TeeChip are thieving sods. Beware!

My wife had purchased a couple of items from a company called TeeChip back in March 17 and received the usual confirmation email with the money taken straight out of our account. A couple of weeks past and the items had not yet arrived so my wife emailed asking what was happening and received no reply. Yesterday she asked for my help to see if I could contact them another way. I found a page on their website where you could enter an order number and worryingly it wouldn’t recognise it. Alarm bells were ringing!

I wish she’d asked me first before making the purchase as I never buy anything online from a company I haven’t heard of  without first checking them out. Twitter, Facebook and other review sites all had negative comments against them. These range from taking people’s money without supply goods, adding items to an order without consent and facilitating selling t-shirt designs that haven’t been authorised by the original artist. It became apparent she’d been scammed and was just another victim in what is probably a very long line.

teechip twitter

Despite the negative reviews I posted on their Twitter feed, Facebook page and sent an email inquiry via their website asking for assistance and registering my displeasure. Predictably I have heard nothing back. Next step contact the credit card company to get our money back. This is just a reminder that the internet is full of scumbags and to prevent yourself being ripped off if you haven’t heard of the company before (a) check them out on social media and the internet (b) always use a credit card as it covers you against fraud.

In the end it wasn’t a lot of money that we had lost and we’ll probably get it back from the credit card company but it’s more the inconvenience and knowing that you’ve been scammed. Plus, my wife had purchased a couple of items for autism awareness week that she wanted to wear with pride as our son is autistic. TeeChip you are pure scum!

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EU Referendum – The Aftermath

EU OutBlimey didn’t see that one coming. Despite voting out, and boring anyone who I came into contact with explaining why they should do the same, I am amazed the majority of the country stayed the course and voted that way. The remain camp did their best to scaremonger and took “Project Fear”, deployed so successfully during the Scottish referendum, to new highs but ultimately those voting out switched off the more absurd the threats became. One in particular “your family will be £38.42” worse off a week was my personal favourite.

Since waking up Friday morning and discovering the shock result there has been turmoil. The prime minister has resigned, the pound/markets crashed and then recovered a bit and crashed again. The members of the public who voted remain went to social media to vent their anger insulting everyone who voted leave. The far right wing took it upon themselves to stir up hatred and tell foreigners to go back home. There was a petition, protests and a push for a second referendum. Labour (the opposition party) had two thirds of their shadow cabinet resigned in attempt to oust their leader after his lack luster display during the campaign. The leader of the SNP is pushing again for Scottish independance as they desperately want to remain in the EU. Meanwhile the leaders of the leave campaign have effectively gone to ground whilst the leader of UKIP who were running their own campaign to leave has taken his MEP seat in Brussels and gloated about his success much to the dismay of all around him. The UK right now is effectively rudderless and is going through a period of uncertainty that .

The images below show both how my county Kent had voted and the rest of the UK. The result in total was 52% leave against 48% remain. Scotland, Northern Ireland and London had a much higher ratio for remain than the rest of the country where generally the opposite was true. Turnout for the referendum was high, higher than a general election, with most regions being way over 70%. What has also been noted is that generally the older you are the more likely you were to vote leave. The youth are currently an angry bunch, even more than usual.

CltZ-gAWYAANZemEU-vote-map

At the time of writing this the markets have returned to their normal levels and the waters are calming. As the graph below has shown the FTSE 100 is even higher whilst the other two indexes are pretty much back to where they were. So much for the world wide devastation that was predicted. The Pound is also slowly recovering ground that it had lost against the Dollar / Euro. All in all everyone in the financial sector is very happy with how things currently stand with the Bank of England on standby with a  huge emergency fund to pump into the economy if necessary. It’s now a case of steadying the ship as we negotiate our way out of the EU.

brexit ftsebrexit dollar to pound

Now that things are steady in terms of the economy the Conservatives are going through the motions of selecting a new leader and by the end of the year Article 50 will be invoked. After this we have two years to negotiate the best trade deal and exit package as possible otherwise we revert to WTO rules which include a number of tariffs. The biggest stumbling block that we face is that over the past few days all of the European leaders have stated that we can’t have free trade without the free movement of people. This was one of the biggest issues for people voting to leave so it’s going to be one hell of a task!

EU Referendum – Why I voted out

Introduction
There’s been sod all substance, and a hell of a lot of “project fear” nonsense, spouted from the remain and leave campaigns over the past few weeks both in the press and during the TV debates. Today is voting day and to be honest I’m glad it’s over as it’s been a dirty and spiteful process with lies and half truths from both sides. The public are left scratching around and digging for the actual facts.

Below are my considered opinions for leaving, minus the propaganda and scaremongering, but also acknowledging the difficulties that we may face post Brexit. It’ll be interesting for me to read back ten/twenty years later to reflect on what I thought would happen but actually what happen did come to fruition.

