Sunday, August 24, 2003

Sometimes I come across a great idea and wonder why I didn't think of it first (because as you should know almost always whenever a great idea occurs to someone I had already thought of it beforehand, even if I didn't know it), and is one of the best ideas I hadn't thought of beforehand, ever. It's rather simple actually: you see a book in a bookshop (as you do), and check its price. It's �15.99. It's almost always �15.99. And you wonder, (as you regularly do), "How much would this book be on Amazon, I wonder?". If you are technologically-minded, then you might connect to Amazon via your WAP phone, or even a wi-fi laptop (in which case I have to point out I recommend you look like an idiot). Txtbux offers an ingenious solution: finding out the Amazon price via SMS. You merely text them the book's ISBN for the price of a normal text (which will be nothing if you get a monthly allowance of texts), and for free they text back the required information, as well as emailing you it, and keeping the book on a list on your bit of their website. Absolutely brilliant, and there's no catch whatsoever. The way they make money is through the affiliate system, so if you do use them to search for a book, please buy it by clicking on the link on their site. The cost to you will be the same, but Amazon will give a percentage to txtbux. And that's it really. I think it's only available to UK customers, though I'm not sure; and it would be nice to one day have access to more online booksellers, or for txtbux to send the cheapest price. But even so, this is undeniable a Very Good Idea. Do try it out.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Has the BBC at last found its humour (not humous though, due to its distaste for Middle Eastern delicacies such as war, terrorism and Egyptian pop music)? BBC3 News, which is seriously underrated by the public at large [lock 'em up! The scum], has come up with an article about what it was like to live without electricity that has its tongue firmly in its left (of centre) cheek. It's nothing special on the surface (though don't let that put you off reading it), but given that it comes from an organisation that could produce this, a text written in such a serious style it's almost predictable ["and the next sentence will be... 'The minister denies all allegations'. Yes, I'm right! I love the news! It's so much fun!"] Hmm, yes.

Monday, August 11, 2003

This is probably a UK-only story, so apologies to my non-existent international readers (for everything). As you might have found out recently, the old, frankly rubbish 192 directory enquiries service is being phased out in one go at the end of August, being replaced by super-heroes and 1970s runners with the names of 118. Of course, you don't really care less about looks or personality, but the price [I know you too well]. Well, in the tradition of past journalists, I did some undercover research, to find... THE CHEAPEST 118 SERVICE AVAILABLE! So my first port of call was at, which gives pretty much comprehensive price information about all the service. It also shows how ridiculously confusing the choice is, and how complicated are the pricing structures. Basically, the choice is between fixed-fee, timed-fee, or a combination, which only applies to one of them [Orange], plus sometimes a connection charge. Some of the services are blatantly rip-offs (for example, British Gas [yes really] and Telco charge a fixed fee of 35p, whilst the interestingly-named One charge 30p for the same service), but beyond them it's hard to make a choice, because some of the more expensive choices provide more services, or give money to gay and lesbian charities (yes really). Could the Graudian help me? For once, yes. It convincingly argues which services are cheapest [a bit like their political jibes, and hence a little like mine]: essentially 118811 is 30p a go [the aforementioned One], and 118118 [called, erm, One] is 49p connection charge and then 9p a minute, and 118888 is 20p a minute [and is excitingly called Double One, Double Eight, Double Eight. Why not One One Eight Triple Eight? Or Eight Times Fourteen Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty One? It's just as catchy]. So there you go, now you know which ones to use. Any thanks or money would be much appreciated. Money. Send Money. Unless you're Welsh, in which case you might be interested in 118404. Da boch!

Sunday, August 10, 2003

I know I haven't written anything new to my blog for a while (this blog, natch). I know this, because I am a conscious, relatively intelligent being -- but you probably already knew that, because it is safe to assume you are a conscious, relatively intelligent being [though maybe "conscious" is putting it strongly; you are constantly on the internet, aren't you? Go outside, for crying out loud! Unless you are outside, or you're allergic to other people, in which case, merely glance at the picture which comes at the end of this post]. The problem, basically, is two-fold (or alternatively, there are two problems, not folded). The first problem (or fold) is that I just haven't felt compelled to post anything I've seen on the net. Well, the principle is intact, but nothing I've seen has passed the Threshold of Action which makes me put stuff here. I'm not denying there have been weird people doing weird things, or really annoying people doing extremely annoying things -- but they just haven't been weird or annoying enough. It must be the weather. The second problem is that I'm working on adding a new portal which will link to this veritable, honourable weblog, my Personal Affairs weblog (not as exciting as it sounds to those who are unfamiliar with it), and new sections which are currently under wraps, mainly because I don't have the faintest idea what they should be yet. Stick around, because can only go up from here! [It certainly can't go down]

Saturday, August 02, 2003

It does seem slightly surreal at first, but, after reading about it on the BBC news site (in the context of Rolf Harris's birthday bash, no less!), and then going to the "Thirty Odd Foot Of Grunts" website, it appears that it is a fact that a certain Mr. Russell Crowe is a member of the aforementioned band. In case you are not fully au fait with the world of show-business, Mr. Crowe is an extremely successful Hollywood actor who hails from Down Under. And, not only can he act very well (and write poetry less well), he is part of a band. Hmm. Extremely curious. The profile of him is very understated, to say the least. There's no mention whatsoever of his film acting career, and his general acting career is only hinted at. The profile even seems to finish in 1987, which was before the age of the web, so they can't argue they never update the site (which is quite slick actually). Anyway, I'm sure all you ladies want a picture of the hunk, so it follows this paragraph. Before that though, what is with the name of the band? It strikes me as pretentious, which of course Mr. Crowe never is! Its former moniker, being Roman Antix, is much better. Perhaps if you're reading this Russell, take it as a suggestion from a mere fan that you should revert the band's name to its former one. Oh, and well done with the Oscars! "Beautiful Mind" was top-notch, and I say that as a student of maths. Keep up the good work, won't you?