January 25th, 2004

Angel of the Revolution


I get phone service from BT and broadband from NTL. As it happens I make very few phone calls from home, sometimes only one or two a month. This isn't especially surprising because all of my friends have e-mail and I make all of my business calls from work. As a result more than 90% of my phone bill is usually BT's standing line rental charge. I doubt that I receive many more calls than I make.

Theoretically BT have a special rate for people who don't make many calls; lower rental and a slightly higher price per call. In practice they will not give this rate to anyone who has any other form of access including cable modem, or any other access to a phone. I've tried discussing this with BT and got nowhere. They seem to think that this is reserving the special rate for true hardship cases; I think it's a monopoly in restraint of trade, designed to make people buy their (crappy) ADSL service instead of much faster cable services.

Unfortunately NTL don't offer a cable phone service, they use BT lines but offer lower per-call rates, which doesn't help me at all.

The obvious answer is to buy a pay as you go mobile and use that instead, and have the BT line disconnected; the snags are first that I don't think that my flat has particularly good cellphone reception, second that I would really prefer not to make people pay a premium to call me, and third that I think I need a land line since once in a blue moon I send a fax.

I'm aware that there are web fax services and I really ought to look into that as part of the answer; for the rest, can anyone point me at a British pay-as-you-go cellphone provider that is reasonably cheap to call to? Are there any alternatives I'm overlooking? I'm vaguely aware of phones that work through the internet but know very little about them, e.g. what connection rate you need, or how you call or receive calls from someone who isn't connected to cable. There seems to be remarkably little information available.
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marcus 2013

Rant 2

And another thing...

Just looked at a web site which had the quick time trailer for the next Angel. As I did so Quicktime came up with a message that there was a new version 6.5 available, and did I want to install it.

So I say yes, and spend several minutes going through screens before I get to the one after installation begins that says (and I paraphrase) "oh by the way, if you carry on your copy of Quicktime Pro won't work any more, you'll have to buy a new registration key to get the extra features of pro."

Fortunately it appears to be possible to exit setup at this point without harming the existing setup, but I want to know why they are charging for what appears to be a minor enhancement rather than complete revision, and why this isn't stated before you download their setup program etc.
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    angry angry
Angel of the Revolution

Deeds of Maidenly Unkindness Stills

I've just found two rare pictures from the classic Frank Launder St. Trinian's comedy Deeds of Maidenly Unkindness, in which wacky American student teachers Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Buffy (Sara Michelle Geller) are persuaded to impersonate qualified teachers at the school. Unfortunately both pictures suffer from the effects of age, and were rather small to begin with, I've done my best to improve them but they could be considerably better.

The first picture is a black and white still showing the catastrophic chemistry lesson in which Willow Rosenberg, who is secretly a witch (Alyson Hannigan, extreme right), accidentally turns a visiting health and safety inspector (Joyce Grenfall, left) into a toad, witnessed by Miss Fritton, headmistress (Alistair Sim, right).

The second picture is a small colour still, apparently a publicity shot which was not used. It shows Buffy (centre rear) talking to the school boxing team while Flash Harry (George Cole, centre front) explains the fine art of taking a dive.

[Note - No guarantee whatever that either scene will be in the story...]

Later - I've found a much better picture to use for Willow, and have redone the first picture accordingly.

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