Archive for the ‘Life: Work and Techy’ category

Techy: Linux Mint: Where now?

December 20th, 2012

For just over the past year, I have been running Linux Mint 12 (“Lisa”) 64bit on my HP Pavilion dv7-6103ea laptop. The only problems I’ve had are the graphics drivers (installing and upgrading the drivers for the AMD Radeon 6545G2 card gives me a black screen and I have to somehow boot Linx, remove the Catalyst drivers, reboot, try and install them and hope), the AVerMedia USB TV card not working at first (it’s working now and I don’t think I changed anything: although the remote doesn’t seem to work) and the fingerprint scanner not working.

Anyway – it’s time for me to upgrade my Operating System, but what to? The choices for the OS I have are:
* Stay on Linux Mint 12 and slowly get out of date and be disappointed that Steam (for Linux) and World of Warcraft (under Wine) won’t work. It’ll become obsolete in April 2013.
* Upgrade to the latest version of Linux Mint : 14 “Nadia” which only be supported until April 2014, but was only released in November 2012. Will require entire reinstall, but a new upgrade will be available in around April.
* Upgrade to the latest “long term support” version of Linux Mint: 13 “Maya” which will be supported until April 2017, but was released in July 2012. Will require entire reinstall, but a new upgrade will be available sometime before 2017.
* Switch to Linux Mint Debian edition which has “rolling updates” (so no need to reinstall on updates), however might not be so stable as the “Ubuntu based Mint”. Meant to be more responsive/faster, but less desktop ready. Will require entire reinstall, but just once.

But then I’ve also got the choice:
* Reinstall over the existing Linux Mint install – giving me “no way back”
* Make a new partition on either my “Linux hard drive” or “Windows hard drive” and put the new OS there
* Replace an existing hard drive with an SSD card (I’m currently using 83G of space on my Linux drive). A 128Gb card will cost £70+vat, 256Gb, £125+vat and 512Gb £253+vat.
* Get a new internal hard drive. For a straight-replacement of the 750Gb HD, it’ll be £65+vat

Any suggestions?

Full machine specification for the record
» Read more: Techy: Linux Mint: Where now?

Magento: Get customers ordered by order value

December 17th, 2012

Want to know which of your Magento e-commerce shopping cart customers have ordered the most this year? Well, I’ve written the following SQL query to help:

SELECT SUM(sales_flat_order.base_total_invoiced) AS totalvalue,sales_flat_order.customer_firstname,sales_flat_order.customer_lastname,sales_flat_order.customer_email,sales_flat_order_address.street,,sales_flat_order_address.region,sales_flat_order_address.postcode FROM sales_flat_order,sales_flat_order_address WHERE sales_flat_order.state='complete' AND sales_flat_order.created_at>'2012-01-01' AND sales_flat_order_address.entity_id=sales_flat_order.billing_address_id GROUP BY sales_flat_order.customer_email ORDER BY totalvalue DESC

Cold call from AON

November 7th, 2012

Just had a cold selling call from a company called AON asking for me by name (using my old name) and asking when our Professional Indemnity Insurance was due for renewal. The woman I spoke to was nice and polite and did say she would remove us from their calling list when I requested.

Caller ID showed 0800 635 00666, but looking on the internet doesn’t show them up – but I assume by the spelling of the name and the services that they are

We are more than happy with our current professional indemnity insurance from Policy Bee – who have only called us when we contacted them (just to confirm legal details) and came with good recommendations.

My view is that in this day and age, if you need to cold-call then you aren’t a very good company as people should be recommending you and you should have good ranking well designed website (I’m not saying AON are a “bad company”, but that’s my viewpoint: I’ve never purchased anything from cold-callers and won’t in the future: however, I may well waste your time)

Property sites XML data feed specifications

October 31st, 2012

More as an aid to my memory, but it may be useful for other people, here’s a list of property sites XML (or similar) feed specifications:

Any one know of any others – here’s a list of other property sites which I haven’t found the API/XML/Import details for: can anyone help?

Avoid Public Service Events – Hard Sell Unsolicited Calls

July 25th, 2012

I’ve just received an unsolicited marketing call from a “Nick” (based in Birmingham, withheld number) at Public Service Events (aka and telling me details about an event they are holding on the 26th of September 2012 at The Barbican in London for “Excellence in Customer Service – Supporting Quality Public Services” and asking if we’d be interested in attending as “it’ll help benefit your company and get some of the £X million per year spending in the public sector”.

Whilst he said he ways on a deadline (“I need a decision by 3pm”), it still took 20 minutes for him to give the web site address for Public Service and then when I found the event page, I saw that they were going to charge us £895+vat each to attend (Public Sector, who according to Nick, are facing big cutbacks and are looking at finding ways to save money – “only” have to pay £395+vat each!). When I asked if we were going to have to pay the £895, he said “no, as that’s not what I’m offering”. He then went about networking, business opportunities and that it’ll be a shame to miss out on this event. 25 minutes in: “Whilst I’m not able to negotiate on the time, as I need a decision by 3pm, I can negotiate on the price. The list price is £3,000“…

Yep, £3,000! For that he was offering “delegates email address and contact details at the end [opt in only, but you can pass their details to other people to recoup the cost], flyer in the delegate bag, mention on their website [which has 30,000 public sector visitors per week] and 3 complimentary passes [which you can sell/give to other people to recoup the cost]”.

I said we didn’t have the budget and whilst we would like to attend, we couldn’t justify that price. We had a maximum budget of £500 we could spend. “But couldn’t you use a contingency or emergency money, surely you’ve put some aside?” Well, yes, for an emergency! He said he’ll be able to get it down to £2,000 (after “speaking to the events manager”) and then down to £1,500 (that’s “half price and the lowest I can go” and then to £1,000 (I feel sorry for anybody paying the full £3,000).

Note that all those prices are still above the £500 budget stated.

35 minutes in and I terminated the call.


They also operate as Public Service Review has had similar complaints about “hard sell” techniques recorded. Who Calls Me has listings for 01782630200, 01214558820, 01214563336, 01782667340, 01782633159, 01315553970 and other numbers: I think we can guess why they are now with holding their number (so you can’t search for it).

Oh – they’ve also had an ASA Complaint upheld against them.

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