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Jobsite.co.uk is another recruitment website, with the same features as many others, but its major strength seems to be the feature which lets you post your cv for companies and agencies to see, and the sheer number of agencies using the site. I decided to look for a new job in february, and had jobsite recommended to me. I was looking for a job in web design, which I would assume is ideal for job hunting online, and I've got 4 years experience and a pretty good cv, so my experience is probably a 'best case scenario' for a site like this, but the response I got was incredible! I got a response for every job I applied for. Most are posted by agencies, so if they think they can find you a job they'll get in touch even if the particular job has gone, and I got interviews for almost every job I was put in for, far more than I actually applied for! I also put my cv on the site for potential employers, and again got a huge response, but again mostly from agencies. The service I got from the agencies was variable, and you have to be very careful if you use more than one to ensure yu're not put in for the same job by several agencies, as employers don't like this much! (I certainly don't - its asking for trouble if you do employ someone, as every agency which submitted them is likely to want paying!) The site itself is pretty easy to use, and contains a lot of useful advice, especially on things like writing an effective cv. The feature letting you request an email list of new, suitable jobs was quite dodgy, turning up intermitently and with a lot of useless jobs, and the search facility turned up quite a lot of 'false' results as well, but there were some real gems in there as well, so its well worth the effort of wading through the lists. The end result of using the site was, well, I got a superb job! It required very little effort on my part, apart from answering my phone a lot in the weeks after I put my cv online, and I got interviews with a lot of the top agencies in London and elsewhere, and a lot of interesting smaller companies and start-ups, which was really all I could have asked for. I would really recommend this site to anyone looking for a new job, especially if they are in the internet/IT industry - you've really got nothing to lose, except the expense of getting to all the interviews, and a lot of sleep trying to work out which job offer to accept!
Userfriendly is a daily cartoon strip (a bit like dilbert) set in a small american Internet Service Provider. I'm sure most people, or at least most internet-ish people (lots of in-jokes) would find this funny, but anyone who has ever worked for a smallish ISP, or who has ever had problems with their provider, and wondered exactly how they manage to be so useless, will find it hilarious! I worked for Plusnet/Force9 for about 2 years, from its first wobbly days back in 97, and the similarities are amazing. The running jokes are the inability of anyone, or any male, working with the internet, to act in a normal way or form normal releationships - that and the usual sharply observed gates-baiting. The caricatures of the techies are spot on, as the author would prboably class himself with them, as are the management and marketing bods - the main character is a web designer (ie me!) and I wouldn't say he's too accurate, but then thats me - and the problems he gets are spot on! The site also functions as a UNIX community, with bulletin boards etc, and its important to remember its an insider taking the mickey - meaning the jokes are deadly accurate, very funny, but not offensive in their ignorance, like a lot of geek jokes could be. All I can say is check ou www.userfriendly.org, you may hate it, you may love it, but you'll learn a hell of a lot about your ISP. It may also help next time you're being patronised, ignored or fobbed off by their tech support to go look at some of the strips and gain an insight into their (often) sad little lives!
I've bought about 10 books from amaon over the last year or so, and I've been incredibly impressed! Every book they said they had in stock arrived within 2 days, most were waiting for me the enxt day when i got home from work, and even out of stock and special orders arrived within 2 weeks, and the prices are great. I can't comment on anything but books, and to be honest I'm having trouble writing a balanced opinion, as I just haven't had any problems. The reader reviews are also very useful - if, of course you take them with a pinch of salt! Features like telling you what people who bought the book you're looking at also bought are again very useful - especially on reference books, these 2 features often lead you to a far better book than the one you are looking for!
Jeff Noon must be one of the most original authors writing today. He's put his own original spin on cyberpunk, replacing a computer generated virtual world with one that is more a shared halucination, where most of the world (not just humans but dogs, 'shadows' and robots, and any conceivable mix of them populate his world) have replaced all traditional forms of entertainment or drugs with feathers, which take you to the vurt, where anything is possible - but if you take the black market feathers then death in the vurt means you don't come back. All 3 of his books that I've read have been set in Manchester in the near future (knowing the streets he writes about adds a new dimension for me as well), an area where the bounary between the real and vurt is especially thin (explains a lot about the place!), and deal with a new problem - the virtual world is sick of being virtual. It wants into the real one. I won't spoil anyones fun by revealing any plots, and his novels might not appeal to all, but if you like cyberpunk or any kind of near future sci-fi then you should check him out - start with Vurt, the first novel, and the rest will be easier to grasp stright away, although I think Pollen is slightly better.
