A good deal …


I have been thinking about changing my mobile supplier for a while now. I’m with Three and have been for a good few years. My most recent contract, was a 12 month deal with 8gb of data and unlimited text and calls for £10.27 a month. The contract formally ended towards the end of last month, so I was looking around the deals that were available to see if I could get a better one.

I came across an advert for a company called TalkMobile and the deal there were offering was, again a 12 month contract with 9gb of data and unlimited text and calls for £9 a month. They were also give the 1st 3 months at £4.50 a month. this worked out at a saving of £28.50 in the first year. It sounded a great deal and all I needed to do was get PAC (Porting Authorisation Code ) from Three and I could keep my same number.

The code was duly requested and I was all ready to change companies. However, within a couple of hours, I got a text message from Three which asked me to get in touch to talk about what they could do to ‘keep me on board’ as they said.

What followed was one of those ‘web-chat’ meetings (which I prefer). The operator wanted to know why, after all these years, was I looking to change? I explained that I wanted a cheaper deal. I explained the contract I had been looking at and asked the question “Can you equal or better that deal?” Very quickly, he came back with two offerings. The 1st was a 12 month contract with unlimited text and calls and 12gb of data for £8.00 a month. Or a similar contract with only 4gb of data for £5.00 a month. Success!

I decided that the 1st option was the best and I agreed. It was explained that when the paper version of the contract came through, It would show a monthly charge of £26.00, but would also show ‘recurring discounts’ of £8.00 and £10.00 in the final details. The new contact doesn’t start until the end of this month as it was explained that I was now into a new month and should have contacted them the week before. But that’s not a problem, so I’m one ‘happy bunny’ as they say.

It just didn’t work …


After seeing a couple of my colleagues wearing them, I decided it might be good idea to get a smart watch. Nothing expensive as I don’t really like wearing watches as they tend to irritate my skin. But, I thought it may have it’s benefits. I trawled through eBay and there seemed to a lot of really cheap ones around the £3.00 mark with a larger number between £10.00 and £30.00. Then there were the popular branded ones going up to £150.00 +. I wasn’t that desperate, so I plumped for one at the lower edge of the mid-price range.

Everything went well, I bought and paid for the unit on Tuesday evening and it was delivered on the Friday, by first class post. All was good and it arrived within the stated time frame. I was surprised by the appearance, as it looked good quality and it felt quite comfortable to wear. The English instructions were well written and easy to follow. I plugged the charger in and left it overnight to fully charge.

It can only be a small battery and usually these kind of things need a good charge to start with, but after 12 hours it was still only 50% charged. I realised that when I placed the unit on my desk, the two pins that charged the unit were not in the right place. This time I got everything right and within 2 hours the watch was fully charged. I installed the software on my ‘phone and I was good to go. It correctly picked up the time and date from my phone, and I began to play around with the numerous displays. The only few things I wanted it for was:
a) a step counter
b) blood pressure monitor and
c) heartbeat monitor

It did all these and many more.

Skip forward to Sunday lunchtime and I became aware that the time on the watch was wrong. The clock said 11:40 yet the watch said 00:04 with a date of 01/01/01. I thought at first I had set it wrong. I re-synchronised the unit with the software on my phone and everything went back to how it should be, Except … all the data from the previous day was gone! This happened again later that day and it seemed that the unit was resetting itself back to its factory settings. I read some of the reviews and soon realised that the phone an watch connect via blue-tooth so both needed to be near to each other. That seemed to make sense, so where I went, the phone went with me.

All was now good, or so I thought! Monday morning and again, the watch was showing a random time. I wasn’t happy about this to say the least, so I contacted the seller with all the problems I was experiencing. About 2 hours later, I received an email telling me that I had been refunded in full and that there was no need to return the unit. I checked PayPal and indeed the refund had passed through and was now in my back account.

I was one happy chap, especially as I didn’t need pay for any postage to send it back. That bothered me a little. How much did the thing cost to make and sell, if he can simply refund me with getting the unit back?

Should I bite the proverbial …


I’m in a bit of a quandary. I use some old banking software to keep a record of my spending and to give some kind of warning of when bills are due. I’ve been using Microsoft Money for over 20 years now and although it was discontinued some years ago, it still works and does the job I want it to. Now the issue is, that I would like to be able to access the data from one of the two other computers that I have. In order to do this, I need to able to save the data somewhere other than the laptop I am currently using. The two ways I can see this being able to work is:

  1. I save the data file on a portable hard-drive (maybe even a flash drive) or
  2. I store the file in the ‘cloud’ on my Microsoft OneDrive.

I use the OneDrive for a few files, but none of which are really important so it feels a bit scary to use it for something as important as my bank balances. I have to state here that it is only the transactions that are stored. No bank or personal details are kept within the data files, but it does worry me. Does anyone else have the same fears?

