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APOLOGIES
I have been over zealous with political comment lately so have now accepted the offer to assemble and write for two blogs on the WatchingUK website. The "Good News" blog is for items where we have benefited from the Brexit referendum vote and the "Bad News" blog is where others have tried to damage our chances of leaving the EU.

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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

A few notes on looking after your kitchen knives.

I am slowly replacing my kitchen knives with Zelite knives, mind you, my 12" French cooks knife will remain. I have had this over 15 years and although only sharpened once, is as sharp as the day I bought it, and I use it, amongst other things, to cut an avocada pear in half, right through the stone in the centre!

A lady, I've deleted her name, asked the following question on the Amazon Zelite page for one of their knives:
"Can anyone recommend a knife sharpener for this?"
Zelites answer was very comprehensive and I thought my readers would like to read it. There are so many different ideas for knife honing and sharpening, I thought my readers would like to see the expert's answer to the above question:

Firstly, Honing and Sharpening perform different functions. You should hone your knife regular – maybe every 6-8hrs worth of use and this will ensure it keeps its sharp edge.

Honing only removes the microscopic burr that it put on your edge after general use – it does not remove metal, only removes the burr and realigns the edge.

For honing steels, you will want one with a 10” or longer rod and with a hardness greater than the knife which is 56 Rockwell. Ceramic Honing rods are popular as here you don’t need to worry about hardness. I don’t have a specific one to recommend as the choice is so vast on Amazon.

Sharpening depends upon your skill level with using a whetstone. If you are confident using a whetstone, then we recommend the King 1000/6000 whetstone – this is very popular. A lot of our customers prefer to send their knives to a local sharpener if they are not as confident using a whetstone.

I actually found it difficult to use the whetstone at first, so I recommend practicing on an old knife if you choose this route. I found the technique in the below link to be the best and easiest to use for consistent results:
https://www.chefsteps.com/classes/knife-sharpening

Amazon is a great place to make these purchases as they have a great selection to choose from. Some customers choose the rotary water sharpeners like the Yaxell Knife Sharpener Gousharp Pro - here sharpening is simpler but you are then restricted to a fixed angle on your knife, which will be what ever the fixed wheel sharpening system you chose. We suggest the whetstones as you can make the blade angle to suit your specific needs. An example of a whetstone here.

General good tips are to cut on blade friendly materials such as wood, bamboo or plastic. Surfaces such as stone, glass or ceramic would quicken the dulling process.
The Chefsteps link above will help to understand about knife sharpening and honing.

Ampers.

Friday, 8 December 2017

This is great for retirees, procrastinators, and bosses who want more efficiency.

I use a system called 52:17

Basically all this means is, after working 52 minutes, you take a break of 17 minutes.

No, it won't work for everybody, and it won't work for people with little imagination.

If you are called out to meetings all day or your work is answering the telephones, forget it.

But if your desk work doesn't involve this, it will work. Others can use it. Car mechanics for instance working in a garage. Retirees who can't seem to get organised can use it - such as me!

I am retired and in my late seventies, and to keep healthy I walk a mile every day. But not in one go now. Work has been building up, I am building up a large recipe base using "Now you're cooking" and am busy entering in all my typed recipes. I have four bookcases, 16 shelves of books that need cataloging, a few hundred CDs these are just three of the many jobs building up.

So now, as I am retired, I do two 52 minutes of these sessions with 17 minutes rest time, starting at 9am and finishing around 11:20am Then I take a long lunch break, maybe reading or other leisurely persuits, and at 2pm I do two more 52/17 stints, finishing at around 4:40pm. On two of these four 17 minutes rest periods I go for a half mile walk so I no longer need to go our for the mile walk every morning.

I am amazed at what gets done. I am doing more, in a third of the time than I have done since I retired eight years ago.

This link will take you to a Google page with lots of different articles on the system. One is detrimental, but do read that as well as it shows how having a lack of imagination by being self centred can make you unable to see the  bigger picture.

Ampers.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The history of fascism

I must admit, I didn't know a lot of this, absolutely fascinating. It's not very long but it had me spellbound. We've had it all wrong for years.


Ampers

Friday, 24 November 2017

A terrific Cookery program


It is called, and you can search for Now You're Cooking on the internet This is a shareware program and it is worth every penny if you decide to buy and use it.

Although a Windows Program, if you install the latest, and the latest version of Linux Crossover, it will run on Linux with a few idiosyncrasies.

I really missed this when, nine or ten years ago, I moved over to Linux. Now I am busy exporting all my recipes - I have well over 100 and those are just my favourites.

The following is taken from the blurb on the program's website.



