Visions of a lackey tapping out 50,000,000 messages on his T9 keypad
Messages arrived over the course of at least 4 or 5 hours. Good thing it was just a deadly virus, not a nuclear missile winging its way - even a pretend one like Hawaii had.
Throughout the day (24th March), the British government is set to text UK mobiles to reinforce the prevailing advice amid the COVID-19 outbreak: stay home. Well, it's no longer advice. Not really. As of prime minister Boris Johnson's address to the nation last night, Britain is unquestionably a country on lockdown. Non- …
Let's say in your lifetime you are going to have 50,000,000 shits, that's a lot of shits. Now tell me how do you think your arse would cope with those 50,000,000 shits all at once?
Just to be clear once configured correctly an arsehole could deliver 50,000,000 shits but without that configuration you are going to clog up the toilet and won't be able to sit down for quite some time.
Useless? How so?
Do you feel an urgent need to reply to the sending number? Do you really think they are expecting replies, or would have the available staff to deal with potentially millions of near-simultaneous replies? Do you think someone contacted you, personally, instead of this being informativemass-messaging?
It provided basic instruction and a resource for finding out more. Hardly call that useless.
I received it earlier today, but I assumed it was spam and possibly malicious - until I later saw an announcement on a trusted news site. What a silly thing for the government to do without telling people in advance that it was possible, and having some means of checking its validity! Cue a spate of fake announcements...
Spam spam spam spam
Spam, government spam.
It comes to something when Jeremy Hunt points out to Hancock that they aren't using all the free ads to get the word out on social media and Hancock more or less blinks in the headlights and mutters something about MySpace*.
And we have many millions of people with mobile phones and nobody in government seems to have considered using them constructively, to the extent that the Army is reduced to using Whatsapp.
I don't understand the collective desire for self-harm that put Eton back in power in 2010 and then again in 2019, but it's high time we got a government that knows what century it is, and I don't mean the fruitbat.
*All right, I made it up about MySpace. I doubt he knew what that was either.
WTF is "Protect the NHS" even supposed to mean? What am I expected to do here? And aren't they there to protect us?
"Stay at home. Don't spread the virus. Save lives." would make more sense.
I gave up watching the live televised briefings as they were mostly waffle. Not just BoJo, the reporters asking questions sounded more they were making a speech themselves, so the good questions got subsumed in the rambling sound-bite responses.
> WTF is "Protect the NHS" even supposed to mean?
The big concern is if COVID-19 patients overwhelm the NHS. Then it's not just the COVID-19 patients who will die: The people with medical emergencies and chronic conditions, who would normally be saved by the NHS, will die, because the NHS won't have enough resources to cater to them.
You might have heard the phrase "flattening the curve"; that basically means "if a million people get sick with COVID-19, and it's spread out over a long enough period, we can cope, but if a million people get sick at the same time then we're utterly screwed and healthcare will collapse, so we need to slow down the rate the virus is spreading even if the same number of people get sick in total."
So by taking measures to reduce the rate that SARS-CoV-2 is spreading, you help reduce the risk that the NHS collapses.
(A note on the names: SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, in the same way that HIV is the virus that causes AIDS).
'Protect the NHS' means to say 'If the NHS buckles under the weight, it's your fault'.
Because the alternative is that the general population realise that the very same people now telling us to 'Protect the NHS' have spent the past ten years weakening the NHS through constant cuts, resource starvation, outsourcing, and outright hostility, and therefore it's in far worse shape to cope with the tsunami of Covid cases than it could have been.
And that realisation could get uncomfortable for the Eton Trifles, hmm?
AC as health worker
No idea why you got downvoted for that. Same happened to me. My only mobile phone is my work supplied Vodophone based device and as of 23:30 tonight still didn't get the text message. My wifes personal phone got it about 17:00. It seems a perfectly reasonable supposition that one or more of the networks might be prioritising personal phone numbers against corporate ones. We'll probably only find out if others either confirm or deny from their own experience rather than some uselessly random downvote without comment.
The systems in use in South Korea, the US and The Netherlands (amongst others) don't use text messaging at all, but rather a feature built in to (I believe) 3G and up: cell towers can transmit these Alert messages to all phones within their range and they will then show these messages as Alerts and play an alarm sound (even if they are set to silent although that is up to the phone)
This works better than SMS because you can reach *all* phones regardless of operators within a certain geographic area (including phones from abroad for instance) and the messages don't get lost, marked as spam, ignored, etc.
The functionality is baked in to the mobile standards specifically to be able to alert all phones within the boundaries of whatever disaster is unfolding.
And the first thing I do is root and uninstall the damn thing. What use is it other than to start mass panic?
"In coming nuke!!! Keep calm" What fucking good is that?
Can you imagine what state the roads would have been in during the 2004 tsunami, I bet the death toll would have been higher still as people drown in their cars stuck in traffic.
In large areas of the US, these announcements are useful for warning about tornadoes, wildfires, and similar events which can surprise people in the area because they're relatively localized. Regions which are not so prone to natural disasters may have fewer good uses for them.
In the US the system is also used for "Amber Alerts", which are intended to help track child abductions, though in my experience the police are terrible at selecting the Amber-Alert geographic area. I've received a couple of those alerts for events 100+ miles away. And they typically don't contain much useful information ("believed to be in a light-colored truck" - oh good, that narrows it down), and if you're driving they're rather shocking (the alarm is loud), and you can't see the contents unless you read your phone, which at least a few of us still decline to do if we're operating a vehicle. So I've found the Ambers pretty much useless.