Stressful day


I think the interview went well. I did not get as tongue tied as I usually do. I don’t think they asked me any questions that I could not answer, but I didn’t seem to be talking a lot. I will find out on Friday. I got a bit of a surprise though. I thought I was applying for a specific job. However, it would seem that, I was applying for a position at the same grade, and only ‘preferencing’ (their term, not mine) the job I would like to do. If I do not fit their matrix, then I could end up doing something completely different. How do I feel about that? I don’t know really. I think, so long as it pays the same, and it is a job I can do, then what the hell, let’s go for it. I tell you something, it would be a right smack in the face to the smug bugger, who thinks I should be at his ‘beck and call’. Do you know, I have had more good wishes about this job from contacts on Twitter than I have from the people I work with!!!!! My service manager wished me good luck, but he has an ulterior motive, he does not want anyone else to do my job…I’m cheaper. My line manager, who has been my line manager for over 10 years, did not say good luck. At least he could have sent a txt. Nothing. What does that say to me? How valued do I feel, if my direct supervisor cannot bring himself to wish me luck? I am too annoyed to really vent my anger about this, so I will stop now.

On another note. I just bought a ‘caddy’ or enclosure for S****s old laptop hard drive. The motherboard gave in, and he was so pissed off about it that he paid about £160.0 to get the data off it and onto a USB portable drive. There was a lot of work he had done for his drama group, and he did not want to lose it again. So now he has three 500gb portable hard drives. Job done. I was quite amazed, at how cheap these hard drive caddies are. It cost me £7.49 inc, which I thought was very cheap. I remember looking at one a few years ago, when I changed computers, and I was looking at £50.00 at least. I have a couple of old hard drives in the loft (never throw them out, can’t be too careful), so I may have a look at getting a caddy for one of them.

Stuck for a title ……


   The IT testing went okay. It took a lot longer than anticipated. I ended up doing two sessions, 9:30 until 12:00 then 13:30 until 15:00. Once again, the problems were at this end. Things that should have been done that hadn’t been done. Files in the wrong place. Wrong data paths. Mind you, the upgrade was run differently this time. There was a lot more for me to do. Last upgrade, the client was installed on the server, and the software house dialled in and did all the work. This time it was done from a local PC. Lessons have been learned, I hope. What I think is needed, is a concerted effort on both sides to communicate more. Next time I will insist on a project plan, with a detailed list of tasks and responsibilities. Next time, I will take more of a lead.

   I’m more than a little pissed off with the DVLA. I want to pay my car tax online, but because my insurance runs out at a similar time, the DVLA will not let me. They say that some national insurance database, has not been updated with my new insurance detail. So that means a trip to the post office in the next village. I though technology was supposed to help and make things easier.

   Tesco ‘green’ points are a funny thing. You get loyalty points for every bag you reuse. So basically, you take your own bags. A couple of weeks ago, I was shopping for a number of things, and unfortunately, forgot to take my bags into the store. Because the car was parked near to the store exit, I declined the offer of disposable bags, and put all the shopping back into the trolley. When I checked my receipt, I noticed that there were no ‘green’ point, so I toddled off to ‘Customer Service’ to query this. The very nice lady at the counter told me that I could only have the points if I re-used bags, and that the cashier would need to count how many bags I re-used. Totally bizarre. You should have seen the look on the Customer Service lady’s face, when I asked for 6 plastic bags to put my shopping in !!!!

So where is Fridays blog ?? Is this the start…..


… of the slippery slope to complacency ?

Where indeed was the blog. Well basically I ran out of time.

I had a bit of a boring, but labour intensive day at work. I had to mail-merge over 800 letters. Not a big job I hear you say. However, the data source for the merges came from 10 different Excel spreadsheets. All the datasheets had to be checked for incorrect entries and amended. Then merged, saved and printed. It was a long day.

In the evening I went with my eldest son, to an ‘Audio Visual Spectacular’ presentation of the Leeds AV club. It was quite interesting and extremely well organised. It is quite amazing what you can do with a half decent photo editing suite and a MS PowerPoint. Through in a appropriate soundtrack, and there you go. An excellent way of showing those photos you thought were rather good. I am sorely tempted to give it a whirl myself.

Just had a visit from ‘The God Squad’. I have no problem with anyone following any particular faith, but if I say I’m not interested, then that is what I mean. I do not mean ‘I’m not interested, but keep talking’ or ‘I’m not interested, but give (sell) me your magazine to read, and I will tell you the same next week’. No I mean “I AM NOT INTERESTED, NOW GO AWAY”. Apologies for shouting. Some of these groups/sects just will not take no for an answer. Time to calm down…