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I have written a few times about these scammers. See here and here, for example.

CFS-Live and ESL Trader are a simple but very slick share trading software scam. The pattern is that they cold call to test interest, send a polished looking brochure, make follow-up calls, give you a few websites (all fakes) to check to confirm their stories, tell you there only a couple of licences left for your state, that because of the demand they can only hold one for you for a day or two. If you still hesitate they will give you a directors’ guarantee that you will make back the cost of the programme within the first twelve months or they will refund your money.

But you won’t make any money, and they won’t refund your payment.

I rarely write negatively about any person or company. When I do I am careful to be fair and factual. I always allow people to respond and will make changes if they can show I was wrong. All the CFS ESL crowd needed to do was demonstrate that their products really do work, and that they treat people who are unhappy fairly and honestly, and I would have been delighted to have said so.

Instead, they responded with threatening phone calls, abusive emails, and numerous vicious and misleading comments to the posts about JBC, CFS and ESL.

More recently, they have set up a couple of websites or blogs making vile allegations about me and my family, or pretending to be people who have shopped with me and are dissatisfied. It is silly, childish and nasty. I am not bothered by them, because no-one who knows me or my business would believe them for a moment.

In the last few days someone has attempted to organise an attack on this website. Again, silly and shortsighted. Everything is backed up, and even if the attack was successful and the site went down, it would be up again the next day

By doing these things, Rhys, Phil and co have confirmed what I have heard from the hundreds of people who have contacted me or made comments on the various earlier posts – that they are not only dishonest, but vicious and vindictive. Not the kind of people you want to be doing business with.

I used to be a blogger like you, until …  well, you know the rest.

I have been too involved with family and business over the last month to spend any time updating this blog.

For the last three years it has been like another, unpaid, job.

My real job has to take priority. Over the last four years we have built up quite a good little business here on Kangaroo Island.

We are not making vast amounts of money, but we are not going backwards.

KI is a small, isolated community. Its residents have very low average income by national standards. We rely on primary industry and tourism, and transport to and from the island is expensive. Any increases in travel or energy costs hit us very hard. A number of businesses have closed over the last year.

Our approach to business is simple; every person who comes into the shop is important. It doesn’t matter if he or she buys anything or not, or speaks English or not, or lives on the island or not. People are important because they are people, and not because of any possible benefit they can provide to us.

That means that we do our best to be competitive with city and online prices, that we tell people if someone else has an item on special and cheaper than us, that when doing repairs we do what we would want done if it were our computer or camera, that we give people options and encourage them to decide based on what is in their best interests, that we complete work as quickly as we can, etc etc.

We don’t do any of this because it makes sense from a business point of view, but because each person who comes in has value for who they are, and deserves to be treated respectfully and honestly.

But the funny thing is that although it is not our purpose, working in this way does seem to bring in more business. We are busier than ever, to the point where we can start to take a out a wage. It is only a minimal amount. We hope to be able to take out $1500 per month – $18,000 per year. We’d be better off on the dole, but the the shop gives us opportunities for service, and of course, the self-respect that comes with feeling we are making a contribution.

All this means that I am pretty constantly busy during the day, and I need the evenings to eat, spend time with family, and to read and continue my other writing projects.

So my arrow in the knee is my business becoming busier.

This blog will be only intermittently updated from now on.

Thank you for visiting.

Over the last weekend I thought I would give up writing this blog. It has been an interesting couple of years. Some 1200 posts, half a million words.

This Winter has been difficult. Constant personal issues involving health and family for the last five years have begun to drain my emotional energy – and it does take emotional energy to force yourself to sit down and think, I mean really think, and then write, about the issues of the day. 

The real problem has been time. There are fewer tourists, and local people have less money to spend. This has meant working longer hours to try to cover the costs of staying in business. And I do need some time just to switch off and relax, and some time for family and friends.

Maintaining Qohel was beginning to look like a very low priority.

But after yesterday’s Federal Court decision, it is increasingly important to persist, and to insist on the importance of free speech.

