Tag Archives: radio 4

My wedding, on the BBC…

BBC Technology Editor, Rory Cellan-Jones, is launching his new series on Radio 4 today. Titled ‘The Secret History of Social Networking’ it is a three-part documentary exploring the origins of social networking, going back to the 1970s.

The programme starts with my wedding to Angelica, and there is a trailer film on the BBC website today promoting the radio show and featuring several minutes of film from our wedding day!

Click here to watch the film

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BBC Radio 4: The Secret History of Social Networking

BBC Technology editor, Rory Cellan-Jones, is launching a new radio series on BBC radio 4 on January 26th titled ‘The Secret History of Social Networking.’ It’s a view on how far social networks have come, where they came from, and where they might head to in future.

What is particularly interesting for me is that my wedding in Ealing on December 3rd last year features right at the start of the series, as an example of just how far things have come… I used Facebook to invite guests to the wedding and communicate the agenda for the day.
Angelica-and-Mark-wedding_DSC4104

Facebook was useful because almost all my family and friends are on there. It’s true, there are some Facebook refuseniks and I had to update them by text message, and some partners of friends are not always on my friend list, but on the whole I managed to update everyone using a Facebook event.
Facebook wedding invitation

It was an amazing day and I’m fortunate enough to have arranged a repeat of the day out in São Paulo soon. The BBC radio crew filmed a large section of my wedding in London for use in website trailers for the radio programme, so I’m going to edit together footage from their video and arrange my Brazilian wedding inside an old city centre cinema. We can watch some of the London footage and repeat the ceremony in front of a cinema audience before getting an old London Routemaster bus to transport us across the city to a restaurant for a bit of a post-second-wedding-party…

I’m looking forward to hearing Rory’s programme, though we had consumed a fair amount of Champagne by the time he started recording questions so if any of it sounds slurred then please forgive me – he should have recorded the speech parts early in the morning!
Mark and Angelica-5017

Birds of prey hovering over Downing Street?

I loved the ornithology section on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House yesterday. Take a listen on the iPlayer, it’s in the final 5 or 10 minutes of the programme.

Do you remember the Cameron / Clegg love-in on the lawn last week? While they were speaking to the press in the garden of 10 Downing Street, there was a lot of bird noise in the background. BH got an ornithologist to identify them.

The noisiest bird was a Robin – the red of Labour trying to ruin the press conference – but what was really interesting was that he identified a Kestrel. Kestrels hover around over their prey before swooping in for the kill. Did the Miliband brothers send it swooping over the garden that sunny day?

So who offers the worst business banking in the UK?

The Co-operative bank business banking service has been under fire from the Radio 4 Money Box programme, with bank customers complaining that the system is difficult to login to, data is often lost, and sometimes information is just not available.

It sounds familiar to me, though my business banking service is with Abbey – which is now Santander and is about to be rebranded entirely so the old Abbey brand will vanish.

I’ve used Abbey for business banking for six years. One of the things anyone running any kind of business will know is that you need to be able to go back and check on transactions from some time ago. Accounts are often filed a year or more after transactions take place.

The old system Abbey offered was very good. I could enter a date range and export all my banking activity to a spreadsheet, then format it for my accountant.

When Santander took over, they implemented a new business banking system. Suddenly it was not possible to enter date ranges for statements. I could no longer export easily to Excel. In fact, I could not look back at transactions beyond the last 70 on my statement. So, it was not possible to look back more than a couple of months at most.

When I needed to start getting my accounts in order for annual filing with Companies House, I asked Abbey how I could get the information for the previous year. They told me they could send me the paper statements in the post and it would take at least six weeks to get them because they need to go to a microfiche archive.

PAPER STATEMENTS?

SIX WEEKS TO GET A STATEMENT?

MICROFICHE?

How do I get that on a spreadsheet? They told me I would need to retype everything myself. Why can’t I get it immediately? Because all the data has been archived. Why on earth are you using microfiche rather than a datacentre? We use it for all our archives…

What on earth is going on with Santander? I called several times about this issue and I was told that a lot of businesses are complaining about the same thing. Of course they are. Companies need to be able to go back and look at historic transactions. Don’t deliver a personal banking solution to businesses and expect us to be happy – you idiots.

I’m in the process of sorting out my company accounts for last year right now. As soon as I’m all set, I’m in the market for a new business bank account, but it won’t be with the Co-op or Santander.

Thinking Allowed

It’s the European and local council elections here in the UK today. I just went down to the polling station just before 9pm to vote. I’ve had a busy day that started with a 7.30am meeting and I haven’t managed to vote until now. Fortunately, you can vote at anytime up to 10pm.

I was smiling as I walked in to the polling station tonight because I was listening to the ‘Thinking Allowed’ podcast on my iPod. It’s a Radio 4 show about sociology that I really enjoy. It covers all kinds of topics related to society in general and is well worth trying… but this week they were talking about the nature of elections and the apathy of most voters. It made me grin anyway as I was listening to this debate walking up the steps to the polling station, voting card in hand…