Posted by Chalky on Mar 25, 2009 in Review

Slough Premier Inn MapWhen I first drove up to this Premier Inn, I thought I was coming up to a prison camp. You’re greeted by a great barrier at each end of the complex preventing anyone from getting in or out. There’s CCTV cameras a-plenty and you can’t even get into Reception without a key card or pressing the buzzer and having someone let you in. It was so intimidating that I daren’t take a picture of it for fear of someone jumping out and shooting me on the spot!

After you’ve got over the exterior of the building however, inside, it has to be the nicest Premier Inn that I have stayed in thus far. The reception area was vast compared to any other Travel Inn that I have stayed in, except perhaps one of the Inns near Heathrow Airport. The staff were extremely friendly upon my arrival at stupid o’clock.

There’s quite a few things that were different from the norm in the Premier Inn. Firstly, there is no chain restaurant in the vicinity or attached to the Premier Inn. Instead, the Premier Inn contains its own Bar and Restaurant on the Ground Floor of the building. It wasn’t particularly large and certainly not big enough to house the number of guests the building is capable of. This made me wonder if this was because most guests arrive in the evenings only and don’t dine, or that there was plenty of places to dine nearby. As it was very late when I arrived, I didn’t scope out any restaurants nearby and the bar was already closed. Just as well really because I was too tired to do much of anything.

This Premier Inn uses Key Cards, which are painfully annoying to use when you’re barely awake enough to see let alone wiggle a card in and out of several doors! After going back to Reception and replacing my Key Card (why does the first one never work!?!) I managed to drag myself up to my room on the second floor.

Air Conditioning!The room was somewhat larger than somewhat bigger than some that I have stayed in and the bathroom was also a decent size. The room was equipped with a larger than normal bed, Freeview TV and a Telephone. The most welcome addition to the room that I have never had in any of the Premier Inns that I have stayed in before was an Air Conditioning Unit on the wall! All other Premier Inns that I have stayed in have had a Dimplex Heather attached to the wall near the window with a thermostat unit on the opposite wall. Whilst this is alright in the winter months for most, it’s not very good in the summer or, if you are like me, you can’t sleep when you are too warm. Most other Premier Inns have a desk fan stowed away somewhere but you can’t beat some proper Air Conditioning!

The only fault that I could find with the room was in the bathroom. The sink was built into this rather nice wooden unit. However, the toilet roll was also located inside this unit which may seem nice, but not when it’s built in only 10cm from the ground! I’ll leave you to picture it yourself!

As I had time in the morning, I decided to opt for a Premier Breakfast before I set off. This was held in the Bar/Restaurant bit on the Ground Floor that I mentioned earlier. The breakfast here was all Self Service including the hot food. I tend to like it this way because you can grab exactly what you want, when you want. The breakfast wasn’t bad at all and set me up for the day.

After gaining the Exit Code for the gate to escape from Alcatraz, I did notice that there wasn’t really many eateries around so I think that it was probably the norm to arrive quite late at this Premier Inn and that there wasn’t really a need for a big provision of food and drink and that the Bar/Restaurant was mainly there for Breakfast and maybe a few beverages in the evening before it closes.

Overall, I was very pleased with this Premier Inn, just a bit of a shame about the Prison-like exterior because inside, it’s the best Premier Inn I’ve been in thus far!



Google Street Stalk!

Posted by Chalky on Mar 23, 2009 in Sheffield, Technology

Since seeing the News Article on the BBC Technology News Website, people have been frantically trying to find themselves on Google Street View. I managed to find Percy the Punto outside my house and after thinking of how it might be possible to find myself in two places at once, I found Clarence the C3 still on the forecourt of the Woodseats Motor Company on Woodseats Road:

Clarence at Woodseats Motor Company

On Friday, my Dad showed me his claim to fame:

Google Street View - DadGoogle Street View - DadGoogle Street View - Dad

A few people have expressed concern over being found on Google Street View. However, I think that it’s not really much of an issue, most faces are either blurred or of too low a quality to distinguish. Unless you saw the Google Street View Car driving by or can remember exactly where you were when it drove by, there’s not a great chance that you’re going to be noticed. But that’s just my opinion.



