Category Archives: Technology

O2 + 3g iPhone tethering = rubbish.

I moved house a month or so ago. Unfortunately, there was no phone line at all in my new place, and much as I don’t use the phone, I do use the Internet. A lot.
I requested a phone line from BT, but it was going to be 7-10 days. What was I to do?

While I own an iPhone, living with just that, and only on 3g, was going to be awkward.
Browsing the web to look for furniture for my place on a tiny screen, wasn’t going to be that easy.
Then I remembered that you can now tether an iPhone to any computer, and connect your computer to the Internet through the phone. Brilliant!

I’ve done it before, back in pre-3g days, and it was painfully slow.
Pre-3g, it was considerably slower than a dialup modem.

Surely it’s improved to insane levels these days though?
There are adverts suggesting that mobile broadband could practically replace a home broadband line.
I live 2miles from the centre of a city, so have 3g reception all the time too. My luck should be in.

Sadly, despite me being on an iPhone plan with o2 with what is known as “unlimited data” inclusive, this does not include anything used while the iPhone is tethered to a computer. There’s an additional charge for that.
Really, it’s deeply unfair.
Downloading a song to my computer while it’s tethered to my iPhone costs additional money, but downloading the same song to my iPhone doesn’t. Rubbish, eh?

When tethering was first announced, I slated the overpriced nature of this.
It was £35 a month for an iPhone plan on o2, with unlimited data on the phone, but no way to connect it to a computer.
Suddenly the option to connect it to a computer was possible, but at what cost? £10 a month, for “up to” 3gb of transfer downloaded to said computer. £3.33(ish) per gb is insanely expensive really.
I wasn’t going to be watching the iPlayer, or downloading music – that’s for sure.

I ordered the o2 tethering bolt-on, via o2’s website.
For some reason, there is a 24 hour wait for this.
I excitedly waited 24 hours, off-net, to be reconnected.
24 hours came and went. I gave them about 30, then phoned them up.
Order? What order? You never got it?
They can put it through now, but it’ll take another 24 hours though. Rubbish.
I only need it for 10 days, and I’ve wasted 2 already just trying to get them to provide me with the bloody service.
They’ll apparently email me instructions of how to set it up.

Another 24 hours later, it was finally working.
o2 never sent me the instructional email, nor even a text to confirm it was working. I figured it all out by fiddling with settings, using Google, and checking it every hour.
Right at the start, I was petrified I might go over my 3gb allowance and face the wrath of even more additional charges, so I disabled photos, java and Flash in Safari and Firefox.

Is it lightning quick?
No.
Can it replace home landline broadband?
Not a chance.
Is it the only option I have, and do o2 know it?
Double yes.

It isn’t usable long term. Not at all.
There I am on the Internet, updating my Twitter status, when my sister phones me.
I answer without thinking.
My Internet connection dies.

This was an ongoing theme throughout the following 7-or-so days.

The highpoint of this was making a change via my online banking.
My bank has a system for some changes where their asks you for a pin code. Then the bank phones you to tell you the pin code, and you enter the code from the phone, back into the site.
So my bank phones me to confirm I’m not a phisher who has stolen Ben Park’s bank details.
I answer, and they give me a code to put back in on their banking site.
In answering, it’s disconnected me from the net.
First time I enter the code, I get a “page cannot be displayed”.
I remember I’m probably disconnected, and attempt to reconnect.
Then I lose all 3g signal.
5mins later and a phone reboot, I finally complete the system.

Over the next few days, the 3g signal is neither a consistent speed, and sometimes it disappears altogether.
I get my phone landline and broadband installed on the specified date, and put a note in my diary to cancel this mobile broadband in a few days before the month is up.

The first time I call, all seems well. They cancel it. No further charges for me.
10 days later, I get a bill from o2, who have charged me for the service for another month, despite me cancelling it. It’s only £10, but on principal I don’t pay for services I don’t want/use.
I call them and speak to someone who tells me that they’ll just update my direct debit amount, to take the correct amount I actually owe them. Good work.
As half of o2’s computers are down at the moment, she advises I call back in a couple of days to make sure that they’ve got all the information correct.

Monday morning on the 8th March, I phone back, and get offered a completely different solution.
It turns out they can’t adjust the Direct Debit amount at all, so what they’ll do is take the extra £10 this month, and credit back to me the month after.
Not the greatest outcome, but it’ll do. I don’t really appreciate paying for their fuck-up though.

