The Top 25 Best 'Damn You Autocorrects' of 2012


Here at VOOT we regularly have a chuckle at those of you who can't work your phones properly!!

Damn You Auto Correct is a great website which allows you to upload some of the very best examples of texts that your phone thought it would be better to send than the message you intended... Here is a link to a blog that summarises some of the best examples of the year 2012... we hope you like them.

Post your own links to better ones in our comments section!

VOOT's Christmas Message to the nation...

Without wishing to take too much away from Her Majesty's Christmas message, always the highlight of any Christmas Day in VOOT Towers, here's a little something from myself and the 'Boy Wonder' to brighten up your Christmas shopping. Have a great Christmas folks...

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Orange launch new data charges to reduce 'Data Shock'


One of the most common complaints the networks get these days is from customers who have exceeded their data bundles on their mobiles.

Even here at VOOT we have had our problems with it, given Dan Voot's obsession with all things Twitter and Facebook! The networks spend hours on the phone appeasing angry customers as quite often the bill for this data is huge...

Now Orange have launched a new plan which it is hoped will significantly decrease the amount of 'data-shock' cases they handle on a monthly basis.  This is what they have done...

From Tuesday 11 December Orange has changed the way it charges out of bundle data on Business Solo and Business Sense tariffs, to significantly reduce bill shock for your customers.

  • Customers will be charged £5 for every 250MB bundle that they use over their allocated allowance from their plan
  • They can do this up to maximum of 8 times in 1 month - i.e. use 2GB of data out of bundle and they will be charged an additional £40
  • If they use more than an additional 2GB of data in a single month (out of bundle) they will then be charged 10p per MB thereafter.

This is a significant change and one we hope will be welcomed by clients. We can think of only one thing that would improve on this. How good would it be if customers were sent a text message when they go over the bundle they have paid for too? That way - customers would know straight away and be able to react.

Maybe next time...

Once more unto the breach, my friends, once more


Here at VOOT we love to do our bit... and are becoming somewhat hardened campaigners for charities we believe in... 

As a part of that approach we are also always keen to help our friends in their own efforts - and this year has been no exception with our completed Brentford to Bluebell Wood bike ride just a few short months ago...

Last year we took part in the 'Grasmere Channel Swim' organised by our lovely friend Angela Clark of Banerigg Guest House in the Lake District... to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust...

Whatever I say to you about Cystic Fibrosis, and how challenging it is for the incredibly brave Lucy, I cannot say it any better than her Aunt Angela - the instigator and organiser of this event. Angela worked tirelessly last year to raise over £18,000 for Cystic Fibrosis - inspired entirely by her niece - and this year wants to raise a lot more than that.  You - the readers of this page - helped me SMASH my fundraising target of £750 by donating £1300.00... I would love you to help me do that again this year - but really - whatever you can give is fantastic.  Don't ever think your contribution is too small - I know more than most this year just how tough our economic climate is right now - and I also know how cliched it can sound - but really - EVERY LITTLE HELPS... Even a £1 text donation will be a massive help - and just think - its better than giving it to Simon Cowell! Isn't it??

Over to Angela... Some of you may be asking  why are we doing this?  The answer is quite simply that we want to raise much needed funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.  Twelve years ago, our then two year old niece Lucy, was diagnosed with CF.  This is one of the UK's most common life threatening inherited diseases, which affects over 9,000 people in the UK. Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and the digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus that makes it hard to breathe and digest food.

Our 14 year old neice  is a plucky little girl and copes without complaint with her daily cocktail of drugs (over 40 tablets), nebulisers and physiotherapy, nightly enteral feeds plus intravenous antibiotics every three months.  We believe, however, that the current research into gene therapy replacement will be life changing. This is why it is vital to continue raising money to fund this research that will make such a difference to Lucy's life and all those with CF.

We are,  therefore  hugely grateful for the support of family, friends and the local community for this fund raising event.  We couldn't do it without you.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

So please dig deep and donate now.  http://www.justgiving.com/GrasmereSwim2012NigelShort

Business 'Notworking' Insight....

Here at VOOT we do A LOT of networking in our region. And we don't just do it for the breakfasts..  Just recently we have had cause to review where our networking bucks are being spent, in order to analyse what return we are seeing from the time (and money) invested.

Networking tends to take a few different forms, the most formal being BNI who require a weekly attendance commitment and an Annual membership fee to go with the breakfast costs, to the totally informal who require no commitment and a payment to cover your breakfast.

In todays blog I want to review the first of these BNI, and to recount a recent experience.

VOOT has been represented in 2 BNI Groups (or Chapters as they are known). The annual membership fee is in the region of £450 - with a £100 'joining fee' adding to the initial investment.  Weekly fees then tend to be around £10 to cover room hire and breakfast.

BNI 'guarantee' that you will be the only business of your category represented in the 'Chapter', and the inference is that you will therefore receive all referrals generated within that Chapter for your category.  Often, recruitment of Chapter members is achieved by 'suggesting' to local business owners that currently lots of potential referrals are being lost due to the lack of representation in that specific category within the chapter... a loaded hook if you like!  These messages are often reinforced in the weekly 'Education' slots at the BNI meetings.

The meeting follows a tried and trusted format and is essentially the same every week, each member gets 60 seconds to deliver their weekly message, and later a member is allowed to present a 10 min summary of their business to the group. Finally, the weekly referrals round where members have to stand up and say how many referrals they have brought for other members that week, or give a testimonial for a member.

BNI does work - for certain parties it works extremely well. However, its strength can also prove to be its weakness. For instance, recently we became aware that a member was joining our Group who was a competitor because one of his product line conflicted with our own. We raised our objections, along with another member, and these were effectively ignored in favour of 'growing the group'.

'Growing the Group' is a big thing for BNI. It is espoused at every opportunity, particularly by the Area Leaders, and I'm sure this is nothing to do with the membership fees.... The Yorkshire region has around 750 members, who all pay the £450 annual dues, so at £337,500 per year just in memberships its BIG business....

Member League Tables are circulated monthly showing members who are in the Green, Amber and Red. Points are given for referrals given, meeting attendance, testimonials, training events attended (all chargeable) etc. Absenteeism is frowned upon - and if you miss 3 meetings in a 6 month period you risk losing your place and your category 'being opened up'.  If you do lose your place, there are no refunds given on membership fees paid.

If a strict and regimented approach to networking appeals to you, with the commitment of weekly attendance and having to find a substitute to cover for your holidays or those times when you have an unavoidable meeting, then BNI can work.  Unfortunately it does also rely on your face 'fitting' within the group.

BNI's other mantra is 'Givers Gain'.  I have monitored the League Tables for months and from my own experience the exact opposite is true.

For example, in the Chapter we have just resigned from, the Top 3 'Referral Givers' issued 162 referrals in 6 months and received just 72 in return... The Top 3 'Referral Receivers' were given 184 referrals - and issued 49...

Maybe a new mantra of 'Non-Givers Gain' would actually be more appropriate?? Raising anything like this with the group will potentially mean your face starts to fit less and less.  

In January we made a business decision to circulate much more in other networking circles, while still maintaining a BNI presence with a regular substitute - who is a director of VOOT.  We were told that this was unnaceptable as this breached BNI policy of 3 subs per half year period, and that we would have to pay a £30 fee to transfer the membership name. We did point out at this point that it only costs £10 to change a name by deed-poll, before consulting the BNI policies for confirmation.

Unsurprisingly there was nothing in BNI policies about either condition and an objection was raised. During this time a Chapter Member let slip that another telecoms company had expressed an interest in joining the Group to fill our category if we left. Or were forced out.

We requested a refund of our remaining Annual Dues and were happy to walk away at this point. We were told we could have a credit, refundable IF we were ever accepted at another chapter... which we think will be unlikely!

In summary, consider very carefully whether you want to commit a chunk of cash to join a Referral Organisation.  And if you want to discuss our own experiences, please don't hesitate to contact us.

VOOT Accessories launches today...

An exciting day for us here at VOOT today - as recent recruit Danny launches a whole new side to our business... online accessory sales.

Danny has decided to set us apart from the many other accessory companies in the field - by concentrating only on the quality end of the market. None of your cheap rubbish here!

VOOT Accessories will be stocking the full range of car kits, car chargers, cases, bluetooth headsets and more and more for your phones and tablet devices.