There are actually four alert levels - Amber, Severe, Extreme, and Presidential. Phones are supposed to let you turn any or all of the first three off, without having to root, though finding the setting can take some work. You can't disable the Presidential alerts because the President never says anything that's not accurate, useful, and terribly important.
The other message coming from NHS NO REPLY was the real issue. It was so badly worded that recipients could easily think it was notifying them that they were among the 1.5 million vulnerable people that should be being told this week to never leave the house until it's all over.
A neighbour contacted me to ask if I could sort out some essentials for her and while I was getting that sorted I received the SMS myself. Ended up having to get clarification from the local health centre. The good news is that the neighbour can still look after herself, although she probably will be deemed vulnerable so it'll all repeat in a day or two anyway.
That bit about being vulnerable reminded me of this :
A few years back, a fair few, Terry Wogan told the story on air of the time they were playing golf, he was just about to play a shot when a rare butterfly landed on his ball.
Couple seconds later "ooooh look, it's even rarer now."
I'd just taken my coat off from trying unsuccessfully to buy a loaf of bread this morning and Boris texts me to tell me to stay at home.
Look: This Big Brother thing should be a two-way thing. If he'd told me there was no bread* I wouldn't have bothered going out in the first place.
Ah well, at least I didn't need to do a two-way trip with a wheelbarrow of money to not pay for it.
*Bit more complicated than that, but that's another story.
Had to do a very restricted wake recently (only close family members, social distancing) - only food we could get was cake, no bread to be had, guests limited to one cup of tea or coffee due to only being able to get a single small milk carton. Everyone very understanding, but its weird being at funeral with no hugs, handshakes etc at a time when people want hugs & close contact.
I'd just stepped outside to take my one permitted daily form of exercise when the phone pinged. If I were paranoid, I might have wondered if my movements were under surveillance. Actually, since I was the only person out walking by the river and police patrol boats were shuttling back and forward, I likely was under surveillance as they clearly had nothing else to do. Yet.
Finally got my bread today.
The way the whole process of shopping is evolving now is:-
(1) People are having to put a helluva lot more effort into doing their shopping - meaning coming into contact with a lot more shoppers than usual, nullifying the purpose of social distancing. This is because of the policy of allowing a maximum defined number of shoppers in the store at any given time means queuing for hours (no exaggeration) to get in... only to find they haven't got what you wanted anyway. Which means joining the queue outside another supermarket...
(2) As a consequence I can see that people are going to give up buying from supermarkets and go back to buying from corner shops that don't have these restrictions which is, incidentally, where I got my bread from.
No, I don't have an easy solution.
The govmint's "Full guidance on staying at home and away from others" starts of so well and then blows it in a single sentence:
1. Staying at home
excellent, well done so far ... then ...
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
ah, not so good, in fact very confusing. What if I live in a flat rather than a house? Does that mean I can go out or not?
And if I do live in a house, am I allowed to go into the garden or not?
Why did they use the word 'house' exactly once? In that place? What were they thinking? Or smoking? Were they even awake?
You are manufacturing outrage
Here is the full text of the message, no usage of House at all:
GOV.UK CORONAVIRUS ALERT New rules in force now: you must stay at home. More info & exemptions at gov.uk/coronavirus Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.
Nearly ( :( ) fifteen years ago I heard Sir Christopher Hum (former ambassador to China) talk about his time in the country (started his career in the late 60's and a lot of it in China). One thing that stuck with me (aside from the tiny village he'd first arrived in by land now being a city of millions), was an aside about government communications. "One of these things that only happens in China. They sent a text, to everyone."
I had the unexpected opportunity and associated means to leave Blighty permanently a decade ago. Thank God that I did, family in tow too. The country has since descended into an utterly embarassing, totally mismanaged and uncoordinated mess.
Why do you still keep choosing and voting for incompetent Tory Loons and Woke Marxists? Get some serious people in to govern, who have real world experience and know wtf actually needs doing, roll up their sleeves and just do it.
"Get some serious people in to govern, who have real world experience and know wtf actually needs doing, roll up their sleeves and just do it."
Such people are rare enough in the private sector these days, let alone the public sector - it appears to have mostly been bred out of the general populace.
Never got message. Been with Vodafone Over 10 years as personal customer.
Number was a transfer from another carrier.
I have a Three phone number on which Message arrived yesterday (ie 24 hours ago).
Am I low priority for Vodafone. Am I bottom of the list, of the select statement.
Come on Vodafone.....
Late yesterday morning I was trying to phone to arrange onsites for enabling work from home. The calls kept dropping, some before ringing, some after 1 ring. Same for incoming. That lasted for maybe an hour. Missed calls did show up.
Later I figured it must have been network overload because of the volume of these texts that were flooding out.
Also have a 1pMobile phone - it got the text around 5pm last night.
After reading the message, saw the bit about "more info & exemptions at" so browsed to that, but couldn't find anything about exemptions.
I know France allows exemptions for techies organising work-from-home (for others), so was trying to find any guidance on that.
I'm personally getting to the point of wanting to flatten the curve by flattening the idiots who STILL seem to be unable to curb their anti social tendencies.
I'm presently in Belgium, and I have visited my local supermarket exactly twice since the shutdown (yes, we don't call it that, but I care about the effect, not the label) for a quick stock up. This shop has put proper plexi shields up for the staff, they all wear gloves and masks and customers are encouraged to do the same. Some do, some don't but also the social distancing is well observed.
Yet, today I visited another supermarket and it was pretty much as if I had landed in a covid party. I'll have a word with the police in a minute - this has the potential to be a source of infection. Unbelievable.
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