# Thursday, 11 October 2007
I read this article about how Ebay and Paypal are working to try and cut down on fake emails. They are currently working with Yahoo using their anti-phising technology to try and block fake emails by validating the sender with a digital signature. The emails they are targeting are the ones that look exactly like an email from Paypal or Ebay but if you click on the link you are directed to a completely different website that looks the same. They are designed to fool you into entering your user name and password into their fake site, thus compromising your account. Personally I never click on a link from any email that looks like its come from Paypal or Ebay. Instead I tend to log into my account, if there are any issues that need my attention I will have received a notification about them. However, 99% of the emails are spam.

posted on Thursday, 11 October 2007 14:44:23 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Boots have started selling a product called Expert Sensitive Facial Spritz. The product costs £3.99 for a 125ml can. The can contains only one ingredient, water. It claims that it can protect the skin from dryness. It appears though that you could create the same effect for nothing by simply putting some tap water into a spray bottle.

posted on Thursday, 11 October 2007 11:44:43 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 10 October 2007
John Lewis is branching out into the grocery business with the opening of a food hall in the basement of their Oxford Street store. It is designed to cater for local workers and shoppers and is part of the stores £64m makeover. John Lewis has linked with Waitrose to launch the new department, which if successful could also be extended to other locations around the country. The store targets the increasing market for premium food and will have an in-store bakery with 40 different types of bread, over 109 lines of fish on its fish counter and 115 cheeses half of which are British. And if you fancy a bottle of champagne you will have more than 80 to choose from. It sounds great.

posted on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 17:09:50 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
A grant has been given by the lottery fund to try and help Britain’s bats. All 17 species of Britain’s bats have declined since the end of the industrial revolution. The Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £600,000 to conservationists is designed to increase the awareness of the sorts of conditions bats need to survive. The project has been called England Bat Count and will give people training in how to spot bats as well as information about how to encourage them back to their former territories.

posted on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 16:00:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 09 October 2007
I was reading this article in which a survey was carried out by the British Market Research Bureau, in order to see whether people would be prepared to pay for plastic bags. The results suggested that three quarters of adults would be prepared to pay for a reusable carrier bag. The survey is aimed at finding out whether it is feasible for supermarkets to stop giving out free bags and instead charge for bags. When asked how much they would pay for a reusable bag 14% said they would pay £2 or more, 64% would pay between 50p and £1 and 11% said they would pay 20p.

Personally I think that supermarkets supply bags much too readily. I have been to Tesco and brought a single loaf of bread and have been offered a bag, when I don’t really need one. I now take a rucksack with me for my shopping and only use the supermarket bags to wrap a product that might leak out on the way home. Even these bags I later reuse. It is easy to see how much rubbish is caused by these often unwanted carrier bags, when you stand outside any supermarket. I don’t think charging a few pence for carrier bags will impact much on the cost of most peoples shopping but I wonder if it might make them twice about taking a bag they don’t need, or even better encourage them to take their own bags.

posted on Tuesday, 09 October 2007 09:22:48 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 08 October 2007
Campbell’s condensed soup, famous for its red and white label is to be rebranded. It will now be called Batchelors condensed soup and will carry the slogan “Formerly Campbell’s. Same great taste.” The soup has to be rebranded due to the fact that the brand name expires in 2008. When Premier foods brought the Campbell Soup Company, they did not purchase the brand as well. The recipe of the soup will remain unchanged. The Campbell Soup Company will still produce Campbell’s Condensed Soup but are not allowed to sell the brand in the UK for another five years.

posted on Monday, 08 October 2007 18:33:17 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I took these pictures of Lucy and Ollie on the shed the other day. They like sitting on the shed because they can see whats happening on the other side of the wall.

posted on Monday, 08 October 2007 12:03:56 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 07 October 2007
We made this pie the other day. We didn't have any plain flour so we had to make the pie crust with self raising flour but it turned out ok. We made the pastry for the pie crust and then cooked the spinach. We put the cooked spinach into the pie crust, followed by crumbled feta cheese and a handful of grated cheddar before finishing with the top crust of the pie. You can see some of the stages below.

posted on Sunday, 07 October 2007 17:34:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Staffordshire cheese has now been given protected status under EU law. This means that only cheese from that region can be called Staffordshire cheese. The cheese is said to have a distinctive taste and texture because of the diet the dairy cows are fed on. I haven’t tried it yet but might have to get some.