Well, most of the opinions here seem to be divided between people who've got their CD and love it, and people who haven't, and hate it. I've found the third way - I got my CD months ago, before I even moved into my new flat, let alone got organised enough to get a phone line in. About 2 weeks ago I finally sorted out a landline, and ever since I've been trying to register, which is currently impossible. The NTL World server status page says: "Registration Problems Some customers may currently be experiencing problem with registration. Our technicians are aware of the problem and working to resolve this issue. We apologise for any inconvenience caused." Most of the time. Occasionally it claims they've fixed the problem, but thats a lie, frankly. I've rung them (After 10 minutes where they tried to convince me I should be ringing their premium rate number I got 'we're aware of the problem, try again in an hour') I've emailed them repeatedly (No response at all) And frankly its getting ridiculous. NTL are losing money as I can't use their phone service either, which is the most stupid thing. Judging by most of the rest of the reviews, once you're on NTL are great, but if you're thinking about them, don't bank on ever finding out.
I've only used easyjet once, but it was one of the easiest and most trouble-free buying experiences on the net I've had. The website is very easy to use, working in an intuitive way and letting you search different airports and dates at the same time - great for spur of the moment breaks, as i used it for. Once you've paid you just need to print the page (although they also send you a copy of all the info you need) and take it to the airport. The prices are the best I found from the UK to amsterdam - I paid about £80 for a return with tax, despite booking in the height of summer for a weekend departure the week before (easyjet is cheaper the earlier you book, as they increase prices as the aircraft fills, rewarding early bookers rather than penalising them by offering reductions later as most do) Check in at Luton was easy and quick, staff friendly and helpful (like delaying the flight until I turned up, having lost track of time slightly running into an old friend in the pub...) and the flight arrived on time (despite me!) - returning from amsterdam was just as easy, and they're kind enough to not give you any airline food, which is a big selling point, especially on a budget flight. If the flight was more than an hour the lack of legroom would probably have taken its toll, but airlines charging twice as much have the same problem - and make you eat their food!
I've been very impressed! I've only used the service once, the website didn't work too well and they got my order slightly wrong, but the convenience and (pretty unique for a website) really good customer service more than made up for the problems. It actually took me about half an hour longer than it should have to place my order, as there were quite a few problems with the site, pages not loading, pages missing - so much so that I had to switch from IE5 to netscape, back to ie and then back to netscape to complete the order. How many people would have done this, or would have recognised various bugs and switched browsers to get round them I don't know, but their technical support were very good, and actually knew what they were talking about, rather than just reading answers from their screens - and to be honest my PC needs a good kicking anyway, and they provide a CD to put your order togther offline, which is on the way. I ordered on thursday afternoon for delivery on friday between 7 and 9, and then remembered about 2pm on the friday I had to go out at 7:30, so I rang Tesco to see if i could get the delivery time moved, but was told as my goods had been picked they coudn't do this. They did however say they would ask the driver to ring me before planning his route to see if he could fit me in first, which he did, delivering everything to my door at about 10 past 7. My order was about 95% right, but whoever had picked the frozen goods must have had a long day - I ordered oven chips, potato wedges and roasting potatos, and received microchips and ice lollies! The packaging on some pasta was also broken. When I rang to report this, I was given the choice of either having the correct goods delivered at a time of my choosing or the money refunded - keeping the incorrect items either way. When the local store rang to make delivery arrangments they said they would also refund my £5 delivery charge. So in summary, they obviously have teething troubles (my local store in sheffield has only just started offering the service) but the customer service to back the service up more than makes up for it. Anyway, they probably got much closer to what I wanted than I do when i go to a supermarket, and I must have saved about £20 because I didn't buy anything because I liked the packaging ar decided it might be interesting!