Immigration
Probably the most divisive topic in the debate and one which promotes spin/lies from the remain camp and from some parts of the leave in an attempt to evoke anger and hatred. I believe in order for government to provide adequate public services for health, schools, etc. you need to know how quickly a region will grow. With uncontrolled mass immigration into London and the South East these public services are being put under so much stress that they’re at breaking point. Remainers will claim that this is due to government cuts but that’s naive as where would the money come from exactly as the country is heavily in debt?

The majority of the people that want to leave the EU don’t want to stop immigration altogether they simply want to assess it year by year to see what the country needs and can manage, e.g. 50000 – 100000. Immigration over the years has given us the wonderful, varied multi-cultural society we live in today but at some point you have to take stock and do so in a sensible manner. What is wrong with limiting the numbers as Australia, Canada and others do with a points based system?

The NHS and other sectors where we don’t have enough people skilled in those professions will be green lighted so that people coming here with those qualifications can be granted working rights. The remain camp are currently saying that we won’t be able to control immigration if we leave the EU either as over half of the current high numbers, approx 330000, are from outside the EU. That’s quite simply ridiculous as it just means the government is doing a poor job and need to put a better system in place. It’s all computerised and at a simplistic level you only have to have a running counter for any given month, with some exceptions, and say after X amount have been processed “sorry, you’ll be first on the list next month”.

The other downside of mass immigration is that many of the migrants will be willing to take jobs at a minimum wage/zero hour contracts which is all very well but this does have the effect of driving down wages for our lowest income workers. Some immigrants may well only be here for a few years and willing to live in poor accommodation/getting by whilst saving as much as they can as it will be worth a lot more when sending back home. This isn’t very fair to a low income worker who’s wages are stagnating and they want to start a family and make a home for themselves. They cannot compete unless they in turn lower their quality of life. At the end of the day it’s big business that benefits from an increase in profits.

House prices and rents continue to increase and I believe this can be partly attributed to mass migration. The government is partly to blame of course for not doing more and offering incentives to house builders to build more homes. However, successive governments always seem reluctant to do so which leads to a shortage so we get demand out weighing supply. In truth with a net migration of 300,000 they are never going to be able to build enough homes that quickly and house building companies won’t take the risk.

Another argument that has been put forward is that we need a high level of immigration to support an ageing population and that as we’ve only built on about 3% of the country we have plenty of room. Firstly, isn’t this just causing a problem for the next generation as all of the people arriving will be old one day and they’ll be an even larger older generation. Won’t we have to keep on expanding and expanding forever which is unsustainable eventually. In the not too distant future it’s projected we’ll have a population of 80 million! Secondly, even though there’s a lot of space to develop on that’s not going to happen. People don’t arrive here to live in remote parts of the country they move to where the jobs are in already built up cities and towns leading to more congestion on the roads and drain onto public services. At the time of writing this latest figures show that the UK population has grown by more than half a million in one year. How is that sustainable?

The Economy
Can we really trust the opinion of the so call experts with their precise predictions on what the future may bring when none of them for sore the credit crunch or can seemingly predict what will happen next year? How many times have the forecasters got it wrong in recent times? I recall many business leaders and economists, including the CBI, stating that not joining the Euro would lead to a disastrous outcome. What a bullet we dodged there…

Additionally, how many of these “independent” economists are funded either by the government or EU? Business leaders of course want us to stay in as they’ve got their snouts in the troughs benefits from cheap labour and an effective monopoly as the EU keeps out the competition.

There are some who say the economy will crumble, no body will trade with us, etc. but if Iceland can strike a trade deal with China I’m sure we as the world’s fifth largest economy can do the same. Of course the remain camp say that there isn’t a plan, what model will we go for but until the decision is made to leave the EU and rest of the world aren’t going to talk about it.

As for the nobody trading with us even today German business leaders have said it would be unthinkable not to strike a deal as it would hurt their exports. That being said I’m not deluded into thinking there’s no risk. Of course there is but I believe it’s a educated risk and one worth taking based on all the benefits to leaving outside of the economy.

Sovereignty and Workers Rights
Whichever way the remain camp want to spin it we have ceded power to Brussels and more will follow in the coming years. For me our politicians should be solely in charge of the country and we shouldn’t have to be abiding to laws made in a foreign land by those that we never voted for and are unaccountable.

Folk will say that our government cannot be trusted and the benevolent EU is protecting our workers rights. Really? Then please research the EU/US TITP deal that’s currently being thrashed out by un-elected negotiators and see what they have in store for us. Our workers rights are about to take a nose dive and become more in line with the US along with the privatisation of the NHS. This isn’t scaremongering this is what is being proposed and on the table. Do we really believe our politicians will be brave enough to stand up against EU will to push this through?

