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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Make your Android smartphone sing!

The new smartphones.

It is most annoying to see more and more smartphone manufacturers moving over to the “wired in battery” format. I can't help thinking that this is caused by instructions from the world's various security services as the only way a phone owner can't have their whereabouts traced is if they take out the battery from their phone. But then, there could always be a capacitor, feeding a small amount of power, to help the tracers even then.

Anyway, if we have to live with it, we might as well make life easier for ourselves.

I want to talk about two, fairly inexpensive devices, which can help smooth the way for the busy power users. The first is battery support and the second is file transfer support.

The first is extra battery power. Most battery power devises are overkill and are heavy. The GMYLE has only 2,500mAh which is almost a full charge for my Galaxy S6 and will also work on the later Apple phones (lightening). Cost? A mere £10.98

The GMYLE weighs 57 grams only and is 9.9cm x 6.2cm by 0.5cm That wouldn't be heavy, even for a three year old! I find I use mine at least three days every week.

The second is extra memory power. Now even some Android smartphones no longer have a slot for an extra memory card so Sandisk have come up with the ULTRA.

This is a really small device, 3cm x 1.5cm x 0.7cm, and weighing in at only six grams.

This has a slider, one way, full USB3, the other way, micro usb for Android. When you add it into your phone, a file manager comes up to help you transfer files.

This can be placed on your keyring and has a memory of either 32gb (£10.85) or 64gb (£18.99)


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

I hope you will know how to defend your family over the next decade or so, this girl will.

Many people in the UK are terrified of guns and would rather be killed by a murderer than defend themselves with such a weapon. Their wish may soon come true.

Being from Africa, I grew up with guns. From twelve years of age I learned how to fire them, strip them, clean and maintain them, and most of all, respect them. I was competent and used to spend my weekends from the age of fourteen in the bush with a small Czech Slavia pistol for personal protection.

I also had the use of an old Manlicher rifle, loaned by a local farmer whose grandfather used it against the British in the Boer war. I used this for obtaining fresh meat for my supper. Bit of overkill when shooting rabbits!

When I cam to Europe, I spent time in the British Army and as I was a good marksman, got on with our armourer in training and had access to a whole gamut of weapons. To hold, not to fire alas. But I did fire a Lee Enfield .45, an Enfield MkIV .303 and the later 7.62 monstrosity of a rifle. Then there was the Sten gun, a cheaper model of the Stirling, firing 9mm rounds. During WW2 the Army captured millions of 9mm rounds and asked for a weapon to fire them, The Stirling was born, at a price of 7/6 (37.5p) per gun!

The purpose of this blog

All this arises since I saw the below video on a Tweet from an American and was very impressed with the woman narrator. She so reminds me of so many South African women I have met.

It's just under fourteen minutes but she puts her point across with honesty and forthrightness.

No ring on her wedding finger, if I were fifty years younger and single, I'd definitely go to America and seek her out!


America and the EU are planning for Corporates to take over the British NHS.

What is TTIP?

TTIP stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It is a free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. Broadly speaking it has three maincomponents:

  1. Market Access: TTIP would remove customs duties (tax on imports) on both sides of the Atlantic, making it cheaper for businesses to trade with each other.
  2. Regulation: TTIP wants to remove regulatory barriers and create one set of rules for both continents.
  3. Investment: another objective is to make investment easier businesses looking to set up on either side of the atlantic as well as provide new opportunities for banks and other financial institutions.

If it passes, TTIP will be the biggest agreement of its kind, representing nearly half of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) and a quarter of global trade.

That doesn't sound so bad…What are the concerns?

The investment aspect of the agreement is a major cause for concern. Both the EU and the US are eager to insert an Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause into the deal. ISDS procedures are sometimes included in trade deals to promote high levels of investment, but there are deep concerns about their legitimacy, not to mention necessity, in two economies with independent and stable legal systems.

Under ISDS, an investor who feels that their prospects have been diminished by government action can sue the government, not through the host country’s judicial system, but through an independent tribunal set-up under the ISDS provisions.

Effectively, it would make it easier for corporations to sue governments for any policy that potentially harmed their profits. For example, a tobacco company tried to sue the Australian government for public health legislation on cigarette packaging via an ISDS agreement Australia has with Hong Kong.

There is no telling where this kind of loose wording in treaties will leave us. It’s this kind of vague wording that has led to cases where people have used super-injunctions under the ‘right to privacy’ legislation or terrorists using the right to a ‘family life’ legislation to avoid being deported. The spirit of the law is very different to the letter of it.

