Taxi for Manchester Airport

Living next to Manchester Airport you’d think getting a taxi for the airport would be simplicity in itself – but you would of course be wrong. Whether you want a taxi to Manchester Airport, or from the airport following arriving off a flight, getting a taxi is extremely difficult.

Last year I tried to book with a taxi firm based in Manchester, only to be told that despite them offering a taxi service to Manchester Airport (a few miles from my house) they wouldn’t do a pick up from where I live. Perhaps my area is too rough for them, perhaps it’s too close to warrant picking someone up and doesn’t represent enough profit – either way I was appalled at their lack of service.

I then tried a local company, Wythenshawe Cars, and they said they’d pick me up for the flight the following morning at around 5:30am… however, they didn’t actually show at 5:30am. I called their dispatch again and was told they were short on cars and someone would be there in a matter of minutes.

Some more time later and no taxi. I called again, once again being told that the car was minutes away. I waited… and then I saw a car drive towards my house from out of the window. Despite now being 45 minutes late (which is important when catching a plane) the car stopped opposite and the driver got out. He walked into the park opposite and proceeded to relieve himself. I then watched the driver get back in his car and pull up outside my house, our chariot had arrived.

Coming home from that flight was a similar story. While yes there is a taxi rank outside the airport, when you give them the address (less than 3 miles away) they plead ignorance to its whereabouts, insisting that they’ve never heard of it and how I should get another cab. No, it’s not because they don’t know where it is, it’s because they can’t be bothered with such a short journey and possible low fair.

When we went away recently, to save the ignominy of watching a taxi driver relieve himself before arriving late, or having to explain to a taxi driver at the airport where Wythenshawe actually is (he’s already in it!) we decided to book our Manchester airport taxis to and from the airport. It made things a lot easier and meant we weren’t late arriving at the airport, a whole 3 miles away.

Million Pound Drop gives wrong answer to Doctor Who question

Now I’m not an argumentative person, but had I been on the Million Pound Drop last night with Davina McCall, I would have raised bloody hell live on TV following the disgrace that was their Sci-Fi question.

OK, so I am an argumentative person, but in this instance I would have been spot on.

The game gives you four possible answers to a question and you have to place the money, one million pounds in handy sized £25k bundles, on one of four trapdoors representing each answer. The incorrect three answers open up and any money you have placed on those trapdoors is lost.

Now, on last night’s show the names of four Doctor Who actors came up, David Tennant, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston. I thought this was great, they’re going to ask something like who was the tenth Doctor (which would have been Tennant by the way).

No, the question was ‘Which actor played the role of Doctor Who for the longest period?”… interesting, but a simple one. Eccleston was the Doctor for one series, regenerating at the end of the series. McGann was the Doctor for one TV movie, so he was just two hours. Tennant was the Doctor for a few years, before regenerating into Matt Smith – however Sylvester McCoy was the Doctor in 1987, and he was still the Doctor following the show’s cancellation before he himself returned in 1996 to regenerate into McGann at the start of the TV movie.

sylvester mccoyTherefore McCoy was the correct answer, by a number of years. The contestants weren’t sure so they split their money between McCoy, McGann and Eccleston (with most of it going on McCoy).

Then all three of their answers dropped, leaving David Tennant as the correct answer and they’d lost all of their money. I was shocked, disgusted and outraged. I even checked my Doctor Who 11 Doctors figure set to see the official line on the years each actor has played the Doctor. Sure enough, McCoy was down as 9 years, ’87-’96. Just what had gone wrong with the Million Pound Drop?

Well, one would imagine that their researchers used Wikipedia to find out the answers, where it lists McCoy as having played the Doctor for just 2 years, ’87-’89 and then again in 1996. Surely even if they had used Wikipedia, that’s still a ‘period of 9 years’???

The question was ambiguous, but the researcher was slack and the contestants should be allowed to continue.

A similar thing happened on Who Wants to be a Millionaire a number of years ago when they asked what was the fewest number of strokes a player can make to win a set of tennis. The contestant chose 12, the correct answer was given as 24 and the contestant went home. However, they brought them back after realising you could in fact win a set of tennis by playing just 12 strokes – if you served 12 aces and your opponent served 12 double faults.

The Million Pound Drop needs to admit its mistake and get the couple back. They were right and should still be in the game.

I’d still be there now had it been me, refusing to let them get away with it. There’s also a number of online discussions and blogs referencing the mistake as the show has angered a lot of nerds… myself included.

MiaMindMusic.com and Grouply.com spam email annoys thousands

We all receive spam emails from time to time, some more than most. I personally receive hundreds each day – most are caught by spam filters but many make it through. It’s an occupational hazard of having so many different domains.

However, one thing you can usually rely on is that when you receive a spam email offering some shoddy product or service, you won’t normally receive it again that day… and you certainly won’t receive any other emails from people who also received that spam.

Not so with an email that was sent yesterday on behalf of the website www.miamindmusic.com through the spam site grouplygroups.com though. I not only received the following spam email from them, but I have also received hundreds of follow up emails from people asking to be removed from the mailing list.

Have a read of the spam from this law breaking company:

From: em-8587008@grouply.com [mailto:em-8587008@grouply.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 11:25 AM
To: superstars@grouplygroups.com
Subject: [superstars] You’ve pressed your record – now what? MIA MIND MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT PROMOTION

You’ve pressed your record – now what? MIA MIND MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT PROMOTION

You’ve pressed your record – now what?

