A personal post from Graham Ellis
Lisa and Graham live in Melksham, Wiltshire, England

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The Information age - not yet truly with us?

We're told that we're living in the information age - where anything you need to know is available at the click of a button, and where data is King. I'm not so sure that I agree - I think we're still coming into the information age. Much of the information we need is out there, but - in spite of the best efforts of databases and search engines, it's not quickly, easily and accurately to hand for when we need it.

Let me give you an example.

On 2nd September, my brother in law and his wife stop in Portland (Dorset) Harbour during a cruise, and they've invited us to meet up with them for the day. What do I need to know?
• Where to go, and at what time, and where to take them (1)
• Where to stay overnight nearby, as we can't drive down that morning nor is there a train at that time of day
• What else is going on in the area at the time we're there.

First Question ...

Searching online, I can find the web site for the Portland terminal - [http://www.portland-port.co.uk/cruise], and a list of the cruise companies using it within the site. Which are there on 2nd September, at what time, and where to go to meet up is absent. Fortunatley, that extra information was forthcoming via an email exchange with B-i-L.

We have enough to go on ... we can wing some of it on the day, and that will suffice ...

Second Question ...

Nearby, we have the two dogs we're taking with us. A web search took me to [http://www.allhoteldeals.net/england/dorset/pet-friendly/portland-hotels.htm] which tells me that "The Venue" on Portland welcomes dogs. And putting their postcode into Google Maps confirms the location as the old AUWE (Admiralty Underwater Weaponary Establishment) site - perfect.

As a double check, I took a look at their web site - nothing at all (yeah or nay) about dogs, so I called them. Placed into a queue, I waited patiently ... to find that at the head of the queue was an answerphone - "we're too busy to take all the calls that we're getting, so please leave a message and we'll call you back". Tough - I couldn't leave a number as I was going in to give a Perl course in a couple of minutes. So I filled in a form on their website and - guess what:

What NOT to echo back when people fill a form on your web siteAn email (last resort - I thought long and hard before trying another contact) brought a reposnse that they do NOT welcome dogs, and demanding to know which website said they did. My reposnse, telling them and asking for them to advise me which hotels on Portland welcome dogs didn't even get a "thank you" from them, let alone an answer.

Third Question ...

From the Paralympic web site, I've established that there are two sailing races starting at 11 a.m. that morning, and I know that the boatyard is just up the way. Just what that will mean for us I'm not sure, but I'm reasonably confident that by staying on Portland (and taking in places like the quarries and the lighthouse) we'll be OK. And we really don't know if there are any other special events / places we can and can't go that day.

---------------


Wow! What a piece of research. Good news is that I *have* found a dog friendly hotel in Fortuneswell (and we're staying there almost site unseen).

If we were - truely - already in the information age, then all I would need to do is to say "On 2nd September, my brother in law and his wife stop in Portland (Dorset) Harbour during a cruise, and they've invited us to meet up with them for the day. Tell me where to stay, where to pick them up and at what time, and where to take them. And book me the hotel". And we're still a long way from that!!

(written 2012-08-12, updated 2012-08-18)

 
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G501 - Well House Consultants - Customer Service
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Some other Articles
Spraying data from one incoming to series of outgoing files in Perl
Guest review - Well House Manor, Melksham
Evening behind Melksham Spa
In the garden at Well House Manor
The Information age - not yet truly with us?
Geekmas 2012 - celebrating open source languages such as Perl, PHP and Python
Learning to use existing classes in Perl
A busy day at Well House Manor - so come in and make it even busier!
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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