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Comment: Re:WTF (Score 4, Interesting) 145

by tim_retout (#34110176) Attached to: UK's National Rail Shuts Down Free Timetable App

I really expect an app from National Rail to be arriving any time now based on the squirming exhibted in the corrspondense.

Well, nearly: they charge companies for the right to implement the apps for them, who then sell them to the public at £5 a time.

Except when they revoke licenses without warning, and get investigated under competition law. See my other comment further down the page somewhere.

I was sending emails to people about this all last week - if all the people who use the API now get in touch with one another, they might be able to collectively demonstrate just how much NRE is hindering innovation. And then the regulator can step in. (Email me via my website if you're interested!)

Comment: Me too... (Score 5, Informative) 145

by tim_retout (#34109764) Attached to: UK's National Rail Shuts Down Free Timetable App

I wrote the CPAN module for this API, and have had a similar cool response from NRE to my request for an API token.

ATOC were investigated by the Office for Rail Regulation for possible breach of the Competition Act over this data (the full report is long, but interesting in its own way):
http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.2433

"Critical to this conclusion was that we found no evidence that ATOC’s conduct in granting access to Darwin had prevented a new product from coming to market or hampered the emergence of new technology."

I believe the ORR plans to revisit this decision at some point, to examine whether this is still true. So... if the efforts by local and central government to "persuade" ATOC to open this data do not produce results, one approach is to build as many cool, innovative apps on top of this API as possible while it still works. Then ask for licenses for them. If ATOC do not grant those licenses, the rejection notices can be handed to the regulator to show what effect this is having on development in this area.

Bizarrely, you would think it would be in the interests of the Train Operating Companies for the public to have convenient access to this data - but the association that represents them seems more interested in making a quick buck on licensing Android and iPhone apps.

Comment: Rooter: +1 British (Score 1) 79

by tim_retout (#11398751) Attached to: R-oo-tur or R-ow-tur?

I vote for 'rooter', but hey, it's not that important. :)

I'm British - that's my excuse. My only exposure to the other pronunciation was in:

  1. a rubbishy computer game, involving American soldiers saying they were "en rowt" - was that meant to be French? Hmm...
  2. Star Trek - "Re-rowting power to the shields" and so forth.

But at least I'm consistent - my 'rooter' 'roots' packets, and I've got 'root'. So do trees. Some Americans seem to be getting themselves all confused over it.

What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.

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