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It is beyond me why this show has been consigned to a teatime slot on BBC2 (currently 5.15pm - 6.00pm). Apart from Who Wants to be a Millionaire, I think this is undoubtedly the best quiz show on TV. The show starts with nine contestants arranged in a semi-circle with the host, Anne Robinson, in the middle asking the questions. The twist in this show is that right up until the final round, the contestants are required to work as a team. I am unsure if this particular concept has been used before, but it certainly works for me. The questions are nothing too taxing, but I am sure when stood there in front of the cameras with all the lights it is a very daunting experience. In each round there is £1000 up for grabs. This is increased to £3000 in the last of the eight rounds. The total prize money is £10,000 which would be a tidy little sum, but the usual amount that is won is usually around £2500. In each round the contestants are asked questions in turn. If a question is answered correctly the amount of money won goes up £20 - £50 - £100 and so on. The sting in the tail though is that the team don't actually get to keep the money until it is 'banked'. This means that as well as trying to answer questions correctly the contestants also have to decide the best time to bank the cash. A wrong answer and they lose the unbanked dosh. At the end of the round all of the contestants are asked to vote off the person that they think is of least benefit to the team. The voting can be quite an eye opener at times. Contestants can be voted as 'the weakest link' for a number of reasons. Wrong answers are the obvious one, but their are other reasons like taking too long to answer or not banking in time and losing the money. There is even a fair amount of tactical voting in the later stages that would put the ratings wars on dooyoo to shame. When a contestant is voted off they have to take an embarrasing walk through the middle of the others, with the cameras zoomed in on their face. Personally I can think of nothing worse. When they get into the back studio they are asked what they thought of being voted off, and also who they think should go next. This is a chance for them to be really bitchy and is sometimes a good laugh. When the first eight rounds are over, the two remaining contestants go head to head to try and win the full pot of money. The loser gets nothing. The final round is like a penalty shoot out in football. Five questions each, and the best out of five wins. If it is a draw after five questions they go to sudden death. Anne 'face like a bulldog chewing a wasp' Robinson is just perfect for the role of presenter. Her put-on abrupt manner is supposed to bring a bit of tension and excitement, but personally I just think she is just hilarious to listen to. One really annoying thing about the show is the bloke that comes in at the end of each round as a 'voice over'. He gives statistics for the round like who was the strongest/weakest link, who banked the most etc. The problem that I have with him is that he usually always finishes with 'but will the team realise this'. It is so predictable and is starting to really annoy me. If you are not doing anything important at 5.15pm this is a great bit of light relief. I am sure it will be successful and find its way to a more prime time slot eventually.
It's high time that the BBFC and their ilk were reminded that we are now into the 21st century. I think we all agree that some form of censorship is essential to keep such evils as child pornography off our screens, but the current set-up is just totally ridiculous at times. Supposedly we would all be running about raping, pillaging and murdering at will if it wasn't for the choppings of the BBFC. Well, for me anyway, that leaves a slight area of concern. If these scenes are so bad then we better keep a close eye on the censors themselves. THEY have just watched the scenes that have been cut, surely a rampage from the aforementioned is now inevitable? No, of course not - and why not, because these scenes do NOT drive us to commit crime simply because we have watched them. Last night I sat and watched Reservoir Dogs for the ??th time, I do not now have an overwhelming desire to go out and cut someones ear off. The type of person who would go out and chop somebodys ear off just because they seen it in a film is obviously deranged to start with. If it wasn't ear chopping I am sure it would be something else, and possibly much nastier, which would satisfy their phsycotic tendencies. We are living in an ever changing world. What is ethical or socially acceptable today might not have been so forty years ago. Homosexuality, single parents, sex before marriage, drug misuse, mixed race/religion marriages - the list goes on and on. These are all things that our Grandparents would not even have spoken about. Today though they are all commonplace things that do not merit a second thought. Times and attitudes move on, and our tolerance of certain things moves on too. Why is it that we should be 'permitted' to hear the 'f' word and not the 'c' word on our TVs? Why should we be allowed to see the inside of a womans vagina in a medical context but not in a sexual context? Why should we be able to see a flacid penis but not an erect one? Well the simple answer is because some old out of touch fuddy duddy people are imposing their views on every single one of us. First and foremost what is needed is a clear out of the people that make the decisions. Get in some young people who know what society is all about today, not some old farts that still think we are living in the fifties. Bring in tougher rules about what information should be made avilable to potential viewers. But above all - it is time we made up our own minds about what is right and wrong for us as individuals.