As a recognised supplier to businesses up and down the country - the aim is to give those businesses an opportunity to purchase and distribute to staff a range of quality accessories that will grow and grow.

Go and have a look at our new Online store at www.vootaccessories.co.uk - feel free to call Danny for advice.

Also - for the latest news on all things accessory - add him to your Twitter feeds on @vootaccesories... and please share the link with your friends.

Our take on this weeks Blackberry outage

Well, touchwood, on waking this morning (Thu 13th October), the 3 day server outage appears to be at an end and Blackberry services are functioning.  What an incredibly frustrating 3 days we have shared. Not only have we lost the use of our own devices, we have been unable to provision Blackberry devices for 2 new clients, or 3 existing ones who have upgraded.

What has been of particular disappointment during the outage has been the information coming from RIM regarding the problem.  In a world where communication with clients is key, in the opening 48 hours so little was said on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, or in statements to the Press, you could be forgiven in thinking the problem only affected a handful of clients, and not 3 continents worth of customers.  Only on Day 3 did a page appear on RIMs own site detailing status updates http://uk.blackberry.com/serviceupdate/ . In our opinion - thats just not good enough.  Hopefully lessons have been learned...

So, what happened? Well, as far as we can tell, the central server - so long the absolute strength of Blackberry over its competitors like Apple and Android - failed.  The central server that allows services like BBM, and the absolute security of its email etc suffered a major problem, and subsequently those services were lost.  This could potentially have far reaching effects for Blackberry - especially for consumer customers.  We are reasonably confident that those businesses who value their data, and the services that Blackberry excel at normally, will recognise the value of keeping their custom with RIM, at least until Apple or Android can competently offer the same.  But the more fickle private user may decide that enough is enough - and 3 days to fix a server is really not good enough.

Here at VOOT - we would like to take this opportunity to apologise to all of our customers who have remained patient throughout. Unbelievably - we haven't received a single complaint about this problem from you, our loyal clients.  We would like to thank you ALL for your patience.

Blackberry services cost around £5 per month for the average BIS client - dependent on network. VOOT will personally be refunding every single customer their £5 subscription for this month (by a M&S voucher), for every handset they use, as a gesture of goodwill and appreciation for your understanding that this was a situation well beyond our control...

Wouldn't it be nice if a corporate giant like RIM could do the same?

A brilliant (and very funny) response to a complaint!!


Here at VOOT we are always up for a bit of a chuckle... and recently wrote a letter of complaint to a national biscuit supplier complaining that not enough of their 'Broken Biscuits' were actually broken... Here is our letter - and their rather brilliant (and hilarious) reply......

To: Michael Riley - Freemans Confectionery Supplies
Subject: Broken Biscuits

Dear Michael

I today purchased a box of your ‘broken biscuits’ for a meeting at work.

The meeting was with our Bank Manager and we were hoping to negotiate some favourable terms for an overdraft facility to help us through the ‘credit crunch’.

On opening your biscuits I was horrified to discover that not all of the biscuits were in fact broken, and despite me hastily snapping as many biscuits as I could the damage had already been done.  Our Bank Manager has refused our overdraft and cited our ‘biscuit extravagances’ as evidence of our poor business management, claiming that in difficult times there is no shame in serving up broken biscuits or even Wagon Wheels to our visitors.

This is clearly going to impact on our business heavily and I wanted to ask you to please make it more clear on your packaging of the ‘Dunkables’ range that some of the biscuits may indeed not be broken to avoid further potential embarrassment to businesses like us, or even old ladies who may serve them up to family and friends while pleading that the old age pension is still insufficient to cover living costs.

Kind regards

Nigel Short



To: Nigel VOOT
Subject: RE: Broken Biscuits

Dear Mr Short,


Thank you for your electronic mail. Prima facie you seem to be making a serious allegation of misrepresentation. On behalf of Freemans Confectionery Supplies I would like to submit my humblest apologies for any discomfort you may have experienced from the circumstances of "the bank manager incident". Whilst you have my sympathy no liability is admitted, no refunds will be entertained and no compensatory damages will flow.

I agree that there are few things less pleasant than having painstakingly engineered low expectations into a third party - circumstances conspire to render them pleasantly surprised by the quality (or quantity) of your offering. I am minded of similar circumstances arising out of my wedding night. I was, of course, a much younger man then, but I digress.

