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Demon regrade fiasco : Day 17

So this morning I again phoned Demon support, initially they claimed I had regarded from Home Office to Business then back to Home Office again, however that got resolved quickly and I was told my account was a Business account, so I guess it was just the dedicated Business broadband support line that was wrong yesterday evening.

This time I was told that the cap would be removed from the account within the next 12 hours, this was at 11am, at 11pm the cap would be lifted for the day anyway so I thought that I wouldn’t really not know until the next day, so they might just as well have given me another one of the 24 hours brush offs.

Amazingly enough today the cap appears to have been lifted, I guess I must now be a proper business class customer, few what a relief!!!

Two other important things happened today as far as Demon go, I send a letter of complaint to their head office and I got a letter from them saying how sorry they were that I was closing my old dial up account, which I moved away from 4-5 years ago! Now that’s efficiency!!! (note hint of sarcasm).

The more observant may have noticed that I’ve included Saturdays and Sundays in my Day numbers, when Demon tell you a regrade will take 10 days that’s 10 working – you have to read the small print, I think this is quite deceptive really 10 doesn’t sound to bad, just a bit more than a week but when you think about it really it’s 2 weeks, 14 REAL days, naturally 10 days sounds better.

I guess it’s only fair to say that when I post a book the confirmation email says 1-2 working days, that’s because the delivery people don’t work Sundays but I do explicitly state working days.

Maybe if you are a business you’re probably not to bothered about weekends, but for consumers and people like myself, both a consumer and micro ISV weekends are very important so 14 days (2 weeks) is really the number you have to think off and all of a sudden that sounds a lot longer. (something like 40% longer). I guess the only time it’s useful is if you order on a Saturday or Sunday then it’s actually 12-14 real days, I can’t help think being up front and saying 2 weeks would be better.

Now all I have to wonder is why it took 17 (real) days to sort this out when it was just a regrade, the line was already there, from what I can tell BT had their bit nailed in 2-3 days, so that leaves 14 days of pen pushing I guess. It does make me wonder if I hadn’t done anything how long this would have taken to resolve.

I only have a few concerns left, hopeful the cap removal wasn’t just a temp thing today and won’t reset it’s self tomorrow, hopefully in 30 days time Demon’s computer won’t automatically decide it doesn’t know I’m a business customer and recap me/

My biggest concern however is that nothing else will happen to my line that requires Demon customer support to do anything because I’m not actually sure they are capable of doing anything to support their customers (or at least in a reasonable efficient manner) and for this reason alone I have to consider Demon unsuitable as a Business broadband provider and inadequate as a home Broadband provider.

Hopefully this will be the last you will hear of me complaining about Demon, if it’s not then I’m likely to need to be in a padded cell as this has just been such a frustrating experience its driven me crazy every day.

Demon [Business] Broadband is totally unsuitable for Business and Consumers.

The Short version:

If you or your business requires a good reliable internet provider Demon are the last people you should consider. For more than a week now I have been repeatedly fobbed off by their customer support staff who tell me to wait 24-48 hours then my regrade should be sorted but alas I am still stuck with a heavily throttled internet connection.

Often I have reason to believe they (Demon support) have ignored my request for help and just got me off the line by telling me it would be sorted in 24-48 hours. As far as I can tell little to no action has been taken to resolve my problems by Demon customer support. Frequently I am told one thing then the next time I call this gets totally contradicted.

Day 1 : Order faxed to Demon at about 2am.

Day 3 : About now the line got upgraded by BT, FUP cap in place.

Day 7 : Received email stating that the regrade was complete. Not true.

Day 7 : According to a letter from Demon my new FUP cap starts now (19 March) until 19 April.

Day 8 : Contacted support to check the regrade status, told 24-48 hours.

Day 9 : Contacted support to check the regrade status, told 24-48 hours.

Day 11 : Contacted support to check the regrade status, told 24 hours.

Day 12 : Contacted support to check the regrade status, told 24 hours.

Day 13 : Clocks changed at 2am. FUP cap now stays until 11pm not 10pm as stated by Demon in their communications.

