Local Paper ‘re-writes’ my content

A few weeks back I was sent the following newspaper cutting by my Dad (large version).

You might not be able to read the hand-written note he added to the side, it reads – “familiar wording?”.   The left side of the image below is a cutting from the property section of the Watford Free paper, the right hand consists of a merged screenshot of content from my website about Cassiobury Park.

The source of inspiration for the Watford Observer article is clear.

I imagine the process went something like this:

WO Office: “We need to make an area profile for a local neighbourhood to stick at the front of the property section in front of the 50ish pages of property ads – preferably somewhere local estate agents want to push  – I know we haven’t done Cassiobury recently”.  Google.  Copy + Paste.  Quick re-order, small additions.  5 minutes later – content done.

When I first saw the piece I wasn’t really sure how to feel. On the plus side it shows my website is used but the laziness of the paper also annoys me, with not much more effort they could have rewritten the content to make it unique.

My sources of information for the site consist of my own local knowledge and of course information I have found elsewhere such as council documents and books but it has all been rewritten and certainly wasn’t a 5 minute job.

Medway Council’s Facebook Ad Campaign

Medway Council Facebook Recycling CampaignMedway council are spending their council tax payers money to encourage me to recycle by advertising on Facebook.

I have seen the ad on the left several times over the past few days linking to the recycling section of the council website.

Why?  I don’t live in or anywhere near Medway.  Facebook profiles contain lots of demographic information to which advertising campaigns can easily be targeted so the fact that it is showing to me seems unforgivable.  I did once visit Chatham Docks though and watched as the Tour de France passed through!

The houses are pretty affordable though and Ebbsfleet International to St Pancras is a 20 minute train journey. I’ll remember that.

Medway to Birmingham Map

PayPal + Guru + New Location = Frozen Payment

Quick update on the Guru.com experiment – It didn’t happen.

I opted for a $50 bid and made the payment via PayPal from a different location than normal and it its wisdom PayPal decided that the payment was suspicious and the transaction was put on hold. I went through the verification process as requested which required me to re-enter my bank details and take a call from their computerised voice but the payment has now been on hold for two and a half weeks.

“Inquiry by PayPal Temporary Hold” and “Being Reviewed by PayPal” are not things you would like to see in your account. “Documentation received from seller” has appeared four times in the event time-line and I have given PayPal everything they have asked for so I have no idea why they are still holding my money.

I wouldn’t mind if they refused the transaction and gave me back the funds so I could go elsewhere or if they let the transaction through but this limbo does no one any good. My project is on hold, the freelancer and Guru have been messed around and worst of all they probably both think this is down to something I have done wrong.

Naturally when they didn’t receive my payment Guru suspended my account (I suspect they get a fair amount of chancers using hacked/stolen/fraudulent payment accounts).

The last action from PayPal was over a week ago. Pathetic, yet PayPal is so widely accepted that I will have to continue to use it.

Grey future for students of today

The papers are constantly telling us that the economy is all messed up.  That students cannot get jobs when they leave University with debts and ridiculously high applications-to-graduate-jobs figures are being quoted almost every week.

Today joy of joys the BBC is headlining with “Students to face higher costs as graduate tax proposed” whilst a quote from today’s Guardian Online reads “It makes gloomy reading for those studying computer science and IT – they have the lowest employment rate for any area of study”.  Lucky us.

Natwest also sent me a nice letter saying they are going to stop paying me interest on my student account. I don’t know what the rate of interest I had been receiving from them was but it is the principle of the matter! The savings I have elsewhere are earning me something like a pathetic 2% a year thanks to low interest rates caused by all those people buying houses they couldn’t afford and inflating the prices so I will have no chance of owning one for the next 20 years or so.

So the parents of my generation not only got paid to go to University and benefited from vastly increasing house prices once they were on the property ladder they also get to retire at an age which is totally unaffordable leaving us to work longer and pick up the bill!

Grrr. I bet that if I do manage to save up to buy a house interest rates will magically be much higher then.  </rant>

Exams. Results. Careers.

Had my last exam of the year a week ago today.  Results are supposed to be with us before tomorrow but as yet no-one has received anything.  Unlike people taking other subjects or going to University elsewhere I do need to stick around to the official end of term date as there are a series of events I need to, or may need to, attend.

Yesterday for example there were presentations of the third year module options, today there were committee elections and tomorrow exam script viewing.  On Friday I am going to the GradJobs fair at the NEC.  I went last year and couldn’t see myself working for the vast majority of companies there.  I applied for a couple of industrial placements at the most promising looking businesses but they didn’t go very far, I got further with ones that advertised on campus and online.  Better luck this year I hope although to be honest I don’t really expect to find anything to suit my fancy there as most of the companies that will attend are large and boring.

Also booked myself a careers appointment for tomorrow having realised that in about a year I will have finished my final year and will need to get a job.

It’s scary.