Thursday, 12 January 2012

Non Emergency Number 101 is Chargeable

In the UK the emergency number 999 is free and not chargeable from any phone number you call it from.

To help reduce the number of non urgent calls made to 999, most police forces across the UK have rolled out a simple and easy to remember number 101 which will connect you directly to your local police station if you need to report a non urgent crime.

I recently had to use the number to report a burgulary, and thought nothing of it till my phone bill arrived a few weeks later, and found out that had been charged 15p for using my home telephone to call 101.

While it is a small fee to pay, it would have been nice if I had been informed beforehand, as I could easily have googled the local police station telephone number.

Just a quick rant, as I'm sure it does cost money to implement the technology that allows 101 calls to be routed to the correct police station.

Looking for free international calls from your mobile phone?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Insurance Automatic Renewal don't be lazy. Save Money

Here in the UK most of us have a few insurance policies that are renewed on a yearly basis with the premiums being paid automatically by direct debit either on a monthly or yearly cycle.

My Home buildings & contents insurance came up for renewal recently, and as usual my company sent me a renewal quote which for some reason I didn't throughly go through before the date when it would come into effect. Just a few days before the first premium was to be taken by direct debit, I had a look at the cost, and it was over £600 compared to the £350 I paid for it last year. It was too late to cancel (I couldn't risk being without home insurance), but luckly I was paying monthly so the first premium was paid.

I immediately went online and got new quotes from a comparison website and was able to find anothe insurance policy offering the same cover for about £360.

So the lesson to learn is when it comes to insurance, loyality does not pay, always shop around for the best bargains.

Friday, 28 January 2011

William McDowell UK Concert Jan 2011

William McDowell a popular christian worship leader well known for his anthem song 'I give myself away' will be having his first ever UK concert in the UK at Victory to Victory Church Wembley London on Sunday evening 30th January 2011.

This is a free entry christian event on a first come first served basis, and has limited seats so arrive early to avoid disappointment. If you can't make it or not in the UK, the concert will be video streamed live on the internet via the V2V church website.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas

This is to wish you a Merry Christmas from V2V Church and myself, hope you have a wonderful holiday season, get lots of presents, and that the year 2011 is a very good one for you.

Monday, 27 September 2010

HD Video mixer Review Datavideo HS-2000

If you are interested in purchasing an affordable multi-camera HD switching hardware solution, then you might want to have a read of my Datavideo HS-2000 HD mixer studio review.

The HS-2000 is based on Datavideo's SE-2000 5 channel video mixer currently the cheapest HD broadcast quality switcher, and you would be surprised at the features and capabilities of the system.

The video below shows what it can produce.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Datavideo UK support service

Following a recent purchase of a Datavideo DN-200 tapeless digital church video recorder, I had the opportunity of experiencing the support side of Holdan Ltd, the UK distributors of Datavideo equipment.

My local V2V church in Wembley bought the DN-200 so we could digitally record our sunday services thus reducing the time it took to produce our weekly podcasts, but after using it for just 2 sessions, I noticed a problem with the DN-200, it would shut off recording before service was over! Since this was the first time of me as a video producer using datavideo equipment I wasn't sure what to expect when it came to support, I was soon to find out.

Datavideo DN-200 HD digital video recorder

My first port of call was to contact the reseller from whom we bought the recorder who advised me to contact Holdan the UK distributor as they had full manufacturer access and a better support infrastructure to deal with any product issues I had.

So on a thursday morning I fired off an email to the technical department at Holdan providing full details of the faulty unit (S/N, firmware version, etc) and the problem I was having. I didn't get any acknowledgement to my email but thought I'd wait a few days, but by monday with no response and not wanting to spend another sunday without a reliable recorder, I decided to call Holdan on the phone.
On getting through to the datavideo support guy, I explained the problem, was advised that if I could get the DN-200 to them by Wednesday, they would either have a relacement unit or get mine repaired and sent back to me by Friday.

To cut a long story short, they had the unit by Wednesday, and I got a replacement unit on Saturday.
What I didn't like about my experience was:

1. My email was recieved by the Datavideo support manager, but was not acted upon or passed to a technician to follow up or investigate.
2. I had to continue to chase them up to find out what was happening to my DN-200 unit, and despite promises to call me back several times I never got a call.
3. There were about 3 different people that I had to deal with, each time I called it was someone new testing the unit in the lab.

Because the DN-200 recorder is a new Datavideo product in the UK, I suspect there were a few teething problems as the quality of datavideo hardware is high, and thus hope to buy more of their units.

Friday, 9 April 2010

New Red Driving Instructor TV Ad

I was watching TV yesterday, when I noticed that red driving school was now airing a new marketing advert for its driving instructor training services.

Anyone based in the UK will know that since the economic recession started in the late 2007, that Red having making some brisk business cashing in on those who suddenly found themselves redundant, and needed a new job and source of income, one of the reasons why the TV advert was so successful was the promise of the ability to be self-employed, choose your own working hours and earn up to £30,000 a year. This sounded like something that a lot of TV watchers could do especially since the only required skills was the ability to drive and have held a full UK licence for 3 years!

To cut a long story short, after about 2 good years of success getting over £3000 from 10s of thousands potential driving instructors (PDI), people began to see that the TV ads were not telling the whole true story. Qualifying to become an instructor was not as easy as they had marketed, it also took longer than people were told, and not everyone made the grade just because they knew how to drive. One of the other main problems were that people were taking out loans to fund the training, and while these finance options were interest free within the first year (career development loans), they had a hefty APR if not paid off within the interest free period.
A lot of trainee instructors were not qualifying within 12months and thus had to start making repayments something they had never thought of before.
Finally with a lot of media attention, and internet lobbying, the red driving school bubble burst in Feb 2010 when LVG ltd went into administration.

A week later Red driving schoo was back having been bought by a private equity company, a new media marketing agency was appointed, and this resulted in the new Red driving school TV advert.

I am closely monitoring the progress of the new company driving results ltd to see if the same business model is what they hope to continue to forge ahead with, as the UK public is a lot more aware of the truths about becoming a driving instructor.