Rummage through this blog

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

First Capital Connect

Most times I go to the station to get a train into London I am travelling for work so when the man asks me which train service I would like we got through the rigmarole of "I just want to get on anything that looks like a train going in the right direction" to which the reply is "ah you'll want the expensive ticket then".

Yesterday I had to pay for a ticket for myself, First Capital Connect £12.9, any service £22.90. Why the price difference I wonder, I so I check the information and the machine clearly tells me that my ticket is only valid off peak into the city but at any time out of the city, ok cheap on it is.

Several hours pass and I return to the station at around 17:15 to see the next train to Wivelsfield is 19:12 so I queue at the information desk to ask and discover that yes while my ticket is valid at any time for return on First Capital Connect there are simply no trains!

What absolute nonsense, First Capital Connect your sales information is simply deceitful, get it sorted.

Update : 25th Feb : First Capital Connect have responded to me about the failure of machines to give accurate information, the official answer is "We can only answer customer enquiries about our trains and facilities. As the station is operated by Southern I am unable to provide a full response to the points you have raised. In order for this to be investigated I have forwarded your correspondence to Southern". Oh! I see, it's not their fault that the information provided which encourages purchase of their cheaper product over a more expensive rival is inaccurate, well that's entirely clear now. Not.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Photoshop has gone mad

I've suffered from file corruption before, I find the occassional jpeg file that has a working thumbnail but on opening the file is corrupt - mostly they still open and a bit of cut and paste work can stitch shifted blocks of pixels back into the right places. Consistently I've found the pictures have been like that for so long that the issue pre-dates my earliest backups.

I am yet to discover any software that can automatically detect corruption and having pictures on a RAID array seems to make no difference - the drives system must thing the corruption is deliberate.

I had problems in the past when using ZIP compressed TIF files - nice and small but minority support - eg Windows Media Center / Media Player / Explorer cannot cope so not much good on the usability front.

Today I have discovered another problem with TIF files, namely Photoshop reports "this file format is not supported", similarly Elements (CS3 & 7.0 respectively) so presumably the code is the same. The very files affected are some of my favourite pictures and after various attempts at convincing Photoshop to open them I downloaded some alternative products - XnView, GIMP and Irfanview. I've used Irfanview extensively in the past as it's a great lightweight tool particularly for bulk format conversions, TIFF files not problem. Xnview, great looking tool & lovelly screen display (my picture looked great) and also no problem with TIF files. Finally, GIMP, I hadn't expected much as a Linux port particularly as last time I looked at Gimp, on Linux I didn't need to spend much time concluding it was pants. However, the current version looks great (an obvious downside is that all of the initial panes either appeared partly or fully off screen and the loading time was measured in aeons) - a clean interface and clearly based on Photoshop, enough so that I think it will be worth investing some time as the interface feels, if anything, more user friendly than Photoshop but not as amateur as Elements, so thumbs up Gimp, it too handled my problem TIF files perfectly.

So, come on Adobe, why does Photoshop take a disliking to some TIF files at random, furthermore, until today those files were both created in and only ever editted in Photoshop so what changed? Googling shows I have not been the only one suffering this bizarre issue.

Anyway, to show the files are alive and well here are my pictures :


this was a clematis growing unpruned at my first home, a woody mess most of the year but when flowering a riot of bloom and the other picture is that of an owl taken at a swan rescue centre display in Christchurch when they were clearly short on swans.


As a worthy footnote, I have used Microsoft's volume shadow service on Windows servers and have duly left the capability in place for Windows 7 on my laptop and that did come the rescue in finding earlier copies of my file which I could use for comparison purposes - not my only backup but a very handy emergency option - so for Windows 7 users don't feel tempted to turn off

Negative, oh yes.....

The company I work for is making me redundant, this is about as negative as it gets. They want to move the department to a central location and I'm not in that location. Apparently a daily, return journey of around 140 miles to the office and removal of right to work from home is considered acceptable to the business, work life balance has been carefully considered and the intangible benefits (presumably the benefit of someone cracking the whip in the same room as me) will improve productivity and recompense for the hundreds of thousands of pounds the changes to a number of staff members will cost.