There are also fears that TTIP could lead the way for the privatisation of the NHS. UK Trade Minister Lord Livingston has admitted that talks about the potential privatisation of the NHS were still on the table. On the reverse, it also forbids the nationalisation of public services and utilities.
(Jeremy Corbyn knows he won't be able to go ahead with his promises).

A free trade deal should never be able to overrule the wishes of a democratically elected government.

A report from the Global Development and Environment Institute predicts that 600,000 EU jobs will be lost because of TTIP.

Can I read it for myself to make up my own mind?

No - TTIP is being negotiated in secret. Aside from a few vague documents, it remains secret almost in its entirety. Wikileaks have put up a €100,000 Euro reward for a copy of it.

Surely my MEP will get to read it before they vote on it?

It depends on how fast they can read. The way that negotiations have been handled so far suggests that MEPs will have very little time to read the legislation, let alone debate any amendments to it, before voting on it. This happened with the controversial Patriot Act in the United States, where senators didn’t have enough time to read the bill before having to vote on it. Some groups within the European Parliament want to stop MEP’s debating TTIP altogether.

Over half of British MEPs have committed to voting against the whole of TTIP. That includes all Labour, UKIP, Green, SNP and Plaid Cymru MEPs.

"Borrowed" from website.


Friday, 18 September 2015

Apologies to all my readers

After talking to David, in my local coffee bar, I discovered that some of you have posted comments and I have never interacted with you by replying to your comments, albeit comments are few and far between. Perhaps because I don't interact with them?

I have now discovered that Blogger will email all comments the instant they are put up on the blog. So, from now on, I promise to reply to every comment.

Once again, my sincere apologies.


We need to change the way we pay benefits to everyone.

Under EU law, we are not allowed to treat people who are from outside the UK, who have come here, differently to UK citizens.

We have to make difficult decisions so that people do not come here just for our benefits. It would be inhumane to stop all benefits both to our citizens and to others. Therefore, I am not proposing this.

We have to think of ways to protect ourselves from people who come here to wish us harm, so I am proposing a way to make the troublemakers think twice before "signing on" but normal innocent people, on hard times, don't get penalised.

My idea is to only pay benefits, whether jobseekers allowance, free housing, mobility allowances (the whole gamut) unless they have an identity card showing their photograph, weight and height, blood group, fingerprint and DNA information. The latter could be just a reference number to where it is on file as it is too large to put on a small card.

We need to reintroduce MI7 to handle the Identity Cards, once more, honest people won't give a damn that it is the security services, but troublemakers will feel very uncomfortable going to a building with such a designation.

Troublemakers often cause trouble so having their DNA and fingerprints on file will help the authorities catch up with them.

Benefits are paid through bank accounts usually, but once a quarter they should be paid over a counter showing their identity cards. Their fingerprints then to be matched up to the card to ensure it really is them. At this stage, if they have committed an offence, the police could be waiting for them.

I'd be interested to here the views in comments of anyone opposing this idea, providing you can give good reason for such opposition.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Prejudices have no place in an entrepreneur's life

If you were in business and were advertising for staff and you had 4 people to see that day for interviews.

You are a white, English, businessman and you were hiring a new receptionist.

One was white, one was black, one was gay, and the other was in a wheelchair.

Who would you choose?

If your answer was “The one who had charm and empathy and was likeable immediately you met them and they had a quick and ready smile – full of warmth", your business is bound to prosper as your receptionist is the first person a caller meets and their entire trip to your office will revolve around their first experience in your office. Your telephonists are of equal importance.

Your choice has to be concerned with what your clients would feel after entering your office, not by your wishes, prejudices – call it what you will.

I left school at fifteen, and had started, run, and sold a few businesses in my younger days, and I was in business to make money and succeed. I left the charities to look after the people who felt the world owed them a living.

Our politicians are more concerned to have people who went to the same public schools; Eton, Westminster, St Pauls, Winchester, Rugby – to name just a few. They don't seem to know how to find the “best person for the job”. One only needs to look at the state of Great Britain to see that method just doesn't work.

Oh, by the way; I was in a similar situation in the late sixties and hired an African girl from Ghana, in a wheelchair. She was bubbling with enthusiasm for life, I hired her even though I had to make some structural changes within my offices.

Health Warning for the Politically Correct lefties, this could cause a heart attack.

Europe in 2015 by a famous tall person.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorised from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels ..

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be right, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is cancelled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.

John Cleese ,
British writer, actor and tall person

This, of course, was never written by John Cleese - see Snopes for details.

A natty pair of cameras. One for someone serious about photography, and one for someone who wants something smaller.

Two great  cameras

Both from Panasonic.

These are normal pocket cameras, but one larger than the other. Larger because it can do a little more. However, that is not to diminish the power of the smaller one.

