Maybe T-Mobile Are Learning?

Following the T-Mobile/DBS Datamarketing saga comes a reply:

“…You’re quite right Mr Morris, we do choose these companies to send out our marketing material. We take all the necessary steps to make sure that these companies are reputable and without feedback from people like yourself, we’d be unaware that there was any problems.

“Please be assured that your complaint will be kept on file and we’ll use this information to improve our service…”

Have they learned anything? We’ll see…

Toyota Spamming with DBS

So you know all that stuff with T-Mobile?

Well I recently (Wednesday 17th) received this e-mail from DBS data marketing (or are they DBS Datamarketing Limited – seems they can’t even decide on what their company name is):

“Thank you for your email. Your email address originates from  Business Flight Search (http://www.businessflightsearch.com/ ) with an opt in date of 09/12/03.

“I can confirm that your email address has now been permanently removed from our system.”

Never heard of them. Never used them. Never opted-in. A lie.

So when DBS data whatever say “permanently removed”, how long would you think that would mean? Permanently? Forever? No. Two days!

This time, it’s Toyota GB spamming me: “Your details were obtained from DBS Datamarketing Limited…” and they used spammer eCircle AG to send their shite to me.

Dingles Toyota (Norwich) whose name appears in the e-mail haven’t telephoned me back about this. I have also made a formal complaint to Toyota GB as by sending me this spam, they are in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 as enacted by Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 2426 – in other words, Toyota GB has broken the law and can be sued for damages by me and is liable to action by the Information Commissioner.

T-Mobile: “Spam not our fault”…

I’ve been having some “issues” with being spammed by T-Mobile and have complained to them. Their latest reply is a belter!

It started in December (18 December 2006), when they used a regular spammer called DBS data marketing to send out a mailshot to an e-mail address of mine that has only ever been used to register some domain names. That bit’s important…

So when I complained to T-Mobile, they contacted the Spammer who informed me that:

“Your email was supplied to us from Consumerbase and your opt in date was 2nd November 2004.”

Now Consumerbase have an “opt-out” policy, which means if they buy your e-mail address from someone or maybe harvest it themselves – who knows? – when they spam you, you have to click on an opt-out/unsubscribe link or else they add your e-mail address to the lists they sell on to other spammers like DBS data marketing. And as we all know, children, the more unscrupulous spammers merely treat such clicks as confirmation that the address is a live one. And as I mentioned earlier, that e-mail address was only ever used to register some domain names.

On 4 January 2007, T-Mobile wrote to me, stating:

“Your details were provided by DBS Marketing, which means that you’d have opted in to receive marketing from them. We would not send marketing advertisements otherwise, as this would be illegal.”

Red rag to a bull. I’ve been online since 1993/94 and know enough about spam to know there is no way I would ever opt-in to receive junk e-mails. Especially when the e-mail address to which it was sent is not a regular e-mail account, remember…

So I replied:

“I’m sorry, but for you to state so categorically that “[I’d] have opted in to receive marketing from them” is complete and utter nonsense and is merely repeating a lie you may have been told by them. As I already explained, the e-mail address your Spam was sent to has only ever been used to register some domain names with a company that is in no way related to that firm of known Spammers you chose, DBS. As you correctly note, sending out “marketing advertisements otherwise, …would be illegal” and indeed is.”

I received a reply on 9 January 2007 from them:

“Your details were provided by DBS Marketing. If you feel that they’ve incorrectly advised us that you opted in to receive marketing information then you’ll need to contact them directly to discuss this.

I do appreciate you letting us know your views Mr Morris. It’s important to us as it allows us to improve what we do. I’ve passed your comments on to our marketing department so that they can take these into consideration when choosing the companies that we deal with.”

A pity then that I had received another spam to the same address earlier that day from T-Mobile, this time via another well-known spammer, Emailmovers.

I replied to T-Mobile later that same day:

“Clearly your marketing department is not in the slightest bit fussy which Spammers they use: your company has again sent me Spam today (13:40) using a different firm of Spammers. The e-mail you sent is titled “Exclusive Offers and great phone deals with T-mobile” and this time your company used Emailmovers.
 
I would be very interested to find out from you what lame excuse you intend to use this time…”

And yes, verily it was a very lame excuse:

“I can confirm Mr Morris that our marketing department have removed your details from our mailing lists.

Any complaint that you wish to make about receiving unwanted marketing information should be addressed to the company that sent them. In this case I understand it was from Emailmovers. The emails are sent by them and not us. We just supply the email content.”

So it’s not T-Mobile’s fault that they use any old bunch of spammers to send out spam e-mails rather than relying on their own, proper, opt-in lists. Oh and apparently T-Mobile aren’t the company sending out T-Mobile mailshots. That explains that then…

I’ve suggested that the person I’ve been e-mailing at T-Mobile “needs more training”. That translates as “is a stupid twat”.

