Monday, May 04, 2009

Bloody Tesco

Yesterday we bought a laptop -an HP Pavilion model - from Tesco. It's mainly for Abby so it was about how much she liked the look & feel of it. It seemed like a reasonable deal although I knew it was an older model. However, it was factory sealed and the label simply said something about "Last chance" or somesuch. Indeed, everything in the package was sealed with HP security seals. All happy so far.

We got it home & opened it.

It was dusty, slightly scratched and had a big patch of dirty old glue on the outside of the case. So by now I'm realising that this may actually be a reconditioned model. I'm annoyed it didn't say so, but it's all sealed up by HP so one has to assume the job's done properly, right?

I opened the battery -yes, also HP sealed - which included a leaflet explaining how it needed to be charged before use. All pretty standard. Batteries are shipped usually shipped uncharged. So I put it in and prepared to plug it in when I thought, 'Just a minute, let's check this.' and hit the power button. On comes the machine powered by the supposedly un-charged battery. It goes to the sign-in page where I'm presented with a profile for Tesco Staff which it transpires is locked with a password! Yes, it was ex-display. Second hand, basically.

By now I'm pretty pissed off, especially when I realise dit meant I was going to have to return to Silverburn on a Bank Holiday. Adding to the 20-minute each way drive it took 40+ minutes to get into the place, find a space and get out afterwards. What really annoyed me, though was the attitude of the saleswoman who actually tried to blame me for it. Apparently I should have realised that it was an ex-display model because it had a 10% discount. There was nothing on teh machine we bought, on the machines beside it or in the signage for the shelving to indicate that these were ex-display.

Now, I don't buy ex-display. you never know what's been done to them. This is doubly true in the case of laptops where they've been picked up, prodded, shaken and played with by Joe Bloggs & his entire family. Not only that, but the battery has been charged and run through who-knows-how-many cycles during its time on the shelf. More than most items ex-display laptops are second-hand goods and a feeble 10% discount is not enough to make me want one. When asked if I still wanted the machine I said only if they were prepared to offer a more substantial discount on it. I got the bog-standard reply about discounts not being under the control of anyone in the store and told all they could offer me was to remove the password.

So we still don't have a laptop and won't be shopping in Tescos again. Asda customer service is so much better.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

He's Getting a What?!

So Tony Blair's to get the American Medal of Peace, is he? What the hell for?

I mean apart from kissing Dubya's arse, that is.

We all know the world's less safe thanks to these two jokers. Britain is closer to being a police state than at any other time in its history and freedoms are being regularly encroached upon. So it can't be that.

Maybe it's about his job as a middle-east peace envoy.

Oh wait; he's doing nothing about that, either. Sure the Israelis aretrying to flatten Gaza and the Palestinians have been throwing rockets at them, too (not enough to deserve the response, but hey! That's what big countries do to smaller ones), but Tony's too busy giving lectures in the good ol' USofA to go and actually do the bloody job.

Speaking of which, isn't it nice of him to admit that the booming economy over which he presided was nothing but a big, fat fluke?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

La vidéo ukulélé du jour: Kuricorder Quartet - Imperial March

La vidéo ukulélé du jour: Kuricorder Quartet - Imperial March

The Emperor would not be impressed and he's certainly not as forgiving as I am because I think this is hysterical.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Quelle surprise

So, I emailed 'Lucky' Jack. I got a very typical politician's response which, you'll notice, doen's actually answer the question I asked which was "Given that you will no longer be able to commit 100% of your time to being an MSP, will you be taking a commensurate cut in remuneration from the Parliament?" Here's the answer:

Thank you for your email to Jack McConnell MSP. Mr McConnell has asked me to pass on the response below to you:

My new role will be part time and it will involve discussions with the UN, the EU, the African Union, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and others to promote and secure agreement for more effective international action, peace keeping and post conflict reconstruction. It is a very exciting role and I hope you will share my view that this is a serious issue requiring urgent attention.

This role is part time and I will be continuing as an MSP. I will also personally continue to support Scottish initiatives in Malawi whenever possible. Please note that my new position will be unpaid.

Not terribly candid.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


BBC NEWS | Scotland | McConnell post averts by-election

We know they're in a mess and you know my opinion of McConnell, but this begs one question:

If he's going to be jetting of around the world as a part-time diplomat (Jack diplomatic?) does that mean he'll be taking a cut in his salary as an MSP as he clearly won't be doing the job full-time?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I Don't Believe It!

I can't believe they've let Mandy back into government.

I also can't legally say the things I think about the man, but in my opinion he's not fit to hold his own dick never mind high office.

Friday, October 03, 2008

FFS! #173

BBC NEWS | England | Cumbria | TV-viewing lorry driver sentenced

I wonder if they checked to see if he had the files legally. Then they could possibly have hit this complete twat again.

