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Archive for the ‘failure’ Category

SKY – What a Shower

We’ve been Sky customers since day one… I never really did forgive the BBC for NOT getting the second generation Star Trek series and I’ve always been even less interested in their boring, politically biased news…  and so as soon as Sky came out, we went for it. Over the years we’ve moved up so we now have the full package (minus the sport) and our latest acquisition is SKY HD.

We bought a box from someone on EBAY and got the subscription to Sky and for a while all was ok – until the box started skipping recordings and showing all manner of other issues.

So a couple of months ago we rang up Sky to see what they could do for a loyal customer. After a little haggling, the guy told Maureen that because they had a special £49 deal on, despite not being new customers – we could have a new box for £49 – magic.

We then received an email from Sky on 28/4/2009 which went as follows:

“Thanks for registering to upgrade to a Sky+HD Box, we’re pleased you’ve chosen to enjoy an even better entertainment experience from Sky.”


Then another….

“We’ve had a fantastic response to our new prices, with a huge number of people registering to upgrade and we’re working through each registration in turn.vAt the moment, we estimate that you’ll be able to complete your order and arrange installation in around 3 months.“

Oh, not so good then! Another email….

“You’re getting closer to enjoying a Sky+HD box and Sky Multiroom. At the moment, we expect it will be 4 to 7 weeks until you can place your order”

“We’re pleased to confirm you can now complete your Sky+HD box and Sky Multiroom order and arrange installation straight away. “

Notice the migration from a simple replacement to the whole 9 yards!

Then this…

“Just to remind you your new Sky box is ready, so you can now complete your order for a Sky+HD box and Sky Multiroom today.”

So – we rang them up – “that’ll be £199 sir” – no matter what we did they would NOT BUDGE. We could have one for £79 if we were adding to another room, otherwise it’s the full whack.

Naturally we told them to SHOVE IT… and off I went on the web to find out what was wrong. I noticed a CD for sale on EBAY, how to fix your SKY BOX – with a list of symptoms pretty much as we’d found. So, for a couple of quid I sent off for the CD. Pretty much all that was in it were explanations of the symptoms and a code to get more control over the Sky box – to enable you for example to defragment the disk….  Well, we followed the instructions and up to now we’ve had no further issues but only time will tell.

Sky is a typical example of Capitalism at it’s worst. Capitalism only works when there is true competition (like for example the computer industry where you can now buy marvellous laptops for next to nothing because of real competition)…at one time BBC had a monopoly and how they share it with SKY – at least in rural areas there are no other options. The BBC licence needs to GO completely to wake this nation up to the need to PAY FOR WHAT WE GET – not what people want to THROW at us. Freeing up that income might encourage someone else to start offering us a decent service.

After that treatment if there was ANY viable alternative to Sky I’d tell them to well and truly stuff their account.


Education and the Home

A recent report shows that despite 30 years of social engineering, success in educating kids still depends to a large extent on their up-bringing – with the life-shattering conclusion that kids who’s parents are successful – do better at school – even if the kids themselves aren’t the sharpest tools in the box!!

Well, you could have blown me away. Having destroyed the educational chances of millions of kids by introducing the ill-fated comprehensive system – something the current government recently admitted was not one our best moves, we’re now going to hear a load tosh about how the class-based society is still holding kids back.

Here’s my logic – and it’s obviously far removed from civil servant logic. If you have parents who don’t give two hoots about success, the chances are they don’t live in the best neighbourhoods – so not only have their children to live in a house where success is not a priority – they probably are surrounded by peers who’s parents are of the same mind. How can ANYONE fail to see that this is going to have a detrimental effect on the kids.

You’ll gather by now I am NOT a believer in the idea that everyone is equal. I don’t think kids start off equal in the womb – and I don’t believe for a minute that everyone has equal potential – because that would assume that we all start as a blank slate – and that genetics has no bearing on our development – a popular view but complete tosh.

Kids not only have different levels of intelligence – but their desire to develop that intelligence is markedly influenced by their up-bringing and the attitude of their peers. Look at any "hacker" – these kids develop devilish programs to rip off software and to devastate PCS not because of the money but because of the ego trip – if you’ve ever taken an interest in this stuff you’ll see they develop "crews" – where guys compete against each other as to who can produce the best "hack". Misguided as this may be it is an example of how peer pressure within a group can drive excellence – or the exact opposite.

Put a kid in with a group of no-hopers who’s major ambition is the next delivery of amphetamines – and with exceptions you know what the outcome will be – put the same kid with a group of peers who are enthusiastic about their education and who’s parents are supportive…..

So it seems to me that kids who come from generally bright and enthusiastic parents who’ve carefully picked their neighbourhood, have a good chance of being more successful in life than those from the opposite end of the spectrum. This is nothing to do with "class" and CLEARLY after generations of trying, we can’t markedly change ANY of this with social "inclusion".

The old USSR under communism, despite their failed way of life, had great success in the Olympics partly because they took their best athletes and gave them special training in special schools – to make damned SURE they got lots of gold medals. Perhaps it is time to start thinking about putting out-dated views of class to one side and accept that in order to survive the 21st century, Britain needs a well educated public – but more importantly, we need a small cache of world-class designers, manufacturers,business-people and others to ensure that a good number of the mega-successful companies of the future are run by British business people, that their key designers and engineers are British designers and engineers … and that we lead the world in as many subjects as possible – as against, well, not a lot right now.