Convenient & Friendly Interface

runs in Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP
context-sensitive Help throughout
quick-fill data entry
"Did you know?" tips
auto-updated droplists
user-defined external editor and browser
toolbars for speed use
safe and easy upgrade to new NYC versions
Windows Help (contents, search)
zip/unzip/email cookbooks for backup or exchange
easy cut, copy-paste options
web links for support and recipe downloads
cooking glossary with user tips
easy Backup of entire user folder (with compression)
movable user folder
selective Restore of backed up files to user folder
change screen font size
numerous user preference settings
NYC User Manual on Help menu


Recipe Management

organized, customizable recipe interface
recipe fullview and editview choices
up to 500 user-defined categories per cookbook
duplicate recipe checking across cookbooks
unlimited number of cookbooks
resize recipes by a multiplier or by #servings
automatic or manual recipe categorization
automatic best units for resized ingredients
tag and untag recipes for later operations
defrag or reindex cookbooks and image archives
toggle US-SI, fractions-decimal conversions
cookbook annotation
edit, delete, email, print, export recipes from search results
customizable find-replace text across cookbooks
attach images to recipes in cookbooks
proper case recipe names across cookbooks
customizable edit window layout
customizable multi-rater, multi-criteria recipe rating
spell checker (dictionaries in 14 languages)
graphical analysis of recipe ratings


Finding Recipes

multi-criteria recipe search across cookbooks
edit, delete, email, print, or export from search results
find recipes that use ingredients on hand
manual or automatic recipe categorization
search within a limited range (category, recipes with images, etc)
user-defined keywords for auto-categorization
click 2 (or more) categories to find recipes assigned to both
user-defined default categories for new cookbooks
find and delete empty categories
merge and delete categories across cookbooks


Importing and Exporting Recipes

email recipes and cookbooks
158,000+ free, importable recipes on website
robust import of MM, MC, generic formats
0.5 million free, importable recipes overall
multi-file imports; each file can have mixed formats
easily create a recipe website with images
Quick Web Recipes for easy download/import
customize Export-to-Web web pages
easy Screen Import for recipes in any format
export recipes in various formats to your text editor
save un-imported recipes to a separate file
export search results to other cookbooks
publish NYC cookbooks to MS Word
move selected recipes to other cookbooks


Meal Planning

meal plan using multiple cookbooks
handles breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks
multi-criteria search from meal plan
add recipes or individual items to meal plan
quick view recipes from meal plan
scale meal plan entries by a multiplier
maintain multiple menus
automatic shopping list from menus
pop-up calendar for date selections
tag and untag recipes from the menu planner
unlimited meal plan period
easily swap menu days
randomized auto-menu creation


Automatic Shopping List

sums like items from meal plan recipes
add miscellaneous items or delete items on hand
sums like items with different units (converts)
append to or replace previous list
user-definable unit conversions
maintain multiple shopping lists simultaneously
auto-expansion of unit conversion combinations
shopping list sorted by store aisle
multiple shopping lists
merge shopping lists
Cost Management
shopping list cost comparison for up to 20 stores
complete coupon manager
user-defined prices/aisles for up to 20 stores
coupons sorted by item, brand, or expiration date
auto-add new ingredients to prices and aisles list
flag coupon list items with match in shopping list
flags low price and store for shopping list items
import/export price lists to/from text files


Nutrition Analysis

uses USDA nutrition database SR28
8789 food items in USDA database
raw, cooked, prepared, or commercial foods
add, delete, replace user-defined nutrition items
nutrition analysis (recipes, meals, menus)
includes proximates, vitamins, minerals
over 40 nutrition elements analysed, including trans fats
%calories as carbohydrates:protein:fat
analyze any recipe from any source
customizable DietPoints calculations
%Daily Values calculated using your calories/day
add a recipe’s nutrition analysis as a nutrition item
searchable nutrition database
auto-link recipe ingredients using ingredient droplist

Fitness Tracking

calculate body fat %, BMI, waist ratios, and more
track body measurements for multiple users over time
calculate calories/day to gain, lose, maintain weight
calculate basal metabolic rate


Printed Outputs

With your choice of fonts, font sizes, orientation, margins, and printer, you can print:
any or all recipes in various formats
shopping list
recipe names by category
shopping list by store aisle
meal plan
shopping list cost comparison at up to 20 stores
recipes in meal plan
list of unit conversions
recipe categories
list of coupons
recipe category assignments
list of prices and aisles
cookbook recipes by category
droplists
nutrition analyses
recipes on index card sheets (various sizes)
print-to-text file option
mini-print preview for recipes
fitness data
nutrition link status for recipe ingredients

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Automate your smartphone

First of all, a possible disclaimer.
I use Android, and although Tasker and Locale could well be available on the iPhone, Macrodroid, by the nature of its name, might not.

There could easily be other apps which handle automation on the smartphone, both in
Android and iPhone stores and, if you know of them, please mention them in the comments section below.
The easiest of the three apps is Locale, and the most difficult is Tasker. And like many things in the electronics umbrella, the more an item can do equates directly to being a little more complex to use.

These apps automate your smartphone. For example, a few I have set up include:
At night, after 11pm, everything turns off except wifi as I have a lot of routines which back up during the night. At 7am the phone reverts to normal.

When I leave home, based on my WiFi SSID, sound is turned up on the ringer so I can hear it when I am in traffic. It reduces when I arrive home again.

When I flip face down, everything is quiet and the phone ringer changes from my loud "De La Rey" ringtone to a single quiet beep.

There are other routines such as low battery and an auto SMS – I go for a long walk each morning and if I meet a friend and go for coffee, when I log into the SSID at the coffee house, an SMS is automatically sent to my wife stating I am having coffee with a friend and will be delayed.
Both under Locale and Tasker, there are many routines on offer in the Android Store. These range from free to around 95p each.