Day 14 : (Monday 26 March) Spoke to a supervisor at Demon customer support who assured me he would have the regrade sorted and the regrade would be done in 24-48 hours, however he failed to email me as requested to confirm this.

Day 15 : Contacted support, told 24 hours and account would be Business account, Informed them of the time change issue effecting the end time of the cap.

Day 16 am: Told regrade completed on Day 15 (27th) and account was now Business Broadband account.

Day 16 pm: FUP cap still in place and told account was Home Office not Business as told in the morning, also told that FUP cap is in place until 11pm and not 10pm as Demon communications state, I guess they make it up as they go along!

How it started:
My recent problems with Demon started back in January, having just had the x-mas break I had spent quite a bit of time on the internet and had unknowingly exceeded my bandwidth allocation which had recently been introduced by Demon.

The first I realised was when my internet access was giving me 11K download speed instead of the previous 200k+ I had been use to, I contact customer support who were unable to tell me the reason, I initially thought their was a problem with the line, at 10pm this problem went away until the next day, I then again phone Demon customer support who told me that I had exceeded the bandwidth allowance and my line was capped from 9am till 10pm at 128k for a month. A few days latter I got a letter to tell me that I had exceeded the fair usage policy and my bandwidth would be capped for 30 days.

I naturally enquired how I could check my bandwidth usage, there is no online way to tell, you have to phone demon support and they will tell you, hardly friendly! Also unlike some companies there is no way to buy extra bandwidth, if you want to use your line during the peak times you have no choice but to struggle, and struggle you will as at these speeds broadband does not work well. If in a period of 30 days you exceed your allowance then the next month you have the cap, not the remaining time during the 30 days.

The following month I cut back my usage but not enough, I was less than 10% over my allowance and I had my 30 day cap imposed. Fortunately for me at this time most of my internet usage is during the late evening and weekend. Again during February I was about 10% over my usage allowance so I find my self in March having a 7day/week 9am till 10pm cap, actually as at writing the cap is in place till 11pm because the clocks that govern the cap have not been updated for the day light savings change. Tonight (28 March) I spoke with Demon support who told me the cap was in place until 11pm, however the letter I have from Demon support clearly states 10pm, they tell you one thing but do another!

At this point I felt I had only two options, clearly I was never going to meet the limits of the home office package I could switch provider which I felt would be problematic and possible leave me unconnected or as an existing customer I thought I could simply send Demon more money and regrade my account to a full Business account.

I chose the regrade, what a mistake. A word to the wise : DON’T DO IT!

The Regrade:
When requesting a regrade (upgrade) of my account from their home office to the Business Broadband I was sent a lengthy order form intended for new customers, this I should have realised was a clear sign that they cared little for existing customers, here I am wishing to spend more cash (the order is worth over £700) with this company you would think they would make it easy to do that, new customers are difficult to find, existing ones who wish to pay more are free!

Another sign that you are not dealing with a company that cares about its customer is the 12 month lock in the contract requires. If you find a good supplier you are happy with then you don’t change, clearly Demon feel the need to prevent you escaping, why, well if I had the choice I would drop my Demon account right this minute because of the shoddy service, but they have me for 12 more months.

During the very early hours of Tuesday 13 March 2007 (Day 1) I faxed back my order form, with it I send an email to the sales person letting them know I had done this in case I had not sent it properly.

Yes yes yes, I said faxed back, as an existing customer (or even for new customers) you can not use the internet to order an upgrade from Demon for your broadband, I really don’t think Demon have figured out how to use the Internet (they still post the invoices (annually when they bill monthly), no email with a pdf attached invoice like a lot of companies manage to do).

Now I was told this would take 10 days because of BT having to reassign the line. A few days latter my internet connection was showing signs of being reassigned, I had the full 800k+ upload speed showing in my connection details, I was very pleased, however it soon became apparent I still had the fair usage cap applied. I have been told by Demon support that it is not possible to apply the FUP to a business line so I knew something was wrong, I contacted them to discuss this and was told they were just sorting out the billing and my account would become a Business account at that point.

