Recession and ripoff.

30 04 2012

In a recession, I suppose that as people and business does get more and more desperate to make that extra buck, that will make the difference between a positive bottom line, or a break even or even a loss.

However, when you stoop as low as deliberately charging the wrong prices, and when called up on it, look at you as If you were some idiot with the audacity to ask them to correct it, and when pushed, fix half the problem, leaving you even more fuming, while demanding they fix the rest.
Sometimes, it’s not the money, but more the principle of the whole thing, and especially so after leaving a good tip.

I went in to this restaurant called “Made in Belfast” with my wife, had a lunch, for which they have a lunch menu with a lower price.
After we left, we realized that we had been overcharged, paying the dinner menu prices.
When challenging them, they only paid back half the difference and tried to keep the receipt, which I had to demand back, and I had to repeat the procedure.
After talking to others, others seems to have experienced this as well, but never bothered to challenge them on it.

Another day of making this extra buck, is to skimp on what you deliver.
We later went to Cafe Vaudeville in Belfast, and had a dinner.
My wife had a chicken with potato gratin, and I had a sirloin steak.
While there were nothing majorly wrong with the food itself, it was pretty bland and non-tasting.
The portion control had taken its severe toll, leaving little on the plate.
The £20 steak, was a relatively sad little skimpy bit of sirlion in the middle of the plank, with a tiny bowl of sauce, a small bowl containing a few decorative salad leafs, and 8 “triple fried” (whatever the the point is with that) fries in a small cup.
The chicken wasn’t any better, with a tiny amount of gratin on one edge of the plate, and some chicken on the other end, and some green cooked up goop in the middle.

Taken these experiences, i can only assume that it is now par for course to alienate your customers, taking as much as you can in one go, only to lose them as returning customers (and getting bad press about it, as a result…).

Made in Belfast and Cafe Vaudeville, I hope it was worth it, losing us as returning customers.
Made in Belfast – what’s worth more, the £4 you tried to scam off, and making noises about it when calling you up on it?
Cafe Vaudeville – Not serving value for money, is a costly mistake these days. Hope you too find it worthwile, and we were not the only ones unhappy with your offerings. for a £20 meal, I really don’t expect to leave hungry, that I have to go find something else as well.

I could have complained on location, yes, but that wouldnot have helped any of you, as after we’ve gone, it would have been business as usual, and none of you would have been none the wiser to the methods.

 

As to the proprietors?
Before you start screaming blue murder and telling me that I am telling porkies, and can not be…
This is something you should have thought about, before you tried it.
These are all genuine, first-hand experiences, on the 28th of April, 2012.





Who likes fireworks?

30 10 2011

Here’s a short snippet from the Belfast fireworks on the 30th of October 2011.

Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8EL_kRJcsI





Mozilla’s new rapid-release…

2 10 2011

Just having to vent some steam…

I never thought i’d say this, but this new rapid release scheme, is beginning to get to me, with what now feels like an update every other day, for what is in most cases, absolute trivial and minor updates, that would be far better off being gathered up in a bigger release.

In fact, it is getting so annoying now, that even me, one of the most avid FF fans, are considering alternatives.

If any of the guys at Mozilla came across this, which is extremely unlikely, and not that i think they would care anyway…

A release cycle of a year, is too long. what now feels like a few days inbetween, is just a major fail, and a quarterly update,  would be about right.

A lot of business users are moving away from Mozilla, and the reason for this, is one single reason – the rapid release scheme, as nobody has the time or stamina to keep up with mozilla, screening and deploying a new update all the time.

Even as a private user, very politely expressed, getting extremely annoyed with it, and trust me, this didn’t come easy.

Mozilla, change your ways, or you will have lost yet another user…
Do you really think that the recent drop in popularity and the introduction of your new rapid release scheme is a pure coincidence?

Think again.





A little private message =)

8 07 2011

Ruairi, Thank’s for reading the blog, and I wish you very good luck with your new venture!





Samsung Galaxy tab – boot animations.

9 06 2011

Custom boot animation on Samsung Galaxy tab?

