Archive for the ‘Ripoff’ Category.

Fás annual leave

This is regarding Fás employees who are given SEVENTY DAYS ANNUAL LEAVE for the last two years before they retire!

Bearing in mind that those who are entitled to this must have been in office during those heady days of spending a 1 Billion euro budget when unemployment was close to zero is to say the least a piss-take.

The report,by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) says that those who are assisted by the State while on the dole were less likely to return to work than the average welfare recipient.

They found that participation in programmes run by FAS  increased the probability of subsequent employment by between 10 and 14 per cent.

However, Fás “activation interviews” with jobseekers resulted in the  chances of entering employment being about 17 per cent lower for those who went through the interview process.
Overall – the effect of FAS  was either zero, or at best weakly positive. http://www.esri.ie/news_events/latest_press_releases/activation_in_ireland_an_/index.xml

There seems to be very little information about actual remuneration for Fás employees but if we take the average wage to be €60.000 (conservative estimate), then the annual leave would cost the taxpayer €16,153 per employee.

We all know that this benefit will probably be removed and replaced by a nice fat payoff for those employees affected.

A little ‘rich’ in my view.

 

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Christmas No. 1

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Clearwire should be re-named to PULL-ME-WIRE!

Yep – our favorite Internet provider taking the piss once again! Form your own opinion – but its totally ridiculous. For a country that attracts major IT companies to conduct business – yet the facility, and services providers are probably the worst around. Its an embarrassment.

My accord with Clearwire began recently when I questioned our Internet bill of €39.95 per month for download speed of 875kb/s. I called to enquire about our plan and the capacity of the line. I found out that I was on the 1 MB plan, and it was being charged at a rate of €39 per month – which is 10 more than the published plan. Okay – stop right there. I should have known better to call and change my plan when they upgraded their services and plans. My bill should have been €29.95. 14 months of overpayment! But its my fault for never calling to upgrade the plan to the cheaper one. Now – what do you think they could offer in compensation…Urr…Umm…

All the could offer is a new plan for €19.95 for 2 Mb (Yeah right…i doubt that they can even get close to 2mbs down) download speed with a contract for another 12 months. Oh – STOP. Come on. Hilarious. Anyway – after 38 minutes on the phone and 3 people I finally got through to someone that could talk sense. I negotiated a bit, and then said that the savings I would earn from their overcharging could buy 140 beers from a local off-license. The guy agreed with me that it was a lot of beer. I then asked if he wanted to get half that with me. Anyway – it turns out that they could offer me a better rate going forward and without a contract.

It suits me for the moment until I decide on which carrier to go with next – but for everyone reading this – BUYER BEWARE! These guys are cunts and they don’t drink beer like they should!

So I am not finished there as this opens up a whole new can of worms. Lets have a quick look at just how bad and embarrassing it really is:

MOBILE Broadband suppliers RATES

PULLMEWIRE:

1mbps = €29.95

2mbps = €39.95

Digiweb:

5 mbps = €35

8 mbps = €40

12 mbps = €60

SWEDEN

Telia mobile broadband

12-24 Mbps = €36 / 359kr

Mobilit bredband 6

6 Mbps = €9.95 / 99 kr

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Average Salaries in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

From a written answer in the Dáil on March 2nd. (Averages calculated by yours truly):

Agency Current Number of Staff 2010 Pay Budget Average per staff
Competition Authority 42.2 €3.614m €85,640
National Consumer Agency 44.4 €3.646m €82,117
IAASA 12 €1.243m €103,583
Science Foundation Ireland 53 €4.723 m €89,113
Personal Injuries Assessment Board 74 €5,695m €76,959
FÁS 2055.4 €112.33 m €54,651
Labour Relations Commission 46 €4.011m €87,196
Health and Safety Authority 192.3 €13.504m €70,224
NERA 116 7.94m in 2009 comprising €6.55m in pay and €1.39m non-pay €68,448 (€56,466 and €11,983)

If you were to be fair the cost of employing someone (employers PRSI, up-yer-bum levies, etc) account for about 10% of the average per staff member) but the averages are pretty bewildering.

For example, FÁS (which employs LOTS of clerical staff) still manages an average salary of almost €50k, so are they:

  • overpaid
  • highly skilled
  • management heavy

Compare this to the average per staff in a company in the private sector who doesn’t get within an asses roar of that!

Pretty sweet huh? Even with your pension and pay levies!

Wankers!

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More dot-com style bollix – “How Much Is Your Blog Worth”

I know this is somewhat old news – but in these days of economic disaster and wailing and gnashing of teeth over the predicament our financial systems have left us in, I just couldn’t help it…

My blog is worth nothing

My blog is worth nothing

Tristan Louis did some back of an envelope calculations on a deal between AOL and Weblogs Inc. in 2005 worth some $25 to $40 milliion and came up with the suggestion that a blog is valued at between $560 and $900 per site that links to it.

