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Garbage In: Garbage Out!

Garbage In: Garbage Out!

“What's that got to do with us?”, I hear you cry. Well, in a way, everything. Last month I sent out a group email to 109 recipients offering rugby tickets for sale (I do international tickets for Sherborne RFC). Just after the closing date I’ve had a couple of bitter complaints that they never received the email … I had their old email address and they hadn't thought to let me know it had changed.

A business client told me he had a subscription to a well known suite of office applications. When I set-up his new computer I tried to install it but failed as the account had long-since expired. I installed a new license and delivered the computer … he was furious! He got out his credit card statement to prove the purchase. I asked what account he registered it to and he said he couldn't find his account details so he had registered it to his wife's email address and “wouldn't the computer have worked that out for itself?” Sadly not!

And then there is the evil autocorrect, nowadays so common on mobiles and email programs. Many years ago when I worked in a big hotel in London we got a computer for the food & beverage office to type our menus. Day 1, we did the restaurant dinner menu that included some soup or other with crispy croutons, thankfully that version never made it onto the tables as the spell checker didn't understand the franglais and offered the diners “crispy scrotums” instead!!!

Hot topic of the year of course is “fake news”. How many conversations have I overheard or become involved in that discuss the latest garbage touted on social media that people really believe? I think I’ve made my point. So how do you make sense of it all, or at least avoid the inevitable? Care, scepticism and a bit of good old-fashioned intuition.

If the answer is so far removed from reality then its probably garbage; if the offer is to good to be true, then it probably is; and if nobody is sending you emails after changing your email address then try telling them that you've changed it. The world we live in tries to filter out the garbage but consider this: If a website asks for your date of birth then it usually checks to see that you’ve correctly entered a date in the format did/mum/yyyy (see what autocorrect does!!) dd/mm/yyyy. How many, however, check the year of birth to make sure you're not dead, or yet to be born?

Be careful what you type, or you may be sprinkling more than just cubes of fried bread on your soup!

As always … if you need any help or advice you know where to come.

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Added: 2nd August 2017

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