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New Year, New Rant

I'm very aware that this blog gets virtually nothing posted to it these days. It's not because I'm less ranty, but more because a lot of my rants are (a) fleeting, and (b) fit in about 140 characters. Twitter killed the LJ star, and all that.

Still, my beloved local council is being sufficiently crap that even I can't reduce it to the size of a text message, so...

First off, their website (for, tis the only way to do things like buy visitor parking permits). It's relatively easy to guess, because it's Barnet - so, barnet.gov.uk, right? Wrong. Unlike every other website in the world(1) Barnet demands the www prefix. Come on, it's not still the 1990s - it's actively hard to avoid that working by default.

Secondly, when I press the "sell me some parking permits" button I'm asked for my "permit reference number" and "applicant id". Now, I've never heard of these. I figured I could probably work out my permit reference number by, you know, looking at my permit. But I don't have an applicant id, and entering '1' didn't fool it. So, I had to phone them.

The good part is that I got through, fairly quickly, to a surprisingly helpful lady who quickly told me that not only was my applicant id not '1', but that the required 'permit reference number' isn't the reference number on my permit - oh no, it's a different reference number that's only used for ordering visitor permits. But, she can give me those details if I just tell her my name and address.

Hang on. Why can't the website do this? Why can't I just tell you where I live and give you some money, and you send out some permits? Why fanny around with all this applicant id nonsense? The absolute worst I could do would be to maliciously send (and pay for) some visitor parking permits to someone else living in the borough.

Still, success. Pointless hassle, but success. Visitors will no longer be threatened with parking tickets, or fighting with the ticket machine across the road (sorry Dave).

On an unrelated note: Barnet, just because it's conventionally called "grit" doesn't mean that you can fool us by spreading actual grit on the snow because, unlike rock salt, grit actually does fuck all, except making it look like our road has silted up.

(1) yes, yes, I know it's not actually every other website in the world, but you get the idea.