Body Power 2017 – STICKY POST

I have only missed one body power show since it started, I haven’t always managed the full weekend but this year I have cleared my schedule, turned work down left right and centre, I will attend the ball. I mean expo, I meant expo, honestly. 

You can see previous entries on Body Power 2016, and Nocco at Body Power, and Mark Felix at Body Power, the list of stars in attendance is awe-inspiring. 

Continue reading

Change Is In The Air for Learner Drivers

L Plate

L Plate

I posted a while ago about the practical driving test getting an update the first major update to the practical test in 20 years. It were thought these changes would be here by now, but the official date is scheduled for 4th December 2017. I still maintain some of these changes are pointless, adding a “manoeuvre into a parking bay” is crazy, they already have the “Bay Park Manoeuvre”, is it that much harder to drive in forward ?

The Sat Nav update is good, many people spend far too long looking at the Sat Nav, this may teach people (myself included) to use it effectively within a routine. You have time to check your interior mirrors, right mirror, speedo, left mirror and look a head while driving safely, adding another glance at the Sat Nav in your routine shouldn’t be too hard.

Just to emphasis it, I was at the side of a police car and the driver were rolling down a hill with traffic and didn’t look up once. He was busy looking at the Sat Nav or police computer or radio, if highly trained drivers can be distracted, this can only be a good thing.

Motorway Update

Motorway Speed Light Lines

Motorway Speed Light Lines

I was kind of hoping by the time the rules came to fruition that the motorway lessons would be mandatory. On another forum, someone said “They may not be ready to drive on the motorway.”, I commented “They shouldn’t be allowed to pass their test then.”, and I was banned from the forum. Surely this day and age motorway lessons are essential, the whole game of driving changes when your at speed. 

I would like some training attached to first driving offences for new drivers, rather than losing your license you should be given more training. I know you get 1 shot at this per 3 years as a regular driver, I think a second one should be offered if a different minor offence within the first 2 years. 

Independent Driving Increase

The independent driving driving section has been increased. Its not clear if the Sat Nav element is due to be included here. Independent driving currently consists of you following road signs. The Examiner will say follow road signs to X place, now follow to Y place, and so on. 10 minutes can vanish in no time at all if you hit traffic. 

It would make sense to include the Sat Nav section here, I always thought it would be good to include a map reading section, but this is less and less important now. Its also been said that it 1 in 5 won’t be asked to do the Sat Nav driving, so for those the 20 minute independent drive will feel like a life time. 

Its also been clarified that if you make a mistake, it won’t matter as long as you don’t commit a fault. 

Show Me, Tell Me Changes

This update maybe good at well. Currently they ask you a few questions before you start driving. Tell Me, where they ask you how you would do something. In my case it was, Tell me how you would check the break is working, I think. Due to the weather being pants, I was asked to show them how I would use the screen washer and wipers. Self preservation played its hand there I think. 

Now they will ask you the Show Me question while you are mobile, so it would be “Show me how you use the demister” or “Show me how you put the hazard lights on”. This maybe good, the number of times when I first passed that I would be looking for a control and take my eyes of the road and end up drifting. Hopefully having to learn this during lessons will teach you to drift less. Now I can do it mostly without drifting and I’m getting better, so practice while learning would be good. 

Edit: Mickey Stafford posted a comment with a link for the Official Show Me Tell Me Questions

Manoeuvres Updated

I don’t really agree with this update, but reverse around a corner is no longer done, neither is 3-point-turn or turn-in-the-road as they call it now.  Instead they are going to ask you to do one of 3 new manoeuvres. 

  • Parallel Park.
  • Park in a Bay. Either drive in and out of a space. Either reverse in, Forward out, or Forward in, Reverse Out. 
  • Pull up on the right side of the road, reverse 2 car lengths backwards, then rejoin traffic. 

I can see the last item causing major issues both for the learner and for the other vehicles. 

Sat Nav image by Pixabay, Motorway image by Tookapic.