The good news is that Locale and Tasker routines are not only interchangeable, but will also work with Macrodroid which is the one I decided to use after practising with Locale. I think it is only marginally more difficult than Locale and I can use all the Locale and Tasker routines I have purchased. Tasker for me, at 78, was a little too difficult to master, which was a shame as I had purchased it.

Amper

Saturday, 11 November 2017

An alternative way to treat foreign criminals

Twitter has given me an idea.

The idea of prison is twofold. One is to punish and one is to help the prisoner back into sociaty having paid for his or her sins.

If an immigrant’s conviction carries a custodial sentence, it is going to cost the tax payer more than £32,450 a year whilst in prison.

We should add up police costs to catch him, police time until end of trial, and all costs of the trial. We should then send him back to his country, inform his country’s government of the crime and conviction, and give the person concerned an invoice for the cost of police and court time.

We should charge an interest rate of 5% over bank rate compounded monthly.

He may then return to Britain once he has paid the invoice and all accrued interest.

1. We get rid of him, at least for many years.

2. If he ever returns, we would have got our costs back, and he’ll not want to go through all that again.

3. Our prisons will be less crowded.
However, murder, and perhaps rape, of a British person should be exempt from this leniency.

Terrorism must be an exception here, they must go to prison for a minimum of forty years, for any terrorist crime, and there should be prisons for terrorists only.

Have I left anything out? Use the comments below.

Ampers.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Some advice for Mrs May


But before, a tiny bit of history.

The first time, back in the seventies, when de Gaulle said “Non!” to Britain’s wish to join the ‘Common Market he also had – as is the French want – an awful lot of other things to say on the matter! But the most outstanding thing he said, which acknowledged that he learned a lot about the English during his exile here during the war, was:

England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her interactions, her markets and her supply lines to the most diverse and
often the most distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities, and only slight agricultural ones. She has, in
all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions.”

In other words, we are a sea going trading nation and the EU is a closed shop and backwater group of nations without our ability to go out and get trade. They prefer to stay at home and want for the trade to come to them.

Remainers have adopted the continental trade theory of sitting on their bottoms and waiting for the trade to come to them. Whereas Leavers have confidence in the traditional British way of going out there to find business. It’s not for nothing that English ancestors came up with the old saying: ‘If you build a better mousetrap, the world will not beat a path to your door’.

Let’s take a look at the ongoing EU negotiations. It is evident that Theresa May has no confidence in England’s ability to go out and obtain business from the far corners of the globe. If she had, she would inform the EU negotiators that we have given enough. They still owe us for the costs incurred in saving them from world war two and this more than cancels out the smaller figures they are asking for.

She will then tell them she is not really that interested in a trade deal with the EU, rather she wants to trade with the wider world. The imbalance of trade within the EU with WTO tariffs will enable her to assist exporters to the EU to find business outside of the EU with no loss to their bottom line.

Germany will not allow the EU Negotiators to come away with WTO rules as it will cost their car industry 10% surcharges on the cost of cars. Germany sells 30 cars out of every hundred we buy each year. Then the French motor manufacturers are probably the next largest. Remind me, who are the two most important continental countries in the EU?

Immigration. She can afford to be tough here. She can say she will allow all “law abiding” employed continentals to stay on a country by country basis. If a continental country will allow British people to settle there, then we will allow that countries law abiding citizens to remain here. All others will have six months to leave unless breaking any laws when expulsion will be immediate.

The EU desperately needs our money and desperately needs to delay our leaving. And we desperately need a tough negotiator. We haven’t got one.

There is one in the wings but Theresa May would rather run Britain into the dust than employ Nigel Farage in her negotiation team. She hates Farage far more than she loves England. Even Henry Bolton, who has had extensive history of negotiating for the UN and the EU in parts of trouble torn Europe would do far better as head of our present negotiating team.

Ampers.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Why I’ll never use “Amazon Fresh” for my weekly grocery shop

Ocado is far faster to build up a week’s shopping, we handle this extremely quickly.

Where Ocado has the advantage is, when you type an item in the search box, the item comes up and the search box then empties for when you type in the next item. You then buy the item and the search box is free to type in the next item.

With Amazon, one types in the item as in Ocado, and then you buy your choice of product, but when you come to put in the next item, you have to delete the old item from the search box. Apart from this taking extra time, it is extremely annoying.

This is why I will never use Amazon for my weekly grocery shop.

I have been a Prime member of Amazon since the millennium bug was found to be non-existent (2000AD) and buy between two and five items a week from them. And will continue to do so but, alas, they won’t get my weekly grocery shop.

Ampers.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

So you really want to open a shop?

I see a lot of shops opening, and within months, closing down. And, I know the reason why.

The shop owners had never heard of the old saying “Just because you’ve built a better mousetrap, the public won’t beat a path to your door”.

You have to market your business, you have to go out to find your customers in the early years. I use the word ‘years’ advisedly.

But I’ll start from the beginning.

First of all, what do you want to sell?

Once you decide, if it is not a general item (clothing, food, etc) find an area where there are others selling similar products. The public already know that’s the area to go for those types of goods.

If you rely on passing trade, examine the area and look for footfall. For example, people have favourites for which side of the street they walk up and down on. Go to the area, have a coffee in a seat near the window and watch.

