Clarksons The Grand Tour Knocks Game of Thrones Off The Piracy Throne

The Grand Tour

The Grand Tour

A while ago it were all over the papers that Game of Thrones were destroying piracy records around the planet, almost like some kind of parady of a greed wedding smashing records.

Today its been revealed a mere 4 episodes into the first season that The Grand Tour has Duped The Iron Islands, The Mother of Dragons, The Lannisters and everyone else, not to The Iron Throne, but to The Piracy Throne.

The Amazon Original “hit” complete with a £160,00,000 budget has been slammed by critics and reporters as tired and more of the same but a bigger budget. The statistics show with 18,000,000 illegal downloads, over the first 3 episodes, which covers a total of 15% of the illegal entire downloads (tracked) in that period, or about £3,000,000 of membership fee’s for Amazon down the pan.

I suspect Amazon will go out of their way to try and convert these pirates with some killer sign up offers. We recently saw them offer a discounted prime membership, now would be a fantastic time to offer existing members the chance to extend and perhaps invite friends and family for a discount.  

I’ve been unable to find official Amazon figures for downloads and watches or however they track them, but Amazon have stated its broken all premier records globally for any other Amazon show. Looks like Clarkson is earning his £10,000,000 pay for the show and proving its a winner.

Top Gear vs The Grand Tour

Top Gear with Chris Evans and Co, premier drew in a little shy of 6,400,000 viewers, then by the 3rd episode, it were down to 2,400,00 and averaged about 2,300,000 for the remaining episodes. 

The Grand Tour with Clarkson, we only have Piracy Figures not actual paying viewings. Premier Episode 7,900,000, 3rd Episode 4,600,000, if the numbers continue to tumble it maybe a similar story. However these are pirate / illegal viewers. Amazon Prime members get free access as part of their prime membership, so my guess is the paying numbers will drop a little but not much as many will series watch like I did as my own time. 

On a side note, what the crocodile hat is that on Hammonds face, as the owner of a beard, I’m offended. 

Tesco Model Village via Air Rights Sale

Tesco Store in UK

Tesco Store in UK

What do you know, twice is quick succession I post about Tesco, first they complete their Sugar Tax Fix and now they are tackling the housing crisis by way of selling their “Air Rights”. The whole concept of air rights is a complex one, but basically you own the air above your property to build up. Pre-21st Century geo-dependant anyone who owned land had unlimited air rights to build straight up. There were some limitations about blocking adjacent property and other issues. In principle though, you own the rights to the air above your property. It does seem complicated in non-freehold leases but this post isn’t about air rights, so I’ve skimmed it. 

Tesco own around 5,000,000 sq meters of land in the UK, it maybe even more than this as the data I could find is years out of date so I have rounded it up. At one point (2014), the empty undeveloped land Tesco owned could hold 15,000 new build homes in 310 locations. Which is all well and good but much of this land is outside town centres in semi-industrial areas, who wants a house at ground level next to a motorway or industrial estate of highly commercial areas.

Beetham Tower Apartments – Hilton Hotel

Beetham Tower at Christmas

Beetham Tower at Christmas

I can only use Manchester as an example. We have the Beetham Tower, regardless of your opinion eyesore or marvel, its 47 floors, well 48 as the top floor is Duplex. The first 24 floors are a Hilton Hotel including the Cloud bar the 23rd Floor. Floors 24 up are various sizes of apartments and flats with residents such as footballer Mario Balotelli, all the way up to Floor 47 which were Ian Simpsoms immense Duplex Penthouse. Up the road in Piccadilly Gardens there are rows of shops at street level, and over the top Offices, Hotels and Different Shops. 

Its not a new idea to put accommodation over the top of retail locations, what is interesting, once you rise up, the geographic issues fade in to the background. I have stayed on floors 9, 15, 21 as a  hotel guest and spent a day in an apartment on floor 37 for a photoshoot. The higher up you go, the less you notice the city, and there is literally no external noise.

Pre-Fabricated Apartments

In recent times the whole process of putting flats or apartments on top of existing developments involves the actual flats being built off site and transported and crane lifted in to place. Almost like flat pack homes, which is why they generally go up like a missile in no time.

One of the advantages is that this type of building is dirt cheap, quick to build and its essentially free money for the actual ground owner selling their air rights. 

Tesco seems to want to earn both a position of saviour of the UK people and save its own skin. Assuming it keeps the prices of these properties low, Tesco may just have found its golden goose. 

I just hope Tesco maintains some control and actually produces cheap housing. 

Tesco image Courtesy of Tesco. 

Nestle to Cut 40% of Sugar in Chocolate

Dark Brown Milk Chocolate

Dark Brown Milk Chocolate

If any women read my geekery or trash there would be a gasp of shear horror that chocolate is being tampered with. Nestle has made what they are calling a breakthrough which could dramatically reduce the amount of sugar in their products. As I said before I call this a chemical shitstorm

In a nutshell they have fiddled with the molecular structure of sugar, to make Sugar 2.0. The simple explanation is they make it dissolve quicker, which I assume make it hit you harder faster and makes you think there’s more sugar than there is. Think a chunk of rock salt, crunch it up with your teeth and salt city. Nestle claim it does not affect the taste at all. 

