Author: Mark

Evernote Price Increase (Again).

Evernote Price Increase (Again).

I’ve been using Evernote for years, it’s been a great way to collate reference material, open loops etc in one place. It was this site; that started me off. It gives you tips on how to organise a file structure within Evernote to track everything in life. It’s particularly good for project or knowledge workers.

Many long term users of Evernote will remember the old version which they replaced with the browser based thing they’re currently offering. They allowed users to continue to use the old version which they named ‘Legacy’ making it available for download. I’ve been running this (Legacy) for a few years now, and changed PC’s a month or two ago, and couldn’t find anywhere to download it and have since had to install and tolerate the new version. It’s painful.

It’s slow, it’s clunky, keyboard navigation is painful, and it doesn’t seem to integrate as well with Outlook. Sometimes adding an email from Outlook into a note is extremely slow. The sync is way off pace, I could go on. I am no longer a fan, but put up with it because I have been using the folder structure detailed in the Secret Weapon for years, it’s ingrained.

I just received an email from Evernote about my renewal, warning of another price increase. It used to be £44.99 a year and at last renewal they increased it to £54.99 which I stomached.

This year they have increased it to £79.99 which is a £25.00 increase. That’s about 45%!

The first few paragraphs of the email read as follows;

We’re writing to let you know about an upcoming change to your Evernote Personal subscription.

Also, we’re excited to bring you an update on some of Evernote’s latest features and improvements. Each one is designed to help you enhance your productivity. The team has been working hard to bring them to you—more on this below.

First, the new pricing. The price of your Annual subscription will change to 79.99 GBP per Year. The new price will take effect on your next renewal, 12/20/2023. New pricing came into effect as of May 1, 2023 for new subscribers.

By introducing new pricing, we know there’s a risk of disappointing valued Evernote customers like you. The change helps us continue improving the performance and reliability of the product we all love, as well as adding exciting new features. Rest assured that you won’t be paying more for just the same product—we think you’re going to enjoy and get great value out of the latest features and improvements.

The improvements that they detail really don’t justify the cost, so I thought they can get stuffed. One of my colleagues sent me this back in July;

“Evernote increasing from £44.99 to £79.99! (It was £29.99 a few years ago.) I’ve cancelled, they can get fucked.”

In percentage terms, that is a massive increase. When you consider that you can get an Office 365 subscription giving you access to Word, Outlook, OneNote etc for the same price as Evernote are now asking, it looks very expensive.

My new approach to being ripped off is to not interact, but to simply vote with my feet, so I started the cancellation process to downgrade to a free account. I won’t lose any data, but will not be able to sync as much. I’ll be able to root through what I want and put it into OneNote.

The cancellation process was geared to keeping you on their subscription model, the final insult was to offer me a 40% discount if I stayed with them. Not happening. They should have simply applied a small annual increase, rather than ripping the backside out of it….

They asked for my reasons, I gave them this;

A 45% increase is excessive for a slow and clunky piece of software. I wish I could still use Legacy, but I couldn’t find it anywhere to install on my new PC.
So, I’ve been stuck with crippled software in the name of progress and now you want to charge me the same amount for this as I would be charged for Microsoft 365 5 user licence?
You’re so funny. Bye.

I felt better for it. I hold the chequebook. No software is indispensable.

Penny Mordaunt at the Conservative Party Conference

Penny Mordaunt at the Conservative Party Conference

Wow, what a speech Penny! Absolutely crazy and vacuous and not short on irony, one of my particular favourite lines is;

“Stand up and fight, because when you stand up and fight, the person next to you stands up and fights!”

Is she talking about in the queue for the foodbank because you cannot afford your spiralling energy and mortgage bills?
The queue to see a GP because you cannot get through on the phone?
The queue for accident and emergency that is short-staffed?
The queue to get registered with an NHS dentist?

The mind boggles, but I think it’s safe to say that she’s pretty detached from the reality experienced by the majority of the British electorate.

NatWest Raking In Billions In Profit…..

NatWest Raking In Billions In Profit…..

The older ones amongst you will remember the government bailing out NatWest Group (formerly RBS) using taxpayers money back in 2008 to the tune of £46 billion. Yup, more than the government spanked on the COVID Test and Trace contract with Serco a couple of years ago. At least with NatWest we have something on the government balance sheet to show for it, in the Serco debacle, most of the money appears to have found its way into the pockets of people linked with The Conservative Party.

Well, in the 6 months to June, NatWest posted a profit of just under £3.6 billion. Not bad for half year, no?

What I don’t understand is that our government still owns a touch over 38% of the group and is selling off chunks of it, bringing its holding down from 84% at the very start. NatWest is currently valued at £25 billion, so the government’s (when I say ‘the governments’ I really mean ‘we are’; it’s our money) in a position of negative equity. Why keep flogging it off on the cheap and not just keep the 38% share of profits to reduce the income tax burden on us?