Once you have decided on your area and the best sides for footfall, look for an empty shop.

OK, you have signed a lease, decorated your shop, got in your stock and are ready to open.

Have 20,000 to 40,000 leaflets delivered, all offering a 20% discount. Be generous, you want crowds, and the more stock you turn over the more you’ll be welcomed by your wholesaler. These should all be delivered in the week before opening day.

Make Friday your opening day and the day before, hold a private champagne party the during the evening.

Invite the three local councillors, your MP and the local press editor to the party. You want good music blaring out with loads of champagne flowing, get a pile of empty champagne boxes in the window and put the bar by the window with the glasses piled on the bar. You’re objective is to interest the passers by so they come in the next day. Have a big notice in the Window, We are open from tomorrow at 9am.

This is as far as I am going with this article, but remember, you must market your shop every day for at least two years, special deals, lots of leaflets, advertising in the local newspapers – you want them on your side – Each type of shop is different, you must pick what works for you. But know this, it matters not what your product is, the bit about marketing your shop every day for the first two years does.

Changing jobs?

These are simple common sense instructions and will depend on what you do for a living. For this illustration I will talk about people in administration: office managers, PA and secretaries, clerks.

First of all, if you don’t want to be one in a hundred plus competing for a job, forget the newspapers and job agencies.

On your weekend and days off, look for companies around your home, note their name and address and anything they may have on an outside plaque. Then look for the next one, repeat.

Then get on your local public transport, go for one stop, and do the same, get the next bus or train and repeat.

Your objective is to try and build up a list of a hundred plus places to write to.

Research on the Internet, open up a database and build up information about the company. The more you collect, the more you will impress if you get an interview. Do it now, you don’t want to scramble about if you’re offered an interview.

Write, sending your CV to the HR manager. The date you send your letter is important. Presuming you are using second class stamps, read the following paragraph carefully.

People often hand in their resignations on the last working day of the month. It takes the system a couple of days before the HR manager decides what to do. Post your letter one working day before the end of the month (treat Saturday as a working day). Your letter will arrive at roughly the same time as the HR manager decides to take action.

Employment bureaux charge a lot of money and the HR manager may just decide to wheel you in for a quick interview before going to a bureau. You will be one amongst errr… one. Not bad odds and you might get the job.

Remember, a job may only become vacant for one out of a hundred letters.

I have done this, twice in my life – in the early days before I built up my own businesses.

Ampers.

Here are a few ideas I'd like UKIP to adopt.

1 Branch activities

A) preamble
In 1970, I thought my wife and I needed to get out more. I was working hard and my social life was suffering. So by solely leafleting at Tube Stations on the way to my business, and some evenings after work, I built up a club of 800 hundred members. The fee to join was £10/10/- (£10.50) a year. Projecting the average annual salary to the present day from the national average of £850 a year to now is £27,000, that would make the joining fee £333.48. We put out a roneoed newsletter with an average of 100 events every month (3 a day) but the members put on the events not us.

Events such as coffee mornings at home or in coffee bars, wine and cheese evenings at home or pub visits. Theatre and cinema visits. Trips on the Thames, visits to museums and art galleries, and even weekends away.

B) How UKIP branches could benefit
Bearing in mind that little happens between elections, and that the Internet can cut costs to a minimum, branches could do this on a smaller scale. Initially the committee would need to start the ball rolling before asking the others to do something. The whole objective here would be to create interests during the long periods where nothing happens. Those that are more prolific and imaginative at putting on events could be earmarked for future councillors.


2. Membership fees

A) Preamble
I know for a fact that many members have been reticent about giving their email addresses which proves costly for branches. We need to encourage them to send them in.

B) Why not a structured membership rate?
At present we have the following rates:
£30 p.a. membership rate
£1,000 p.a. Patron
(I've left out YI rates for simplicity)

Why can’t we consider the following?
£30 membership with all correspondence by email.
£40 membership with all correspondence by post.
The above email rate should include the magazine by PDF.
Then, I propose the following
£100 Senior membership (Email only)
£1,000 Patron (Email only)
(people who can afford this would be on email)


3. Ryver and Trello

These are two very useful programs for Branches.

Ryver is totally free for use by as many people as is wanted; only addons are paid for and their first paying addon is a group task manager which Trello does for free.

Ryver allows a branch to keep everything private and together when communicating with members and members communicating with other members. You can have open forums, as many as is required, and you can have private meeting rooms, useful for committee and sub-committees. And you can converse with any member or committee in open forum, in private meeting rooms, or in a private message. (I could set up one just for branch chairmen so they can test it and ask me questions before they implement it in their branches. No charge.)

Trello This is free for normal usage and works with cards and columns. On a more simple example, you could have a column for ‘todo’, a second one for ‘job assigned to’ and a third for ‘job completed’. But you can have many cards and many columns.


4. Members Think Tank

There are many people such as myself who could have a lot to contribute. Why not take advantage of what we have to offer.

Use a separate Ryver installation for a think tank
One open forum for general discussion, a private room where you have a subject for the think tank to work on. As an example, you may decide to have a discussion on membership fees. You go into the open forum and ask for volunteers for the Membership Discussion private team room. And put your views there and let members discuss. You can have as many private discussion rooms as you wish, members only see the ones they’ve been invited to but see all Open Forums.