2006 International Motorcycle & Scooter Show

NEC Bike Show 2006On Thursday, 27 October, I went to the 2006 International Motorcycle & Scooter Show at the NEC Birmingham. Photos of the event can be found in the Gallery or by clicking that collage above.

The Thursday was Trade Day which is the day when the photographers, journalists and all the industry bods attend – looking slightly out of place in suits and ties – and Joe Public is grudgingly allowed along (having paid more for the privilege than on the rest of the main show days).

The benefit of attending on Trade Day for Joe Public is that you have far more room to move around and there are far fewer other visitors crowding the exhibits.

Kawasaki were showing off their updated Z1000: the good points are the radial-mounted calipers and the better engine covers, but the bad points are the hideously bloated silencers – presumably to meet Euro 3 emissions regulations – and the awful side fairings which house the flush-mounted indicators. Kawasaki also had their ZZR1400-based uber-tourer, the GTR1400, which also has an over-long and bulky silencer. Kawsaki also had a ZRX1200R on their stand but frankly it looked exactly the same as the 2005 model … and probably was!

Suzuki were also showing what damage they could do with over-long and bulky silencers with their B-King – previously a concept that looked brutal, the final version has a J-Lo fat-arsed looked about it that makes it pig-ugly. Triumph, with their Daytona 675, can clearly get it spot-on: the Japanese could do what they did so well 30 years ago and learn a lesson from the Brits again.

Apart from that – or maybe including that – it was a pretty lacklustre show apart from one thing: the arrival of the Chinese! How does a 650 V-twin sports bike for £4,000 sound? Exactly! Quite what they’ll be like to ride and what the quality is like remains to be seen, but it was an eye-opener. The supermoto-stylee one in the photo was also impressive, ticking most of the right boxes.

And finally a small whinge for the SuperBike stand: I renewed my sub as usual but no fleece tops this year.

2006 International Motorcycle & Scooter Show

NEC Bike Show 2006On Thursday, 27 October, I went to the 2006 International Motorcycle & Scooter Show at the NEC Birmingham. Photos of the event can be found in the Gallery or by clicking that collage above.

The Thursday was Trade Day which is the day when the photographers, journalists and all the industry bods attend – looking slightly out of place in suits and ties – and Joe Public is grudgingly allowed along (having paid more for the privilege than on the rest of the main show days).

The benefit of attending on Trade Day for Joe Public is that you have far more room to move around and there are far fewer other visitors crowding the exhibits.

Kawasaki were showing off their updated Z1000: the good points are the radial-mounted calipers and the better engine covers, but the bad points are the hideously bloated silencers – presumably to meet Euro 3 emissions regulations – and the awful side fairings which house the flush-mounted indicators. Kawasaki also had their ZZR1400-based uber-tourer, the GTR1400, which also has an over-long and bulky silencer. Kawsaki also had a ZRX1200R on their stand but frankly it looked exactly the same as the 2005 model … and probably was!

Suzuki were also showing what damage they could do with over-long and bulky silencers with their B-King – previously a concept that looked brutal, the final version has a J-Lo fat-arsed looked about it that makes it pig-ugly. Triumph, with their Daytona 675, can clearly get it spot-on: the Japanese could do what they did so well 30 years ago and learn a lesson from the Brits again.

Apart from that – or maybe including that – it was a pretty lacklustre show apart from one thing: the arrival of the Chinese! How does a 650 V-twin sports bike for £4,000 sound? Exactly! Quite what they’ll be like to ride and what the quality is like remains to be seen, but it was an eye-opener. The supermoto-stylee one in the photo was also impressive, ticking most of the right boxes.

And finally a small whinge for the SuperBike stand: I renewed my sub as usual but no fleece tops this year.

Garmin Streetpilot i3

I picked this unit up today. Halfords and Woolworths had the unit priced cheapest on their web sites, but neither would actually allow an order. When I rang Halfords, I was told the i3 was being discontinued, which would explain the price discounting I’d seen.

Garmin i3 and Nokia 6230i Lawks! It’s tiny: see the photo of it next to my Nokia 6230i for comparison.

It comes with the UK maps preloaded onto a teeny 128MB Transflash data card, a cigarette lighter 24V/12V power lead (it runs on 2x AA batteries otherwise), a USB cable and drivers CD, suction mount, dashboard mount (for the suction mount to fix to) and instruction booklet.

I had it working in under five minutes in my Ford Mondeo ST200 despite the heated windscreen elements (which can make things more difficult for the GPS, making it want an external antenna in some cases).

It took just a few seconds to set my home address and calculate a route home which it then reclaculated every time I deviated from it. The unit gives quite loud instructions and turn information and the volume can be altered or turned off. I used the “3D” view but there are two top-down views of the routing too and brightness, etc. can also be altered.