And another thing, why doesn’t the government use its clout in NatWest to start paying the savers some decent rates? The company is incredibly quick to put up its mortgage rates, but drags its heels to put savings rates up.

I completely despair with this lot currently in power and I hold out little hope that the next lot will be even close to fit for purpose either. One thing’s for certain, whichever of the two parties are in power, neither have the voting public interest at heart, with Labour only being slightly the lesser of the two evils.

Hens Now Laying Again

Hens Now Laying Again

My hens stopped laying eggs completely in late October of last year, which was extremely odd, but I attributed it to the change in the weather and the shorter days. Then, in the first week of the New Year, they started to lay again, initially only a couple a day, and within a couple of weeks, they are each laying one a day as per usual.

I didn’t really give the matter much attention, I was mildly irritated to say the least as I have kept hens before and never known them to stop laying completely in the UK in the winter months, but I just thought it was one of those things.

I stumbled across some posts on social media within the last week regarding people with the same experience, unusually their hens had completely stopped producing eggs around the same time as mine. I had a bit of read, thought it a bit of a coincidence and again didn’t give the matter much attention.

It’s just popped up at me again just now on Twitter, and now there is more information; people are attributing the lack of eggs to the feed given to the hens. There are people in the US and Europe saying this. Reflecting upon this new insight, I realised I got new feed for my chickens around the same time that they started laying again at the end of December/start of January. Prior to this, I had noticed that they didn’t seem to want to eat the layers pellets I’d been feeding them, instead gorging themselves on the mixed corn.

So, as crazy as it may sound, there are people around the world whose hens stopped laying at pretty much the same time as mine, and everyone is saying this is unprecedented, and upon changing the feed, they started laying again. Some have been giving them goat feed and everything goes back to normal.

For the record, the last batch of feed that my hens were consuming when they went off lay was a sack of Dodson & Horrell Layers Pellets and a Mixed Corn. My normal retailer had no stock of either at the end of December/start of January, so I went to a local pet store and got a Dodson & Horrell Mixed Corn and a Heygates Country Layers Pellets.

I’d say that if this were just my experience, then it wouldn’t be that unusual, but considering that this seems to be an issue spread across the world, it’s more than a little concerning. Especially considering the egg shortages and pricing here and in the US, and the negative press eggs are getting for health reasons.

Maybe a little concerning is understating the situation.

Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister

Mr Sunak was yesterday named as the UK’s latest Prime Minister, for how long is anyones guess.

The thing I cannot work out is why a man who is purported to be worth in the region of £730 million wants a job that pays £164,080 per year. One that is pretty thankless, one that means you will always upset sections of the population, in some cases these sections will run into the millions of people. Baffles me.

In other news, Mr Sunak is an advocate of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and has gone on the record regarding this.

His father in law is founder and former CEO of Infosys, a company with strong links to China that is a World Economic Forum (WEF) partner, and is involved with Digital ID’s and Social Credit systems.

The Mortgage Problem

The Mortgage Problem

I’m really surprised that this isn’t getting far more political coverage considering the number of people it affects.

The cost of mortgages.

We’ve another two Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meetings before the end of the year, both of which will likely result in significant interest rate increases to counter inflation. This will mean the monthly mortgage payment for people on standard variable rate mortgages, or those coming out of an existing deal and securing a new one, will be considerably higher.

Repossessions are going to increase, without a doubt, but what I can’t understand is why this isn’t getting more political focus……. It’s an issue that is going to affect millions.

I’ve already said before that once these homes are taken back by the banks, they are likely to stay in corporate ownership and rented back to people.

The future certainly isn’t bright….

ULEZ Contradiction

ULEZ Contradiction

I have friends that work a fair bit in London and have to pay the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) charge, it currently sits at £12.50 a day. The reason for the charge is stated as follows;

“Toxic air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to Londoners’ health, and traffic emissions are the biggest source of toxic air in London.

Toxic air pollution increases your risk of heart and lung disease, worsens chronic illnesses such as asthma, and puts children’s health at risk. It’s not just a central London problem. Many areas across the city are exceeding the legal limits for pollution.

How the ULEZ helps air pollution

The aim of the expanded ULEZ is to help reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide by around 30% across London.

Many of those who travel in the expanded ULEZ have already taken action to clean up their vehicles and help clean up London’s air. More than 80% of vehicles are now compliant, which is up from 39% in February 2017 when plans for the larger area were first announced.”

This sounds like a great idea, and definitely seems to be bringing some benefit, and a shit ton of money in for Transport for London (TFL).

