Friday, 16 December 2011

Puppy vs Cat


Weird Mobile Apps

123 reg's blog has a list of weird mobile apps, compiled in Oct 2010, showing that your mobile phone has myriad other uses that trawling the internet and checking your bank balance. Here we go:

  • The ASBOrometer. Ever wondered how where you live or work ranks in the anti-social behaviour league tables? Wonder no longer: the ASBOrometer uses government data to give you statistics for anti-social behaviour right on your iPhone. Just the thing if you’re the jumpy sort – next time you’re wandering in a strange neighbourhood, you can check exactly how safe you are.
  • This app is in development. It was recently covered on TechCrunch and uses information from Foursquare to find places near you which have the most women ‘checking in’ to them. Seriously. Whatever your opinion, it’s quite telling that there’s no corresponding service to help find where the men are at.
  • MEanderthal. This app comes from the highly-respected Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, yet still has the ability to make your photos look decidedly odd. It does this by transforming your face into the face of an early human. Disturbing? Yes. Educational? Probably. Give it a go to decide for yourself (warning: it’ll probably make your nose much bigger).
  • HealthMap. If the ASBOrometer hasn’t done enough for your levels of paranoia, hop on over to HealthMap, a service which tracks the global state of infectious diseases. Of course, it plots them on a nice map, so you can see exactly what outbreaks are happening near you. It could be essential, if swine flue returns this winter. Honest.
  • iLickIt. Like the website says, ‘to make the iPhone hygienic, clean it with an alcoholic wrap’ before you use this app. It’s the first iPhone game you can play with your tongue – you have to lick clean a plate displayed on the screen. Ideal for a gadget which gets carried all day in grubby or dusty bags and pockets and doesn’t react well to water.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The Duck song

Random, but we like it

Unusual car accidents

A video compilation of unusual car accidents, difficult to see if anyone suffered serious injury. Its also difficult to imagine how some of these came about!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Barra Dancers Perform at Disneyland Paris

Photos of Radisson Blu Hotel at Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallee
This photo of Radisson Blu Hotel at Disneyland Paris is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Dancers from the Jane Douglas School of Dance performed a 30 minute program to a 3000 strong crowd on the Videopolis stage at Disneyland Paris, as part of the International Festival of Highland Dancing.

Organiser Billy Forsythe MBE congratulated all the dancers taking part and said,” For those who had travelled furthest, be it in time (that was definitely from the Western Isles) or in distance ( that might have been from Alberta/Saskatchewan) I can only say well done for putting on a show that was incredibly polished and professional and would have been a WOW in any location around the world. And the sight of that Pre-Parade was simply stupendous. The whole of Disneyland’s Main Street, USA, was a tartan carpet constantly moving and changing - and the lines of the dancers were wonderful, straight as a die down the full length of the street. The Disney Artistic Director, who is responsible for all the shows and Parades at Disneyland, and her colleague, who is responsible for all the Cultural Development programme were Mega-Impressed by the Pre-Parade and said it was the best rehearsed and performed Pre-Parade they had ever had, and it had drawn more visitors to the Pre-Parade than any other they had put on. Well done Everyone ! “
The dancers and thir families also got to spend time in the park as well as embarking on a tour of Paris before heading home. The article doesn't mention where they stayed, but the Radisson Blu Disneyland Paris hotel is situated just minutes from the park.

BBC Alba’s De a Nis followed the dancers through rehearsals, excitement and preparation back stage and on the park rides, The programme will be shown on their Christmas special on 23rd December at 18:00.

Janice Anne from Radio nan Gaidheal’s Aileag also accompanied the dancers and captured an hour long programme which will be broadcast on the 16th of December at 4pm, which will be repeated on the 17th. You can also listen again for a week after the broadcast date.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Call to crack the whip on compensation claims

Car and van drivers are paying higher insurance costs because of a sharp rise in fraudulent whiplash claims, which cost the insuarance industry nearly £2 billion a year.

Insurers are now calling for a clampdown on the fraud after it was revealed that one in every 140 people claims for a whiplash injury every year – the highest figure compared to the rest of Europe.

The NHS spends around £8 million a year treating injuries of this kind but insurers have been forced to pay out nearly £2 billion to claimants, according to The Association of British Insurers.

This drives up the cost of motor insurance premiums for honest consumers by 20 per cent, or £74, at a time when motor cover has soared by 40 per cent in the past year.

Around 1,200 whiplash claims are made in the UK every day, six times more than the number of people who claim for work-place related injuries each year. Three-quarters of personal injury claims in the UK are for whiplash, the highest level in Europe.

Speaking at this year’s Whiplash Conference in Leeds, James Dalton, the ABI’s assistant director of motor and liability, said: “Despite the statistics I doubt that that the UK has some of the weakest necks in Europe.

“Often difficult to diagnose, easy to fake and exaggerate, whiplash is a fraudster’s dream.”

The number of claims is rising thanks to ambulance chasing lawyers and claims management firms, as well as “cash for crash” incidents, whereby drivers stage an accident to make a claim, the ABI said. Last month a “cash for crash” gang was jailed for a £5.3 million insurance scam.

The ABI is now calling on insurers, doctors and lawyers to create a partnership, which aims to prevent whiplash, improve treatment and crackdown on fake claims.

