Rummage through this blog

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Tesco again

So I've been logging into Tesco bank to deal with my Tesco credit card for the last couple of years and also Tesco.com for shopping. It's an unfortunate situation because the security Tesco uses is simply alphanumeric so I have to use different password structures to that which I use everywhere else and most online systems would consider Tesco passwords weak.

Over the several days Tesco Bank has been offering me a security upgrade to my computer which given a total absence of detail I have pressed the "no thanks" button but yesterday and today the "no thanks" option is no longer an option.

It's upgrade or upgrade.

Sill no detail.

So reluctantly I press the button and get a "sorry there has been a system error" - 2 days and 2 reboots so pretty sure it's no me. So I end up phoning Tesco, at my cost, to be told they are experiencing long queues (not the first time I've tried, there always seem to be long queues but then we're used to the checkouts being half manned so why would the phones be any different) and I finally get through and the lady politely explains that I have to entirely re-register for my existing account.

So am left wondering why I would re-register for an account I already have where more than half the effort in moving provider is the registration process or just spend five minutes on the internet finding a new provider, excellent plan, good relationship building Tesco.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Supermarkets

I went shopping yesterday, something I have managed to do for a few weeks.

On this occassion I was abused by Tesco, I presume that the price rises are the usual pre-Christmas ones. For instance Uncle Ben's microwave rice was 3 for £3 but now has goineup to £3.50, a 16% price rise and little pot noodles have gone from 2 for £1 to £1.50 a 50% rise.

If only my salary kept pace!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Striking

Once again we have strikes coming, the Post Office has been striking no idea why but at least customer service was faster on that day. The firemen have been striking because they might have to work almost as many years as everyone else to get a much better pension that everyone else and now the teachers are having a go too.

I guess it's an easy day off for them but with such a short school year education standards are struggling already and the additional costs, perhaps unions should pay for childcare on strike days?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Nexus 4 sync

Just got a nexus 4 and need to test how the blogger app synchronises, or doesn't.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Gimp, Gimpshop and Photoshop

Well, following a good cleanout with CCleaner my Photoshop trial has finally ended, as has the install of CCleaner, so I'm looking for an alternative.

My tip here is the Gimpshop, that is supposed to load Gimp looking like Photoshop looks just like Gimp and inspite of declining all the junk ware that it comes with it installed it all anyway so it's come off and I'm still picking up the pieces and trying to get back to a default Google search - why does anyone think that installing cr*p on your machine is going to endear you to them.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Pizza Hut

Another retail gripe, for the last year or so we've had a large sheet of paper listing pizza hut deals through the door about every third week.

Why is it that the local pizza hut, 4.2 miles away can't deliver to us but still sends us offers?

Get it sorted.

Supermarket price promises

Everytime I visit Sainsburys they justify their excessive prices (my nearest is Haywards Heath, surely the most expensive in the country) by printing a ream of ticker tape telling me I've "saved" some money.

Not to be left out my usual haunt of Tescos has started doing the same. Today I spent £18.30 and apparently saved 59p. There's no indication of how I saved 59p or consideration of the fact that in that location doing the shopping I was doing there are no alternatives within reasonable driving distance.

It's interesting as there was an article in the Times last weekend suggesting that shopping costs are tumbling. I'm not sure where they are tumbling and what products one has to purchase to see tumbling but I have to suspect tumbling is not happening in Sussex at the moment, in fact from my credit card bills I can prove they aren't tumbling anywhere except upwards.

Is there a price war on? Picture the conversation :

Supermarket 1 : "we're going to add 50% to the price of beans"

Supermarket 2 : "we're going to undercut you, 45% here we come"

Is that a price war because that's what I see (to be honest I can't tell you about beans, pretty sure milk has stayed fairly static but anything else...).

What's more annoying is there is no indication of a way to tell the supermarkets to stop wasting money on paper and give me cheaper prices in the first place.

Tips to supermarkets :
1) Give me good prices on good products - I know you need to make a profit but stop taking the p*ss.
2) Stop wasting money on endless bits of paper.
3) You frequently control a geographic area so if you put staff on checkouts people will come to your shop.
4) Get over yourselves, if there were better choices we'd be off elsewhere but there simply aren't so we put up with you.



Saturday, 16 March 2013

Job hunting

I have a new job, much relief etc.

However, just going through and tidying up and have found that I had applied for a couple of jobs direct via the Reed.co.uk site - both of which I had interviews for (via other agencies through reed, but oh boy the attitude of reed staff needs some looking at, "what do you think would happen if we spoke to all candidates who phoned up?", let's see, you'd be really busy but you'd get the proactive candidates)., and numerous via the jobserve.co.uk site - now this site has continued to provide a number of good leeds and I've had a number of contacts from other agencies via this route.

However, not a single job that I applied for direct via the site got a response other than a standard jobserve holding email. I will not be bothering with them again.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

First Capital Connect

Most times I go to the station to get a train into London I am travelling for work so when the man asks me which train service I would like we got through the rigmarole of "I just want to get on anything that looks like a train going in the right direction" to which the reply is "ah you'll want the expensive ticket then".

