Uber: Lets Call it What it is

Uber Technologies Inc. – based in San Francisco – has long tried to argue that it’s a digital service. But a European Court of Justice ruling has confirmed what we already knew: Uber is a taxi hailing app.

Whilst some might hail Uber as a fresh approach to expensive taxis fares, it’s easy to understand why so many taxi drivers are furious about the way that the company has encroached into the market place avoiding all the fees and regulations that they have to pay. Whilst cabbies are paying for licensing, signage, taxi tests and high insurance, Uber drivers are taking their business without regulation.

In a display of pure ignorance, Uber said the verdict would make little difference to the way it operated in Europe. In other words, Uber don’t care about the economic affects that their business is having.

In its ruling, the European Court of Justice said that a service whose purpose was “to connect, by means of a smartphone application and for remuneration, non-professional drivers using their own vehicle with persons who wish to make urban journeys” must be classified as “a service in the field of transport” in EU law.

The news comes just days after concerns about Uber safety was reunited after a driver admitted killing Rebecca Dykes in Beirut. Then there was the news that Uber has been accused of illegal snooping on rivals.

It seems Uber may be lacking in the morals department.


Ode to Crisps | A poem about Crisps

I like crisps and crisps like me, which I why I’m 20 stone.
I eat so many of those little fried slices that my chair has started to grone.

I don’t have a favourite in particular;
but I am quite partial to salt and vinegar.

In America they call crisps ‘chips’, it’s printed on the package.
Americans are like me, they have a weight advantage.

Some people think that Wotsits are crisps, but that is quite untrue.
Wotsits are actually maize snacks (but lets not get hung up on the facts).

There used to be a crisp made by Branningans which was flavoured with roast beef and mustard.
And a company from Taiwan once made some flavoured of English custard!

Crisps get a unfair press at times as they’re quite high in fat. Which is exactly why they taste so good to the average human palette.

Some people are boring and eat tofu, kale and hake.
Not me though, no, I don’t do that. I eat crisps, chips and cake.

And as I come to the end of my poem, there’s one last thing to do.
Grab a packet of crisps, turn on the TV and chew, and chew, and chew.



Amazon Echo 2 is a decent update to the 1st Generation

There’s not doubt that the original Amazon Echo was a great success for the company and has bought true smart home capability to homes across the word on an affordable level, and Amazon Echo 2 is a decent update to the 1st Generation. Somehow, Alexa feels a little more intuitive than the first system (but she still has a lot to learn) and there are a range of new features.


Amazon Echo 2 looks smarter

Alexa looks noticeably better this time around. Slightly smaller (a tiny bit wider) but with an attractive fabric coating (hard coating of plastic still available). Fabric options are Charcoal Fabric, Heather Grey Fabric and Sandstone Finish. Plastic finished are Oak and Walnut.

There are still volume and microphone buttons on the top.


Alexa provides better sound this time around

Echo 2 has a noticeably improved sound quality which is much more room filling than than Echo 1 with an improved bass response.

There’s an aux out plug next to the power supply plug meaning that you can plug Echo into your own sound system for improved sound.


7 microphone system

The new version of Amazon Echo boasts a 7-microphone system meaning that Alexa can be triggered from almost anywhere within earshot including in another room.


Echo 2 can play games

Bored? Then just ask Alexa to play a game. She’s go loads built in and you can add more Skills from the Alexa App on your mobile device.


How to Watch Discovery Channel without a Sky Subscription

When I wrote about getting rid of Sky TV for money saving alternatives, I didn’t realise just how much I was going to miss the Discovery Channel. This led me to look for alternative (legal) ways of picking up the channel without the need for an expensive subscription.

Thankfully, there is now a way of watching all your favourite Discovery UK programs in glorious HD without the need of getting tied in to a contract. Finally all your favourite TV programs including Goldrush, Mythbusters, Deadliest Catch and Nakes and Afraid in glorious HD.


How to Watch Discovery Channel without a Sky Subscription

You’re going need a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime (or a regular subscription) and some method of watching Prime such as an Amazon Firestick. Once you’re all connected up to the Amazon service it’s time to upgrade your existing subscription with the Discovery UK add on package.

And that’s it! You can now start to enjoy all the very best and latest Discovery UK programs within the need to subscribe to Sky TV. What’s more, you’ll also benefit from tons of box sets and movie and you can use the Firestick to browse Youtube and play a selection of games. You can also add Netflix for an additional fee.


Don’t use Kodi or Kickbox TV

If you’re thinking of using Kodi and Kickbox TV, stop right there. We’re not going to lecture you on the many reasons that piracy is bad (not forgetting that your subscription helps pay to produce the quality programs in the first place). But we are going to warn you that Hollywood and other production companies are after the people who illegally pirate their programs and they’re coming for you next.

So, now you’re all set to do it like they do on the Discovery Channel 😉


Beware of Maize Starch in Medicine

Maize starch in medicine, if you’re allergic you’d have to ask why? Well, it seems the pharmaceutical industry uses it as a binder. This means that anyone who suffers from a corn allergy needs to be extremely careful when taking any medicine and ensure that they read the leaflet contained within the packet.

This all came to light recently when my wife had a really nasty cold. The pressure caused by the mucus was causing her to have severe headaches, so she turned to Sudafed tablets as a decongestant. After a couple of days she was feeling even worse and on closer inspection of the leaflet inside the pack it turned out that there was maize starch in them.

In fact, most decongestants have maize in them, which makes them a no-go for corn allergy sufferers.

I did manage to find one product which didn’t contain maize – Nurofen Sinus & Blocked Nose tablets. They contain Ibuprofen and Phenylephrine Hydrochloride (that’s the drug which acts as a decongestant).

It’s a real pain that some manufacturers put maize starch in medicine, and it means that corn allergy sufferers have to be very careful what they buy.


My Example of a Household Recycling Setup

My recycling setup

An example of a household recycling setup, mine takes a bit of space but is great for separating the different types of waste which my council collects. My local auhotiry collects all types of waste including food, cardboard/paper, plastic, glass, tin, garden and non-recyclable waste.

My recycling setup
My recycling setup has separate bin for plastic, cardboard, food, garden and food waste.


I place the clear recycling sacks into two smaller labelled bins with separate bins for glass and tin, to keep it all separate. The food waste bin sits next to it. I’m going to find a better method for stacking them in the future.

A small investments in separate bins helps to keep items in their own recycling bins.


I purchased this bin store online which is a great way of keeping the wheelie bits out of site, and helps to keep maggots out of the bin.


How to Descale a Delonghi Magnifica Coffee Machine

To Descale a Delonghi Magnifica Coffee Machine you’ll need to follow these instructions:

  1. Place the de-scaler into the water container
  2. Top up with 1 litre of plain water
  3. Press and hold the flashing light button below the strength dial for 5 seconds
  4. Place a large plastic contained under the milk/cappuccino mode
  5. Turn the steam tap – the machine will now go through it’s cycle
  6. Once the water refill light is flashing, remove the water contain, rinse it, fill to the maximum line and place back into the machine. It will now rinse.