Author Archives: ddewhurst

I’m [sic] of ASDA Customer Relations

Below is the reply I received from the customer relations department of ASDA (now a part of Wal-Mart). They were responding to my concern that Carbon Monoxide detectors were not sold in their stores. When I read it I was shocked at the number of grammatical errors. No one is prefect but, for customer relations, this is atrocious. They even managed to get the place name wrong; it was in fact the Southport branch and not Southgate. I have highlighted all the mistakes below. A total of 22 mistakes!

Dear Mr Dewhurst[,]

Thank you for contacting us regarding the Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

Having read your e-mail I contacted our buyer with your concerns has I also felt that these should be sold in our stores. She has confirm that these are sold in all of our stores but[,] due to recent circumstances[,] stock[s] of these have sold very quickly, we are currently having difficulties receiving more stock from our suppliers as it is not just our company that they supplier and demand for these is very high. Our buyer has assured me that we are due to have more stock of these delivered beginning of next year and these will be divided amongst all of our stores.

Please accept my apologies that[,] when you asked one of my colleagues in the Southgate store about these[,] the correct information was not given, it could be because these are fairly new to the store and have sold very quickly they may not have been aware that they were sold. I have contacted the Home & Leisure manager to ensure [that] all colleagues working on this department are aware of this situation.

If I can be of any further help with this matter please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

ASDA Customer Relations

No Carbon Monoxide Detectors at Southport ASDA

Learn more about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide in the home
Dear ADSA,

I recently went into your Southport branch looking for a Carbon Monoxide detector, and after asking several members of staff who weren’t even sure what one was I spoke to a member of staff in charge of the electronics department and he informed me that this branch does not stock them. It is only the largest branches that do. This I found very shocking. The branch in question is quite a large and modern supermarket with an electronics department with two types of smoke alarms for sale but no CO detectors. It is one thing to not supply the more expensive electronic detectors but to not even stock the small card detectors is just irresponsible. I think it would be inexcusable for a large supermarket to not stock fire alarms (which I am pleased to see that you do) so why does the same not apply for CO detectors. The terrible incidents in the news recently of families dying of CO poisoning brought this deadly danger to public attention, and seeing the detectors on the shelves of their local supermarket would have been enough for some people to buy and install them and potentially save lives. However at ASDA this is not possible. Please re-appraise the number of stores which stock CO detectors. They would only take up a very small amount of shelf space and cost the customer less than £5. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is deadly and undetectable without a CO detector. Your action now can help save lives.
I will be posting this information on my blog to alert people of the dangers of CO and of my surprise that such a large supermarket chain does not stock detectors at all of its branches. If would care to reply to me I would be happy to add your message to my blog as your right to reply.

Yours Sincerly,
David Dewhurst

ASDA’s Reply [Note that they got the place name wrong it was Southport not Southgate]

Dear Mr Dewhurst

Thank you for contacting us regarding the Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

Having read your e-mail I contacted our buyer with your concerns has I also felt that these should be sold in our stores. She has confirm that these are sold in all of our stores but due to recent circumstances stock of these have sold very quickly, we are currently having difficulties receiving more stock from our suppliers as it is not just our company that they supplier and demand for these is very high. Our buyer has assured me that we are due to have more stock of these delivered beginning of next year and these will be divided amongst all of our stores.

Please accept my apologies that when you asked one of my colleagues in the Southgate store about these the correct information was not given, it could be because these are fairly new to the store and have sold very quickly they may not have been aware that they were sold. I have contacted the Home & Leisure manager to ensure all colleagues working on this department are aware of this situation.

If I can be of any further help with this matter please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

ASDA Customer Relations

Whoopee cushion harmonium

I haven’t posted on my blog for a while because I have been quite busy with work. However my early new years resolution is to post more regularly. To celebrate this I have included a video below which I helped produce at the University of Salford. We used an ultra high speed camera to record the slow motion footage shown in the background. In fact it was the same type of camera used to great effect by the BBC in their recent documentary series Planet Earth.

Glastonbury Panoramic Photography

I have been going to the Glastonbury music festival since 1997, and this year it’s taking a year off. To make up for this I have updated my Glastonbury Panoramic Photography web site and moved it to my .Mac server. This means I can update it more easily and it has a really impressive slideshow feature.