If there's one thing more annoying than the lack of respect PC users have for macs (see mac daddy) is the way mac users haven't noticed that Windows has actually caught up with macOS - not through acually being good or anything, but through apple having a bit of a nightmare figuring out what to do with their next OS and generally losing the plot. Both have their good points and bad points - yep, PCs are buggy, beige, ugly and that git gates makes money out of them, but macs are buggy, overdesigned (they look fabulous, but try using the new mouse, or using a floppy disk, or upgrading an Imac monitor) and steve jobs makes money from them, and lets be honest, he might have helped invent the mac, but he's also a git. I think Apple users might be in for a shock as well - if you want a look at what mac OSs will look like in years to come, check out quicktime or sherlock - imitation walkman interfaces with no thought to experienced users and using them over the long term are what Steve Jobs sees as the way forward, and the old MacOS interface team and Bruce Tognazzini aren't there any more. I think I'm in a pretty good position to judge, as I design websites, and I've used both OS's a lot, and I've got to design for both as well. At the end of the day, both have good and bad points - PCs have loads of software, but the only stuff Mac users don't get that's actually useful are specialist applications - accounts packages etc - and Access. Macs look great , are very powerful and are easier to learn, but are also very expensive and have far less software and games and fewer peripherals. If you're new to computers and loaded, and don't want to play games or design websites, I'd buy a mac, but for games, general use, those wanting power on a limited budgetor anyone wanting to 'share' software its gotta be a PC. Basically, make your own mind up, don't listen to advice from those who can't see both sides of the equation!
To the best of my knowledge nobody has yet come up with a good reason for cannabis to be illegal. The favourites seem to be either a) Of course it should be illegal. Its illegal. b) It leads to harder drugs. Only William '14 pints a night' Hague (and jack 'who's son?' straw) would consider a, and people who believe b seem to be missing the point. Of course it leads to harder drugs. Quite literally. If you go to a dealer to buy it, they will most likely also have other drugs, therefore anyone who wants a smoke will get pills, coke, possibly smack or crack offered to them. Aslo, the fact that people are criminalised for a spliff removes the 'I don't want to break the law' barrier as they already have, making harder drugs seem as harmless as weed. Quite why it hasn't occured to anyone in 'authority' (I use the word loosely) that legalising cannabis (not decriminalisation) would remove the link between smoking and seeing dealers/breaking the law is a mystery. Perhaps it has, and the politicians are hiding from reality because they still think legalisation is a vote loser in middle class suburbia where elections in the UK are (tragically) won and lost. I think its about time politicians took a step back from petty back biting and pettier vote grabbing and looked at the drugs problem in the UK realistically. Heroin users are responsible for the vast majority of burglary, muggings etc in this country and Jack Straw decides to crack down on drunks (Mr Hague?)because they're visible on the streets, not hidden, so there's votes in it, without a thought for actual results. If the government would just set up a royal (therefore politically independant) commission to look at real facts then maybe we could actually solve problems, not react to them. One last bit of balance though (just a bit!) - anyone who says cannabis is not habit forming or addictive is wrong. It is - much less so than most other drugs, but it still is, and it would be foolish to ignore the potential cancer problems, especially the deep rooted lung cancer caused by drawing the smoke in deeply for a long time. And of course the way we smoke in the UK, with tobacco, can cause tobacco addiction. Like almost anything which changes the way you think, sense or act it has risks. And of course it can lead to laziness above and beyond the call of duty.
