Category: Tech

Barclays Putting Adverts On Statements

Barclays Putting Adverts On Statements

I use the Barclays app for business on my smartphone to do day to day banking, it’s pretty functional, not the best out there, but does the job. Earlier on, I was reviewing transactions on my current account, and there was an in-line advert!

I certainly didn’t expect to received adverts on a bank statement, especially not on an account that I pay for the privilege of having!

I’ve messaged Barclays UK on X, will be interesting to see if I receive a response. If I get one, I’ll post it.

Oh Tesla….. Why The Cybertruck Left Me Feeling Grubby.

Oh Tesla….. Why The Cybertruck Left Me Feeling Grubby.

I wrote about Tesla a couple of times in November 2021, once taking the piss because they were sending out incomplete cars due to the chip shortage and the other stating that I think that battery electric vehicles (BEV) aren’t the way forward, but hydrogen is.

Today I got to spend a little time in London with the new Cybertruck, and I’m glad I did. I’d watched the unveiling a few years back and despite the glitches in the presentation, I was sold. I thought “Wow, that is beautiful!”. I’ve seen it being pumped on social media and it has a cult following. I sort of got swept along with it, and was interested enough to take a day out and drive up to London to have a look (I also got to drive the new Model 3 Highland). I’m glad I did. Since I’ve got home, I’ve reflected on the day and the experience, and this is what I think;

On walking into the room, the first thing that strikes is that it is bloody huge – far too big for UK roads. There’s no way I would want to drive something that’s larger than the huge Ford pickups over here, even with rear wheel steer. I could immediately see this is likely to be the biggest issue.

In terms of safety, I would imagine that if you were to collide with another vehicle, they are the one that is going to have the problem, it’s like a tank. Knocking the front of it with my fist made me realise how solid it was, where the bonnet meets the wing and the front plate there’s a corner where the three panels meet and it is a bloody sharp angle with no give at all. Even at slow speeds, it would pop a pedestrians skull like a melon. It made me shudder.

It has three motors, so has race car performance. This thing moves, really moves. It’ll leave virtually every performance car standing.

The load space on the rear is far too small to be of any real use, so it leads one to wonder who would want it. I think I have a fair idea already; Celebrities, ‘Names’, the well heeled and so on. It has no real practical use, so will be used in much the same way that Range Rovers etc are; for looking the part, flaunting money/image, the school run, and ensuring the occupants safety and to hell with everyone else.

There’s not a lot more to say other than:

It’s an impractical vehicle, that is far too big, far too fast, and unsafe for all other road users. What could possibly go wrong? Doesn’t take much working out, does it?

The only positive is that in its current form, I think that it would unlikely get approval for use on UK roads.

If I saw someone driving one over here, I would seriously pity them, their life must be deficient in some way and I’m sure that’s not the reaction that they were hoping to achieve.

Cybertruck Front View
Cybertruck Rear View
Cybertruck Side View
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.

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.

Fitbit Charge 5. Why I’ve Run Out Of Patience

Fitbit Charge 5. Why I’ve Run Out Of Patience

In the middle of March this year, I decided I’d been living a healthy lifestyle for long enough to warrant buying a fitness tracking watch to take me to the next level. As is often the way, things deteriorated very shortly after buying the device that I settled upon, but that is a different story.

I’d looked at everything out there and I’d previously owned a Samsung Gear S3, but didn’t want another phone on my arm, instead I wanted to go for a device that its core function was to be a fitness watch and that could track my sleep also. Reading reviews, I settled upon the Fitbit Charge 5. I’m sort of regretting it now. Everyone I’ve detailed this account to has found it amusing, I just found it completely frustrating, and I am just getting the energy together to contact Fitbit to see if they can help. It was easier for me to have a moan here first.

I got the device in March, I loved it. Small, smart, good battery life, within a couple of weeks of getting it, I cracked a rib training which immediately restricted me. Typical. I wasn’t able to do what I had been used to and lost faith.