When I got home, I updated it for speed cameras, etc. The USB cable is used for modifying the maps and adding points of interest, such as speed camera locations which I downloaded from PocketGPSWorld and added to the unit in a few seconds using the downloadable Garmin POI Loader software.

Garmin i3 'fitted' to a Kawasaki ZRX1200R As for on-bike use, the i3 is not marketed as a bike unit – it’s not rugged or waterproof but is claimed to be sunlight-readable which is handy. It fits in neatly-ish between and in front of the clocks using the sucker mount, but I’ll have to see if I can get a sturdier bar mount or something similar.

For an on-bike test, I wired up an accessory socket to the Kawasaki ZRX1200R and used the supplied cigarette lighter adaptor, running the cable from the accessory socket under the seat, under the tank and behind the clocks to the i3.

I then went for a ‘spirited’ ride to test it properly. In Map View mode, the i3 displayed the location map (with different levels of detail dependent apparently upon speed), the next junction at the top of the unit, the direction in the small box to the bottom right and – usefully – the current speed in the bottom left hand box. Even in direct sunlight, the screen was readable: I have a black visor too. I didn’t try it with the voice prompts (although there are two web sites with instructions on how to wire up a headphone socket and headphone) but found it easy enough to see the screen and the speed camera warnings.

The unit can show the planned route on a turn-by-turn basis, but on the downside, you can’t program any stops into your route or make it route via a certain road or town.

So, would I recommend it? Yes. Where can you buy one? That depends: there are a lot on eBay although prices of new ones remain high. Comet sell them too – I got mine there thanks to a discount I get – or you can buy one through my Amazon shop.

SuperBike, July 2006

OK, here are some comments I have on the July 2006 issue of SuperBike. 

Launch Test: Bridgestone BT-002 Racing Street Tyres

It appears that, despite being sold alongside the BT-012SS and the BT-014, the BT-002 is actually going to replace the 012SS. I’m on my third BT-012SS at the rear and my second on the front and I really like them. SuperBike say that you might associate a loss of confidence with the BT-012SS. I’ve never had any confidence issues with the 012SS – hence the repeat purchases – but SuperBike reckon the BT-002 might be a good, predicatble tyre for trackdays. Mind you, at £200 a pair they’d better be good: my last set of BT-012SS cost me £150.

Racedays Masterclass

I’ve never done a masterclass or track school: I am one of the ‘Officers’ of trackday organisers the Motorcycle Folly, though, and our Chief Instructor is Mike Edwards from the Mist Suzuki Superstock 600 racing team … and there he is with his riders in the photos! So if Mike thinks his team can benefit from a masterclass with Jeremy McWilliams then it’s a fair certainty that your average trackday rider could benefit hugely.

“The Three Peaks” – Yamaha FZ1 Fazer -v- Honda CBF1000 -v- Suzuki SV1000S

The FZ1 is the latest incarnation of Yamaha’s… er… well, it’s not a Retro, it’s not a naked bike… maybe a musclebike? Hmm. Anyway, they’ve taken their R1-with-high-bars and restyled it so it looks like a dog’s dinner. There’s some sort of oil drum srapped to the side where the silencer should be… That is one ugly bike.

The CBF1000 is a Fireblade with sensible bodywork. Again, it’s been hit with the ugly stick. If they can make the CB1300 look good, why does Honda fail so miserably with the CBF1000?

The third bike is the SV1000S which looks long and mean and like Cinderella next to the ugly sisters.

For some bizarre reason, SuperBike like the FZ1′s styling.

Prices? The FZ1 is £7,599, the SV1000S £6,049 and the CBF1000 is £5,999. Yes, the most ugly bike here is £1,500 more than the others. Put another way, it’s 25% more than the others. What are Yamaha thinking?

SuperBike plump for the FZ1 as the test’s winner, despite:

“…the broad spread of power is gone, replaced by a peakier, more abrupt motor, the loss of the sofa seat and a limited tank range … the limitations put on the bike by the chassis design.”

All that, plus 25% more cash.

“Workshop: 17 Under the Seat Essentials”

SuperBike looks at some nifty things to stash under your seat, space permitting. They say:

“Some bikes have a bigger storage space than others. The original FireBlade … [has] an amazingly capacious space under a key-operated flip up pillion seat. It doesn’t get much better than that…”

Main Underseat StorageExcuse me?

This is what I keep in the space under the saddle. Headlight bulb, sidestand pucks, cards, waterproof trousers, rucksack, bungee cord and a road atlas. There’s also a torch sloshing around in that canister under the (aftermarket) seat.

  
Boot And this is in the container under the rear of the seat.

It’s a multi-tool, Wee Willy visor cleaner kit, pouch with pad, pen, etc., tie-down, cable lock, tape, disc lock and the OEM toolkit.

It doesn’t get much better than that

The July 2006 issue also featured the launch test of the Kawasaki ZZR1400, but I’ll comment on that later, as there’s a full test in a later issue.