Archive for January 29th, 2005

Rubbish in newspapers.

I read today an analysis by some of Britain’s most respected economic forecasters that Labour’s stealth taxes have risen to 157 – double that which was originally thought.

Also the IFS (whoever they are when they are at home) have forecasted that Gordon Brown will have to claim an extra £11B (eleven billion) a year after the next election!

We, the public, do not have to read this in newspapers! We don’t have to pay a team of specialists to work this out! And, as for the extra £11B, hands up all of you, dear readers, who are, in any way, surprised? When will the next brain drain start up again?

We all have pay packets every week or month. We know how much we are losing.

Bah! Humbug!


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Daily Mail

Am I a typical Mail reader? I don’t think so. So why do I buy the newspaper? I don’t! Well yes I do, but only on Saturdays.

I don’t buy it for the newspaper, neither for the magazine articles. But I do buy it for the Radio and Television pages. Running from Saturday to Friday, the first section has six full pages for each day’s television totalling 42 pages of television schedules. The second section has one page for each day of Radio Programs, totalling seven pages of radio schedules. Although we shun sky and cable, we are on free-to-air and do have a lot more channels. BBc3, BBC4, ITV2, ITV3 and Sky News (and quite a few more besides).

We prefer Sky News to the BBC and ITV renderings and it is interesting to see that Sky has won the “News Channel of the Year” award for three years running now. ITV3 has a lot of repeats such as Morse, Frost, Maigret and other gems of TV.

So how do I get my news? I watch Sky News every Lunchtime as I have said before, but for things that interest me on a long term basis, I use Google news searches which allows me to search on subjects as well as read the latest – but the minute news. The link is UK based but if you go to the site, you can find other news links to use for your country. In the morning I tend to listen to the news on the radio because, apart from feeling it is decadent to watch TV in the morning, radio news can follow me around my home as I get ready to face the day.

In addition to this there are Google Alerts. This takes Google News one step further. Enter a word or phrase of what you are looking for and every day and all day, Google will be searching the web for news on that subject. But be careful how you phrase your search, and sometimes you will need for than one entry. For example I search for “United Kingdom Independence Party” and “UKIP” and “UK Independence Party” just to find all news from the same subject.

If you buy a newspaper every day, it will cost around four pounds a week. In a calendar month that amounts to over £17. Now if you pop over to “Zen Internet” you will see that you could have broadband DSL at a similar price than your daily newspaper. They offer 250K/b which is five times faster than a modem, for £17.99 a calendar month. Although they have a one off activation charge of £57.50 they only lock you in for one month. Their reasoning is, if you are not happy, they would prefer you not to feel trapped into a lengly contract with them. These prices include VAT.

I am sure most readers already have broadband, but if you have a friend who is still on dialup, print this weblog out and hand it to them.

And, of course, the joys of being continually on line as opposed to waiting the the dialing tone, having the modem make contact with the ISP, waiting for the “handshaking” and then the slow transfer of information, cannot be adequately described, or explained.


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The Holiday season

It is practically February and many people will be thinking of going on Holiday. In the Southern Hemisphere February is the last month of Summer, with at least two further months of lovely weather to follow.

Making phone calls is always a nightmare when you are on the move in a foreign country. Especially if you can’t find a telephone that works!

So we tend to use our mobile phones. But it is expensive when you realise that if you are phoning to the next town or village, you call routes back to the UK and then back to the country you are in.

Do you have a phone that is unlocked for SIM cards when you are abroad? Ask your cellphone provider as, if you have your phone locked in to a provider in the UK, you could well find it is not locked in if you are overseas.

The best way to buy a SIM card on the PAYG system is to send for it well in advance of your departure date and have it airmailed to the UK. This way you will have your foreign telephone number before you leave. Activate your voicemail service and change your message to give out your new SIM card number. This way you won’t have to pay the “receiving” cost abroad and also, because it costs people more over here to phone you, you won’t be troubled with unnecessary calls whilst you are either on holiday, or trying to clinch deals on business.

So to sum up, a foreign SIM card means less calls and, of the ones you receive, it costs the sender more, but you far less.


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