First of all, my larger TZ70.

The above link will take you to the Panasonic official TZ70 page.

This camera's “Image Stabilisation” works very well with this camera's telephoto range. There is no need to mention its digital zoom as the optical range is 24mm, right up to  720mm in 35mm equivalent. This is a 30x zoom. The camera is available in black, or black and silver.

Click on the Specs link, and then the Full Specs link for the full specification.

And, now for the smaller one

The above link will take you to the Panasonic official LF1 page.
My wife found the TZ70 a little too heavy as she hasn't got very strong wrists so I researched a smaller, lighter camera for her, and found the new LF1 which was smaller and lighter. This camera has almost the same specification of the TZ70 except it only has an optical zoom of 7.1x but that takes it up to the 35mm equivalent of 200mm. Not sure of all the colours but it is available in black and my wife bought a shiny white one which has made me a little envious.

Click on the Specs link, and then the Full Specs link for the full specification.

General information:

Both cameras take video and although both take large SDCards up to 64GB, it is only necessary to use cards which lasts as long as the battery in full size mode. This way, if you are on a big shoot, (the TZ70 handles hundreds of shots in a day with ease) and need to change the card because it's full, or the battery if it is spent, you can change both at once so as not to interrupt shooting too much.

Both cameras have an array of buttons on the back, but are reasonably similar on both cameras.

For those who use Photoshop Lightroom on Windows or Mac, or DigiKam on Linux, you'll be pleased that both cameras can shoot in RAW.

And if you are going on holiday to sunny Syria, you'll be pleased to know that both cameras have a viewfinder for when the sun is too bright for the 3” back viewing panel.

Follow this link for Lumix Tutorials on Photography, 

There are tutorials for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced photographers, all provided to help you get more out of your camera.


Monday, 14 September 2015

Here is the Spanish opinion of Jeremy Corbyn, and worth reading.

This article was published in El Confidencial, Spain´s leading news website, a link to the website so you can read the full article is added afterwards for your convenience.
Corbyn and the Same Old Populist MistakeBy Daniel Lacalle (14 September 2015) 
“He is a Sinn Fein-loving, monarchy-baiting, Israel-bashing believer in unilateral nuclear disarmament. This is a man who, for more than 30 years, has made a political career out of being explicitly and avowedly on the Spartist Left. He is a frondist, an inhabitant of the semi-Trot margin, an unrepentant lover of oppositionalism” Boris Johnson 
Never in my life have I seen more euphoria after the nomination of a Labour candidate … among conservatives. 
The UK has created over the past four years more jobs than the rest of the European Union put together, and spending less than half -relative to GDP- on active employment subsidies. 
The country leads the growth of the most industrialized nations, the G7 , with 4.5%, and unemployment today is almost below the natural rate, at 5.6%. In effect, considering that the UK is a net recipient of tens of thousands of immigrants, we can consider it full employment . 
As a country of SMEs, where meritocracy and success are highly regarded, it comes as an anachronism for Labour to elect Corbyn, who for 30 years has lived off the public sector and just complained. 
The two great weaknesses of the British economy are the high trade and fiscal deficits .
Faced with such a scenario… what could not be more illogical than for the Labour Party to elect someone whose main economic policy is to widen those deficits? To consider deficit spending, tax increases and white elephant public infrastructure as “solutions”, when they have failed miserably in France or Spain in the 2004-2010 period is simply unexplainable. 
It is no surprise, therefore, that eight Labour cabinet members have resigned  after the election of a Labour leader who proposes some of the most outdated and failed policies in modern economic history. Mr Corbyn said that the State spent too little under previous labour governments despite the fact that the country´s financial situation deteriorated dramatically with large imbalances that are still felt today. With a current 44.4% of GDP public spending, saying the government spends “too little” is an insult to taxpayers and efficient public bodies alike. But on top, he wants to penalize the private sector creating the largest government privilege ever designed. The People´s QE (quantitative easing).
In Europe we are already accustomed to the follies of magic solutions from populist parties. Syriza, Podemos, and others always come up with “magic” and allegedly “simple” ideas to solve large and complex economic issues, and always fail when reality kicks in. But there are few that match the monumental nonsense of the “People´s QE”. The Government´s QE rather. 
What is it and why is the People´s QE a bad idea? 
The UK policy of increasing money supply aggressively in the past has always been based on two premises to make it work and avoid hyperinflation and currency destruction: the independence of the central bank as a central pillar of monetary policy, and the constant sterilization of asset purchases (ie, what it buys is also sold to maintain as close as possible to supply and demand market principles). The balance sheet of the Bank of England has remained stable since 2012, coinciding with the highest economic growth period, and is below 25% of GDP. 
However, we should not forget that the largest expansion of the balance sheet of the Bank of England coincided with a Labour government. 
Corbyn´s People´s QE means that the central bank loses its independence altogether and becomes a government agency that prints currency when the government wants, but the increase of money supply does not become part of the transmission mechanism that reaches all parts of the real economy. All the new money is for the government, with the Bank of England forced to buy all the debt issued by a “Public Investment Bank”.
The first problem is evident. The Bank of England would create money to be used for white elephants, a disastrous policy as seen in Spain and other EU countries that only leaves overcapacity and a massive debt hole. By providing the public investment bank with unlimited funding, the risk of irresponsible spending is guaranteed. In a country where citizens are well aware of wasteful public infrastructure, this is not a small risk.
The second problem is that rising public debt, even if hidden at the investment bank, would still cripple the economy even with perennial QE. As Moody´s points in Brazil, public debt has to include that of state owned enterprises. Printing money does not reduce the risk of rising debt, as we are seeing in Japan or the US. And the new bank´s potential losses are covered with more taxes . 
The idea of building unneeded bridges and airports all over the place to create jobs would be mildly amusing if it hadn’t failed time and time again, and forgets the cost of running those infrastructure projects once built, apart form the debt incurred. All paid by the taxpayer, who guarantees the capital of the Public Investment Bank. Anyone that travels around Spain and sees the thousands of white elephants should be scared of the consequences. 
The third problem is that inflation created by these projects is paid by the usual suspects. The citizens, who do not benefit from this spending as the laws of diminishing returns and debt saturation show. Additionally, trade deficits widen to unsustainable levels as imports outweigh exports. Think of China, who today needs four times more debt to create one unit of GDP than eight years ago. Tax increases, higher cost of living and, above all, destroying a large part of the British private sector because the state monopolizes the major sectors of the economy and increases taxes for the rest.
Tax increases, higher cost of living and, above all, destroying a large part of the British private sector 
Read the full article on the Spanish News Website, the article is already translated into English.