Buying Drop Lists

Previously, I talked about Zone File AccessDAC Connections, then started a Quadrology of Articles; Part 1: What You Need To Build A Drop List, Part 2: Building A Drop List, Part 3: Maintaining A Drop List and Part 4: Accessing Drop Lists

Now I am going to cover the easiest, cheapest and least painful (on the pocket) method of obtaining drop lists.  I’m not going to discus if the lists are cherry picked or filtered or anything else, since its futile. All I’m going to say is, depending on how the list were built covers how complete it is, which accounts for missing names. I’ll cover how older lists were made briefly later on. 

Generally beyond a week will cost anywhere from £10-50 per month depending on the metrics (data points provided) and how far into the future the lists go. £10-15 per month will get 7-30 days, £15-25 will get you 30-60 days, £40+ per month will get you 60+ days. I’m not aware of anyone who is offering unrestricted access to complete zone files, most people who have this have built their own.

I am aware of 1 or 2 people who offer a PRSS style look up, where you give them a keyword and they return X many records which match. Prices are usually £2-3 per query, using my guide you could build your own system even without Dac Access. 

Free Drop Lists

Domain Lore Droplist

Domain Lore Droplist

This is by far the easiest option, but also the most limiting option. It really depends what you require from the drop lists.

The main limitation with free drop lists is the date range, I believe the longest publicly accessible range is 10 days, but I haven’t seen it with my own eyes. Most I have seen are 7 days, some are 7  Days + Today. Domain Lore and Caught are the first 2 in this group which comes to mind.

Domain Lore use the old PRSS Generated Zone file from 2006-ish, which were around 2 million names out of a current 11 million. The upside is, it contains the early names which are arguably the better names. It’s also shorter at around 700 per day.

It doesn’t include .UK at all, extremely limited .org.uk and .me.uk, the former will become more critical as we draw closer to 2019.  Domain Lore includes some metrics, and has some sort functions. 

Caught, I’m not sure where their data comes from, but likely built up over the years. Again I’ll cover the method I suspect here in the building part later on. Neither of the above have paid options or offer a complete drop lists at last I checked.

Domain View Quick Drops

Domain View Quick Drops

DomainView, which currently uses the Nominet zone file, and previously used the .com zonefile and word lists. They offer pretty complete metrics. Rob the developer is always open to suggestions for new metrics to add. They even go as far as showing you what has been booked with their public catching service within the scope of your membership. 

They offer 2 days (Today/Tomorrow) of drop lists, but no metrics at all for free. The lists are often in excess of 4000-5000 names, and include .uk, co.uk, org.uk, me.uk and net.uk, I haven’t noticed any plc/ltd/sch.uk domains. The list is updated with hourly sweeps to remove dropped domains so it shortens through the day. More than 2 days are available for a price, but thats the next section.

ExpiredDomains.net offers some basic metrics and but its limited. 

Paid Drop Lists

There are various paid services, the main 2 I’m aware of DomainView and Dropped.UK, I’m sure there are more than that, but that’s all I’m aware of. There were a few others such as DCE but they closed down.

Domain View Subs

Domain View Subs

DomainView (60 days, Zonefiles, Parking, Backorder Credits, Upto £15) offers a variety of subscription options beyond the 2 free days. These are 7, 14, 30 and 60 days ranging from £5-15 which include various other things. These extras include zonefile downloads (not .uk), backorder credits, parking system access and more.

The Current Metrics are… 

Main Domain Back Ordered, .UK BackOrdered, Domain Name, Length of Doamin, Register Year, Domain Keywords, Google Searches, Google Cost Per Click (CPC), Alexa Links, Alexa Rank, Google Page Rank, Registered in Other Extensions, Taken in .com, Taken in .net, Taken in .org, Taken in .us, Taken in .info, Taken in .biz, Taken in .mobi, Taken in .xxx, Majestic Backlinks, Majestic Referring Domains, Majestic .EDU Backlinks, Majestic Referring EDU Domains, Majestic .GOV Backlinks, Majestic GOV Referers, Majestic Trust Flow, Majestic Citation Flow, Moz Domain Authority, Moz Page Authority, Moz Backlinks, Moz Rank, Times in Archive.org, First Archive.org Date, IPS Tag, Scheduled Drop Date.

Some of the more interesting features is, they show you what domains have been booked by their backorder system and you can also catch under multiple names. 

