Is microsoft operating a cartel with their corporate partners?

I am used to different windows operating systems taking away user options, the newer they get, but are microsoft in cahoots with other corporate businesses where there is a mutual benefit?

Options disappearing from windows operating system:

When I upgraded from windows xp to windows 7, one feature I used a lot, was the option to drag mp3 files into a folder on my desktop and burn to disc from there, nothing else was needed.
There were even options to format the disc (cd and dvd) and delete files from disc if it was a rewriteable.

After upgrading to windows 7, this option vanished.

It wouldn't have been so bad, but nero also would not work on windows 7 operating platform.
(Handy for upcoming pay to use systems and their co-corporate friends that were lobbying to bring in DRM (digital rights management) in various industries.)

So not to be out done, on our old PC I installed windows xp and on the newer PC I upgraded to windows 7... best of both worlds I thought.

All was well, until I attempted to burn a disc for my own use, in our in car dvd player, a JVC head unit.

I used windows options to burn a dvd of my own mp3 and mp4 files, which play without issue on my JVC head unit in the car. Happy days I thought. I was wrong.

I burned the dvd, nipped out to the car, "disc error"
I loaded it up on my PC, there all the tracks were?
I could play them on PC but not on the JVC?
Three further discs were burned and finalised, I tried rewriteable discs, permanent discs, fast and slow burning speed discs, nothing. Each time all I got was "disc error"?
Out of sheer frustration, I fired up the old PC with windows xp on it, burned the disc, put it in the JVC and hey presto... it worked like a charm!
Now imagine if this was orchestrated by microsoft, so that windows 7 discs were prevented from running on older in car audio equipment?
That would be a nice little earner, especially if it involved many other corporates that made in car head units, like JVC, Sony, Blaupunkt, alpine and the like.
We [microsoft] stop millions of users burning discs that can be used with their older head units and in return they get to shift a whole pile of newer head units that work with windows 7 burning disc feature/software, good for both parties!

So back to today's events.
Thanks to sprog2 wanting to play roblox, within an hour she got a virus on the old PC running windows XP, so much so, that it was on a continuous shutdown and restart loop.
A full reformat and reinstallation of windows xp followed.
Installed the wireless key no problem, off online I go to grab google chrome or a higher version of IE, so I can find all the drivers I need...

...Not happening.
Google website wouldn't open, checked all the settings, still nothing.
I'll update windows then to service pack 3... Not happening!
Microsoft websites were all failing to load up.
Hmmm time to check other websites then.
Youtube (google owned)... not happening!
Microsoft... not happening!

I tried non microsoft and google websites... BBC, bookface and my own website, all opened without issue. They looked a bit out of sync as I was using IE6 but they still worked fine.

So now I'm left to update the old PC to windows 7, which leaves me without access to any disc burning software that works with older head units in the car, which means I'll now have to change this as well, yet more expense.

Anyone would think microsoft were operating a cartel with their corporate friends... I wouldn't mind but it's costing me MONEY!

IE not playing youtube videos, flash player problem?

Got the dreaded black screen, telling you to "install flash player" when you try to watch youtube videos, when you already have flash player installed? It's becoming a common occurance lately.

As official channels are lacking in their solutions, here's a little work around - fix it, I use, for the problem.

When your browser is open, click tools - manage add-ons then disable flash player. Go to the youtube page and your videos will play.
When other websites such as BBC, tell you to install flash player to see the content, then go back to your tools - manage add ons and turn it back on again.

I have no idea what is causing the problem, all I know is that I want to watch videos and youtube will not play them.
Hope this helps...

Seaview holiday park Kent - review

Seaview caravan park, Kent - Park holidays review:

The caravan;
We booked a "Gold" standard caravan and paid for a "plus" upgrade for more space.
A total of £833 for a week in August.

Park holiday's website claims:

"Upgrade to a plus for more space"
Not at all sure what Park holidays mean by "extra space"?
Our gold plus caravan was barely the 12 foot wide claimed by the website.
More cupboard/wardrobe space?
Our gold plus had barely any cupboard space.
According to their website, their bronze standard caravans have more cupboard and storage space than their gold plus, if you look at their advertising photographs. Rating 4/10

Our kitchen was a "corridor kitchen" and nothing like as spacious as the website pictures claim their gold and gold plus caravan has.
Our kitchen area was identical to the bronze caravan pictured on the website. Rating 1/10

The bathroom that came with our "gold plus" caravan was tiny.
Sit on the toilet, knees touched the wall.
Sink, shower and toilet could all be touched at the same time, the bathroom area was so small.
Our toilet seat was broken on arrival, had to sit sideways on the toilet to have any room.
Bronze standard website pictures showed a bathroom over twice the size of the bathroom we had with our "gold plus" booking. Rating - if a six year old can touch all bathroom appliances at the same time, how are five adults supposed to manage?
Website pictures are clearly misleading. Rating 1/10

"Bed making service"
Both gold and gold plus have bed making service included, didn't see anything of the sort during our stay.
Why do park holidays sell it as an extra for gold plus customers?
Rating - Simply didn't happen, 0/10

"Early 2pm check in"
Both gold and gold plus have early check in included, so why sell it as an extra for gold plus customers?
Rating - Sold as a better option with a gold plus - pointless, as it's included with gold caravans as standard.