Ampers
Ex UKIP Head Office Manager circa 2001
With Sked’s Anti-Federalist League before UKIP

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Know thine enemy!



Up to 1993 I was too busy working and making money to take any interest in politics. Let those interested in politics take the interest I mused as my adopted country started “disintegrating”.

A friend took me to a meeting early that year to an organisation called the Anti-Federalist League, run as a fiefdom by a London School of Economics professor, Alan Sked.

I started to learn of the terrible impositions laid down on the British people by the European Union, and of the treachery of our politicians who took us in without a referendum – although Labour did offer us one to come out, saying ‘do you want to leave a free trade block’? Of course the majority were hoodwinked into saying ‘we’ll stay in’.

Later on that year, I think it was around September, a few (five) members left to start their own party called the United Kingdom Independence Party. As far as I can remember, two were Tories, two were Labour and I believe there was a Liberal. There was Alan Sked, Nigel Farage, Gerard Batten, and I can’t remember the others except one was called Colin.

Anyway, I digress. In early 1994 I joined UKIP and started taking an interest in politics. Since Margaret Thatcher was ousted by some piddling little adulterer, the Conservative Party went into a steep decline. Later Blair came along and, as a businessman, I couldn’t believe how the great British public were taken in by his false charm.

During my years with UKIP – I am still a member – I have been on several committees and one year was their head office manager. However, through disagreements and exasperation I have resigned five times and rejoined six times.

The point I am trying to make is, politics isn’t perfect, one gets easily depressed, but without taking a keen interest in the world around you (politically) Britain will continue to be ruled by idiots or monkeys.

If you vote for a party because your father voted for it, and his father before him, you are the cause of our political decline.

If you can’t be bothered to vote, you are the cause of our political decline.

If you vote for one of the big two parties to stop the other getting in, rather than a smaller party of choice, you are the cause of our political decline.

If you think we must remain in the EU because we aren’t able to hold our own in the world, you are the cause of our political decline.

If you think Labour are for the working man, you are the cause of our political decline.

If you think the Conservatives are for all businesses including smaller companies, you are the cause of our political decline.

Come to think of it, if you think the Conservative Party are run by conservatives, you are also the cause of our political decline.

Start taking an interest in politics. Read one political book a month (or even one political magazine). That won’t take up too much of your time. Don’t just read your party’s material, read all parties literature. ‘know thine enemy’!

Perhaps record Question Time one lunchtime and watch it when you get home – see how childishly our MPs behave. Then pour a strong Scotch!

Join your political party and go along to their meetings – not every month – just now and again. You’ll probably need another strong Scotch!

If you follow my advice, I can assure you of one thing. You might become a little depressed. But on the plus side, you may decide to do something and Britain will gain.

Do nothing and the idiots or monkeys will remain in charge.

Ampers.

PS If you know anyone who this applies to, send them a link – you may stir them.

Monday, 30 October 2017

A few of my well used Android Apps


Some Android apps I find incredibly useful and hope you might as well. I’ve deliberately kept things brief and simple just to give you an overall picture. Each of these apps can do far more than I have explained.

Aquamail
This sets up easily but if you want to make it sing, you need to put a little time on it. I have three email addresses and it puts them all on the opening screen. It allows a different signature for each email address and you can colour code them on the opening screen. There is also an area which lists all emails from each email address together – useful if you are in a hurry. If you use Google’s G-Suite, or other programs which allow identities, this will cope for as many identities as you may wish, with separate signatures for each identity. But if you only have one email address this could be termed as overkill.

Drupe
This is a communications program. Within Drupe, I have phonecalls, sms, emails, whatsapp, Viper, Hangouts, Google Video and even paypal. These are circles on the right. I have a list of my favourite and regular contacts in circles on the left, and if I want, for instance, to send an email to Pam, I drag her picture to the email button and my email program (Aquamail) opens up on a new email page. The program allows for four dots to be put anywhere on your screen and stays there whatever program you are in. For example, if I am sending an email to Jim, but need info from Jack, I can stay on my email page, slide the four dots across the screen and it opens up Drupe, I can make a quick phone call, and immediately go back to my email. There is a list of every business imaginable on a page within the program, and whereever you are in the world, you can click on a button and find the nearest of about 80 types of shops and businesses.

Glympse
This is incredibly useful if you are wanting to meet up somewhere with a friend. You can “send a glympse” to their mobile and choose how long the friend can see your location from five minutes up to four hours. Once the time is up, it closes down and your friend cannot access your location.

Tweetcaster
One of the best twitter programs around. You can send any length tweet, even 1,000 characters or more if you like. It will send it as a file which opens if anyone clicks on it in twitter. You can also send it as a series of tweets, all joined almost together. The nice thing also is you can zip someone, so their tweets don’t appear for a day, week, month, year or forever. Sometimes when you get caught up in a conversation you are bored with, you zip them for a day and by the end, it has fizzled out. You can also send a tweet for some time in the future, minutes, hours, days or weeks.

Action Launcher
There are many launchers around but what I like about this one is the drawer on the left with all your apps on it (I have over 300) and a drawer on the right where you can put your favourite apps in. You can change the size of your icons and how many in rows and columns on the screen up to 12 x 12. 12 x 12 allows you to have more control of widgets There is a lot more on this launcher, more than I have space for here.

