Monday, 26 February 2007

Sainsburys and Broadway Bargains

Wel, the news Sainsburys Local has been open for a week and it looks like the children of Cheam Common Infants/Junior have adopted as their own if school chucking-out time is anything to go by. Not much else to say really as only time will tell whether it drives Costcutter out. It does look very nice inside but I haven't actually bought anything in there yet, though I'm the only member of the Brinkster clan who hasn't.

On a slightly surreal note myself and Mrs Brinkster were walking along Brinkley Road when a car pulled up and and a post-middle-aged lady asked us if we knew "a little shop on the High Street that sold lace and buttons and things". Having guessed that she meant the quirky Broadway Bargains we pointed her in the right direction and saw her vainly trying to find somewhere to park (as it's right next to the new Sainsburys). This left me with a couple of unanswered questions:

  • How would you know about Broadway Bargains if you weren't from Worcester Park (having to ask gave that away)?

  • If you knew about a shop in Worcester Park how could you then not know where it was (e.g. at the top of the hill)?

Maybe there's a website out there called '' which had a message in its forum....

Broadway Bargains on the left - click for larger image.

Friday, 23 February 2007

More clothing collection stuff

A couple more clothing collection leaflets dropped through the front door at Brinkster Central this week, which are the first for a while. Let me say up front that if you have anything in your house you don't want then either give it to a registered charity or flog it on eBay and give the money to charity, don't let these people make money for themselves out of your old stuff.

The first one doesn't claim to be curing cancer or anything and just asks for stuff giving the company registration 05834199 and an email address of

Companies House shows that being registered to:
Name & Registered Office:
DA11 1QX

The company was set up last June with no stated "Nature of Business" and no accounts to date (though none due).

The next one is more up front and doesn't claim to be providing jobs and affordable clothing and just says that they want your stuff. It was from A&P COLLECTION Ltd with a company registration of 5769478 and email address of

Companies House provides the address of:

but no further details, similar to the other one.

Just to repeat what I said at the start, don't give these people your stuff!!

Thursday, 15 February 2007

What a tangled web....

As a former resident of New Malden I know some of the residents look upon Worcester Park as being a poorer, malnourished cousin of that fair village and that they more truely represent the respectable face of suburban Surrey.

This article from the Surrey Comet, however, seems to suggest that things may not always be what they seem: "Naked man threatens to jump from rooftop". Leaving the personal plight of the poor man involved to one side for a minute I can't quite grasp how you go from having a minor car accident in the morning to finding yourself naked on top of somebody else's house an hour or two later. I'm failing to picture going home to Mrs Brinkster and answering her question of "Did you have a nice day dear?" with "Not bad, couple of meetings, a product review, half an hour naked on the top of St Pauls........"


Talking of product reviews I've been encouraged by people at work to pass on a glimpse of my humble occupation for those who either have some interest, however slight, in modern technology or for the battalions of armchair psychologists who seem to roam the internet in packs pouncing upon any sign of personal peculiarity (as if posting about naked men on rooftops wasn't clue enough). It's a product review I penned for internal audience (i.e. within the company, not inside my own body) regarding a different flavour of antivirus software from the one we commonly use, If you contact me I may disclose which product was which, but won't reply to comments on here as I don't want to provoke the litigously-inclined. Safe to say, however, that all antivirus software is not created equal!



If you've found time to read this strangely-titled email then I'm assuming you've got through more important ones and are easing off, suggesting the presence of a warm beverage nearby. If you don't have a warm beverage I'd suggest that this short but fascinating email is best read while drinking one, or alternatively if you're reading this on your Blackberry and are nowhere near a Starbucks then just take a couple of seconds to imagine the smell of your favourite coffee. There now.
As Product A seem to be behind the curve in releasing updates for new viruses I thought I'd adopt the software from the company that seemed the fastest and most proactive. That was three weeks ago, and since then I've made a number of observations that mean I wouldn't recommend adopting Product B corporately (or at home in many cases). I thought I'd highlight the three topmost here so you can talk knowledgeably about them in a meeting, pub, or other social situation that you might find yourself in:

1) Unintuitive configuration,
2) Annoying blocking messages,
3) Slow web performance,

