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since 13/02/2001


The main channels - TV Licence 05/08/2002

Why I dont believe in it

The main channels - TV Licence The licence fee was brought in as a luxury tax over 40 years ago. It costs 133m a year to adminstrate and I believe it relies on an out-dated law that benefits a corporate dinosaur run by fat cats. Heres my reasoning behind the removal of the TV licence fee: BBC1 and 2 are no longer the only channels available and demand payment even if these channels are not watched. Even via a Satelite or Cable TV service provider you dont have the choice of not recieving BBC channels and hence not paying the licence fee. Can you imagine a Sky TV licence where everyone who has a TV has to pay £100 a year to Rupert Merdock when you dont even have a dish? It is not well known but not all the BBC TV channels are advert free. BBC America (US channel) is advert funded. If you wish to not watch adverts you can spend two years licence fee on a Tivo box (realtime video recorder) and skip through them to the next program. In practice, the 133m per year spent on TV detector vans criminalises people who cannot afford a TV licence. I'm employed and can afford the licence but I've been on the dole in the past and there was no way I could afford a TV licence on $70 a fortnight. This meant I was committing a criminal act by watching TV! The argument against this is "ahhh - you shouldnt have a TV if you cant afford the licence". A cheap 14" portable is no longer a luxury item and not having the money to pay a TV licence now does not mean that you didnt have the money to buy a TV ...

Grand Theft Auto III (PS2) 11/11/2001

At last a game worth buying a PS2 for

Grand Theft Auto III (PS2) Last night I went round to my sisters place to see her and ended up playing Grand Theft Auto 3 on her Playstation 2 until 2am when she insisted I left so she could go to bed. Yes, Its that addictive. In previous version of the game you had a 2D overview of a city where you drove round the city scoring points for running down civilians and evading the police. Now there is much more depth to the game. You now play the game in 3D and can carjack any vehicle from a taxi to a police car and then run round the city like a crazed joy rider. Ok this is the same as GTA1 and GTA2 but think GrandTurisimo 3 with police helicopters, mob bosses, guns, pedestrians and a fully city map. All this is before you attempt any missions. You are introduced to various mob characters who give you jobs. As you complete more jobs for one mob boss, they introduce you to an other wise guy who gives you more missions. As you do more missions and gain there trust they give more important missions. Eventually you become a "made man" - a fully fledged wise guy gangster. Of course you dont have to do the missions, if your getting stuck on one try another bosses mission while you think about the tough one or go mugging to collect money. You can try ambulance runs, a job as a taxi driver or a fire fighter. This game has so many features that make you think "thats cool". There is no expense spared in the detail and everything is there for a purpose. Even some of the scenery can be used a ramps for ...

Unbreakable (DVD) 30/10/2001


Unbreakable (DVD) Bruce Willis plays a stadium security guard who is the only survivor from a horific train crash and is pestered by Samual L Jackson about suspected super powers. Ok - thats not the whole story but its not the main plot thread that makes the film, its how he copes with the real life impact on himself and his family. Bruces characters marrage is failing and he has been haunted by missed chances throughout his life and its left to Samuel L Jackson to show him the way. Now, if someone told me I could be a superhero I would try to get as far away from the nutter as well but slowly evidence is unearthed and Bruce starts to question what his role in life is. Bruce Willis has recently been moving away from the Die Hard image he has portrayed since the start of his career with more serious movies. I dought we will see him as Hamlet but I think this is a good career move as he is getting a little older and will get "Stalone'd" with third rate action movies as younger actors take the limelight. On the acting Bruce Willis plays Bruce Willis as always and I find I'm a little too familiar with the actor to determine if this role was any better than others he has done. Samuel L Jackson has yet another fantastic part and fills it well but the award has to go to the child actor who plays Bruce's son. Child actor have only annoyed me in the past (Remember Jurassic Park...) but this your actor was top notch. When I first went to see the film I rated it 7 out of 10. Not great but ...

