Saturday, September 27, 2014

Personal Blog: FAULTY GOODS, GOT MY MONEY BACK!!!

A while ago I told you about a Chinese mobile phone of mine that developed a fault and the fact that the Amazon Marketplace business (WMicroUK) who sold it to me decided not to honour the 1 year warranty that I purchased it with ignoring my emails and any interventions from the Amazon team.

The Phone itself was pretty solid it just developed a touch screen fault which I expect is reasonably common.

Well after about 3 months I finally just got the confirmation through from the credit card company telling me that they accepted the chargeback and will be refunding the payment. Yeah that is a heck of a long time but for someone on a very tight budget the outlay for the phone (£130) was a lot of money even though in theory it would be a saving over most contracts if it had lasted a year.

If you’re in a similar position having bought something from Ebay, Amazon or other online retailers you need to know your rights. An electronic device is expected to have a certain life before developing faults my phone had only lasted 7 months and it is reasonably that a phone should 1 if not 2 years.


I used these links to help me out and eventually went with the chargeback option hope this helps someone.



You should also have a look at Section 75 which can help.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Personal Blog: HALT IN THE NAME OF THE LAW

So I got stopped by the police today which certainly hasn't happened in quite some time. So to fill in the details it happened just after 10 in the morning while I was on my way to an appointment when these two guys stopped me, I don’t live in the nicest place so I was wondering if this whole situation was going to go south but the men identified themselves as police officers (plain clothed seemed weird but whatever).


They had a lot of questions including:
·         Where are you going (remember it is 10 in the morning)
·         Where are you coming from?
·         Where do you live?
·         How long have you lived there?
·         Do you have documents on you to prove you live there?

I felt that this was more than a lot of prying especially as they hadn’t given me a reason to stop me and didn’t stop anyone else who passed while we were talking. They also treated me like a threat all the way through speaking to me with one in front of me and one off to my side so I could not see both men at once. When I opened my messenger bag to get my notepad to take their details the guy in front of me moved closer like I was going for a weapon or something.

To be honest I had no plans on giving them any evidence (bills etc.) to show my home that speaks way too much of the “Papers please” nonsense that is best left out of any country claiming to be democratic and free but when I pulled out my notepad there was a prescription slip in it that they pretty much grabbed it off me. However, that was not enough for them and they called in my details to have them checked out centrally. After that went through they finally let me go on my way. No reason given for stopping me and no receipt for the questioning (someone reminded me that I really should have asked for one of those).

In case you ever get stopped by the police I added a couple of links below that you might want to read through. Oh and I did make a complaint not sure if it will go anywhere but you have to register your grievance when people do something you think is wrong. That's all from me.





Sunday, September 21, 2014

I WANT TO BE THE VERY BEST...

Well maybe not the very best but perhaps a contender. What am I talking about? Well as you might know I got a PS3 a little more than a year ago and have not had much use out of it after I finished Sleeping Dogs (which was EXCELLENT) so I had been looking for a game I could really get into. I decided to back to my formative gaming years and picked up Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. I figured I was good enough at Street Fighter Alpha but I was not prepared for all the changes and updates over those years.


I’ve also been thinking a lot about starting a YouTube channel or in reality adding videos to one of the channels that I already have. Unfortunately if I wanted to make gameplay videos like a lot of people out there I found it wasn’t going to be cheap so I’ve mostly been looking at game capture devices but I am still doing my research to see which is worth the cost of investment.


For now though I have been playing SSFIV: AE (with a standard PS3 controller – NIGHTMARE) and trying to get a good understanding of one or two characters. Obviously for those that follow the community Ultra Street Fighter IV is the current game so I am looking to pick that up next week I especially need it because I want to see if I can ‘Main’ one of the new characters.


I’ve been researching the fighting game scene and it is a little complex much like the game itself on first glance I hope to head to a tournament in the next month to get an idea of how things are. At the very least it seems like I’ll have to research a multi-platform joypad or fighting stick as the tournaments tend to be X-BOX only.


