My distrust of banks…

…has lead to me changing over all the direct debits and standing orders myself, I was going to let Abbey move all the direct debits over, but decided to take pro-active action myself! I know that I have direct debits coming out very soon, and don’t want to take chances with the debits failing on the Nationwide account leading to financial penalties. Although it was pretty painless calling all the companies that I need to pay money to, although its annoying that I have to call them, when they have just about everything else available within their online systems. I find it amazing that they opt to leave changing bank details out of their online systems as there are plenty of people like myself that would prefer to do everything online as its hassle free, and you don’t have to wait in a queue for ages to get to talk to someone on the phone. And it would be simpler for them as well as it would be pretty much automated, and the need for so many call centre staff wouldn’t be so great! Anyway everything is changed over now, including the important ones of work, and the working tax credits, which is due into my account a week this Thursday, and of course my wages will be paid into my account on the 7th of July. I really want to start to work my debts off to my dad and Stephen (although that’s only £50 now, and I don’t intend to borrow any more from him), but I owe my dad over £600, and would like to get that cleared off as soon as possible, then I can start thinking about saving some money for a ‘rainy’ day. I have applied for online banking today as well, and I have received my first ever chequebook today, although it doubt it will get used as I do most of my banking electronically, which is cleaner and quicker than writing cheques. One amusing thing that happened in my account transfer is that the tax office asked for my previous account details, which was a slight issue as I had cut up the old card, so had to get all the pieces together to find out the account number and sort code. That’ll teach me to be overzealous before everything is sorted; it never occurred that anyone would ask for the previous bank details, just as well I didn’t bin it isn’t it?

But now that I have a debit card, I need to be sensible with it, can’t be spending loads on gadgets, especially now that I own the new motherboard, I need to get loads of little expensive bits to attach to it. I am very tempted to order a new PCI-E graphics card, Athlon 64 CPU and CPU cooler, I have all the other bits in this machine, although adding a further 2GB of RAM in the future is on the cards. But I know that I should get my finances into some sort of decent shape before spending out hundreds on PC components, and I don’t really need to upgrade right now, as this machine still performs reasonably well after its recent upgrade of graphics card, RAM and hard disk. Even worse I know the that I have an overdraft to play with, which makes it even more tempting, but I must “just say no” as the grange hill kids would say; no matter how tempting the lure of new gadgets is!

Is Microsoft above the law? It certainly seems that way to me, they blatantly flout anti-competition laws around the world and now apparently if you install the Windows Genuine Advantage Tool, it ‘phones home’ to Redmond with your software configuration and IP address, and then intrudes on your ‘private’ computer popping up messages if your copy of Windows isn’t legit or seen to be legit. The system clearly doesn’t work as can be seen here in this article on the Register. I wouldn’t recommend using the Windows firewall as I would guess that Microsoft can control that externally, you can guarantee that Bill Gates and company have left a backdoor in their firewall for their own devious means! Of course there is a way around this problem; you need to download a cracked version of LegitCheckControl.dll then copy the file to your system32 folder in the Windows directory; you’ll probably have to do this in safe mode. And whatever you do, don’t download the Windows Genuine Advantage Notification as you’ll get a nag screen every time you boot and it’s always sits in the system tray nagging you! You should also disable automatic updates as it will install the update without your permission and screw you system, and get yourself a third party firewall to stop Microsoft’s intrusions into your computer.

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