Ocado’s website sucks

Ocado is so rubbish. Just spent half an hour putting things into my trolley under the impression that delivery is free then get told there’s a delivery charge.

Spend another half hour putting more stuff in get that delivery charge to zero. Then, on checking out, find 3 items have been removed from my trolley because they’re unavailable which brings the price under the amount.

Then you click Add to trolley on the replacements it suggests and next time you come round they’re still there. So, then you have to manually remove them and go hunting round for replacements to nudge it back up.

The other thing is they just don’t have certain things – e.g. the Bakery usually has packs of fresh biscuits which aren’t on the website. And the pictures are so small. E.g. the pack of raspberries could be anything – radishes, tomatoes…?

So, so frustrating. Hours of wasted time hunting round for replacements. It really is actually quicker to just go to the supermarket and pick up stuff off the shelf yourself. Incredibly that something so obvious – i.e. online shopping could be slower. The advantages of online shopping are so profound – i.e. no hunting round in the supermarket trying to find the item you’re after.

OK, back to my online shopping with Ocado. Ah, so Ocado mixed peppers are out of stock, but my Waitrose peppers are in my trolley. So, why have I got 2 separate Peppers in my trolley?

OK, solved that. But now Mayo and apples are out of stock. They weren’t 10 minutes ago. This is for a delivery at 6:30pm tomorrow!! Why don’t they just show me what’s available for that delivery?!

Groan – let’s try Sainsbury’s website.

Here’s a tip for all supermarkets. Deliver for free. Why do you charge us explicitly for the overhead of your delivery infrastructure but then implicitly for the overhead of your supermarket building rents, rates and running cost infrastructure?

Here’s my bet: Amazon Fresh will solve this problem and online retailers like Ocado and Sainsbury’s will go eventually go bust. Why? It’s all about making things easy to use. And they won’t charge for deliveries.

Coronavirus: success stories

How did countries deal with the Covid-19?

A few stats (18th May 2020):


Country Population (M) Cases Cases/1M Deaths
Vietnam 95.54 320 3 0
New Zealand 4.89 1149 231 21
United Kingdom 66.65 234,695 3,668 34,636
United States 328.2 1,516,343 4,601 89,932
Italy 60.36 225,435 3,742 31,908
China 1,393 82,954 59 4,634

Here’s to the crazy ones.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. – Rob Siltanen

How high can birds fly?

Flying in a plane recently I realised I’d never seen a bird outside the plane window.

I assumed it was because birds didn’t fly that high.

Turns out I was wrong. There are birds that fly at the altitude of commercial aircraft.

For one, the Rüppell’s griffon vulture which has been seen at 37,000 feet.

Even the common crane flies to 33,000 feet which it does when flying over the Himalayas to avoid eagles in the passes when migrating.

More info https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_by_flight_heights

So the reason you don’t seem them at this height is because they only do it where necessary. Or rarely. Eg there are very few Rüppell’s vultures remaining.

Chasing up Vermeers in New York

I was reading this Google Editorial What’s so special about Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring?

It reminded me of one day in New York (probably in my 2nd year there) I found I’d got a free Saturday. So, as I had an annual membership of the Met (top tip – you can actually get in for free – you don’t need to pay the $25 per visit fee that they promote – that’s optional – they just require a donation), I made it a quest to chase down every Vermeer in New York.

Vermeer didn’t create a lot of paintings so they’re pretty rare to find.

There’s actually a website that lists where all the Vermeers are!

Turned out there were 7 in New York – 5 at the Met and 2 at the Frick Collection.


Possibly the worst Machine Learning story I’ve read in public

I cannot believe the column inches this article got. The title is:

Even algorithms are biased against black men

whereas it should have read:

Poorly designed algorithm incorrectly predicts bias but rather than getting a smack on the hand and getting some machine learning experts to do the job properly we’ll blame the problem on the software and create some confusion and mass hysteria by publishing it in the national press

Just because the authors of this algorithm were from ProPublica does not make the algorithm correct. The only sentence worth a modicum of merit in the entire piece is the first sentence of the last paragraph which reads:

The big puzzle is how the bias creeps into the algorithm.

However, it’s not a big puzzle. It’s simply a bad machine learning algorithm.

We might be able to understand how if we could examine it. But most of these algorithms are proprietary and secret, so they are effectively “black boxes” – virtual machines whose workings are opaque

And this is just scare-mongering. The solution is called validation data.

For those wanting to read this piece of claptrap go here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/26/algorithms-racial-bias-offenders-florida

John Naughton and the Guardian should be ashamed of themselves. This type of rubbish belongs in the Sun.


Horses, Cars and Doctor’s Surgeries

I believe that within 50 years the vast majority of all physical doctor’s surgeries will have disappeared.

Why’s that?

Simply because people will be using their mobile phones to connect with their doctors.

Now I can see a lot of people that come up with instant arguments such as:

  • but what about something that needs physical examination like a knee problem OR
  • but people prefer to see their doctor’s in person

I’m not even going to attempt to try and answer these. My view is that there will be answers to these questions. I don’t necessarily know what they are but some people out there do know these answers (if you’re one of these please leave a comment!).

We’re roughly in the pre-mass-market car era. I guess that would be somewhere in the 1920s?

According to this article (http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=144565) in the USA in 1915 there were 20 million horses. By the 1950s and 1960s this had dropped to between 1 and 3 million. Note that now this has increased to around 7 million (I’ll come back to that).

Back then, if you talked to someone and said that in 50 years time between 85% and 95%  of all horses would have disappeared to be replaced by cars people would have looked at you as if you were mad. There would be questions like:

  • what if you got a puncture?
  • why would anyone want to drive to a distant gas station and spend a huge amount of money on gas when you can simply put your horse out to graze on your land?

It seems easy to answer these now. But back then, trying to answer them clearly and successfully would have been really difficult. For example, if you answered, you would get a mechanic to drive out to fix a puncture, they would answer but there aren’t any local mechanics. If you answered that you would have to fix it yourself, they would say but that would require some complex skills. Fixing a horseshoe is very simple. And there are loads of horse vets in every town. And loads of spare horses if you need a new one.

Back to the 7 million current horses. Why has this gone up? For various reasons:

  1. there was a correction. In the 1950s it would have seemed obvious that horses should completely disappear. However, horses have found a niche. For example, they’re a great way for police to establish a presence in a not-too threatening way. They are also being used for racing rather than as a source of power (i.e. a work horse).
  2. the GDP of the USA has increased tremendously since 1915 (https://ourworldindata.org/gdp-growth-over-the-last-centuries/). Hence why horses have an increasingly large role in the leisure sector as race horses.

So, my belief is that the vast majority of doctor’s surgeries will have disappeared in 30 to 50 years time. There may be a correction but it will be for a particular niche.

Disclosure: whilst this doesn’t change anything about this post and my beliefs, I have equity in a telemedicine startup called Dr Medy.