These are just a small handful of the 300 plus apps on my cellphone, and I hope you will find them useful.

If you know of a spectacular app feel free to write about it in the comments section.

Ampers

Friday, 27 October 2017

Who should, and why should they, think about installing Linux?

Definitely those who only use their home computer for writing letters, running spreadsheets, or browsing the Internet.

Then it is also extremely useful if you use the computer for music, including making your own ring tones, watching videos and editing photographs.

But don’t let this put you off if you do much more, Linux can do just about anything that Microsoft or Apple can, but it takes a bit of searching.

There is a link to somebody else’s article further down which, if you are interested in Linux, I suggest reading.

Before you even think about uninstalling your present computer operating system, there are things you should consider doing.

There is a great overall office program called LibreOffice. As this is also available for Microsoft or Apple computers, you can download it and get to know how it works before taking the drastic step of moving to Linus.

If you use Photoshop, then there is a Linux program called Gimp also available on Microsoft or Apple computers. Download it and play with it.

If you decide not to move to Linux, you can still use these programs and like 99% of Linux programs, they’re totally free of charge. I have about 60 major programs on my Linux desktop – and I am 78 years old.

This link will show you various Windows programs and their Linux counterparts, although very long, it is not the whole story. The link also shows you some applications which have Microsoft or Apple equivalent software which you can download before moving operating systems.

My suggestion is to keep with your Microsoft or Apple operating system for six months, run Firefox’s browser, get to know Thunderbird’s email program, run LibreOffice and get to know that. Maybe download the Gimp if you like Photoshop although there are a lot of more simple photo editing programs in Linux. Inkskape is a Coreldraw look alike which you may also want to run.

After six months, you can take the plunge, but the advantage is, you won’t have to learn all the application programs from new as you’d have been using them for months. You will never have to rely on or be dictated to, by Microsoft or Apple again.

Here is an article from someone who moved to Linux.

A little more about Operating Systems from this link:

About Linux, you will read:

“Because of its functionality, adaptability, and robustness, Linux is able to compete against the Unix and Microsoft operating systems. 

IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and other computer giants have embraced Linux and support its ongoing development. More than a decade after its initial release, Linux is being adopted worldwide mainly as a server platform. 

More and more people are starting to use Linux as a home and office desktop operating system. The operating system can also be incorporated directly into microchips in a process called “embedding.” Many appliances and devices are now starting to use operating systems in this way.”

To completely bewilder you, here’s a list of 23 operating systems! At the end of the Linux paragraph, it states: Linux is the most rapidly growing of any major operating system. Linux is the most rapidly growing of any major operating system.

However, Linux Mint has been acknowledged, by many, as the best “flavour” for absolute beginners. After six months to a year, you can experiment with some of the others. I started on Ubuntu but they seem to have neglected the desktop of their servers so I moved to Linux Mint where I have stayed.

Ampers.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Keep an open mind and educate yourself.

Have recently been called a Commie because I watch Russia Today sometimes. I also watch Al Jazeera, Fox and CNN in the USA, Sky News, EU News, and a few others.

If you just watch BBC or Sky you'll never know what is happening in the world.

Russia Today and Al Jazeera stations are full of propaganda, but you see things you never see in England, such as riots going on at present in Sweden. A lot of Riots over the last six months in Belgium, France and Germany not shown in full which the BBC tend to cover just a corner of.

In addition I use Twitter and get to know what will be in the British newspapers the day before as the information always appears electronically before the papers are printed. Twitter is an ideal way of being informed quickly if you follow the right people.

However, I suggest you don't follow my example if you have an inability to recognise propaganda or you'll be taken in by some of these stations. You need to watch them all and learn to synthesize all the information to get at the truth.

Ampers.

Friday, 20 October 2017

All about Lavazza coffee beans you wanted to know!

I have a super Krups coffee machine and buy Lavazza coffee. But was totally confused at all the various brands they do. Then I came across this blog on the Internet.

Here is the preamble, and if you want to learn about every single brand they do, follow the link at the end of this article.

Ampers

Lavazza Coffee Buying Guide

Lavazza Coffee Guide

Lavazza Coffee

Shopping for espresso coffee beans can be a baffling experience unless you already know what you’re looking for. We only stock one major brand of coffee beans – Lavazza – and there are still a large number of different blends to choose from.

We therefore decided to put together this easy-to-follow guide to help you choose the right Lavazza coffee for you. Please note this isn’t an advert or a buyers’ guide, simply an explanation of the origins, flavour and suitability of the range of Lavazza coffee beans.

To be honest, it doesn’t really matter whether you are buying coffee beans for use in your coffee shop or just to enjoy at home, the principal is the same – if it tastes good to you, it should taste good to your customers too. The only thing to factor in is the price – you may be prepared to pay that little bit more for what you drink at home, for obvious reasons.

Another point to make before we describe these great Lavazza coffees is that taste can’t be measured. We are often asked whether one blend tastes better than another, and the answer always has to be that taste is a subjective thing, what one person loves another may dislike and vice versa. We can of course use quality as a guide, but as an example, my personal favourite and the blend often recommended by Lavazza is not the most expensive in their range. We’ll therefore stick with the facts rather than try to tell you how great we think it tastes to us.

