Search for 'rip off' on This is Money or Google for that matter and you'll be encouraged by Woolworths and Amazon.co.uk to visit their sites for a rip off.
OK, so it links to a DVD called Rip-Off but as my search coninutes for genuine offers it's worth bearing in mind that they're getting harder and harder to find - unless you want to buy stuff that you don't want.
It's been a while since I've had a 'fairly priced thing worth buying' to write about. Frankly, most recent offers have not been offers at all but cynical tricks to get the gullible to dispose what remains of their disposal income and credit card debt on crud.
Then this comes along: a pocket camcorder for not much more than the opportunity cost of trawling voucher sites all day for 10p off a tube of instant fish paste.
Ignoring the silly oxymoron that it boasts a 'large 2.5in screen' [in what world of augmented reality is six-point-three-five centimetres large?] the Kodak Zi8 is a real beauty. And it it's simple to use. The main criticism has been the fact that this is a basic camcorder. For normal people that should be a bonus.
Don't take my word for it.
Note to the world's morons: you don't have to make your characters swear, however tempting it may be. Have you any idea how difficult it has been trying to find an example of a movie this side of the language acceptability threshold?
Anyway, this site is fun (for about an hour). You can make a movie just by typing the script into the box. There are other tools to animate your movie and then you can post it on Youtube.
For another fine spending-free way to pass a lunch break from This is Not Work check out:
Calling all people with unusual names who haven't switched your Facebook URL to one bearing your name... you can still do it here:
The system was launched in the summer, says Woman Entrepreneur, so many of the more common names have been taken but if you're lucky you can change yours from the generic:
Earlier this week when the boss of Tesco announced that his company employs lots of thick people (at ironically about the same time it was revealed that Tesco plans to build a school), there was further irony to be had in witnessing how many spelling mistakes had slipped into the comments made by readers on both sides of the argument. It doesn't have to bee liek thiss.
If you use Firefox as your browser there is a built-in spell checker.
Or if, like most people, you use Internet Explorer then you should download this little spelling tool, which you can enable when you want to post an opinion without fear of your words moron blah.
Three clicks and one drag of the mouse and this fantastic little tool will provide you with an easy-to-read version of the article on the page. It's brilliant. Have a go...
The programme has been around for 67 years and yet only now is it available on the BBC's 'listen again' service - or, assuming one week online is a year in the old world, the equivalent of around 167 internet years.
For the uninitiated, Desert Island Discs sees famous people invited to Radio 4 to chat about their lives and choose a selection of music, a book and a pointless luxury to accompany them on a lonely sejour on a desert island. It's presented by Kirsty Young but the rights to the show still belong to the family of its erstwhile creator, Roy Plumley, who have now agreed a deal that allows licence payers to listen to repeats on the iPlayer and as a podcast.
The first show online features Kirtsy chatting to Barry Manilow. And coming up, according to Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer, 'I still yearn for Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama, Madonna, Arsene Wenger etc. etc. Stay tuned. We're trying.'
Listen to the first show this lunchtime. Here's Barry...
Bad news is that with the spending power of our pound abroad taking another sewer-bound turn, the chances of me attending are as likely as my team, AFC Wimbledon, winning the Champions League my lifetime.
Still, here's a great piece on 40 ways to download free music.
Definitely worth a read one lunchtime.Related
As Google continues apace to become a global electronic library containing every piece of information ever published in the history of information (latest addition being books themselves), I thought it might be time to highlight some of the tools that Google lays over the top of all this information. Here's 50 or so of them on one handy page.
>> Google's things to do (in your lunchbreak)
Welcome to 'Stuff the music industry should have been doing 15 years ago, part 994'.
Finally, a site is here that compares legal music downloads.
Even if the prices can be pretty much the same across various sites, this one saves you the hours it can take to trawl through the myriad scammers before working out which site to trust with your 79p.
It's great for more esoteric stuff. I got a Kathleen Battle spiritual I've been looking for ever since the version I had on cassette melted.
A friend of mine once studied how many sub-clauses a human can cope with in an English sentence before the brain explodes. I don't know the results because the paper was too badly stained to read when his head blew up.
His research went along the lines of: the man who lives in a house with a green door in a suburb of Liverpool where the courts are full footballers who are overpaid like musicians used to be until the internet that legitimises theft of copyrighted material from which artists earn money to pay the rent for the house with the green door and so on. Pause for breath. Bang!
I feel, had he lived, his life may not have been the worthless irritation it became for him because his knowledge could now be put to good use to help a human try to remember the hundreds of internet passwords that we now need to access anything useful, that we're not allowed to write down, must be unique, a combination of eight letters, some uppercase, and numbers that we all have to memorise.
