Think twice before taking a loan from Sainsbury’s Bank.

We recently applied for a loan through Sainsbury’s Bank. The only reason we picked them over our own bank was because according to some loan comparison websites, they were in the top three for offering the best APR (as the image to the left suggests 7.8%APR). Obviously this depends on your circumstances but still, it was worth a try out. said the following about Sainsbury’s Bank.

Advantages of a Sainsbury’s Bank loan include:

  • Easy to apply and you’ll get a decision in minutes.
  • Choose a repayment period to suit you.
  • Protect your personal loans against the things that worry you.
  • Apply for an instant personal loan online today.

It might be easy to apply for a loan, but you most certainly DO NOT get a decision in minutes.

There are over 7 pages of forms to be filled in and each form is on a timer, so if one takes to long filling in the information, the page times out and you have to close down the browser window and start again.

You DO NOT get a confirmation email letting you know the application is complete, nor do you know when the decision will be made.

After 3 days I decided to call Sainsbury’s Bank to find out if they had received our loan application, having heard nothing, received no emails, or had any left messages for us. After 12 minutes of hanging around on the phone I finally got through, only be asked a whole bunch of similar questions as the original application. Once I got through those I was told the loan application had been denied. The gentleman on the phone could NOT give any explanation as to why the loan application had been denied and that was that!

What a waste of time?

Further more I got an annoying email today from Home Shopping Personal Finance who got my details from Sainsbury’s Bank, even though I opted out of Sainsbury’s Bank passing on my details to a 3rd party company. They had the cheek to tell me Sainsbury’s had denied my application for a loan. No sh*t Shurlock.

Suffice to say I logged into my online bank at Lloyds TSB and applied for the same loan amount, didn’t have to fill in forms etc and within 5 minutes had the loan approved and the money in my bank account and at a better APR than Sainsbury’s Bank was offering it.

The moral of the story – Stick with the banks you know, give your own bank a chance before looking for cheap alternatives. Cheap is often expensive in the long run. There are advantages to using your own bank namely;

  • Your bank should know you and your credit history,
  • Your bank has all your information already,
  • Your credit history is already known,
  • If your loan application is accepted, payment into your account can be instant.

Lowepro Rezo 160 AW handles the Panasonic G2 perfectly.

We needed a good camera bag for our Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, which we recently purchased. It had to fairly compact but strong enough to protect the camera with a 14-42mm lense attached and also it had to carry the extra 44-200mm lense,  a spare battery, some lense hoods, a battery charger, power cable, memory cards and a manual. A bonus would be if the bag was waterproof because one never knows when it is likely to rain in sunny England.

We opted for the Lowepro Rezo 160 AW and found Amazon to have the best price and the most reviewers (118 reviewers giving positive feedback).

The camera bag also met all our requirements:

  • It had to be lightweight and easy to carry.
  • It should have a shoulder strap or handle.
  • It must have multiple compartments or pouches for memory cards, cables, batteries, lenses etc.
  • It must offer protection to the camera in the way of padded edges.
  • Designed specifically for digital equipment.
  • Waterproof.

To give you an example of what it can hold, a reviewer on Amazon mentioned they had a Nikon D5000 DSLR. The Nikon camera is a lot larger (127x104x80 mm) than the Panasonic DMC-G2 (124x90x74 mm), and the reviewer had the standard kit lense 18-55mm + he managed to get another lense in the bag. So the bag is big enough for our camera, lenses and all the accessories.

I have a taken a whole bunch of photos of the Lowepro Rezo 160 AW camera bag from various angles, showing it with our camera and lenses in and out of the bag. They can be found in our photo gallery.

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Best of the best are the worst of the worst SPAMMERS!

I hate SPAM emails from companies who think it’s okay to send monthly or quarterly newsletters to previous customers even when they have specifically asked them not to send newsletters.

One such company is best of the best. Best of the Best Plc display luxury cars as competition prizes in rented retail space within airport terminals. (no more advertising for these spammers). I have unsubscribed from their newsletter multiple times over the past three years, yet William Hindmarch, their managing director & founder keeps sending out SPAM emails in the form of a newsletter.

Below was the online form I received in January 2009 after I unsubscribed for the third time.

At the same time I asked the following question on my blog “Is it possible to unsubscribe from an email newsletter?” and guess who I mentioned back then?