What I don’t understand is that many of the boroughs that my friends work in have onerous parking restrictions. In some, the maximum stay is four hours, and in others only two hours. At the end of the period, you are not allowed to renew the parking in the same bay, therefore you have to physically move the vehicle to another bay and pay again. Often there are no bays nearby and this means driving around in circles to find another space before parking up, paying and starting the cycle again.

Am I missing something? Doesn’t this mean that a load more carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides are being unnecessarily emitted? Surely it would make more sense to allow a straight eight hours parking in the same bay, this would mean that people working at addresses within the ULEZ would be able to concentrate on doing their job rather than shifting their vehicles and creating a load more pollution? Also, the additional benefit would be that the customers would end up paying less because the trades would not be clock watching for their parking and spending a chunk of time every couple of hours driving around the block.

Don’t Pay UK Being Kerbed by Government

Don’t Pay UK Being Kerbed by Government

As per usual, I’ve been meaning to post this for a fair while, but August has been a very busy month.

There’s a movement called Don’t Pay UK that are calling for a reduction in energy bills to an affordable level in anticipation of the price cap increase next month. They are trying to get 1mn people together to pledge not to pay their bills by the 1st October 2022. As of today’s date, they are up to 187,000 members.

This movement has been gaining ground over the last few months, and towards the end of July 2022, the government announced £400 of support from October payable in six monthly payments. How you get the money, depends upon how you pay your bill. Yeah, the operative word is pay. If you were to cancel your direct debit, you don’t get the help.

The £400 is a drop in the ocean when you consider the energy cap increase of £1600/year for the average family.

You can tell that the government is getting panicked by introducing this measure. The population is getting increasingly belligerent of late, and they (Government) are having to make lots of changes to keep everyone in line. I would imagine their biggest fear is that everyone starts pulling together and turn on them.

More evidence that they really don’t have our interests at heart, all they are doing is controlling by doing the bare minimum in order to keep everyone in line.

And The Consumer Rip Off Gathers Pace

And The Consumer Rip Off Gathers Pace

Inflation is increasing, meaning that month on month, prices for everyday goods and services that we need to live are increasing. Many people are finding that the wage that they receive is buying them less goods and services, and that each month they have less money left over, if any. But why are prices increasing? What’s happening?

Here are couple of ideas;

The energy sectors profits have escalated due to their pricing, the first company that springs to mind is BP. Between April and June of this year, they made nearly £7bn of profit. That is their second highest profit on record. Pretty much, all of the other energy companies are doing the same. And they’re sending a lot of these billions of profit to their shareholders. In a nutshell, the price that you pay for petrol and diesel, gas and electricity are linked to companies like BP. That’s why your fuel, gas and electricity are getting so expensive.

An interesting statistic is that according to experts at the UCL (University College London) and LSE (London School of Economics), over the last 50 years, the oil and gas industry globally has delivered £2.3bn a day in pure profit. It was put that the industry could have the power to “buy every politician, every system”. It may give an idea as to why we are where we are financially, and environmentally.

The thing that is particularly sickening about BP is the fact that it used to be owned by the UK Government, but was sold off in 1979 for £7.25bn. Imagine how all of that profit since could have been retained by the UK Government and used to reduce the tax burden on us all. Or even reduce our energy bills. It was sold for a song.

The energy sector profits are so obscene, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres referred to them as ‘immoral’ and stated that they were ‘being made on the back of the poorest people and communities and at a massive cost to the climate’.

That’s one big chunk of the inflation problem.

In UK, the majority of households use a supermarket for their day to day groceries. The big supermarkets have been doing particularly well, take the ubiquitous Tesco, for example. To the year end of February 26th 2022, their pre-tax profits trebled from £636m to £2.03bn. Every little helps, right? Well, a lot helps them. A lot. Another chunk of the inflation problem.

Still on the supermarkets, this time petrol prices. Last week, the RAC said said at the start of the week, the average petrol price at the big four supermarkets, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, was £1.74 per litre. Diesel was £1.86. Meanwhile the average for the delivered wholesale petrol price last week was £1.24, while diesel was £1.38.

After factoring in VAT, fuel duty and a “generous” retailer margin of 10p per litre, the RAC said “forecourts should soon be selling unleaded for no more than £1.62”. A couple of weeks later, here we are, it’s still not happening.

There’s a recurring theme here, prices are up, profits are up by record levels for the big companies. In fact, there was a brilliant segment on the Jeremy Vine Show in July where Eddie Dempsey from the RMT (you can watch it here) pointed out that the FTSE 350 top companies profits have gone up by 73% since 2019. To use his phrasing “The people at the top of the economy, they’re having a disco, and everyone else is being told that they’ve got to tighten their belts and carry the can. It’s not on”. Quite.

So, the main drivers of inflation are summarised above.

Back in February 2022, the Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey said he wanted to see “quite clear restraint” in wage demands from employees to prevent an inflation spiral. I guess what he was saying was okay, prices are increasing, but hey, just suck it up and put up. In the meantime, UK households are taking an enormous financial hit, probably the biggest for almost four decades.

As I’ve blogged before, Andrew Bailey earns £570,000.

Any wage increase you’re going to receive is unlikely to make a difference to the inflation figures, only to your ability to be able to afford to live, or even exist.

Britain is broken.

Water Doesn’t Work

Water Doesn’t Work

In the South of the UK we have a drought, we have hosepipe bans. The provision of water is a complete mess, we’re all being told to conserve water, and that we can all do our bit. The BBC are currently running a headline “England Drought: Everyone Must Rethink Their Water Use, Experts Say”. Unfortunately, they haven’t opened it to user comments, instead, on their news homepage, the only article listed as being open for comments is “Forest hold on to beat Hammers as Rice Penalty saved”. Really. They avoided allowing users to have their say regarding “Saudi oil giant breaks profit record with $48.4bn” or “Postcode search: How will climate change affect your area?”. Even “Green spaces across England parched in the heatwave”. No comments allowed.

Locally to me, Southern Water discharges raw sewage into the sea at will without challenge or penalty, without making public announcements very clear. It’s the height of summer and bathers are becoming ill, then realising that something is wrong with the seawater, then are making enquiries only to be told by Southern Water that “have a look at our app”, here’s one account; Couple who swam in sea at Herne Bay after nearby Southern Water sewage release suffer sickness and diarrhoea (

I thought that they were only supposed to discharge sewage in the event of flooding and we’ve not had any rain for weeks…..

On average, across all of the water authorities, they lose somewhere in the region of 20% of the water they collect; they lose billions of litres of drinking water every year due to their lack of investment in maintenance and infrastructure. They have dividended their shareholders somewhere in the region of £20 billion since 2010, and are still ripping the backside out of it to this day. They are saddling their companies with an awful lot of debt too, which is an extremely curious phenomena.

Rather than landing the consumer with the burden of water shortage by asking them to restrict their usage, maybe the impotent regulator (OFWAT) could turn its attention to the elephant in the room. Namely the problem caused by decades of profiteering and dividending, lack of investment, climate change (would that really be a surprise to you if you were in the business of supplying water, no? Well it certainly is to our water “authorities”), and an absolute contempt for the consumer, and for the environment.

The interesting thing here is that when you look on social media, and particularly The Daily Mail articles and subsequent user comments regarding the drought, even their normally pro-privatisation, pro-government die hard supporters are turning against them. Here’s a couple of the top rated comments that basically sum up the issues that we are facing;

I blame lack of investment in infrastructure and pure greed on the part of the directors. Modern infrastructure should be able to withstand dry weather ffs.

In answer to the headline “Water leaks DOUBLE during heatwave with firms blaming underground damage caused by earth drying out as drought continues to hit UK supplies 

Funny how gas mains haven’t been bursting all over the place despite routing through the same dry/heaving soil. Water companies have diverted our money to their management and owners pockets instead of investing in new pipes. BT invested in new network whilst being forced to cut their prices – how come Ofwat lets water companies put prices up without similar investing – incompetence or something else more ‘iffy?


How about these top responses to the headline “£3bn bonanza for fat cats: How investors (including the Chinese) took out cash that firms could have used to fix Britain’s creaking water network”

Its called Selling England by the pound, and its been going on for years and years. Hardly news


To be fair this wasn’t a privatisation as there is zero competition – it was a sell off of state assets. The companies have continually failed to plan for the future and have acted short term in the interests of their shareholders. Renationalising them at enormous cost isn’t the answer I’m afraid – what they do need is new laws to oversee exactly what they do and how they operate and that they serve the consumers and the country failing which they should pay huge penalties.

That sort of brings me to a conclusion.

I can’t see that the government and the regulators are going to bring the water companies to heel, so that leaves another option; re-nationalisation. That could explain why the companies have been pulling so much money out and saddling themselves with debt. The good old UK taxpayer picks up the debt again.

A decade ago, I would have considered this situation impossible, but, looking at it now and if you look at the way that our government has spent our money over the last three years….. watch this space.

One question to myself…. how long do ‘they’ seriously think that they can get away with this? By this, I mean the transfer of money from the less well off to the incredibly rich in terms of overcharging for water, fuel, energy, food, all of the basic essentials required to exist. This last three years has seen the biggest transfer of wealth from the working classes to the rich that I’ve ever witnessed.

Something has got to give.

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