Top Twenty Posts of 2009 – the Top 10

Published on 28 December 2009 in , ,

Oh no. He’s at it again. Yes, it’s another of those dreadfully boring and self indulgant “Look what you’ve been reading posts”.

Review of the Year

I just don’t know how to cope with this any more.

So anyway, on with the show!

10 – Pressing red turns the power off? Err… not most of the time…

OnDigital box remote control

I suspect this only did quite so well because I linked to it in a comment on the BBC’s Press Red blog – yeah, the shameless things I’ll do for hits – but never mind.

The concept of the article was me reading comments from people going “The red button is stupid – everyone knows that the power button is red so everyone switches off the TV! It’s confusing. Stop it!”

So I did a survey of my desk and other remotes around the office and home, and found that out of 20 remote controls, only 7 had red red power buttons.

Better response is probably just to say, if so many people were confused, the BBC couldn’t put out gushing press releases like the one entitled 2009: the year of BBC Red Button.

9 – Sleeping on the rails part 2 – off to Scotland on the Caledonian Sleeper

In the lounge car

Tal and Catherine in the lounge car

Yes it’s the first post about the Caledonian Sleeper – out of goodness knows how many I wrote, most of which included exploits in the lounge car drinking whisky. Woo!

This is post two, and it’s about our first ever trip – yes, we were sleeper train virgins once! Clearly my sleeping train exploits really hit the zeitgeist this year. Either that or a lot of people got very confused and actually wanted to buy tickets…

8 – In car radio – digital or analogue, you’ll always get some reception problems

I frequently get bemused by the posts which feature in these reviews. I spend ages carefully crafting things and they get nowhere. I write something almost throwaway and it’s the eigth most popular post of the year. Where is the logic?

Well anyway, this was inspired by a piece on the BBC News website about how DAB radio signals in London broke up when driving, and I then remembered the fun of driving round Manchester where there were competing FM signals for Radio 1. That’s the gist of it. If you need to know more, go add to the hits…

7 – (Not) To Salford

It’s nearly a year ago since I had it confirmed my job was moving to Salford in 2011 and as I mentioned yesterday, that’s something that’s been certainly on my mind over the last 12 months.

Catherine and myselfs first decision was “We’re not going!” and I wrote saying so.

Then we changed our minds slightly and looked into it a bit more. And then we decided we weren’t going. Not that I blogged about that bit but thought you might like to know.

Anyway, in 18 months I may be out of a job. Which is both scary and exciting at the same time…

6 – Great comedy comes from taking risks

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Brandgate, Reeves and Mortimer, VHS tapes and this clip.

5 – Train travel too expensive? Perhaps not compared to the car…

As someone who doesn’t own a car, a question I get asked a lot from people outside London is “How much do I pay for travel”. And then they suck through their teeth and go, “Yikes, that’s a lot!”

Christmas 2008 I had one of those situations. And then… well the topic went onto the annual depreciation of car values. Their car apparently lost £1,000 a year just sitting on the drive never being used. And that’s nearly what I pay for my annual commuting.

The full blog post goes into more, but the note is – cars. Not as cheap as you think…

4 – The Problems with the Easter Doctor Who Special

Doctor Who Easter special, and a dodgy 200 bus.

Okay, now is when we get into the big league – the hits on this one were double the hits for post 4. Is it because the post is about Doctor Who? Well it may be…

Cast your mind back to Easter and it was the Doctor Who Easter Special involving a London double decker bus transported to an alien planet. The bus was numbered 200.

This amused me as the 200 goes near my house, is a single decker and, as far as I know, has never been transported to an alien planet. That said, I’m willing to concede that there maybe an alien planet somewhere with a huge stack of red single decker buses all lined up. However if there is, then they’re probably from the 152 instead.

All this came not long after loads and loads of ridiculous news stories (mostly in the Daily Mail) about declining standards and TV fakery. So I decided to write a post about how this episode of Doctor Who was a prime example of TV fakery and declining standards, and write it as if I was a rabid, Daily Mail reading people.

Well it amused me.

What amused me more was when a couple of people started taking it seriously. So I replied in the comments trying to take it even more seriously.

Well it amused me.

If I was to pick a post for “my favourite post of the year”, this would be it. Re-reading it now, I still love it. And I’m not alone. Over on his blog, Martin Belam proclaimed “Now, this is more like the classy kind of rant about the Doctor Who Easter Special that I want to see…” Well I think that’s meant as a compliment!

3 – Glass bottles on the doorstep – getting a milkman

Milk Bottle

Milk bottle photo by Richard Cocks. Used under licence.

So as I mentioned earlier, towards the end of 2008 I started getting milk off the milkman. I decided this is what all the cool and hip kids should be doing. So I decided to tell everyone.

Now unless you’ve all been rushing out to get milk from your local milkman, I’m not entirely sure why this post is so popular. Unless everyone is actually trying to find the Dutch hardcode-punk band of the same name. I mean, it’s feasible but really?

2 – Ditching the Bendy Buses – Transport for London consults

At the beginning of the year, Boris Johnson was still inexplicably trying to remove bendy buses off the streets of London. 12 months on he’s succeeded in part, but at the beginning of the year there was a vague chance that it might not happen – especially when Transport for London did a consultation on the matter.

When the consultation results were published, I had a good trawl through them and did a post about the results – the costs, the appetites, the problems.

But ultimately though Boris had a manifesto commitment, and there’s nothing worse in politics than renegading on your manifesto – even if doing so makes huge sense – so ultimately unless the report was really damming (and I’m sure people in TfL were keeping an eye on their employer on this one) there was never any real chance the bendy bus scrapping scheme would be stalled. Still it was interesting reading.

1 – Online Banking and the bad URLs that go with it

Well here we go. The all important number one and it’s a post about how crap the URLs are for many online banking services, and how they can be quite bad for detecting whether you’re likely to be scammed or not from a phishing email.

People losing money through banking scams costs millions every year, and the banks rightly make a big thing about it. However as I found out doing a survey of 17 bank sites, some just don’t help their cause by any means. I mean, if you saw the URLs or, would you think they were scam sites or real ones? In reality they’re the online banking servers for the Nationwide and Natwest…

I’d like to say the popularity of this post is because I made a damm fine point and even now banks across the UK are sorting out this mess.

Unfortunately it seems to be mostly through people googling such search terms as “” and “barclays scam”… Oh well.

Tomorrow it’s the traditional hunt through the archive posts, to see what’s still got the staying power…