The large number of third party claims last year is driving up car insurance premiums in Ireland apparently. At least that’s what the friendly lady at 123.ie told me. They then charged me an extra €196 for cover over last year. Reducing the insured value of my car increased the premium!
Anyway, there may be a law enacted by the end of the year to force insurance companies to tell you why your insurance is going up. It might not tell you much as the current rise in prices might be due to Setanta Insurance going under a few years ago but I don’t think it’s as simple as that.
RSA, who provide motor insurance for 123.ie beat expectations when they announced their profits for 2016. That’s the British arm of the company however.
Operating profit for the year came in at £655m, compared with a company-supplied consensus forecast of £626m.
Unfortunately, the Irish section isn’t doing so well..
Meanwhile, the former chief financial officer of RSA’s Irish business was yesterday fined £35,000 and banned for three years by Britain’s accounting watchdog.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said it had fined Rory O’Connor and banned him for three years from the accounting profession for approving “materially inaccurate” financial statements.
Mr O’Connor also agreed to pay £18,000 towards the watchdog’s legal costs.
RSA said in 2014 that a review of its businesses found that the accounting irregularities were confined to its Irish business, where there had been “inappropriate collaboration” among a small number of executives in Ireland.
It was forced to inject £200m into its Irish business at the time and RSA Insurance Ireland said yesterday it has strengthened its control framework since 2013.
They’ve also had to set aside £50m “to cover the costs of accidents in 2014 and 2015” according to this Irish Times article
RSA Insurance Ireland’s operating loss widened by 62 per cent last year after the country’s once-largest provider of motor and property coverage was forced to set aside £50 million (€59.1 million) of reserves to cover the costs of accidents in 2014 and 2015.
The local subsidiary of London-listed RSA Group posted a £42 million full-year loss compared with a £26 million loss for 2015. The performance was described by the parent as “disappointing”, especially as it had returned last year to writing new business on a profitable basis, as it and the wider industry hiked rates.
We shopped around, and rates from other insurers were comparable. Roll on the electrification of cars and autonomous driving!
Google’s new PhotoScan app (it’s on iOS too) is pretty good. Here’s a photo of the Marina in Cork my Dad took sometime in the nineties, probably. I’ll spare you the family photos! 🙂
There’s a lengthy Reddit thread on it too.
If you updated your Mac to MacOS Sierra and you use an old version of Lightroom you may get a shock when you try to import anything.
The destination and rename panels are missing from the sidebar! Luckily there’s an easy way to fix it, at least temporarily, thanks to The Lightroom Queen who figured out how. Right click on one of the panel headers and you can enable the missing panels again in the menu that appears!
Unfortunately the change doesn’t stick and the next time you import photos you’ll have to enable those panels again if you want to check those settings.
I can’t imagine Adobe will update LR5. I didn’t think Lightroom would start to break down so quickly after an OS upgrade as the app isn’t that old but I guess we’ll all have to jump on the Creative Cloud bandwagon sooner or later.
Nice. They’re getting off the plane directly into cars.
I was wrong, they had to walk to the main terminal and go through passport control.
And here are their drivers who kindle posed for a photo. The film crew came out a few minutes later.
There may have been a bit missing from the Ferris Wheel on The Grand Parade yesterday, but I’m informed that all bits are accounted for now.
I upgraded Linux on this server a while back and in the course of that upgrade PHP was upgraded too, to version 5.5.9.
Since I had a modified php.ini it asked me to check over any new options. There were a few but I fixed anything that looked like it might break things. I saved the php.ini and let the upgrade go on.
Some time later I saw odd notices in the PHP error log. Usually it referred to wp-comments-post.php but files outside of WordPress raised the warning too:
PHP Notice: Undefined variable: _SERVER in ..
It turns out the fix is rather easy. Jacques Marneweck on his blog posted a solution. Simply switch off “auto_globals_jit” in your php.ini and restart Apache (if required).
From the PHP manual entry for auto_globals_jit:
When enabled, the SERVER and ENV variables are created when they’re first used (Just In Time) instead of when the script starts. If these variables are not used within a script, having this directive on will result in a performance gain.
The PHP directives register_globals, register_long_arrays, and register_argc_argv must be disabled for this directive to have any affect. Since PHP 5.1.3 it is not necessary to have register_argc_argv disabled.
It looks like the bug is ancient although I’m not using APC, and the JIT compiler can be fooled if you access the super globals like _SERVER through variable variables. Sneaky!
The default for auto_globals_jit is “On” so next time you upgrade PHP keep an eye on the error log.
Anthony Morganti uses an interesting technique to create photos with a black and white HDR look in Lightroom. It can transform a photo so it looks something like this. (I added a vignette as well.)
It doesn’t suit all photos of course, it’s also only a starting point as you should develop your photos in whatever way you desire. To avoid repeating all those steps every time I created a Lightroom preset.
Grab that file and install it in the same way you’d install any Lightroom preset. What d’you think?
Remember DVDs? Last night while looking for the original photo of this dancing in the street photo I was horrified to find an empty directory!
I had no idea when they were deleted. I searched my backups but of course the directories had been synced a long time ago and they were gone. I checked Backblaze and there was no sign of them. I even checked Google Plus for their backups but still no sign of them. I must have deleted them more than two years ago.
I hate that. I have multiple copies of every photo just because this might happen and yet it wasn’t enough! My backups sync every night so any deletes were synced within twenty four hours.
Almost. Later, I remembered that I had backed up photos to DVDs before I started using multiple drives and Backblaze. They were up in the attic!
It didn’t take long to get them, the first DVD worked and my photos from The St. Patrick’s Festival in 2006 were restored, but the photos from April 20th were on the second DVD. The second DVD didn’t work. Nooooo!
The rest of the photos did survive their stay in my cold, damp attic and were restored. I’m thinking now about monthly offline backups to a drive I’ll plug in occasionally.
Do I have any photos from April 20th, 2006? I remember the day well because I was in St. Finbarr’s Hospital with my wife helping a family member. While the others waited I went outside to take photos of a derelict building at the back of the hospital grounds. People passed me going to work while I was take pictures of the daisies, flowers and old architecture. Soon enough a security guard showed up but he just asked me to stop taking photos. I do have a few photos. We called to a friend later in the day and I got some shots of her cat so that’s here too. 🙂
This phone booth is gone now
What’s the take home message from all this?
- You can never have too many backups.
- You need versioned backups (of a few days at least) in case you notice a mistake a few days later after your backups have been synced.
- You need an offline backup that’s synced periodically.
- You need cloud backup that will keep your files safe for a length of time after they’re deleted. Backblaze holds on to your files for thirty days after they’re deleted!
- When you export files from Lightroom, Photoshop or whatever graphics app you use, always make sure you export a full size original version, not just a web version.
I’m sad that those files are gone, but glad I have a few reminders of an eventful day.
We had dinner in the Sultan restaurant this evening and it was delicious. This is Meshawi Mix, a mixture of marinated lamb and chicken, Lebanese bread and more. Check out their menu.