Dropped.uk Paid Droplist

Dropped.uk Paid Droplist

Dropped (61 Days, Backorder Credits, upto £20), I’m not 100% sure what metrics Dropped.UK offer, beyond a few basics. They are a more expensive option than domain view.

I should really use the free trial to see what metrics they offer just for the sake of this post but really they should show what you get rather than harvesting contact data.

Dropped do have a few nice catches to their tag, but it seems they book certain names for themselves, which I’m not keen on. They are not the only catching company which does this, and this isn’t really within the remit of this article. 

I’m sure there are other droplist services but I think I have covered the main free lists and paid lists, and some good options there. 

If you know of any others do use the comments and I’ll update this post, same for any corrections or new information. 

Blind Spot with Weird Road Markings

I wasn’t sure if I should continue with the driving posts, since now I’ve passed I’m not a student now. I am however still learning and figure my insights and hard earnt lessons may help some other people. I’m not an expert so my interpretations may not be 100% accurate, so do take them as intended, as my insight. 

When I find something worth blogging on, I’ll post a little. On this occasion, my mother has mentioned this a few times but its not easy to picture it, or get what she meant. Since I passed my test, I drop her off for her dog walk at a trail near here. 

Blind Corner Road Markings

Blind Corner Road Markings

The above junction is a doozy, you must follow the RED arrows around the junction. Once you can see the line of sight in BLUE, thata where you stop, to make the turn. Its almost like a loose hairpin or half u-turn around. From the road while driving its hard to work out, you don’t have much time. 

If you come across this, you know the drill now. Drive to Arrow 3, STOP, look down the blue line of sight, then turn right, and follow it around. Nice and easy when you know, and will keep you massively safer once such bends. 

Krispy Kreme Worst Loyalty Program Ever

Krispy Kreme Offices

Krispy Kreme Offices

I have helped to set up 2 loyalty programs, and worked with a bunch of companies which run such programs. I have also worked on many affiliate programs which work along similar lines for their affiliates. I always advise that companies be generous with their loyalty programs, use them to in still good will. I learned this lesson from Sainsburys, which use their Nectar Points system for compensation, for reward and loyalty and use it very effectively.

With Sainsburys, If you make a complaint via Twitter, Email or Phone they almost instantly refund the equivalent points and apologise, so they buy your loyalty as you will want to spend your points and save more points, so you’re likely to continue as a customer.

Krispy Kreme Local

I recently had cause to order a wheelbarrow full of doughnuts, personally I’m a Sainsburys doughnut fan but they generally don’t last long even if picked up fresh, by late the following day they are already heading to stale.

I passed the Krispy Kreme store and heard about them recently being used for weddings and leaving parties etc, so I called in the store and the young woman who worked there were very helpful. She explained they were hand-made in a factory each day not in that particular store (didn’t know that), that they generally last 3 days before starting to turn but some people say they get 5 days. She explained the online ordering process, and about which flavours were most popular (Nutella)… long story short she answered all my questions and I were sold and decided I’d shell out the £1 per doughnut vs 6-10 doughnuts for a quid elsewhere.

Loyalty Program

I discovered that Krispy Kreme operate a Loyalty Program and app called “Friends of Krispy Kreme” aka FOKK, which tells you about each flavour, about the special edition doughnuts, and lets you register your purchases. It also has a dozen “Friends of Krispy Kreme Rewards” or FOKKR, some of the more interesting ones are below, but there are more.

  1. Free Glazed Doughnut upon Joining.
  2. 3rd Visit within a month = Free Doughnut or Hot Drink.
  3. Every 6 Dozen Doughnuts bought, you get 1 Dozen Glazed Free.
  4. Free Collectible Mug on 9th Visit.

Since I had been in the store a week before, and were decided I signed up for FOKKR / Online Purchases and I ordered 4 x Dozen Doughnuts (48 in all) using Click and Collect as I were advised it were the best way to ensure I got the doughnuts I wanted on the day I wanted them as they often sell out for the day.

I thought awesome well on my way to a free dozen doughnuts and a free collectible mug.