Where Does This Remind Me Of…?

Posted by Chalky on Mar 23, 2009 in Work


Dogbert the CEO!

Hmmm…. I wonder!

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Google Street View is GO!

Posted by Chalky on Mar 19, 2009 in Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Technology, Work

James found this little gem on the BBC News website today.

Google have made their first set of UK Street View images live including Sheffield and, rather suprisingly, Scunthorpe.

Greenhill Avenue

I noticed that from the photo that I’ve still got Percy the Punto, which dates the Street View car’s visit before 21st July which is when I took delivery of Clarence the C3. However, when being extra sad, I noticed that my friend’s new car is in pride of place on her driveway which narrows down the visit between 18th July and 20th July. Narrowing it down further, one would assume that the area was done on the 18th July because Jill’s car isn’t there, indicating that she would be at work! You will also notice that all the car’s number plates have been blurred out, they have also blurred out people’s faces if they are quite close to the Street View cameras.
As mentioned before, Scunthorpe also features in Google’s lineup of cities that have been Street View’d including where I work:
John Leggott College
It was nice to see it was such a sunny day! From the fact that the Adult Courses Enrolment banner was outside, we think this photograph was taken in September time.
The only little flaw that I did notice is that the disadvatage of it being a nice sunny day is that you actually see the reflection of the Google Street View camera post on the top of the car:
Google Street View Camera
Either way, it’s all pretty cool stuff. Of course, this has already generated some media coverage in terms of people’s privacy. As I mentioned before, people’s faces are already blurred and I don’t really see what the problem is! Admittedly, we did manage to see James’ partner through his bedroom window which was a bit of a suprise!



Chalky’s Premier Inn Review Corner

Posted by Chalky on Mar 14, 2009 in Review

Premier Inn LogoAs most of you will know, I spend rather a lot of my weekends visiting various Premier Inns (previously known as Premier Travel Inns). I thought it was probably time that I started reviewing some of them because whilst most things are exactly the same wherever you go, there are some subtle differences. There is also, the all important Customer Service which I have found to be where there tends to be the greatest variance between Inns.

Premier Inn’s always follow the same format, being situated next to some form of eatery/drinking hole. These are generally pub restaurants which are also open to the general public, meaning that if you are staying at a City Centre Inn, you will most likely have to book a table as they do get quite busy, particularly at weekends. It will also be particularly busy if the restaurant is a popular chain like TGI Friday’s. Breakfast is also served in the same restaurant but is only open to Guests at this time and therefore, booking is not required and it won’t be packed out however most Inns prefer you book breakfast at the same time as checking in. Premier Inns do not offer ‘in-house’ catering and facilities are limited to the tea and coffee in your room although some are equipped with a Vending Machine for cold drinks, crisps and sweets.

Whitbread LogoPremier Inns are owned now owned by the Whitbread and, as a result, are often seen next to Brewers Fayre, TableTable, Beefeater and Taybarns restaurants. However, old Premier Inns are situated next to a wide variety of restaurants including TGI Friday’s and Two For One (previously a Whitbread brand).

One thing I pick up on, being wierd and all, is that a lot of Premier Inns house the advert featuring Lenny Henry as a big cardboard cut-out many moons past the TV campaign. In fact, there’s no signs of the campaign on the t’internet  (bar YouTube) anymore. Anyway, it always draws my attention because Lenny features a friendly rubber duck in all of these ads, however, I am yet to find a Premier Inn where the company of a rubber duck is included with the room! I think they should really!

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SONY’s New Stupid Piece of Shit

Posted by Chalky on Mar 1, 2009 in Funny, Rants, Technology
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I watched this funny video from The Onion News Network in the latest episode of Diggnation.

I was going to turn it into a rant about SONY/at least say something, but in the end, I couldn’t be bothered!