Final Cut - Pink Floyd 29/10/2001

The Wall part 2

Final Cut - Pink Floyd Written at the time of the Falklands war, The Final Cut is written along the same lines as The Wall and is in fact dedicated to Roger Waters father, Eric Fletcher Waters who died in the first world war. While concentrating on digs at the government of the time, mostly Margret Thatcher, but also on society of the 80's. Tracks such as "Not Now John" is about the consumer, money obsessed feeling of the time. For those who are old enough to remember the 80's your will recognise it. My personal favourite tracks are The Final Cut and the Gunners Dream but there honestly isn't a bad track on the album. The album is very well put together and there is a definate intro, middle and end. The links between the tracks are sometimes poor but this is due to the age of the album. As a rule, if you liked The Wall and want a darker album then this is for you. There are some fantastic lyrics and tunes but, after all, what would you expect from Pink Floyd?

Horizontalios Maldos Palaima - Pergale 17/10/2001

Is there anybody out there

Horizontalios Maldos Palaima - Pergale Most films with bands in them from the eighties can be shelved under self-indulgent trash. The Wall is not one of them. The wall, directed by Alan Parker stars Bob Geldof as Pink, a washed up rock star and his journey through life’s painful memories all to the music of Pink Floyd. To attempt to explain the full story and where Roger Waters (Vocalist for Pink Floyd and writer of this film) got the story and songs from could not do justice to the film. Suffice to say, some is fictitious, some is based on his childhood and some based on Sid Barrett. Sid Barrett was the previous Pink Floyd front man and during previous years had burned out after years of drug abuse. This can be seen the adult Pink as he sits in a hotel room evaluating his life. If there were a narrator – this would be it although the music tells the story. Roger Waters lost his father in the war as a young boy and is where the story of Pink the child comes from with the Teachers stifling his talent for more orthodox teaching methods of the time. There is a great scene when his teacher ridicules his poetry which are, in fact, the lyrics to Money – a massive hit. How wrong could they be? Roger Waters dedicated a later Pink Floyd album The Final Cut to his father, Eric Fletcher Waters – An album about the Thatcher years and the Falklands war. This sounds like a depressing film and in many ways it is but even now, 20 years on, there has been nothing like it as a fusion of film and music. Perhaps after ...

Tips on Choosing a Camera 04/10/2001

Which Camera for Which Holiday

Tips on Choosing a Camera First of all, I'm not a good photographer by any stretch of the imagination but over the past couple of years I have travelled quite extensively and found that the camera I needed was not necessarily the one I took with me. I have travelled to Africa, Southeast Asia and America and found that while I needed a compact APS camera for those drunken nights out in Vietnam but needed a larger zoom for safari in Kenya. Here are my recommendations: Backpacking - due to having to transport everything around on all types of transport I advise getting a compact APS camera. They are cheap and can stand a lot of manhandling. They take no space in a backpack and can take the odd bash. They don’t really have any protruding parts and are ideally suited for this sort of holiday. I would also recommend a compact APS as an easy picture taker for beer holidays. Just make sure you have the anti-red-eye switched on. APS cameras are prone to red-eye as the flash is close to the lens. This happens less with zoom APS but due to the size the zooms are generally not that powerful with x4 about maximum at the moment. For an African safari I would make sure you have a camera with a good zoom. Most safari parks don’t let you travel off the road to prevent the landscape becoming scarred with tyre tracks so you can only get so close. Its also handy to take a small compact camera so you don’t need to miss anything while changing films. Another tip, for APS cameras, is to ... 28/09/2001

Free Shares and a Simple Idea has two great things going for it. It’s got a simple idea of quick voting and gives away free shares as an incentive to use the site. While I’m generally sceptical about free share schemes I think this one has a future. It does not sell anything, and basically runs itself. Most free share schemes haven’t worked well at all.’s shares are worth next to nothing, Totalise have stopped issuing shares to everyone except the people using their telecom company and have been sold due to rising debt. Not a good track record for share incentive schemes. So, why are should Voteserve be any different? Well, it is actually a good site that would work without free shares and there is the difference. The idea is that you answer multiple-choice questions on your opinions. The most interesting aspect of this is you can pose your own questions and see what the consensus is. For all of this you get points that will translate to shares on floatation of the company. There are also questionnaires and quizzes to answer which are fun but I find the voting the best entertainment and this is the core activity on the site. It is very easy to add your own questions and you can get statistics on age and sex. This has to be great for research and statistics for college or school projects. For example, I posed a question on speed cameras and most men were in favour of making speed cameras brightly coloured and most women were ...