Saturday, 12 September 2015

For Anglo-Saxon descendants only...

OK, I know, technically, there are no real Anglo-Saxons left but I use it in the modern terminology.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Life in the Australian Army is easy if you're from the outback

Dear dad,

I am well. Hope youse are too. Tell me big brothers Doug and
Phil that the Army is better than workin' on the station - tell them
to get in bloody quick smart before the jobs are all gone!

I wuz a bit slow in settling down at first, because ya don't hafta get outta
bed until 6am. But I like sleeping in now, cuz all ya gotta do before
brekky is make ya bed and shine ya boots and clean ya uniform. No
bloody horses to get in, no calves to feed, no troughs to clean - nothin'!!
Ya haz gotta shower though, but its not so bad, coz there's lotsa hot water
and even a light to see what ya doing!

At brekky ya get cereal, fruit and eggs but there's no kangaroo steaks or
goanna stew like wot Mum makes. You don't get fed again until noon and
by that time all the city boys are buggered because we've been on a 'route
march' - geez its only just like walking to the windmill in the bullock paddock!!

This one will kill me brothers Doug and Phil with laughter. I keep getting medals
for shootin' - dunno why. The bullseye is as big as a bloody dingo's arse and it
don't move and it's not firing back at ya like the Johnsons did when our big
scrubber bull got into their prize cows before the Ekka last year!
All ya gotta dois make yourself comfortable and hit the target - it's a piece of piss!! You don't even load your own cartridges, they comes in little boxes, and ya don't have to steady yourself against the rollbar of the roo shooting truck when you reload.

Sometimes ya gotta wrestle with the city boys and I gotta be real careful coz they
break easy - it's not like fighting with Doug and Phil and Jack and Boori and Steve
and Muzza all at once like we do at home after the muster.

Turns out I'm not a bad boxer either and it looks like I'm the best the platoon's got,
and I've only been beaten by this one bloke from the Engineers - he's 6 foot 5 and
15 stone and three pick handles across the shoulders and as ya know I'm only
5 foot 7 and eight stone wringin' wet, but I fought him till the other blokes carried me
off to the boozer.

I can't complain about the Army - tell the boys to get in quick before word gets around how bloody good it is.

Your loving daughter,


Sunday, 6 September 2015

An open letter to Samsung's CEO - @SamsungTMRW - a reply is not expected

Dear Boo-Keun Yoon,

I have a Samsung Smart Television and have had your top-of-the-range Galaxy S series. Each year I have bought a new one from when I first bought the S3, then S4, S5 and now own the S6.

