Monthly Archives: October 2011

Now got a BlackBerry

I have now entered into the world of Blackberry!

After buying my mum a Blackberry about a year ago, I’ve done the same after sticking valiantly with my sporadically horrendously shit but mostly good Nokia e63. The recent “memory full” messages,  despite the phone having nothing stored on it and having a 2Gb memory card, have prevented me being able to use it for mobile email collection, which is the #1 reason I need a phone for.

So far, so good. Blackberry Messenger is good fun and free, so looks like I’ll never even use my 500 free texts allowance now!

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Mobile phone call costs

Why does Virgin Mobile charge me only 8p per minute to call other mobiles on pay as you go, yet my Virgin Media land line charges me 28p per minute? Surely it’d be more expensive to call a mobile from a mobile? And as it’s all part of the same company, can’t the charges be at least FAIRLY similar? Not 350% HIGHER?!?

I really don’t understand why it is so unfairly expensive to call mobile phones in the UK.

It’s cheaper for me to call a mobile phone on the other side of the world using VOIP than a mobile phone in the next room for God’s sake!

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Jedward – Lipstick

Quite literally the best LED screen graphics I’ve ever seen:

Jedward: Lipstick (Eurovision Song Contest Final 2011) – whizz on to 0:47s

Cool song too!

And here’s how to make a better music video than the official one using mostly still images – clearly a very talented person put this together:

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KFC meat is Halal

I’m an atheist so I don’t want my food to be blessed before I eat it.

And that’s why I don’t eat at KFC.

And I don’t know why KFC assume that all of its customers are muslims!

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If the UK tax system was a drinking club

What do you mean if! But seriously, my accountant sent me this and it has stuck with me:

The Tax System

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to £100…

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay £1.
The sixth would pay £3.
The seventh would pay £7.
The eighth would pay £12.
The ninth would pay £18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay £59.

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by £20″. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just £80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.

So the first four men were unaffected.

They would still drink for free. But what about the other six? The paying customers?

How could they divide the £20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that £20 divided by six is £3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).

The sixth now paid £2 instead of £3 (33% saving).

The seventh now paid £5 instead of £7 (28% saving).

The eighth now paid £9 instead of £12 (25% saving).

The ninth now paid £14 instead of £18 (22% saving).

The tenth now paid £49 instead of £59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a pound out of the £20 saving,” declared the sixth man.

He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got £10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a pound too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get £10 back, when I got only £2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works.

The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction.

Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.

In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

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The Original Gift Company “express delivery”

7 days ago I placed an order with The Original Gift Company. All 3 items in my order had an express delivery graphic next to it in the catalogue. I have so far received no indication that the order has been dispatched yet — hardly express delivery in this day and age! ‘Express delivery’ is ‘next day’ delivery I would have assumed?

I just e-mailed them asking whether they can give me an update on an estimated arrival time for the order and immediately an automated e-mail response was sent back saying that they will get back to me within 4 days!

What century does this company live in?

Maybe I should have just written them a letter…

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My Nokia e63 phone ‘memory full’

It is funny how your relationship with a product can go from recommending it to friends to hating it.

I purchased my Nokia e63 mobile phone a year and a half ago. It was easy to set up, worked exactly how I wanted it to with emails, and gave me the flexibility to leave the office while still be in contact with my e-mail inbox for any orders etc. I found the battery lasted about a day or so, until I realised that if you connected to your home WiFi network the battery would last at least 3 days. Before this time I had not switched my home WiFi network on, as I have no other devices that require it.

I extolled the virtues of the phone to a friend and they bought the next model up, the e73. I liked my e63 so much I even bought the same model phone for my mum. Sadly, we couldn’t get the Nokia e-mail program to work on her version of the phone as it did on mine, even though the model was identical. It was soon rejected and I bought her a Blackberry instead which works fine.