Expert medical guidance is required on how genuine injuries can be diagnosed and treated. The association also wants to raise awareness among consumers about safe breaking distances, as tailgating is the main cause of the injury.

“We seem ill-equipped to effectively identify and treat whiplash, our compensation system is too slow in offering rehabilitation and paying fair compensation for whiplash injury to genuine claimants, and our compensation culture encourages fraud. All this must change.”
The ABI is also encouraging implementation of the Government’s proposals on civil justice reform, which would ensure genuine claimants get the compensation they deserve and access to rehabilitation more quickly.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Fleet World Awards

Even if you are just purchasing the one vehicle for your business or personal use, what fleet buyers are thinking is a useful thing to know. The Fleet World Awards are seen by many as a helpful insight into the best value vehicles on the market. This years ceremony was recently held at the Royal Automobile Club in London's Pall Mall.

The Toyota Hilux is a make of pickup that has developed a reputation for being exceptionally tough, thanks in part to TV stunts. The reputation seems set to continue with the award for best pick up truck.

Both the Best Small Van and Best Large Van prizes were scooped by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles ever popular vans. Best Large Van went to the Crafter and Best Small Van went to the Caddy. The Caddy also landed the award for Best New Van, as the latest iteration of this pint-sized work horse is entirely reworked. Interestingly the car from which the Caddy was originally derived, the Golf, also picked up an award.

Fiat Professional’s Doblò Cargo van was awarded the title of Best Light Van. This is the second year running where it has picked up this prize. Citroën saw recognition for their fuel efficient LCV range with the Environmental Award.

Video: VW Califormia Review

Review of a factory fitted VW California camper van.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Van Factory In Luton To Stay Open

Good news for the workers at the Luton Vauxhall factory. After much wrangling a deal has been reached which will see the plant produce the latest incarnation of the popular Vivaro van.

The Luton factory is Britain's largest van plant and it employees over 1,500 staff. The new deal is a joint venture between the General Motors owned Opel/Vauxhall group and Renault and will secure the future of the plant until beyond 2020.

It is planned that the plant will produce 62,000 vans a year. The Renault Traffic variant of the Vivaro that is currently produced in Luton will have production shifted to France in 2013. This will be at Renaults plant in Sandouville.

The news of the deal will come as a relief to the staff of the plant. There had been fears that it would be shut down. The Luton plant is the last large scale producer of vans in the UK. Although manufacturing is far from being in the forefront when it comes to financial investments at the moment perhaps Britain will be able to emulate the success that Germany has seen in reviving its economy by focusing on the sector.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

At The Races

The Volkswagen Racing Cup is a pretty unique racing series. As well as being the best supported 'saloon racing series' the cup is the only single manufacturer series where different models of various ages are allowed to compete with each other.

Obviously a variety of Golf's have proven popular in the series in the years since it started in 2000, but the companies vans have also made a strong strong showing. The charm of the series is really that such different vehicles that each have their own unique strengths. The small cars like the Lupo have their light weight on their side. There are entrants with powerful V6 engines, such as the Beetle. Where the vans get their edge is, of course, the superior amount of torque that they are able to deliver from their turbo diesel engines.

There are very relaxed and consistent rules that make it an easy series to get involved with. Any VW that has either raced in one of the last two seasons or is less than ten years old qualifies for a Volkswagen racing log book and entry to the series. This means you can give one of their used vans the new life it always dreamed of!

It is the Golf derived Caddy that has proven to be most suited to life on the track, notably in the capable hands of Simon Elliot, who you can see in action in the clip below, showing that van drivers are a force to be reckoned with.

Eliot will be behind the wheel of an updated Caddy in this year's series - and it will be great to see what the new model can do. If you would like to win a pair of tickets to the double-header at Oulton Park in Cheshire on 25th April, then there is a prize draw you can enter.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Cyclists - Listen to the Van Man

Reading an article about the alarming increase of cycling accidents prompted me to point out one or two observations that I as a van driver have made when driving around doing my duties.

Cyclists are reminded that by observing some sensible practices they can remain safe on the road and are less likely to confuse other road users such as delivery drivers, have many other distractions - after all you don't want your expensice bike lookig like this do you?

So I thought I'd hunt out some authority information about road sense and share:

Solicitors from Access Legal's Cycle Accident Claims team include a number of cycling enthusiasts who are committed to spreading safe cycling messages to reduce the number of accident cyclists suffer - see regular updates about cycling issues on their blog. The following guide is from the blog's main website -

Family and group riding tips from Legal-Access
  • It is advised that the adults themselves ride behind the children to keep them in view. However if there is two or more adults present, then the ideal set up would be one at the front of the group and one at the back
  • When in back you should only go as fast as the slowest rider
  • Don't cycle any closer than 1 foot between your front wheel and the back of the wheel of the rider in front of you
  • If cycling at the front, remember that you have people behind you, and will need more time to break then you will, increasing the danger. Try to avoid suddenly breaking or weaving
  • Ride no more than in a row of two, allowed plenty of room for traffic to pass. If traffic has built up behind you, you might want to pull to the side and allow it to pass
You can download the entire safer cycling guide from the site.

Monday, 7 February 2011