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Rick Lomas and The Whole World

MicroSD Cards

I use MicroSD Cards in my mobile phone, GPS and video camera. I’ve tried using generic non branded versions, but they always seem to fail in the end. For this reason I’d always recommend using SanDisk MicroSD cards:

Nominet price increaseIMPORTANT: Nominet confirms price increase 1st March 2016

On February 11th, 2016 Nominet confirmed that their costs for UK domain names is going to rise by 50% from 1 March 2016.

Russell Haworth, Nominet CEO commented: “We’re committed to running a first class service for .UK registrants, including our renowned customer service, and we’re doing more than ever before to ensure the .UK space is a safe and trusted home for all.  But costs have risen considerably since we last changed the price, and we need to compete in a promotion-driven industry.  We won’t compromise on the quality of our service or dial back our efforts to counter cyber-threats head on.  However, it’s important to us that .UK domains represent value for money as well as quality, and the price we have set reflects that.”

As a result of this increase most UK domains will increase in price on March 1st.

This will affect all UK domain names including: .co.uk, .me.uk, .org.uk, .ltd.uk,.plc.uk, and .uk

The good news is that if you buy or renew your UK domain names today you can get the lower price. If it makes sense you can also register domain names for up to 9 years, locking in the discount.

My current favourite place to register, transfer and renew domain names is Name.com

Name.com

Do you have ‘achats ou prestations ponctuels’ on your Orange Internet Bill?

Have you seen anything like this on your Orange Internet Bill: ‘achats ou prestations ponctuels’? If you have, I doubt very much that you requested these extra services. Unfortunately the ability to get charged like this is turned on by default. If you read on I’ll show you how to turn it off and to get reimbursed if you have already been charged.

Orange Facture

This specifically applies to my Orange Livebox Internet account in France, but I think it will be the same in the UK and any other countries.

My internet contract with Orange.fr is the Livebox Zen, which is the internet connection and a VOIP phone. This should have a basic cost of 36,99€/month. This includes free international calls to landlines and free calls within France. There’s normally a little bit extra which is usually something like a call to foreign mobile, these are in the section ‘communications hors forfait’. So for my December bill the extra was just 0.93€. So I was highly annoyed to see the additional 18€ in the ‘total auprès d’autres fournisseurs’ section. What the hell was that? In the detailed section 3 mystery calls were shown:

total auprès d'autres fournisseurs

The first of these confused me a lot; Christmas Day morning at 8:00, who made that call then? I can pretty much remember where we all were then. It turns out this is not a phone call at all, but a payment option called Contact+. You can read more about this here http://www.gibmedia.com/what-we-do/contact-plus/ but all you really need to know is that these payments cost 0.418€ + 1.045€/minute + VAT!

Disabling Contact+

Do this before doing anything else:

  • Log in to your Client Space on orange.fr
  • Go to ‘Vos Contrats’
  • Go to ‘Contrat Internet’
  • click ‘paramétrer vos services’

Orange Client Space

Now you can disable the services you don’t want:

Orange Extra Service Settings

Contact+ is the important one, but I disabled Internet+ too.

Getting Reimbursed by Orange

This was much more simple than I thought it would be. Go to this Contact+ Contact Form. Select ‘une contestation d’achat Contact+’ and fill in your account number and email. Your account number is on the PDF bill on the first page where it says ‘Vos coordonnées’ below this you will see something like:

n° client : 007 264 xxxx
n° de compte internet : 20160xxxx 

You want the latter of these numbers.

In the detail section I wrote: “En Décembre 2015, j’ai payé 18€ pour les services que je ne voulais pas. Je crois que cela est une erreur. S’il vous plaît rembourse 18€. S’il vous plaît me dire comment empêcher que cela se produise à l’avenir.” I then added the details of the calls.

The following day I received an email saying that a one-time reimbursement had been made and the Contact+ service had been disabled.

How did this happen?

I’m not 100% sure, but I know my eldest daughter was watching quite a lot of TV shows and movies on the internet, mainly Harry Potter and Doctor Who. A few weeks later her PC had become very infected with malware and when I quizzed her about it she mentioned certain ‘players’ that she downloaded. I’m pretty sure this is what happened. This is exceptionally worrying as she was not aware that any extra charges would be incurred. She’s only 11 but she is not stupid or dishonest.

I am assuming that Orange responded so quickly because this happens a lot. I can’t think of any reason they would turn these services on by default other than to make more money. If people ignore these extra charges Orange.fr must make a lot of money.