posted on Sunday, 07 October 2007 17:27:17 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 06 October 2007
If you have ever planted some seeds and found that none of them grew into plants, then you, like me, probably put it down to the fact that you are not very good at gardening. This article, however, suggests that as many as 99 per cent of seeds in packets are dead. Seeds were tested from 15 different suppliers, with only six companies meeting industry standards. Seeds from Edwin and Tucker were the worst with 99 per cent of delphinium seeds being dead and the others unhealthy. Unwins also did badly with two per cent of their delphinium seeds producing healthy plants. Thompson and Morgan came out best with 83 per cent of seeds producing healthy plants. I usually buy my seeds from Thompson and Morgan, mainly because they have such a good range and looking at these results, I will continue to do in the future.

posted on Saturday, 06 October 2007 11:42:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
In the latest news surrounding Northern Rock it has announced a cut back on the range of mortgage products they will offer. Two thirds of its mortgage product range is going to be axed in what seems to be a major product overhaul. This change is unlikely to affect the banks risk profile because it is still prepared to lend up to 125% of a properties value, something which is the root cause of its present problems. Despite the changes rates on their fixed rate and variable mortgages are likely to remain unchanged.

posted on Saturday, 06 October 2007 11:23:14 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 05 October 2007
Sony has announced that they are releasing a cut price version of the PS3. It will retail for £299 but will be without many of the essential features in the full version. The cut down version will not be backwards compatible with the previous consoles and has a 40GB hard disk rather than 60GB. It also has fewer USB ports than the full version. The price of the 60GB model has also been reduced from £425 to £349. I still don't think I would buy a version that is not backwards compatible, no matter how cheap it gets.

posted on Friday, 05 October 2007 19:13:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Villages across the north of England have been receiving carved stone heads. The heads are thought to be carved by local man. So far 13 of the stone heads have been left in various locations including outside the post office in Braithwell. The heads appeared in the middle of the night and although there is CCT footage of a man leaving them there, so far no one knows why. My guess is someone looking for some publicity for their sculptures. I quite like them and wouldn't mind having one for my garden.

posted on Friday, 05 October 2007 15:47:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
I read this article that suggests some mortgage brokers are encouraging homebuyers to lie about their finances. Some lenders are giving people up to eight times their salary. Experts have warned that this type of irresponsible lending could drag Britain into a US-style subprime mortgage crisis. Brokers have been pushing first time buyers to take out “self certification” mortgages that let people state their income without any proper employer checks to see if they qualify. Self-certification home loans now account for one in every ten mortgages as opposed to one in twenty four years ago. It just seems silly to me to encourage people to borrow more than they can afford to pay to back, and personally I find it hard to believe there are companies that do this.

posted on Friday, 05 October 2007 15:21:39 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
In one example of the rising property prices in the UK, a beach chalet in Devon has just been sold for £91,000. The chalet is made of timber and has a tin roof. It was originally thought the chalet would sell for £40,000 but it appears to have fetched a great more. It does, however, have planning permission to build a two-storey chalet on the site, so has the potential to be a good investment for the London buyer.

posted on Friday, 05 October 2007 12:00:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 04 October 2007
BT have confirmed that they will create a partnership with Fon, a company which was founded in Spain in 2006. Fon’s users currently agree to share their Wi-Fi connectivity through a separate secure channel. They can either have a 50% cut of the fees charged to their visitor or alternatively to surf other users connections for free. However, their expansion has been limited by ISPs who do not allow the sharing of broadband connections. BT has now given its approval to do this and has effectively extended its OpenZone network across 3 million BT Home Hubs, or the proportion of those that agree to share their broadband connection. They have not currently said whether they will offer a reduction in rates to customers that do agree to do this but it is likely that those customers will have access to BT’s new wireless network and Fon’s global network of around 200,000 hot spots. It all sounds very interesting and as a BT Broadband customer, I am interested to see how it work.

posted on Thursday, 04 October 2007 18:44:03 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
A snapping turtle has been caught in Wales. The turtle which is native to America has been loose in a wildlife park for around twenty years. It was only when the ducks and moorhens started disappearing that the park wardens realised they had a problem. The turtle nicknamed Snappy (no points for an original name) has now been housed at the nearby Tortoise Trust rescue sanctuary.

posted on Thursday, 04 October 2007 17:30:01 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
I read this interesting article about some Stone Age rice field that have been discovered in a swamp in China. The discovery shows that rice was growing in the coastal wetlands of China around 7,700 years ago. There was also evidence of rice cultivation, including flood and fire control. The discovery is interesting because it helps cast light on how humans went from being hunter gatherers to farmers, something which I find fascinating.

posted on Thursday, 04 October 2007 17:08:11 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Eleven new species have been found in a remote region of Vietnam, called the Green Corridor. They include a snake, two species of butterfly, five orchids and three other new plants. The new snake called the white-lipped keelback is covered with red spots and has a yellow strip on its head. The new orchids are particularly interesting because they have no leaves and contain no chlorophyll. Instead of relying on the suns energy they live on decaying matter.

posted on Thursday, 04 October 2007 14:49:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback