Archive for May, 2006

Free Broadband for only £30

May 31st, 2006

Rumors that Orange (now including Wanadoo, formally Freeserve) will join the free broadband battle have proved to be true but it is not as exciting as I was hoping. The £17.99 package offer is only free if you have a £30 per month mobile contract and the minimum term of the contract is also appears to be 18 months.

Another cactus update

May 29th, 2006

After the successful flowering of the office cactus it has done it again with just two flowers. Since that picture was taken a fortnight ago new buds are appearing and it is getting ready to flower again. You can bet on being kept up to date regardless of weather you want to be :-).

Goodbye old friend

May 29th, 2006

Today is a sad day for me. I will be reformatting the Windows 98 PC that I had been using at the office for the last decade. On the 1st of March it refused to boot and although I managed to get it running it is far from stable and sadly must be put down.

To be honest it was a case Trig’s of the broom and the handle as it was upgraded from 95 to 98 and had most of the hardware replaced or upgraded over the years. Reflecting on it the only original partd are the keyboard and mouse that I am using just now.

I have now gone space age and am using one of our test bed machines running the up to date Windows 2000 and am preparing myself to move to XP, just as soon as Vista is released. :-)

What it is to be feel young

May 23rd, 2006

Just a quick thank you to the checkout assistant in the supermarket who refused to sell me a bottle of wine without proof of age, it made me feel young again.

Five free Stainless Steel Chef's Knives for only £9.95

May 23rd, 2006

This morning we had a card through the office door saying that a delivery for us was dropped off up the road (at 8:15am). When we opened it turned out to be some cooking knives for Michel at the office.

Being a bit of a culinary expert he had ordered them as part of a Sunday Express readers offer. The postage was £9.95 and you get 5 free knives. Various other knives and accessories are available at knocked down prices.

We have not had a chance to use them properly but they do at first glace appear to be a good deal. If you would like to take advantage then go to and pretend you read the Sunday Express food supplement.

Business fundamentals explained

May 22nd, 2006

I came across this in a forum and it explains where I have been going wrong all these years. ;-)


May 20th, 2006

This week I needed to download a Linux distribution and decided to use BitTorrent to download it. Not having used BitTorrent before I decided to download a few clients to try and was presently suspired with the usability, stability and efficiency of µTorrent.

It is not often I find myself using a piece of software and instead of thinking how it “should” work I found myself thinking “this is good”. The interface at first appears very simple, that is good, but when you go routing around you will find many extra features.

The feature I found very clever and useful was the ability to prioritise the download of select files in a torrent and skip others so you can read the installation notes while the rest of the download completes. The ability to restrict bandwidth in the day is a great feature for me, and the ability to monitor ever little aspect of the transfer in not practically useful but very interesting. The full list of features is immense and if there is a BitTorrent feature it is most likely supported or under development.

To show just how efficient the software is it will allegedly run on a 486 running Windows 95 and less than 16 meg of RAM. Unlike most BitTorrent clients it is not using the original Python basted engine but uses it’s own native engine that dramatically improves performance and efficiency.

The software is not open source and is Windows only so is not the total solution for everybody. It also has some leaching protection that is not appropriate for the evolving UK ADSL market and resulting in my dramatically restricting my downloads in the day so not to swamp the companies upstream Internet.

You can find out more abut µTorrent and download the free software from

B&Q Rant

May 18th, 2006

Sorry but I need to have a quick moan about my local B&Q (again). I needed a new lock for the office as the old one was playing up. I took the old lock to B&Q to obtain a replacement of the same size but could not match it up with a new one because of the display case. I explained at the tills that I needed a matching lock but they said that they could not let me see the locks for security reasons, but if I gave them the number from the display case they would go and get one.

Now perhaps it is just me, but I don’t think they were looking at the problem from the customers point of view and common sense was not clicking in. My solution was to ask to see number 1, 2 and 3, number 4, 5… At this point I was told that there were 60 sizes lock under the false impression that I would not ask to see them all.

In the end some B&Q bod in a suet was waiting to see the duty manager (or what ever his title) so I grabbed the manager as he approached (not literally though) who did used a bit of common sense and took the old lock to the store to find a match for me.

I am now pleased to report I have a new lock that is identical in size to the old one, and amusingly was not actually on display in the cabinet.

Headline: Car passes MOT

May 15th, 2006

Just a quick post to pass my thanks to the MOT tester who passed my car first time today. Normally this would not be that greater deal but in this case he lost money in a bet with one of his colleagues over it. Just remember that looks can deceive.

May 14th, 2006

After listening to an interview on the Inside the Net podcast (number 21) I had a look at and registered with .

This is the first time I have managed to resister the user ID of “alistair” that I always used in the early days on the Internet when it was available. Nowadays I tend to use “alistair_uk” but now and then someone else uses this ID as well. A prime example is alistair_uk on eBay is not me.

Strangely this is just the purpose of, to allow you to specify what is to do with you and what is not. Once registered you can add web links that are related to you and flag up those who are about you but written by someone else, about someone else, or about you but just wrong.

I get the impression that the creators hope search engines will use the information when building search results but currently you can link back from your own websites and profiles.

Features I would like to see added is the facility to validate various IDs (IM, Skype and that kind of thing) as well as email addresses in a way that will confirm as apposed to just list. A way of building up a “web of trust” to stop fake entries being built would also be a useful if not totally foolproof feature.

So check out my entries at and sign up yourself at, but remember my golden rule “It’s a small world” and the Internet is open to all.