I must confess to not being able to get enough of Dublin, so much so that I flew over three times last year. If you are looking for the 'real' Ireland and the whole 'Blarney Stone' type of thing then Dublin should be avoided at all costs. Make no mistake, this is a city like any other in Europe. There are slums, drug addicts, vandalism, beggars etc. etc. But the good points of Dublin can lift it head and shoulders above the other cities. One great thing about the city centre is that it is so small compared to most other cities. Just about everything is within walking distance. A couple of hours stroll round the city will bring you to just about all of the tourist attractions. Anything that is not actually within easy walking distance can be easily reached by bus (places like Phoenix Park)/ The people in Dublin are among the friendliest you will find anywhere. If you are not the chatty type you should avoid even making a passing comment to the natives. A simple request for directions can lead to you gaining a friend for life!! If you are not really into the whole tourist thing, there are still many reasons for going to Dublin. The shopping facilities are excellent, particularly if you are a reader since there seems to be a bookshop on every corner. The pubs outwith the main tourist centres are excellent and very friendly. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle for a while, the Wicklow Mountains are a short drive to the south and well worth a visit. I love Dublinas a short break destination, I am sure you will too.
After tonight me and Tesco are finished. I have used Tesco for several years now, the reasons being quite simple. Tesco is not the nearest Supermarket to me, nor is it the cheapest - but it is (sorry WAS) definately the quickest. I used to pop in and grab a few essentials and be back out in a couple of minutes - but not tonight. I needed cigarettes (yes, I really should stop) and popped into Tesco. While I was in I grabbed a carton of milk and headed to the cigartette counter. This is something that I have done many times before, buying my fags and one or two other items, and paying at the cigarette counter. Not tonight though. I was told that I had to go and pay at one of the shop tills. This would have been OK, but I had no money and planned to use my switch card. It seemed a bit much to have to put one carton of milk through on a switch card so I tried to reason with them. No chance, if I wanted milk I had to go to the other counter. Apart from anything else they were creating double work for their own staff, but anyway, over I went to the shop checkouts. Three checkouts manned and four or five people at each. I stayed in the queue and paid for my milk with my switch card (pretty embarrassing eh!). I then went back to the cigarette counter for my fags. Handed over the switch card and it got refused by their machine. I asked her to try again but she just said I would need to contact my branch. But I have just used it at your other till, I know there is money in the account, please try again. NEXT PLEASE!! That was three hours ago now, I needed time to calm down because I was absolutely fuming. I thought once I calmed down I would see their point or something, but I just can't. If this is their idea of customer service then they have just lost themselves one very loyal customer. I will not be back in Tesco.
Grab yourself a Yahoo e-mail address before they run out. As a free e-mail service it is very difficult to beat Yahoo. I really can't pick fault with them at all (unlike their serch engine which is garbage!). The interface is very user friendly, and if you are into chat or clubs etc. one login ID covers all of Yahoo's services. The downside now is that the service is so popular it is difficult to get a meaningful name. The great thing about using a Yahoo address used to be that you could get your mail from any computer. This is not really as important now since the introduction of several mail to web services, but Yahoo can still be very useful. As a webmaster I have an e-mail address that I use as a public address on the web when entering competitions etc.. Obviously over time a public e-mail address can become attached to all manner of spam mailing lists etc. I simply re-direct any mail for this address to my Yahoo address. This means I can leave my personal e-mail client free for my own use wthout having to wade through piles of nonsense every day. As free e-mail services go this is definately up there at the top of the list.
Well, I have now been a member for over a week and what else can I say other than this is quite simply a brilliant site. For me the chance to get paid for writing my opinion is really a bonus since it is something that I enjoy doing anyway. More than actually making money from writing an opinion, I find that reading other peoples opinions is very enjoyable. This is particularly useful if you are thinking about buying something, but it also gives you an opportunity to read about things that you don't already know about. There is so much more to dooyoo than simply reading and writing opinions though. The chance to make commentaries on other peoples, and even your own, opinions is a really nice touch. The circle of friends utility makes it easy to find someone whos opinions you value, and they to find you. The Community Service section helps to remind you what opinions you have wrote commentaries on, and which ones you have rated. One thing that I have noticed is that even although they are paying double miles for writing, the opinions are usually well written and greatly exceed the 75 word minimum. I must say that personally I usually don't bother to read an opinion if it is very short, I am sure that ANY subject deserves more than 75 words. I have not been a member long enough to have made enough money to actually claim it, but I am sure that it will be very handy when I do. The chance to choose between cash and vouchers is really good. Personally I think I will choose vouchers because the cash would just go on shopping or whatever, with vouchers I can get myself a treat - but the choice is there which is a great touch. I could probably go on for quite a while yet about how good dooyoo is, but I don't want to appear like a crawler ;) I can only say that if you are already a member then you will know how good it is, and if you are not a member ... well what are you waiting for?