Worst Loyalty Scheme EVER

I emailed and tweeted Krispy Kreme asking how I register my online purchase for my Loyalty Rewards and I were told “Sorry this isn’t available, its only for in-store purchases”. This is bizarre, an App which is an online service, isn’t available for online purchases ?

Surely they need to go back to using a paper card and a stamp, if its only for in-store use.

So a company established in 1937, nearly 80 yrs ago with over 1,000 locations across 30 countries with a turn over of a HALF A BILLION DOLLARS, can’t even connect their app to their website, 2 things which in a modern online business world should be absolute basics.

The Small Print

I guess it could be a new app; I don’t know, but in this instance you would expect them to have the facility to manually add your rewards to your account. I went through the app and found a link to Terms and Conditions and hidden in there is a line which says

“The Friends of Krispy Kreme Reward (FOKKR’s) program is open to customers across Krispy Kreme UK retail stores and our sales partners.”

I guess it does imply that only retail purchases count, but the same “small print” also refers to “Reward Card” as a physical card and doesn’t explicitly refer to the app. It even tells you directly above, if you lose your card email them, so certainly not about the App. The T&C have been recycled and not “Search and Replaced” very well at all. I’d say it were reasonable to assume the print were out of date or didn’t apply to the app.

Even as a good will gesture since no where online, in-store or even in the app did it tell me online purchases wouldn’t count. Instead I’m told, sorry we can’t do that.

If ever you needed a lesson on NOT to run a loyalty program, or how to lose a customer, this right here is it it.

Just as a side note I could have gone to Greggs, Sainsburys, Tesco or even a local bakery, and for what it cost me I could have gotten 250+ doughnuts from the main supermarkets (and collected Loyalty Points), 180+ mixed doughnuts (topped, creams, jams, custards, nutella, peanutbutter, glazed, anything I wanted) from my local baker. Instead I got 48 from Krispy Kreme and shown the worst Loyalty Program ever.

How To Do It Properly

I have worked with many companies with Loyalty Programs, I’ve helped 2 start up a program, helped with who knows how many affiliate programs. I have always told clients be GENEROUS with your loyalty programs, put extra points on there, use it for compensation and rewards, add good will into it. While you maybe giving away pennies on the pound, people will be invested in to the program, and keep them coming back to build on it. That’s why its called Loyalty Program.

I were already planning to pick up a dozen doughnuts for one my clients who always brings cupcakes, I were then thinking 1 more order and I get a free dozen. That would be 4 purchases off me, a new customer. I’d then be thinking I’m half way to a free mug, so there you go I would be already invested by this point and I’m more likely to complete the remaining 5 purchases.

Now, I won’t buy there on principle, back to Sainsburys doughnuts for me. 

Krispy Kreme Customer Desk by Jrayalme.

Driving Test Failures and Near Misses

L Plate

L Plate

There is quite a bit of buzz about a guy who recently failed his driving test within a few seconds of starting out. Apparently he left the parking bay at the test centre, and positioned himself on the right hand side of the road. We in the UK drive on the left, so it were an instant fail.

It were more galling due the examiner stating that the following 40 minutes of driving were near enough flawless and a certain pass. I also recently posted about the examiner given whiplash during an emergency stop manoeuvre, but these are the tip of the iceberg.  

While I’ve been learning and recently passed I’ve been hearing about bizarre fails, and near misses, and instances where the examiner weren’t looking in the right place at the right time.

Rapid Driving Test Fails

Some examples of rapid failures, which I have heard about in recent weeks. Some of them are a little woah, some are a bit arrrgh, some are aaaaahhh but hardly surprising, I imagine the pressure added with nerves when you first start is immense for some. I personally weren’t too bothered, John my instructor had prepared me so I could drive with the radio on, while talking, in the rain, in the snow, at night, all but on the wrong side of the road. He were so confident, he didn’t even want to ride along with me on my test, he probably took a nap or something. 

1, A woman pulling out of the driving test centre parking bay, without noticing a car approaching from the left. Failed within seconds and a few meters of actual driving. 

2, A man pulling out of the driving test centre parking bay, and mounting the curb fully. Its not clear if it were under steering or over steering other than he ended up wheel fully off the ground.  

