Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Corporate stooge? Maybe for a minute.

I've got a couple of things coming through - one is a rather interesting and brand new project with a folk pop feel (not done that before!) and the other is a function band job.

I swore I'd tell everybody the setlist so I could get fingers pointed at me and lots of hoots of "sell out!" so here it is;

Set 2

1) Smooth
2) Moondance
3) There’s Nothing Like This
4) Summer Breeze
5) Ain’t No Sunshine
6) Fly Me To The Moon
7) Delilah
8) Can’t Take My Off Of You
9) Can’t Smile Without You
10) September
11) Celebration
12) Never Too Much
13) Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now
14) High n Dry
15) Creep
16) Sweet Home Alabama
17) Won’t Get Fooled Again


18) Superstition

Luckily lots of these have seen lots of service in my repertoire over the years.

Wish me luck ;-)

- Posted on the move

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The insurance saga... I've emailed swiftcover.

I decided I'd do what I did with Direct Line when they did EXACTLY this same stunt: give them a chance to explain and redeem themselves.

While I appreciate than customers are now just dumb cash cows, and that customer relations are more a question of FAQs and automated helpdesks rather than talking to actual people, I want to believe that there is someone at swiftcover who still gives a shit.

Here's the email:


"Regarding my upcoming renewal quote: price has ballooned by approx 22% from 377.27 to 461.74 in one year. This does not compare favourably to previous years increase.

Admiral are quoting me 411.80 for identical cover. This represents an increase of just over 9%, which would contribute to a reasonable profit margin for your company and dividends for your shareholders.

If you can match this quote, I'll stay with you. If not, I'll walk.

I'm offering you a chance to impress me. A chance to do better than Direct Line did when they pulled a similar stunt a few years back.

Seriously, explain your quote. Match my figure. Or I walk."

Now it appears the comparison sites are bent as well!

OK, I've done a search on Go Compare. Admiral quote: £445.40

Now I do a search on Confused.com with EXACTLY the same details (and I have checked): £398.15 from ADMIRAL. Same conditions.

Someone want to explain this? Where did that £50 come from?

Not happy. I'll go back to getting individual quotes from individual companies now. I can see that the arc of the comparison websites is on the way down - no doubt either their scraping algorithms are getting too complex, or they don't fill in all the fields correctly, or (frankly) they're on the take from the insurance companies involved. I would wager comparison sites, with their huge advertising campaigns (funny how often we see go compare ads, eh?) are getting large kickbacks from the insurance companies.

I wonder what Direct Line will quote me...

I know insurance companies are bent, but...

This is beyond a joke.

I gotg a renewal notice from Swiftcover, who were pretty reasonable last year. This year... a rise of over 25%.

With this in mind, I logged on to gocompare, and discovered that they archive previous searches from years gone by. All are at the same address here in south buckinghamshire I've got 2007 (£320.22), 2009 (£342.60 - not too bad for a year's increase) and now... 2010... £437.83!!!!

What the hell happened in the last 12 months? Are these bastards trying to claw back losses, or prepping for a crime spree in the next few years? An increase of over 25% in 12 months?

If I change the postcode (speculatively, of course, to check out how much I'm being ripped off for) to Nic's parents place up in Rutland, it drops to £293.95. No kidding. The bastards are charging me an extra THIRD for living around here.

take note people. The south east really REALLY sucks.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pot repair?

How satisfying! I think the pickup selector stacked rotary pot on the 6 string doesn't need replacing after all!

Thank you, servisol, once again. :-)

Time to get cracking.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Geekery, Democracy, Jiggery-Pokery

This is quite a serious posting for me.


this link is to a story about subversion of Digg, a site I hadn't really taken any notice of until now. If the stats in the story are to be believed, there is a growing cabal of right-wing tech-savvy individuals who are manipulating the stories which "bubble up" in Digg's rating mechnism such that right-wing conservative stories make it up, and anything regarded by their close little group as "liberal" is voted down (and indeed out).

What this represents is nothing more than an organised attempt to recreate the conditions which got Hitler into the position of power. And we all know where that ended up.

What's fascinating is that this is happening through a technological medium: these people have organised themselves through a yahoo group, have shadow accounts they keep as backups - the whole thing is very cloak and dagger - but you can see why: they are attempting to influence the thinking of the body public, you and I, through the exposure we have day to day to news stories - you know, the sort that say "crime rife! Crap liberal government to blame" and "castrate paedos now!".

If you've got any enlightment in you, read the article. It's scary reading. I don't know what anyone can actually do about it though: boycott Digg?