But I still have my original phone. Just recently however it has been giving messages saying that the memory is full and I should delete data. Seeing as all the applications and messages are all stored on a 4Gb memory card, this warning message is ludicrous. On checking the status of the memory of the phone, it tells me simply 118Mb is used up simply running the phone’s operating system. Yesterday I had 3Mb of free memory, and even though I have not used the phone since I last checked the memory status, I now have less than 300kB of free memory. What the hell is using it up!? I have cleared my privacy data from the web browser which has brought it back to 1.2Mb, but where the hell is 1.8Mb of memory gone? I am on pay as you go, as I rarely leave the office and have 3 landlines connected already, so don’t use the mobile for calls and so don’t want to have a pay monthly contract.

Bah! It was going so well for so long. I don’t really want to have to spend more money to get a Blackberry to replace it. Having a working smart phone seems to be quite a costly business! And I certainly don’t want an iPhone thank you very much.

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Nutella health claims

There’s Nutella advertising their gloopy, claggy chocolate spread on the TV as some healthy start to the day with nuts and milk and cocoa in it. The last time I looked at a label of Nutella, hydrogenated vegetable oil (ie trans fats) was the 2nd thing on the ingredients list. Not quite the healthy start to the day I’d be looking for!

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Buying from bid tv

I bought a game console from Speed Auction TV this evening. 100 classic arcade games on a hand-held console. I saw it on bid tv at about 1:45AM this morning with Peter Simon and Marina Berry where it went for £14.99 plus the rather overpriced £5.99 delivery (it’ll arrive in 2nd class post no doubt). I couldn’t find it on their website to put a web bid on it for the next time it appeared, and it was on for £30.00 to ‘buy it now’. No-one in their right mind would pay that though, knowing it would be on again soon for £14.99 or less. ANYWAY, I searched and searched and after lookng through all the products that were on in the next few days on all 3 channels, I found it coming up on Price Drop TV at 6PM today so put in a web bid for £14.99. In the end, it went for £12.99 so that was good (everyone pays the lowest price). So I got one.

I also saw some ice stones (like ice cubes but made from soapstone so they don’t dilute your drink) which will be a gift for a whisky loving friend — I’ve seen them go for £1.00 before so I bid £2.00. And also some yellow Egyptian towels which I’ve bid £10.00 for but I’m not sure I’ll get (normally they go for £20.00 but you never know). That auction ends tomorrow.

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LinkedIn – count me out!

I don’t know how LinkedIn works.

Here is why:

I’m a supplier of products. I am ‘connected’ to and in communication with my suppliers simply by virtue of the day-to-day running of my business. My customers want to connect with me on LinkedIn. If I accept their connection, they see all of my suppliers contacts and can simply go over my head and deal directly with them! I always thought contacts were very important in businesses, but the whole theory behind LinkedIn seems to literally publicise your rolodex to all your customers and potentially competition to see who you know. Unless you keep them both mutually exclusive – ie only connect with suppliers, or only connect with customers. I mean, I’ve found out some of my suppliers suppliers, and also added some of their customers hoping that they’ll buy from me next time. Madness.

 

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More Makro

In tonight’s Makro visit we got some great value eggs, beetroot, onions and asparagus. Cheaper than we’ve seen anywhere else, so great selling. It was busier in there tonight than we’ve ever seen it – maybe just ‘cos we never normally go on a Friday. Got my mum another 5 hidden object games – she has almost a full shelf of them now! I got some prefessional Febreeze toilet air freshener – “professional” for just £2.00. Also step ladders, sloe gin, olive oil, Frosties, Just Brazils as a present, orange Matchmakers and that was about it. We’re collecting the stickers for the knives offer and have 3 lines so far.

They’ve completely moved the entrance door to the store to the other end of the building, so you walk through all the Christmas gift boxes first, and the freezer produce is at the other end of the store (whereas before it was the first thing you walked into). Quite a major change. They don’t seem to ask to see your membership card these days either. Years ago they’d swipe it onto their computer before letting you through the barrier, and you had to sign this piece of paper. It was crazy – none of the signatures were legible, and you didn’t have to print your name or the time when you’d “signed in”. What on earth was the point of it? On one occassion I scribbed an illegible autograph thinking even the woman behind the desk knew what a futile excercise it was, and she made me do it again, properly!

