The egg-laying wool milk pig: the myth of integration

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We're moving into our new house today, but we don't have any furniture. I don't think we'll get any for a while, though, because I'm looking for a combined bed/table/chest of drawers/fridge/TV/easy chair. Then we need to get some things around the house done, so I'm trying to find someone who's a plasterer/painter/electrician/plumber/gardener.

Train fare hacks

So I've been travelling by train a lot recently, and have got very, very frustrated with the UK's insane policy on train fares. Money Saving Expert points out that you can save a lot of money by buying split tickets. For instance, a ticket from Gloucester to Oxford might cost you 29 pounds; but buying two tickets for one journey (Gloucester-Swindon, Swindon-Oxford) will cost you a total of 16.10 - a saving of 45% on exactly the same journey, even using the same trains.

Wedding album blather

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So as you probably know, we're planning a wedding at the end of this month, and these things are full of lots of fun expenses. And most of those expenses are overinflated because, well, it's a wedding. One of the expenses is getting the wedding photos into an album, and wedding albums are sufficiently overinflated that I've started looking at why and how we can do it ourselves. Here are some notes on what I found out.

What's wrong with IT consultancy

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I take a dim view of IT consultants, particularly having been one, and I am not the only one. Barely a week goes by without a story in the press about yet another government IT scheme failing to meet budget or timelines due to the incompetence of these charlatans; the only surprising thing is that people continue to fall for this when, if you think about it, it should be perfectly obvious that consultants' work is in nobody's interests but their own:

When you've got a minute

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If you've got a friend who's a plumber, is it reasonable to say “Can you just come around and have a look at my sink sometime?” Or maybe you have a friend who's a laywer. Would you say “Can you just defend this case for me when you have a spare moment?” Would you ask a painter friend “Do you think you could pop around and paint the outside of my house for me? I'll make you a cup of tea.”