Lavazza coffee beans are broadly split into two different categories, those in red bags and those in blue bags. Lavazza red tends to be found more in cash and carries, supermarkets and high street shops. Lavazza blue is a more premium range aimed at coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and so on. We only sell the Lavazza blue range so we’ll only be talking about those in this article.

And now for the coffees...

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

An open letter to Richard Dawkins

Dear Mr Dawkins,

Your twitter profile states that you are a UK biologist and writer. You also state that science is the poetry of reality…

You recently wrote that we need a second referendum but we shouldn’t have it too soon. You continue that we need to wait until there are more young voters [who will vote to remain in the EU].

You must realise that this is the same EU which, by insisting on open borders, has allowed millions more people into the UK?

So how will remaining in the EU benefit the young when they reach voting age?

First of all, the majority – and this is probably over 90% of them – will never be able to afford a deposit on their own home. Housing prices are growing astronomically. So, by the same means, deposits are rising astronomically as well. If these youngsters manage to save, with the present huge costs of rental accommodation, they could well be in their fifties or sixties before they can afford a deposit, and by then they will be too old to take out a mortgage.

Then, what about marriage and children? There are school places to consider. Immigrants I see in Finchley often have a baby in a pram – or perhaps two in a double pram, with two, three or sometimes four infants trotting behind. School places may be so far away, one partner in the marriage will always have to accompany their children to and from school so will have to earn less. Not just for primary school but right up to school leaving age as there are a lot of dangerous people about. This will have a lead on effect of reducing savings towards that ever elusive mortgage.

If we get our wish for Brexit soon, it may be in time to save our National Health Service. Already it is at breaking point. With frightening stories at A&E – these are supposed to be for emergency cases – taking up to eight hours before you are seen by a doctor.

I am sorry, Richard, but you appear to be a very silly man. Or, if not silly, certainly not wise enough to see the dangers of your philosophy on Brexit. Or is it that you just don’t care about the poorer working class British who will bear the brunt of all this?

Yours sincerely,

Ampers.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Crime and punishment

We need to rethink our sentencing procedures.

Prison doesn’t work for shorter sentences. They become training grounds for minor criminals to learn the rudiments of becoming more serious major criminals.

But any alternative sentences must either hurt or rehabilitate the minor criminal.

First of all, there should be a greater use of confiscation. A law officer should assess the total value of a criminal after he has been sentenced to forfeit a percentage of his total wealth. Any property should be taken into consideration and if jointly held with his spouse, the property should be sold in auction with half being returned to the spouse. All phones and other luxury gadgets to be confiscated and most of other belongings.

If the court suspect the prisoner has salted away wealth, then the sentence may be carried out in full for as long as the prisoner lives--if proved to be earned previous to the conviction.

If the prisoner has no wealth, they should be put to work washing buildings, cleaning roads and other duties aimed at helping the local community.

All prisoners should be assessed using the British Army criteria for finding out what the person can do best. I saw a dustman take the test in 1959, and the officer told him he would train as an electronics technician. I kept in touch with him and he passed with flying colours and spent his time repairing cipher machines at embassies around the world! If the prisoner is found to have useful talents, he should be encourage to attend school and learn a trade. His reward would be to escape the dirty work.

Hostels to house prisoners with a 7pm curfew, with a month added onto the sentence for each time they break curfew.

Prisons should not have TV, computer games, or cellphones for prisoners. Calls from a public phone box provided providing the convict has behaved themselves over the last week.

Separate prisons for political crimes by people who want to destroy the British way of life.

OK, maybe a little over the top but my objective here is to get us all thinking there must be a better way than just locking more and more people up where they learn to be more successful at crime.

Ampers.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The black economy

Once Brexit happens, and it will; we must consider the immigrants who have remained in the UK. Many come from countries where the culture is to avoid paying any tax. Alas, many British have also succumbed to this dishonest way.

So a new way of thinking needs to be introduced. We need to consider taxing on spending rather than on earning. In addition, people will be encouraged to save more. The country will benefit and the world is our oyster for exporting our goods.

Read on.

First of all, we need to get rid of VAT – a stupid tax that makes all companies in the supply chain pay it as the goods move from manufacturer, to distributor, to wholesaler, to shop.

We should introduce our old system of “purchase tax” which only the company selling to the public introduces. That will, at least, save extra costs which should ensure a cheaper product as they move down the supply chain.

We can do two things now to help destroy the black economy.

First of all, keep purchase tax at 20% and increase the individual’s tax free allowance to £50,000. In one instance, the Inland Revenue/VAT Office would be reduced in size by well over 80%. Non productive public servants could then move to the more productive private sector.

However, there will still be a financial deficiency so we have to think about a sliding scale tax system.

This will need a lot of careful thought.