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Police dashboard cameras

If we all had cameras in our cars like the police, we could all actively report motorists who break the law by submitting the video clip via a police website as evidence. I drive within the speed limits, so I find it offensive when cars overtake me, clearly breaking the limit and thinking the law doesn’t apply to them. As there are so few police on the roads – I’ve just been driving for an hour and didn’t see one. I think if a number of people had cameras on their dashboards, drivers who regularly flount the law would think again as they wouldn’t know when they’d be getting filmed during the crime. Maybe if we got a percentage commission of any fines levied on the criminals we caught on camera, this would be added incentive? What do you think? Comment below.

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Joy

Without exception, every single person I’ve met called Joy has been a completely joy-less person.

The irony of life is a fickle mistress.

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The timing of AVG scans

Ahhh AVG Antivirus – always there to make a quick 1 minute job on the computer take 20 minutes due to its unstoppable FULL SYSTEM SCAN that you don’t want to happen.

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Donald Sinden

I’m convinced Donald Sinden is one of my neighbours. Looks like him, similar voice, locks his gates as I’m sure Simon Peel from Never the Twain would do in this day and age too. Nice chap. Only ever said good morning to him once. What goes on behind closed doors, eh? I’m sure this would be a nicer neighbourhood if we all talked to each other a bit more – there seems to be some interesting characters around here. But how? Do you just knock on the door and start gabbling to them? There’s only really so many excuses you can use to strike up conversation with neighbours who you don’t see out on the street. Borrowing things I suppose is one, sharing an aerial photograph of the area that you have found on the Internet is perhaps another, and perhaps a power cut — unless there gates have an electric intercom, in which case no luck!

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Toner cartridge weight difference

I just weighed a black toner cartridge that I’ve been made to replace by my printer, and a new one, and the difference in weight is only 23 grams! I only pay £12 for the cartridge (it’s a Dell 1320N printer) but still…that’s like 50p per gram!

Try weighing yours next time you have to change it.

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X Factor 2011 Winner Prediction

I predict Janet Devlin will win X Factor 2011.

Bear in mind it’s only week 2 so I’m predicting way ahead here!

*** UPDATE ***

I was wrong. She got voted out on week 8.
At the end of the series, it was revealed that she had received the highest number of votes for the first four weeks, which was the highest consecutive public vote out of all the 2011 contestants. So my prediction was going with the flow at the time!

Little Mix, a girl band, won.

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Cool 80s TV vehicles

Postman Pat

I love Postman Pat’s van – always have, always will. The old square one though – I’ve read he has a boring electric modern curvey one now.

postman_pat_car

I had a Dukes of Hazard birthday cake when I was about 4 or 5.

General Lee

I also liked (the original) Knightrider which was in fact a Pontiac Trans-am. I would like to buy one, but I never would. Not sure how practical it really is for someone who isn’t really a ‘petrol-head’ or mechanic.

kitt

I’d rather have quirky cars than turbo boosted ones or anything silly.

I used to love driving the pedal-powered ice cream van in playschool.

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Energy tariffs

One way to help people with electricity and gas bills is for the energy companies to

a) stop being so bloody greedy and

b) just have one single tariff – the BEST PRICE tariff for us ALL.

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Board games – I’m missing a trick!

It suprises me how much board games cost to buy. I’m looking at Risk and Stratego, maybe Pandemic, and they seem to comprise of little more than a basic board, plastic things and printed cards to warrant an outlay of approx £20 – £25.

It does seem quite a lot, doesn’t it?  I wonder how the price is justified. Comments welcome!

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Dinner Party

We hosted a great dinner party on Saturday night for very long-standing friends who are fabulous cooks and great hosts, and are very well practiced at it – they host dinner parties all the time. We have about 1 a year – for them! Moet and Tattinger flowed, caviar was munched, royal fountains sprayed over the cakes made by the delicatessen, then a guest suggested a dance in the hall to Michael Bublé. I brought out my new moving head LED light fixture and my older 250w halogen scanner with smoke machine which made the whole thing hilarious and the highlight of the evening.

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Why is breeding encouraged by governments?

If over-population is the underlying cause of climate change et al, why is it that the Government actively encourage citizens to breed more people? It’s a known fact that you are better off financially if you have a baby, as the gov will merrily give you a house and various benefits, or credits if you do happen to work.

