Thursday, July 26, 2007

Visual Spam at the Petrol Pump

A breathless email from a US PR offers me a depressing opportunity.

"Hi Peter, Gas stations are one of the few places remaining where consumers stand still long enough to actually see advertising - so it better be good."

Yep, he wants me to hear about TV at petrol pumps. And he's really excited.

"Novatel Wireless and the Internet Connectivity Group (ICG) have joined hands to offer gas station owners and advertisers state-of-the-art content management, distribution and display technology for maximum impact at the pump - to the right people, in the right place. Are you interested in learning more about how Novatel and IDG are maximizing advertising ROI [return on investment] for gas station owners?"

In a word, no. It's moving, visual spam.

It's already everywhere. It's on London Buses buses and makes people travel sick.

It's been in Post Offices (but I think they may have given up on this one as it just draws attention to how long the queue is).

picture found at MarketingBlurb.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Heard the one about the wooden PC?

A supposedly zero carbon PC is being developed by PC World, featuring wood casing for keyboard, screen and mouse. Use of recycled materials and low electricity needs will reduce its carbon footprint to 85 percent of a standard PC.I only mention it here because, ages ago, I heard about a wooden PC. Apparently it "wooden" work!!! Sorry. I'll go now.

read more | digg story

Qualcomm beaten to the patent wall...?

US mobile phone technology vendor Qualcomm is known for efforts to get the most out of its patents.

It's also very proud to show them all off, displayed on a wall. I saw this wall, on a recent visit to its offices in San Diego.

It's very impressive, but there's something bothering me. I'm sure I saw a similar wall, showing all IBM's patents, at an IBM briefing centre in Austin, some fifteen years ago (I was on a visit to learn about the p series - or the RS6000 as it then was).

I don't have a photo of IBM's wall, and haven't been able to find one online. From memory, even that long ago, it was bigger than Qualcomm's.

But what I'm wondering is - doesn't this mean IBM has prior art on the whole Patent Wall thing....?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Beware Lambeth's Parking Trap!

Lambeth Council has knowingly left a misleading parking sign on its streets, and is gathering fines from people who have parking there in good faith.

Despite knowing the sign is wrong, the council appears to be ignoring appeals over the bogus parking fines, and has not made any effort to correct the sign, so more people will be suckeered into paying unnecessary fines.

I parked my car near a shop on Effra Road, on a Sunday morning, May 20. I was on a bit of road labelled "Bus Stop", but I was a long way from the stop itself, and right next to a sign that said parking restrictions didn't apply on Sunday, and loading was allowed during the week.

I was a bit surprised. "Bus stops aren't very restrictive," I thought. "Maybe it's OK this end of the bus stop." The sign said I could park, so I parked.

A couple of weeks later, I got a Penalty Charge Notice, based on a CCTV photo of my car in the bus stop. A traffic warden would have seen that the spot was mis-labelled, and wouldn't have issued the fine, I thought.

I went back to Effra Road, and saw that the sign was still there. I took the photos you see here, and sent in an appeal.

Yesterday, I got a letter from an un-named Parking Investigations Officer, at Lambeth Parking Services.

The letter makes no reference to my complaint. It lists seven grounds for appeal, but doesn't mention the possibility that Lambeth Parking might have got its signs wrong.

It takes a somewhat bullying tone, warning that I can still get away with a £50 fine, but if I appeal again and lose, I'll have to pay £100 - or more. "If your formal representations are rejected, we will send you an Appeals form so that you can make an appeal to the Independent Adjudicator. The Adjudicator's decision is binding and he or she can order the payment of costs against either the Local Authority or the regitered keeper if either party has been particularly unreasonable.

As far as I know the sign is still there. I think it may be an old sign that was left have been left there when the bus stop was extended.

Lambeth knows the sign is wrong. Since my appeal went in, it has been covered with black plastic, but this has now weathered away, so the sign is once more luring people to park in a place where Lambeth spy-camera operators can fine them.

I wonder if the sign is being left there deliberately?