December 8th, 2009

snark maiden

Own goal or CO2 saver? Bing Mobile ignores drivers

I've been a big fan of Live Search Mobile and the Bing version that replaced it for Windows Mobile. I put it in my top 15 WinMo apps recently, I use it for directions instead of Google Maps Mobile and I tout it of another example of how Bing gives you answers rather than information. Not any more it doesn't.

The new version that Bing asked me to download this evening sports a new (grey) interface with Bing styling, instead of the colourful - and nicely obvious - icons. Movies gets a big ad at the bottom of the screen; just like the old icon for finding movie times but somehow more important than anything else Bing can do (judging by the fact that it's twice the size). News pushes its way in, because obviously I want to search for that on the move more than anything else (not). And the 'always a day out of date but still incredibly useful' service comparing gas prices at local garages? (i saw gas not petrol, because it only worked in the US). Gone. It's not even hiding in the transportation section, which has no category for petrol stations, gas stations or garages of any kind (Microsoft seems to be suggesting you park the car and take a ferry to reduce global warming); it's just gone. As is the option to tell Bing when I'm in the US and want to get US services and results and when I'm in the UK and don't. So that's about half as useful for a start. That's a first; updating an app and making it less useful. Bing is all about taking data and turning it into useful services, so why take them away from the phone where you need them most?

This is as bad as Microsoft unveiling its other flagship Windows Mobile app, the beta of Office 2010 and giving it the sum total of maybe 5 new features (and a business only Sharepoint app). Dear Microsoft: it appears to have escaped your notice that the smartphone marketplace has a great many consumer users in, and they're increasingly picking other platforms? WinMo has 9% market share, 3% share of apps and Web pages with ads on served through the AdMob network and a glorious future behind it. Or more briefly...

Dear Windows phone team. You're doing it wrong.

snark maiden

So not impressed by the MP currently in what will be our consituency

Apparently, we're moving from Putney to Battersea. At least our votes are: hey, it's a closer demographic than Wandsworth. And the best way to find this out (not), is by having to pay for an unstamped letter from the MP currently in that constituency. Oh, not a letter telling us that we would be moving constituencies. Oh no. A survey offering us the chance of winning a TV in return for our views - a setup that makes me very uncomfortable, ethically and statistically. And when we complained about the matter, along with an apology and a promise to refund the money (we gave him a choice of that or a donation to Shelter), Battersea MP Martin Linton told us our votes would be moving to Battersea - and asked if we'd like to get even more bacon from him by signing up for emails from him.

On his Web site the survey details say it closes 24 December, and than only Battersea constituents are eligible for the prize; in his letter he points out that the general election will be in June at the latest. So he's starting his campaigning by getting us charged to to receive a survey with a prize we're still not eligible for... (no, I really don't want another TV, it's just the principle of the thing)

It's very hard to find out who complaints about MPs are supposed to go to: my best guess was the Standards and Privileges committee...
EDIT: and they say
Complaints that a Member of Parliament may have broken the rules made by the House should be addressed in writing to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Guidance on how to do this is available here: