Archive for the ‘Life: Personal’ category

Amazon and Lulu free shipping speeds compared

June 27th, 2013

Within the space of a day, I placed one order on Amazon and one order on Lulu (a “print on demand” service: i.e. they don’t actually “hold” any stock) and, in both cases, selected their “free shipping” option. I would expect Amazon, being the larger one and having all the books already “in stock”, to get my order to me first – but the results are below:

Order value: £6.56 (1 “print on demand” A4 paperback book)
Postage paid: £0.00 [Free Ground shipping]
Ordered: Thursday 20th June 20:15
Shipped: Monday 24th June 15:51 (via DPD)
Expected Delivery: Wednesday 26th June
Arrived: Tuesday 25th June 15:10
Time from order to delivery: 4 days, 18 hours, 55 minutes

Order value: £23.46 (3 pre-printed paperbacks and 1 hardback book)
Postage paid: £0.00 [Free Super Saver]
Ordered: Wednesday 19th June 20:49
Shipped: Saturday 22nd June 09:13 (via Royal Mail)
Expected delivery date: Thursday 27th June
Arrived: Wednesday 26th June: sometime before 1pm (Royal Mail didn’t knock)
Time from order to delivery: 6 days, 15 hours, 11 minutes [working on midday delivery]

Personal: Oh – goody, the third thing has failed.

December 31st, 2012

This December, we’ve had two things fail on us:
* The Hard Drive in my wife’s mid-2010 27″ iMac. She purchased it on the 10th of December 2010, and it failed around the 15th of December this year. Just outside the EU 2-year warranty (but would have been within the 3 year AppleCare coverage if she had gone for that). Now we’re having to see if it is worth her just replacing the hard drive manually, taking it into an Apple shop to be replaced or taking it into an Apple shop for a new hard drive and a secondary/new SSD drive (this isn’t something either of us feel safe adding ourselves as we’ll need to practically remove all of the iMac in order to insert it).
* Our hot water tank has burst (night of Saturday 29th). Unfortunately, British Gas no longer hold parts themselves (well, small parts are held in a warehouse in Leicester), so we’re having to wait until Thursday the 3rd of January for it to be repaired (as the earliest “the local hot water cylinder supplier is open is the 2nd for us to be able to order it”). At least we’ve got heating until then, just no hot water (annoyingly, we’ve got a wood-burning fire, a portable electric radiator and two halogen heaters: so we could have coped without heating, but we’ve not absolutely no access to hot water 🙁 ).

and so we were just waiting for the third thing.

And it’s happened, a 1Tb drive (a Western Digital WD10EAVS-00D “green drive”) has failed in my offices’s Drobo NAS. Luckily, the three other drives are keeping it running in a degraded state, but it needs to be replaced ASAP. I’m considering getting a Western Digital 2TB 3.5inch SATA6 Internal Hard Drive – Red as a replacement, but that’s £90 I hadn’t budgeted on spending. Dammit!

Raspberry Pi and RISC OS

December 29th, 2012

For Christmas, my lovely new wife got me a Raspberry Pi Model B from RS Online and today I powered it up. I decided to go with RISC OS for nostalgia reasons (download it from the Raspberry Pi site) which I then copied using Linux Mint using “sudo dd if=~/Desktop/ro519-rc6-1876M.img of=/dev/sdc1” to a Kodak 4Gb SDHC class 4 card (as the 32Gb class 10 cards I ordered haven’t arrived yet). I then put it in a transparent case, powered it up using an Micro USB cable and connected it to our WiFi network using the Vonets VAP11G WiFi Bridge (which I previously configured using Linux: the WiFi dongle got its power from a powered USB hub).

Start it up and turn on networking and all is fun and memorable. The only snags are that it doesn’t seem to support full widescreen display on my Philips HDMI monitor and if I have my Dell USB mouse plugged into my keyboard and then into the Raspberry Pi, then mouse clicks wouldn’t register and the keyboard was repeating: plugging in the mouse and keyboard separately into the Pi and everything worked well.

Now to download some fun free games and browse APDL’s full catalogue.

Lots of post from Halifax

December 22nd, 2012

I’ve just closed my ISA Investor with Halifax (well, now it’s HBOS Investment Fund Managers Limited) as I’ve been unhappy with their service since the Lloyds TSB takeover (who I actually left, after 25 years, about 6 years ago as I was unhappy with their deteriorating service!). So Halifax/HBOS sent me “contract note[s] for the sale of shares from your ISA Investor”.

One for each of the individual investment trusts. So that’s 13 contract notes.

All in their own envelopes.

All with their own (UKMail) postage paid.

All with the sale deal reference number, deal date, deal time and customer account number.

And they still hadn’t updated my name correctly from early September when I went into the branch and mid-November when I telephoned them (one of the reasons for closing the accounts I have with them is their inability to be update things accurately).

I honestly don’t think Halifax will be around in 10 years time if they continue like this.

Scam post mail from Smart Stamp

May 25th, 2012

I’ve just received the following scam post by Royal Mail and I would be very very much interested in hearing back from anybody else who has received one. Please retain the envelope and any other correspondence! If you do receive a letter regarding a “relative” you have never heard of being involved in an accident and leaving you with millions of pounds/dollars, then it is a scam! Do not reply!

Posted in a white envelope with a Royal Mail SmartStamp 1st Class “£0.60 72AC 582U Post by 21.05.12” (I’m very much interested in scam emails from the sender code ’72AC 582U’: please contact me if you’ve got one). I received it on the 25th of May, but it had been forwarded from an old addres

Contact details in the letter include:
Dated: 4th April 2012
Tel: +852 8170 3961 (This appears to be a Hong Kong Skype number: at the very least a Hong Kong “forwarding” service with a number range very close to Skype’s)
Sender claims to be: “Lei Pei, Business Relations Manager for Chiyu Banking Corporation Limited in Hong Kong”

So if you’e received a scam email with either RoyalMail Smart Stamp code 72AC 582U (72AC582U) or referencing email address or telephone number 852 8170 3961 (85281703961), please leave a comment – if you can include details of what details are the same and different and when you received the scam post, it would be appreciated.

This scam else where on the net:
* Earlswood Forshaweath – Email address . Name “Mr Tai Chan”. Telephone number 852 8710 3961. Dated early May
* Who calls me – Number 852 8170 3961. Dates starting 14th August 2011. All regarding the same telephone number +852-8170-3961. Names “Cai Cheng”, “Jim Lu”, “Jin Chu”, Teddy Lung”, “David Chu”, “Lei Hu”, “Pete Zu” (also uses the number +852 8191 3202 and +852 3017 7332 and email address, “Kia Wu” (also uses the number +852 812 09 204), “Teo Cheng”, “McCallum Ma”, “Shun Zen”, “Boa Dishi” (also uses the email address, “Jin Wang” (also uses email address, “Leo Chan”, “Lee Shun” (also uses the number +852 8124 5797: also using SmartStamp 62AC 282U), unknown name (also uses email address and phone number +852 8124 5797),

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