Luckily, you don't have to remember them or write them down. His life would still have been worthless. For there's a little piece of software called Password Agent that securely stores all your passwords and, even better, automatically fills in the login details of all the sites you save. Check it out here:
Now that Wimbledon is over for another year and as a nation we collectively return to the view that tennis doesn't exist until it returns to south-west London in the final week of June 2010, here's something to keep the memory alive. And what a fine way to waste a lunch hour. Or an entire evening.
The massively popular website Y8.com has hundreds of free games you can fire up and play at your desk.
There are more than 800 hundred sports games alone.
Such as this one:
Or if tennis really isn't your thing, there are more 80 money-related games to enjoy.
Monkey cliff diving anyone?
If your into music, photography and video, I mean seriously ill into it and need to store 160,000 digital photos or 8,325 hours of MP3 music or 500 hours of video, then you need one of these. And this one is the cheapest I've seen, just £44 down from £55. It's moronically simple to operate.
Check it out here:
The latest attempt to get the viewing public to replace their movie collections, this time with Blu-ray, feels, predictably, like a con. Why the high prices for a Blu-ray disc when DVDs are now retailing for a few quid?
So make the movies available and affordable! People will then buy them. And you remove much of lure of the black market. But no, the films are being drip-fed on to the market and the prices are laughably high.
It is, however, slowly improving.
I'm delighted to see that Play.com has just announced a sale with its own selection of Blu-ray films (others have similar deals) under a tenner. They're also advertising DVDs from £3. Worth a mention because the prices include delivery.
As ever, check out the useful Find-dvd.co.uk for price comparisons on DVD, Blu-ray, books, CDs and games.
Here's an offer from our broadband partner, Broadband Choices, which makes an already great offer really worth checking out either today or tomorrow.
Until 30 April, TalkTalk is offering 3 months free bundled broadband and phone, normal cost just £6.49 a month plus phone line rental.
TalkTalk has just been voted Best Bundled Services ISP in the value for money category in a survey by Broadband Choices. Sky and Tiscali were in 2nd and 3rd places. Check out our...
I've been waiting for this for a while, a flat-screen telly with Freeview for the bedroom for under £100. And this one seem to fit the bill: a 15" TV for £90 - down from a claimed £225. It doubles as a PC monitor. Order today for delivery tomorrow.
One of my guilty pleasures, apart from poring over the attendance statistics for lower league football matches on a Monday morning, is wasting entire evenings looking through our old photo albums.
The former frequently gives rise to moments of incredulity. Chester FC often attract barely more than 1,000 people into the ground! How do they make any money? The latter, however, is the source of a tremendous amount of pleasure. For this reason, I've not bought in to the digital photo frame phenomenon. But here's an offer that is sorely tempting.
Ebuyer has a 7" frame for just £22.99, backed with a decent number of reviews that suggest it may be good value rather than merely cheap. You can easily pay up to 100 quid for something similar. Check out...
PS> Another guilty pleasure of mine is listening to Joss Stone. Why rubbish football teams get such poor crowds is perhaps understandable. But why one of our greatest ever singers gets such a bad press is a complete mystery. Here are a couple of shots that might be on my photo frame if I ever got one. And if I'd taken them, of course.
Quite why, in the days that music downloads rule the audio waves, HMV doesn't offer an in-store facility to download music on to your pod or player is beyond me. You can do it on the website. In spite of this anomaly. HMV seems to be doing pretty well. It has just bought some of the vacant Zavvi stores.
Visiting Zavvi with its ridiculous over-the-top security presence often felt like you were visiting a crime scene rather than a shop with a few CDs and loads more CDs out of stock. I gave up with them ages ago. And this is someone who used to spend all day every Saturday in the Eldon Square Virgin Megastore who still spends stupid amounts of money on music. Dear old defunct Woolies frequently offered a similar experience; like visiting a badly organised jail with heavily guarded sweets, cheap tellies and Shania Twain CDs lining the aisles instead of cells. HMV take note - from my recent experience you seem to be filling the gap on the security front these days, it's not pleasant.
Aside in small print: I did a quick reccy yesterday in the High Street. At 1.30pm, peak lunchtime shop-a-thon time, the shops were almost all, almost completely empty - apart from Tesco (big queue at the cigarette counter) and WH Smiths (big queue at the cigarette counter). The Smiths branch is closing down at the end of the month.
If High Street retailers won't adapt the game's up. Sky has just anounced an online music service to rival iTunes. Amazon and Play.com are doing a fine job offering music downloads. There a loads of others. But these are the paid-for ones.
The free legal stuff is incredible. If you haven't checked out Spotify do it now because, frankly, I can't work out how they plan to make proper money.
