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Keeping up with the Jones'
(or should that be Joneses? that looks wrong to me...)
From BBCi on 26th February 2009:
I cannot speak for the myriad of alternative providers; however when I went to my local Orange agency (ex-France Telecom), I wanted to have 1 megabit. Sure, I'd love something faster, but I have neither the money nor the hardware to make faster speeds viable. So 1mbit.
The man at the agency signed me up for 2mbit. "How much does that cost?" I asked. He replied that it is the same price, the baseline being offered is 2mbit. Well, I obviously won't say No to double the speed. Sadly, you may recall that the computer then spat out a message saying we don't exist!
Anyway, point here is that the UK is still riding in the slow lane with regards Internet. Okay, granted, it is dirt cheap compared to the prices over here (look it up if you can figure out the French - www.orange.fr - broadband is called "haut débit"). So to say that a minimum speed of 2mbit is the recommendation? Just keeping up with the Jones'!
As an aside, I've seen a company (Virgin?) advertising something in the order of 56mbit. Is this generally available, or limited to large urban areas? Does it suffer contention, or is your 56mbit a good reliable 56mbit? What's the up-channel like? I trust it isn't something lame like 256kbit! How do the prices compare, or it is a scary price?
Oh... one other thing. The project called Bretagne 2.0 is aiming to, by 2012(ish?) provide 100mbit capabilities to every single residence in Brittany. I have serious doubts about this, given the level of undertaking for a largely rural area, and especially given the 'credit crunch'; however it does go to show that thoughts for the future are not wanting to be constrained by old-fashioned ideas.
The "Pôle Emploi"
Once upon a time there was the ANPE (Agence Nationale Pour l'Emploi; a sort of Jobcentre). This organisation (which seemed to vary from "quite with it" to "utter cluelessness", sadly weighing more on the side of incompetence) is supposed to find people jobs. Apparently they like to send people on courses so they can have impressive-looking CVs. They offered me, but I live in Brittany. It is viable for me to spend time in Nantes, or Angers. But both of those places are in the Pays de la Loire. People here are so damn regionalistic that no, I can't go to Angers. An equivalent course is available in St. Brieuc, or maybe Brest. Might as well be Bonn or Berlin for the accessibility I'd have to it!
The flip side of the coin is the ASSEDIC (ready? ASSociation pour l'Emploi dans l'Industrie et le Commerce). This deals more in the administration, in what you do and don't have the rights to; especially with regards to unemployment insurance. I make an on-line monthly declaration of my income and I regularly sign documents with those figures and send along a billion photocopies of my payslips. Apparently this is 'unusual', one of the Quality Control girls at work tactfully suggested maybe this is because I'm not French?
Last month the two merged to be the Pôle Emploi (centre of employment), with a logo that looks like a pacman with big kissy-lips as seen from the side! Obviously both sides went out on strike, but it was a bit late, the merge took place and in the middle of the chaos they've just registered the highest monthly rise in unemployment since 1974.
The idea, I think, is to rationalise the two entities which, really, are part of the same equation. The aim is to provide better service, more continuity, and allover superior results.
Today I received this in the post...
It's an award winner, isn't it?
For those not following the text: I have to attend a one-on-one meeting to discuss my employment options plus provide full evidence of my attempts to look for work. If I fail to do so, without written justification, I will be erased from the list of people looking for work. There is a bit saying "since the date 2008/07/24 I may have found work, thanks for letting us know".
Given that I have been in semi-regular contact with a CDAS employee on behalf of the ANPE, plus an ANPE employee on behalf of the ANPE, and given that I have been making my regular declarations to the ASSEDIC; this letter shows numerous failings... how could they not know that I have found work? It is an ANPE woman who put my on to this job and she is aware of my current situation. Furthermore, by a case of deep irony, my actual last interview with the ANPE office was March 13th (so they left it a year?); on the 24th of July I was offered the job!!!
It makes this nonsense seem almost trivial; though I guess I shouldn't be surprised really...
Somebody also ought to tell them that there is no need to make the letter look like a '60s teletype. The use of all-capitals is actually (and this has been proven) harder to read than words with lower case letters.
Speaking of which
Smoe uientvirsy (in Arecmia, I bleevie?) cdtncueod a sduty taht dsivecoerd taht it is aclautly psoblsie for us to mkae ssene of txet that is wttrien in a samrlcebd from. The ltteers msut be the crrocet oens, and the frist and fanil lteetrs must be cerroct, hwoveer tohse in the mdldie can be in any odrer - and we wlil, on aervgae, raed it firaly aculercaty and olny auobt fftiy pecrnet seolwr tahn nraoml.
But I bet it is like those Magic Eye pictures - you'll either get it right away or you'll be wondering when I taught myself Polish... ☺
If you really couldn't suss it, click to see what it says.
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