If you live as a single person, your council tax is only reduced by 25%. How is that fair? If you have 6 children plus partner, total of 8 people, you only pay a quarter more council tax for all of the extra schooling, healthcare, rubbish removal, etc. that these extra bodies require?

The whole thing is completely contradictory to the whole carbon credit thing they’re always going on about.

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Makro – I like

I do like Makro…now. It was a bit uncared for and not particularly cheap about 5 years ago so we stopped going. We visited a few  weeks ago just to pop-in and it’s all been refurbed so there are whole massive refridgerated rooms for cheese and meat and the prices of a lot of things are very good.

They had some really cheap beetroot which was great for salads we were having, then we bought a box of Irish recipe sausages. We currently have a craze on paté, and at £2.49 for half a kilo it’s very good value. We’ve decided that their own brand beef burgers are better than any we’ve bought from any supermarket too. They also have a good range of spirits, so we’ve bought Cointreau, Amarula cream and some Limoncello this evening.

Last week we went crazy with massive Christmas baubles, etc. as I’m sure you’ve read about and seen here. They are still in a bit of transition what with getting rid of their audio/visual section and book section, so a few weeks ago there were huge swathes of empty racking. I don’t think they make enough of the offers that are on – sometimes we buy stuff and it’s only when we examine the receipt that we realise there was a 25% off on that range of products. Things are mis-priced (by which I mean you end up paying less, so it’s a nice surprise). Years ago they used to have electronic shelf-edge price displays which were thousands of little LCD screens that could be centrally updated via a series of infra red lights in the ceiling. Very futuristic (and accurate) but now it’s back to printed price labels it seems a bit of a step backwards.

We go in the evening and it’s quiet, so it has a nice leisurely atmosphere… to quote a line from the 1944 existentialist play No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre, l’enfer, c’est les autres (“Hell is other people”).

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Imperial rule

Just received a catalogue through the post (Ancestral Collections) and all measurements for the products are in inches. I thought we were a metric country now? (Obviously apart from pints, motorway road signs that are in miles, speedometers, height, weight, and virtually everything else!).

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Electrician now gone

The electrician has finished – a day and a half in total. We worked out that since I started using him 4 years ago he’s been working in total for about 3 weeks! Bit of an ongoing joke, but he is good. I say he should send me a postcard from all the holidays he goes on, especially as I’m paying for the bloody things!

Double plugs fitted in 3 places to replace single ones, more downlighters fitted in the kitchen, my TV mounted on the wall of my bedroom, outdoor pipes insulated that froze last year, drain pipes fixed, new blinds fitted in kitchen, new house number and an attempt to fix the intercom (without success – we ended up getting a taxi’s radio channel on it!)

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♪ ♫ Tea for two, and two for tea ♪ ♫

After having paté on crackers for lunch and never leaving the house, I realised we’re turning into the Beales of Grey Gardens.

Edie!!!

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Wallace & Gromit rocket soap

Wallace & Gromit Rocket Soap

The Boots Christmas catalogue is always a traditional read and has been for at least 50 years. Only one thing caught my eye this year – the Wallace & Gromit Rocket soap. Nice shape (unsure of size though, as no dimensions or weight spec given in description). For £4.00 you can get some pretty huge bars of soap from Nesti Dante (Italian).

It’s also worth pointing out at this stage that Boots automatically discount invoices that their suppliers submit to them by 2% before making payment after 60 days (no matter what the supplier’s terms are). Why? If a customer bought a sandwich from a Boots store, took 2 months to pay and didn’t give the cashier the right amount of money for it, I think they’d be pissed off. There are lots of websites that discuss it. It’s rotten practice, and I dislike Boots quite vehemently because of it. It particularly takes advantage of small businesses. And so I won’t be buying this or anything else from Boots ever again.

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Downlighter installation – top tip

I have our electrician and gardener both coming over tomorrow. I’ve waited about a month for them both to be free to do some work, and they both arranged to come on the same day! I’ll finally be able to have my TV mounted on my bedroom wall to watch my DVDs as I nod off. I’ve just ordered the Mysterious Cities of Gold DVD box set to celebrate. 18 hours though…but very 80s.

