Monthly Archives: December 2011

Never, never, never use Home Delivery Network!

My previous post was incorrect.

I said in that post that Nick’s birthday present had arrived late. It hadn’t: because it still hasn’t arrived! It’s sitting in the local depot of Home Delivery Network, and has been since the 8th. (it was something different that was delivered: something ordered later the same day)

This was supposedly a next day delivery, but when I spoke to somebody at the local depot just now they said it wasn’t even near being delivered due to a backlog of parcels in the depot.

What sort of company is it that fails in such a massive way?

Oh, and shame on Amazon for committing to using them. The damage to Amazon’s credibility in my eyes is enormous.

A not so satisfying retail experience thanks to Amazon Prime

I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon. Books, e-books, music (cheaper than iTunes) and other sundry stuff. So far I’ve resisted the offers to sign up to Amazon Prime, but I relented on Monday.

I ordered a book and opted-in to Amazon Prime and its promise to deliver next day. Next day was important in this case because the item was a present.

Unfortunately, the item only arrived just now: a day late. It turns out that Amazon Prime is delivered using Home Delivery Network: another one of the many couriers around and about.

In theory, I should have been able to track the delivery on the HDNL website, but the only status I ever got off it was “In Transit”. Turned out that this was literally true as White Van Man delivered it!

I’ve opted-out of Prime. I’d rather pay for Royal Mail delivery. I have a higher trust in Royal Mail delivering to schedule and at least I know that if they can’t deliver, I only need to pop into town to pick the parcel up from the depot.

I’ve just migrated to Virgin Media

I’ve just moved from one ISP to Virgin Media. So far the experience has been pretty painless.

Two guys turned up at 8AM as promised and simply got on with their work after confirming where I wanted the telephone point and SuperHub to be located. Two hours later and they were done.

I did have to spend a bit of time re-configuring the Superhub to fit in with the network configuration here, but as it’s actually a Netgear under the hood, that was pretty easy too. And the results? shows that I’m getting pretty good performance right now. results

I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few days; particularly at peak time.

Spiced Red Cabbage


Yes, I’m doing more prep for Christmas.
Bread Sauce next.

German Friendship (German) Cake


I was presented with the basis for this on Wednesday by Nick. It’s a sour dough cake, and it’s just been fed for the first time.

Three disks to compile a program. Those were days.

I’ve just been reading an article on one of my favourite software development blogs: Joel on Software.  It was a post on the importance of doing Daily Builds when you are developing software, but the point that jumped out was a reference back to the days when PC workstations were equipped with floppy disks.

Joel referred to the IBM Pascal compiler that came on three floppy disks; with each compiler pass on a separate floppy. 

Blimey, I remember those days too. Compiling a non-trivial program took ages. I was developing programs that modelled real-world events like packet switching networks: and these were certainly non-trivial!

Does your software development history go back to the 80’s? Do you remember the agony, and the ecstasy of developing software in those days?

At last – the missing Chrome addon appears

As everybody knows, I use a Macbook Air for most of my work and leisure. I love it. and I did love the built-in Safari browser until Chrome came along. The one feature I missed when moving from Sfari to Chrome was the “Reader” feature.

The Reader feature allowed you to re-display a web page with just the main content displayed: i.e. sans all the trimmings that surround blog articles and the like.

Now, Evernote has produced an extension for Chrome that appears to deliver the same experience. Called Evernote Clearly the extension delivers the same functionality as Reader did in Safari, plus you can clip the page straight into Evernote if you wish. As a long time Evernote user, I can see this getting great use.

Try it out for yourself.