I have been reading the .net mag for a few years now and have recently took out a subscription. Prior to this I was buying it from the supermarket each month, but it is so good I was scared that I might miss an issue. The magazine is written in such a manner that it is useful for new users as well as serious 'net heads'. There is no technical talk when plain English will do, and the whole thing is written with a sprinkling of humour. There are numerous reviews of web-sites, new software etc. and the Q&A sections are particularly useful. But perhaps the best thing about the mag is the cover disc. Most cover discs are full of demos and shareware, but .net consistantly brings top quality full versions of products such as Macromedia Dreamweaver. I read every issue from cover to cover and the help that it has given me in building my web-site has been invaluable. One last thing before I finish ... I found out about dooyoo from .net - something for which I will be eternally grateful.
I really can't believe how much I enjoy this show. When it started I thought that it would be the biggest lot of nonsense and decided not to even bother watching it. My wife thought otherwise, and because she was watching it I found myself getting steadily drawn in. I think what has kept me interested is definately the more controversial characters like Nick and Nichola. But now that Nick has gone and Nichola is up for the boot tonight I don't know how much longer I will stay interested. We are slowly but surely getting to a stage where it is only the most boring people that are left. I know that most of the remaining contestants are nice people, but can they really provide the entertainment that we want? The decision to install a new housemate is pretty bizarre in my opinion. There are many reasons for thinking this, such as: a new person will know exactly what each of the housemates are REALLY like, they will have seen the private moments and will know who has voted for who etc. I think that in light of Nicks' scheming no-one should have been evicted this week. If the two nominees were genuinely the best two to be chosen then they will be chosen again next week anyway. I hope that I am wrong, but I cannot see the remaining people providing such rivetting entertainment. We definately need people like 'Nasty Nick' to liven the show up.
It is with very mixed emotion that I write this opinion. I have had many a great night out in the Counting House, and have some great memories of being there with good company ... but I hate the atmosphere in the pub. The Pub is situated in a very impressive old building which used to be a bank (hence the name), slap bang in the middle of the city centre. The close proximity to the main train and bus stations makes it an ideal meeting place for work nights out etc. and is the main reason that I have visited it so often. The pub is part of the JD Wetherspoon chain, and as far as prices go it certainly lives up to the Wetherspoon's policy of providing cheap food and drink. So already I have said - great nights out in a nice looking, centrally located pub with cheap food and drink. You are probably by now thinking "what more does this guy want?" (I am actually beginning to convince myself that it's not that bad !!). The problem for me is definately the lack of music. Don't get me wrong, I like a pub where you can have a chat with your friends, and in a small local a lack of music is actually a big bonus. The problem is that the Counting House is not a small local pub. This place is massive, I don't know how many people it holds but it must be at least 500. On a Friday or Saturday night the pub is full to bursting and the drone of voices would drive you insane. As the night goes on, and people take advantage of the cheap booze, the noise gets louder and louder until you can hardly hear yourself think. Loud music can be annoying at times, but not half as annoying as the constant drone of 500 voices. After a couple of hours I usually end up with a splitting headache (no - that is not caused by the booze!). The place also get unbearably hot at times, and there are not too many seats so you end up standing all night. I will now change into daytime mode because the pub is not all bad. For a sp ot of lunch or a quick drink during the day this pub is ideal. Daytime does not have the same volume of punters, and the noise is not really noticable at all. For a cheap lunch in the city centre it is definately very hard to beat. Before I close I will mention one last point. The drink may be cheap, but that does not necessarily make it good. The draught beer in this pub is crap so whatever you do you should stick to bottled beers. Better still, why not try some of their excellent cocktails, cheap and very tasty.
Everyone takes virus protection seriously, but have you thought about security? Many people have only recently started to take notice of the serious security holes in Microsoft operating systems. The MS operating systems have been designed to allow easy networking of computers - and there is no bigger network than the Internet. There are many ways in which someone could gain access to your computer - but Zone Alarm will prevent most of them. I really don't mean to scaremonger here, and things are not all gloomy. It is still very unlikely that someone will try to get access to your computer, but better safe than sorry. There are quite a few 'personal firewall' programs available, and in my opinion Zone Alarm is one of the best. What makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest is that it is completely free. The program itself has many good features such as a pop-up window which will tell you when something is trying to access your computer. It will also tell you when a program on your machine is trying to connect to the 'net. After a while though you will get fed-up with the pop-ups and just turn them off. This allows the program to work away in the background with very little impact on your system resources. If you don't have Zone Alarm then you should pop along to their site and grab a copy since there is nothing to lose by installing it. You never know, it may be well worth it in the long run.
