Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rising Fuel Costs

Just in the past week, fuel prices have shifted from 1.37 to 1.44 per litre in some places.

I have been considering for a while getting a new car, but it's a case of finding something economical, and equivalent to my Nissan Primera in terms of reliability.

This rules out pretty much all Petrol Engined cars and I'd go with a Diesel. I had my eye on the Toyota Avensis D-4D 2.0 and 2.2 litre cars, but they have such staggering problems with Head Gaskets blowing, heads warping, water pumps dying. It's crazy.

There is some degree of warranty, but Im not being left with a £3k repair bill of a lump in 3 years outside of the warranty.

However right now based on fuel economy, with a diesel, I could save £100 on tax and insurance per year, followed by a further £400 to £800 depending on economy.

At only 5mpg difference in fuel economy, every time fuel increases by 5p, I save £12 a year. If fuel went up 20p over 2 years, by year three, Im saving £48 a year.

The savings keep improving. So although changing my car now to a £6k beast would sound expensive, paying £160 a month on a loan, I balance that with having a newer cleaner smarter car, saving upwards of £500 a year. Depending on use, I could even find myself saving around £700 a year, and by year three after a further 20p hike in prices, £750.

I'd half rather pay for a less expensive car now and pay a loan off faster, than pay towards keeping my current car on the road and save less.

But it does dpeend on the state of the economy.



I was following a woman today with her mobile phone clamped to her ear.

I shouted "Get Off Your Phone" as I drove past her turning right into McDonalds which some people would consider road rage.

After McD's, where everybody decides to drive the wrong way down a one way road, and following a couple of people who ran red lights, I saw a police car in the distance.

Rather aggrieved they took no action on the red light runners, my anger turned to elation when I saw that the woman on the mobile phone had been stopped.

I was shouting for joy.

That really did set me up for the rest of the day.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3 Release Date Rumours

Following the apparent leak that the Samsung Galaxy S3 will be announced in March and released in April, Samsung have now scotched those rumours by denying them completely.

But they have denied these rumours in such a a roundabout sort of way. They haven't said "We expect the phone to ship in Q2" or "it won't be on sale before May at the earliest".

What has been said by other online sources is that the phone won't be announced in April or released in March. Samsung meanwhile just say they haven't got anything set in stone and have no details to give.

Assuming it is announced on 15th March and released in April, then it will not be announced in April and released in March.

Essentially though, as far as this blogger is concerned, if the phone is not announced with a release date by the end of March, I'll be buying a Samsung Galaxy SII as my current phone keeps crashing.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3 Can't Come Soon Enough

Speculation is growing with regards to the actual release date of the Samsung Galaxy S3.

With nothing new to report other than the results of Google Searches, here's some bits in my own words.

Samsung did not show off their new device at MWC in February, but their new device is rumoured to have its own show towards the middle of March. Samsung is believed to want to roll this out globally at the same time, which will mean a lot of phones need to be made as well as a a huge effort to synchronise advertising. How exactly a global release works with pathetic phone operators who need months to tweak firmware and add their branding, lock down the phone, produce their own packaging and what not, Im not quite sure.

The rumour was that as Samsung is heavily involved in sponsoring the Olympic Games, that a release sometime around then (June/July) is most likely expected.

But there are several indications from people in the know as well as an apparent leak from one of the lead marketing companies working for Samsung, that the device will be released in April.

If you are in my position and need a phone ASAP to replace your failing Samsung Galaxy S that keeps powering itself off, randomly rebooting and at times can't even get a GPS signal, then there are two choices with an April release date for the Samsung Galaxy S3.

You buy a Samsung Galaxy S2 and hope that your current S doesn't die. April is around 4 to 8 weeks away, so not too long in the grand scheme of things.

If however the S3 does not materialise in April and is expected in June/July, then you're looking at least 12 to 20 weeks away for the S3, and if your S is really that bad, you're just going to get the S2 and not even go with the S3. And lets face it, the S2 will last a good 18 to 24 months, so there's a nail in the coffin for a potential sale of the S3.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Cricopharyngeal Spasm

I had a big metal tube put down my throat a couple of weeks ago under General Anaeshetic.

I woke up gagging and unable to breathe. I had to try to choke out the words "Can't Breathe. Phlegm." at which point the doctors whipped out a sucky instrument and I could finally breathe.

Over the past ten years, I have been suffering some odd symptoms from congested sinuses, post nasal drip, tired eyes, throat tightness, sore dry throat constantly. It's like I woke up one morning with a cold that didn't go away.

Ten years I've been suffering with this until a couple of years ago, I went to see the head GP at my local surgery who just kept fobbing me off with one excuse after the other, even giving steroids for post nasal drip when a simple home made saline (salt water spray) works much better.

The Acid reflux is largely under control, the thyroxine levels are well adjusted, there's nothing I can think of to cause this problem.

So last year, I finally had my referral from my head GP to the hospital where I had a groovy time on the big X-Ray machine that tilts you all over the place while the Barium Swallow lines the inside of you to check for ulcers. I also had a camera down my throat and also went to voice therapy.

Nothing much worked.

But two weeks ago, I had my panendoscopy which thankfully shows nothing major, but there is a muscle spasm in my throat. The consultant failed to mention which muscle was spasming, but assured me nothing can be done.

Which is quite rubbish.

A muscle spasm in the throat can be caused by all sorts of things from acid reflux, to anxiety and there are a whole host of options based on what spasm it is.

From my own internet diagnosis where my throat feels better when I swallow, I suspect it is a cricopharyngeal spasm, a spasm of the esophageal sphincter.

My first attempt at a resolution, is switching from Lansoprazole to Nexium as in some cases, this is more effective at keeping acid reflux, gerd or lpr, in check helping to prevent further damage and allowing healing of any other damage more effectively. I guess it changes from individual to individual, but as I have been taking Lansoprazole for a year, I guess Nexium, or Esomeprazole would be a great idea.

After eight weeks though, Im going to push for a trial of Xanax, as a spasm can be caused by anxiety. Xanax is also sometimes used as a muscle relaxant for bad backs.

There is also Flexeril which is another muscle relaxant.

On top of this, there is warm liquid (well I drink enough tea to realise hot liquid won't work). And then the last two possibilities which I think I will draw the line firmly before, is a Botox injection in the muscle, the same Botox they inject into foreheads to stop you wrinkling your forehead and showing any kind of surprise, or finally, a small bit of surgery to effectively stretch the muscle.

I hope this post provides some useful information to anybody else in my position.