Hopefully he wasn't a fannish person because this is just the kind of thing that gets the rest of us a bad name.

Mind you, if, as has been widely reported, it was the 80's version it doesn't really need a lot of attention to follow it... Of course, one wonders just how many reporters actually are aware that there is a more modern version?


Some updates of the wean looking cute.

She figured out the spoon at the second feeding. Hasn't mastered it or actually managed to get any food in her mouth, but sheknows what it's for.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Aye right!


An interesting article on the mince spouted by creationists. In this case that Dinosaurs helped build the pyramids. Read, laugh, realise that these bampots are putting this rubbish into the minds of children as young as four and despair of governments somired in political correctness that they're not protecting our children.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Review: Clone Wars

It's fun, certainly, but is quite a bit further down the path of made for kids than even Return of the Jedi went.

There are moments where your expectations are decidedly jarred. The first being that, as this is distributed by Warner Bros; and not 20th Century Fox it doesn't have the Fox Fanfare opening it and, somehow, that's just weird. That piece of music, iconic in its' own right, has always been apart of the opening of a Star Wars film. Speaking of music Clone Wars doesn't even have John Williams' theme, but a variation on it. This is tinny, thin and lacks the majesty indicating this cartoon's real place in the world which is a TV movie. Much of the incidental music is a sort of cross between world music and mild rock which is fine of itself but, again, just isn't Star Wars.

Whilst we're on the beginning, there's no opening crawl, either. Instead it's a voice-over done in that cheesy American style which the old serials might well have had. Here, though, it just seems to be pandering to an audience who don't want to take the time to read.

Much of the advance rumour mill suggested that this movie would be a bridge into the new series which is to be set, apparently, between episodes 3 & 4. The rumours were wrong as this is set between Episodes 2 & 3 where it should have had a great chance for fleshing out Anakin's story and how he dealt with the aftermath of his mother's death and his response to it, certainly his first steps on the dark path to becoming a Sith. What did they make of this opportunity? "I don't want to talk about my past." says Anakin to his new padawan. Talk about a waste.

Actually, let's talk about waste. Padme barely appears, preventing any development of her relationship with Anakin, the politics (barring some drivel about the Hutts controlling space trade routes in the Outer Regions) are all-but ignored so there's no advancement of the overall situation and Obi-Wan & Anakin are kept apart so there's no sense of growing conflict between them. So the Star Wars Saga goes even further down the road of shallow spectacle. It's really little more than an excuse for one battle after another.

The good news is that it does that well. The battles are well-staged, the animation sumptuous and the voice acting excellent throughout. Indeed, Anakin works better than Hayden Christensen ever managed it. The animation department have gone for a style which often leaves visible 'brush strokes' on backgrounds or 'tool marks' on computer models making the art look more organic and less clinical than is too often the case with computer-generated imagery. That hyper-realism which seems to make things less real is subverted and works incredibly well. Using computers also allows the camera right into the middle of the action on occasion giving a soldier's-eye view of the proceedings.

As always, it's the story that lets it all down a bit.

Anakin fights Dooku again, but there's no real tension to it as you know it can't be resolved until Revenge of the Sith. If you haven't kept up with the comics or novelisations you may be confused by the heroes' familiarity with Asajj Ventress, the apprentice of Count Dooku as she's not explained at all. So much for "Always two there are; master and apprentice." Since Dooku is the Sith apprentice what's Sidious doing letting him have his own? Toe-curling cuteness is provided by the new padawan, clearly meant to be about 13 and fitted with the biggest baby-blue eyes you've seen outside of Jap-anime and a baby Hutt. Yep, you read right; a cute Hutt.

The whole thing with the Hutts is the most aggravating thing about the whole premise. Sadly, the franchise is going the Star Trek (and more recently Doctor Who) route of constantly shoehorning previous characters in where they're not needed. It began with Boba Fett into Ep 4's special edition which had the effect of reducing him from one of the galaxy's most feared bounty hunters into a standard minion followed by stuffing Chewbacca into Revenge of the Sith just because fans wanted to see him back.

Please stop listening to bloody focus groups.

Here it has resulted in giving the Hutts, and Jabba in particular, far too much power in the grand scheme. The Hutts are crime lords, not galactic potentates. Surely it wouldn't have been too hard to come up with the head of some galactic fiefdom with real value or strategic importance than stretching to having the Republic and the Jedi prepared to deal with Jabba? Don't get me started on Jabba's gay cousin from New Orleans, either. Other than pointing out that it meant requiring Padme to have an almost inside knowledge of the Hutt's family structure and where to find this cousin (Uncle? I really was past caring).

In short a movie which is to Star Wars what those digital roller coasters are to thrill rides; fine but not as good, as memorable or as much fun as the real thing.