When I got my Galaxy tab, among the first thing I did, was to root it, simply because I wanted to “root around” and see what was there.
Later on, I went one step further, and installed the Gingerbread (2.3.3) on it, and i had been looking at having a custom boot animation on the thing, as i wanted to “brand it” my own way.
I found the Samsung 2.3.3 release from Samfirmware.com and installed it on the tab using Odin.

Much to my dismay, I had found that Samsung uses a custom format – .QMG, which literally nobody knows what it is, apart from Samsung and their suppliers.

However, shame on giving up.
After looking for solutions on the net, and ending up with zilch, I decided to have a closer look at the init.rc script that brings up the system, and it did give me a few ideas.
I started off with testing the commands manually, after connecting to the tab with a SSH client (install sshdroid – you want to do this, as you need to send CTRL C to break out of the boot animation while testing), and I found a simple solution to get it working.

Yes, you CAN have a bog standard boot animation on your tab!

[EDIT] Now, this MIGHT work on the 2.2 version as well, but i have not tried.  [/EDIT]

First – Your device MUST be rooted.

Secondly – the disclaimer -
You do all or any of the things below, at your own risk. If you mess it up, don’t blame me, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
If you mess anything up, or something else decides to break, the brick is yours to keep – you did it – not me =)

Seriously, worst case scenario would be having to do a few adb lines or to re-flash a few files on the tab, and it will be working again.

So, let’s get started and get custom boot animations working on the thing!

First off, we need to get root acess, so just do, once connected to the ssh server;

su

and allow the shell superuser access.

Following this, we want to make the system partition writeable.

mount -o remount rw /system

Then, we want to place ourselves in the correct folder.

cd /system/media

Now, to get rid of the Samsung boot branding,  we need to rename a few files, you might want to keep them on the tab, just in case you want them back..

mv bootani.qmg bootani.qmg_X
mv bootstill.qmg bootstill.qmg_X
mv samsungani.qmg samsungani.qmg_X

Next, we need to drag in the boot animation you want, and have placed on the SD card (internal memory).

cp /sdcard/bootanimation.zip bootanimation.zip

Now, if you want, you can test it by typing “bootanimation“.

To get out of it, as it will loop indefinitely, you have to press CTRL C.
If you want to change the boot animation, just copy in another one, and test it as above.

Once you are happy, do the following.

mount -o remount ro /system

Now, it is time to view it – restart your tab, and the Samsung boot animation should be gone, and your new shiny standard format boot animation be in place instead!

How to make your own boot animation file??

Simples!

1. Create PNG images for your animation.
Make sure they are the same size as your devices screen.

2. Rename those PNG images starting with a 5 digit number for the first frame and ascending for each consecutive frame.
It is preferred that the pictures are saved as 8-bit PNG.
Create a folder named “part0″ and an optional folder named “part1″.
Place your animation images in the “part0″ folder.

The images in part1 folder should start where the last image in part0 folder has ended.

For example the original boot animation in your droid phone has images from 480_427_00000.PNG to 480_427_00075.PNG in part0 folder and 480_427_00076.PNG to 480_427_00091.PNG in part1 folder.

The images in part0 folder is played once, and the images in part1 is played in a looped manner.

3. Create a custom “desc.txt” and add the following in it.

480 427 30p 1 0 part0p 0 0 part1

Here’s what the parameters means:

480 Stretched width of the animation.
427 Stretched height of the animation.
30p This controls the speed of the animation (both parts).
1        Defines how many times the part0 is looped.
0        Not used.
part0p – folder containing the first animation.
0        Number of times the second folder is looped. (0 = infinite)
0        Not used.
part1 – folder containing the second animation.

4. Place part0, part1 and desc.txt in a folder renamed as ‘bootanimation’.
Zip the folder (using an archiving utility such as 7Zip).
Set the ‘Compression level’ setting to ‘store’ (which means no compression), before you archive.
Compression will make it unreadable for your android.

5. Copy bootanimation.zip file from your PC to your SDCard root.

6.  Mount file system read/write

mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system

7. Now copy the bootanimation.zip file from your SDcard to your phone’s memory.

cp /sdcard/bootanimation.zip /system/media/bootanimation.zip

Enjoy your custom boot look!





Has the Irish default begun?

31 05 2011

It is a good question, following this article in the independent, indicating that the Irish banks, including AIB are about to burn the junior bondholders, asking for 10c to 20c in the euro.

