Today I very nearly spent £29 on a Nook eReader. £29 on an eReader? That’s ridiculous - ridiculously low! When I bought my first (and last) eReader, the Sony PRS300 pictured left I paid £170. £170 on an eReader? That’s the price you pay for being an early adopter.
In the few years since I bought the Sony very little has changed with the basic functionality. The Sony has a smaller screen and no wifi but on the plus side it is beautifully made out of metal rather some plastic and it doesn’t have a store front pushing content at me.
I was really tempted by the Nook but in the end I am only a casual reader and so even at £29 I really couldn’t justify the investment. And I probably haven’t had a return on my £170 investment yet!
Looking on the BBC website this morning I saw something that looked pretty familiar.
I knew that I had seen this image of the opening of the George W. Bush Library, or something very similar, recently.
And then I remembered, it was the opening of the Francis J. Underwood Library on Netflix’s House of Cards.
I’d choose Spacey over Bush for President any day.
For some reason Reading doesn’t seem to attract many big name bands to play in the town, probably because it is so close and easy to get to London where everyone plays. So that Simple Minds played here was a big deal.
It was odd turning out to the Hexagon last Thursday to find queues to get into the theatre, bouncers on the door and the most stage I have ever seen there – in order to accommodate all the band all the curtains had been stripped away to reveal a surprisingly large area. The stature of the band was also reflecting in the tickets prices with this being the most I have ever paid to see someone in Reading.
I have seen the band play once before and was impressed, as I was this time, with their appreciation of the audience, they genuinely seemed grateful that people had bothered to come out and support them. There also didn’t seem to be any trace of arrogance in Jim Kerr as he swaggered across the stage gladly posing for pictures and waving to all sections of the crowd. Perhaps he was before or is backstage but no in front of the crowed.
As for the music this was a greatest hits tour after all and so we were treated to a walkthrough of the biggest numbers from their back catalogue, simply magic!
As part of a health kick this year I have been getting out on my bike a couple of times a week. This has been around the relatively quiet roads and cycleways of the place I live on the outskirts of Reading. However, one day a week I go to the office in central London which involves a short tube journey from Paddington to Farringdon followed by a short walk to the office. On the walk I pass a docking station for Boris’ bikes (not sure why Boris has got the acclaim for them as I am pretty sure that they were an initiative of his predecessor Ken) and have often been tempted to give them a go. Yesterday I finally did.
To use the bikes you pay both an access fee and a timed charge, although the first 30 minutes are free. In theory the journey from Farringdon to Paddington is three miles and therefore should take under the thirty minutes meaning that I can use the bike for only the £2 access fee. So I had my helmet and my membership key and so I was ready to go.
My biggest concern with using the bikes was that I might get lost – travelling underground means that you have no idea where anything is or even which direction you are travelling in. To get round this I used the satnav on my phone which headphones so that it could bark instructions to me. Here came my first problem – the satnav had difficult locking onto a satellite and so got confused and sent me round in circles. After half an hour I found myself pretty much back where I started from.
During this time I had also discovered that the bike had a mind of its own when it came to the gears (of which there are three). I would be in one gear when the bike would decide to just dump me into another gear that it felt like using. Suddenly I would find that my feet were spinning round at far too many RPMs and I would have to readjust both my feet and the gears.
Next issue is that London is a busy city, it is everyman for himself on the roads and taxi drivers in particular don’t seem to give a shit about cyclists. So when I found myself on Oxford Street with nothing but busses and taxi drivers I feared for my life. As it happened I was more in danger of being knocked off by inattentive tourists who simply step out into the road. One slight advantage of travelling down Oxford Street is that it is wide and relatively quieter as there aren’t any cars, it’s a moot point though. The disadvantage is that your right in amongst the fumes which somewhat negates the health benefits of being on the bike in the first place.
I arrived at Paddington somewhat later that I had planned having done an extra mile trying to orientate myself. It was then that I came upon my final problem which was that there wasn’t a docking station free. Now I had read up on this and seen that in this instance you can simply goto the control point and it will tell you where the nearest free docking station is and also add 15 minutes to your free time to allow you to get there. Problem was, again, I couldn’t work out where I was and which way I need to go to get to the docking station wasting yet another five minutes.
By the time that I sat down on the train I was hot, bothered and had “helmet hair” but also had the smug satisfaction that I had at least made it in one piece and got some exercise to boot. I will try again next week but this time will try and memorise the route!
For years I have been using the bit before the @ in my email address to generate unique email address for company signups to help monitor spam. So, for example, I might use email@example.com for Apple, firstname.lastname@example.org for Samsung and so on. In addition to this I would also always ensure that I ticked the box that said I didn’t want any contact from third parties.
The reason for this approach is that I could then monitor whether a company passed on my email address to a third party and I would know who had.
As I say I have been doing this for years and until recently I hadn’t found anyone that had abused my email address. But now I have found a large number of third party, spam, emails all to the same email address: email@example.com. O2 being one of the mobile telephone operators that I had an account with a few years ago when I gor my first iPhone.
So the question is what I do now? I could contact O2 directly but I don’t think that they will give a shit or maybe I should just go directly to the ICO and register a complaint with them.
Either way it is interesting that in all the years of taking this approach this is the first time I have found anyone that has abused my personal details so I guess that I should be grateful for that.