Zahid Raja

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Using a fresh manual install of limesurvey for social research

logo_bigI chose limesurvey as the data collection platform for my postgraduate research project. I am looking to measure attitudes held by policy makers and their support staff in relation to the regulation of the supply of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (electronic cigarettes).

Obviously in this case, survey monkey or any other third party survey platform with adverts and limitations would be inappropriate for my research needs. Limesurvey is an open source platform with great flexibility – not just in terms of how professional you can make a survey look and feel, but also in terms of implementing a complicated survey design. You can also integrate other tools – for example additional JavaScript to include the sharing content via social media.

In the first instance, I did attempt to use a ‘single click’ installer, however, I quickly learnt that this install of limesurvey was problematic throwing up many problems ranging from file permission issues to errors in how the admin super user was set up. I ditched the one click set up, deleted the files and started again with a manual install.

I can’t imagine I’ll be installing limesruvey often, so this is a quick guide for me, if I ever have to come to it again in the future.

  • Download limesurvey files and check hosting settings (upgrade settings as necessary – e.g. old php to new).
  • Create subdomain e.g. survey.domainname.co.uk
  • Upload files to appropriate folder via ftp client.
  • Set 755 permissions for /temp /upload /application/config
  • Go to databases in hosting and set up your MySQL databse – make note of details as you’ll need them later.
  • Go to http://whereyouinstalledlimesurvey/admin/install
  • Security: wherever you can, change your username defaults like ‘admin’ to something else – this will help to protect against scripted attacks.
  • Check that http://whereyouinstalledlimesurvey/admin/install has been deleted.
  • Log in at http://whereyouinstalledlimesurvey/admin/ and change any default passwords.
  • Configure settings to match your needs and then you’re done! Remember that you can change the template in template editor.

My install: survey.endsresearch.co.uk

References:
Lime survey: https://manual.limesurvey.org/Installation#Download_the_LimeSurvey_package

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Applying for a job with one company and starting with another.

Bestway

So last month, I successfully applied for a part time job at the Co-operative pharmacy to supplement my income whilst I study full time for my masters at Swansea University. As far as part time jobs go, it’s pretty excellent. Whilst in the role, the Co-operative put you through training for free that leads to formal qualifications after which your pay goes up.

But the really exciting piece of news that I learnt during my interview is that the Bestway Group acquired Co-operative’s 770 chain of pharmacies throughout the UK.

Who are Bestway?

Bestway was founded over 40 years ago by Sir Anwar Pervez. The group also have substantial interests in banking. It is currently the second largest cement manufacturer in Pakistan and the second largest cash-and-carry network in the UK. Their Chief Executive has recently announced that the group wants to invest, and grow the number of pharmacies focusing on prescriptions.

What happens to current / future employees?

Whilst contracts between Bestway and Co-op were exchanged on 6th October, employees don’t change over until the 2nd November. My actual start date is Friday 24th October which means I will probably get a Co-operative contract and switch over to Bestway on a later date.

On the face of it, the negotiated rewards look great; they include:

● Personal holiday entitlement up to 31 days
● Competitive Pension Scheme
● Tax and NIC advantageous salary sacrifice schemes e.g. pension and child care vouchers
● Co-operative employee member benefits until 31st January 2015Co-operative Employee Member benefit until 31 January 2015

The settlement with the Co-operative group allows Bestway to trade under the name of Co-operative pharmacy for 12 months during which the chain will go through a rebranding exercise. Exciting times ahead!

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Same Student Shop £10 cheaper at Lidl than Asda

IMG_1607Summary:
Asda failed to deliver my shopping twice, lied to me about my money, and never explained why the deliveries were never made. So today, I took my Asda online list to Lidl and did the exact same shop. We saved nearly £10.

Background:
I have really strong opinions. One of them is making sure you deliver what you advertise and take care of your customers. Asda failed on both fronts. It has been almost a week since we were supposed to get our Asda delivery.  It was supposed to arrive on Saturday the 11th. When we rang up on Sunday to ask why it hadn’t arrived, we were told that it didn’t arrive due to ‘payment problems’ – i.e. there was apparently insufficient money in my account. Strange as the exact amount needed to pay for the Asda shop had gone out of my account. We were also told we couldn’t change the card we used so I just added more money to my account. Twice as much in fact. We then re-scheduled it for Wednesday the 15th (today!) and it failed to arrive again.

This time, I rang up my bank and they confirmed that £61 had left my account on the 11th to go to Asda. I rang up Asda who patronisingly let slip that the person we rang on Sunday had lied to us and that my money was in a sort of ‘limbo’ and would reach Asda’s account when our delivery reached us. Seething with anger, I said no thanks. Without an apology or any sort of empathy, they said that my money would return to my account in 3-7 working days.

Methodology:
As you will be able to see from the Lidl receipt and the Asda Online shopping list, we matched brands where we could or found better. There was one item we could not find which was some food storage for £1.29. We offset this by buying twice as much lean mince and twice as many oven chips.

Results:
Click here to access Lidl receipt.
Click here to access Asda online order.

Exact saving of £7.85.

Wondering what this saving could buy you? Well, for £10.49 we got all of this extra stuff: click here to see.

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