I don’t normally keep this up to date… well, I haven’t for a year, but I was so incensed by my recent discovery that I had to voice my distaste. It seems that CJ.com, for whom I am signed up as a publisher affiliate, have decided to remove my account willy-nilly; without warning, without opportunity or right to appeal – nothing. CJ had deleted or deactivated my account.

And how did I find this out? Because I went to go and log in to my account. I couldn’t. Thinking it was just because I’d forgotten my password, I requested a reminder. No dice. It appears that my registered email address did not belong to an active account. “Strange,” thought I. “I could have sworn this was the right email address. Oh well, let’s go and check.”

I checked. It was right. Confused, I decided to try the other link on there that is supposed to help people with login problems contact CJ’s customer *ahem* service. I received the following email:

From: no-response@custhelp.com
Subject: Assistance Request Denied

Your request for assistance cannot be accepted because your email
address is not registered with an existing account.

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Was I mad?! Yes, I was. CustHelp.com? Expletives.

A little internet research leads me to the conclusion that my account was closed due to inactivity. Yes, I hadn’t logged in for a while because I was unlikely to be clocking up large figures of sales… and quite possibly no sales at all. But I DID have funds in there – I HAD made some sales at one point. Those profits are gone now – and though $20 might not mean anything to some people, it means a hell of a lot to me. It’s a starting point. It’s somewhere from which I can grow.

I don’t like this no-right-to-reply deletion of online accounts. I’ve heard horror stories before, particularly from webmasters (boy does that phrase sound corny) who rack up money only for it to disappear before their eyes. I’m leery of going back to Commission Junction now, a company which I have previously recommended to others for the excellence of their affiliate programs. I guess I probably will still recommend them – but with a very significant caveat.

- Don’t dare stop making sales or they’ll delete your account!

(PS. For anyone who’s interested, the few “sales” I made were from GoDaddy’s affiliate scheme that I had set up on my domain name manager website – in case you’re looking to manage your domain name lists.)

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A picture of an iphoneJust got myself a brand new iPhone – the 3GS, an upgrade from the iPhone 3G, enjoying it so far – it’s nice to have a fast iPhone again after the 3.0 software upgrade made everything reeeeeealy slow on my old 3G.

Jailbreak my new iPhone 3GS – blackra1n

Anyway, first job, of course, was to jailbreak the new phone. Last time I did it is was… well, it wasn’t a chore, exactly. But it was a bit of pain, using the redsn0w tool from dev-team, on the PC, to modify the firmware update. BUT – brilliant news, an update to an older piece of software called blackra1n which also hacks the iPhone! I hadn’t heard of it before but it appears that it’s been around before for updating older versions of the firmware and I have to admit it was good to have an alternative!

Read the rest of this entry

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I was looking for a way to keep one window (in my case, Chrome – I wanted the labels part of the GMail website visible so I knew when new emails had come in) on top of all others and I still find it really difficult to understand why this functionality to go “always on top” with any program, isn’t built into the Microsoft Windows GUI.

Seems obvious to me!

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Well, after having loads of problems trying to get the iPhone software to actually activate, it’s now become apparent that the update wasn’t worth waiting for. And I say that with sadness, I wanted this update to be great and to not have any issues. I love my iPhone, I want it to be amazing.

First thing I did was activate the MMS. What I didn’t know was that it wasn’t actually activated until I received 2 texts from o2 confirming that *they* have now activated it. Would have been nice for the software to have made that obvious. I got 3 messages from mobile number 1010 describing the situation.

My biggest real gripe though is messaging, either text or web. I think it’s a lot less sensitive than it used to be and harder to navigate text you’ve already written. The “select” tooltip thing keeps coming up when all I want to do is fix badly auto corrected words. Even now I’m finding that I can type faster than the screen can update. This didn’t used to be the case. Sad. Texting is much slower now on the iPhone and much more prone to errors!
I wish so much that apple would have just given us navigation arrows instead – yunno, like all keyboards do!

