Mystery mobiles to embark on carbon trading rampage

If they can get off the NHS database, that is

Letters Hands up, then how many of you, honestly, know what your mobile phone's model number is? Not many, it seems, according to a survey we covered this week.

Does it matter if you don't know your RAZR from your 6330i? You had Views on this:

Even knowing your handset model doesn't help, because finding accurate information about its true capabilities is very difficult (assuming some capability hasn't been crippled by the cellco who sold it to you).

And this doesn't stop there. You have mobes(*) selling themselves as MP3 players... but to make them usable as such you have to invest in a Flash card and proprietary headset (3.5 jack? WDNNS 3.5 jacks!) which end up costing more than a fairly nice MP3 player...

It would also be nice if these features where a bit standardized (screen sizes, number of voices on Polyphonic tones, etc...) (not speaking of WML implementation)


(*) Yes!

This is all very well but every time i phone Orange they tell me i am talking on a v3 razr ... just because this is the phone i got with the contract... little do they know, or more accurately ... they havent noted from my conversation, that i flogged that on ebay as soon as it came to me. Since i only want to talk on the phone, i then bought a much cheaper L6 or L7 ...

The tech savy among us know that a brand new model can fetch a decent price on ebay, and when you have a contract they hand out these new models every year...


Any word on how many users don't know what their actual phone number is?


More mobile phone unhappiness. Not content with foisting incomprehensibe handsets (see above) upon us poor punters, Orange has taken it upon itself to charge users an extra quid and a half a month for itemised billing, and a penny a go for text message confirmation. Stealthy:

Furthermore, I was disgusted to note that they've started attaching a hefty premium to their "orange Wednesdays" 2-for-1 cinema tickets promotion. It used to be free to request a text-ticket. Now when you do so, they reply saying "this shit is going to cost you 35p ... reply "yes" if you wish to be extorted". OK that's my paraphrasing.

Interestingly, though, you can still get a "free" one if you request it via their WAP site (or whatever you kids are calling it these days), subject to data charges of course.

After 6 odd years with Orange, looks it's time for me to give them the hard goodbye.


I can't belive how they get away with it.

T-Mobile (who I left to go with Orange) now offer flat rates for data but Orange still charge me £4 per mb. On 3g that's very easy to do. I got 6 months free data, but during that 6 months 2/3 people I spoke to at Orange assured me no such service existed.

Also, the handset I received from Orange had been majorly crapped on. Thinking they knew more about user interfaces and usability than Nokia, they'd put their own homescreen on the phone, meaning I had 7 clicks to read a new message.

Obviously I took it to the scary looking man in the market to get it flashed with standard nokia firmware.

I had no intention of renewing my contract before the increase in cost. I'm now advising people to stay away from Orange, as there's poor service and no confidence that you'll get what you paid for after a couple of months.


It's worth mentioning, there is a (free!) text number to opt-out of the itemised billing, saving you £1.50 a month.


Some stories never die. The old NHS patient database, and whether or not the government has asked Joe Public if s/he'd like to join in.

Thank you for publishing the above letter. I emailed the ICO. I sent them the link to your article, told them that I was unaware of this plan, that on balance I did not want my data on the system either and that my informed consent had never been obtained to put my records on it. I asked what rights I have to stop my records being put on this system and, if they had already been added to it, what I could do to compel their deletion. I received the following response:

Thank you for your E mail of the 5th of July 2006 regarding the NHS Care Records Service.

I note that you were unaware of this project which, ultimately, aims to move the NHS towards a full automated care records service. My understanding is that the marketing campaign is ongoing and that every household in the country will eventually receive detailed information as the scheme is rolled out over the next few years.

It is not necessarily the case that vast numbers of staff within the NHS will suddenly be able to access all your medical records. Access restrictions can be applied to particularly sensitive information and individuals who have permission to access it can be nominated by you.

However, there may well be the opportunity for patients to opt-out of this scheme although they need to be aware of the potential care and treatment consequences of taking this course of action. In the first instance, you should approach your GP about this and highlight any specific concerns.

I hope this information is useful.

Yours sincerely [name snipped]

"It is not necessarily the case that vast numbers of staff within the NHS will suddenly be able to access all your medical records."

That isn't really my concern. I am far more uncomfortable about all the people _outside_ the NHS that will be able to see my records for "official" purposes.

Best regards, Paul.

Keep your eyes peeled for more on this in the next day or so, Paul.

We could hardly get through letters without mentioning the fun poor old PlusNet has been having. First data goes missing, the customers get a bit annoyed and then, the marketing boss goes librarian-poo on a forum:

Ooh! Nothing like a snotty marketing drone to show the real attitude of a company. Bill Hicks said this (paraphrased) about people who work in marketing: "Kill yourself. Kill yourself. Kill yourself. There's no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers, Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good."

A techie at an ISP I used to use (bought out some years ago I think) posted something in a similar vein to Marco Potesta when paying customers got more than a little concerned about outages. I (and I'm sure quite a few others) decided to take our business elsewhere.

Given PlusNet's recent performance I wouldn't expect anyone to take Mr Potesta's kind of attitude. Far from endearing wavering customers back to PlusNet, this teenage snot-laden outburst will only drive them away and put potential customers off. Who's he calling self-righteous?

700Gb of e-mails? That's a pretty big balls up Marco. Made me ROTFLMAO too. No amount of spin or self righteous snot can cover that fact up. That kind of attitude doesn't belong in this sector.