The problem is, that when when you fiddle with things like this, you don’t know how far reaching the consequences are. What seems ok short term, isn’t long term. Look at various drugs, they are doled out like tictacs, then a few years later they are withdrawn and banned because it goes horribly wrong. 

0-65% Sugar Per Bar

When you consider that Chocolate is about 45-65% sugar on average, it varies depending on brands and white, milk or dark, some of which is dairy sugar, but raw and pure chocolate can have virtually no sugar at all but most people would find it very bitter. Various companies have come up with tricks like using sea salt or chilli peppers in an attempt to reduce sugar and balance the bitterness, and some of them are good. 

What is not clear is, they say 40% sweeter, but don’t clarify if this is 40% less calories or physical mass. Which means we won’t know if they will need to add some other filler to regain the size or yet again reduce the size of the bar. We also don’t know if it will reduce the calorie content, I would guess it would. 

Dairy Milk 36g Bar   Berliner Doughnut (Waitrose)
  Current Style Sugar 2.0      Current Style Sugar 2.0 
Energy 191kcal 159kcal   Energy  461 421kcal
Fat 11g     Fat 21.1  
Protein 2.7g     Protein 8.4  
Carbs 20.5g     Carbs 59.3  
Sugar 20g 12g   Sugar 25.6 15.36

Looking at the potential above, which assumes it achieves 40% calorie reduction, 32 calories doesn’t seem alot, but its actually about 17% reduction overall in the Dairy Milk. I assume this Sugar molecule can be used in all manner of other goodies, so I applied it to the unhealthiest thing I’ve eaten in a long time.

The Halo Effect 

On the grande scheme of calories the difference isn’t all that impressive, but sugar impact, its impressive. Gets more impressive when applied to sugary drinks. 

I hadn’t heard it call the Halo Effect, but had heard the theory. The theory is that when someone is perceived as having been made healthy, people double up the amount. Fruit is the usual suspect, tell someone an Orange is healthy, I eat 10 of them and gram for gram of sugar they may as well have eaten a 4 pack of mars bars. 

Even Professor Julian Cooper form Nestle highlighted this problem when he said “This is good science. A lot of people have been look at sugar trying to reduce the amount.” he added that there is a risk that it would give Nestle Products the use the “adapted” sugar the hal0-effect which may lead people to believe they can eat more of it.

HE also went on about protecting the profit margins and nestles patents letting other companies in the idea blah, who cares. Make a fuss that since 2007 you (Nestle) have been reducing sugar (and product size) then in the next breath blurt out, its about the money. 


Chocolate Bar image courtesy of Kaboom.

Non-Fault Accident Increases Your Insurance Premium

Firefighter Extinguish Car Fire

Firefighter Extinguish Car Fire

I have been looking in to this since one of my friends reported a no-fault accident. In their case, they have a double dash cam set up, they had a cam attached to the rear of the car, they drilled this near the reg plate and it doubles as a reverse camera to their tablet. They also have a camera facing forward, which has GPS, Lane Detection and some other gadgets, I don’t know.  

They were hit, and it were all recorded. The other person admitted it were their fault, which was also caught on the cameres complete with audio. 

Open and Shut Claim

This would seem like an open and shut claim, accident happened, video showing admission, other driver admitted fault to insurance, and it should not impact his insurance at all. This isn’t the case come renewal time, he didn’t know why, I didn’t know why, and we just assumed the insurance companies actively seek out any way they can to help themselves to your hard earned cash.

Because accident data is shared between insurance companies, you can’t simply decide you’re unhappy with Insurance A, and get a better quote from Insurance B, because both of them have penalised you and factored it into your quote. Of course shopping around will save you some pennies since most insurances hide their mystical formulas of risk which gives you some variance, so always a deal to be had, if you shop smart. 

I had forgotten about this until I saw an article in The Telegraph about the same sort of incident, so I sent it to my mate who told me, his premium dropped the following year by about £200 but were still about £200 more than before the accident. 

The AA British Insurance Premium Index keeps and eye on insurance rises, and currently shows comprehensive premiums this year are £82 more expensive than last year, Assuming last year increased the same, it could explain why his insurance increased approx £200, including IPT (Insurance Premium Tax) increases on top. 

The article in The Telegraph has some interesting quotes from Sheila’s Wheels “While a claim on the other persons insurance is outstanding, liability can still be contested.”, they continue to say “In these circumstances, and when a policy renews when there is an open claim, the premium would be temporarily increased while we wait fro the case to close.

Once its settled, the premium would be recalculated and any additional premium paid would be returned.” This means that if you’re renewal comes up before the other insurance companies pays out, even with iron-clad evidence, and an admission of guilt you’re still penalised. The fact that data is shared between insurance companies means, you’ll be penalised everywhere else too.  