Khyam Vector 12/09/2001

Errected in one minute

Khyam Vector This tent really does go up in a minute. I bought the tent on this reason alone. I’ve spent to many times arriving at a camp site at dusk and fighting against the light, trying to remember where I put the pegs and hoping I don’t have the tent inside out. Sound familiar? The tent is water proof, light weight and is very easy to carry in a small bag with handles that don’t cut into your hands – another common failing with tents. This is most handy for those long trips from the festival car park to the camping area. The only problem I have found is that it’s a little hot in the morning. The ventilation is in the roof but doesn’t seem to ventilate enough to clear a hangover at a festival but then again, what does? The tent comes with a patch kit and seam sealant. These are small enough to carry in the bag so if you have any unforeseen rips, you’re covered. As for size, its spacious for one and but a taller friend of mine (6 feet 2+) found it a little cramped for two. Saying that, he’s getting one himself now so it cant have been all that bad. One more important thing for camping at festivals is security. The front opening isn’t evident and would be hard to find if you didn’t know where it was in the dark. Also there are two internal zips which make access harder and anyone wanting to steal from your tent can’t see who is in the tent on opening the front zip. All this means that anyone stealing from ...

Morpheus 11/09/2001

A SpyWare free zone

Morpheus After the death of Napster a bright spark thought, "What would happen if there was no central store for the mp3 files and every one could connect to everyone else’s computer to swap files directly? How could the 'Powers That Be' ever find out who downloaded what?". A few months later a new network was released called Gnutella. In the simplest terms, this allowed people to broadcast to other systems to other systems on the Gnutella network over the internet. If these computers don’t have it they will broadcast that this file has been requested to the computers they are in contact with. Once a file has been found it can be downloaded. These requests and downloads are performed by client software like Morpheus. While there is lots of software now like Morpheus there is a lot of scare mongering about SpyWare (Something that reports what you are downloading to the author). While this may be scare mongering I wouldn't like to take the chance of going to court for having illegally copied music and video files. Morpheus is my choice of Gnutella client as it guarantees its SpyWare free. Its also has all the features I need. There are three features I find useful that aren’t on all the Gnutella clients. These are: * You can preview a video or mp3 without having to download the full file. This is especially useful when downloading large files. This means you can see if the sound or picture is of high enough quality. * Your downloads are organised by ...

A Knight's Tale (DVD) 11/09/2001

God Bless America said King Arthur

A Knight's Tale (DVD) You would have to watch Show Girls to find a film this bad that was not trying to be a bad film. I could have made up the plot like you make up a bed time story to a child. A rags to riches story with ham fisted acting attempting to be a modern day Excalibur. The music choice was poor. While Queen are a great band, the music does not suit the film. The poor acting was only not that noticeable due to the overall bad plot, unbelievable characters and Americanism’s. The Americans really don't get British fantasy history do they? My opinion is; take your kids to see it but don’t expect to enjoy it yourself. It will be on DVD by Christmas if there's any justice so you can watch it before going to see Lord of the Rings. After watching this rubbish it would make a 50's B-movie look like the next Star Wars film. I know I'm being a little cruel but there’s a million good films waiting to be made so I don't even entertain films that are less than mediocre.

Dalat (Vietnam) 09/09/2001

A Ski resort without the Snow

Dalat (Vietnam) Dalat is a mountain city where the Vietnamese go for a holiday. Set in the middle of the coffee plantations the city reminded me more of a ski resort than an asian city as most vietnamese people were walking round in jackets and bobble hats as the air is cooler in the mountains. Of course, it makes a refreshing change of climate for westerners. We could still walk around in shorts and T-shirt as their cold is our hot summer evening. The only night life recommendation I would make is to go to a bar called Saigon Nite. This is run by a local man and his daughter, Tan, serves behind the bar. They were the nicest people we met in a month in Vietnam.Tan also spoke near perfect English which made a change after 3 weeks of hand actions and speaking slowly. I advise spending at least a day of your holiday there. Its well worth hiring a bike rider guide to drive you to Na Trang but make sure they have a helmet for you. Its a bit expensive at $40 a day but they will take you deep into Vietnam that are never visited by westerners. We went to a village where the children couldn't believe the size of our wrists. We must have looked like giants as we were all over six feet! In my opinion, take a day or so in Dalat before getting a guide to take you elsewhere. Dalat is a curious town unlike any other in Vietnam and well worth a visit. 09/09/2001

