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Make sure you haggle on your car insurance!

When I first got my car around this time last year, the first thing I did was look for insurance quotes.

I’d searched for hours, and the cheapest I could find was around £750. On top of this, I also went via TopCashback to get £60 cash back on top of the discount.

So anyway, after a years’ no claims, my renewal quote came through at (£46.77/month) (£561.20 total).

I decided I could do better than this, so I jumped on a few comparison sites. The cheapest like-for-like quote I could find came in at around £475.

So I jumped on live chat the next day with Aviva and I managed to get a discount. I mentioned I had a £42.09 (£505.08 total). If I wanted to pay for a year upfront, it’d be £471.60. I asked the chat agent if she could do any better; she said she couldn’t.

Before letting it renew, I had one last shot. So the day after, I jumped on chat again (with a different agent), asked if any further discount was available, and got an additional discount.

Whether it’s my Yorkshire blood, or just how I am, I’ll never pay list price for anything if I can help it – especially in the case of insurance, where you’re not really getting anything for your money.

Apple MacBook users – don’t update to El Capitan 10.11.2!

So I was happily using El Capitan after updating from Mavericks last year, saw there was a stable update from El Capitan 10.11.0 to 10.11.2, updated, and ever since I’ve had an issue with WiFi connectivity.

Every 10 minutes or so, my WiFi seems to disconnect/reset, disturbing any downloads, Dropbox syncing etc I’m running.

Unable to access the network

Quite frustrating.

After doing a quick Google search, I found a few threads including (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7378542).

Since I didn’t have any backups (I’ve learned my lesson now – I’m now running Time Machine backups), after seeing they’d released a 10.11.4 beta version yesterday, I figured I’d update to the latest beta to see if that helped.

I enrolled in their Apple Beta Software Program, which allowed me to download the latest 10.11.4 beta, but that didn’t fix it either… so until Apple get their act together, I’ve got a USB to Ethernet adaptor on order.
On a side note, I’ve learned my lesson to make regular Time Machine backups!

Moving House? Get Organised with this App!

We’re probably moving house at some point this year, hopefully in the Summer.

I have a lot of ‘stuff’ that I need for some reason or other, but likely won’t need often before the move. So I’ve started packing stuff into an array of boxes, plastic trays and other containers.

In my usual geeky style, simply writing the contents of the box in black marker on the side isn’t good enough. So I hunted for some sort of platform or app that could keep track – similar to an inventory management system for a warehouse.

I eventually discovered the free BoxMeUp app. I can login to their platform on my laptop or mobile to add a container, find an item etc, or scan a printed QR code.

BoxMeUp app printed QR code

I have a mixture of boxes – open top types, and rigid plastic trays and some free FedEx/UPS boxes. In some cases, I’ve got the trays stacked 6 high, so it’s convenient to be able to simply add a barcoded label to each. I have an old Dymo LabelWriter 450 I use for this.

The main features include:

  • Create virtual ‘containers’ on their website (desktop or mobile)
  • Assign a location for each ‘container’. Simply scan the barcode and the app will tell you where it should be.
  • Print off a barcoded label to attach to each box
  • Search for the location of a specific item
  • Scan the using their Android app to get a list of the items inside
  • Export full list of items as CSV, with locations, quantity etc

They don’t have an app for iOS (only Android), so I needed to dig out my old Galaxy S3 for this purpose. That said, their website is mobile-friendly, you just can’t use the barcode scanning function without the app.

Having a list of items and locations is also useful for reviewing for things to sell on eBay.

Trying out Candy Kittens – Natural Gourmet Candy

Having seen Jamie Laing on Made in Chelsea, when I came across his sweet brand earlier in the year, I decided I’d have to try it at some point.

So when I saw them promoting their new monthly subscription plans on Twitter, I decided now was the time to try them out – especially since the first month was free!

After placing my order, the box came within a couple of days. Here’s what I got –

Candy Kittens - Apple & Elderflower, Sour Watermelon, Fresh Strawberry, Sour Grape

If you buy these from a supermarket (they’re now stocked by Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose), the large bags are £3 each. Whilst not the cheapest sweets around (you could get a bag of Haribo for 1/3rd of the price), the difference becomes apparent once you taste them.

All made from natural ingredients.

P.S. They’re also crowdfunding!

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