As if my home couldn’t have any more downlighters, 3 more will be installed in the kitchen, plus 2 x par 16 birdies to illuminate a painting. There’s a dark corner now since the new kitchen was fitted, and the idiot of a kitchen fitter wasn’t at all keen on installing under-counter lighting (even though LED strips would have looked great) so it’s a bit dark in places. I have a box containing 120 MR16 bulbs in the garage after I lost a box, re-ordered, then found the lost box!

We’ve been living here for over 3 years and out of over 100 fittings only 2 bulbs have needed to be replaced in that time. The secret is to have a 60 watt 12v ac transformer feeding just 2 x 20 watt MR16 fittings (instead of a larger 200va transformer feeding 10 x MR16s). The transformer is not overloaded, and the bulbs last forever. In my opinion 50 watt bulbs are over-rated unless you have really high ceilings – the difference in brightness isn’t noticable for the 150% increase in power use. At the moment, LED bulbs are either too dim but cheap, or a bit brighter but give too focused a spot of light and cost a fortune. I’d have to order over 100 LED bulbs and replace all the transformers at the same time – it ain’t gonna happen bud.

Anyway, I’ve been catching up on receipts and invoices for my company for the last 4 hours, so it’s time for bed.

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Windows Update -a-thon

Formatted and re-installing Windows XP on my 6 year old HP PC. Installing update 1 of 75…yikes! It restarted ultra-fast without any updates installed…I wonder what it’ll be like after this little lot have chugged their way through?

And another thing — on Windows Update, who the hell thinks THIS means ANYTHING to all but the most geeky programmers?

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 is a full cumulative update that contains many new features building incrementally upon .NET Framework 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and includes cumulative servicing updates to the .NET Framework 2.0 and .NET Framework 3.0 subcomponents. The .NET Framework 3.5 Family Update provides important application compatibility updates. This combined Service Pack and update is applicable to .NET versions 2.0 through 3.5.

Now, I have no idea what this is. I use the PC to go on the web, edit audio and videos. I don’t even know if I have .NET Framework on it. Errr…why would installing this benefit me or the PC in any way? Seems to me it will fill it up with up to 65Mb of guff. I don’t even know if any programs use it?

Just a major WTF.

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Rattan Hens

About 9 years ago I bought a pair of rattan hens from Scotts of Stow catalogue. I nailed them to the shed roof, but have since moved house (I thought I’d better leave them there otherwise removing them would have left to large holes in the shed tarpaulin roof!). I have just searched on the Internet but could not find any mention of them at all. I wonder who makes them? Or if they are still available anywhere? If you know, please leave a message below!

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Online shopping total

Just totted it up and I’ve ordered 95 things online in the last 75 days.

And on a similar note, wouldn’t it be interesting (although perhaps not in their best interests) for Amazon to display the total amount of money you’ve spent with them since registering with the site?!?

I once manually added it up for my play.com account and was rather shocked.

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Strange Amazon Marketplace seller’s name

Samburu & The Tyreco – gifts for animal lovers and bicycle tyres

Ideal if you love animals, or bicycle tyres – or both!

(Or if you buy gifts for the tyres of your bike?!)

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Rousseau Cushions

Rousseau Cushions

This week received these great tapestry cushions based on the flowers and foliage of ‘Tropical Forest with Monkeys’ painted by Rousseau in 1910. Really nice (not cheap though! £76 the pair)

 

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Baubles, bangles and beads

We went out to Dunelm Mill for a non-slip backing for the Kandinsky rug for the hall this evening. It’s a lovely rug (from Culture Vulture, £199) but slips like crazy when you stand on it. Dunelm do a non-slip backing which cements it in place.

Then we had a Burger King meal (Angus 3-pepper – v. hot, freshly done but loads of onions in it) and then on to Makro where I got some hidden object games for my mum (she loves them),  a Hummer driving game for me, a submarine simulator game for one of my suppliers, some paté, some salami, some eggs, and loads of massive Christmas baubles (20 and 30cm diameter ones for shopping centres!). We’ll be putting them on the cherry tree outside. Here’s a peek at them, along with the new parquet flooring in the hall (completed today):

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Poor courier delivery drivers

Just been having a read of the threads on parcelforum.co.uk.