First of all we need to have a zero rated purchase tax on gas and electricity, providing all tax payers live in a building which has solar panels fitted on their buildings roofs which generates electricity and returns unused electricity to the National Grid. Otherwise the 5% tax will remain. Financial assistance to be given to install the solar panels. Landlords to pay the 5% purchase tax on gas and electricity if they don't add solar panels to their roofs.
  • Petrol and diesel tax. At present the combined tax from the duty and VAT on an average price of £1.16 litre of petrol is 69.7%. There should be only one tax, so do away with doubling up on people, and have a purchase tax of 70%. Raising it further will be unproductive as it will put up all food prices and goods which are transported by lorry.
  • Motor Vehicle.  If imported, the first £20,000 of a single item at 20% and thereafter at 40%.  If made or fully assembled in Britain, the first £80,000 of a single item at 20% and thereafter at 30%. The tax that owners pay on CO2 emissions is a little complicated but should stay the same until we become all electric.
  • Food. All food produced within the UK to remain zero ratedare. All imported food to be either zero rated or 5% depending on origin. For example, food from poor countries to remain zero rated and food from wealthy countries to be taxed at 5%.
  • Clothes. Zero rated up to a certain amount – enough for people to be smart in their chosen jobs. For example, if you work in an office, items (eg suits) up to £200 zero rated. Otherwise full purchase tax.
  • Luxury items. If imported, the first £200 of a single item at 20% and thereafter at 35%. If made in Britain, the first £400 of a single item at 20% and thereafter at 30%.
  • Computers. If imported, the first £200 of a single item at 20% and thereafter at 35% If made or fully assembled  in Britain, the first £600 of a single item at 20% and thereafter at 30%.
  • Mobile Phones. If imported, the first £200 of a single item at 20% and thereafter at 40%. If made or fully assembled in Britain, the first £400 of a single item at 20% and thereafter at 30%.
This is just an idea to get people thinking. Remember, the idea is to transfer tax from earning to spending. If the above taxes on spend earn the government more than they receive at present, we can increase the tax free allowance from £50,000 upwards until it balances. If not, we can increase the taxes on spend until it balances. We should not reduce the tax free allowance or we will defeat the objective of changing tax from income to spend.

One final point – and I am not able to cover this as I don’t know the answer. What to do if the immigrant workers just exist on the bare minimum here whilst sending all their money out of the country? What can we do?

If you'd like to chip in with your ideas, comment below, I will then reply.

Ampers.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

They haven’t finished yet…

… but what they have works perfectly.

I am referring to the Drupe communications app. The clever Israelis have written an app which does the following:

On the screen are two columns.

On the left are a list of your contacts with their photos and on the right are the various things you can do with your contacts. How it works is simple, you drag the contact you want over to place it on top of the sub app you want to use.

But first of all a list of what apps you can drag the contact to:.

Phone – drag a contact here and it phones the contact.
Loudspeaker – Same as Phone, except it will start a call with the loudspeaker on.
SMS – drag a contact and send a message.
Reminders – drag a contact and set a timed reminder to appear at the designated time.
Notes – drag a contact and make notes of what you want to discuss so you can keep the call short.
Calendar – drag a contact and enter an appointment.
Maps – drag a contact and navigate to their home (soon it will show their whereabouts).
Video –  drag a contact and make a video call with Google Duo.
Record call – drag a contact and record the call.
Messenger – drag a contact if you have messenger installed to contact someone.
PayPal – drag a contact to pay them by PayPal if you have a PayPal account.

And, if the other person has Drupe installed, you can send Talkies – recorded messages to them. Also, if they have animated GIFs – you can choose an appropriate one about your message and call them and if they also have Drupe, it will appear on their screen as soon as their phone starts to ring. For example, a Happy Birthday GIF.

If any of your contacts also use Drupe they will have a green dot to the left of their name in the contact list.

There is also a page of 81 different types of businesses – just click on the one you want, and a page will open up with a list of that particular business in the order of how far they are from your present position.

Four dots appear on the side of your home screens, and you can move them left or right, up or down to suit you. Just drag them across the screen and Drupe opens. This may not impress you at first, but you’ll be impressed when you see the four dots in any app you may be using. Instant communications at any time.

Although the app works perfectly, Drupe are continuing to improve it. For example, Skype recently removed their account support from the device address book recently so it broke the functionality in Drupe. They're investigating alternatives to make Skype work.

If you have several numbers in your contact list, the system doesn’t necessary pick the number you want. However, when you drag the contact to the phone or SMS app, continue to hold it there for a short time and a list of the contacts phone numbers will appear for you to choose.  – but if you just click a contacts name alone, it opens up a page where you can choose the number you want to ring or SMS.  You can also favourite or unfavourite the contact, or, choose a ringtone, share a contact, create a shortcut, view the contact in your address book, share Drupe, write a note or set a reminder.

You will notice a Me contact in your favourites list. That’s you! You can use this to set a reminder to yourself, or a series of notes. In addition you can use this to Navigate to home or work.

At present, it is mainly an Android product but they are working on an Apple app and are looking for beta testers for this. Contact Drupe at support@getdrupe.com whether you are an iPhone or Android user, and want to help.

Try it and see for yourself, after all, it’s easy enough to delete if you find it isn’t for you. According to Google Play, this app has had between ten million and fifty million downloads to date.

Update:
There are approximately 30 other apps you can include within Drupe and more are being added. For example I also have WhatsApp, Hangouts, Line, Vibor communications, and the Waze SatNav program. And, they are all accessable within Drupe. Different people on different communications apps, but they are all inside the Drupe umbrella.


Soooper!


Ampers.