Archive for the ‘Things that need to be published’ Category

Our Studio Blog has Moved

January 3, 2014

The Tinstar Graphic Design and Studio Blog has moved – we’ve brought it back under the wing of our main website. Come by any time.


Apple lets you down when you least expect it

January 29, 2013

So, big meeting tomorrow. Writing up the final meeting notes on my Mac Pro (only five years old and branded an ‘antique’ by Apple… OK… enough now… let it go….) and there’s a screen flicker. A weird one. And then… nothing. Screens go off but computer still runs.

So a quick restart – and… nothing.

A little background: A few months ago my (antique) extremely expensive Mac Pro started powering off immediately and with no notice. Long story short, after much scrabbling around I discovered that it was overheating. A free life-saviing utility called Fan Control saved the day(s). But it was clear than something was wrong – why overheat in the first place?

I further discovered that the thermal paste literally baked off the main ‘Northbridge Chip’ – a fairly essential piece of hardware, apparently, resulting in big trouble. So basically, my graphics card was being slow-baked. Today, just when I least needed it, the final oven timer went off, the graphics card was finally cooked – and we were done.

Dead card.

Oh, and Apple doesn’t supply compatible graphics cards to legacy, antique-buying, penny-pinching, I-don’t-buy-new-hardware-every-year suckers like me. I’d have to get a new computer… that they’ll stop supporting in another four years time.

So new £300 graphics card in – but the overheating was still shutting the machine down, so it’s either £655 plus VAT for a new logic board, or trust it to my very helpful computer guy to ‘gut’ (his words) the Mac, re-heat-sync and re-thermal-paste the chips. Which might not work. Then it’s £655 plus VAT for a new logic board and probably (when that fails) another few grand for a new Mac in a few months time.

Who says Apple are in trouble?

The new EU Cookie Law and Google Analytics

April 30, 2012

With the arrival of the new EU Cookie Law, Google Analytics will be targeted as an ‘undesirable’ use of cookies without user consent. This means that websites using Google Analytics will have to display a popup window to arriving visitors, letting them know that the website uses cookies and asking if they consent to their use.

If ever there was a law created for the internet by people who have no idea how the internet works, this is it. Even the ICO website (the lawmakers) took months to comply with its own regulation, and there is still a huge amount of ambiguity about the best implementation of these consent windows.

A few things do seem to be clear:

  • Google Analytics is not exempt from the law
  • Cookies that track items in a shopping cart through to check are exempt
  • Implied consent is not acceptable in the form of a simple privacy page explaining what cookies are used
  • Most people will ignore the law and wait to see what happens

Tinstar has put up this page in answer to the law, although whether it will satisfy the lawmakers remains to be seen. It will, however, not ruin a visit to the website and will not make the internet more ugly and user-unfriendly.

More information

Tinstar Awarded Signed Photo by Guinness Record Holders

March 21, 2011

I’m delighted to say that Captains Hamish Reid and Nick Dennison overcame their ‘claw hands’ sufficiently to be able to sign a fantastic photo for Tinstar of the conclusion of their epic – and I mean epic – row non-stop around the British Isles. The journey was in aid of Help for Heroes, the Army Benevolent Fund and Toe in the Water, ad it also landed the pair a well-earned place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Row for Heroes

Hamish and tireless support team, Jess, visiting me in the Tinstar Studio

The most eloquent letter I have ever seen from the Inland Revenue

February 10, 2011

A real reply from the Inland Revenue.

The Guardian newspaper had to ask for permission to print it.

The funniest part of this is imagining the content of the letter sent to the Tax Office which prompted this reply.


Dear Mr Addison,

I am writing to you to express our thanks for your more than prompt reply to our latest communication, and also to answer some of the points you raise. I will address them, as ever, in order.

Firstly, I must take issue with your description of our last as a “begging letter”. It might perhaps more properly be referred to as a “tax demand”. This is how we at the Inland Revenue have always, for reasons of accuracy, traditionally referred to such documents.

Secondly, your frustration at our adding to the “endless stream of crapulent whining and panhandling vomited daily through the letterbox on to the doormat” has been noted.

However, whilst I have naturally not seen the other letters to which you refer I would cautiously suggest that their being from “pauper councils, Lombardy pirate banking houses and pissant gas-mongerers” might indicate that your decision to “file them next to the toilet in case of emergencies” is at best a little ill-advised. In common with my own organisation, it is unlikely that the senders of these letters do see you as a “lackwit bumpkin” or, come to that, a “sodding charity”. More likely they see you as a citizen of Great Britain, with a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of the nation as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. Whilst there may be some spirit of truth in your assertion that the taxes you pay “go to shore up the canker-blighted, toppling folly that is the Public Services”, a moment’s rudimentary calculation ought to disabuse you of the notion that the government in any way expects you to “stump up for the whole damned party” yourself. The estimates you provide for the Chancellor’s disbursement of the funds levied by taxation, whilst colourful, are, in fairness, a little off the mark. Less than you seem to imagine is spent on “junkets for Bunterish lickspittles” and “dancing whores” whilst far more than you have accounted for is allocated to, for example, “that box-ticking facade of a university system.”

A couple of technical points arising from direct queries:

1. The reason we don’t simply write “Muggins” on the envelope has to do with the vagaries of the postal system;

2. You can rest assured that “sucking the very marrow of those with nothing else to give” has never been considered as a practice because even if the Personal Allowance didn’t render it irrelevant, the sheer medical logistics involved would make it financially unviable.

I trust this has helped.

In the meantime, whilst I would not in any way wish to influence your decision one way or the other, I ought to point out that even if you did choose to “give the whole foul jamboree up and go and live in India” you would still owe us the money.

Yours sincerely,

H J Lee

Customer Relations
Inland Revenue