Yet, incredibly in the past two months I have received two newsletters from these spammers and both came from William. William, can I suggest you have a chat with your newsletter or mailing team and mention to them the term “CAN-SPAM Compliance”. At the same time get them to either remove the unsubscribe instructions or make it clearer that previous customers will be spammed regardless of unsubscribing or not!

Here is the latest form showing that I have been successfully unsubscribed from their silly database.

The text that appears directly above the motor cars says:

You will no longer receive marketing information from nor competition results and announcements from – We are really sorry to see you go, your email address has been automatically removed from our database.
If you have unsubscribed in error, please log in to your account and re-subscribe.

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Bowen has been listening to 1985 by SR-71.

What a cool song? – 1985 by SR-71.

The band were named after the famous spy plane.

Sr-71 actually wrote the song, but it was later covered and made famous by Bowling for soup. Here are the lyrics.

1985 – SR-71

Debbie just hit the wall
She never had it all
One prozac a day
Husbands a CPA
Her dreams went out the door
When she turned 24
Only been with one man
What happend to her plan
She was gonna be an actress
She was gonna be a star
She was gonna shake that ass
On the hood of Whitesnake’s car
Now her SUV has become the enemy
Looks at her average life and nothing has been all right

Since Bruce Springstein Madonna
Way Before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
‘Cause she’s still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985

Woo Hoo Hooo


Woo Hoo Hooo

She’s seen all the classics
at least a hundred times
Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink
Fast times at Ridgemont High
She rocked out to Wham
Not a big Limp Bizkit fan
Never knew George was gay
Hope they hook up one day

Where’s the fairytale
Where’s her dream
Where’s the quarterback from her high school football team
Where’s the fairytale
Where’s her dream
How many times will she ask herself what happened to me
Ask her self what happened to (the rubber broke)

There was Springstien Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And Music still on MTV
Her 2 kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
‘Cause she’s still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985

Woo Hoo Hooo


Woo Hoo Hooo

She hates time
Make it stop
When did Motley Crew become Classic Rock
She hates time make it stop
She hates time
make it make it make it make it make it make it STOP!

Bruce Springstien Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her 2 kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
‘Cause she’s still preoccupied
With 1985

Springstien Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And Music still on MTV
Her 2 kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
‘Cause she’s still proccupied
With 19, 19, 1985


Bowling for Soup do a really cool music video of the song 1985 on, but of course embedding has been disabled, so you’ll have to go there to watch it!

An elegant pairing of the Nokia E72 and BH-905.

What do you get when you combine the Nokia E72 with the Nokia BH-905 Bluetooth headphones?

Elegance and style and an awesome sound experience.

I was amazed how good my music sounded through the Bluetooth headphones. I have had the Nokia BH-905 headphones for 9 months and use them daily with my Nokia N900. Today was the first time I have paired them with the Nokia E72 and the sound was immense. I had to turn the volume down on the headphones and the phone was already on 1 bar above mute. In fact they were much clearer and louder than my N900 if I have to be honest. That was a pleasant surprise.

Once connected or paired the headphones buttons will work with “most” media applications on the E72:

  • The default music player works perfectly. Navigating forward and backward through a playlist, pausing, stopping and playing songs all work really well.
  • Likewise for the video player, all buttons work as intended. Holding the fast forward or rewind buttons down for longer than a second moves the film forward or backwards slowly at first then it goes fast. You can see this happening on the screen. In the video playlist one can use the forward and back buttons on the headphones to move down or up the list of videos. Pressing play and the video starts up. (very clever, a truly hands free experience).
  • In Real player the controls again work perfectly. There is a demo video called “Miniature” and the sound is absolutely awesome in relation to the video.
  • I tried them out on the Radio application. The FM Radio only works if one connects a wired headset. This is because the aerial is in the cable. Kind of pointless for a bluetooth headphone don’t you think?
  • However the Internet Radio worked perfectly, although you would need to use your data connection for this and the radio is only available while you are within range of a mobile phone mast. All the button functions on the right headphone worked great.
  • I tried the voice recorder but discovered you need to manully press the record button and the stop button on the phone. Naturally one can play back the sound through the headphones but there is no controlling the audio with the headphone buttons.

