22 October 2008

The curse of Pipex

The curse of Pipex has struck again. Open University students who are unfortunate enough to have Pipex as their ISP are being denied access to the OU's servers in the evening because Pipex is 'Traffic Managing' and treating the OU client/server interface as a peer to peer network, which it is most definitely not.

Pipex, of course, deny that they are doing this. However, it's a bit strange that ever since Tiscali took over from Pipex, no OU students have been able to access the server in the evenings. This means that they cannot get on with their coursework or access their tutor groups or course conferences, having the knock-on effect that they can't get on with a fair chunk of their studying.

I wonder how many students will hold Pipex responsible if they fail their courses because they couldn't access some of the materials when they needed to?

If there's anyone from Pipex reading this, please, I beg you on behalf of the quarter of a million OU students out there, STOP BLOCKING PORT 510! It is NOT P2P, it is a client/server relationship. Pipex is preventing legitimate use of the service because of ignorance.

EDIT - Sunday 26 Oct - My fellow students and I still can't get into the server in the evenings. I have had enough and I intend to ditch Pipex in favour of an ISP that does actually give a shit, and bothers to respond to complaints instead of either ignoring them completely or keep asking for information such as my date of birth, which is bloody irrelevant and just a delaying tactic because they can't be arsed to resolve the matter.

I find it very sad that Pipex, which once had a reputation for excellent physical service and customer service, has turned into a pile of crap since being taken over by Tiscali.

20 October 2008

and another thing...

It's rather sad that I can only find the time to write in this blog when I'm ill.


I am full of snot, coughing my guts up and generally feeling quite poo.

I was feeling ill at the end of last week but, rather stupidly, overdid it at the weekend and now I'm paying the price.

Last night, I was running a very high temperature, yet still felt freezing cold. I was snuggled up with my hot water bottle, under my winter duvet, and still didn't feel warm.

A hot shower and a cup of cocoa helped a little and, rather surprisingly, I nodded off and slept for 14 hours. I woke up feeling like I've been punched in the head, but I'm not cold any more.

I am now wrapped up on the sofa, laptop on knee, cup of tea in hand and seriously considering going back to bed.

Changing the meaning of words

Have you ever looked at a word written down and thought "that doesn't look right". The more you look at it, the more it looks wrong. You spell it out letter by letter, but it still looks wrong, so you check the dictionary and the spelling there matches the word on your page, yet it still looks wrong.

I have found that the same thing happens with the spoken word; the more you say a word over and over again, the stranger it sounds. Sometimes it even takes on a completely different meaning.

One such word that has been bugging me recently is 'homeowner'. If you watch the television, listen to the radio or read any newspapers, you cannot escape this word. Financial organisations offer loans and 'debt consolidation' agreements to homeowners, the news tells of homeowners struggling to pay mortgages or maintain their level of spending. We are bombarded with media talking about, or to 'homeowners' (sic.) Yes, one word, 'homeowner', as opposed to 'home owner' or 'home-owner'.

It has become a single word, which now presents me with a bit of a problem. Every time I hear the word 'homeowner' I wonder if it is the new term for a person who is unhappy with the service received from a prostitute.

Is it just me?

14 October 2008

Children 'ruining' visits to pubs

So, the Good Pub Guide has finally acknowledged what I have long known to be the truth: a lot of people don't want kids in pubs. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, kids should not be in pubs unless they are sat quietly with their parents, and do not leave their seats unaccompanied. I avoid like the plague those pubs which market themselves towards families, because I know that it will be a noisy hell inside.

When I was a kid, most pubs didn't let kids in, but they did have a beer garden where the kids could play. Nowadays, the little buggers get everywhere and if you dare to complain that someone else's brat is under your table, the parents seem to think that it's your fault and that you are the nasty one.

I was extremely gratified to read that one of my favourite pubs, Ye Olde Man and Scythe in Bolton no longer allows children in the pub (including those in pushchairs - yes, they're still kids, you know!). In the case of this wonderful establishment, I suspect it has an awful lot to do with the limited space in the bar area, one pushchair could cause utter chaos. However, the lack of kids is not the only reason for paying a visit, they also serve an excellent range of ales, ciders and whiskies, and you are guaranteed a friendly welcome. Once a year, the landlord also volunteers to get his head chopped off, but I'll let you look at the website to find out why!

I digress. Landlords, remember, some pubs get trade because they let kids in, other pubs get trade because they don't. Personally, I'll go to the ones who dont.