As I use couriers every day, I never knew how it all worked. The so-called ‘self-employed’ couriers like Yodel (used to be domestic DHL) and Hermes that rely on their employees own vehicles only pay them 50 – 65p per delivery! As one of them said, Amazon send out £700.00 plasma TVs without needing a signature and the driver gets 65p for doing it. eBay, Amazon, Next etc. all add to the parcel numbers, so some get over 100 parcels to deliver each day. You can imagine how bad it got with the snow last winter.

I’m always nice to them without having known all this, and I’m at the door before they’ve even got out of the van most times just to save them time. I’ve even given nice ones cans of San Pellegrino lemonade on hot days! Aren’t I nice?

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Parquet flooring now completed

The floor fitter has now finished. It took him two and a half days to lay the parquet floor, but he’s done an excellent job. We gave him a bottle of wine, we were so pleased. A real craftsman.

Yesterday a pair of his colleagues visited to admire it as it isn’t a flooring the do that often. He said he was very pleased with how it looked.  A local company too, so always good.

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The Gift of Music CD Catalogue

The Gift of Music” CD catalogue has taken me with great interest last night. No track listings, which I think is a bit crazy in this information age, and with such great titles as “Forever England“, “Music for Motoring” and ”Under an English Heaven” it presses my patriotic buttons!

Another interesting discovery was “Pax Romana” – music from 5th Century Europe under Roman rule and as they describe it  “recreating the sounds that might have been heard in a Roman villa in 5th or 6th century Europe using a wide variety of instruments which were known at the time“. Very atmospheric stuff after hearing the samples.

What they do at The Gift of Music is a very good idea — a catalogue of well-designed CD covers and tantalising descriptions of the type of music on them. What is better is being able to go on Amazon and listen to the tracks to sort out which CDs are actually any good and which are a hodge-podge of recordings of strange treatments of the songs you thought you were getting. To be fair, they do have track listings of all the CDs on their website.

However, in the end, I bought a few from the Amazon Marketplace (sorry The Gift of Music!). One was only 1p! They work out at about £6.67 per CD via the catalogue (£9.99 each, but if you buy 2 you get a 3rd one free), but you have to pay £2.99 postage and let’s be honest — no-one likes having to pay postage.

Anyway, I just thought I would share this with you.

I wonder if my history of reading the Tridias catalogue (of which there is no mention on the Internet at all, but when I was about 6 to 10 years old this catalogue was my Christmas shopping list!) and the infamous Innovations catalogue has made me fond of catalogue shopping over online shopping?

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City Link and the Parcel2Go TNT Rebooking

So yesterday evening I book City Link to collect 2 parcels using Parcel2Go.com who are great. Then at lunchtime today I get an email from Parcel2Go saying the City Link booking network has a fault so they’ve re-booked it with TNT at no extra cost, and would I please put the new paper work on the boxes to replace the city Link paperwork. This I diligently do, and half an hour later the Citylink van arrives to collect them! I told him what had happened, and he went away empty-handed. I’m sitting here 4 hours later still waiting to TNT to arrive. Grrr.

The reason I book City Link is because the man is nice, but the TNT man snapped at me once telling me “I haven’t got time for this” when I didn’t have the correct account number on a document. Okay, it was a couple of years ago, but I remember things like that.

I suppose all this is nobody’s fault, and Parcel2Go are only doing their best to avoid aggro from other customers , but maybe I should have stood firm and only stuck the TNT paper work on the boxes when the TNT man was actually walking down the drive!

***UPDATE 1 year 2 months on***
TNT man has been replaced and is very nice now. CityLink subbed out a collection to two thugs who arrived in a rusty un-marked blue transit van who didn’t have a working pen and had eyes like shit-house rats. I now don’t use CityLink but instead use TNT and UPS, almost exclusively through Parcel2Go.com with whom it is a pleasure to send out consignments domestically and internationally.