My friend went on to tell me, he were never refunded anything, but says he’s going to contact his insurance and ask what the hell. I’m putting my money on his insurance company suggesting he like a long run off a short pier or something along those lines. 

Firefighter image courtesy of Pexels/Pixabay.

Stocking Filler Lynx Oud Wood and Dark Vanilla Gift Pack

Lynx Gift Pack

Lynx Gift Pack

This Oud Wood and Dark Vanilla Gift Pack is an excellent stocking filler. The Lynx Signature Fragrances are all borderline expensive aftershave scents and work as top ups through a day/night out. 

I love tobacco based scents, some of the best combination scents with tobacco are Vanilla, Amber, Tonka and some spices. Spicebomb Extreme and Tobacco Vanille are my go to night out and special occasion scents, my day to day scent is Tabac which has a nice sandalwood undertone which makes it smell fresh. My beard oil is often Tobacco, Bourbon, Vanilla, Lime and Mango based, you get the idea by now.  

I recently discovered Lynx Signature fragrances, Tobacco and Amber as well as Oud Wood and Dark Vanilla, both of these work amazingly well with my favourite scents. The above links are £4 from Amazon Pantry, which is a good price. I paid £5 from Sainsburys on offer, they are normally £6 each.

In this gift pack you get 150ml Antiperspirant Spray and 100ml Precsion Pump Spray for £5, buying these separate would be about £9-10 depending on where you buy them.

I’ll be posting stocking fillers as and when I see them over xmas.  

Accessing Your Drop Lists

In previous parts, I covered DAC Connections, then Part 1: What You Need To Build A Drop List, Part 2: Building A Drop List, Part 3: Maintaining A Drop List and now Part 4: Accessing Your Drop Lists. 

There really is no point to having a populated zone file, if you are unable to access it for any reason or produce your own drop lists. This article will cover those who have populated the zone file, but also for those who make lots of searches to see what exists. This latter point, is more about research and mark/rights protection, as well as finding potential buyers, and part of this article will suit your needs too.

Downloading Todays List

This is the basic, downloading todays drop list, you can of course modify this to download any day you choose. 

The above will simply download todays file, I would suggest including a switch to change the date, but its up to you, how you do it. 

Searching The Database

Suppose you want to search the database and browse online, I have gone with absolute basics which is Domain and Drop Date only. A Very simple form is all that is needed.

I have added some embellishments such as showing some useful dates to use for reference but these aren’t needed. I have also set it to clear the boxes when clicked to avoid crossed data on submit. 

Displaying Drop Lists and Data

Once you have submitted the search query using a form, or converted it to a GET[] rather than POST[] you need to display the results.

Firstly, you need to connect to the myql database…

I keep this in a function, with success or fail returned, but you an just bung it at the top of your file, its down to you. 

You will need to know if the form have been submitted and extract the Drop Date or Domain string.

You don’t need to do this, but I always do it with any database query. Sometimes it only shows in debug mode, sometimes in the main view but I always have it in there. You’ll need to alter the Query a little for Drop Dates and Domain searches, but I’ll go with Domain Search code here.

This is useful if you want to know how many records are returned on the given date or within the search query. You may deem it not worth while but thee codes there anyway. You should build this action in to the below code, rather than run it twice, but since you may not care how many lines I’ve omitted it below. I have also switched to dropdate search since I posted a search query above.

You probably should add a switch to adjust the background of each line to make it less headache inducing to read. I’m sure there are a dozen different ways to do this, but I went quick and easy to read code.

Insert the above “if…then” statement into the “do…while” code block. Putting it there means on each iteration lalt (line alt) will change from 0 to 1 and the colour panels will change each row. Something like this would work…

So thats a simple displaying a given date. How you get the date to the above page is down to you. You can either use a GET[] or a POST[] function to get the date and pass it to the code. I would use a form to feed a POST[] array and then act, but a GET[] can be useful to quickly change date…

Then call the page with “dropdate.php?dd=2016-11-24” or similar. 

Other Applications

These are just some ideas I toyed with, Domain Watchlists, you could set up a Crontab for certain keyterms, and when the application detects the keyword in any given days list, it sends an email with the domain list. 

The download script I posted at the top of this could be very easily modified for this job. 

If you have your own tag, you could create a watchlist to watch your tag and track renewals and modifications or any other tag if you stored tag data. 

How much data you store, is subject to Nominets allowance and your own personal choice.

I have a few more things to write about this, but this concludes the basics. I’ll do a summery post and perhaps put the code together in to a workable solution but 95% of all the code you need in in these files and just needs sticking together.

You should now have a 2-3gb database, populated with around 11m records, and able to produce your own drop lists.

Important Notice

Before using this or any of the code I have posted you should sanitise it and enhance security, this code is NOT meant for public use. In order to keep the code simply, it has been aimed at private access so security hasn’t been a huge concern.



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