I often look at a TV listing and find myself wondering what is going through the tiny little minds of these TV executives when they make their decisions. Its been bugging me for a while, but the Ali G show on Channel 4 really broke new ground for downright stupidity above and beyond the call of duty! If you missed it, it was a damn good comedy show, I won't review it here, but it was scheduled at 11PM on friday night. Exactly when a lot, probably most, of its potential viewers were in the pub or a club. I can't imagine what advantage 11pm has over, say, 11:30, on a friday night, in fact it bugs me constantly when the best shows for young people are put on when they're least likely to be in (South Park, for instance.) So Channel 4 have a brainwave. Lets repeat it, so everyone that wasn't in when it was on the first time gets to see it, advertisers get the people with most disposable income, everyones happy. So when do they repeat it? What time do they pick, when everyone who wasn't in at 11pm on friday will be? 11pm saturday. I saw 2 episodes that friends video'd, about the same as everyone else I know, despite the fact we all loved the show! I really can't comprehend the sheer idiocy of the man who decided to put the repeat on the day after, at the same time, on the other night of the week when the most people go out. Ali G is probably the best example, but there's plenty more. The worst thing is its commercial companies, who depend on advertising, who are the worst culprits, constantly putting, for instance, TV aimed at 18-25 year olds, supported by advterising for beer, pizza, aftershave, general FMCG stuff, when those people are least likely to be in, especially those with a high disposable income/who like to spend regardless. Unless its some undercover plot by Jack Straw to stop people drinking. And stay in getting stoned instead, I guess.
God I hate it. I don't mean successful music, I mean anything which was made to make money, not because the artist likes it. Even if I hate a song, its got artistic value if its been crafted from love, rather than mass produced from the boy band/american ballad/souless R&B/endless identical trance production lines that Radio 1 and the rest can't see past. Wouldn't it be nice to hear all the songs/tunes crafted with genuine talent and commitment that nobody will give a chance to. I you can wade past the thousands of useless pap on sites like Mp3.com there are tracks that blow almost anything in the charts out of the water, because record companies won't touch anyone innovative, with a new sound. If it can't be categorised and marketed to a certain group of people, they won't sign it. So hopefully, they'll die!
NY Sushi at the Unit in Sheffield is a good night, one of the best jungle night in the north and plenty of variety with hip hop, beats and all sorts downstairs, but it should be much better. The Unit is too small, with nowhere to chill, and the promoters let far too many people in, and the door staff have more attitude than any outside the hacienda in the early 90s (Now they were evil sons of bitches). It used to be at the music factory (now Bed), a far better venue, with more space to dance, chill, snog, drink, gurn, whatever you wanted, and a far happier, friendlier atmosphere. In fact, if Remedy, the new Friday night at Bed, played more drum and bass and jungle to complement the good variety they've got now, it'd be the dogs.
browsers suck. No doubt about it. Because Microsoft and Netscape decided to do their own thing with their version 2 and 3 browsers, and netscape still haven't released anything resembling a standard compliant browser, web deisgners (should) spend at least 1/3 of their time making sure sites work for everyone. This means the sites you see are nowhere near as good as they should be, and clients either pay 1/3 more than they should, or get 1/3 less site for their money. Part of me likes the challenge, and the fact it is so bloody hard to produce genuinley good websites, but knowing what would be possible if ie and netscape even supported HHTML 4 and CSS1 (standards that have been around since before version 4 browsers) let alone the latest standards, is so frustrating - but if most of you guys who use sites saw the stuff we can do, but that only 50% of you could use, you'd be as mad as us! so go to www.webstandards.org, sign their petition, and check out www.w3c.org and see what could be possible... But I've got to point out, they are getting there, and the more people use ie5, or netscape 6 when it comes out, the better the web will be for everyone!
Both the government and petrol companies share blame for the insane prices we have to pay in this country. The companies are happy enough to pass on any rise in crude oil price with interest, but when that price goes down, do they pass it on? The government hides a ridiculous taxation policy behind fake concern for the environment and avoiding investment in roads, while making no effort to improve public transport. The net result of all this is that it cost me so much to run my car, used mostly for getting to and from work, that I had to get rid of it and get on public transport. Which is not nice. At all. Surely the government and industry must realise that we won't stand for the most expensive cars and petrol in the world here much longer.
why does it seem to be so hard to make a mobile phone with a built in MP3 player? It seems so obvious, and if WAP was built in the phone companies would make so much money from online time downloading that they could subsidise them to the same sort of £20/£30 price a good phone is now - I know samsung are going to release one, but its not WAP, so it won't be subsidised. I've always got my mobile with me, and if i could play MP3s - downloaded or ripped from CDs (hope the record companies read this, it'll give them something else to bleat about) I'd switch phone tommorow...