"Bed linen" - included with both gold and gold plus, was fresh and clean. Rating 10/10

"Entertainment passes included"
It's hard to know what these were for, other than to authorise you when playing Park holiday's link up bingo.
The clubhouse could be accessed by all with or without a pass, as was their arcade.
Rating, almost useless 1/10

Drinks - a bit crafty, five drinks bought on Monday and Tuesday night cost £12.50 - on the Saturday night though, three of the same drinks cost £11.50, bit of sharp practice there. Rating 5/10

There were three people on site providing children and adult entertainment, the kids loved them, they were very good.
Other staff whom were not working but having a drink, joined in with them in the adult games, a good team.
Got the impression though that they were under-staffed, very frantic at times.
One negative point though - went to the clubhouse to enjoy a drink, it's our holiday.
I found it a bit off-putting when what should have been camp fun, was constantly being used to raise donations for a staff help-for-heroes personal campaign, as they were due to visit in the following week or so.
Constantly theming games to get donations for a personal attempt to raise money is not what I go on holiday for. Rating 7/10

Link up bingo
When selling their link up bingo tickets, I heard off other people there on holiday that it was "quite expensive" and "not many winners come from seaview"
I tried it for a couple of nights.
Around £10 for books of tickets, for both link up bingo and their own seaview camp bingo weren't too bad.
For the link up bingo, four games, a line is all that's needed to win the first three games, a full house for the last game.
It soon became apparent, that seaview players do not win very often. Not a single winner came from the camp for the two nights I played.
I did not hear of a single winner all the time I was there.
One night only seven numbers were called before a winner got their line (5 numbers needed) at another of Park's camps. Rating 4/10

Free wifi was available on site, along with a private company working with Park holidays, that offered us free complimentary trial wifi - giving us two options.
Both options were worse than useless!
As we had travelled down to visit the area, we needed to check for traffic hotspots and to see what was going on, events, etc. but with both the wifi services not working - 2 hours and 20% of battery life without being able to get on to google - it was useless.
When it did load up a website, BBC for example, click on their sport link for the football results often resulted with the "server dropping the connection"

We also missed all the local festivals that were going on, didn't see any advertising of local events on site.
Shame that as Park holidays claim to be a central point for the area.
Big firework display, oyster festivals, nearby attractions like the shell museum, micro museum, hornby museum, weekend markets with live music, the nearby carnival as well as all the attractions in Canterbury.
Rating 0/10

It maybe coincidence but when Timmy Mallet turned up to offer some entertainment, the wifi wouldn't work, the pool developed "a hole" and the start time was delayed, all coincided with his appearance.

Really clean site, bins emptied regularly, recycling bins for garden waste provided and kept empty, couldn't fault it.
There were often dog walkers letting dogs go between caravans early doors and we came across the odd dog mess, but that's down to owners and not the camp.
Rating 9/10

The locals
As I will post later, what made our holiday was the politeness of the local people, very friendly, very helpful, always had time for a chat and a laugh.
Everywhere we went, from KFC to the club bar, couldn't fault the people, a real credit to the camp and the area.
Rating 10/10

Seaview caravan park (Kent) - Park Holidays - overall;
Booking a "gold plus" caravan is a waste of time, book a "gold" instead.
"Gold plus" caravan had same features/space/kitchen area as their "bronze" caravan (£130 cheaper than the "gold plus" we booked)

We asked at booking for a small varander, somewhere to sit outside the caravan and were told "most caravans have them now it shouldn't be a problem, we'll put it in with the booking"
We got nothing, just three rickety steps leading to caravan door.

Facilities are standard fare, ticket wins in the arcade for token prizes, club bar with higher prices at weekends when busiest, club food was expensive, link up bingo (mostly won at other camps), parking was good even when park was busy, staff always friendly and helpful, despite being over run at times, wifi was a complete waste of time (I suggest you set it up with your mobile provider prior to visiting, if you need it), pool was busy apart from when entertainment was on when pool was cleared due "to a hole being found" an hour before club entertainment started.
Camp was always clean and tidy.

Would have been disappointed if we had just gone to stay on the camp for the week, we don't, we like to go around the surrounding areas and use the camp as a base, so for this, it was good.