*** I would only give this software to someone who was ultra-concerned about not getting a malware infection no matter what that does to their user-experience, or alternatively to someone who had done something significant to annoy you. ***

If you're persevered this far then I'll go into those points in a little more detail:

1) Unintuitive configuration,
By this I may just be exposing my long relationship with Product A and inadvertantly saying "it doesn't work like Product A" but I did feel that some of the most useful items were hidden away in layers of menus and didn't work like they were advertised. For example Product B's idea of excluding a directory could more accurately stated as "exclude files in these directories unless we get curious, in which case we'll ignore your exclusion and bring everything to a grinding halt with an annoying popup message". Which brings me on to:

2) Annoying blocking messages,
I don't want a loud 'beep' every time I do something even vaguely controversial and if I am going to be interrupted I'd like it to be by a message that makes complete sense, rather than by an ambiguous "allow, deny, trust" type message, which doesn't tell you the implications of each choice e.g. entry into internet nirvana, website crashes, PC bursts into flames, etc. I like to think of myself as reasonably clued up with software and it's configuration and if I can't understand the popups then the chances are that our staff would be like rabbits in the headlights of an oncoming, post bonus-time Ferrari. The coup de grace came when I was firing up a new, and long-awaited, game demo (which turned out to be rubbish you'll be pleased to hear). The splash screen appeared, as did some indication that it was loading, and the anticipation grew that soon I'd be commanding huge alien armies across desolate planets and wreaking havoc on all who stood in my way. This was interrupted by the now all too familiar "beep" of a Product B popup message. It had obviously found something was being run from the game directory (which was excluded) that it took exception to and decided in its wisdom to ask me whether it should run or not. Unfortunately the popup couldn't appear as the game graphics had grabbed the screen and wasn't letting go. After several minutes pressing every CTRL and ALT key combination known to man I admitted defeat and powered the PC off 'the hard way'. On reentering Windows I disabled Product B before going on to find that the demo was disappointingly crap.

3) Slow web performance,
This is the one that drove my wife and myself to distraction, possibly even more than the annoying popups. Product B very cleverly and invisibly proxies all of your web traffic through itself so your browser only talks to the Product B software and not the internet. This is to enable them to intercept internet threats before they reach your browser, which is an entirely noble and laudable aim. The result of this technical jiggery-pokery is that when you fire up your internet browser in the hope of flicking to the train times, latest weather or you spend 3-5 seconds staring at a blank screen while all the wizardy goes on in the background. The first couple of times is annoying but after a week of click, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, now type...... it had driven my normally calm spouse to apoplexy. Trying to inflict this experience on some of our less understanding and compassionate staff may become very career-limiting indeed so yet again I can heartily recommend that we don't take on this piece of software.

Although we need to pursue more avenues of improving our stance of preventing malicious code reaching the desktop, I'd suggest we don't pursue this one.

Next is to try and get hold of a copy of Product C....................."

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Into outer darkness

I just had a phone call from Mrs Brinkster saying that there's a power cut in Worcester Park which is also affecting Cheam and Sutton. A neighbour who got through to the Elctricity people reported that they hope to have it fixed by 1pm......... I can't imagine that there's been an abundance of electrical Valentine's Day presents which could have brought the circuits to their knees.

It looks like Caffe Piccolo won't be open for Valentines Night so will miss out on a bumper payday. If anyone's thinking of heading to sleepy suburban Worcester Park in the hope of getting a last-minute Valentine's Day restaurant slot then they'll be sorely disappointed. If previous experience is anything to go by the restaurants and takeaways will be packed to the rafters and nigh on impossible to get near.

A very kind reader (you know who you are) has sent me some very interesting info on the rents that traders in Central Road are being asked for. Seems to me they're between the devil (landlords) and the deep blue sea (disinterested council) so I don't envy them. Said reader also has a couple of glorious photos of WP which I need to ask if I can upload somewhere, and my own recent snowy ones.

On the subject of Central Road traders the supermarket replacing Going Places has unveiled it's signage and it's the "Worcester Supermarket". Can anybody see a problem with that? Like not having the word "Park" in there? I don't imagine that the misdirected hordes of Worcester will adopt it as their corner shop but at the same time the inner nitpicker in me wants to scream "It's Worcester Park.... How hard can it be!?!?! Worcester Park!!!".