Archive for April, 2006

PlusNet join the cut price broadband battle

April 26th, 2006

After the Carphone Warehouse announced that that were giving away a free broadband service for any customer who signs up for there top Talk Talk package (blog posting) Sheffield based IPS PlusNet have announced a new package at the same cost being introduced in July.

The key differences between the packages are that PlusNet has a one month get out contract (with a £20 cancellation fee) with the Talk Talk contact lasting 18 months and PlusNet’s solution is a PAYG service with 50MB per month free (0.224ppm after that) while Talk Talk have a 40GB limit. PlusNet claims they will have more favorable usage restrictions.

Unlike Talk Talk the calls (of up to 70 minutes) are not free, but you get 4 hours of land-line calls included in the package every month. The PlusNet service is also not restricted to spacific exchanges unlike Talk Talk. More information is available from the PlusNet web site.

0870 Call Costs

April 19th, 2006

The theory of the 0870 numbers was that they were non-geographic and would cost no more the a national call. Many companies use then because they wan to be non-geographic, because of branding or because they make a little money off each call they receive.

The big problem is that now most national calls starting 01 and 02 are normally discounted or free as part of the telecommunications company package, while calling an 0870 number is a comparatively expensive to call. The difference in price is often so great that the useful site was created to list 01 and 02 numbers that could be used instead of 0870.

Today the telecommunications regulator Ofcom confirmed that it was going to force all telecoms companies to charge no more that they charge for an 01 or 02 number, or to play a prerecorded message highlighting the extra cost.

It is unlikely 0870 numbers will be free but it is thought likely the calling cost will fall. I will speculate that we may see an 06 code in years to come that is like an 01 or 02 but non geographic and that so called lo-call 0845 numbers (intended to be charged at local rate) will cost the same or more than the national rate numbers.

Petrol Prices Dot Com

April 19th, 2006

This is a site that I have used for some time and it does save me a little money. It is a service that collates forecourt petrol prices and shows you the cheapest near you or where you are visiting.

The data is acquired every time someone uses a fuel card and the popular stations are updated daily. The price tracking is not quite in real time but if you subscribe to the custom daily email price update and you will see which of the stations is normally cheaper than the rest.

You can not check the price of a specific station and you are limited to checking the bet price in 20 places a month, but you can recheck each place many times so that is probably enough for you. Check out the free service at

Cutie Photo Storage

April 18th, 2006

When reading through some now gadget reviews this little device jumped out at me. It is a mini hard drive based device that can copy files from several different types of memory card in the field and connecting directly to digital cameras and MP3 Players (and I would guess some USB memory sticks).

Battery life looks good with a claim of one charge allowing a 256MB memory card to be backed up 200 times. The device is less then 13cm wide and weighs in at 185g, but this strangely excludes the HDD weight.

You can also connect the device directly to your Windows, Mac OSX or Linux PC or laptop. More information can be found on the Sarotech web site.

Office Cactus Update

April 16th, 2006

It may seem unimportant to you but… I have just watered the flowers in the office and the cactus that sprouted flower buds a couple of weeks age is now in full bloom.

Happy Easter

April 14th, 2006

This is something that has been emailed to me a few times now and as it was funny the first couple of times I thought I would post it on the blog.

Inflating USB flash disk

April 14th, 2006

At first I thought this was a spoof, but the “Flashbag” now appears a genuine concept design from the Russian designer Dima Komissarov.

This USB flash drive function like any other drive with the exception that it visually expands as more of the drive is used and contracts when space is released.

Will we see these in the shops soon? I think probably not, but what do I know. To find out more check

Hemel Hempstead has run out of broadband

April 14th, 2006

If you want to have broadband installed in Hemel you might have a wait. BC Wholesale have run out of capacity preventing most ISPs from supplying a new service. Amazingly this situation has been described as indefinite.

Some good news is that with local loop unbundling (LLU) other suppliers will be able to offer broadband without relying on the full BT Wholesale equipment.

Google Calender

April 13th, 2006

It feel like Google is releasing a new service every few days. Today they appear they have done it again with the quite launch of Google Calendar beta.

The calender is nothing new and something similar has been implemented by other portals and web sites, but this has the clean and simple Google treatment resulting in a very functional and usable service. Sharing of your calender with other users and other software is also easy and in my experience unique for a free service.

I have already added Birthdays that I need to keep track of and added some other key dates, and I will be considering it as a replacement to Outlook in the future.

Surprisingly one thing that has not been widely commented is that a company now not only sees what we are looking for on the net, holds a complete history or our email communications (if using GMail) but is also starting to hold information about what we do where and when. Personally I find this a little spooky at times.

If you already gave a Google account you can already log in at .

Free broadband for only £9.99

April 11th, 2006

We have had all the hype over the weekend that Carphone Warehouse would be offering free or very low coat broadband service. Well the details were released to day and if you subscribe to the Talk3 International service for £9.99 on top of the Talk Talk land line service for £11 you will get an 8Meg broadband service with a 40GB download limit for free.

I have to say that this is tempting to me but I will be holding out to see what other providers offer. There will not be many though as it is only financially viable to those companies participating in local loop unbundling (LLU) and offering telecom services.

The reason why I mention this is because the relaunched Talk Talk UK web site appears to be written in French. The good news is that I have a link to the offer information in English, and this is