Lemmy in 1991

Lemmy in 1991

I first heard the sound of Lemmy’s bass in 1972 when I was 10 years old. It was Silver Machine by Hawkwind playing on my transistor radio. I was well aware that this sounded very different to anything else that was on Radio 1 at the time. Pretty soon I was listening to the 1973 album Space Ritual by Hawkwind. This is when I starting getting into his more melodic bass lines that Lemmy played in songs like ‘Space is Deep’. I also appreciated the power of the sound that Lemmy got from his Rickenbacker bass when was playing double stopped ‘fifths’ and ‘forths’.

Pretty soon me and my schoolmates were going to Motorhead gigs and thoroughly enjoying the loudest band we had ever heard. The gigs at Victoria Hall in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent were particularly notable. These were gigs from the ‘Bomber Tour’ and the ‘Overkill Tour’ in 70s, however it wasn’t until the 90s that I actually got to speak face to face with Lemmy himself.

Hawkwind 12 Hour Technicolour Dream

Hawkwind 12 Hour Technicolor Dream

Despite seeing Motorhead several times, I only got to speak with Lemmy once. It was on Saturday 6 July 1991 at The Brixton Academy, Stockwell Road, London. The event was The Hawkwind 12 Hour Technicolor Dream. The bands I really wanted to see were Radical Dance Faction, 25th of May and of course Hawkwind. There’s an almost secret bar in The Brixton Academy that you can find by going upstairs to the circle area and then going down one of the steps of stairs from there. This is is where you will find the bar that is kind of underneath the circle part of the auditorium. Whilst waiting for a drink, I noticed someone who looked very much like Lemmy standing by the side of the bar, but not as tall as he always seemed on stage. I think he was about 5’10” but I’d always imagined he’d be well over 6′. But really you can’t mistake that Lemmy face can you? Once I had my cider in hand, I thought I’d have chat with him. As I recall it went something like this:

Me: Ahh another bloke from Stoke…
Lemmy: Who’s asking?
Me: I’m Rick, I’m a bass player from Stoke too.
Lemmy: You’re not from Burslem are ya?
Me: No I’m from Clayton, but I don’t live there now. I remember seeing you on The Bomber Tour when I was a teenager. It was a gig at the Victoria Hall, up Hanley.
Lemmy: Oh arr, that’s a while back then…
Me: Yeah I remember you said, “Good Evening Stoke-on-Trent, I’m from Stoke too, it’s a nice place…to leave!”
Lemmy: Did I say that?
Me: I’m pretty sure you did, at least that’s what I remember. Anyroad up, what you doing here tonight, are you playing?
Lemmy: Nah just seeing some old friends.
Me: OK well have a good night then
Lemmy: Cheers

Well that was 24 years ago and today I woke up today to the news that Lemmy died yesterday. From what I can tell I think he had a pretty good 70 years doing what he liked doing, so good on him. I’m glad that I saw Lemmy play on many occasions and I’m glad that I had a chance to have a brief chat with him.

Note: I think most of this story is reasonably accurate, but there is a possibility it could have been the Hawkwind 12 hour Technicolor dream from September 1st 1990, which I also went to. This was all a long time ago now, so some details may well be a bit sketchy.

Farewell Lemmy; from another bloke from Stoke.

chocolate tinsMany thanks to my friend Sarah Lamballe for getting a job helping out a project called Sent With A Loving Kiss out with their web promotion. The site is partly owned by Graham Winn who also owns the successful Flowercard.co.uk that I mentioned the other day. At the moment the site relies a lot on their offline media ads and their associated voucher codes. There are also some very active affiliates who help to drive traffic too. At the moment the site doesn’t have the same power and authority as Flowercard, so the goal is to change this from being more of an offline business to a fully online business. At the moment there is a lot of money spent on call centers where customers phone in their orders.

The products themselves are great, personalised chocolate gifts using ethically sourced chocolate. These gifts are equally sought after by thoughtful individuals who like to give such gifts, as well as corporate gifts for employees and clients.

Sarah has been working on the website for a while now to improve the user experience (UX) and theme the site better. My job will be to see if I can improve the organic traffic by improving the on page SEO as well as making sure that the site has a very healthy link profile. There is some stiff competition from the huge brands like Thorntons and Cadburys, but I am quite confident that we can make a dent (bite?) in the personalised chocolate market.