On Monday 19 Match 2007 (Day 7), 6 days after my order I received an email from Demon ADSL Support stating “We are delighted to confirm that your regrate is now complete.” However it was far from complete. I again contacted Demon support, I was told that they were just waiting for billing to complete then my account would be a Business Broadband account and this should be 24-48 hours. They offered no explanation how I had received an email stating that the regrade was complete.

I waited 48 hours, on the morning of Day 9 (Wednesday) I phoned again to be told it would be 24-48 hours, I’ve phoned every day since then to be told 24 hours. I’ve been told a variety of different dates for when things have happened following on from my support queries which makes me realise that when I was told that they would fix the issue and it would be done in 24 hours they didn’t actually do anything.

I phoned Demon customer support on Monday (Day 14) and spoke with a supervisor there, I was assured that the problem would be fixed in 24-48 hours, I also asked for him to send me a confirmation email. 2 working days latter (Day 16) since that conversation I have no email and still the FUP is in place. I phoned support in the morning to be told the regrade was complete and my account was showing as a business account, however they couldn’t explain why the FUP cap was still in place and that I should phone back in 2 hours to get a progress report.

I was unable to phone back at the time and phoned latter on in the evening, about 8pm after the real customer support line had closed. I was told my account was a Home Office 8000 account, which is a direct contradiction to what I was told earlier.

Now I have to wait till the morning of Day 17 to phone Demon customer support (they only work 9 to 5 or 8 to 8 or something, not the advertised 24 hours Demon would have you believe, the people that do the 24 hour support appear to be their just to say hello, get your account number and have you phone back in the morning, they have never managed to be any help, so take the 24 support with a huge pinch of salt).

My Advice for potential Demon customers:
Do you like to gamble? If you have 1 phone line, if you are dependent on a good connection then you will take a massive gamble if you opt for Demon, avoid these idiots, they don’t care about you and they don’t want to help you.

Read the contract, you have to give them a fixed 12 months, they have the ability to change things as they see fit, changes mean the 12 month lock in resets, however they make no promises to what they will supply you with. No >99% uptime, no commitment to support you, nothing, nada. AVOID!

My Advice for Demon customers:
Simple, at the earliest chance stop being a Demon customer!
You should start by moving away from your Demon email, this is something that you will loose when you stop having Demon as your BB provider and is a great way to lock in customers, get your own domain name which has email provided with it, or use gmail or similar, avoid the demon mail, if you use Demon email then you already know how little control you have over the anti spam system and it’s quite good at rejecting legitimate emails.

Don’t even bother attempting a regrade, that’s just a recipe for disaster and another 12 month lock in. Shop around for other BB providers, consider your bandwidth usage for the next 12 months, will you be a heavy user of the Sky, C4 , BBC2 or google videos or Amazon UnBox download services, these will use lots of bandwidth and Demon will make you suffer and remember some of the new applications use P2P technologies meaning you will (most likely without knowing) be uploading parts of the movie you downloaded to help balance the distribution, bye bye more bandwidth.

I have been a Demon customer for about 8-10 years now, I had previously been happy with them but unfortunately they have gone into the ground. This I feel is such a shame.

It goes without saying this has been an incredible stressful experience, getting up in the morning to speak with a Demon person knowing I would be told to call back in 24 hours, knowing nothing would actually be done, knowing they couldn’t care less about me. We don’t need companies like this, Demon pack up shop or learn to respect your customers.

When I sell a book I get the notification in the evening after my day job, the book is in the post to my customer the next day and usually delivered the day after – this goes down very well, it’s not difficult, I find the book, print the labels, print the packing slip, package it up (throwing in a couple of book marks), print a stamp and next day drop it in the post. Demon has no physical thing to deal with, a few key strokes and that should be it, how can an order for a better package where I give them more money drag on all messed up for 16+ Days.

Apparently I am not alone, others are suffering at the hands of Demon Internet. The reg also recently reported on problems with supposed unlimited broadband claims., have a read and sigh the Number 10 partition, Unlimited is not limited. FUP Limitations on bandwidth mean bandwidth limitations, which is not unlimited, it’s not rocket science.

All views expressed are my personal views and not that of Analysis UK Ltd.

Heli Fun.

Some weeks ago I (and three others at my day job) purchased a ESky Lama V3 Helicopter, if you are thinking about trying remote control helicopters then this one is just so much fun you should go for it!

