For once, the Royal Mail help...

... unfortunately the Inland Revenue still suck

So, the Inland Revenue managed to 'loose' my 2001-2002 tax return. The year before last. So I redo it in April 2003 and send it to them and hear nothing, no being top of my agenda I forget about it, time passes and I get on with my year. In december I get a letter demanding it... call them up, no record of delivery.

So I send two tax returns this year, one for 2001-2002, one for 2002-2003. I send one to my tax office [the 2002-2003 one] and within a fortnight get a receipt for the cheque I send them. Well, at least that is this years sorted.

This morning I get a call from the other office, the once where I sent my 2001-2002 return : they say the haven't got it.

Fotunately I sent it Special Delivery. I check out the Royal Mail site and they tell me it's been delivered.

If I find out they have lost it internally, and that is potetially what happened with April 2003's copy, and the one I sent originally in January 2003, I am going to be furious. The inland revenue are all too happy to charge huge amounts of interest on non-payment, but would they refund me for my wasted time, energy, paper and postage? I doubt it very much. They probably won't even let me off with the interest. Argh.

published 2004.02.11 updated 2017.06.26

Laura:

Dorian: "next year?"

published 2004.01.26 updated 2017.06.26

A new year, and published stupidity already.

1 cent per mail message, you gotta be joking...

I\'ve just read this article about charging 1 cent per email and, well, I\'m shocked.

Great, let\'s charge 1 cent per email. That wouldn\'t be much for general use. For one the article is American centric, there are a couple of users outide of the USA in case you hadn\'t noticed. And if SPAM stops originating in the US it will originate elsewhere.

It would also kill all of the email lists that are run not for profit. Take one list I\'m on, the IDM list at hyperreal.org... This list probably has well over 1000 subscribers. And it has a throughput of between 20 and 100 messages a day. On a quiet day that would mean it send 20,000 emails. That\'s 200 dollars.

Another idiot thinking solely about the commerical implications of the internet and not looking at ho wit improves society. Cheaper to buy a decent piece of spam filtering software [like SpamSieve which works wonders for me] than to pay for those messages.

I\'m so glad that there is space for me to respond to this type of stupidity. I hope somebody slashdots that article and the author gets the flaming he deserves.

published 2004.01.05 updated 2017.06.26

Downloadable archives and naming conventions

published 2004.01.05 updated 2017.06.26

Measuring The Data Mountain

From the economist

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=S%27%298%24%28Q13%2B%21%40%20%3C%0A Sorry, behind a pay barrier.
You can see the original research here: http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/research/projects/how-much-info-2003/

A short and curious article, this immediately changes Data from the title into a measurement of Information in the first line. This made me uncomfortable. As a programmer I know that information is structured data; a string of numbers use is meaningless unless you are told it is a telephone number, by presentation or implication.

That structuring might be the change from 0800235354 to 0800 235 5354 for some people, or to +44 (0)800 235 5453 for others. A contextualization.

On the internet the generation of context is much more complex. An HTML page containing a text article may have a considerable amount of strcuture to make it's presentation understandable [or to position adverts neatly around it's outside]. I've seen pages which are more than 50% structure in my time.

And this extends out into all media formats delviered digitally. Does a low quality image file contain more information than a high quality image, or a low quality sound file more than a high quality. It might hold a greater detail of information, but not relatively to it's increase in data size.

Further the data transfer/stored isn't quantified in the article, so I want to find out their sources. What intrigues me is how much of the wonderfully large amount of data is used in the duplication of items. Poisoned is me showing 4.898,191.48 GB of data currently available across OpenFT, FrastTrack and Gnutella... how much of that is duplicates and copies [if the music industry are to beleived, the majority of it].

If that's the case then that much information isn't created it's stored. It's duplicated.

It also makes me wonder how much of it is people saying the same thing overt and over again in slightly different words, rehashing the same arguments and saying "me too"? Or just for the sake of making a noise.

A cursory look at the source materials even imply that the figures are based upon sales of recording media, and that these include wide assumptions of what was stored on the media.

I'd stick this in the same category as one of my pet hates : Research that is announced as newsworthy after long testing when the same conclusion was painfully obvious to anyone with there eyes open, or that states statistics without qualifying their source or relative position within a field.

This article, which goes on to say that all of the figures are pretty much guesstimates, isn't really information. It's statistics for the sake of saying something. To me it's dis-information.

published 2003.12.10 updated 2017.06.26

How not to make money on-line

E-commerce and it's failings.

Why is it that companies such as Dabs and MicroWarehouse can't produce websites which work. They mostly work, but if you step away from the main platform [Internet Explorer in windows] and try to use a browser remotely alternative [in this case Safari on Mac OS X.3] they fall appart. It's not the browsers fault. It's badly coded webpages.

I don't understand this. There is no reason for pages to be badly coded. It's perfectly simple to make a secure shoping system without relying on special browser features. And it's pretty damn easy to add all the javascript bells and whistles without it falling over. These companies should take a look at amazon to see how to do it. In the mean time I've got £1000 to spend on a monitor and two websites that can't take my order properly because of badly coded HTML. I bet I'm not the only one that's got frustrated with these overly complex systems.

I'm tempted to give the money to Micro Anvika, even though it will cost £100 more, as I reckon their site will work. They are retailers who understand customer service. I'm not happy supporting companies like the two above who really don't take the on-line customer experience seriously. Vote with your credit card this christmas. If there are problems with an on-line transaction, take it elsewhere. To a retailer who knows what they are doing.

You should also avoid companies who have the kind of security issues that Argos and B&Q have suffered from of late. Don't deal with these companies whose names make them think they don't have to worry about their customers, or customers rights. They are the fools.

E-Commerce, Security and website construction that work can be done well and cheaply. Companies have been fooled by vendors snake oil and they need to smarten up.

update In the end I opted for Computer Warehouse. Their sales system was simple and worked for me, there product was the same price as MacWarehouse and Dabs, and they also included free shipping. Way to go CW. Let's hope your after sales service is as good :-)

published 2003.11.24 updated 2017.06.26

So that's what an earthquake feels like...

... on the 10th floor in Tokyo.

Well, that's another experience notched up. I guess it was a little one by the way that people just kept on getting on with their business down in the street below.

Tokyo at night from Hotel Mets Shibuya from 1014

[Apparently it was 6.5 on the richter scale]

published 2003.11.12 updated 2017.06.26

What's in a title?

"Digital Media Technologist"

I was trying to come up with a description, a job title I suppose, to put on my business cards. I came up with Digital Media Technologist as it best described what I did. I work with computers and electronic equipment to develop solutions to media problems. Anyway, I did a search on it and came up with this:

http://acweb.colum.edu/curriculum.html

So be it.

Dorian Moore
Digital Media Technologist

published 2003.10.15 updated 2017.06.26

Thought for the day

If you give a fool a tool it doesn't make him a craftsman.

published 2003.10.03 updated 2017.06.26
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