3, Failing to Indicate and Position correctly all upon leaving the test centre car park to join the first open road. Didn’t even get 100m away. 

All of the above were fails within mere seconds, and all 3 candidates would have otherwise passed with a few minors.

I haven’t been told about any walk backs, apparently if you commit dangerous driving offense, you are given a walk back. This is where the examiner doesn’t believe you are safe to be in control of the vehicle, and they are not insured to drive the instructors car. I have heard drink, drugs and unsafe cars are the main reasons. 

Look Over There

Bulldog in a Car

Bulldog in a Car

There are stories about an examiner looking the wrong way at just the right time or wrong time. 

1, Pulling out of short road in to the test centre, getting to the first open road. The examiner looking right, as a car pulls up from the left concealed by parked cars. The candidate pulls out without seeing the car, the examiner decided it were a minor for inappropriate speed rather than a serious observation fault. 

Result: PASSED!

2, Moving off from a parking spot, the learner driver looks left, looks right, checks rear view mirror, checks right blind spot and pulls away while looking forward. Only problem is, as the driving candidate checks his blind spot, the examiner is looking left and fails to see the blind spot check, or final check as pulling away.

The driving instructor happens to be in the back seat, and knows the examiner so it were questioned. The examiner wouldn’t change the fault, but luckily it were marked as a minor as no other road users were inconvenienced or forced to change course.

Result: PASSED!

3, Having pulled up at the side of the road as you do many times in a test and often a lesson. The learner driver, prepares to move away once told too, is observing and waiting for a gap in traffic, then indicates and go to move off. A car coming decides to slow, stop and let you out. 

The examiner wasn’t observing the on-coming traffic. They didn’t realise the car which let the candidate out were the last one before a large gap which the learner intended use. The assumption were the other car seeing the Learner Bar on the roof of the car thought they would be helping so slowed rapidly. The result were the examiner saw the learner driver indicate out, and another road user changed course and were inconvenienced by your actions.

Result: FAILED!

The last story, my driving examiner confirmed that as long as you didn’t indicate out immediately, you at least attempt to wait a minute or two for a gap before resorting to indicating, she wouldn’t fail you for that. She went as far to say “How else would you get out…”.

The Home Run Fails

There is another type of fail, where by the driver has been driving perfectly but then on the way to the test centre, it all falls apart due to a judgement error.

1, On-route back to the test centre, with 7-8 minor faults but otherwise solid driving. They come down the open road there is an on-coming car the right side about 20 car lengths away. The learner comes up 7-8 car lengths from the turning point, as the on-coming car slows and flashes. The learner speeds up, moves up to 4th gear, crosses the central line, continues driving, cuts the corner, takes the corner at too high a speed, too high a gear and didn’t check the mirrors at all. Clocked up enough minor faults to fail, and a serious fault too. 

Result: FAILED, 16 Minors, Double Fail!

2, About 2 minutes away from the test centre, there were an accident which created a minor detour. The detour took the learner down a 2 lane one-way street, and the candidate had to take a right at the end. The learner positioned just to the left of the centre lane, and turned right.

The examiner apparently commented that the candidate hovered at the indicator half way down the road and considered indicating to the right lane. The examiner also told the learner to take the turn into the one way and turn right at the end. On this occasion they went to the left lane and should have been on the right.

Result: FAILED!, 4 Minors.

3, Approaching the test centre car park, the examiner asked the candidate to choose a parking spot. No request for a manoeuvre just go in to a parking spot. The learner driver chose to reverse bay park, and did so without looking around or out of his back windows once, just using his mirrors and reverse camera.

The examiner commented that, had he pulled in forward, he’d have passed. He’d already done Turn In The Road, so his manoeuvre had been completed. 

Result: FAILED!

Final Thoughts

Remember you’re on your driving test from the minute your name is called in the test centre until the minute you’re given the PASSED or FAILED result. This is all your test, so take no  risks, don’t rush, and take your time. Its your test, so own it. 

 

One Way Sign image by Gratisography, Brake Lights image by InstaWalli, Bulldog in a Car image by Tim Gouw.

1 2 3 15