway).

Unique chance to see old posters on the Tube

London Underground is undertaking a major transformation of many of its stations, involving retiling walls, relaying floors and generally sprucing things up. This has led, at Euston and other stations, to a surprising revelation. If you’re in the hall which separates the Victoria and Northern Line platforms at Euston, you can see some grubby posters on the wall, some torn some not. If you look closely you’ll see that they’re displaying phone numbers starting 01- and advertising albums which were (just about) fashionable 15 years ago.

The reason is that around the early 1990s, they replaced a number of these on-the-wall advertising spaces by more classy lighted boxes. Only they didn’t strip the existing posters back when they did it; they simply bolted the box on the wall over the top. It means that, as LU take all the fittings off the wall to re-tile, we’re given a glimpse of the adverts of 15 years ago (or less, depending on which station you’re looking at).

Keep an eye out; you might spot something you recognise.