Stamp out bureaucracy

This year I’ve used up all my old definitive stamps, sending my Christmas cards before they force us to use barcoded monstrosities from February, now only six days away. Perversely Christmas non-barcoded are still valid for another six months. Before politicians in their wisdom, broke up Royal Mail, we could have exchanged them in the post office instead of downloading the appropriate form and sending it off.

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Lambeth Palace

LAMBETH PALACE (n.) Residence that doth house the premier Anglican Prelate, that is neither a palace, nor in Lambeth but Vauxhall.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon

Search Me!

Here’s another one of those posts that has nothing to do with London, cabs or travel, unashamedly it’s a vanity trip to find just how universal CabbieBlog really is.

Using search engines, easily the most useful invention on the planet (with the possible exception of the wheel, electricity, the English language, sanitation, democracy and Worcestershire sauce), and, would you know it, there are more search engines than you can shake a stick at?

We don’t all use Google, not by a long shot. So here are the top 10 search engines and their ability to find this humble corner of the Cyberverse which is CabbieBlog:

  1. Google (78.23% of market share; ranks CabbieBlog at #1) Simple, clean, functional (and sends lots of visitors my way, thank you).
  2. Bing (8.04%; #1) Why is Bill Gates’ search engine so popular? It can only be the devious and underhand tactic of incorporating it in 90% of the world’s web browsers. Please say you never use it.
  3. Baidu (7.34%; #1) No I had never heard of them either, Baidu absolutely dominates the Chinese market with 74.73% against Google’s 2% share of Chinese searches. Rather strange keying CabbieBlog into a page covered in Chinese characters, but it worked, so at least I’m not censored.
  4. Yahoo! (3.39%; #1) I’m old enough to remember when Yahoo! search used to be the go-to, with a huge list of directories and subdirectories. They’re still there if you look hard enough, but it’s now much quicker to search without them. It’s a bloody stupid name anyway.
  5. Yandex (1.53%; #1) is Russia’s most popular search engine, once used in Ukraine, which I suspect now uses Google.
  6. Ask (0.72%; #12) To be fair to Ask, CabbieBlog might be at number 12 in their search results but was mentioned on other people’s sites at numbers 2, 3 and 4. Once known as Ask Jeeves it’s now just Ask, but that’s presumably because a lot of internet users can’t spell ‘Jeeves’.
  7. DuckDuckGo (0.39%; #1) Also CabbieBlog ranks 2-5, thanks, guys. This search engine doesn’t harvest or store your information, which means you’re not bombarded with adverts, unlike these days with Google’s advert algorithms are urging me to buy my own book.
  8. Naver (0.13%; #1) Me neither, but apparently with a 75 per cent market share it’s ‘The Google of South Korea’.
  9. AOL (0.06%; #1) Short for ‘America Online’, which goes back to 1985, this pioneer of dial-up internet is almost forgotten, get your grandad to explain life before digital.
  10. Seznam (0.05%; #1) This Czechoslovakian search engine put me in the first 6 slots and even gave me an English translation. Thanks, guys.

I’m delighted to see that my blog is the number 1 result for “CabbieBlog” in every single one of the above search engines (except for Ask, but who these days uses them?).

Special mention to Ecosia which uses money from advertising to plant trees around the world to benefit the environment and local economies. Ecosia’s homepage keeps score of the number of trees planted, over 163 million at the time of writing, they also ranked CabbieBlog in the first 6 slots.

My favourite incidentally, is Ecosia, this search engine doesn’t store your searches permanently, use external tracking tools, or sell your data to advertisers. Your searches are encrypted and you can simply turn off all of Ecosia’s tracking if you want. What’s more, it’s transparent about how it spends its money, releasing regular financial reports. In October 2018, founder Christian Kroll gave some of his shares to the Purpose Foundation. As a result, Kroll and Ecosia co-owner Tim Schumacher forfeited their rights to take profits out of the company or sell Ecosia for a profit in the future – talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

These days of climate change becoming ever more frightening it seems planting trees using the Internet is the least you can do, I always search here before I turn to Google. Now, which search engine do you use?

London in Quotations: John Ruskin

So all that great foul city of London there, – rattling, growling, smoking, stinking, – a ghastly heap of fermenting brickwork pouring out poison at every pore . . . you fancy it is a city of work? Not a street of it! It is a great city of play; very nasty play and very hard play, but still play.

John Ruskin (1819-1900)

London Trivia: Trunk call

On 22 January 1970 Heathrow welcomed a Pan Am Boeing 747; the first ‘jumbo jet’ carrying fare-paying passengers has arrived at Heathrow airport. Pan Am Flight Two touched down at 14.14 GMT. The jumbo brought 324 passengers across the Atlantic from New York to London. The return journey to New York did not run so smoothly, 36 of the 153 passengers transferred to other flights after a faulty compressed air bottle, meant take-off was delayed for four-and-a-half hours at Heathrow.

On 22 January 1988 Alexandra Palace was reopened following restoration, the palm court included dates and palms brought from Alexandria, Egyptian-style obelisks and mock sphinxes

On 22 January 1626 In Bleeding Heart Yard, Farringdon Lady Elizabeth Hatton’s mutilated body was found after she danced with the devil

Green Lanes, which runs 7.45 miles from Newington Green to Ridge Avenue in Winchmore Hill, is the longest named thoroughfare in London

In Whitechapel during the mid 1800s you could have a clean hot bath for 6d, or get in someone’s disused warm water for 2d, many chose the latter

Upminster Bridge station has a swastika motif on the floor of the ticket hall installed before the symbol took on its sinister reputation

In Fever Pitch (1997) shots showing Highbury’s 1970 terraces were Fulham’s at Craven Cottage. Arsenal’s ground had become an all-seater

Famous 1950s coffee-bar in Old Compton Street was called 3 I’s one Iranian left becoming 2 I’s. Australian’s bought the lease and kept the name

On 22 January 1927 the first football match was broadcast live on the radio took place at Highbury as Arsenal drew 1-1 with Sheffield United

The total number of carriages in London Underground’s fleet, as of January 2013, was 4,134 and the total number of stations served on the network was 270

Waterloo Bridge, is known as ‘Ladies’ Bridge on account of the World War II goodbyes to troops enroute to Waterloo Station and the women who built it

Frederick Hitch, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his courage at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, became a London Cabbie when he came home

CabbieBlog-cab.gifTrivial Matter: London in 140 characters is taken from the daily Twitter feed @cabbieblog.
A guide to the symbols used here and source material can be found on the Trivial Matter page.