There are good things, I’m not trying to be a complete killjoy, I just hoped for more. I think it would have been cool for apple to have given us the voice recognition that the 3gs has – not really sure the hardware would hold that back for us.

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A picture of an iphoneWoohoo – the iPhone 3.0 software update is here… thank you Apple – now I have a phone that does what other people’s phones do, very specifically I’m looking forward to the MMS & copy-and-paste functionality.

However – big problem, I downloaded the application update (240MB, by the way) and I got the following error:

———-
The iPhone “………” cannot be updated at this time because the iPhone activation server is temporarily unavailable.
———-

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Woo! I’ve just launched a single page website about the zodiac on a domain I registered through Godaddy auctions. Nothing at all special, the domain doesn’t have any particular attached kudos, but I wanted to run the experiment to see how well it did compared to a “blank” domain purchase.

The URL is www.zodiac4u.com – simple enough, quite easy to remember and ripe for content. At this point it’s just the one page, setting out a kind of mission statement about what I want to do with the site. Effectively I want to give¬†people personalised horoscopes so at some point I’ll create a full enquiry form. Horoscopes are a particular pleasure of mine.

So the Godaddy thing – yeah, it’s alright. I’ve done it before, bought the expired domain name www.nottheonion.com – this did have some kudos with existing pages which I replicated (not content wise, just page name wise). It seemed to do very well for that reason, already has a pagerank (I think 2). I think it’s worth checking it out – it’s not as cheap as buying a domain name from scratch but with so few decent .coms available these days it’s a decent solution.

For anyone looking for SEO reasons, I also did a fair amount of research today about purchasing .net domains instead of .coms – my feeling is that seriously – it’s not worth it. If you can’t get the .com you want, unless your site has a particular reason to be particularly geo-centric (eg. .co.uk because the site is about the UK), you’re stuffed. My advice would be to keep looking, keep dancing around the domain registration places typing in keywords that kinda match, making sure your eventual URL isn’t going to be super massive.
The other thing to keep in mind, of course, is that at first of course you’re unlikely to get a high percentage of “type-in” traffic – that is, traffic from people typing your domain name straight into the address bar. Instead people are going to be searching for your site and that’s how they’ll find you. But DO people bookmark? In my experience, no, they don’t. Instead they remember the domain name and search for that!! If you haven’t got the .com, you’re scuppered! Definitely, buy the .com, not the .net (well, BOTH, if you can get the .com).

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A bird in dark settingI have to admit, I’ve never really been enrolled into the whole history of the Resident Evil series. I do seem to remember playing the original on the Playstation (is that right?!) but it may have been the second. Either way, it was good fun, part action, part adventure. Reasonably scary.

So when the fifth in the series came out (Oh, I tried the one on the Wii, that was AWFUL!) I had to get it… and I must say I’m really enjoying it! I know it’s standard practice to complete a game before reviewing but I’m not a massive, massive gamer. I play when I can and mostly that’s very casual but I’m trying my best.

The first thing that hit me is how gorgeous the game looks. I was, for some reason, expecting an “on rails” type game where there are hundreds of pauses and camera swings to divert your attention to the next thing. That it’s as free as it is somehow came as a shock and interacting with the environment on this game is a thorough joy. I don’t know whether it’s just me but the controls did irritate a fair bit, as did the odd bizarre camera angle… still, it’s kinda one of those things these days that people just *do* complain about.

The storyline is pretty good considering it’s a Zombie game to all intents and purposes. Oh, and it’s been ages since I’ve played a game with proper end-of-level baddies, how cool is that?! Your main ally in your pursuit, Sheva, is a bit bloody stupid I have to admit – you’re supposed to be able to get her to help you out more often than not but I just kept putting her into “cover” mode and that seemed to be for the best. There’s a need to conserve ammo that’s quite tricky for someone who’s not a confirmed FPS gamer, but the challenge seems fair enough really, rather than being handed everything on a plate. And the cool thing is that I hardly had to blow up a barrel at all!

I don’t think I’ve ever played a more cinematic game, though I’m looking to get Call of Duty: World at War, so we’ll see how long that lasts.