MIA MIND MUSIC

ENTERTAINMENT PROMOTION & MARKETING

  • RADIO PROMOTION
  • PRESS COVERAGE
  • RECORD DISTRIBUTION
  • INTERNET SERVICES
  • ADVERTISING

(212) 564-4611
MiMiMus@aol.com
www.MiaMindMusic.com

FREE consultation!
Mia Mind Music – we’re keeping you buzzed!

Reply via web | Reply to sender | To reply to group use “Reply to all”
View full conversation (9 messages) | Start new conversation

View member profiles | Visit group
Want to stop these emails? Unsubscribe Create your own group!

As you can see, pretty useless as an email and irrelevant to me, and most recipients no doubt. What’s worse is the fact that it was sent to an email address that I do not use, and have never used, for a domain that is completely irrelevant to the subject of the email – so I clearly never signed up or joined any group.

The real comedy, or tradegy – depending on your take, comes from the many, many emails I have since received from people wanting to be removed from the list. You see, whenever someone replies to the spam, their email is also sent to every single person on the list, generating a whole swathe of self replicating spam.

Here are some of the more printable responses to the spam from GrouplyGroups.com and Mia Mind Music:

What IS THIS… ? Stop sending please. What is this spam?

Pretty annoyed there, then there’s the short and sweet:

Remove me now!!!!!!!!

One person has even been really aggressive and to the point, but still without swearing:

Do you really think that loading my inbox up with the same whack ass email is going to bring you any business? How is it that you claim you are a good marketing company but don’t know being a nuisance is a turn off?

Someone else even tried politeness – but as you’ll see later this was a waste of time as well.

To whom it may concern,
Why am I receiving not only your promotional advertisement but requests from strangers to delete them from a mailing list that I have no knowledge of.

Finally I really feel for this guy because I have seen his previous two requests to be removed also come through.

Please RESPECT my 3rd request and take me off your email list

Now, while I have seen his two previous emails, and the hundreds of others, it seems that the imbeciles at GrouplyGroups.com haven’t seen them – if this email from Jackie Wright, who also replied to every single person on the list when she intended to just reply to the poor chap who’d asked three times to be removed, is anything to go by:

From: Jackie WRIGHT
superstars@grouplygroups.com

SIR, AT THE BOTTOM OF THE EMAIL YOU CAN OPT OUT. THERE IS A LINK THAT WILL MARK YOU MARK AS DO NOT MAIL. THIS IS THE FIRST REQUEST I HAVE SEEN…..IT WILL BE A FEW DAYS BEFORE I WILL BE GOING OVER THE DATABASE…SO QUICKEST WAY IS TO OPT OUT YOURSELF…VIA PHONE…JACKIE

Email marketing has, over the years, managed to clean up its act from the shady beginnings it once had. Many professional and respected companies use email marketing to offer new products and services to their clients, but only AFTER they have opted in – this company has not done that. They have ignored laws against sending spam emails and have repeatedly bombarded unsuspecting, and unwilling people with spam – hundreds of times a day.

If you want your company’s reputation shot down like Mia Mind Music then, by all means, use GrouplyGroups.com as well. Otherwise, use a reputable Internet marketing agency – one that doesn’t use spam and black hat tactics.

CSA staff sacked for downloading porn

If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t get through to the Child Support Agency when you phone up, or why their computer systems continually crash and lose your information, it’s because their staff have been accesses pornography at work. A recent news story from The Guardian revealed that four staff members at the Child Support Agency have recently been sacked for, among other things, looking at pornography when they should have been doing their jobs.

The imbecilic former staff members of the CSA were also wasting tax payers’ money by doing their shopping online with their computers in work time, and downloading files.

In addition to the sackings, another three staff members of the CSA (now known as the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission – CMEC) were also disciplined for their abuse of the computers.

The frightening thing is that none of this information would have come to light had it not been for a Freedom of Information request – which any person is able to make at any time. The FOI was made by the Internet security company Proofpoint. Their CEO, Gary Steele, commented:

“The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission deals with extremely sensitive issues and data about family issues, and it is worrying that staff have been able to access unauthorised sites.

“Apart from the fact they should be doing their work and not logging on to completely inappropriate sites, these employees are risking the integrity of their office computer network.”

CMEC responded to the FOI request by stating:

“Commissions’ employees are regularly reminded of the rules regarding access to the internet sites.

“Every time an individual logs on to their computer system, he or she is prompted to read and accept the terms of the commission’s electronic media policy.”

A spokesperson for CMEC tried to play down the incident, claiming that few disciplinary measures are taken.

“We employ almost 9,000 people, and the disciplinary record speaks for itself.”

Of course, without the FOI from Proofpoint, we wouldn’t have known about this one, so we don’t know how many other incidents there are of the CSA’s staff downloading porn and abusing the computer systems.

Only recently, one CSA employee from their Belfast offices, Jamie Smith, made comments to fathers on a Facebook page that he would happily pay them all to kill themselves. We have learned since then that Jamie Smith has been dealt with internally, but the CSA would not comment as to what punishment had befallen him.

The CSA is to be axed next year amid the new coalition government’s many spending cuts.