Never rely on predictive text!
What do Leona Lewis and my lovely Dad have in common? Well up until this week I would have said “absolutely nothing apart from a surname!”. That was before I heard the story about a tweet sent by the ubiquitous Simon Cowell last week.
Telling his 8.5 million Twitter followers about X Factor alumni Leona Lewis’ new Christmas album, he fell foul of dreaded predictive text and the message went out as Leonard Lewis instead – I’d like to think that Dad would have found that quite amusing, particularly since the Cowell and my Dad actually attended the same school in North London (albeit quite a few years apart!).
The story was also covered on the ITV2 show, Celebrity Juice, on Thursday night and was met with much hilarity from the studio guests and provided a laugh out loud moment for me in my living room too!!!
Witness for the prosecution
When prosecutors recently asked for an account of a crime from a “PC Peach”, they didn’t realise that Peach was the name of a police dog! Officers were extremely irritated at the request and so they completed the form as it if had been written by the Alsatian – and signed it with a paw print!
The form was then pinned up at a West Midlands Police Station for the amusement of colleagues who are frequently at odds with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over their handling of cases. Another officer then posted it on a Facebook page but quickly deleted it, though not before it was seen by colleagues in West Yorkshire police who liked it so much that they posted it on Twitter and the image has now gone viral, having been shared over 150 times.
The CPS, however, failed to see the funny side and officials are believed to have complained to police that their mistake has been turned into a very public joke.
The original officer has referred himself to the internal discipline unit but sources say he is unlikely to be reprimanded, despite new guidelines in the last week for police on the safe use of the internet which advises officers against sharing “operational material” online.
PC Peach declined to comment as anything he might say could later be used as evidence against him!
A unique opportunity has unexpectedly arisen with our client in Rome. The ideal candidate will be of previous good character with excellent communication skills. Fluency in several languages is also desirable, while the successful candidate will also enjoy occasional overseas travel and the adulation of millions wherever they go.
Whilst no specific qualifications have been requested, it would help if you hold strong views on subjects such as euthanasia, abortion and the use of artificial birth control.
You should be available to start this new role with effect from 1st March 2013 and must look good in long, flowing white robes and a skullcap. On occasions you may also be required to wear a bullet proof vest!
Applications are being taken by the incumbent via their official Twitter page @Pontifex.
Farewell old friend
BBC Ceefax, the world’s first teletext service, has taken its final bow as the UK’s digital switchover is completed.
Ceefax was launched on 23 September 1974 to give BBC viewers the chance to check the latest news headlines, sports scores, weather forecast or TV listings – in a pre-internet era where the only alternative was to wait for the next TV or radio bulletin to be aired. Its premise was to give viewers free access to the same information that was coming into the BBC newsroom, as soon as the BBC’s journalists had received it.
Initially developed when BBC engineers, exploring ways to provide subtitles to enable viewers with hearing problems to enjoy BBC TV programmes, found it was possible to transmit full pages of text information in the “spare lines” transmitted on the analogue TV signal.
It was called Ceefax, simply because viewers would be able to quickly “see the facts” of any story of the day.
Its audience peaked in the 1990s when it had 20 million viewers who checked the service at least once a week. Since the launch of the National Lottery in 1994, dozens of jackpot winners have revealed that they first learned their life had been changed when they checked their numbers on Ceefax.
Anyone who grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s will be familiar with Ceefax but because of the wonders of technology, these teletext-type services are no longer our go-to resource for the latest news and weather. ITV and Channel 4’s Teletext was shut off in 2009 and now those with a soft spot for the BBC’s Ceefax have been cut off, too.
Today we’ve seen Twitter users are sharing #Ceefax memories and wishing the old girl farewell. The image below is currently doing the rounds. I’m not sure who’s behind it but it certainly gave me a smile.
The launch of the UK’s TV digital signal, and the announcement that the analogue TV signal would disappear in a staged switch-off over five years meant a slow withdrawal of Ceefax, ending with the final broadcast tonight in Northern Ireland when Olympic Gold Medallist, Mary Peters, had the dubious honour of ending the service.
Another happy memory consigned to the virtual rubbish bin after 38 years of loyal service – what will we see disappear next?
I’ve been reading an article today about the reasons why we behave so oddly in lifts.
Many of us use them several times a day without really noticing. And yet the way we behave in lifts, or elevators as they are known in the US, reveals a hidden anxiety. Most of us sort of shut down. We walk in. We press the button. We stand perfectly still.
So why are we so awkward in lifts?
It is probably because you don’t have enough space. Usually when we meet other people we have about an arm’s length of distance between us but that’s not possible in most lifts so it’s a very unusual setting. It’s unnatural. In such a small, enclosed space it becomes vital to act in a way that cannot be construed as threatening, odd or in any way ambiguous. The easiest way to do this is to avoid eye-contact completely.
But perhaps there is more to it than just social awkwardness. Perhaps it is more about being trapped inside this small enclosed space if the lift breaks down. Regular Twitter followers will remember Stephen Fry’s amusing tweet when he got stuck in a lift at Centre Point in London in 2009 – it made the national news! The reality of course is far from amusing as you have no idea how long it will be before you are set free from your incarceration and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be desperate to go to the toilet as well!
One thing I always do now when entering a lift is to read the name of the manufacturer which is usually displayed on the plaque where you find the buttons to operate the darn thing. This goes back to when I worked on the 4th floor of a building in Edinburgh and each time I got in, I smiled inwardly, saying to myself “Schindler’s Lift”! Not very mature I know, but it always made me smile [and colleagues groan!].
For what it’s worth, if the thought of travelling in a machine that’s moving and over which you have no control, you can’t see its engine and you don’t know how it’s working fills you with dread – err on the side of caution and take the stairs!