Preston in decline?

A sunny day, I fancy a day out visiting a town/city in Lancashire.

Every other month my choice involves a trip to Preston.

Usually a Tuesday or Thursday, as they have a huge range of stalls selling everything from tat, to bargains on their outdoor flea market.

Then it's a look around the indoor market, then the high street shops and back home for tea.
The shops are shops in Preston, not spend a full day in bloggs super-mega store.
Preston shops are a decent size.

I spoke to some Preston market traders yesterday while I wondered around, looked at the proposed plans to redevelop the indoor and outdoor markets.
First they are repainting the outdoor market roof, said to be "to a victorian colour scheme" - sadly, in reality, this means battleship grey.

Next they will be enclosing the outdoor market place and moving the current indoor market over to it, then redeveloping the former indoor market space to include restaurants and a picture house.

Sounds ok so far?

Preston council, I'm told wanted to close down the flea markets held in the outdoor market area.
This was strongly opposed.
So now Preston council proposed this new development, a compromise?

As the market traders put it so well, not only will it reduce the numbers of people visiting the area, it will in effect reduce the flea market size by almost three quarters. Combined with increased charges for pitching a stall, it will effectively wipe out the existance of the flea market.
When the inside market moves over, there will be little or no room to accomodate the flea market.

Preston people expressed their will, it was listened to, then the council found a way to do it gradually regardless. Nice work Preston council.

From a personal point of view, this is how Preston council's policy will affect us.

I can go to towns/cities around Lancashire and see almost exactly the same things.
The same superstore outlets, the same huge over charging cinema, the same over priced food/coffee outlet chains, you get the picture.

When Preston goes the same way as the other town centres around Lancashire, our family visits there will drop from 6 or 7 days there, to one, if you're lucky!

We don't want to visit the same over-priced outlets, we want something different.
A point of difference attracts people into the area, making it the same as everywhere else, will only detract people from visiting.

There's little to no value in a town centre that's the same as all the others.
You can't get a pair of jeans for a tenner in an upmarket, revamped town centre (at what cost to taxpayers?)

At present, a day in Preston offers something for EVERYBODY!
We meet up with the old man there, we pay for parking, we eat two meals out, we pick up bargains from both the markets, we shop in the regular high street shops, we browse, grab a cup of coffee, it's fun, it's different.
The markets play an essential role in our family choosing to visit Preston.

Take the markets away, force up prices, there's nothing in Preston for us. There's no more reason to visit Preston than there is to visit anywhere else.

We don't go for meals out, we cannot afford it.
We don't shop every week on the high street, we cannot afford it.
I cannot remember the last time we went to the pictures to watch a film, we simply cannot afford it.

In Preston yesterday, we met up with the old man and brought along the sister from the North East, combined we spent the best part of £400 on food from independant cafes, the flea market, the indoor market, for parking, coffees from independant coffee shops and a few quid in regular sized high street shops.

Take away your point of difference - Preston markets - then we will not be visiting/meeting up for the day there anymore.
It may not seem a huge sum of money to your developers, but over time, it's less money in Preston's businesses pockets and more in somewhere elses.

Car insurance - Vehicle or person?

Just putting a question up about car insurance.

Does car insurance cover the car or the individual person?

Rip off Britain is alive and well, (anything confusing ends up costing us more money) in the insurance industry.
"You are insuring yourself sir" says one insurance company.
So if I have two vehicles, I cannot insure both using the same no claims discount?
"No sir, it doesn't work like that!"

Why not I wonder?
The current UK law states, to drive a car the driver must be insured at least to third party level.
Fair enough.
If the car is involved in a crash, the registered owner of the car is liable, regardless if they are driving the vehicle or not.
But the insurance is for the individual and not the vehicle?

So if I lend my car to my mate burt bloggs, he has a bump, then I am liable if I do not have insurance - even though I'm not the driver?
How can that be proven in a court of law?
You were sat in your front room sir watching TV... yes
You gave your friend permission to use your car... yes
You are the registered owner of the car... yes
Your friend has insurance policy of his own... yes
You don't have a current insurance policy... no
Your friend had a crash in your car, while driving in a town 50 miles away... yes
You are liable for the crash!

Car insurance was always about the individual;
The price of car insurance depends on the driving record of the individual - have they had a bump - have they any medical conditions - have they any motoring offences, etc.
Now the powers that be state you MUST have an insurance policy for the car, even if you do not drive it.
Can the car be driven by someone with their own insurance policy for a different car... which is completely legal and covers them for any vehicle? No
YOU are liable as the registered owner, even if they have insurance that covers them, if YOU own a car but have no insurance policy with the car registered against it.

They have a bump in your car and you are liable?

Completely bizarre and a catch 22 for each and every car owner, costing people more money.