active 1 month ago
active 1 month ago
  • Mick replied to the topic Best keyboard cleaners? in the forum General Chat 1 month ago

    Buy your own keyboard and mouse that you bring in to work (or keep in a locker) for your exclusive use?

  • Mick replied to the topic Best smart meters? in the forum General Chat 1 month, 1 week ago

    Nop. No way. Never. Well, not unless they have a court order to fit it.

    I can tell how much I’m using by reading the number on mine or by using a clip on sensor to the LED on it. I also know what I’m using because I have produced a detailed energy budget – measured – of the entire household and grounds. Something I hasten to add that a smart meter would not have helped me to do.

    My current meter cannot be remotely disconnected by the government, energy firms or hackers. Despite some crap said out there, smart meters include the hardware for remote disconnection. It does seem like security is being taken more seriously on smart meters since GCHQ weighed in publicly two years ago, but I’m not sold.

    Disconnecting a few million meters and then bricking them by perma…[Read more]

  • Mick replied to the topic Drawdown Pensions. in the forum General Chat 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    Annuities are really poor value

    True, in this abnormally low interest rate environment, annuities are terrible. So are most fixed income investments.

    Before, it was normal to invest your pot into a guaranteed annuity to guard against you outliving your savings. Basically insurance against a long and impoverished retirement. Though as with any financial product, you have to reckon it wouldn’t exist if it didn’t make money for the provider.

  • I agree Google AdWords is a complete rip-off. Google is basically the internet mafia running an extortion racket.

    Google has been demoting and hiding small businesses in the normal search results for years now! Thanks to their search engine monopoly this means they can force small businesses into buying their worthless ads just to be found online! It is absolutely disgusting but Google gets away with it because politicians don’t care thanks to Google paying them off via bribes (lobby money) money just like the mafia does.
    And because Google AdWords is so oversaturated with comp[tition and people bidding up the prices you will not be able to get any profit out of it and most small internet businesses just go out of business now if they try to rely on Google.

  • Mick posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    There are twice as many people trying to punch each other unconscious every week, consensually of course, than there are applying to be on a harmless TV show. That is far more worrying to me, as a member of civilised society.

  • Mick posted a new activity comment 2 months, 1 week ago

    I’d agree with the malign part but I don’t think it requires genius to spot obvious existing problems and disagreements in our politics and poke at them.

    Also, the evidence that he was interfering seems pretty clear to me but the extent of his success is much harder to judge and I doubt that anybody will ever know whether things would have gone differently without Russia’s assistance. Having said that, Brexit and Trump were both quite close calls so he didn’t need to shift opinions very much.

    • Intriguingly NYT has just published an article – Trump Tries to Destroy the West By DAVID LEONHARDT

      “There’s only one explanation that fits his behavior: He wants to break up the alliance that has dominated the past century.”

      ..and that’s all I can read as I’ve now used up my 5 free articles for this month

  • Purchased my wifes car on PCP. It was madness to do otherwise.

    Interest rate was 0.3% per annum = £36 interest on £4k over 3yrs

    I think I paid a total of £100 interest over the period as they charge the future value at a higher rate so the £3k final payment was probably at something like 0.6%.

    I loaded the mileage to as high as I could even though the wife was only doing 4-5k per annum to ensure I had as low a final payment as possible. By the time I was finished I paid £100 interest and £150 doc fee over the manufacturer supported price I paid.

    Made complete sense to me and the car was paid off 24hrs after last payment due. Its now 6yrs old and other than servicing its never needed anything. Has about 30,000mls on the clock now and will do another 6yrs quite easily. Reck…[Read more]

  • The best place to start looking for info is https://www.gov.uk/income-tax-rates

    Its probably best to see what your accountant says you should do.

  • Mick replied to the topic Old vs new boilers in the forum General Chat 3 months, 2 weeks ago

    Gas central heating. How Victorian.

    Have you considered a 21st C solution?

  • Mick replied to the topic Ethical banking in the forum General Chat 3 months, 3 weeks ago

    The Ethical Pension Fund offered by NEST for their Workplace Pension includes Nestle. Nestle aren’t high on my list of ethical companies!