10 days later I receive a shitty text from o2, telling me I haven’t paid my bill this month, and to make payment immediately.
After verifying they definitely haven’t take it from my bank, I phoned them to find that rather than just adjusting the Direct Debit, they’ve cancelled it altogether. I manually pay the bill over the phone, and casually check about this £10 credit while I’m on.
£10 credit? What £10 credit?

Unbefuckinglievable.
She said she’d apply it but it might take 24 hours (as everything seems to, at o2) before I can see it.
Just checked, and it seems it has been applied, although my bill is still wrong. It’s a step in the right direction I guess.

Before hanging up, they did try an up-sell.
Do I have broadband at home?
I explained I do, it’s with another company, and for the next 12 months.
Apparently I should definitely consider o2, when my contract is up.
I’ll certainly keep that in mind, because they provide such a reliable 3g connection, with such brilliant customer service.

Unexpected item in the bagging area

What is wrong with people?
Not a week goes by, without someone moaning to me about the “unexpected item” error you get in self-service checkouts at the supermarket.
If you’re getting it, it is YOUR fault.

Seemingly it’s a problem we’re all having, all the time.
Well I’m not.
Ever.
I’ve never thought of myself as a genius, but as I’m seemingly the only person in the world who can figure out how to use these machines, I thought I’d write a post explaining this, why it occurs, and how to resolve it.

I’ve had no training in building these machines, but from what I can see, there’s two things going on.
1. You scan.
2. You put it in the “bagging area”.
First the machine scans a barcode, then it expects you to put something in the bagging area.
I’m pretty sure it checks the weight of the bagging area, to make sure you haven’t bought 12 toilet rolls, and scanned them through as a Snickers bar.

It will report “unexpected item” if you just chuck something in the bagging area, because you haven’t scanned it.
That’s your fault.

So scan it, then put it in the bagging area. Simple.
You’ve scanned it, it’s waiting for you to put it in the bagging area.

Where a few people get confused is where they use their own bags.
Given it measures the weight, you already know you can’t just put your bag in the bagging area.
You know this doesn’t work – don’t fight it.
Don’t blame the machine.
If you put a bag in the bagging area without scanning anything, it’ll complain. YOU are using the machine incorrectly.

If you’ve been struggling with this, the solution is so simple you will kick yourself.
For this example, I’ll be buying a 2pt bottle of milk.
You scan the milk, then put it in your own bag, then put the bag (now containing milk) in the bagging area.
It weighs it, and it is approximately the weight it was expecting.
You do this for each new bag, as you add them.
Simple.

If that doesn’t work for you, then you’re still doing something wrong. I haven’t had an argument with the machine about unexpected items in months.
The only argument I have is when you have 4-5 bags, you’re attempting to put money away and pick them up, and as you’re a tiny few seconds slower, it tells you “please take your items” as if you’ve forgotten.
I’ve got a simple solution to that too – swear at it. Profusely.

Virtually no boundaries

It has come to light today, that computer games allow you to do some things that would not be nice if carried out in the real world.

As part of a study carried out by human rights organisations, video games producers have allegedly created computer games where you can clearly break the law.
They cite Modern Warfare 2, where you can kill civilians, as an example.

Guilty as charged, really.
Imagine a virtual world where you could do things that would be illegal in the real world.
All games should have real consequences for all actions carried out, and I’d like to see more show the reality behind the situations.

For example, currently in “Trauma Center: Second Opinion“, with very basic training of less than 10 minutes, you can operate on people in the emergency room.
What is the world coming to?!
Impersonating a doctor? I haven’t even been to medical school.
I’d like to see the game come with a tutorial that lasts around 5 years, in which you slowly learn all aspects of medicine, and pay a monthly fee, so that before you can carry out any operations, you are quite a few thousand pounds in debt.

Tony Blair should probably be questioned over whether or not it was right to go to war with zombies in “Resident Evil“.

In “Virtua Cop“, I find it offensively inaccurate that all suspects are immediately killed.
No information is taken, nobody questioned, and it may even be their first offence, if in fact they are actually guilty of any crimes.
At least 80% of the game should really involve paperwork and following up on old cases, and after a suspect is apprehended, it is only right and proper that the next 1-2 years of gameplay involves testimonials, legal proceedings and yet more paperwork.

Pacman” is an incredibly bad message to send to children.
He clearly has an eating disorder and binges constantly. He is repeatedly bullied, and his only way out is to avenge his attackers and eat them alive. Two wrongs do not make a right in modern society.
Social workers and counseling may help his issues, and the bullying should be reported to the correct authorities.