I find many of Tim Lambert’s blog posts offensive, both because of his personal attacks on people he disagrees with and because of his determined resistence to facts. But I still link to him, and would be very disturbed if it was seriously suggested bloggers who hold his views or write in the way he does should be forced to modify their thinking.

Democracies work because people are informed. They come to be informed through considering a variety of viewpoints and theories. Free speech is essential to effective democracy. The fewer restrictions on free speech, the better a democracy will work.

Even David Irving and Mahmoud Imanutjob have the right to speak. They cannot insist on any right to force us to listen. But forcing people to hear particular views and only those views is only a short step behind the silencing of others.

Democracy and freedom of speech are incompatible with an imagined right not to be offended. Attempts to establish such a right, and especially to give that right to particular groups, will create, and always has created, obstacles to the exchange of facts and ideas, and just as importantly, will create divisions and resentments which undermine respect and trust.

You can’t blame Telstra for wanting to make money. If they offer a paid directory assistance number and people choose to call it, that increases returns to shareholders. Nothing wrong with that.

But Telstra does have a free directory service.

Telstra’s free directory assistance number is 1223.

I lived in Western Australia, the “Wildflower State,” for a few years, but never really appreciated how beautiful these flowers are.

We are in Geraldton to visit Kathy’s mum, who has been in hospital. She is out now, and we were able to take her out to the Coalseam Conservation Park 100kms East of Geraldton.

I took some photos with Kathy’s Canon A1200, a cheap camera with a very good macro mode. I have uploaded a few of them to my Flickr account.

This is one:

West Australian Wildflowers

First, hello!

It has been a month since my last post – my apologies.

I have had some minor health and family issues to sort out. Then there is the retail downturn, and downturn in the number of travellers to the island. I have had to work longer hours, taking on tasks I would not normally accept so the bills can be paid. All that has meant a lack of mental and emotional energy for blogging.

But enough with the excuses!

First up, Sarah. It still amazes me that some people keep buying the liberal media theory that she is a stupid small town mayor who has inflated ideas of her own abilities.

She has vastly more business and administrative experience than Obama.

Her latest Facebook post is the best thing I have read so far on the US credit rating downgrade, the reasons for it and what can be done to restore confidence.

Some excerpts:

I’m surprised that so many people seem surprised by S&P’s decision. Weren’t people paying attention over the last year or so when we were getting warning after warning from various credit rating agencies that this was coming? I’ve been writing and speaking about it myself for quite some time.

Back in December 2010, I wrote: “If the European debt crisis teaches us anything, it’s that tomorrow always comes. Sooner or later, the markets will expect us to settle the bill for the enormous Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending binge. We’ve already been warned by the credit ratings agency Moody’s that unless we get serious about reducing our deficit, we may face a downgrade of our credit rating.” And again in January, in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address I wrote: “With credit ratings agency Moody’s warning us that the federal government must reverse the rapid growth of national debt or face losing our triple-A rating, keep in mind that a nation doesn’t look so ‘great’ when its credit rating is in tatters.”

Many commonsense Americans like myself saw this day coming. In fact, in June 2010, Rick Santelli articulated the view of independent Tea Party patriots everywhere when he shouted on CNBC, “I want the government to stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending! STOP SPENDING!” So, how shamelessly cynical and dishonest must one be to blame this inevitable downgrade on the very people who have been shouting all along “stop spending”? Blaming the Tea Party for our credit downgrade is akin to Nero blaming the Christians for burning Rome. Tea Party Americans weren’t the ones “fiddling” while our country’s fiscal house was going up in smoke. In fact, we commonsense fiscal conservatives were the ones grabbing for the extinguishers while politically correct politicians and their cronies buried their heads in what soon became this bonfire.

Be wary of the efforts President Obama makes to “fix” the debt problem. The more he tries to “fix” things, the worse they get because his “solutions” always involve spending more, taxing more, growing government, and increasing debt. This debt problem is the greatest challenge facing our country today. Obviously, President Obama doesn’t have a plan or even a notion of how to deal with it. His press conference today was just a rehash of his old talking points and finger-pointing. That’s why he can’t be re-elected in 2012.