I just so happened to receive a phone call from my wife today while I was listening to some music and the music was briefly paused while the phone was ringing through the headphones. One then has a choice to accept the call by pressing the function button on the headphones, or ignoring the call and sending it off to voice mail.

I noticed the sound was crystal clear and in stereo. I am told the clarity of my voice was good and there was no surrounding noise. I have the noise cancelling (ANC button) on by default, and one can talk freely without distraction. Of course everyone around you thinks you are a madhatter talking to yourself out aloud. 😉

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Nokia E72 vs Blackberry curve 8900 on looks and design.

Let’s face it, a work phone at the best of times is more of a pain than an advantage because some companies expects you to be on call 24/7 or at least be looking at your emails all the time. It is not my scene at all to be honest, especially after hours when all I want to do is play Angry Birds on my Nokia N900 😉

Jokes aside, my preference would be to have one phone or device that doubles as a work phone for handling lots of emails, contacts and calendar entries, and a home phone that meets my ‘out of office’ needs which are music, video, not so heavy gaming, social networking, web surfing etc.

So as you can see, I received the Nokia E72 today and I am going to be trialling it for two weeks. Many thanks to WOMWorld/Nokia for sending me the phone. The photo above shows my work phone, the Blackberry Curve 8900 and the Nokia E72 side-by-side. For this first post I am going to compare the two phones visually.

My initial thoughts on looks and design:

  • The 8900 is sexier than the E72 and has a smoother, rounded feel.
  • Both phones are surrounded by a metal edge. It might be plastic although I am not sure, but it feels tough and gives the phone a strong appearance.
  • The E72 is noticeably thinner although only by 3mm (E72 is 10mm thick versus the 8900 at 13mm).
  • The 8900 is about the perfect size for a mobile device as it’s not too big and not too small. The E72 feels too long unless one has big hands.
  • The weight in hand of each phone feels the same although in reality the E72 is heavier by 18g at 128g (still light overall).
  • Both phones have a 2.4″ screen which is okay for the small size. Both screens are bright although the 8900 has a 480 x 360 pixels resolution where as the E72 has a 320 x 240 pixels resolution. More pixels mean a clearer screen, so the 8900 should win but the E72 can display up to 16 million colours where as the 8900 can only show 65000 colours. To be honest I can’t tell the difference. They both look fantastic.
  • On the back and at the top of the E72 is a 5MP camera with LED flash where as the 8900 has a 3MP camera and LED flash.
  • The 8900’s camera is flush with the back cover so there is no movement when the phone is placed on a table, where as the E72 has a raised cover protecting the camera and flash. The E72 is not as study on a table and when typing and there is a distinct wobble.
  • On the right side of the 8900 there is a 3.5mm headphone socket, a double button that acts as volume rocker, a shortcut button and a micro USB port for charging / data transfer, whereas on the E72 there is a separate button for increasing the volume, the middle button is for voice commands, and third button is for decreasing the volume.
  • On the left side of the 8900 is another shortcut button which can be assigned to any function. The same goes for the shortcut button on the right. On the E72 there are no buttons, but flush with the edge are two covers hiding the micro USB port and a micro SD card. It is a nice touch to see the covers protecting these ports from dust. The micro USB port doubles as a data transfer port as well as a charge port.
  • On the top of the 8900 there are no visible buttons but there are two hidden buttons on either side of the top of the phone, that need a little pressure to activate. Pressing down on the top left side locks / unlocks the device and pressing down on the top right side puts the phone into sleep mode. (Very useful if your phone is on a belt or in a pouch and there is no fiddling around with combination key presses to lock or unlock the device). On the top of the E72 are the power button and a 3.5mm head phone jack. Good to see the location is at the top.
  • On the bottom of the E72 is a standard Nokia charging port, but remember it can also charge via the micro USB port on the left.
  • Finally my thoughts on the keyboard and mouse wheel/optical pad. It took me ages to get use to the keys on the Blackberry. The keys in my opinion are too small. My poor thumbs struggle at the best of times and I have to resort to holding the phone in one hand and using my left 2nd finger to type with my right thumb. On the Nokia E72 the keys are slightly larger and squarer and bevelled, which feel a lot easier to type on.
    • It almost seems that the E72 has tried to squash too many keys onto the phone (39 keys including the spacebar versus 35 keys on the 8900), plus above the keyboard there are an extra 8 keys along with the D pad. The 8900 only has 4. The E72 certainly feels cluttered against the 8900.
    • The optical pad instantly annoyed me as it was too easy to move away from a menu or icon if your finger moved over it in a certain direction. I turned the sensitivity down but it only made using the optical pad slower. Fortunately there is the D pad with its 4 directional keys and a press to bring up menus or run a command. On the 8900 there is mouse ball, which is simple and effective.