And for today, here's another legal one.
Wolfgang's Vault has a smallish but worthy archive of concert and interview footage of some of the greatest bands. It won't suit people into the more modern stuff on show in last night's Brits - but hey what's modern about Duffy? There's some interesting 'old' U2 footage that fans may want to check out. They were on the Brits too.
You need to do a quick registration but unlike Spotify and our erstwhile music retailers it shouldn't be blocked by any workplace's overzealous security presence: the firewall, that is.
>> How to get better and cheaper broadband + reader's experiences
What? I hear you cry!! Only half price!
Happy New Year by the way. But last year's fanatical discounting can't last for ever, I fear. But here's one more worth a quick mention if you have some digital photos you want to get printed.
There are plenty of these online upload, print and post back to you photo services but where this one deserves particular credit is that it also sells photo albums with slots that fit the digital format prints, that is 6"x4.5". Ideal for people who use modern cameras but like to file away pictures in the old-fashioned way.
Retailers may have you believe that Christmas begins at the tail end of summer, just as as the kids go back to school, but what do they know about anything? For everyone else it starts today. And thanks to that internet we can track the progress of the man himself. (Is Santa real?)
The Norad Father Christmas tracking system has this year teamed up with Google to make it even easier to follow his progress around the world tonight. Whether that means Google now owns Christmas along with everything else is a debate for another time.
For today, if any children are getting far too excited, confused or overtired to the point of illness, get them to have a look at the progress of Santa. Because if they won't sleep, it ain't gonna happen.
Last years highlights
Just when you thought Christmas in Discount Britain, circa 2008 recession, couldn't get any more bizarre than every company offering 20%-offs, P&O Ferries, the ferry company that operates ferries for a living, has upped the ante with the launch of its Reindeer Training School. It's good to see marketing departments haven't lost sight of the important elements of keeping business afloat.
Speaking of which, if working for yourself is either how you operate now or is looking like a distinct possibility in the near future here is a great site for creating your own business cards and more. No more hanging around those printing machines at train stations for the internet generation. On Moo.com you can create lively calling cards with a different photo on each one if you so wish. And starter packs of 50 come in at £10.99. Just remember if you want your image and your business to succeed - be sensible. Leave the wacky stuff for the, um, experts.
Trying to find money-saving discounts worthy of posting is becoming increasing difficult. Almost everyone is cutting prices so there's not a lot of point singling out the most desperate offers. They all seem to be. Suffice to say that come January it will surely be a case of which chain will follow Woolworths into the mire.
Some of these offers are nonetheless better than others. For instance, Threshers/Wine Rack is currently offering 40% off wine. But let's take a closer look.
The popular French table wine from the JP Chenet label - the one with the funny shaped bottle - sells at Threshers / Wine Rack for £5.99 a bottle. Tesco is shifting it for less than £4 if you buy in bulk. But cross the Channel for a better idea of the true price and you'll see it's under £2 a bottle. Even at 40% off and considering the duty that UK Customs and Excise imposes - and even admitting that it's not an entirely accurate like-for-like comparison - it is a rubbish discount compared with its true French value.
Far better then to concentrate on some true bargains. Here are some of the best and most popular free downloads of the year. These offers are genuinely worth checking out.
Also worth checking
This is really handy. Many thanks to voucher people Everydaysale.co.uk for compiling it.
