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Public Transport

Virgin limitsToday once again, the Northern Line is in the hands of private industry and we were hoping for more as Virgin took over running this Scotland to London run.

Sadly it is not looking that way. I’m sitting on the Newcastle to London 14.00pm train to Kings Cross, first class. You will notice the screenshot on the left, taken from the Virgin sign-on page which looks for all the world like a re-branded version of that of it’s predecessor.

Note that “watch video streaming” is not allowed. I guess this is partly understandable because this uses up a lot of bandwidth – but then, that IS what people do these days – maybe it is time to modernise the creaking train connectivity which does not seem to have improved since it was installed years ago.

What is less understandable is “download large files” – by which they actually mean download ANY files. Dropbox is stone, cold dead, clearly blocked in an age where more and more of us use it for temporary file storage – i.e. for taking files on the road, today’s equivalent of the old idea of carrying a memory stuck around (and often losing it – ask the government, they do it all the time). File sharing is of course often used for downloading movies and again I could see that might be an issue – it is also used for transferring legitimate files however. Clearly they don’t want people doing business on the train, just as well they’re not currently running those deceptive ads showing people sitting comfortably doing business on the train.

Were we in a fixed location it would not matter as many of us have high speed connectivity of our own in our mobile phones which unless you were unfortunate enough to buy an iPhone contract as they tend to charge extra, can easily share a mobile connection with a laptop or tablet. But we’re not – and on the Northern run, just as on the A69, signal strength is, well, all too often a joke.

Maybe this is why they keep offering endless amounts of alcohol – to dull the senses so we don’t notice the other issues. Due to changing roles within our organisation, this could well be one of my last regular trips to London – I must say, the public transport journey won’t be missed.

I’m down here tonight to celebrate a colleague’s birthday at a nice Indian near Victoria no doubt and tomorrow morning we have an intense “Vision 2020” meeting, one of those ones with a facilitator and lots of buzzing – and then it’s back on the train again home, hopefully I’ll get a good shot at my home control development this week.

“Attention crew, disabled passenger alarm operating” – he’s probably cut his wrists.

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