Grapevine – restriction to Chinese cannot submit Tier 1 application in the UK will not removed soon

小道消息: 中国人不能在英国境内直接递交 Tier 1 企业家或投资移民申请的限制即将取消。

目前除了工签和PSW签证可以在英国境内转换成Tier 1签证, 众多的学生签证, 旅游签证, 访问签证, 陪伴签证必须离境递交Tier 1签证申请。这给很多有移民意向的中国人带来不便, 所以取消这个限制是个重大利好。

中国强大了, 针对中国人的实实在在的优惠越来越多。我不算听风就是雨的人, 尽管是条小道消息, 我相信是真的。我在此记一笔, 大家看看我能不能成为名嘴。

I visit Bicester Village too often

朋友提议去 Bicester Village,我们就去了一趟。这已经是三个月内的第二趟了。

Bicester 仍是一如既往的人潮汹涌,周末去停车是个老大难。好不容易停好车,我逛了一小时也就没兴趣,独自休息等他们逛到打烊。

Bicester 没什么变化,此次就得到一个信息:拿中国的银联卡,可以去换一张 VIP 卡,购物 9 折。虽然 VIP 卡还可以通过其他途径得到,但还是可以看出中国强大的消费群体的影响力。这是好事,下次去记得要带银联卡!

Bicester Village leaflet
Bicester Village leaflet

Leak in Anti Money Laundering systen

最近听说一个案例,让我觉得英国的反洗钱的制度形同虚设。

现有的移民体系下有一种一百万镑的投资移民,吸引了很多中国富豪来英国。移民法又规定这一百万镑最多用25%,即二十五万镑,可以投资房产;至少75%,即七十五万镑,要投资于非房产项目。由于国债市值稳定,不用评估,所以成为移民非房产项目的首选。很多移民中介干脆以25%房产、75%国债去宣传此类项目。啊,说远了。

富豪们手上资金都远超一百万镑。他们一边办移民,一边大把买房。二十五万镑的房子不入法眼,要买就买更贵的。

买房的时候要向律师提供资金来源证明,这是为了防止人们用黑钱以买房的形式洗白。我遇到的律师们都尽责地尽检查的义务,让我以为英国的反洗钱制度很有效。

但最近发现这漏洞很大。如果富豪用一百万镑投资国债去达到移民要求,另外拿一百万镑投资房产,纯投资,不报移民局。房产律师要资金来源证明,就给他看移民签证时用的已投资国债的资金来源证明。房产律师根本不知道这资金已经偷梁换柱,他也不会了解移民法的25%房产投资上限,所以这个反洗钱的把关无从谈起。也就是说,只要证明一小部分钱来源的合法性,就能证明全部钱的合法性。

Why those businesses treat new customers rather than retain existing customers?

I was told when I was in China that it costs 10 times more to develop a new customer than selling to a existing customer. That is why customer services are so important. Generally speaking, if a customer says to the shop owner he/she has purchased from the same shop before, he/she is implying he/she should be entitled to a kind of favourable price. On the other side, the sales person should offer bigger discount to the a customer repeating his/her purchase.

But during those years in the UK, I found many cases that many businesses did not follow this rule, especially big companies.

Some time ago, when my broadband contract was due, my first thought was renew it. I saw an advertisement that a new monthly price was less than that on my old contract. When I called the customer service asking what monthly price would it be, I was surprised to know he did not want to give me the new advertised price. He said naturally, “The new price is for new customers. You can’t get it.” But I think it is a shame of a business if a loyal customer find he/she is paying higher “VIP price” than a new customer. I threatened to leave the broadband company, but the customer service still said he could not offer me the new price. A few hours after I hang up the phone, I was called by another person from the broadband company, probably from higher level, agreed to offer me the new price if I stay. I said, “Too late. I made up my mind. You should not ask the existing customer to pay more in the first place.” I feel nothing wrong for the business to offer a discount to attract new customers, but the business should be prepared to offer the existing customers the same discount if it is not even bigger.