For super saver delivery order by Thursday December 18 (free on orders over £5)
For first class delivery, order by Saturday December 20 (delivery rates vary)
For express delivery, order by 1pm Tuesday December 23 (£8.80)
For Christmas Eve delivery, order by 8.30am Wednesday
December 24 (£14.67 per delivery)
For smaller items, order by Monday December 22 (1pm)
For bigger items, order by Friday December 19 Standard delivery costs £5.80
Order by Thursday December 11 (£4)
To collect from store, order by Tuesday December 16
For standard delivery, order by Thursday December 18 (£2.89 or free for orders over £45)
For next day delivery, order by Monday December 22 (£5.38)
For standard delivery on books, gifts and games, order by Thursday December 18 (free)
For standard delivery, order Saturday December 20 (free)
For express delivery, order by Saturday December 20 (£2.99 plus 70p for each item)
Order by Sunday December 21, 12pm
Delivery charges vary by product
For small products, order by Sunday
December 21, 12pm For large products, order by Friday December 19
Delivery charges vary by product
For standard delivery, order by Friday December 19, 12pm (£4)
For special delivery, order by Sunday December 21 (£5)
For standard delivery, order by Sunday December 21, midnight (£3.50)
For express delivery, order by Monday December 22, noon (£6)
Order by Friday December 19 (£4.99 or free for orders over £50)
For standard delivery (excluding hampers), order by Monday December 15 (£4.95)
For next day delivery, order by Thursday December 18
For standard delivery, order by Wednesday December 17 (£4)
For next day delivery, order by Friday December 19 (£7)
For standard home delivery, order by Friday 19 December, 3pm (free)
For standard delivery on clothing, home ware, selected technology and wine cases, order by Saturday December 20, 12 noon (£3.50 or free for orders over £30)
For nominated delivery on the items above order by Monday December 22, 12 noon (£4.95 or free for orders over £150)
For larger home ware and technology items, order by Monday December 15
For food pick ups in store order by Friday December 19 to collect within 2 days, Tuesday December 16 to collect within 5 days; Sunday December 14 to collect within 7 days
For standard delivery, order by Tuesday December 16, 5pm
For UK courier delivery, order by Monday December 22 (£3.95)
Order by Wednesday December 17 (£3.95)
Order by Sunday December 21 Delivery charges vary by product
Order by Saturday December 20 (free)
Order by Friday December 19 (Free for gift cards)
Order by Wednesday December 17, 2pm (£3 or free on orders over £35)
Small items, order by Sunday December 21 (£4.85)
Larger items, order by Sunday December 14 (£4.85)
Order by Sunday December 21 (free)
Order by Friday December 12 (£4.95)
For standard delivery, order by Friday December 19, 12pm (£4)
For express delivery, order by Monday December 22, 12pm (£5)
All orders over £90, shipped for free
For standard delivery, order by Tuesday December 16
For special delivery, order by Sunday December 21 See website for delivery charges
I don't know why I'm publicising Amazon again, the stock levels they hold of my book are up and down like something I can't even think about without being sacked from my day job. Keeping stocks low and a tight rein on the supply plain is why they are so successful, I'm told. And now they look like capitalising on that success by moving into the download music business with DRM-free MP3 albums from £3.
If that sounds like algebra extracted from a txt message, it means that for three quid you can buy an album that you can then burn on to a CD or play on any music device. You can't do that with DRM (digital rights management) protected music.
For £3 there are albums by Seasick Steve and, pictured below, Take That and Leonard Cohen among others.
On the face of it, £200 for a radio is an awful lot of money. But when tech-obsessed colleagues are moved by a piece gadgetry to the point of eulogy, it could be worth taking note.
The Squeezebox Boom is one such toy. It's a portable music player that can not only play radio but also all the music stored on your computer. Plus there's a massive archive of live music to listen to and it's wireless, so you can move it round the house.
It's strictly one for people with cash lying around - it's a lot of money - but it's hard to find a bad word about it. Here's a couple of videos with more praise for the 'best device of the year'.
The pound / dollar exchange rate may have slipped into the gutter and begun its slippery route into and down the drain but so has the US economy. If you are in any doubt, watch this video for a full-on doomsday scenario with more than an element of plausibility..
It means there are discounts to be had for anyone prepared to buy from stores in online America. Not everything can be delivered here and there are customs considerations but if you have time it's worth a look. Time, though, is running out for delivery in time for Christmas.
Please note if you are ordering my book, How to survive the Credit Crunch, Amazon.co.uk currently cannot guarantee Christmas delivery. It sold out what we sent them. But try your local High Street bookstore or check out the list of other online outlets.
Sadly, my desire for gatefold and other rare sleeves and dodgy picture discs and colour vinyl isn't matched by anyone these days who is prepared to pay money for it. So I console myself with the knowledge that my great, great, great grandchildren and their grandchildren will one day be proud owners of Public Image Ltd by Public Image with original newspaper sleeve, the Undertones' Teenage Kicks with original fold-out poster sleeve and, one strictly for other John Peel (right) fans of a certain age, the Shapes EP (pictured above).
Me on the other hand will be spending dark the winter evenings this year converting my beloved collection into faceless electronic files on the computer. This is being made possible because finally the prices of USB turntables are tumbling. And while I know you can do it with the right cables from any old hi-fi, mine's out of action and in the loft - about to be joined by a couple of thousand singles.
>> USB turntable for less than £60 - from Maplin (also enables the transfer of music from cassette).
Greetings fans of the tenuous. After last night's historic election victory across the pond and we find ourselves waking up to the promise of a new dawn - you can have one too. In your bedroom. In the form of a wake up light. An alarm-clock-cum-bedside-lamp that slowly recreates dawn in your bedroom in winter.
Everyone I have spoken to who has one says how much better they feel at the start of the day as a result. Online critics are horrified by the price: £100 for a clock, bulb and a plastic cover. But it's coming down.