Yesterday I had to pay for a ticket for myself, First Capital Connect £12.9, any service £22.90. Why the price difference I wonder, I so I check the information and the machine clearly tells me that my ticket is only valid off peak into the city but at any time out of the city, ok cheap on it is.

Several hours pass and I return to the station at around 17:15 to see the next train to Wivelsfield is 19:12 so I queue at the information desk to ask and discover that yes while my ticket is valid at any time for return on First Capital Connect there are simply no trains!

What absolute nonsense, First Capital Connect your sales information is simply deceitful, get it sorted.

Update : 25th Feb : First Capital Connect have responded to me about the failure of machines to give accurate information, the official answer is "We can only answer customer enquiries about our trains and facilities. As the station is operated by Southern I am unable to provide a full response to the points you have raised. In order for this to be investigated I have forwarded your correspondence to Southern". Oh! I see, it's not their fault that the information provided which encourages purchase of their cheaper product over a more expensive rival is inaccurate, well that's entirely clear now. Not.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Photoshop has gone mad

I've suffered from file corruption before, I find the occassional jpeg file that has a working thumbnail but on opening the file is corrupt - mostly they still open and a bit of cut and paste work can stitch shifted blocks of pixels back into the right places. Consistently I've found the pictures have been like that for so long that the issue pre-dates my earliest backups.

I am yet to discover any software that can automatically detect corruption and having pictures on a RAID array seems to make no difference - the drives system must thing the corruption is deliberate.

I had problems in the past when using ZIP compressed TIF files - nice and small but minority support - eg Windows Media Center / Media Player / Explorer cannot cope so not much good on the usability front.

Today I have discovered another problem with TIF files, namely Photoshop reports "this file format is not supported", similarly Elements (CS3 & 7.0 respectively) so presumably the code is the same. The very files affected are some of my favourite pictures and after various attempts at convincing Photoshop to open them I downloaded some alternative products - XnView, GIMP and Irfanview. I've used Irfanview extensively in the past as it's a great lightweight tool particularly for bulk format conversions, TIFF files not problem. Xnview, great looking tool & lovelly screen display (my picture looked great) and also no problem with TIF files. Finally, GIMP, I hadn't expected much as a Linux port particularly as last time I looked at Gimp, on Linux I didn't need to spend much time concluding it was pants. However, the current version looks great (an obvious downside is that all of the initial panes either appeared partly or fully off screen and the loading time was measured in aeons) - a clean interface and clearly based on Photoshop, enough so that I think it will be worth investing some time as the interface feels, if anything, more user friendly than Photoshop but not as amateur as Elements, so thumbs up Gimp, it too handled my problem TIF files perfectly.

So, come on Adobe, why does Photoshop take a disliking to some TIF files at random, furthermore, until today those files were both created in and only ever editted in Photoshop so what changed? Googling shows I have not been the only one suffering this bizarre issue.

Anyway, to show the files are alive and well here are my pictures :


this was a clematis growing unpruned at my first home, a woody mess most of the year but when flowering a riot of bloom and the other picture is that of an owl taken at a swan rescue centre display in Christchurch when they were clearly short on swans.


As a worthy footnote, I have used Microsoft's volume shadow service on Windows servers and have duly left the capability in place for Windows 7 on my laptop and that did come the rescue in finding earlier copies of my file which I could use for comparison purposes - not my only backup but a very handy emergency option - so for Windows 7 users don't feel tempted to turn off

Negative, oh yes.....

The company I work for is making me redundant, this is about as negative as it gets. They want to move the department to a central location and I'm not in that location. Apparently a daily, return journey of around 140 miles to the office and removal of right to work from home is considered acceptable to the business, work life balance has been carefully considered and the intangible benefits (presumably the benefit of someone cracking the whip in the same room as me) will improve productivity and recompense for the hundreds of thousands of pounds the changes to a number of staff members will cost.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Hobbit

I am sure that there are individuals out there who think that the Hobbit is a masterpiece. However, I am not one of them. Vastly too long - it took an hour to get out of Bag End, crikey after 20 minutes I was thinking that if this was on television I would have switched over by now.

Too many far too long lingering shots, notably of Thorin, clearly designed to display his changing nose or to highlight how sometimes he'd be thin and the actor's normal size and other times be stocky like a dwarf should be pictured.

New features added, those rock giants were all very nice but had no place in the film.

Radagast, I had heard that Sylvester Mccoy upstaged everyone else, well to be fair that wasn't too hard.

Silly clothing for ponies, tick.

Bad perspective changes, children on Shetland ponies, tick.

Inconsistent sizing of characters compared to others, especially Gandalf, tick.

I went into the film sceptical and not at all enamoured with the 3 part nature and expected to come out impressed and eager for the next instalment.

We'll that didn't happen.

The only way I will go to the cinema to see the second film is if news trickles through that the producers have learned to edit their output and that there will not be a third film.

Adrian will love this film undoubtedly.

I think I should summaries a plus & a minus point to end on :

Con : given the title of this site the big con (other than having paid to attend) is that listening to others as we exited the cinema I was no in a minority being unimpressed.

Pro : the next Star Trek film had a trailer and that looks awesome (Adrian will hate that I'm sure).