RIAS Home Insurance Need Some Data Washing

Hmm. Got this letter through the door the other day:

Dear Ms Ferrier [sic], **Born before 1958! Your age could save you money on your home insurance.** Let's face it, you are bombarded with messages promising you cheaper insurance... [etc. etc.]

Quite entertaining that they managed to get both my sex and my age (quite significantly) wrong. I don’t think they’ll be getting my business.

Observations on a Journey

I stayed in London last night, so decided to try something a little different and fly out of London City rather than Heathrow for my upcoming journey to Madrid. I think I’ve decided that this was a mistake. I was staying at R’s in Hammersmith, and the journey to City is much longer than it was in my head. In retrospect, Heathrow would have been much simpler; just a quick trip down the Piccadilly line. The DLR (something Richard has written about before) didn’t help. Only a few years after opening a potentially useful extension to London City, they are already deciding to play the UK rail game and shut it at the weekends for engineering work; a bus was needed. Pathetic.

The journey was tinged by a strange sadness, too. A middle-aged woman who had been sitting opposite me on the Piccadilly line for a few minutes, to all outward appearances entirely normal, suddenly surreptitiously slipped a can of Strongbow out of her (smart leather) handbag and swigged a gulp, then slipped it back in - all as discreetly as possible. Fortunately for me, I’ve never been close to anyone who’s been affected by alcoholism, but it began to dawn on me how strange an addiction it must be to need a drink in such a place - and from such a person. I wasn’t sure if I should feel sorry for her.

Ratatouille

With Ratatouille, Brad Bird and Pixar have finally transcended animation. Bird recently said that they wanted animation to be seen as an art form rather than a genre, and one can see why.

Ratatouille has a subtle plot, well-designed characters, humour, tears, and much of the other excellent content one has come to expect from Pixar. At times it drags a little, but in showing how animation can serve to tell a story (rather than simply entertain), as well as any live-action film, they deserve total credit.

It is nothing short of marvellous.

Rush Hour 3, however, is just xenophobic, predictable drivel.

Toronto Trip

I’m in Toronto this week, working with some of my colleagues from the Toronto development lab.

Some observations on the trip so far:

  • If travelling via the US, JFK is preferable as an interchange to O’Hare - the terminal is modern and pleasant, and changing is easier. But:

  • Go direct to Canada if you can - you cut down on immigration paperwork.

  • My car (a Pontiac G6) is pretty cool, and like all North American cars I’ve driven, very usable and drivable. Driving here in Canada doesn’t seem to be much different from the US.

Win a Happiness Workshop

I met Alexander Kjerulf, the self-titled Chief Happiness Officer (possibly one of the most cheerful and effusive people you’d ever meet) at euroGel 2006, where he was running a workshop. Now he’s coming to the UK to work with HP, providing consultancy on happiness in the workplace. There’s a competition running to win free consultancy for companies of 100 employees or less. If you work somewhere of that size, and you think your workplace could do with a few smiles, I’d strongly suggest taking a look at his blog entry on the subject. He’s a great chap and you’d potentially be getting some great consultancy for free.

(even if you don’t work in such a company, take a look anyway; his blog is full of inspiring tips)

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