After all, the Irish state is a majority owner of AIB, and as such, and up until now, having guaranteed all the debts by the major banks, but now, seems to default on their promises to the lenders, by defaulting and demanding a 80-90% haircut, which is according to finance minister Michael Noonan, was the minimum burden-sharing acceptable by the government.

This simply means that the banks does not have the capital needed to repay the bondholders in full, that the banks remain troubled, and that the state are not able to back their obligations in relation to the lenders to the banks, as they need new capital to cover losses and repayments to more senior bondholders.

If the market were skeptical about Ireland before, this certainly won’t help the Irish, and the recent talk by government ministers about the need for a second Irish bailout, has made the open market even more jittery about Ireland.

It is a truly sad story, and a big mess, for everyone involved – especially for the already hard-pressed Irish people, because little or nothing good can come out of this.

 

 





The Irish Depositor BBQ

24 02 2011

We all know by now, that Ireland is in very serious trouble, and it is growing by the day.

Little known thinking, is what is being described in an article in The Post.ie, where they question:
Are depositors in the firing line?

The basis of the article is that the political parties, whoever comes into power after the election on February 25th, they will have to have a bondholder bonfire to save the Irish banks.

In reality, this means burning the Irish people and businesses, once again.
Not just by increasing the taxes, but simply confiscate about 40% of any deposits above €100,000 in the bailed-out financial institutions, regardless of them being bond holders or plain savers.

About 50% of the current bondholders, is Irish people, who will see their bonds raided.
This is a very badly thought through idea, and one that is too little too late.

One thing that they forgot to mention, is that many company’s accounts, especially larger ones, holds accounts worth more than €100,000, and if these accounts are raided, not only will the companies find themselves in acute liquidity problems, but also risk becoming insolvent, as a large part of their money to pay wages, suppliers, withheld income tax and VAT liabilities will be gone.

I don’t believe that the tax man would agree to being given only half of what they are owed, just because the company bank account got plundered by the state to bail out the banks, nor do i believe that the people working for the company would agree to have only half their wage paid out, or their suppliers only getting half their invoice paid.

This is not just a depositor BBQ, but of the people.

We will see if this happens, is massive amounts of companies hitting the wall, or simply saying – Enough, and moving out.

The politicians says there is no difference between bondholders and depositors, but there is.
A bondholder, is someone bought bonds for their money, knowing that it is a financial instrument that carries gains, but also potential risks.

A depositor, is someone who holds a shoebox (account) where they stuffed their money, in a supposedly safe place – a bank, in order to have easy ways of paying and getting paid, and they did not put the money in the bank, for the bank to play around with it, and putting it at any kind of risk.

The politicians also talks about re-negotiating the loans with the EU-IMF, but i believe they can forget it. The IMF loans are of the kind – take it or leave it, and if you take it, you agree with our rules. End of story – a perception that is backed up by a statements from the EU commission, as well as Ollie Rehn, as expressed in an article in the Irish Times.

What the Irish political establishment is going on about, renegotiating a deal with EU/IMF that includes a partial or full default on bondholders, is just not going to happen, and is nothing but wishful thinking among, what can no longer be describes as anything but delusional Irish politicians.

The two options available to Ireland, is pretty clear:
Either Ireland owe up to the debt disaster, and deal with it, or the Irish state goes it’s own way, ending up in a massive default on Irish state debts.

I don’t know what would be the most tolerable, but the way Irish politicians handle this, I believe the later case, will be, while all painful and in many ways a disaster, the preferred option, as what comes out of the ashes, will come out sooner, and in a better shape than taken the other alternative.

My short-term suggestion to any Irish individual or business is – move your money out of any of the bailed out banks, into one that has not been bailed out, preferably abroad.
This way, your euro’s will still be there, regardless of what happens in the Irish banks and economy.

This way, you can escape at least this part, and then start looking at what your options are, longer-term.

I have been subjected to enough consistent lying on a more or less daily basis lately from Irish politicians, to develop a bunch of very strong antibodies against their talk, and I no longer buy what they say, because they say one thing, and then do something completely different, and whenever they can, they stick their grubby little hands in your pocket, and take whatever they can get away with.

Nothing has changed.

 








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