PERMISSIONS:
You may link to my blog but if you want to copy my article to your own blog, please give the following credit: From "Ampers' Rants" at www.ampers.me.uk. Thank you.

PLEASE HELP ME
Fill in a one question questionnaire - it only asks how you arrived at my blog. Thank you. Just click on this link.

SUBSCRIPTIONS:
If you like what you see, why not subscribe to the blog? You can follow Ampers' Rants by adding your email address in the box below (right) Notifications are also shown in my Twitter account: @AmpersUK.
bold>

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.