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PC gets slower

When it takes 6 minutes to open a webpage whilst wuaclt.exe is gurgling around in the background eating 200Mb for no reason, it makes me think that the formatting and re-installation of Windows XP on this 6 year old HP tower PC is overdue…

Although equally tempting is to just use a ‘standby’ desktop Fujitsu Siemens PC I have next to it. Doesn’t have as many expansion slots for an extra SATA though.

And the crime is that I still have a 60Gb SSD HD on my desk that I don’t know how to fit!

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Satisfaction

There’s a certain satisfaction received from using a paperweight made of oak from the HMS Victory on a pile of purchase orders from France. :0)

I am a British patriot.

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Chris Rhodes on Speed Auction TV

Chris Rhodes

As a long-time fan of Peter Simon on Bid TV, Chris Rhodes on Bid’s sister channel Speed Auction is a very entertaining watch. Last night he was drifting between impressions of Ronnie Corbett selling some armchair covers, then to Jimmy Saville selling coat hangers. He’s self deprecating which is always an appealing trait, but he’s obviously wasted on this channel. However, this means he can entertain in a more informal way than the ‘hard sell’ presenters.

Chris Rhodes

He knows his products – no consulting the notes, and has a relaxed presenting style. He’s clearly their lead presenter as he’s on at prime-times. Worth a watch. And if you do watch, don’t just watch for 2 minutes because he’s obviously there to sell, but if you watch for longer you’ll hear the quips, gags, impressions, etc. that make it fun to watch.

I’ve put a few clips of him on YouTube. Check it!

Chris Rhodes

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Culture Vulture

I ordered some trainers from La Redoute, and they sent a Pia Jewellery catalogue with them. I asked my mum if she wanted anything from it for Christmas, and she picked a pair of earrings. I received them (weight 25g) along with 450g of catalogues! In the post the jiffy bag had opened so anyone could have helped themselves, but in fact the catalogues turned out to be very good.

Notably, Culture Vulture. Lots of very nice items, well presented and appealing to me - great as gifts, so a large order was placed the next day! Can’t say too much because almost all were presents, but a Kandinsky rug is for the hall (on top of the parquet). It all arrived today, 3 working days after order was placed.

There was also a Museum Collection catalogue which had some nice items, mostly mixed packs of retro Christmas cards of all shapes, sizes and styles, so another order was placed which also arrived today. This included a lovely little Corinthian owl:

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Oral B Toothpaste

I’m sure we all bought a few tubes of the new Oral B toothpaste when it was launched in August. I know I did – it was pretty cheap! And what great toothpaste it is – the all-round protection one tastes and smells like dentists mouth rinse. Well, today I ran out of it and went back to my half-used tube of Aquafresh. Yikes! Talk about slimey in comparison – it was pretty yukky in contrast, even though I’ve used it for decades. I hope there’s another offer on the Oral B stuff, as it’s pretty expensive when it isn’t discounted!

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KABL Radio

There’s an absolutely fantastic radio station I listen to on my bedside WiFi radio called KABL.

KABL serenaded San Francisco with lush, beautiful music, very few commercials, and rich-voiced announcers who wooed the Bay Area with poetic paeans. This gentle KABL sound soon swept the area.

Listeners responded to its elegant charm and sophisticated whimsy.

The music they play is best described by KABL’s website,

Lush, timeless instrumentals, unforgettable vocalists, swinging Big Bands, sophisticated jazz and countless cool musical surprises that you haven’t heard on the air in years.

It will remind you of the San Francisco of long ago, mornings in the Financial District, afternoons in Union Square, evenings at the Top Of The Mark, weekends at Playland At The Beach or simply wandering around Fisherman’s Wharf.

Doesn’t it just sound great from the description alone!?

It used to be an AM station in San Francisco (960 KABL) but now broadcasts only online as a tribute stream. Fantastic songs, no DJs most of the time and no adverts (although they do want advertisers). It’s a bit like my beloved PrimeTime Radio again. I’ve been listening for weeks, I’ve never heard the same song twice, never heard the same ‘memories of San Francisco’ interlude twice. Absolutely love it!

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New LED Lenser Torch

I treated myself to a new LED torch from Maplin last month – an LED Lenser 1088923 (what a catchy model name!).