Our economic news is disheartening and the task before us can seem daunting, but we must not lose our sense of optimism. People look around today and may see only the negative. They see a culture and a nation in decline, but that’s not who we are! America must regain its optimistic pioneering spirit again. Our founders declared that “we were born the heirs of freedom.” We are the heirs of those who froze with Washington at Valley Forge, who held the line at Gettysburg, who freed the slaves, carved a nation out of the wilderness, and allowed reward for work ethic. We are the sons and daughters of that Greatest Generation who stormed the beaches of Normandy, raised the flag at Iwo Jima, and made America the strongest and most prosperous nation in the history of mankind. By God, we will not squander what has been given us!

She makes some key, commonsense points about what needs to be done:

  • Stop Spending
  • Cut taxes and red tape
  • Make energy cheaper

Listening, Julia?

I am sorry about the slow posting over the last couple of weeks.

The effects of a general downturn in retail sales has been augmented for me by a wet, cold (and therefore unusually slow) season on KI. On top of that, a new guy has set up shop across the road from me offering exactly the same computer services as us. Consequently I am spending more time making less money, which means less time for other things – like this blog.

In addition I have been trying to finish a couple of other writing projects, and am still looking for a publisher or agent for Jennifer Jones and the Corridors of Time.

Nonetheless, I will try to do better!

Incidentally, I passed the 1,000 post mark a few weeks ago.

No big deal, I know, compared with Andrew Bolt or Tim Blair. But hey, I work for a living!

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last week. We have been busy in store with both computer and photographic work.

Although it keeps me away from blogging, this is especially pleasing at the moment because a newcomer to the island has just set up a business across the road from me offering many of the same things. Odd for someone to come into a small community (Kangaroo Island’s total population is 4500 people, and Kingscote’s is 1400) and set up a new business in direct competition with an existing one. But that’s life, competition, the market. It’s all good.

The new guy has spent a lot of money on advertising. We’ve never needed to do much advertising. Word of mouth has built up the business over the last four years, and what paid advertising we have done has been more to support the community than out of need. Maybe that will change.

One positive is that this has given me a reason to work on our website, something I probably should have done long ago. It is up now. I think it is a good start. I’ll add info as time goes by, and perhaps include some advice for vistors to the island (the weather changes quickly, don’t stop in the middle of the road to watch the wildlife, American River is  a great place to catch whiting, etc).

KI Computers and Photographics. If you are on the island, come in and say hello!

Sorry about the lack of posts over the last week.

My wife Kathy has been in Western Australia to spend some time with her mother.

This means I need to run the shop by myself. It is hectic with only one person, trying to attend to people in the shop, answer the phone, get films and digital prints processed, repair computers, and give free advice to tourists all at the same time. And then there is cleaning, ordering, banking and other bookwork.

It’s a good thing us blokes are such skilled multi-taskers. But it means not much time for anything else.

It also means long days, because most of the administrative work gets left till after closing, so I get home late. Time for a couple of beers, an hour’s reading, a defrosted dinner, and then bed.

Not even time for World of Warcraft.

Incidentally, it is now confirmed the release date for Cataclysm is December 7th. I should have  copies in the shop a week later, including one copy of the collector’s edition. Yay!

Spam to real comments runs at about 100 to 1. I check the spam about once a week just to check no genuine comments have been caught in error.

Most spam messages are pretty dull. But this one was so amusingly desperate I thought it was worth sharing. The original had several links to a company selling secret herbal remedies guaranteed to enhance a certain part of the male anatomy.

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There will be a break in proceedings for an indefinite period.

The last year has been an annus horribilus – Amanda’s accident and ongoing illness, struggles to get my business up and running despite absences caring for family members, and Bruce’s unexpected death.

To top everything off, last week we found that Kathy has cancer and will need major surgery.