Of course this is not news to most of us – anyone with a passing recollection of the dotcom era will remember some grossly stupid deals that employed similar methodologies to value deals without any clue as to how these numbers were actually going to be realised. “My blog has 1,000,000 readers” and “I have a mailing list of 1,000,000 people” were used to suggest that you were just around the corner from being the next Richard Branson. One such deal that comes to mind was the reportedly $10,000,000 purchase of the domain ireland.com by the Irish Times about 10 years ago!

(In case you still think that this business model actually works, we are happy to recommend Steve Morsa Realty’s Domain Division. As they point out – “A Memorable DotCom Web Address: The Difference Between Success and Failure on the Internet”. No mention of having to work your tits off when you set up a business of course – it is all in the domain name.)

The reason behind all this is that now you too can value your blog using the same methodology employed by Tristan Louis and hence make thousands (or millions – drool!) selling it on.

Just for comparision we plugged in “GoAskMeBollix.com” and voila – $0.00. Bollix – stuck with the day job for a while longer I suppose!

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JC Decaux and Dublin City Council – where’s our bleedin’ bikes?

JCDecaux Metropole at St. Stephens Green

JCDecaux "Metropanel" at St. Stephens Green

Just in case anyone is letting this one slip, your intrepid correspondent is here to remind you:

It’s been about one year since JCDecaux applied for permission for around 120 advertising structures in return for 450 bikes. About 70 of the applications received planning permission. Similar deals have been done in Paris, Lyon under the JCDecaux brand Cyclocity.

Since the scheme was announced for Dublin, there has been a lot of debate and controversy. It became clear pretty quickly that Dublin is to get a fraction of the bikes that other cities in the scheme had received.

A discreet JCDecaux Metropole

A discreet JCDecaux "Metropole"

Next was the revelation that Dublin City Council were not going to release details of the deal with JCDeceaux citing issues of “commercial sensitivity”. At the same time it was revealed that the deal is tied in to an agreement to remove 48 poster signs, of which an unspecified number are illegally erected – without planning permission. (Just to be clear – the Dublin City Council Development Plan states that “as a general principle, outdoor advertising will only be permitted in commercial zones. It will not be permitted within residential zones, historic or conservation areas, or amenity areas”.) There have also been serious questions raised about the value for money of the deal and about the way in which Dublin City Counsel dealt with their obvious conflict of interest in adjudicating on planning applications in which they had a vested interest.

Since then the advertising signs have been erected (under the brand “Metropoles” and “Metropanels”) and JCDecaux has been selling space on them. For anyone who has an interest – here is the “Metropole/Metropanel rate card.

Notwithstanding the above criticism, the signs have since been critised for dangerously impeding the visibility of motorists and pedestrians and by the National Council for the Blind in Ireland for not taking the needs of blind pedestrians into account.

I can’t help thinking however that perhaps JCDeveaux and Dublin City Council might have averted some of this criticism by erecting the bicycle stands and bicycles before or at the same time as their advertising boards. After all how difficult can it be:

Just buy us our bleedin’ bikes!

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Cable guy

I finally decided to hookup my Mac Mini to the TV for use as a media centre. The tv, a Samsung has plenty of HDMI ports, so my thoughts were – grand, get a cable and the two will talk. Off to the local Powercity to grab one from the bargain bin. Usual cheap suited salesman soon as I arrived at the TV section.

“Can I help you sir”

“Yes please, I’m looking for a HDMI cable.”

“We have a full selection of Monster HDMI cables”

“Fair enough, what’s the cheapest one”

“€100 euro but we recommend this one” (pointing at €165 cable).

….. cue gasp of disbelief.

“don’t you have anything cheaper? I mean you ARE selling DVD players that have HDMI ports that cost less then €100″

“Ah yes, we only sell Monster cables for quality. It’s not like Scart where there was not much of a difference in quality between grades. You have to get a high end HDMI to get a good image, we would be “

So there you go. A 1 metre length of copper cable is being sold for €100…. worse still some guy is trying to convince me digital signal is more susceptible to quality degradation then analogue signal. Cue me telling him to goaskmebollix. In fairness he did not protest too much – it seems obvious that the retailers put 1000% markup on copper cables so they can look competitive on the TV knowing full well they can make it up in overpriced (required) accessories. These are such patent lies I cannot believe they can get away it. Then again if people buy premium phone leads (for faster downloads) and premium power cables for better treble from their amps…

BTW the cheapest cable for €9.99 I could find after a short search is here: http://www.satellite.ie/acatalog/HDMI_cable_2m.html

It’s even (unneccesarily) gold plated!

On a lighter note Denon have significantly reduced the price (by $200!!) of their Denon link cable, a one metre CAT6 cable to a mere $305….  http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AKDL1-Dedicated-Link-Cable/dp/B000I1X6PM/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

Read the customer reviews for best effect. FAO Denon, after seeing this I will be buying an Onkyo.

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