Wednesday, September 05, 2007

MAC to PC case conversion - Lifestyle Computers PC's built to order for Business & Home.

MAC to PC case conversion - Lifestyle Computers PC's built to order for Business & Home.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Triumph Stag has been sold

I cannot believe that I could ever sell the Triumph Stag that I have owned for nearly 20 years but I did.

It's been sitting in my garage for 2 years without turning a wheel and to be honest another summer was coming and I couldn't justify putting it on the road again as my mileage on my main car was well below it's contracted allowance and so I needed to put the miles on it this time.

Now I've put the Stag up for sale before a couple of times and when the calls started to come in I've changed my mind and told them it's been sold, wasting everyones time and money. This time though I decided to put it up for sale without getting it ready for the road so not serviced no mot and untaxed and stored for the last 2 years.

The phone never stopped ringing, the first person to call viewed the car on the same afternoon and bought it without even test driving it, I was amazed! He came back the next day with the full asking price in cash and arranged for a trailer to transport the car to his home the following week.

In the meantime I was fielding a continuous stream of calls from disappointed buyers some of whom even offered more than the asking price when they learned that the car was still in the garage waiting to be collected.

It's been a month since I sold the car and I'm already missing it and have caught myself looking them up again on Autotrader to see if I see one I like, this is daft.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Why I hate buying cars

As a car enthusiast many of my friends come to me when they are looking for a New car. They dread going into a car dealership and going through the process of specifying a car and then negotiating the price to pay.
Now I'm used to this but I'm still surprised and disappointed that the salesmen still employ all the old tricks to part you from the most cash they can for the car they want to sell you rather than the car that you are really looking for. For instance I called a Mazda dealership as we were interested in the Mazda 6 hatchback. But as soon as the dealer realised that we were cash buyers and looking for a car now he insisted on only talking about the Estate he had in the showroom that he was trying to shift. Ignoring the budget we had he insisted we could have the car on easy terms over a long period which would offset the higher price. Now I'm not stupid and the only thing that buying a car over a longer period means is that you pay more interest and therefore more for the car.

So giving mazda a miss the next car of interest was a used Jaguar S-type. A better experience overall with the Jaguar dealer who didnt have exactly the car we wanted but offered a test drive in a similar car while he searched for a car of our choice. But of course this did not happen instead we came under pressure to buy the car we tested even though yet again it was priced higher than we were willing to pay. The salesman also used the old trick of pretending to see his sales manager to get a better deal for us. Anyway I had a meeting to get to so after spending an extra 30 minutes in the showroom not buying a car I left. Needless to say the phone rang for the next few days asking if we wanted the car.

As it happened we ended up buying a brand new Mercedes A Class, by chance a friend mentioned an offer he'd seen on the Internet for a low rate finance from Mercedes and this made it a bit of a bargain. Unfortunately the first dealer we went to did not admit to there being an offer and tried to sell us the car as some extortionate rate, needless to say we went elsewhere. In fact we bought the car entirely on the phone from another dealer who had the right car in stock, offered us a good discount and the low rate finance, brilliant.

So what's the conclusion? get a friend to try the car you are interested in from a dealer that you do not think you will buy from and go along as the helpful friend then you can enjoy the experience without the pressure although you will not be test driving the car at this stage. Get on the phone and get the best deal you can then test drive the car yourself and all being well buy it after all you've already got a deal that you are happy with on the phone.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Software Engineers in Demand again

But there are fewer looking. This is no surprise to us here at I've been saying for years that a lack of graduates entering the IT market will create a future skills shortage and this is where we are now.

Many jobs remain unfilled particularly those using the older (Boring?) technologies which I have to include C++ and Java now. The big demand is for C# .NET and so candidates are keen to work in this environment abandoning the traditional Windows applications development.

As candidates move away from this technology so we follow with many of our newer jobs for C# and .NET developers, we also get many more web technology positions using JavaScript, Ajax and PHP being the keywords of the moment in recent job specs.

What happens now, well we are fortunate that some recent countries entering the EU have excellent engineers looking for work in the UK, those from Poland, Greece and Cyprus being of a high educational standard and with excellent skills. Our successes this year have been with candidates coming from these countries. For the future we expect more excellent candidates to come from Eastern Europe as more countries join the EU which adds the benefit of not requiring a work permit. This may also explain the reduced interest in candidates that require work permits, many of our clients no longer give us the option to consider candidates that require sponsorship now.

We suspect that the relocation of work to India is dropping off as we are contacted almost daily by companies in India seeking work for their development teams and consultants so we assume that new work is going elsewhere or staying in the UK/Europe.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

London Motor Show

Just back from attending my first UK Motor Show in over 5 years, shows at the NEC were just too far away and no one really wanted to go to a show in Autumn.

First impressions were good enough for me to get out the digital camera and take some pictures and some of them were of cars. Star of the show was in many ways the venue itself, it was just so much better than the NEC even the food was good and a couple of beers helped make the show go so much more pleasantly.

Ok cars, I liked the 2 seater Mazda concept which they say may be a mini 350Z let's hope they build it, the Jaguar XKR was just perfect but beyond my means and the Aston Martin Rapide I think was the car to have and therefore the star of the show. Did I feel tempted to put my hand in my pocket and buy anything, well no as I know there are some excellent cars to come for instance the New Mini and the Fiat 500.

What else, well the new digital camera worked well an Olympus FE140 which I found very easy to use and the software that came with it is excellent see the picture of my old Triumph Stag which has been cartooned using the Olympus Master Software.

Also next time I will drive there as the change from the air-conditioned comfort of the car to the oven temperature of the underground and DLR was just to much to bear.

Oh and my friend came back from the show and immediately went searching for a new car, which turned out to be a Saab 95 Vector 2.0 t Estate, delivery sometime within the next 10 days.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My Fiat 500

In case you did not know I'm a car enthusiast, attending as many car shows as I can including the up coming London show. But this one will be different as I am determined to put a deposit down on the New Fiat 500. I first saw an Artists impression almost 2 years ago and I was hooked I decided there and then if they made it I would buy it even though I cannot justify owning another car (2 already in the garage).
I've already designed the car I want and you can find at the following link:-
but if you cant wait for it to download in all it's Flash glory the picture above/right is of my car.
Now on an even sadder note I only manage to do about 6000 miles a year so the chances are the little Fiat will only get used very occasionally and will struggle to see 2000 miles on the clock each year.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Real Time & Public Sector Jobs

Ash Associates has always been known for it's specialisation in real time software engineering jobs so why Public Sector jobs? Well a long standing client of ours a Consultancy company who consult to the UK Government on high profile projects providing expertise on system architecture and managing high value projects 50 million+ has recently asked us to join forces.

We are now able to offer excellent opportunities to both freelance and permanent consultants working for the UK Government in all areas of technology and management (many of our Consultants manage external contractors working on projects for the Government), if you currently work for one of these companies chances are you report to one of our Consultants.

These positions tend to be at senior level either offering a clear career path to Consulting at the highest level or the opportunity to senior managers particularly from major banks and financial institutions to continue working after retirement.

Some of our consultants are able to pick and choose their assignments or enjoy the idea of making themselves available for short term contracts (up to 3 months in any year) just to keep up to date with the latest technology or keep in touch with industry and government while continuing to enjoy their retirement (Best of both Worlds? We think so).

Want to know more then call us: 0845 123 2701 and ask for James or Ron