Send in the police - Yahoo is an imposter. Well let's face it, it must be an imposter because it certainly bears no resemblance to the Yahoo of two years ago. What used to be the best way of finding good quality web sites has degenerated into a total shambles. I run a web site and despite many tries to get listed I have been unsuccessful. Sour grapes on my part you might think, but that is certainly not the case. I am part of an organisation which has almost 200 webmasters as members, and NONE of them can get new sites listed on Yahoo. In fact I can't even remember the last time that I actually heard of someone I know getting listed. That means that as technology advances and new and better sites come on-line all the time, Yahoo is still giving you the search results that you would have got two years ago. To put it bluntly the best sites on the 'net are no longer getting a listing on Yahoo. The other really bad thing about yahoo is the amount of dead links and sites that have not been updated for several years. Unfortunately this is still one of the most used sites for searches, I hope that this opinion will encourage people, especially new users, to try some of the other search engines and directories (e.g. www.google.com). Yahoo is still useful for some of the other facilities that it provides such as e-mail, auctions etc. but as search facility it has died.
If the stories are to be believed then AllAdvantage may be about to go bust...but who's fault is that? AllAdvantage certainly was, if not still, the biggest p.a.y.s. program on the 'net. A sound idea and clever marketing brought them regularly into the top 20 most visit websites. So what has changed? The only way that a pay as you surf program can make, and therefor pay-out, money is through advertising revenue. So if AllAdvantage is in trouble it has to be assumed that the revenue coming in does not match that going out. But why do advertisers not want to pay to reach what is undoubtedly a very large number of people? As a user of AllAdvantage I am aware of many ways that the sytem can be cheated. I can honestly say that I do not use any of them, but if I am aware of them then I am positive that the advertisers are too. In the interest of clarity I will give a couple of examples (for illustrative purposes only, please do not use these techniques). These are only a tiny proportion of the type of way that the systems (not only AllAdvantage) can be cheated. 1) People with partitioned drives or LAN's can sign up multiple times using the address of their friends and family etc. These multiple sign-ups would be set up as referals in a sort of pyramid style to give maximum earnings. 2) Programs which move your mouse pointer or automatically flick between two seperate sites can be used to make it appear that you are actively surfing when you are not. Using these type of programs means you can go to bed while your account is being credited for hours of 'surfing'. As I say, these are only a fraction, and I apologise to AllAdvantage for bringing them to the attention of anyone who may use them. I felt that I had to quote them to get my point across - why would advertisers pay for their adverts to be shown in such a manner? If you are reading this and are one of the folk that use such techni ques I urge you to stop doing it. After many years of the Internet being an expensive hobby it is now possible to actually earn a bit of money from it. Please don't abuse this oppportunity because it will waste it for all of us. Before I close I would just like to say that I still use AllAdvantage and have yet to experience any difficulties with them. Sure, they may go bust but even if they do then what have you lost, probably no more than a few pounds. Why not stick with them because if no-one new joins, and people start to leave them then they will go bust for sure.
Deary deary me, why are people actually still falling for this con? If you are one of the people who continue to be taken in by this then I urge you to go and have a look again at the rules. Have a good look and see if you can find out how many are in each 'syndicate'. The truth is that one set of tickets is put on to be shared among EVERY single person that visits the site. I run a small local website and get at least 1000 unique hits every week - I can only imagine that this 'lottery' site gets at least ten times that amount (a very conservative estimate). So lets consider what you can win. Four numbers usually pays around £60, so if we share that among the 10,000 syndicate members they would each get 0.6 pence. Yes that's right - not even a penny. Oops sorry, I forgot that the site organisers take half of all winnings - so for four numbers you may not even get a third of a penny. They have never had four numbers yet!!! They say you get a free gift of £2 for joining, but you can't claim any money until you have at least a tenner in your account. Would you ever see the £2. I will leave you to work out the rest of the numbers for yourself, after pointing out that with an average jackpot of £8 million you could become a millionnaire through this site, but only as long as they win the jackpot 2500 times. They say that it is free, but in my opinion my time is more precious than the very very slim chance of winning a few pennies that they offer. It would probably take the same time to write a decent review on Dooyoo, and at least you know you will make money from that. If you don't believe any of this then why not send them an e-mail and ask them how many are in 'a syndicate', they wouldn't tell me - betcha they won't tell you either!!