  • Mick replied to the topic New PC – any suggestions? in the forum General Chat 4 months ago

    The only issue I have had with Dell is they had a tendency to use some custom hardware on the power/ front panel connections which meant if the motherboard died then replacement with a non-Dell one was more awkward. I also had one front panel fail which put the computer beyond economic repair. That said I have been mostly using Dell PCs for over a decade and this is my only major gripe about them.

  • Mick posted a new activity comment 4 months, 2 weeks ago

    Ah, so the likes of Subway could just increase the price on all their soft drinks to absorb it and keep the “open” free pour machines. That in a way negates the point a little – I’m surprised it’s not a retail tax (like the bag “tax”) with a requirement for it to be charged on to the customer over and above the price of a low sugar equivalent – that way it’d be more successful in driving choice by forcing there to be a price differential, I reckon.

  • Mick posted a new activity comment 4 months, 2 weeks ago

    The packs of 24 are now down to 18 as well rather than changing the price.

    I think it’s more likely the tax will affect businesses and so make them switch. For instance, if you have self service soft drinks like Subway and Five Guys do, presumably you will have to remove the sugary versions from those otherwise you are forced to have staff checking what you get. (I assume it’s not legal just to charge everyone the tax and take it as profit on the non-sugary drinks, i.e. there must be a price differential?)

    • The sugar tax is a manufacturing tax so anyone along the supply chain could decide to absorb the rises rather than pass them on down the chain ie The Climbing Works, who buys stock from the Soft Drinks Company, could choose not to raise it’s prices. Soft Drinks, who buy from Coca Cola, don’t have to raise their prices. Coca Cola could absorb the tax rise.

      Coca Cola have raised their prices by more than the tax so of course Soft Drinks Co have raised theirs as well. we won’t raise ours straight away but will do once we have to re-stock at the new price.

      Of course if you bring a water bottle we will fill it with lovely low fat, low sugar, gluten free, vegan, dairy free water!

      • Ah, so the likes of Subway could just increase the price on all their soft drinks to absorb it and keep the “open” free pour machines. That in a way negates the point a little – I’m surprised it’s not a retail tax (like the bag “tax”) with a requirement for it to be charged on to the customer over and above the price of a low sugar equivalent – that way it’d be more successful in driving choice by forcing there to be a price differential, I reckon.

  • Mick posted a new activity comment 4 months, 2 weeks ago

    UK law does provide the facility to prosecute serious crimes committed abroad by British subjects doesn’t it? We use it against sex-abuse tourists and IIRC it was originally conceived to deal with Brits who killed business rivals abroad where laws were weaker or not properly enforced. Presumably where evidence is available we could prosecute fighters returned from the middle east, the risk I suppose is the evidence is weak, witnesses dead or unavailable etc, trials collapse or cases can’t be made then they go back into the general population to cause more problems. The alternative then is internment or treat them as prisoners of war but it’s debatable whether the end would even justify the means, it’s proven counterproductive before and it likely would again looking at the popular…[Read more]

  • Almost indefinitely from a human rather than a geological perspective. If they’re not subject to abuse the standards used to encode and organise the data will die out decades before the hardware stops working.

  • Mick replied to the topic Continuing headache in the forum Health 6 months, 1 week ago

    Is she dehydrated. I got flu in January and have been struggling with dehydration every day. Most days I get a mild headache until I drink 4 or 5 pints of water.

  • I sold a coat on Ebay this week and as soon as the auction ended, the buyer contacted me to say she didn’t mean to put in the last bid (the one that won) and could she have the coat for £10 less which she meant to be her maximum bid. I genuinely believed she had make an honest mistake but the cost would then be barely worth selling for me. So I pushed her a bit and she eventually agreed to pay the full amount, I felt a bit bad though. I had sold the coat to pay for another one which I bought on Ebay, and that still hasn’t arrived a week after the estimated delivery date. Ebay is tricky sometimes but I find it is the best market for selling.

    In your case, if you posted within the estimated delivery dates then I would submit the case to Ebay and see what they say, there is a…[Read more]

  • It’s shit like this that makes my blood boil: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-42789610

    If you apply for benefit then you should look for work, I don’t have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is people being screwed over by a dysfunctional and callous system that seems to assume you’re a work shy scrounger.

    When Labour come to power, after they have abolished zero hours contracts and sorted out the housing market for the young, I want them to start treating people who have fallen on hard times as people who need help and who should be treated with some sympathy and dignity.

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