Now, shortly afterwards I had a bad day and was sat there in the evening and had a hankering for a KFC, so got into my vehicle, started it up and noticed my step count. I then sat on my ass, drove there, drove through, stuffed my face and drove home. Just before I got out of the vehicle, I checked my step count. It had increased by 158! You’d think it would have known that I was driving from a mix of the accelerometers and GPS, but the smart watch is apparently not that smart.

In early June I had a stinking cold and fearing I had COVID, I started paying attention to the Fitbit’s sp02 reading; this is where it’s supposed to measure your overnight blood oxygen level. At one point, it was showing my previous night had been 91%. According to those more qualified than I, that should mean that I’m in a hospital on oxygen. I just did a quick search; “In a patient with COVID-19, SpO2 levels should stay between 92%-96%. Low oxygen levels that drop below this threshold require medical attention, as it can result in difficulty breathing and other serious complications.”

I was unwell, but would have been fine to jog, and exert myself, so I feel that it is safe to say that the reading of my sp02 supplied by the Charge 5 is incorrect.

And now, the final straw, remember, a smart watch, or a fitness watch is precisely that. As a watch. Its primary function is to tell the time. This is where my Charge 5 is not playing ball…..

I went on a short break last week, and as soon as the Charge 5 synced with my phone which had automatically updated to the holiday time zone, it was also showing the same time. Wonderful.

I get home yesterday, my phone automatically updates to the new time zone, wonderful, I sync my Charge 5, it is still showing holiday time. So far, I have followed all of the guidance;

  • Re-sync
  • Change time zones on phone, then sync, then change zones to correct one and then sync.
  • I’ve upaired the Charge in Bluetooth, and paired again, and synced again.
  • I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled the app, unpaired in Bluetooth, put it all back together again, and synced again.
  • Restarted the Charge and synced.
  • Pulse restarted (charge device, then press the button located on the flat end of the charger 3 times, pausing for 1 second between presses. Then wait 10 seconds or until the Fitbit logo appears), and synced.

So, after all of that, after every change, every sync, it is still showing holiday time. AND THERE IS NO WAY TO MANUALLY OVERRIDE IT! A WATCH THAT YOU CANNOT SET THE TIME ON!

Aaargh! Right, I’m going to message customer support, I’ll post the outcome.

Stuff You Instagram and Meta

Stuff You Instagram and Meta

I was prompted for my date of birth on my elderly Instagram account at the weekend, and thought stuff you, none of your business, so put today’s date. It then prompted me to say that this meant I was zero years old and asked if it was correct. Of course it was! I duly wiped the amniotic fluid off my screen and tapped confirm.

Next thing I see is that my account is locked and that I have to supply ID, and if I don’t my Instagram account, and its data will be deleted in less than a month….

So, I then tap “appeal” and am presented with the following form;

when prompted for an ID image, I take a picture of the sky and send that. In the narrative, I put the following;

“I’m over thirteen, the content on my account over the years makes that very plain to see. I refuse to send you my government ID. For your records my date of birth is as given, 04/04/2000.

Several days later I receive an email from Facebook stating;

“We can’t give you access to this account or help with your request until we receive an accepted form of ID that matches the information listed on the account. Learn more about the types of ID we accept in the Help Center:

I have now clicked on the link, reviewed, and want to feedback to them regarding this, and there is nowhere that I can find to do that. I have now given up.

I’m not impressed, but what should I expect? It’s a free “service”. Facebook, or Meta, or whatever they call themselves own Instagram and the way that they make money is by getting users to use their “free” service, adding their own content, and then targeting advertising at them depending upon this content, and what they view on the platforms. From what I understand, it is a very precise science and they make a lot, a huge amount of money from it.

From what I also understand is that people are deserting the Meta platforms and as a consequence, their share price has slumped.

And my position in all of this? I can’t contact anyone to apply some common sense, so the only way for me to get my account back and prevent the deletion of years of my images and memories is to upload my government photo ID. Not happening.

Meta can delete my account. It can destroy that which it depends upon. My data, my content, my participation. And my goodwill.

Nope, Meta, I am not playing any longer. If you delete my lovely Instagram account, I’ll take my Facebook with it and remove myself from your platforms completely.

And if anyone is interested before it goes, here’s my lovely (but generic) Instagram account; Mark (@markish99) • Instagram photos and videos

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