At the moment I barely have the emotional energy to go to work and cope with the constant harrassment of running a computer business while still trying to be nice.

I need to give myself a bit of space, and reduce some of the pressure I put on myself to get things done.

I will be back.

Thanks.

It is Saturday evening in South Australia.

I got back from Western Australia this afternoon. I went over to Geraldton last week for the funeral of my brother-in-law Bruce.

A great bloke – honest, caring, intelligent. I will miss him.

I wrote a few posts while I was away, but did not have internet access.

I will upload them tomorrow, along with anything else that seems worth commenting on in the last few days’ news.

Too tired tonight. Need beer, chocolate, sleep …

Posting will be light over the next week or so.

My brother-in-law Bruce died yesterday. Kathy has already flown over to Perth, and I will follow in a couple of days time.

Bruce was 56. He had been a licensed clinical psychologist, and a licensed plumber. Plumbing paid better, and you meet a nicer class of people.

Bruce and I disagreed about almost everything. He was gay, and an atheist.

He thought Obama was an inspiring leader. I wouldn’t trust Obama to run a cake stall.

He thought Michael Moore was an honest reporter, a man of the people.  I think Michael Moore is a disgusting dishonest elitist swine.

He liked Baz Lurhmann’s Australia. Enough said.

But Bruce was an honest, generous, intelligent man, who cared deeply about what happened in the world, and about the people around him.

I loved him, and I will miss him deeply.

Every couple of weeks I seem to pique the interest of some absolute raving nutter.

It usually goes something like this. I post an article on some current news item. The Queen spends $10 million on curtains for Windsor Castle, for example (she hasn’t, as far as I know). So I write a few words about whether the British public are getting good value for money from their Queen.

A couple of days later there is a long and outraged comment, demanding to know why I have used a word that is offensive to the whole gay commuity. Don’t I care that gay people have been oppressed for centuries?

Then there will be several paragraphs detailing incidents of oppression of homosexuals, and perhaps a quote or two from the Magna Carta thrown in for good measure.

Shortly afterwards I will find that this comment has been emailed to a couple of hundred people, pointing out what a hopeless homophobe I am.

Then there will be several more comments detailing at rambling and incoherent length, the hideous oppressions to which the gay community is still subjected. Some of these will include unpleasant personal insults directed at me and any other commenters who have asked what the heck is going through this person’s mind.

Some of those comments I will not allow through. Of course this proves what an unspeakable bastard I am, imposing my views on the gay community, using the power of censorship to silence the oppressed.

There may even be a little exchange demanding to know why I didn’t discuss my inflammatory and biased views with representatives of the gay community before publishing them.

I’ll reply that what I said was in response to a news article, and I was just expressing my own opinion. Others are welcome to do the same, and if any members of the gay community do want to speak with me, I’d be more than happy to talk with them.

That’s typical of my kind of ego-centric gender focussed personality, I’ll be told.

It’s very well for me to sit back and expect the oppressed minority to come to me. I wouldn’t think of making the effort to go to them, would I?

By now there will have been several more comments by the same person, perhaps on different articles.

For example, if I have written about climate change, I will be asked why I have, once again, failed to include the gay perspective, which will be detailed at length.

If I write about agricultural policy in Africa, my homophobia means I won’t even give passing recogniton to the plight of gay rice planters in Swaziland. My fortnightly weirdo will thoughtfully fill in the gaps, while continuing to send examples of my perfidious lack of concern to his or her extensive mailing list.

After the first couple of exchanges I usually recognise the pattern, and ask politely that the person stop emailing me. That request will be ignored.

Eventually, a week or so after I stop publishing any more comments and answering any more emails, my nutter will go away, presumably to pester some other blogger or public figure about why he or she is participating in the marginalisation of an oppressed minority by refusing to acknowledge the extensive gay contribution to highway traffic planning.

And then I’ll have a bit of peace for a week or so till the next nutter comes along.

Back to work today for the first time in two weeks. A queue of urgent computer problems to fix.

Customers come first, so posting will be light today!

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