Anyway if you were wondering which character I started training with first then the pictures should tell you a story. I hope to go for at least three characters to be comfortable with, in say a couple of months and I’ll probably post up my gamer tag after I do some security research on that, nothing wrong with paranoia.


So what fighting games do you play? Or perhaps used to play? Answer in the comments.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Personal Blog: Changes Incoming

I only have four weeks left on the Work Programme before being bounced back to the Job Centre indeed probably in two weeks time I'll get a date for my return interview. A few months ago this would probably be a cause for celebration given the problems I've had with Seetec the various sanctions, the bullying and the general uselessness of the whole experience. Now though I wonder if it is going to be a case out of out of the frying pan and into the fire.


As I finish writing up the details of this month's job search for my likely final Seetec Monthly 1-2-1 I wonder what will be happening in a few months time especially regarding Universal Job Match. I read so many stories of people either being forced to give access to the Jobcentre Staff or just assuming they had to only to result in almost immediate sanction.

As things stand for now I have not given access to my UJM account indeed I do not use it that site is full of scams and is very badly put together there are much better options out there just do a little searching. For me Indeed works once you get to grips with its filters it actually becomes far less rubbish than it first appears. 


I'm lucky in that most of the jobs I go for can be found on general purpose job search sites like Totaljobs, CV Library and the rest. So I will be covering my experiences at the Jobcentre just to keep people in the know and to show them how things can go down so hopefully when it is their turn they will be better prepared.

I will be going in there with the means to record conversations as well as taking notes by hand. You have to stand up for yourself against advisors or they will walk all over you or more likely sanction you into destitution.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sanction Update

If you’re a keen reader of this blog firstly I thank you and then I say that you’ll remember my recent sanction which I talked about here:


This can be described as an update but I’m afraid all the updated actions will be from my side as you the reader may know or suspect that the DWP bureaucracy moves slower than molasses especially when they have your money.


Since the sanction I have sent out a request for a written statement of reasons which I finally got and I did what is called a Subject Access Request which means they have to send me documents around the sanction, their reasons and such which I intend to use to form the basis of another complaint against the DWP.
If you were wondering about my complaint against SEETEC then according to ICE that investigation is ongoing after they asked me for some more evidence a couple months ago with no real timeline on a decision.

Back to the DWP and the written statement of reasons basically put the reason for my sanction down to not having evidence of the unannounced visit to install my phone line. Maybe you think they have a point but what advisers have said to me is that in a situation like this where I had requested of the visit is that the DWP should have agreed to allow for more time for the proof to arrive instead of sanctioning me.

Sounds like Maladministration to me so I’ll be writing up a complaint about that but mostly I am just going to try and chase up my sanction being overturned so it doesn’t take 3 months like last time to get the money back.


So if you’re sanctioned and it was for reasons check out the links below and don’t give up hope WHILE still being aware of the fact it is going to take months to get your money back.

Great for the detail of how to deal with sanctions

The place for discussion for all things Job Centre

Friday, August 29, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Night School: Legacy by CJ Daugherty

Night School: Legacy by CJ Daugherty is the second book in the Night School Series. Night School is a YA Suspense series that started with the first book in the series Night School (paperback 1st published on 5 January 2012). The ISBN is 1907411224 and the novel was published on 3 January 2013 by Atom. I purchased this book in paperback.

PLOT

In the last year, Allie's survived three arrests, two breakups and one family breakdown. The only bright point has been her new life at Cimmeria Academy. It's the one place she's felt she belongs. And the fact that it's brought the dreamy Carter West into her life hasn't hurt. . .
But far from being a safe haven, the cloistered walls of Cimmeria are proving more dangerous than Allie could've imagined. The students, and faculty, are under threat and Allie's family - from her mysterious grandma to her runaway brother - are at the centre of the storm.
Allie is going to have to choose between protecting her family and trusting her friends. But secrets have a way of ripping even the strongest relationships apart . . .

WHY I BOUGHT IT

The first book really spoke to me even if it wasn’t what I expected. From the cover and the blurb at the back it screamed paranormal but it turns out this is an example of the somewhat less known genre of YA thriller.

