Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ten Years Ago Most Clouds Were Wet

30 years ago, there was no Internet.

20 years ago there were only 130 websites. You couldn’t Google anything.

10 years ago, most clouds were wet.

Today there are over 10 billion mobile devices. 40,000 Google searches every second. 3.5 billion a day. 1.2 trillion a year.

We live in an instant society. Fast food. Fast answers. Instant texts.

But some things stay the same.

The Bible says of God: ‘I am the Lord, and I do not change.’ (Malachi 3:6)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Moving House

We moved house on 10th June.

It took Severn Trent Water a day to change our contract. Scottish Power - a day. Sky TV - two days. Driving licence change - a week.

BT broadband? 91 days and 4 hours.

Incredible incompetence, a lack of customer care and an Openreach operation out of control meant we went around in circles for a long time. All BT seemed able to do was the equivalent to switching an appliance off at the mains, and then back on again, hoping against hope that it works next time around.

I'd like to record here my thanks to all my friends who helped me bombard BT with tweets. Over 200 tweets were sent and I'm sure that was one of the main reasons we got somewhere in the end.

It doesn't seem right that Openreach can dictate what company we use either. We started with Sky, because of the good deal they had. But a month in and a few 'failed connections', Openreach said that they were 'unable to support' another provider. So I had to move to BT. Twice the cost. Half the service.

And that's when the real fun began. It turns out that BT Retail have no say over what BT Openreach do. Or in my case, don't do.

My thanks to Tracey and Robbie from BT Retail for their persistence on my behalf. But in this day and age, to take 91 days without any good reason beyond a 'software problem' is not acceptable.

One of the tweets I sent a number of times referred to BT being 'the worst company in the world'. I stand by that. Don't use them. Unless, like me, you have to.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Run the Race

She was sick all night. So much so, that by 5.30am  -the day of her Commonwealth Games race in Glasgow- she was on a drip in hospital. Add the that the fact that her operation previously meant that she still had an open wound and things were not looking so good.

Lynsey Sharp is a Scottish athlete and that day was the day she competed in the 800 metres final. She had scraped in as a ‘fastest loser’ so things were not adding up to any kind of medal. But on the night, she ran. And ran. Breaking apart the Kenyan/Ugandan duo expected to win, she came away with a silver medal.

It was her last race. Her final time on the bike. But rather than try and win, she did something extraordinary. She pushed on ahead, sacrificing her own stamina to help her younger colleague get the gold. And a silver for her- Emma Pooley.

He was in the first leg of the 100 metres relay, first round. But as he stretched away, Kimmari Roache’s leg gave way. Extreme pain. But he kept going. He had to keep going. He owed it to his teammates, and especially Usain Bolt, world 100 metres champion who ran the final leg for Jamaica. Many would have given up. But Kimmari ran through the pain. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now aged 40, with a 10 month old child not so long ago, Jo Pavey could have been forgiven for simply finishing well. It looked like a brave fourth place when she was passed, but she fought back. She finished brilliantly. Breaking into the Kenyan domination of the event, she reached the line and took the bronze.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12: 1

Monday, 21 July 2014

Dear BT (again.....)

So lets’ recap why I can’t blog so often, tweet so often, or do my work properly....

This is day 41 without broadband and you are no nearer a solution. Just so you know, this is the story so far....

We moved house on 10th June. The electric contract took a day to transfer. The water services took a day. Sky TV took two days. The Post Office took a week to change the address.

And BT have taken 41 days. And counting.

First I went for a Sky package. BT Openreach apologised when the first deadline was missed. They said they had sent the instruction to the wrong exchange. A week’s delay. Then, when the second deadline was missed, they said they had lost the link with the phone number. Funny that one, as it’s their phone number. Finally, after a month of trying, Sky were told by BT Openreach that they were unable to facilitate a service at the required exchange.

So.... Unwind the deal with Sky and go to BT. Twice the cost. Half the service.

Two week delay while BT retrieve the phone line from Sky. Then.... surprise, surprise.... deadline is missed. Re-scheduled for the next day. Missed again. ‘Give us 48 hours and we’ll have it sorted’. 48 hours later, next deadline missed.

A call from a BT specialist is promised on Friday. No call. ‘Sorry’ they say, ‘we’ll call Monday on your mobile.’

Text on Monday ‘we were unable to contact you’. That will be contacting me on the mobile that is in front of me and hasn't rung this morning then?

British Telecom- a monolithic monopoly with no controls and no customer care.

I have no choice but to sit it out and hope that somewhere in that organisation, someone cares enough to do something. Someday.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Between the Times

I live Between the Times.
Between my birth and my death.
Between my salvation and a final day.
Between the morning and the evening.

I live Between Each Breath.
Between the gulp of air
inhaled before the start of a new journey.
And the sigh of fatigue
at the end of a long day.

I live Between the Arms.
The loving mother
at the day of my birth.
The caring child
as I slip into eternity.

I live Between the Times.
And every precious second given to me.
Tells a story.
Of Life.
And finally.
Of Glory.

©Ralph Turner 2014

Monday, 26 May 2014

Apathy and Protest - Who really Wins?

Be careful what you ask for.

Apathy and protest have won in Europe this weekend. Apathy in that only 43.1% voted throughout Europe- even less in the UK at 33.8%. And protest, with many fringe parties winning big majorities.

But here’s the problem. Today’s protest vote is tomorrow’s policy. Is it really wise to have the right-wing and reactionary UKIP as the overall winners? Are we so na├»ve as to think they are going to have answers to our nation’s problems? Who are we punishing? Ourselves of course.

It may be we’re unhappy with the government and with a weak opposition leader – but UKIP?!

And what goes for the UK goes for France too. In spades. Are our neighbours so short sighted and racist as to vote for their National Front party? It seems they are. There may be racial tensions in France. And it may be that the main parties are not responding well. But the French have just put the fox in the hen coop. Perhaps that should be spelled ‘coup’. It’s not the first coup in France of course. They have a history of revolution. Not sure it turns out too well though.

As peaceful democracies we need to guard our ability to vote. By voting.

And as intelligent citizens, let’s be careful who we punish with our protests. This time around, I fear we’re hurting ourselves.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

We Are A Christian Nation (Part 2)

Here's a quote from the late Malcolm Muggeridge that sums it up pretty well:

"I've spent a number of years in India and Africa where I found much righteous endeavour undertaken by Christians of all denominations; but I never, as it happens, came across a hospital or orphanage run by the Fabian Society, or a humanist leper colony."