Monday, 26 February 2007


Have a look at this teaser for a new Very neat site - move the slider left and right.

Back in the late 1990's, aimed to bring a new shopping experience for clothes to the Internet. However it was ahead of its time and in the pre broadband world relying on Flash and Javascript meant the site took minutes to load for many users. was seen to epitomise the late 1990's Internet boom and bust; it allegedly burnt its way through nearly $120 million before collapsing. If you're interested in the story have a look at their Wikipedia entry.

With thanks to Pat Phelan for spotting this.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

More ways to save your hard earned cash

The best site I've found for info on making the most of your money is Martin Lewis does a great job finding the best deals for your money. Current tips include reclaiming bank charges, finding the cheapest roadside recovery deal, cutting the cost of credit card borrowing, finding hidden train fares and best buys for your savings. Martin's site is a mine of information and well worth a browse.

Also make sure you sign up for 'Martin's Money Tips' weekly email.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Gas & electricity

If you're still getting your energy from British Gas and your 'local' electricity company it's definitely time to check out the competition and find out how much money you could save. The easiest way to do this is via a website like who do all the hard work for you. It only takes minutes and there's no need to contact either your existing or new provider as part of the switch. After you've requested the switch you just sit back and wait to be asked to provide meter readings. I've used uSwitch several times and the process has worked very smoothly.

Online price comparisons

There are lots of online price comparison websites out there, some working better than others.

I've been using for a while now for comparing prices for books, CDs, DVDs & games. It's quick, very simple to use and usually finds the best price. Highly recommended and well worth a visit before going straight to your usual website!

Monday, 12 February 2007

Paying for your phones and broadband

  • How would you choose to pay for your fixed phone, your mobile and your broadband in the future?
  • Would you prefer to pay a fixed rate per month or pay for your actual per minute usage?
  • Would you prefer separate subscriptions for each service or a single monthly charge covering two or more services?
  • Do you find direct debit the most convenient way to pay?
  • If you know what you are paying, do you even want a bill?

Any comments here would be appreciated or drop me an email to

Protecting your passwords

The longer you've been online the more passwords you will have accumulated. Remembering them and keeping them secure is always a challenge. eWallet password manager and digital wallet from Ilium solves the problem. Your passwords, credit card numbers and other confidential data are safely stored in an encrypted file, easily accessible when required.

eWallet can either run as a standalone application on your PC or can synchronise with a device running Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Smartphone to give you secure access to your passwords on the move.

There's also a 30 day trial so you can check out eWallet before buying.

Ilium also offer a number of other great applications including ListPro which is an excellent information manager.

The Ilium blog is a good source of info on Ilium's software products.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Feedback please!

You can now comment on my blog by clicking on the button underneath each post. Please let me know if you're finding this blog useful, either via a comment or by email to

Friday, 9 February 2007

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Thursday, 8 February 2007

Roam4free blog

Pat Phelan's Roam4free blog is well worth subscribing to. It's a mixture of information on new developments in the world of technology and comments on some of the quirky things going on around the place.

Pat runs a number of innovative businesses in the fixed line and mobile world that offer consumers and businesses great value and challenge the status quo in a number of areas. In an earlier post I mentioned Roam4free which reduces the cost of overseas roaming. Talking to Pat recently, he's got some very exciting products and services coming so worth keeping an eye on his blog.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Quick trick for scanning a document

FleXtel was the first and is still the best provider of phone numbers that are independent of line or device and can be routed to your location of choice. Flexible numbering gives you control of your incoming telephone calls. One unchanging number can reach you at any normal telephone wherever you are, without costing you any call diversion charges or monthly service fees.

FleXtel's service features are numerous and well worth a look. A neat trick makes use of the Faxmail service - a simple and free replacement for a fax machine for people who don't need to send faxes. First set your FleXtel number to Faxmail. This means that faxes sent to your number will be delivered to you as email attachments. Then when you need to scan a document just fax it to your FleXtel number and it arrives in your email as a TIF image attachment. Quicker & easier than messing around with a scanner and available anywhere there's a fax machine.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Sending emails to multiple recipients

When you send an email to multiple recipients it's good practice to BCC (blind copy) the recipients, rather than CC. That way you preserve the privacy of everyone's email address. This is important because if one recipient has a PC infected with a trojan or virus or forwards the email to someone else (as often happens) who has an infected PC then everyone's email address is compromised and open to spam or worse.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Inkjet printers

Inkjet printer cartridges never seem to last long & cost a fortune. A good way to reduce the amount of ink used by your printer is to change the default print quality to draft. The printer uses a lot less ink and also prints much faster. If you need to print a standard quality copy just change the settings on a per print basis. Another variation here is to set the default print colour to black and white instead of colour.

'Low tech' is sometimes best!

Strictly speaking this post is not about technology. However a recent acquisition, despite falling into the category of 'low tech', has proved truly transformational! Just before Christmas we had our Aga installed. It's been a fantastic addition to the household - great cooking, constant warmth & somewhere for the cat to sleep! I don't think Agas have changed much in the last couple of generations- just goes to show that the latest technology isn't always the best!

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Online backup

I've been using the excellent Carbonite online backup service for the last few weeks. For $49.95 (about £25) you get unlimited online storage for a year. You can never have too many backups (as you find out if your PC hard disk fails)! Carbonite is a great addition to the usual physical backup media like CDs & DVDs. If your hard disk fails you can restore your data to the new one. Carbonite runs in the background and automatically saves copies of your files online. There's even a free trial to get you started.

In summary:
  • Unlimited storage capacity for your PC backups
  • Automatically finds all your data files -- photos, documents, music, emails, everything
  • Always on – just connect to the Internet
  • Set and forget – just start Carbonite and relax
  • Instantly detects and backs up changed files
  • Never slows down your computer or Internet
  • Exclude files you don’t want to back up
  • Strong encryption for super security
  • Backs up approximately 2GB per day over broadband
Carbonite is a great way to protect valuable data like photos.

Broadband speed tester

What broadband speed are you really getting on your 'up to 8Mb' broadband service? My favourite speed checker site is Namesco BroadbandMax. No software to download and very simple to use. Broadband speeds do varies at different time of the day and on different days so it's worth checking on a regular basis.

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Thursday, 1 February 2007

Mobile phone roaming abroad

Roaming abroad with mobile phones has always been an expensive business. Not only are the calls you make very expensive but you get charged for the calls you receive. It's very easy to come home to an extortionate mobile bill.

A new service from Roam4free aims to remove this uncertainty & put you back in control of your bill. Last week Roam4free launched its prepaid mobile phone service that lets you receive calls & text messages abroad with no roaming charges in 65 countries (the service works in 115 countries worldwide). Savings can be as much as 90% of a typical mobile bill with roaming calls. For example, in Australia it's free to receive calls & text messages, calls to most destinations cost 43 cents per minute and text messages cost 35 cents.

Roam4Free works with a SIM card that you buy from the company for €20. Either put this in a second mobile phone or swap out the SIM card in your main phone. The card comes with €5 calling credit and can be topped up at the Roam4Free website. The SIM card comes with a new mobile phone number for the Roam4Free service. At the moment this is an Estonian phone number but UK numbers will be available soon on a premium service.

If you're planning to put the Roam4free SIM card into your existing handset you need to ensure your handset isn't locked to your current network. If it needs unlocking Roam4free can do this for most handsets via their website.

To make a call you dial the number as normal, it then disconnects and Roam4free calls you back with a connection to the number you're calling. This is much simpler than it sounds and allows Roam4free to offer its low call charges.

A great service for anyone who's planning to spend more than a couple of days overseas.

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