Duck Hunt” is clearly an unsustainable farming or pest control method, which will likely lead to extinction for the animal due to lack of proper nesting facilities or further breeding programmes.

In “Theme Park“, rides that are poorly maintained routinely collapse, injuring members of the public. A full investigation must be carried out to discover what has gone wrong, and procedures put in place to prevent future accidents.
The staff in the food areas have received absolutely no food hygiene training whatsoever. An unscheduled visit from the environmental health must be carried out regularly.
Locals have not even been consulted regarding planning permission to build such a large establishment, with only one tiny road as nearby transport links.

Paperboy” depicts a street scene where a young child has a small income from a part-time job. It is to be praised on this aspect for teaching youngsters about the value of money.
However, vandalizing the houses of non-subscribers to this particular newsagent is tantamount to a protection racket, and should be removed entirely.
He also has no lights, repeatedly cycles on the pavement, and has no respect for the highway code, other road users or pedestrians. The game should be praised for its realism in this area.

And in various games such as “The Need for Speed” and “OutRun“, it is actually possible to indulge in dangerous high-speed driving on public roads, with little-to-no sentencing when caught.
When accidents happen, there is bizarrely little obvious damage, but no insurance information is exchanged between drivers, or blame assessed.
The drivers should be checked by medically trained individuals for non-obvious injuries, and any dangerous drivers responsible dealt with by the police.
I also suggest a points system whereby players receive points for speeding. After several breaches, they are disqualified, and the game becomes unplayable for 2 years while they have a good think about what they have done.
In severe cases, they are forced to take a theory and practical driving test, before being allowed back on the roads, to drive in a hopefully safer manner.

New computer designed for the elderly

I was surprised to read this morning that a computer for the elderly has been launched.

Now I must admit I was pessimistic to start with.
Reading about a computer especially for the elderly, invokes similar reactions as hearing about the creation of a computer for gay people, or a computer for people of mixed race. I’m just not entirely sure there’s actually a need for it.

There is undoubtedly a lot of people who don’t have a computer at home, and/or don’t use the Internet and/or don’t understand computers at all.
This isn’t restricted to the elderly though.
My grandma is well into her 80s, and she can use a computer well enough to try out email, research some family history, etc.
She went on a free course for that. I’ve taught her nothing.

So what’s wrong with it?

Having read through the article and the website of the product, I’ve got several problems with the idea/scheme.

Firstly, it mixes itself from beginners basic, through to technical jargon and back again.
Looking on the SimplicITy website, there are two models available, called the “Suite 100” and “Suite 200”. I’d have given them names and not model numbers, but that’s just me. (Yes, even I don’t like model numbers. What’s a Samsung e9897-x/uk when it’s at home?)

The basic model says: “simplicity : model 100 – energy efficient, cool and quiet running”, and then tails off into a load of what will be mindless jargon for the novice (presumably for if you’re a geek buying this for your gran).
The better model says: “simplicity : model 200 – smaller and quieter than model 100”
So model 100 is quiet, but 200 is quieter? So clearly the 100 can’t be that quiet?
The computers are so small and basic, they should be fanless/silent anyway. Especially given the price.

Price = HOW MUCH?!

The most basic model (and it really IS basic processor wise, RAM isn’t even mentioned), including a 19″ screen, keyboard, mouse, etc is £435.99.
Delivery is another £10, and there’s no getting away from it, because they’re not available in shops.
The best part of £450 would easily buy you a Dell/HP. The Dell/HP likely wouldn’t have a crappy Sempron processor for that price either.
(£480 today gets you a Dell with an Intel dual core processor, 20″ screen (SimplicITy is 19″ – closest match), and 3gb ram, running Windows7)

SimplicITy then have the audacity to bundle in a plug for another website. They link to a site designed to apparently help the elderly with saving money. Incredible!
Tip 1 is presumably to not buy one of these computers.

You may think that quality costs, and people don’t buy everything to the cheapest price. If that’s true for you, buy a Mac.
If that isn’t true for you, buy a Dell/HP.
Everything about this scheme just seems like a complete rip off.
They’re selling something as designed for the elderly, when all you’ve done is simplified (possibly) it a bit and increased the price. Digusting.

Bespoke = bad.