I gave 1 point for a winner and 1/2 a point for a draw, and each phone came out with 9 points.

Trial a Nokia device today at WOMWorld/Nokia.

WOMWorld/NokiaDid you know you can trial a Nokia device without even going into a mobile shop? In fact all you need to do is visit WOMWorld/Nokia and go to their Trial a Nokia page, fill in a few details and explain to them why you want to trial a Nokia device and you might be lucky enough to receive an email back offering you a two week trial of one of their devices.

That is exactly what I did a few weeks back. The trial page is very simple, just fill in all the required details, pick the Nokia device you want to trial, give them a few lines explaining why you want to trial their device and submit.

Back in December 2009 I was dead set on getting the Nokia E72 for it’s size, fast processor, latest version of Symbian software, multiple profiles and it’s all round appeal, but then along came the Nokia N900 with its large bright screen, large hard disk, large slide out qwerty keyboard and open source operating system and so the E72 was a mere twinkle in the sky. On paper the two devices are very similar if not the same in processor power, but that is where it ends. I will do a comparison of the two phons in a couple of days.

Now that I have been using the N900 since February, I want to see what it would be like to go back to a light, small mobile with a qwerty keyboard. The E72 is very similar in size to the Blackberry Curve 8900, a mobile I use at work, so another chance for a comparison.

Before the N900 I had the Nokia 5800, Nokia’s first touch screen and the original Nokia N95.

The good news is after a few weeks of waiting, I finally got  confirmation today that the E72 should be with me tomorrow. 🙂

In preparation for the two week trial I have signed up with – They offer a free PAYG SIM card and once you are registered you can top up and buy Goodybags, which are a mix of UK minutes, texts, and mobile Internet that lasts for a month.

I did a post on not so long ago ( not quite a better deal and misleading), after I received my SIM card and was in the process of registering when I discovered their website didn’t quite match up, so I didn’t actually try them out because of the various issues I had with them. Having the E72 now will be a good time to give them a chance. I know they have changed a lot since then so hopefully they will be getting a good review from me.

Finally WOMWorld/Nokia wanted to send me a pair of BH-905 bluetooth headphones, but I told them “No need, as I have them already” :-), so I will definitely be putting them to the test on the Nokia E72.

Dangerous driving (Michael) versus risky driving (Rubens).

So much for formula 1 racing drivers having lightening fast reactions, if that were true for all drivers, then why didn’t Rubens Barrichello recognize that there was going to be no gap alongside Michael Schumacher to get by?

I agree the move from Schumacher was dangerous because he could see Barrichello in his mirrors, but surely Barrichello must have recognized that Schumacher was not going to let him by safely or easily, so why risk it? Look at the angle of Michael’s car (at this point Rubens could have slowed down or avoided taking the move)?

Look at the angle now and yet his foot is still firmly on the peddle, even with the pit lane exit looming up ahead. It was inevitable that Barrichello was going to be heading for the wall if he didn’t lift off the gas, yet he carried on going, so surely he is as much to blame as Schumacher. Look at Barrichello’s right wheel, already crossing the line.

New Rule Proposal: There should be a rule, such as the rule that states cars exiting the pit lane are not allowed to cross the white line, the same rule should apply for cars coming past the start / finish line towards the pit exit. Rubens has clearly risked himself by crossing that line and heading towards the pit wall and he has also put his car in the path of any car exiting the pit exit lane. Imagine if there was a car exiting the pits at that very moment in time… I guess we don’t want to imagine that!

In my opinion both drivers were at fault although the incident could have been avoided by Rubens and Michael. Both drivers should have both received grid slot penalties for the next race, but as always it’s the F1 world against Schumacher. If he is not being bashed by Eddie Jordan or Jonathan Legard every race for coming back to F1, then it’s the rest of the paddock.

Let us not forget the other great drivers who found themselves in a similar position.

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