Glastonbury Festival

Believe it or not, all the pictures on the site were taken with disposable cameras. You used to be able to get a Kodak APS disposable camera with a panoramic setting which was great. However I cant find them anywhere anymore, so last year I had to use an ordinary format disposable camera. It looks like next time I will have to upgrade to a digital camera and start stitching photos together…

P.S. I saw Glastonbury the movie the other day and I was really impressed. If you’ve been to Glastonbury before I can definitely recommend this film.

The Cybermen Are Back!

I can’t wait for the return of the Cybermen to Doctor Who on BBC1 this Saturday night. This year’s series is turning out to be even better than the last so it should be good… I like the new design for the Cybermen but has anyone noticed the similarity with C3PO from Star Wars?
Cybermen and C3PO

Sounds Amazing on BBC Click Online

Sounds Amazing is a website I have been designing for the University of Salford. Last week it was featured on Click Online on BBC News 24 and BBC World TV.

“One of the things I like best is finding a great educational site that brings a subject to life at the same time as achieving a fundamental academic goal. At Salford Acoustics Audio and Video you will find a fine example of what I am talking about.”

I only discovered it was featured when the stats for the site shot up to over a thousand visitors a day, so many in fact that the free counter I use stopped counting! It is great that the site is getting national interest and recognition, but it did surprise me that we didnt receive any warning that our bandwidth might get gobbled up by thousands of visitors. Luckily the servers at the University are more than capable of coping but a smaller site may not have been. I hope the people at Click Online do inform smaller sites if they are going to be featured so that they can at least try and cope with the extra demand it will receive.

Baggage Allowance

I’m becoming a bit of a frequent flyer to Finland at the moment, to see my partner who is studying there, so I thought I would investigate the baggage allowance of various airlines. Im going to see how easy it is to travel with only cabin baggage so I wont need to stand in front of those carrousels for hours waiting for my checked luggage. I missed my coach last time doing just that. Below are the cabin and checked baggage allowances for BA, Ryanair and Finnair. (Please check with your airline before you travel as these things could change…)

Ryanair –
Checked baggage – 15kg per person (no infant allowance). 81×119×119 cm.
Hand baggage – 10kg per person. 55×40×20 cm.

British Airways (World Traveller – Euro Traveller – UK Domestic – BA Connect) –
Checked baggage – 23kg.
Hand baggage – 6kg total. 55×40×20 cm. EDIT – 11/12/07 – ONE cabin bag, no bigger than 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (approximately 22 inches x 17.5 inches x 9.85 inches). You must be able to lift it into the overhead lockers.

Finnair – (Economy – Finland -> Europe, Middle East, Far East, Africa, Central and South America -> Finland)
Checked baggage – 20 kg.
Hand baggage – 8 kg 55×40×20 cm. EDIT – 11/12/07 – ONE cabin bag, no bigger than 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (approximately 22 inches x 17.5 inches x 9.85 inches).

I like the extras that Finnair allow: In addition to the above, you may bring into the cabin an overcoat, a small handbag, a walking stick, a small camera or binoculars, children’s food and a reasonable amount of reading material. That’s if you can get through the door!

Interestingly Ryanair are the most generous for hand baggage, but I think this is purely so they can reduce the allowed checked baggage in an effort to save even more money. What surprises me most however is just how little weight you are allowed for hand baggage with British Airways.

Dynamic Rankings Christmas Update

Merry Christmas! With only a few days to go before The Christmas Invasion is broadcast at 7pm BBC1 on Christmas Day I have updated the Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings site. As I am away over Christmas I have uploaded The Christmas Invasion episode early. Please do not vote for it until after 8pm on Christmas Day. All votes cast early will be deleted at a later date. I can’t wait to see this episode. It looks like Christmas will never be the same again…

‘I will refuse to register for an ID card and will donate 10 pounds to a legal defence fund’ – PledgeBank – Tell the world

The title says it all. If you, like me, are opposed to the new ID card scheme that the government is trying to rush through parliament visit this pledge site. ‘I will refuse to register for an ID card and will donate £10 to a legal defence fund’ – PledgeBank – Tell the world “I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help” It is run by NO2ID. If you do want to pay over 90 pounds for the new card and passport read this FAQ to find out what you would really be getting for your money…

Is Russell T Davies any good?

I love the new Doctor Who series. As you can see on my Dynamic Rankings site so do you. As of writing there are three episodes of the new series in the top ten, with The Empty Child reaching number five. Out of 170 episodes and counting that is pretty impressive. However when you look at just the new series episodes the average rating ranges from 8.3 for the Empty Child to 6.2 for World War Three which is quite a big range. Especially when you bear in mind that The Twin Dilemma (widely held as “The Worst Episode Ever!”) gets 4.1.

What is also interesting is that all the Russell T. Davies (RTD) penned episodes are at the bottom half of the results table, and all the other writers’ stories are at the top. RTD has been hailed as the saviour of Doctor Who, and I have to agree he has done a fantastic job of bringing back the series. He has steered the show in the right direction; bringing something new to the format whilst still allowing it to feel like Doctor Who. The problem is the stories he has written just aren’t up to the high standard set by the other guest authors. They are still good, and much better than anything else on TV, but it seems he is trying too hard to make them modern and funny at the expense of suspense and plot.

There are still two to go, so heres hoping they get better, although judging by the trailer I’m not holding my breath…

Dynamic Rankings Update a Success

I have been amazed by how popular the updated Dynamic Rankings website has been. The old version of the site reached nearly 7000 hits in almost ten years. Since the update 4 months ago we have had another 3500 hits! In total there have been 1400 vote forms submitted. Most surprising of all has been the change in the number one story. For nearly as long as this survey has been running Genesis of the Daleks has been number one. Now, probably helped by the recent DVD release, Talons of Weng-Chiang has over taken it to the top spot. I’m not sure which one is better, but I can see that Talons is punchier and darker than Genesis, a trend that is evident in the more popular episodes of the new series.

Doctor Who VoteVote! Ballot

To help promote the campaign for electoral reform I have set up a VoteVote! Ballot where you can vote for your favourite Doctor from Doctor Who. It is a modified form of the Single Transferable Vote system. It’s a bit of fun but it will hopefully demonstrate some of the advantages of proportional representation and transferable vote systems. The recent elections in the UK have demonstrated the weaknesses of the first past the post system; now is the time for change. Go to Make My Vote Count and sign the petition.

Make My Vote Count!

Today I, along with probably only half the population, voted in the general election. Salford has been a Labour strong hold for decades. It is for this reason that if you hadn’t been watching the news you might not have even known there was an election on. No posters in windows, no cars with tanoys, no media scrums. All I got were three tiny leaflets through the post. Whatever your political views, the present system of voting means only people living in marginal constituencies have any real power. Visit Make My Vote Count – Sign the petition, and make a real difference on voting day…

Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings Success

Firstly a big thank you to everyone who has voted on the new updated site. We have received nearly two thousand hits in just over one month!

You can vote for every Doctor Who story broadcast (including the new series) and see the latest results updated live here.

In September the site will be ten years old and inspired by some of the feedback I have received, I will compile a chart showing how people’s views on various stories have evolved over the past ten years. To do this I will be using a great resource called the Wayback Machine which is an amazing archive of old websites. You can see part of the archived results for the Dynamic Rankings here.

As a taster here is the top ten from June 17th 1997
Position Average Story
1 8.65 Genesis of the Daleks
2 8.22 Remembrance of the Daleks
3 8.22 Talons of Weng-Chiang
4 8.16 The Caves of Androzani
5 8.09 The Deadly Assassin
6 8.07 Logopolis
7 8.05 City of Death
8 8.05 Pyramids of Mars
9 8.02 The Robots of Death
10 7.85 The Tomb of the Cybermen

Here is the top ten from 12th April 2005
Position Story Average Score
1 Genesis of the Daleks 8.51
2 Talons of Weng-Chiang 8.49
3 The Caves of Androzani 8.42
4 City of Death 8.26
5 Pyramids of Mars 8.2
6 The Unquiet Dead 8.18
7 The Robots of Death 8.17
8 The Deadly Assassin 8.1
9 Remembrance of the Daleks 8.06
10 Logopolis 7.94

Finally, I would just like to say how impressed I was with last weeks episode of Doctor Who ‘The Unquiet Dead’ not only was it one of my favourite episodes of Doctor Who, it is also the best piece of TV I have seen in years: fantastic! As of writing it is in a well deserved number six in the rankings.