The SimplicITy system runs a bespoke front-end called “Square One” (if you get stuck you go “back to Square One” – no, really. I haven’t made that up).
It’s a front end which has no resemblance to any other operating system you’ll find Dave next door using.
If we geeks of the world have learnt nothing else from the past, it should be that the biggest problem with AOL was that it didn’t work/look like any other internet provider.
Switching from AOL to another provider became a major chore for the novice, as software, protocols, emails, browsers, were all completely different.

Which brings me onto the biggest issue:

Support? Any?

If you buy yourself a cheap Dell or HP computer, if and/or when you get a problem, you can phone/email/text/visit a friend and ask for their help. Everyone’s grandson will use Windows or a Mac these days.
A simple problem will remain just that – a problem.
Talking someone through a computer problem on the phone “blind”, requires you to have a superb knowledge of the operating system the other person is using.
There is no mention of support anywhere within the BBC article, nor on the SimplicITy website.

In fact, training seems to be entirely left to Valerie Singleton through video tutorials.

Broadband?

And after taking you through the basic functions you can expect from your (somewhat overpriced) computer, on the last page of the SimplicITy website, with the order form, it states at the bottom of the page:
“You will need a broadband connection. If you don’t have one already, make sure you order it as soon as you’ve placed your order for the simplicITy, so when the computer arrives you will be ready to start using your computer immediately (the wait for broadband installation can be up to 10 days).”

Way to go! They’ve taken them through the basic basics, then told people they need Internet access, which they don’t provide any further information on.
They don’t sell it, they just give a phone number for Eclipse.
Eclipse have quite a good reputation as it goes, but I hope they’re prepared for the phone calls they’ll get. People who don’t understand computers generally haven’t a clue how broadband works at all.
They’ve done the right thing at least including a phone number, instead of just a casual web link to Eclipse’s main site.

So is it even necessary?

Having until recently worked in IT support for a number of years, I’d suggest that the skills gap is not all with the elderly anyway.
There are the youngsters of today who all have computers at school, people in their 20s who experienced broadband as it was taking off (and got into BitTorrent, etc), and there are people who have retired who have more free time and can learn to use a computer.

I would suggest the worst age is late 30s through to late 50s. It’s an age-range where computers weren’t available as they’ve grown up, the world has changed to a point where they have got to use “the things” for work, and they commonly retaliate against them and have little time/interest in learning.
The difference here is that those being forced to use them for work, have the support of their IT department or outside IT organisation. If and when they get stuck on something or a problem occurs, there is someone they can phone.
And that someone will be of absolutely no use if you phone them and tell them you’re running Linux Mint edition, because they’re all trained in Macs and Windows.

The only thing that surprises me here is that this scheme is so badly conceived, I’m amazed it isn’t government funded.

Outsourcing to India

A few years back, I had a dream. That dream was web design.
Sadly I can hardly put two colours together without them looking hideous, and I have no sense of visible style whatsoever. Combined with my lack of knowing any programming languages, I was on to a bad start.

This is where I roped in my best mate, who was very good at coding, made some nice looking websites in his spare time, etc.
It was a plan which couldn’t fail.
Except that I couldn’t sell any web design, we had no budget to start up, and my mate went to university and had no time to work on this.
It was then, we dropped the idea.

Not a great deal of money was ever spent, but we had bought a web domain name.
I still have it now, wondering if I might have a use for it one day, for some other purpose.

Every now and then, I get an email from a company asking me if they can help with my outsourcing needs. At a guess, I’d say we’re still listed somewhere on a web designer online directory or something.
Today I received an email which said (names changed):

“Hi..

I am Reginald, Marketing Manager. Somebullshitcompany.

I have been through your site and can see that you are offering Web Development services to your clients. In these tough times, where it is hard to maintain the topline, we can help share the bottom line for you.

We have a large team for both Web Design and Development in INDIA which can execute the campaigns at a much lower cost than what you have in house.

Do let me know if you are interested and I would be happy to send in more details.

I look forward to your mail.

Kind Regards”

Normally I delete these things, but I was slightly amazed by this one.
He says he’s been through my website?
Actually taken the time to look through all the pages?
But all it says on my website is “This domain name is for sale. Email for details”, with an email address that is only used for this potential domain sale.

The lying swine! He’s not looked through my website at all.

To add insult to injury, at the bottom of the email was a grammatically poor signature about how they don’t send unsolicited mail.

I decided to break the habit, and reply.

