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Tech question

Has there ever been an Oracle implementation that is not bungled?

Next has botched wage payouts for thousands of employees, heaping misery on low-paid staff who are struggling with the soaring cost of living.

Swathes of the fashion retailer’s 43,000-strong workforce have been underpaid over several months after the bungled implementation of a new Oracle payroll system in February.

IAPWE is a scam – avoid the “International Association Of Professional Writers And Editors”

IAPWE is the “International Association of Professional Writers and Editors”

Or at least that’s what it calls itself. Sorta like a trade, umm, trade union.

They advertise themselves around the internet as having some interesting work on offer. Like this for example:


Our organization is seeking content writers to create articles and blog posts on a variety of topics.

The rate of pay is $20 per 100 words (this comes out to approximately $100 per article or $50 per hour).

Some topics you may be asked to write about include the following (you can always turn down a topic if you do not feel comfortable writing about it, however if you have experience or expertise in a specific area, please let us know):

By the usual level of these things that’s a damn good pay rate. Actually, it’s close enough to newspaper pay rates for scribbling drivel on the internet. It’s an excellent pay rate.

So, you apply and a week later (a nice touch, don’t seem too eager) an email comes back:

Thank you for submitting your application. Upon further review, we have determined that your sample meets our quality standards and are pleased to inform you that your application has been accepted.

We will ask you to also accept an invitation to our freelancer portal where we will assign writing and editing tasks.

All payments are made through Freelancer, which is a widely-used freelancing platform that is free to join. This will also help you gain experience and positive feedback on your freelancer profile, which will help you in getting hired by other clients on the platform as well.

You may also be interested in our membership. We offer several different membership options, including a free option, that provides lots of helpful resources for our writers and editors. Please keep in mind that we have open enrollment for new members intermittently throughout the year. This opening will be available until the end of this week. We have not had many openings as of late so we do not know when we will be accepting new members again.

To get started, please go to

There’s a time limit to this offer of gainful employment, is there? So, you go to the sign up page:

Basic (FREE)
Includes access to our Resource area, which contains a collection of tools and resources for writers and editors

Oh, so you get to see their “resources” if you sign up. That’s nice.

Professional $19.99/month $4.99/month
Includes everything that comes with the Supporter level
Plus access to our Jobs Board, which contains writing and editing jobs from across over 100 different websites including jobs not posted anywhere else online (updated every week)
Information and updates on problem clients that try to scam freelancers, protecting our members from getting scammed

Oh. You’ve got to pay $60 (but it’s a $240 per year value!) a year to be able to even read the job ads, let alone gain access to that well paid work?

And that access to resources about how not to get scammed as a freelance is a nice touch.

For, of course, the entire thing is a scam to gain those sign up fees.

Just so you know.

United Nations Compensation Commission

Well, I’m sure going to write into this to get my $1 million in compensation.

Hmm, don’t know whether that image will come through. But it’s a letter from the United Nations Compensation Commission telling me that I’ve been selected to gain $1 million in covid compensation.

Why do I think the supposedly London email addy will lead to Nigeria?

A fun scam

So, there’s some number of unions around that don’t have many members. NUM is perhaps 100 active members at present.

So, who gets to be General Secretary, President, and how? And there’re many more than just that one.

Would it be possible to become General Secretary, or President, of a number of them and thus gain a number of nice fat cat salaries?

I would guess not as no one’s quite stupid enough to leave such remunerative posts vacant. But how would one ind out and then scheme anyway?

Note that, even with no current members, there could well still be agreements with pensions funds and the like to make the posts remunerative.

So this is obviously a Linked In scam, but what is it?

I get an email:

Dear Tim,

I came across your profile in Linkedin and i would like to consider you for a vacancy that is currently available..
Our consultant will call you up regarding the details of the vacancy if you could forward a contact number and a time that will be convenient to you,
Best Regards

And there’s a link to a LinkedIn page:

Cassendra Albert
Director at Bolton Recruitment Pvt Ltd
Shepway, Kent, United KingdomHuman Resources
Bolton Recruitment Ltd
BAE Systems, REED
University of London

Hmm. There’s only a couple of results for a “Cassendra Albert” on Google, the only one appearing to be a live person not being this person. “Pvt” is the Oz for “Ltd” so a company being Pvt and Ltd is unlikely. There’s no Bolton Recruitment that I can find, let alone in Shepway.

So, a scam. But what the heck is the scam? What might they be able to gain by having my phone number (which is in the book anyway)?

Not quite interested enough to answer the email but…..

That’s an awful lot of cattle class tickets you know

A well-known televangelist is attempting to raise $60 million for the purchase of one of the most coveted private jets on the market — one that he and his ministry will use to “continue to spread the gospel of grace around the world.”