A very solid game, well directed, well executed and voice acted. A very intense and inclusive experience.

The game gets 8/10

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Jade Goody – is there any one person in the UK who is simultaneously so loathed and loved by he public? Yeah, probably. Truth is though that she is someone who has divided opinion so greatly over the years that there’s a certain amount of feeling within me that’s forcing me to be really think about whether it’s fair to “have a pop” when someone’s dying? Why not? Why do I have to suddenly think that she’s a wonderful person *just because* she’s dying?

Well, I should, because like her or not, she has a family, she has friends, she genuinely does have a lot of people who love her around her. Sure, I can be skeptical about people like Max Clifford but really I have no real reason to suspect his motives of being anything but friendly in the lady’s last days or weeks. Frankly I feel a bit uncomfortable, it’s not like she’s stabbed anyone, or destroyed anyone’s future, or really done an awful lot but take advantage of our own society… if anything should be done on the back of feeling anything negative towards the Goodie, then it should be to take on the most deplorable “media” aspects of our selves.

Personally, I’m a bit tired of the whole thing. She is one amongst thousands who are suffering in exactly the same way, she’s not special in that respect.. and to be honest, I have no idea if she herself would like the attention she’s getting. I just don’t know, and it’s not fair to assume that she would.

The amount of vitriol and humor being poked at her around the internet is immense. There’s a pretty good summary of all this shown here:¬†Jade Goody funny stories and jokes. Don’t blame that site, by the way, it’s just aggregating all the stories around the internet.

It’s a weird state of affairs. The way I see it is Jade Goody is OK. She’ll die, people will mourn, and hopefully Cancer becomes even more pressing in people’s lives as something that needs funding, in terms of research, and hopefully anyone who has profited from Jade Goody’s life (and death) will put some money – if not all that money – that way.

When the time comes – because I won’t blog about it again – RIP Jade Goody.

This review isn’t going to have a “rating” – it doesn’t seem appropriate.

A review of MSN Messenger

MSN People

Message away!

I’m not really into social networking, social bookmarking, social…ising. Anything really that involves me having to interact with other humans is not really something I do. Which makes it all the more important that my communication tool of choice really does the job well.

I use MSN Messenger. It might not even be called that, exactly, but I don’t much care either. Messenger is a Microsoft product, which doesn’t immediately mean it’s evil or that it’s buggy or that its Terms and Conditions forced me to give up my first born or the deeds to my eldest Stallion. Nope – it just means it works pretty much half the time and almost certainly contains a lot of functionality I’ll never use.

Personally I think out of all the instant online chat machines, Messenger is the best (out of interest, ICQ was the worst). It’s functional, it lets you have your own avatars, it’s quick, it lets you have privacy (I’m always in “appear offline” mode). Yeah – it’s a good product.

Appearance: 8/10 (It hasn’t ever changed much but personally I *like* that)
Functionality: 7/10 (It doesn’t do much, really, but what it does it does well)
Funk factor: 4/10 (It won’t do much for your street cred)

Overall I give MSN Messenger a healthy but not stunning 6/10

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Keyboard for laptopMy laptop’s broken. Its keyboard was accidentally subject to a pint of orange juice and after a drying and washing period, it turned out that half the keyboard didn’t want to work at all, whilst the other half worked a bit too well and duplicated keystrokes.

So, instead I’m having to put up with using an external USB keyboard which has its own issues. It’s OK, but the whole point of a laptop is that it’s portable and not clunky… right now I’m having to carry around a keyboard which doesn’t even fit in my laptop bag and juts out.

There’s not much to say really, using an external USB keyboard (this one happens to be a Dell by the way) is hardly the bane of my life, but it is a bit of a pig.

I’ll give the keyboard a pretty impressive 8/10 – it’s functional, the keys are nice and springy and the spacing of the letters is all good.

I’ll give the experience on the whole a dismal 3/10 – it’s a pain, I don’t like using an external USB keyboard.

Overall then: 5/10. Done!

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