It uses 3 x AAA batteries and has adjustable focus. It’s very bright for its size and a cool white light. They put a leaflet in the box with it and they do larger ones which you think, “awww…I’d have got a bigger one if I’d known” but the largest in the range, the X2, is probably too bright for use in the house to look for things in dark corners of a garage etc. It’s also nearly £200.00.

There are lots of people on youtube who do torch reviews. This led me to investigate the O Light SR90 Intimidator. Supposedly much brighter than the X2, and with a rechargeable battery, but if you are prepared to pay £316 for a torch you must have a proper use for it (like a game keeper or security guard or search and rescue or something).

I’ll stick with my 1088923!

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Parquet A-OK

The floor fitter was here all day and has only done around the outside edge of the hall. Apparently that’s the most time consuming bit. Tomorrow he’ll lay the rest of it. Took longer than I thought.

I’m about to have a shower where I have a waterproof notepad and pencil that I use if I have any good ideas in there. Very useful thing to have! “Rite in the Rain” are the manufacturers of the pad. It’s a clever idea and aimed more at military and field-work scientists rather than entrepreneurs in showers, but….

 

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Cats ‘law unto themselves’

Cats are ‘free spirits’ but dogs need legal insurance. By law, you can’t be sued if your cat causes injury or property damage.
You can with dogs.

Luckily, my throwing arm is a free spirit. Usually with a handfull of gravel when I see one doing a big shit in my garden.

Maybe if I dress up as a cat and do one of my “Colonel Stinkers” in the cat owner’s rose bed they’d know how we all feel.

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Time for parquet

Getting the parquet flooring done in the hall now. The border seems to be taking ages to do, but I suppose it’s the trickiest part, with all that cutting.

If you eat the bran you can get from Amazon on that French doctor’s diet, just make sure you’re never too far from a toilet. That’s all I’ll say about that. I’m having to hold my farts in today because the floor fitter will be the first to register them if they creep out of my office…

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Barometer Calibration

Today I calibrated our barometer. It was set in Germany, so bound to be a bit off. It was about 20 …er…pascals(?) off.

I received delivery of a beautiful La Creuset mug in volcanic orange that I’ll be giving my mum. Looks more impressive than I was expecting, so now looking at ramekins too.

I also got a snazzy pair of digital Salter kitchen scales which are very accurate. Bought it more for weighing things to post with the Royal Mail’s online postage website really, but will be used for cooking too I’m sure!

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4AM, and I blame the blog!

I must say blog ‘technology’ has come on a long way since…er…March 2010, when I last used blogger. This is all done on WordPress now – more ‘techie’ but much more to customise. Je suis happy!

Although it is now 4AM and I have work tomorrow. Luckily, unless a customer calls me really early, I get up at 10:30 on a weekday. Nothing seems to really happen before then in the field of work I’m in.

We’re getting the hall floor done in Karndean flooring on Tuesday. It’s currently covered in screed. It’ll be a parquet finish, so I hope it will look good. It bloody should for what it’s costing! We had a new downstairs toilet installed last week because the floor fitter has to cut round it and it was a bad toilet.

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Trainers – update

The last post (13 March 2010) in my previous blog (vo.kost.co.uk) was to promise I wouldn’t buy any more trainers for years. Alas, this did not happen!

I got some La Coste Avant trainers for a discounted price, and really loved them. So much so I bought 4 pairs in total.

Also some nice Reebok hi-tops (Reebok Exofit Plus Hi Ultralite), but nothing else. These are my favourite hi-tops now. So lightweight, and mesh outer to keep your feet cool. It was only upon searching for illustrative photos for this blog that I read that the purple ones are the ones Justin Beiber is always wearing. I can certainly understand why. I paid only £15 for them. A real bargain. Can’t find them anywhere for a price near this now unfortunately.

I did order some Puma running shoes from La Redoute in their sale, but they were very tight compared to my other shoes so I had to send them back.

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Here we go again!

Welcome to the new VO. My previous blog vo.kost.co.uk came to a frustrated close when blogger stopped FTP support about 1.5 years ago, but I missed doing it! Twitter isn’t floating my boat, so here we go again…this is more for my benefit than yours really, but you’re very welcome to stop by and read-up!

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