WHAT I THOUGHT

This book continues on the riveting story from the first book in the series and we see Allie change in some ways but stay the same in others. There are things I like about this book and things I dislike but the book keeps me coming back and I think it is safe to say that I will be sticking around until the end of the series unless the quality of the writing falls off a cliff.
For all of us that read a large number of books that are part of a series we know that the problem with the first instalments in many of them that the plot has to be established and that characterisation especially of the supporting cast really suffers, this doesn’t happen every time but it does happen a great deal.
Night School: Legacy gives us a greater insight into some of the other students of the Cimmeria Academy and the series is improved as a result, we start to see into the motivations of characters like Carter and Jo which for me made me give them a little slack and makes me less hostile to them. This helped me with my enjoyment of the book for sure and let me concentrate on trying to figure out who could be trusted.
We have to talk about Allie at the beginning of this novel I can understand her reasons for losing it and we know this is how she deals with trauma but the almost instant turnaround that happens came across as incredibly hard to believe at first but as the book goes on we see that Allie does love to flip flop on major decisions.
PROS: The suspense is palpable and the way that the story moves between Allie’s battle to survive the perils of school and the far greater conspiracy that lies behind Cimmeria Academy.
CONS: It is difficult to root for or even tolerate either of the two love interests because when you look at it really you have a date rapist who admitted to doing the same in the past and a guy who can best be described as self-destructive.

CONCLUSION


Despite that controversial aspect of the series I am still happy to recommend that people read this series as they will get sucked in to the intrigue and the burning desire that you along with Allie can learn the truth. If you’ve taken the splash with the rather long opening book in the series then this is more of the same thankfully with a few answers too.

Monday, August 18, 2014

ANIME REVIEW: Hamatora

Hamatora is a 2014 anime that ran for 12 episodes from Jan 8 to Mar 26 in Japan. It was produced by TV TokyoNAZDIVE II Entertainment and the second season titled Re: Hamatora began on Jul 8.

PLOT

"Minimum" - a special inborn power found in a limited number of human beings, known as "minimum holders." In Yokohama, the detective team Hamatora, formed by two minimum holders named Nice and Murasaki, comes across information connected to a serial killer being pursued by their old friend Art. It turns out all the victims are minimum holders like them. Unwillingly at first, the two detectives become involved in the investigation.

WHAT I THOUGHT

With that plot summary you might think that this show is as straightforward as can be an action anime with super powers and not much plot at all. You would be wrong there is something so much deeper lying below the surface of this anime, something that becomes much clearer in the second season. I’m getting ahead of myself first we should consider the core elements of the show.

The detective agency – Hamatora – which is really more accurately sort of an agency for odd jobs consists of a small group of friends who all possess Minimums which are there super powers. The powers seem to be activated by the Minimum holder interacting with objects that they tend to keep on them, I’m not sure if it is like a shortcut to an incantation or if they can’t use their abilities without them which is something we never find out.


The leader Nice has a power that puts him about one level below Superman in terms of the world of Hamatora though it took me until the second season to get any sort of understanding of what it was that he was doing. A lot of the fun I had with watching Hamatora was trying to figure out the rules around their powers but that might just be for former comic collectors like me to enjoy.

I can’t write about this show without mentioning that there is a lot of comedy thrown in there especially in the opening half of the season, comedy which for me did not always work but isn’t so bad that it puts you off checking out the next episode.


There is a mystery at the centre of Hamatora despite what the first few filler episodes might make you think I urge you just to hang in there, like a large number of anime shows out there the first few filler episodes are just that but they offer you bread crumb bits that actually do feature when things pick up in the second half of the season.


The animation is great and I love the outfits and sense of style, definitely good for cosplaying opportunities for guys something that I can definitely get behind. The music is interesting lots of piano and very different from what you tend to hear in most anime.


Hamatora first season lasts 13 episodes with a Finale that definitely has a WTF moment but in a good way and because it has a second season you know that you get some resolution and actually a reasonable resolution at that.
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