Pastor Creflo Dollar, founder of World Changers Church International, has launched Project G650, an effort to encourage 200,000 people to donate $300 or more so that he can purchase a jet….

Fly cattle class matey. At $500 a pop that’s 130,000 flights. Without even considering the running costs of that jet.

New Roman Polanski film soon

A 15-year-old schoolgirl has become France\’s hottest literary property after writing a book about a teenager who loses her virginity at 14.

He\’s bidding for the film rights, of course, he just can\’t decide whether to direct or take the leading male role himself.

This isn\’t that difficult you know?

A group of 40 American billionaires have pledged at least half their fortunes to charity as part of a campaign by the financier Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Isn\’t that just lovely?

Mr Buffett has promised to donate more than 99 per cent of his estimated $47 billion (£30 billion) fortune and is giving most of it in annual instalments to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The important word there is \”most\”.

For while Mr. Buffett has indeed made a very large indeed donation to that Gates Foundation, he\’s also made a very large one indeed (although not quite so large) to a more traditional family foundation. Some $6.7 billion if memory serves me correctly.

And why does this matter? Well, it helps to explain the first part, all these billionaires willing to donate to charity. For such family foundations allow the cash to be put into them tax free. And then the cash can be invested attracting no tax on any returns to it over the generations. Subject only to paying out 5% of assets (I think I\’ve got that right) each year in charitable works. Such 5% can be made up of paying family members to administer the trust…..

Which is why Joe Kennedy left his money to a series of family trusts, the Hewletts, Packards, Fords, Rockefellers and so on.

Leaving the money to a \”charity\” is in fact the American way of making sure that a) no tax is paid on it and b) that the heirs cannot piss away the capital.

So, given that the traditional Amercian manner of making sure you keep the money in the family is to give it to a charity the news that 40 billionaires have been presuaded to leave their money to charity really isn\’t all that surprising. Nor is it really something that might have taken a great deal of persuasion to bring about.

Jim Glass has a great piece on this somewhere in his archives.

Update: It\’s The Guardian that manages to raise this important point:

Pablo Eisenberg, a senior fellow at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, at Georgetown University, Washington DC, said ultra-wealthy donors tend to give money to higher education, arts and established healthcare causes, with relatively little going to poverty reduction, disability causes or to disadvantaged ethnic minority communities. Billionaires generally gave away funds through tax advantageous foundations.

\”These mega-foundations, which are effectively family enterprises with no accountability, are going to dictate public policy priorities for this country,\” said Eisenberg. \”I\’m not sure that tax receipts haven\’t done a better job, over time, of meeting the needs of our neediest people, than philanthropists.\”

Not that I agree with Eisenberg either but he at least is hinting at the point I\’m making.

This internet betting ban

Back when it was all banned there was an argument that the ban had little or nothing to do with protecting gamblers. It was to protect American companies (both on and offline) who were getting their lunch eaten by foreign competitors.

Now they\’re thinking of allowing it again:

With pressure mounting on the federal government to find new revenues, Congress is considering legalizing, and taxing, an activity it banned just four years ago: Internet gambling.

Note what\’s buried in the bill:

….and prohibit companies that violated the 2006 ban from obtaining licenses.

\”Violating the 2006 ban\” will no doubt be interpreted as \”existing, anywhere, after the 2006 ban\” so none of the incumbent companies will get a licence.

Way to protect the domestic industry, eh?

Now I\’m no engineer but….

Known as GenShocks, the contraptions will mean that motorists will no longer just worry about their suspension, but regard every jolt as potentially cutting the cost of a visit to the filling station.

This in turn means that less fuel is needed to power the electrics.

This is because the devices not only absorb the impact from driving over rough surfaces but convert it into electricity as well.

The power generated from the bumpy ride is then used for the myriad of devices which rely on electricity from the car\’s alternator – such as headlights, windscreen wipers and sound system.

The question is, will it make any difference?

I\’m certainly under the impression (and do correct me if I\’m wrong) that the alternator simply runs at the same speed/power level all the time. When you switch on the lights, it\’s not revving the car more so as to generate more electricity. You\’ve a standard amount of electricity being generated all the time….if you don\’t use it then it\’s just wasted. I think the process is that the alternator runs all the time, feeds it into the battery and then, when you use some, it\’s drawn from the battery.

If this is so then having more electricity being generated elsewhere doesn\’t make any difference, does it?

If the alternator doesn\’t rev the engine to make more power, then making more power elsewhere won\’t not rev the engine and save fuel, will it?

Update….looking at the comments it\’s lucky I don\’t engineer things, isn\’t it?