“Hi Reginald,

Thank you for contacting me.
I’m glad you have looked through my website at www.old-unused-domain.co.uk, and have seen all about my organisation, what kind of work I have offered in the past, etc.

As you have been so completely honest with me, I feel I should be honest with you.
I have read through your email carefully, and have seen that you can outsource my sexual needs to India. This would seem like a lot of work on my part, but as I find the ‘look’ of Indian women attractive, this might work to my advantage.

I would be definitely interested in these services (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and wonder if you could send me some form of catalogue, so that I might look through and pick my favourite to be my wife.

Thanks a lot.

Dave”

I await their reply eagerly.

You have been invited to: Windows 7 Launch Party

I’m probably a bit late to the party (pun intended) on this one, but I couldn’t help but watch this video earlier, advertising launch parties for Microsoft Windows 7.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cX4t5-YpHQ&hl=en&fs=1&]
(Originally posted at Cabel)

So is it a fake?
According to this website, Microsoft are indeed having launch parties, and have partnered with another company to organise this.
They show a still of the original horrible video on that page.

Also, if you were making a fake commercial for something, that’s fair enough. Plenty of people have. That’s not too difficult with enough people and some half decent equipment.
But the Launch Parties channel on YouTube has loads and loads of videos, subtitled for different languages.
Much as I’d love to believe it’s some Apple fanatics that have deliberately made some fake Microsoft videos, the idea of them making over ONE HUNDRED seems a little absurd.

So that must mean that this IS a real video. Not just that one either.
THIS other video really does have a man utter the line “let me show them to you, then give you a chance to fool around with them yourself”. Begging for a porno re-edit, I’m sure you’ll agree.

So these videos, in all their shabby, badly-acted, really-tedious, long-winded glory, really are all made by Microsoft – the biggest, most profitable software company in the world? I’m still trying to take that all in. It can’t be, surely?

Powerpoint celebrates 25 years

This week, Powerpoint reached a quarter of a century old. I bet that the celebrations for it went down like for my recent birthday – quiet, nobody told, and with all the phones switched off, as they try to forget all about it, lest anyone realise they’ve been flogging the same product for about 20 of those years.

I’m an Apple fan. I’ll get that out of the way right now.
I own an iPhone, and I love using a Mac. They seem somehow simpler, less trouble, and yes – they’re incredibly stylish.
I don’t hate all Windows-based PCs, but being generic combinations of components can cause problems. (Although I’m biased as I worked in IT support almost exclusively for Windows machines, until last year)

Initially Powerpoint was a Mac-only product. If this had remained the case, it would have been axed by now, or substantially rewritten/redesigned.
The software is old, boring, and it’s also misused.
People feel the need to put in random animated effects (they’re all terrible), that haven’t been used in the mainstream media since probably the early 80s.
Anything that gives people cause to use Microsoft Office’s dreadfully-weakly-drawn clip-art is a bad thing, and swooshing sound effects are a mistake in any office situation.

Surely it’s not all bad?

I’ve sat through one enjoyable Powerpoint presentation in my entire life.
It was the first day of a training course, and it was enjoyable because they had used a copyrighted piece of music illegally. It’s the first and only presentation I’ve seen that has used a Fatboy Slim track in the background.
That also gives you some idea how long the presentation was – it was all finished in under 5minutes to give a basic overview of the corporation, before moving onto something else.
The rest of the course only used Powerpoint to show photographs of screenshots. Everything that wasn’t visual, wasn’t included.
Well done.

The last Powerpoint presentation I sat through, had a lot going wrong for it. Aside from the earlier mentioned bad clipart (is it some kind of legal requirement?), here’s the three main reasons it failed in my opinion:

1. The person doing the presentation wasn’t the person who created it.
For that reason, there were sections where she actually said “I’m supposed to do X now, but I think it’s silly so I’m not going to bother”.
That seems bad for a presentation, but it was made worse by the explaining of everything that we would have done, had she not decided we wouldn’t.
As it happened, I agreed with her – it was a stupid idea.
But surely the correct thing to do there is either do the activity, or don’t do it and hide/delete the slide.

2. It was ridiculously generic.
I was being shown the presentation in one office of a multi-site business.
At one point, there was a slide that explained about the Y system, which featured in some sites.
The speaker announced that this wasn’t relevant at the site we were in, but then continued to explain what it was anyway.
On the one hand, you could say they were being helpful – but on the other hand, it’s completely pointless for me to know this information. It will be of no future use to me whatsoever.

