Thursday, 20 June 2013

A letter to Virgin Media

Note: Scroll down to see what happened next!

Dear Virgin Media,

You are big and rich. I am small and not rich.

That means you have more power than me and I will always see Richard Branson in TV ads telling me that Virgin is great.

And I will just be writing little blogs like this, telling people that Virgin is not great.

So while I cannot buy advertising space on big famous TV shows, I hope a few people will read this blog and think twice about giving you money.

Unfortunately for me, I am stuck giving you my money (for a while longer at least.)

So what has prompted me to bash away at my keyboard this morning?

Is it the long history of my broadband suddenly failing at inopportune moments? Is it your invariably poor customer service?

No it is not.

Instead this is prompted by your treatment of me as I prepare to move house.

I currently live in Nottingham. I am moving to the Bristol area.

I phoned you to arrange having my service moved.

Moving house was a time to consider my servicer provider (I was out of contract with you)

As a long-standing customer I thought you may offer me some sort of incentive to stay with Virgin.

I phoned and endured a horrendous hour with your call centre in the Phillippines. I am sure it was horrendous for them too!

I do not expect everyone in the world to speak English and these gentlemen were very polite. Their English was undoubtedly better than my Filipino. But I expect Virgin Media in the UK to put me through to someone who speaks my language to an acceptable level.

Anyway, after an hour I was given something like £2 a month off my existing deal, which is still close to £100 a month.

I agreed because after an hour of very difficult communication, my will was broken.

Anyway, who says I am entitled to a good deal because I am living in a new house?

Well, it seems you do.

You see, I don't move to my new house for a few weeks. I am still in Nottingham.

And my Nottingham letterbox is being deluged with letters from you offering six months at half price to whoever moves in next.

That is really rubbing my nose in it.

You are essentially saying "Brady, your years of loyalty and high payments mean nothing to us - the good deals are reserved for strangers".

Like I said, you are a bigger than me and have all the power.

And you will continue to have nearly £100 of my money every month.

But rest assured I will not forget - and I will not be quiet.

I will never be in loads of TV ads like Richard Branson... but at least I can utilise your broadband (on the days when it works) to share my views.

If Virgin respond to this, I will post their responses below.

They have some fake-cheery person on Twitter who usually replies to @virginmedia complaints with flippant light-hearted comments but never actually helps. (to be fair, that must be a soul-destroying job!)

(This letter is just my views and not the people in my videos - for all I know, they LOVE Virgin Media and enjoy excellent deals and customer service?)


The day after this blog was posted I was contacted by phone by a member of Virgin Media's social media team.

He apologised for my disappointment and I re-explained the above blog post.

The gentleman seemed eager to help, though he explained that I was not eligible for the new joiner incentive - I would have to leave Virgin for 90 days to become eligible.

In turn I explained what so many people feel - that the company is more interested in new clients and mistreats loyal ones.

However the gentleman seemed to sympathise with my situation and used his "leeway' to offer me a discount.

I wondered out loud why the call centre in the Philippines did not do likewise during our hour-long phone call.

I would not describe the discount as "generous" and nor does it compensate me for the time and energy I spent negotiating it.

However I felt somewhat vindicated and acknowledge that the company did not ignore my complaint.

And I earn my living on the Internet - so until any other company can provide comparably fast broadband, I feel somewhat stuck with Virgin Media.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Barking Dog at 3,000 fps

The Barking Dog has long been a favourite reaction for the Periodic Table of Videos.

We have co-opted it from the University of Nottingham's own very famous Thunder and Lightning lecture.

But, for the first time, we have seen it in a new light.

Filmed at 3,000 frames per second, it is a completely different experience:

In addition to the video above, here is some extra (and alternative) explanation from Pete Licence:

And here is a video about how the video was made:

Friday, 7 June 2013

Numberphile Ambigram

Pick up your monitor upside down - this image will still look the same.

Flip your iPhone around and - well I guess everything will look the same in that case.

But you get the point.

This ambigram was created by our mate Drew Mokris.

 I have also put it on the Numberphile Flickr.