Oh, very good indeed

The scale of online activism was unprecedented. Bloggers like Simon Perry and Zeno took the BCA membership head on: they waded through every single members website, checked if they were claiming to treat infant colic, and if so, referred them to the the General Chiropractic Council, a statutory body who are obliged to investigate all complaints. One in four chiropractors in the UK are now being investigated by the GCC for allegedly making misleading claims, including officers of the BCA. The GCC has had to recruit six new members of staff to deal with all the complaints.

Daily Mail question of the day

Is electro smog causing your headache?


Next question?

The computer industry airily dismisses any concerns, claiming that Wi-Fi uses only a few watts of energy – \’less than a lightbulb\’.

But this ignores the fact that light and microwaves are different kinds of electromagnetic radiation, so the analogy with the lightbulb is meaningless.

Erm, forgive me, for I might well be wrong here as physics isn\’t my strong point: but aren\’t light and microwaves exactly the same kind of electromagnetic radiation, just at different wavelengths?

BTW, this piece comes from:

Alasdair Philips is the director of Powerwatch, an independent organisation researching electromagnetic fields and health.

These blokes.

Oh look, they sell Woo.

Lots of Woo.

Incredible amounts of Woo.

Truly Woo.

Pill Woo.

Even petrol Woo.

So, who at the Daily Fail is on a commission here?


In small print accompanying its annual report, the OFT admitted that the alleged fraud had not been detected because of a “control weakness” in the accounts payable department. The problem saw the OFT lose £97,000 last year and £153,000 the year before.

Anyone got the details? The OFT refuses to say because \”the police are involved\”.

Operation Ore

Looks like that edifice is finally going to come tumbling down.

A test case is to be heard in the chourt of appeal within weeks, which will challenge the investigation for the first time and could expose a \”huge miscarriage of justice\”, lawyers claim.

Chris Saltrese, the solicitor representing the convicted man, Anthony O\’Shea, said: \”If his appeal is successful the convictions of others for the same offence will fall too.

\”We are talking in the hundreds and we say this is a huge miscarriage of justice.\”


The South African task force is reported to be considering freezing or confiscating Mr Tannenbaum\’s assets. He is reported to have lured hundreds of investors with the promise of monthly returns of 11.5pc linked to pharmaceutical imports in an alleged fraud reported to be worth as much as $1.2bn.

Investors were told that Frankel Chemicals traded Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) on a \”continuous global basis\”. Frankel, it was claimed, were \”the exclusive agents for the distribution of API material for many overseas multi-national prime pharmaceutical manufacturers\”. A number of major drug companies have denied the claims.

11.5% a month, eh?

It\’s possible to make such returns of course. Charles Ponzi\’s original scheme did indeed have high returns (something to do with postage stamps I think). The problem is in scaling up: as basic economic theory would have it, if there\’s an opportunity to make such excess profits then everyone piles in and those profits get competed away.

That\’s making the assumption that it wasn\’t a scam right from the start of course.

Why bother

Having licences for medicines when they\’re going to be handed out to homeopathic remedies?

Prof Colquhoun said that the claims could contravene consumer protection laws which ban \”falsely claiming that a product is able to cure illnesses\”.

The pills are labelled \”a homoeopathic medicinal product used with the homoeopathic tradition for the symptomatic relief of sprains, muscular aches, and bruising or swelling after contusions.\”

The average consumer is unlikely to know that \”used with the homoeopathic tradition\” is a form of weasel words that actually means \”there isn\’t a jot of evidence that the medicine works,\” Prof Colquhoun wrote in a letter published online by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

This is a new one


How are you doing?hope all is well with you, i am sorry that i didn\’t inform you about my traveling to England for a Seminar.

I need a favor from you as soon as you receive this e-mail because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money,and other valuable things were kept, i will like you to assist me with a  loan urgently.

Please I will be needing the sum of $1,500 to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home.i would have called you on phone but i didn\’t come along with my mobile line to england so i cannot make calls the only means of communication i have right now is through my e-mail account.

I will appreciate whatever you can afford to help me with, I\’ll pay you back as soon as i return. Kindly let me know if you can be of help? so that i can send you my details to send the money to.

Your reply will be greatly appreciated.


Got to say the 419 ers are inventive at least.


So that\’s all right then

An official Parliamentary inquiry ruled last night that Mrs Spelman had "inadvertently" broken the rules on expenses. Mrs Spelman apologised and said she would immediately repay the money.

Phew, bit of a relief, eh? I\’ll use that next time I "inadvertently" walk out of the bank with ten grand that\’s not mine shall I?

Ooops, sorry, here it is back again?