Archive for December, 2005


Friday, December 23rd, 2005

Right, in about fifteen minutes I’m leaving the office and driving down to my parents house for Christmas. I should be around over the next week or so as they’re getting wireless interweb access for Christmas, but I don’t expect I’ll be posting very much, in between catching up with friends and family and eating and drinking far too much. I’ll be back at some point with the 2005 Best Thing Ever awards.

Naomi got me a trip on Concorde for Christmas! Bestest. Girlfriend. Ever.

Okay, it’s just a ticket to go and look round the one on the ground at Manchester airport, but still – Concorde!.

Toilet mascots

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

On the cubicle wall of one of our office toilets is a little sign explaining the “Dudley Duoflush” system. Please tell me it’s not just me who, on reading that, gets a mental image of a little fat mascot dude, perhaps designed by a toilet manufacturer to teach kids how to flush the toilet in a horrible animated corporate information film. I mean, it fits, right?


In other news, I hit level 28 at lunchtime today. Go me.

Perfume Adverts

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Alright, you can stop now. I’m wasn’t going to buy anyone perfume for Christmas and your teeth-grindingly, mind-buggeringly awful “I’d-rather-slam-my-bollocks-in-a-draw-than-watch-them-again” adverts aren’t doing anything to change my mind.

Toucan Again!

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Okay, I’m a little bored and egocentric, so I was reading back through my old posts and comments when I came across my rant about Toucan and their cold-calling antics. On that article, there’s a few comments from random strangers. Most of them are reporting similar negative experiences. One of them is different, from someone calling themselves “James”. He says:

I switched to Toucan from BT and I’m saving tons of cash. I guess you can stay loyal to BT but there is a cost.

This immediately set bells ringing. I mean, it’s entirely possible that someone really has had a good experience with Toucan, I suppose. It’s possible also that the sun will go out tomorrow and the world will be plunged into eternal darkness. Who knows? Also, there’s something about the language used in the comment that just doesn’t sit right with me: the phrases “stay loyal” and “there is a cost” sound just like the sort of thing telemarketing scummers use.

Anyway, spider-sense a-tingling, I had a dig through my logs for when that comment was posted, and found the poster’s IP address – Plugging this IP address into whois reveals that it’s part of the range owned by a company called International Discount Telecommunications (who, it seems, have an interesting customer satisfaction record themselves).

A little more digging showed that Toucan is in fact IDT’s trading name in the UK (search for Toucan on that page). So we know our visitor came from an IP address allocated to IDT/Toucan. Now, I’ll concede that it’s perfectly possible that this IP address is simply one they’ve allocated to a customer – indeed, if anyone can confirm this, let me know – but I’m still suspicious; the commenter didn’t mention whether he was with Toucan for just phonecalls or for internet access too. So, it’s back to my logs again.

It seems the same IP address has hit my site several times since I wrote that post – and every single time the referrer URL was a search engine with terms like “Toucan Blog” or “Toucan Telecom Complaint”; and when they did come, they didn’t hang around to read any other posts (which is unusual, going by my other search-engine sourced traffic).

Now, either they really are a customer who likes the company so much they’re dedicated to searching out people – continually, over the course of several months – who’ve badmouthed them and pointing out the error of their ways, or this is actually someone inside Toucan doing a crafty marketing job. This sort of thing has happened before.

So, what do you think? Genuine customer – and if James is out there reading this and wishes to defend his innocence, he’s invited to do so – or more scumworthy marketing from a company with an already less-than-stellar reputation for honesty and integrity in this area?


Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

I can take off my glasses and stare fixedly at my monitors, and it looks like I’m concentrating really hard on work, but in actual fact I can’t see a damn thing and my mind is miles away thinking about, like, Christmas and beer and all the hot ladies from High School that I’ll be seeing over Christmas. Being shortsighted is ace.

Channel 4: “You think Space Cadets was an all time low? You’ve seen nothing.”

Monday, December 19th, 2005

Reality Heroin Withdrawal!


Monday, December 19th, 2005

We turned up. We played 14 songs. We left.

Nobody noticed.

The William Shatner DVD Club

Monday, December 19th, 2005

Sign up and receive a new DVD every month – as picked by The Great Bill himself! Utterly crazy, but it might just work.

Animal Crossing

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

I imported Animal Crossing: Wild World. It’s kind of like the Sims, except with animals. You wander around, catch fish, dig up fossils, talk to people, send them letters, buy furniture and try to pay off the absurdly huge mortgage some crafty raccoon by the name of Tom Nook has saddled you with. Today, there’s a fishing competition on in my town.

It’s a curious game with no real point – there’s no way to “win”, as such, and there’s no real guide as to what you should be doing; you just sort of bumble along making friends, designing shirts and doing interior decorating (I got a space station, but it took up too much space so I sent it to Nibbles the Squirrel; I notice he hasn’t put it in his room yet, either).

But despite the lack of objectives and that, it’s strangely addictive – especially with the addition over the Gamecube version of being able to visit other players’ towns over the internet. It’s silly, cute and quite fun. It also has one entire screen on the DS devoted to showing blue sky whilst you’re wandering around. How can it not be great, eh?

Cutest. Rabbit. Ever.

Friday, December 16th, 2005

I want one!