Short, you sound like a man of the world. Hard headed and to the point so I'll make no bones about it. We pride ourselves here on our low standards of customer service and anyone who imperils that hard won reputation is a danger to the organisation. Accordingly, following an appropriately Stalinesque inquisition we have summarily dismissed the biscuit breaking operative responsible for this outrageous negligence and had them blackballed from any equivalent employment for life. I know one shoudn't be hard on single mothers, especially in the current economic climate (to which you have alluded) but we take strong exception to any breach in our quality standards. 

I hope this 'no nonsense' approach is to your liking. I know it won't soften the bank manager's heart but lets face it that was never going to happen. A propos the old folks - what with index linked pensions and cold weather heating allowances we are mollycoddling the old malingerers already. They would be better served by prudently lining their shoes with newspaper rather than spending their leisure hours frittering away their lavish state pensions on bingo and broken biscuits.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Riley

p.s. The giving of Wagon Wheels is now strictly proscribed under Article 12 of the Human Rights Act.


Orange revamp their Business Sense tariff

From 5 September, Orange is refreshing its Business Sense tariff to provide plans that are easier to  tailor to our customer's requirements.

The main changes are:  

  • Introduction of new tiers of Flexible Extras
  • Extension to the range of chargeable extras including 2 new roaming bundles, 1 new text bundle, new mobile browsing bundles and 2 new IDD (International Direct dial) bundles
  • Launch of unlimited free calls to freephone numbers (No other network offers this!)
  • Unlimited WiFi is now included as standard
  • 50 inclusive texts per sharer
  • Tiered sharer data allowances from £2.50 (250MB) up to £6.50 (750MB)
  • Unlimited talk benefits

Please give us a call at VOOT to discuss how this plan can save your business cash - while making your usage even more efficient...

Don't get bitten by your bytes this summer...

A cautionary tale for anyone travelling with their smartphone this summer - inspired by a customer who DIDN'T get advised by VOOT and was therefore left with a HUGE bill for data roaming.

Its YOUR responsibility as a customer to check your data package when going abroad - and be warned - emails, Facebook, Twitter, browsing for the weather forecast will ALL add bytes to your bill...

Don't get bitten by your bytes when you get home.

With our BlackBerry® and iPhone packages you can get the access you need, wherever you need it.

  • get enough roaming data to cover your needs
  • from £12 a month per user (excluding VAT)
  • GPRS, EDGE and 3G roaming is charged in per byte intervals, whatever zone you're working in, to keep your costs as low as possible.
  • choose from a world or Europe package to suit your needs
A 75mB bundle of roaming data is available on Blackberry for just £18 - if you didn't apply this bundle and used that data your bill would be over £190...

iPhone '6' already developed and waiting...


With rumours circulating about the release date of the forthcoming iPhone5, VOOT attended a seminar last night where we were treated to a glimpse of the future. Treated is definitely the word too.

Long renowned for innovation - Apple demonstrated (and we mean demonstrated - this is developed and working!) the iPhone 6 - and we've never 'seen' anything like it.

The iPhone 6 will change the way the world thinks about everything. Apple have been working with the famous professor Steven Hawkings, to develop thought process into the written word.

This work has been underway for some years now - and initially was aimed at the world of Macs... but as technology raced ahead it was deemed as 'absolutely the right thing to do' to develop this for the mobile environment.

They've abandoned the touch screen in favour of a cochlear interface that will transmit brain patterns into electrical impulses - and these will be transmitted to a retinal implant that will 'project' the images onto the surface of the eye - amazingly in HD format - and you just 'think' where you want to 'press'... read... scroll... pinch and zoom... browse and type.... its absolutely incredible and uncannily accurate.

Amazingly - the cochlear implant will also allow users to use the software to dial out and hear the other party - and with a microphone fitted into a separate implant embedded into the tooth - this really is the most portable mobile 'phone' ever developed. Apple suggested this may well be on sale by 'final quarter 2012'... and we are already gearing up for what will be unprecedented demand.

We were gobsmacked last night - and no less gobsmacked as we wake up this morning.  If anyone would like copies of the literature we were given yesterday - please email me at nigel@voot.org