I buy a lot from cash and carry. The prices are increasing now and then because of inflation. But I know some businesses just increase the prices to their existing customers. I have to closely monitor the prices all the time. I feel nothing wrong if the businesses offer differential prices to various group of customers. But I do not want to treated unfair just because I am existing customer.

Tesco new customer voucher code
Tesco new customer voucher code

Sainsburys new customer voucher code
Sainsburys new customer voucher code

Today I see Tesco and Sainsburys are both offering £15 off to new customers when they do their first online grocery shop when they spend £60 or more. It is massive discount. 25% off. Is Tesco and Sainsburys gross profit that high? Will they suffer a loss for attracting new customers? But that is none of my business. What I care is how to get £15 off for my non-first £60 purchase. I have not found any public vouchers to allow me to do that. In the forum people says just open a new account to pretend as a new customer. Tesco and Sainsburys must know people are doing that way. Why they want so many new accounts? Will “Zombies” accounts help beautify these companies’ financial report? Again, it is none of my business. I just will not do business in that way.

Google Drive server rejected files uploaded in Windows

Google Drive server rejected file uploaded in Windows
Google Drive server rejects file uploaded in Windows

我发现在 Windows 下我无法上传文件到 Google Drive。我用的是 FireFox,提示的错误信息是 “Server rejected”。一开始我以为是 Google Server 停摆了,但转用 Fedora 下的 FireFox,一切正常。我不信邪,又在 Windows 下尝试上传各种后缀的文件,.jpg, .doc, .pdf 都试过了,全部失败。

我很少在 Windows 下操作,也不知道这个问题存在多久了。难道是 Google 跟 Microsoft 叫劲,给 Windows 用户一点颜色看看?我觉得 Google 不至于干损人不利己的事,但我不确定。于是我试图改变 Windows 下 FireFox 的 User Agent,在 about:config 里新建了一个名为 general.useragent.override 的字串,值为 Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:20.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/20.0。

Custom FireFox user agent
Custom FireFox user agent

这样 FireFox for Windows 看上去象 FireFox for Linux 了。

Forged user agent
Forged user agent

可是,Google Drive 依然是 “Server rejected”。证实 Google 并没有区别对待 Windows 用户。

接着,我继续研究了一下 FireFox 无法上传文件的原因,看来是多账户登录 Google 后的偶然结果。有人说是无法上传至默认账户以外的账户,但我亲自试了一下,这个说法也不准确。看来不要在这个问题上过于纠结,清空一下浏览器历史,一切都正常了。

I thought I lost Hotmail

Hotmail 今天给我惊了一身冷汗。

我不用 hotmail 很多年。今天由于某种需要,登录了一下 hotmail。我虽然牢记我的密码,但是 hotmail 过于热心地说,“您好久不来了,我给你发个验证码”。

Hotmail wants to verify me
Hotmail wants to verify me

验证码发到哪儿呢?hotmail 显示了以前留给 hotmail 恢复密码用的另一个邮箱。hotmail 显示了恢复邮箱@前的前 2 个字母结果,其他用一串星号遮住。那是很久以前我用的一个免费邮箱提供商提供的邮箱,我申请过多个,有些已经不属于我了。

天哪!hotmail 会把验证码发到哪儿?我诚惶诚恐地登录了其中一个,一堆垃圾邮件,但没有新邮件;退出再登一个,也没有。晕了晕了——要是 hotmail 把验证码乱发,那我的 hotmail 也要被别人拿去了。然后骗子可能拿着我的账号去借钱,然后……

还好,我再点一次让 hotmail 重发验证码,这次收到了,而且一次收到两个,不知道上一个验证码是发送延迟,还是接收延迟。哎,草草登录了事。hotmail 在欢迎页面上兴致勃勃地介绍起 outlook.com,我却有点哭笑不得。

I am not reading this welcome
I am not reading this welcome