I have also purchased the LG L Watch R which I find is superb. I would have preferred the Samsung watch which takes a nano card, but this is why I didn't do so.

I believe, in Germany, it is possible to get another SIM card with the same phone number for a watch. However, this is not permitted in the UK. The best that can be done is to get a second contract (expensive) with a different number. (awkward).

I say awkward as sometimes you will have your phone with you, and sometimes, especially in the hot weather (rare in the UK I admit) just your watch. Having to give out two mobile numbers, and having to pay for two contracts, is not a good idea.

If you want to sell more such watches in the UK, you are going to have to lobby, at government level, for the law to be changed. You are, simultaneously going to have to approach the mobile service providers to get them to join you in this lobbying.

The thing which really saddens me is your decision to “enclose” your battery in your phone. It means that I won't ever get my hands on the Galaxy S7 as I am so unhappy with the S6. I am a very heavy user and the battery doesn't last me anything like a full day. It's OK at home when I can plug it in (I use the phone too much to get much joy from your wireless charger) as I use it (the phone) constantly. My two desktops, Netbook and Notebook, together with my tablet, rarely get used nowadays. Yes, I know, I'm writing this on my desktop.

As I only buy “flagships” this gives me no alternative but to look carefully at LG's G5 when it comes out next Spring.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Ampers Taylor

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Who is responsible for that little boy's death?

First of all, let's assume the father is a genuine Syrian refugee. And I am not in any way suggesting he isn't.

He was lucky enough to escape the regime in Syria and managed to get to a safe haven in Turkey, where many Brits, who think Turkey safe, holiday every year.

So we have a father and child now in a safe haven, away from war torn Syria.

But the father decided to keep on travelling to a country where he would have a better financial life. So we must now assume that, instead of a refugee from Syria, this father was an economic migrant from Turkey.

So who is more responsible for this child's death?

The father or the people selling a place on a boat which sank.

And, note, I am not suggesting the father's motives were bad, just that he must take responsibility for his actions.


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

You don't always get the coffee you pay for...

When you go into most coffee bars, in England and order the following coffee:

 You don't always get when you expect, but before I explain, when you order an Americano, it should come with a separate container containing cold milk. But at least 40% of the places I go to give hot milk, and 10% actually put the milk in before they give it to you.

Anyway I digress.

Most places where I order an Americano actually give me an Australian long black. On first glance this seems the same, but I can assure you, the taste is different.

I was in one of the larger chains and mentioned the difference and was told, yes, we know, but this is much easier to make, and it does give a stronger flavour.

So, in a nutshell, if your shop sells you a Long Black instead of an ordered Americano, don't complain... it has a stronger flavour!


Have they left their wives and children to rot back in the countries they have fled, in fear of their lives, from?

First of all, some official terminology.

United Nations term for an Asylum Seeker as: An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for asylum and is waiting for a decision as to whether or not they are a refugee. In other words, in the UK an asylum seeker is someone who has asked the Government for refugee status and is waiting to hear the outcome of their application.

United Nations term a refugee as: A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

There are many sites all offering a similar term for an economic migrant, which is: An economic migrant is someone who emigrates from one region to another because living conditions or job opportunities are not good in their own country and to seek an improvement their standard of living elsewhere.

Liberty state: If you come into the UK and you are escaping persecution you have a right to seek asylum. But you will only be given refuge if you show that:

  • You are outside your own country;
  • You have a well-founded fear of persecution;
  • That persecution is because of your race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and
  • You can’t rely on your country’s government to protect you from the persecution.
  • If you can show that you meet all the criteria above, then the UK has a duty not to return you to where you will face persecution.heir standard of living elsewhere.

However, Liberty have omitted a most important reason:

  • providing the UK is the first country you have arrived at.

The following is from a legal article: There is no obligation under the refugee convention or any other instrument of international law that requires refugees to seek asylum in any particular country. There has, however, been a long-standing "first country of asylum" principle in international law by which countries are expected to take refugees fleeing from persecution in a neighbouring state. This principle has developed so that, in practice, an asylum seeker who had the opportunity to claim asylum in another country is liable to be returned there in order for his or her claim to be determined.

So, under international law, the Geneva Convention, and our moral obligation, the UK has a legal obligation to accept Asylum Seekers providing the UK is the first safe country the asylum seeker arrives at.

One wonders what sort of person would flee danger and persecution whilst leaving their wives and children in such evil countries. Have you noticed that around 95% of these Asylum Seekers are men? Fine if they are all single men, which is doubtful, but who is asking the question, if they are genuine asylum seekers, and have left their wives and children to rot back in the countries they have fled, in fear of their lives from, do we want such people in Europe?