On top of this many of the basic workers rights/etc. that are defined by the EU our government were at the forefront of adopting and have been taken even further than many other nations. The fact is that if the EU changes their minds and strips us of our rights we are powerless but with a nationally elected government you can vote them out and vote for another party that will re-instate them.

The EU the lawmakers, who are un-elected, would have to put these proposals to the national ministers who then would have just one vote and hope everyone else agrees with them. How is in our best interests, it’s just like the lottery adding another few balls into the machine and we’ve got even less chance of winning.

United States of Europe
After listening to many politicians and Eurocrats it’s obvious where the EU is heading. I’ve no doubt that within the next 30 years there will be a United State of Europe and the UK will simply be the equivalent of how New York is to the USA. By this stage we’ll be given some powers, similar to a local council, but ultimately they’ll be no real democracy. You’ll get a vote for your local MEP to give the allure of democracy and that you’re having a say. In reality we’ll end up like a member of the Green Party feels. You cast your vote, may even win a few seats, but nobody listens to them or cares what they have to say in the grand scheme of things.

Discussions are already under way, which have been kept low key until after the referendum, on the creation of a small EU army “task force”. This will of course grow and grow along with political integration. If there’s ever a cause we feel is worth fighting for around the world, or one that we don’t want to get involved in, we’ll have no say.

Before the U.S.O.E we’ll of course be forced to join the Euro or be punished and consigned to the sidelines forever more. This will lead to us being part of the bailout club to balance the books of the mess caused by others. Economic independence and the opportunity to take emergency action as we did in the credit crunch will be lost.

Those that say this will never happen and that we have our veto are deluding themselves in my opinion. If there’s enough political will from the other member states it will be forced through. They won’t let the pesky UK get in their way. By the time this all happens we’ll be even more intertwined with the EU it will be impossible to consider leaving. At the moment it’s like taking a plaster off but then it will be like amputating your legs.

Conclusion
At present we’re quite rightly giving more power and control to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and even discussing a north east regional hub to manage certain funds. The thinking is that the people in those countries and regions know best what works for them and how best the money is spent. I find it strange that we’re giving more control at a local level on the one hand but then giving more away on the other to those that won’t even directly be affected by the decisions that they make or accountable.

Personally I’m not concerned about leaving Europe or the scaremongering tactics employed by the remain camp and government. Only recently did David Cameron go to Brussels and when trying to negotiate a new deal stated that if he didn’t get what he wanted he’d support leaving the EU. He’s only changed his mind now as he has been scared into it by the EU powers that. Also, do we really believe a government would have given the country a referendum knowing that one of the outcomes would end life as we know it…

Today, I’ll be voting leave. Voting to control our borders, to grow the population at a sensible level, to regain powers given away to Brussels, to be in charge of our own destiny and to prevent being part of the inevitable United States of Europe.

Finally. Love Europe. Hate the EU.

Good Riddance Windows Phone

For years I had an Apple phone but had gotten bored last year and decided to try out the new Windows Nokia Lumia 920 Phone. It was ok but had hardly any apps and was prone to locking up, losing texts and generally going tits up. Still it wasn’t all bad and had some nice features such as the live tiles.

I was fortunate enough to be given an Apple Phone and without hesitation and my tail between my legs I jumped at the chance and ditched my Nokia. Yes, the Apple iPhone hasn’t moved on a great deal but you get what you pay for. Slick, fast and it works. Windows Phone you had some nice features but was buggy and lacking depth.

For me this is summed up when I went to sell the phone. I copied off my photos and used the reset phone option that’s available on the Lumia 920. Easy I thought, no no no this is Windows! Because the phone wasn’t fully re-charged it started the reset process but didn’t have enough power to properly reboot and finish the job….

How crap is that! Surely you would build that into the reset option to ensure that it wouldn’t start a process it couldn’t finish??? Looking online people who had fallen to a similar fate had to get a brand new phone to resolve the problem. Fortunately, Nokia have since released some kit, download of 1.3Gb, that you have to download that lets you recover the device and finish the process.

If you have suffered the same as I a guide to fix the issue is available here: http://mynokiablog.com/2013/10/11/how-to-easily-fix-the-lumia-reset-spinning-cogs-at-home/. This just about sums up Apple vs. Windows. One puts the user and stability first. The other will throw it out there and sort it out later… Apple I have learnt my lesson.

Doors open

I decided to create this blog as a place to reference useful information that I come across not only for myself but for others as well.

The main topics will most likely revolve around my work (.NET development), my hobby which is photography and autism as my son was diagnosed with ASD at two years old.

Hope you find something useful here.