Archive for January, 2011

Mobile phone companies charging new VAT for December

Take a look at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8286170/Mobile-phone-firms-charged-20-VAT-for-Decembers-calls.html

It seems like several cellphone companies are charging the new rate of 20% VAT a month earlier.

I am not accusing the companies of dishonest practice but of pure laziness of not wanting to work out which parts of the bill attracts which rate. But it should be noticed that they are erring in their favour not ours.

Ampers

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I could separate the Banks investment arms from their high street banking in five minutes flat!

I have been following Cameron’s attempts to persuade them to split up over the months and wonder at the ineptitude of it.

If I were Prime Minister, I would make a phone call to the newspapers saying that the Government will be withdrawing the £50,000 savings guarantees for peoples savings as from 31st December 2011, and after that will only guarantee the savings of savers who save with banks who do not have an investment arm.

There, it will be done.

You can bet your bottom dollar than by the end of this year, most of the banks will have separated the two business otherwise they would have dead high street branches.

Ampers.

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This would never be allowed in the UK

Here is an advert for Nandos Fried Chicken shown on South African TV.

Yes, we do have our own brand of blonde Essex Girls in South Africa, as you will see in this short clip!

Alas, even if you are going over there for a holiday, there’s no point in giving you her phone number, she’s fully booked until 2015.

Ampers.

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What is Ubuntu

Ubuntu, in Xhosa or Zulu means a shared progress0 for the help of all. The Linux program Ubuntu was based by a fellow South African, Mark Shuttleworth, on that premis and it has expanded rapidly in the five or so years it has been in existence.

I have been dabling with Linux on and off for ten years now, First with SuSE and then with Ubuntu, and for the last two years have used Ubuntu solely on my desktop and for one year on my Notebook and on my Netbook.

And have never looked back, or spent a penny on software.

Take a look at their latest software. It is quite impressive.

If you only use a wordprocessor, spreadsheet, browser and email program, then it is foolish not to use this. If you also like software to edit and watch videos and photographs, then it is foolish to use anything other than this. If you like to play music and edito mp3 files for your cellphone, then this is the operating system to use.

There is only one “lie” in the entire video. It states there are thousands of free programs available. This is wrong but I understand why they have said this. There are, in fact, tens of thousands of free programs and I have said this here as I am sure my readers will be able to get their heads around this fact.

Ampers

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A False Identity

This is something we normally associate with criminals or people in the security services, but with social websites and the all invasive Internet, it might be more useful if we all create a false identity.

Name. Use a nickname with your surname instead of your real first name whenever you are on the Internet. Make sure it begins with the same initials as your first name. Have a false address, but one that is nearby where you have a relative or good friend who will pass on any mail which might arrive for you. Phone: If you have to give out a telephone number, use your cellphone number. Make a list of everyone you give out the cellphone number to as you might want to change it every two years when you change your phone contract. When you make a list, you need to put their email address on the list as it will then be easy to send out a blanket email to those who need to know your new mobile number.

Email address: Get a Google Gmail account. This is useful as it allows you to add a “+” sign before the “@”sign and add an identifying code as part of your email address. For example, I signed in to Majestic Wine once, and used ampers+majestic@gmail.com. Six months later I got an email spam from Aviva addressed to ampers+majestic@gmail.com. I telephoned the CEO at Majestic who was dismayed (I wonder why) and said he’d ring me back after making enquiries. The story when he rang me back was that an ex-employee must have sold the list on! I now use numbers as these don’t stand out so much, such as ampers+0324@gmail.com and have a list of who I sign on with these numbers. Very useful.

History: Write out a potted history which is similar to your own but different enough to foil any criminals who may want to impersonate you in your non-Internet life. But keep it to less than one A4 page in size Leave room for adding extra data when a website asks for what you feel is intrusive data.

Birthdate: Change your date of birth to one in the year after or before yours. Use your relatives or your friends birthday month and day so it is always in your memory. In other words, change it but make it easy on yourself.

Facebook: If you have a Facebook account, your friends don’t bother to read your personal information there, so slowly change it all to fit into your new identity. Strangers who pretend to want to be friends will harvest this incorrect information and you will have protected yourself from these people.

This article is not intended to be the “be all and end all” of what needs to be done. It is intended to get you thinking along the right lines to protect your identity from thieves.

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Use the “nudge” Mr Cameron!

Our government is, naturally, worried about the habit of over-drinking amongst the British.

However, as usual, and this applies to both major parties, they are clueless on what to do about their problems.

I can tell you that most of our ails concerning smoking, drinking, carrying weapons, bad behavour etc are caused by a dearth of education. We have to start teaching parents how to bring up children as Governments have molly-coddled the population so much, they expect the Government to do everything for them from cradle to grave. Because of this, certain swathes of the population no longer have any idea of parenting.

However, this will, naturally, take time and we should start addressing the problem now.

I read, in today’s London Metro, a letter by Frank Jacobs, of London E3 of a suggestions which would reduce the number of pubs which are closing at an alarming rate, and encourage the heavy drinkers to start drinking socially by bringing them off the streets and back into clubs. By all means increase the duty on bottled and canned beer, but at the same time, reduce the cost of draught beer.

I think this is a very good suggestion but I would like to take it one step further. Inform breweries what this is going to be on a brewery by brewery basis, and if any brewery pub manager sells too much beer to someone which causes the police to be called, either in the pub, or when that person leaves the pub, the duty reduction will cease for all that breweries pubs for three months, the first time, six months the second time, and twelve months the third time. After the fourth time it should be permanent.

This would “nudge” the street drinker back into the pubs whilst, at the same time, “nudge” the breweries to put the interests of the communities above the interests of the shareholder.

Ampers.

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Tell them why you’re leaving

The English don’t complain verbally, they just complain with their feet.

This may be a way of punishing the shop or supplier, but is it fair to your fellow Englishmen?

For example, if you don’t like a shop because the staff are rude to you, complain to the owner and tell him you don’t need “rudeness” and won’t be shopping there again. For example, I use Virgin and will leave for Three when my contract expires. I will tell them it is because Virgin charge me 10p to call them, and Three don’t charge anything.

OK it may be too late for me, but if enough of us complain about the same thing, the supplier may change his ways.

British management is renowned all over the world for being at the bottom of the list of countries with regard to employer employee relations. This can be partly because we don’t complain. If you hate your boss and you want to leave, state the reasons in full; send a copy of your resignation letter to the managing director (but be fair, add “copy to managing director” on your letter. The MD will do nothing at the time, but if the next person who leaves gives the same reason, he’ll start asking questions and if three do the same…

If you are stuck with a supplier because you are under contractual obligations, start a notebook with all the things which occur that has upset you, date each item. Write a report on all these just before your contract expires and tell the CEO why you are not renewing.

If you are not happy with the Government, write to your MP and tell him why. But to be effective, this has to be for genuine reasons. Of course, this is more potent if your local MP is of the same party as the one in power at the time. The same applies to complaining about local issues to your councillors.

There are advantages of us turning into a race which complains about everything that is not right. Eventually, it could strengthen the country as a whole and your local community in particular.

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