Region 1 DVDs from shipped from Jersey Question: Where can you import Region 1 DVD's from thats not America? Answer: A company in Jersey called Due to Jerseys antiquated laws they are something of a grey area in DVD region imports. Technically we dont pay any import tax from Jersey yet they are not restrict by full UK import restrictions. What does all this mean to you? Region 1 DVD's without having to have them sent from the US. This mean no costly delivery and they infact they dont even charge for delivery. How many UK DVD web sites can you say do that? The price you see is the price you pay. The site is quite fast, secure and has alot of information on the homepage. From the homepage you can see the DVD charts, recent releases and DVD's that are released soon - with a click of a button you can alternate between Region 1 and Region 2 DVD's. I have nothing but good things to say about Play247 and will continue to use them regually. If you want to buy DVD's take a look at the site and decide for yourself - you won't be disapointed.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 05/09/2001

Should You Upgrade

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 Internet Explorer 6 looks and feels like a refined version of IE5. Has load time improved dramatically? – No. Does it still crash unexpectedly – Yes. If IE5 was good enough for you should you upgrade? - No. I still think Microsoft have got there priorities wrong. Instead of concentrating on developing a secure, robust, fast browser they have released the same version of IE with a few integrated web application. When will Microsoft learn that if we want a radio player or other bells and whistles we can get third party software for it – and it’s probably better. If I don’t want a radio player I won’t install it and it won’t slow everything else up. Do I need to see what the errors are on a web page? Am I going to fix them? Of course not. We just find another web site – that’s the beauty of the internet. On the other side of this argument the main people to benefit are web developers who will appreciate the better adherence to standards, XML support etc. for the user its just another big download for little or no advantage. I think its also a bit cheap of Microsoft not to include Java in the standard installation in an attempt to move users towards their way of thinking. This is just another form of market manipulation for their ends. If less people have Java support on their browsers, developers have to move away from Java and towards Microsoft preferred technologies. One thing I would definitely do If your installing it is to make sure you choose a custom ... 05/09/2001

Not a bad addition to your survey sites I've been with Global Test Market for a couple of months and, while I dont expect to make a fortune, the key is to join a few of these sites to maximise your earning. Compared to other survey sites such as Lightspeed and, I find it much simpler and quicker to answer surveys. You are presented with no flashy time consuming graphics that take an age to load. Its just simple forms here where information is king. You can be invited to evaluate software before completing a survey. You can always refuse but I advise you should try it at least once. You are getting to test software that everyone else doesn’t have access to and you have an influence on how it will look when its released. Some surveys require you to agree to a non-disclosure agreement. It’s not that you will be pouring over national secrets but some are company confidential. Now for the money. Global Test Market award points for each survey. I am normally suspicious of these schemes that award points rather than hard currency but they do explain in the same page how this converts. The points are: Answering a survey: 50 Answering a survey with a Disclosure Agreement: 100 Participating in a focus group: 100 For each referral: 20 These convert to 1000 points to $50 or about £37. This sounds great but here is the problem: There are very few surveys at the moment. These projects suffer from Catch 22. That is, without enough registered people they cant entice companies and ... 16/08/2001 sold - New press release Bluecarrots have just issued a press release. Due to mounting debts they have been sold for a little under 7ook pounds due to rising debts! This means that the share scheme is now defunct and your shares are worth nothing. While Bluecarrots is not a bad shopping and competition portal its big crowd puller was free shares. Without these I can only see a future for it if it is integrated fully into's ISP site. How else can you draw traffic to an already saturated market? The statement says: "Blue Carrots plc has sold the assets of its business to Affinity Internet Holdings plc. This will provide Blue Carrots members with an ongoing service and community. The sale includes the portal, along with all commercial contracts and the existing staff and equipment. Affinity Internet Holdings is paying an effective total of £692,000 for the assets, in a combination of Affinity Internet Holdings shares and also shares in the new Affinity portal subsidiary which owns Breathe. Mr Dean-Smith, Chairman of Blue Carrots plc, said, "In order to be a successful growing business in today's environment, Blue Carrots needed to be part of a larger group, to give economies of scale and to allow the content and services to be developed for members. Affinity will be able to provide that scale. "We are now considering the options for Blue Carrots plc going forward. Blue Carrots plc has substantial debts, so there are unlikely to be any surplus cash ...
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