Until fairly recently the sectarian troubles prevented me from wishing to spend too much time in Belfast. At the present time this has largely changed and the city is quite safe now. The one thing that sets Belfast apart from many other European cities is the friendliness of the people. As far as sights go there is really nothing too impressive in the city, perhaps with the exception of the magnificent City Hall. If you are interested in the 'other' side of Belfast it is not a problem for you to take a drive through the notorious ares such as the Falls and Shankhill roads. Whether or not you are sympathetic to either cause you cannot fail but be impressed by the wall murals on either side of the divide. One word of caution though - many of the more 'undesirable' areas are only a short stroll from the main shopping area, so make sure that you know exactly where you are or you could find yourself somewhere that you really shouldn't be. Remnants of the troubles can still be seen all over the city. Around the centre you can see the gates that closed the city centre off in times of trouble. You will not see any police cars either as they still drive around in armoured cars. The reputation that Belfast had in the past as a war torn place is no longer true. If you stick to the city centre you will have a wonderful and trouble-free time. The crime rate is actually lower than many other British cities and tourists are rarely affected by crime at all. All in all Belfast is a good city and well worth visiting.
What on earth are people thinking about when they support this boycott. Do they really believe that this will bring about any change in petrol prices. Contrary to popular belief the present Government are well educated people and I am sure that they know exactly how unhappy the public are with the price of petrol. For those that do want to voice their concens I am sure that a nationally organised petition would have much the same effect. Now lets have a look at the organisation of the boycott itself - talk about spin. These people would put the Labour Party to shame with the amount of lies and hysteria that they are drumming up. One commonly quoted figure is that a 1p rise in petrol prices costs the 'average' motorist £100 per year. If you look at the figures they just don't add up. To cost a motorist £100 at 1p per litre they would need to buy 10,000 litres per year. At the prices quoted in this forum (90p per litre!!!) the 'average' motorist would currently be spending a whopping £9000 PA on petrol. I consider myself to be an 'average' motorist and spend £35 per week on petrol. I do approximately 14,000 miles a year (which I believe is actually above the average). This costs me around £1800 per year, so where does the other £7200 come from? I believe that what they actually mean is that the increase in transport costs etc will lead to an increase in prices of other goods, but that is not what they are saying. They are praying on the naivity of people who do not have the common sense to work it out for themselves. Onto the actual boycott itself. Does anyone really believe that the sales of petrol over the week/month will be affected at all? Come off it, people will just buy petrol the day before or the day after. One thing that people are quoting is that high prices will force small petrol stations to close. But what about the loss of revenue for a full day each month? Most petrol stations do not make much of a profit from fuel sales anyway, the biggest revenue generator comes from the shop sales. If people are not stopping at the pumps then they are not buying their newspaper or milk or chocolate etc. from the station. Each day makes up over three percent of total sales, so a boycott is actually harming the petrol stations but not the Government or the oil companies. Another common comparison is with the USA. We are well informed that fuel is cheaper there, but no-one quotes the full picture. As I say, I spend £35 per week on fuel, a similar person in the US might spend £20. So why don't we add it to the cost of their medical insurance. For medical treatment AND fuel I pay £35 per week, Mr American pays at least £40 for medical and his £20 for fuel ... hey why did no-one tell me I was actually SAVING £25 per week. A loaf of bread in the US is about three times the cost that it is here etc. etc. Why don't we have a national campaign to boycott the bakers until they treble their prices. Why don't we have a national campaign to scrap the NHS so as we can pay £200 per month in medical bills? What exactly is it that the people of this country are wanting? At the last election the key issues for Joe Public were health, education and crime. I didn't hear anyone saying 'well I would rather have low petrol costs and less tax on alcohol so why not get rid of the schools hospitals and police force'. If the money does not come from petrol it HAS to come from somewhere else - you will be paying it to the government anyway. In my opinion petrol is fair game for taxation, a car for most people is a luxury. We can choose to walk or cycle to work, but if we don't want to get tired or wet then we take the car - that makes it a luxury item. Perhaps what needs to be looked at is some sort of rebate for haulage companies, foreign visitors, rural communities etc. But then again that would push the price up for the rest of us ... and we wouldn& #39;t want that would we!!