3. It wasn’t really needed.
There were maybe two things in the entire presentation that had associating photographs. During some of the health and safety section, there were photographs of what can go wrong. Not gory, but interesting.
Aside from that, every other slide was used to show bullet points that (mostly) linked to what the speaker was saying.
Some of them weren’t obvious as to what they were though, so if you only remember what you see visually, you’ll still be none the wiser.

I should add that it wasn’t entirely the speaker’s fault. The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that I hadn’t slept well, and so had a lot to drink to keep me awake.
This meant when she said “there’s only 10 slides left”, I was mentally calculating whether I could last until the end of the presentation (based on how long it had been since the last slide-count update), or whether I’d have to excuse myself to go to the toilet for the second time so far.

What other option is there?

10 years ago, when I was in college, a module required I do a presentation. Me and the rest of the students worked together, and collectively presented it to department heads and other non-teaching staff.
Part of this was done in Powerpoint, but with a lot of diagrams and things that couldn’t be easily explained verbally.
There were also written handouts (which were NOT just print outs of the entire Powerpoint presentation) given to audience members.

Not to blow my own trumpet, but far and away the thing that stood out as being different was my part.
Essentially we’d been struggling to find me a task for the project, with a lot of bases covered.
For the first two weeks I’d done very little, but a few days before we were due to make the presentation, I’d discovered and downloaded this relatively new piece of software, called Macromedia Flash (now known as Adobe Flash).
I’d learnt some of it, including motion blur animation, and worked out how to let the user move things around on screen, and so this became my section.
Where we had otherwise used photographs, I made a section that was interactive, and invited the audience to have a go with it.
Instead of showing them photographs or bullet points about the internal components, I could actually let them drag off covers, remove screws (it was an engineering course) and unwrap it themselves, albeit it in a basic manner compared to what Flash is used for (and capable of) nowadays.
Despite my fear of public speaking and performance, that was the best module of the entire course.

Powerpoint have any competition?

Sorta.
You can make basic presentations in Google Presentation (part of Google Docs – http://docs.google.com) for free.
Because it’s based online, you can share it with people all over the world too, if you should need to, and they can view it in any browser without installing additional software.

For something portable that doesn’t require an Internet connection, check out Apple Keynotes (http://www.apple.com/iwork/keynote).
It works very similar to Powerpoint, but it’s got considerably better transition effects, basic 3d animation, and fancy mirror reflections.
Just look at this video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7Advv481lk&hl=en&fs=1&]

There’s different tools for different jobs, but I think if you don’t have anything visual to show (bullet points AREN’T essential), don’t use Powerpoint.
That said, photographs, pie charts, and other visual information needs to be displayed in some way, and Powerpoint is easy for that. Powerpoint can embed audio and video though, and run external software, so you don’t need to limit yourself to crappy Microsoft clip art and 1980’s transition effects, even if you stick with it.

Fat %$&*! sings!

For a while now, I’ve been getting emails from a website called “The Fatman” or “The Fatman sings”.
They look quite professionally done, but they’re spam.
I don’t recall ever having signed up for them, Gmail blocks them as being spam, and the link to unsubscribe doesn’t really work.
Their emails actually say “please whitelist us”, presumably as a lot of places stop it as spam.

According to their privacy policy:

Does Fatman email me loads of adverts and junk mail?
No, but Fatman does send you some adverts because that’s how the Fatman pays for the website and it keeps the Fatman from starving and it means Fatman can get out there and get the gossip for you! So, please look at the ads because Fatman tries to accept good adverts and does his best only to send you one or two ads per week.

and also:

If you have any queries regarding privacy or if you would like to raise any issues regarding our privacy policy, please e-mail us at privacy@fatman sings.co.uk. Please allow up to 14 days for a response.

Now, while attempting to unsubscribe myself recently, and getting a failure message of some sort, I assumed it had failed yet again, and I’d just have to go and delete more from the spam folder of Gmail every now and then.

BUT, to my shock and surprise, I received this email, shortly after my attempt:

From: Amanda Malyan | Marketing Source
I am now out of the office until Tuesday, 14th April 2009. If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please email fin@marketingsource.co.uk or call the office on 0844 871 4750. This email is not being monitored in my absence.

Regards

Amanda Malyan
Head of Client Services

Marketing Source seems to be a company who stockpile email addresses and rent them on.
What a lovely idea.
At least I now have a contact, if I still continue to receive this junk. Someone I can moan to. It’ll make me feel better anyway.