First Answer Badge!


I worked in Ethiopia many years ago, and carried sweets in my jacket pocket.  When an official gave me information that I needed I gave him or her a sweet.  This was light-hearted on my part, but after a while my counterpart told me, very seriously, that people might feel they were being treated like children and take offence.

I have just converted to Windows 10 and had occasion to ask Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri, how to restore the ‘search box’ that had disappeared from my screen.  Instead of simply putting it back – as a human assistant might have done – she whizzed me to a Microsoft website where fellow-sufferers exchange information.

To Cortana’s credit, it turned out to be the right place.  Lots of people had had the same problem and someone had worked out a solution.  I tried it and, with a bit of a tweak of my own, got my search box back.  I wrote a Thank-you note and described how I had tweaked the solution to suit my own set-up.

Leaving a reply entailed registering as a member of the Microsoft Community.  Almost immediately I received an emailing announcing that I had won my first Answer Badge!  For some reason my thoughts turned to Ethiopia and sweets.  Here’s a picture of my Microsoft Community badge, alongside a lot of other badges that I haven’t got yet:

JObadge1 merit-badges-v2

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must write a glowing review of the Ankyun Restaurant.  I’m working towards becoming a Level 3 Trip Advisor Reviewer!

Trip Advisor


I have to share this news…  I have my Trip Advisor Reviewer badge!  It is a Passport badge, because I am so well travelled.  How does Trip Advisor know that I am well travelled?  Because I wrote a review of a B&B in St. Austell and a review of the Eden Project.

Mrs SG and I were travelling by rental car in Devon and Cornwall a couple of months ago – we can’t afford trains any more – and finding B&Bs as and where we could at the close of each day.  We discovered some interesting facts…

First, British B&Bs are very expensive these days: around GBP100 for a double in St. Ives, which could be why the man with seven wives was coming back.  Why is that?  Only 50 years ago you could stay at a B&B anywhere for between 6/- and 15/- a night.  Half-a-guinea was pretty normal, which was about 3% of the average weekly wage.  Now you’re lucky to get away with GBP30, which is about 5%.  True, you get an en-suite bathroom and a flat-screen TV now, but do those fripperies really justify such a hefty hike?

Second, Trip Advisor has replaced the AA as the arbiter of quality.  Every B&B has a certificate on the wall or even a metal plate beside the front door.  That’s why I’m so proud of my new badge!