Wow! And there was me thinking that Technical Support was the pinnacle of sales prevention and customer de-retention. I hope Mr Potenta enjoys his next job more than this one.


Same old, same old. You never hear from the happy punters, do you? Well, except me. I've been with PlusNet for about a year and never had a problem. Good service (their automated setup was excellent), queries answered accurately and promptly (I never read a reply that seemed to be pre-prepared or didn't answer the question posed and when issues occur, they do let you know.

A lone voice of satisfaction in the storm for you.


And we had this from spokesman Seb, over at ADSLGuide:

PlusNet has been causing a lot of controversy with chopping and changing of various products and policies over the last year.

We have been in frequent contact with PlusNet and even put up with Lee Strafford, CEO of PlusNet referring to me as an 'arrogant shite' and despite this have continued to engage with PlusNet.

We have a fundemental disagreement with PlusNet on the way an open community should be moderated. This isn't to say we've been perfect.. we've been under-staffed for the last few months so we accept we haven't been as responsive as we'd like to.

However PlusNet believe we should be repressing more of the comments, in particular those from non-customers and ex-customers. They believe only current customers and those with a financial stake in the company have a right to question them, something we strongly disagree with. You don't need to be a PlusNet customer signed up to their referral scheme to have a perfectly valid view of their business.

We've faced accusations in the forums over the last few months of being corrupt', 'sticking up for [PlusNet for] Financial gain' and receiving 'backhanders'. We've left those on the forums too rather than risk a conspirancy theory developing by removing them.

We have defended PlusNet's right to put its views on the forums across to the same level as we have allowed users to express their opinions.

PlusNet front-line staff are some of the most most committed in the industry and we are sorry to see them in the middle of all this. Despite what PlusNet may claim, we do remove many derogatory comments, probably before they even notice them. Either way, they have our respect.


The government says it might consider implementing a carbon allowance trading scheme. You suspect it has ulterior motives. Really, you lot are so cynical:

One suspects that a carbon allowance system, usable at transaction time, might requires some form of robust identify system. Like, say, ID cards.


Hark, was that the sound of an arrow hitting an enraged male cow somewhere in the occular region?

Ooh! Another government tax idea. Let's tax people just for living shall we? Let's have a quick look at how this idea might work...

OK. So do people who use public transport to work get caned for that because they don't have a car? There are some very smoky, very smelly buses, trains and coaches around. People already pay over the odds for a crap service, do we have to get taxed on it as well?

Do those on lesser incomes get caned because they can't afford the latest energy efficient fridges, freezers and cookers or the latest flat screen televisions? Millions of people have no choice about the energy they use. Let's cane them for that anyway.

Holidays are already expensive enough, especially if you have children (I'm sure a tax on that will be coming soon). Taking term time holidays because they're cheaper is nigh on impossible now. But hey, let's screw them for even more money by taxing their flights additionally.

Why should the individual take the rap for something that industry isn't being seen to be doing anything about? All the adverts and spin don't mean anything. Show us what government and industry are doing to help and how much of a difference they are making and maybe then people will start to believe they can make a difference. Seems to me the most politically correct thing anyone can do is starve themselves naked on a street corner. At least corpses are more biodegradable than a lot of the packaging used today.


What on earth will this do, when the US, China and India continue to consume world resources at an increasingly unsustainable rate? The only thing this will do is make the UK extremely unattractive as a country to live in.

I write from sunny Dusseldorf. Here, for this city of half a million people, we have public transport that would make any Transport for London staffer green with envy. It's cheap, too - costing about £30 a month for unlimited all-day access on all buses, trains, U-bahns and street trams. After 7pm every evening - and all weekend - you can also travel across a very wide area (including several cities), and take a friend with you for free.

The UK transport companies are too busy trying to screw as much money out of the consumer, rather than seeing the benefit of providing value for money.

I own a car, but hardly ever use it. Give someone enough of a carrot, and they'll munch on it. Unfortunately, the UK government seems obsessed with providing sticks instead ... which is why I'm now paying my taxes to the German government.

Even though I pay slightly more tax, I am happy to see that the Germans actually spend it on services I will use. Value for money is something citizens should expect from their government - if you aren't happy with the deal you're getting from your country (not just your gas, electricity, water company, etc) - consider switching.


The idea of using RFID chips to stop lackadaisical surgeons leaving bits of equipment behind in their patients' abdominal cavities struck some of you as an inspired notion. Others thought it was daft beyond daft:

Thirty five years ago when I was a medic in the service the "four by" sponges we used in surgery had a radio opaque strip (much like your pound notes) that would show up on an x-ray. In addition to keeping a sponge count, we shot a picture when we closed 'em up.

Not only would it show any errant sponges & instruments but also any nasty metal bits that were left behind. It wasn't a perfect system, but it was a damn sight better than sponge and instrument counts done by our civilian counterparts. Cheers, John

Adding RFID chips to surgical sponges is total overkill. The simple addition of a small piece of metal will do. One can find the metal with a detector wand - you don't need to know exactly what was left behind - it should be sufficient to know that something was left behind, then go and look for it.


Nuts to that; I want to know how often sponges are left in place during vaginal surgeries!

...and if the number is so astronomical as to skew the numbers high (why would it be excluded otherwise?), shouldn't there be a Kotex lawsuit somewhere? :)


Er, right.

Enough! Enjoy le weekend. ®

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