This is one strong and fun helicopter, you are best off flying indoors, in an area with some reasonable space and nothing valuable around. The battery charge lasts about 10 minutes but that seams like a long time and whilst you are learning to fly most of the time you will be picking the heli off its side and placing it back in a position you can fly it from.

I have repeatedly crashed the Lama and it’s incredibly strong, so far I’m on my second set of blades (both A and B !), fortunately it comes with a spare set in the box and I’m also on my second tail, this didn’t come as a spare but only cost about £8.

BuzzFlyer do a great range of spare parts for the V3 Lama and with their being 4 of us at work I just see what every body else needs and do a big-ish order which helps with the postage.

Various connectors for the blades, balance thingy and what not take some serious grief but these just pop back into place without to many problems, I expected these to be the first things to break but they have done amazingly well. Just moments ago I hit the ceiling with the heli, which landed badly on the sofa, the balance hammer on the top came out and was actually bent, but all connectors are in one piece and I was back flying again 20 seconds latter.

The Tail broke some time ago and was a similar crash, I was trying to back away from the window when I got it all wrong and the heli came down backwards from the ceiling and hit the rowing machine on it’s way, so no great surprise the plastic tail broke! This was easy to replace, just 4 small screws.

If you are looking for a fun present for someone this x-mas then look seriously at the LAMA, I put some serious thought into the purchase and wasn’t sure if Id done the right thing, until I started flying it, then it instantly became my favourite toy!

Unfortunately the manual’s not to hot for getting started, but it’s quite simple. Switch on the remote control handset, set the throttle (left hand lever + trim) all the way down, place the Lama on a flat surface, plug in the battery, don’t touch it until you see the red flashing led go solid green. Pick up the controls and start flying. You will need to adjust the trims and these change with battery charge, I find getting it a few inches from the ground to get the coarse adjustment then fly it properly and you can then get an idea of the fine adjustment.

One big tip I was given and I would suggest the same, keep it pointing away from you, it gets very confusing working back to front and the Lama reaches the scene of the accident very quickly normally but if you have the controls back to front you end up making it even quicker!

There are some good RC forums around with more tips on flying the Lama.

ESWC 2006 Day 1

Well here I am trying to focus on the screen to give a summary of day one from the European ShareWare Conference 2006 here in Cambridge although very tired at present so the spelling and grammar are probably going to be even worse than usual.

Well first of all if you were at the conference then Hi and if not, well shame on you as you are missing a very interesting and informative conference.

This is the first one of these I’ve been to so I was unsure as to what I should be expecting, how many people would be their and all that. Numbers were good today, a nice big turn out but no to large that it was difficult to see/hear, although given this is a Europe conference then I guess that actually very few of the micro ISV’s/ShareWare authors have come along.

I think calling it a ShareWare conference is selling it a bit short as today covered SEO, email marketing and goggle adwords which were really interesting to me for both my web based products (Dollars to Pounds exchange rates and as well as windows applications (i.e. Dinner Timer for timing your cooking), where "ShareWare" tends to conger up the thoughts of a standalone application that installed on your computer.

All the talks from today were very interesting, some to know as background and to be aware of for future developments and others for here and now.

I was pleasantly surprised by Thomas Wetzel’s talk of “Grow your Google Adwords account successfully”, I’ve used Adwords for some time now and whilst I’m no expert I did think I understood a fair amount. I learnt a lot from Thomas’ talk, not least about his analytics tool for adword tracking which I’ve downloaded already and I’m about to go and play with. I also learnt that I’m not alone by loosing money with adwords, although to be fair I did expect this from the way I have it configured and how I want to attract customers.

I was also very impressed by the presentation Sinan Karace from InstallAware. Installers are the first thing your customers get to see of the product for windows applications and it’s critical for the success of the product that it goes better than just OK. At other companies I’ve worked at I’ve purchased the well known installer that is a competitor to InstallAware, which I ended up having to use to create installers for the applications I had written and I have to say how much I hate that other companies installer application and upgrade pricing!. InstallAware’s product looks really good, having written installers I know it’s no stroll in the path and to see the examples and the flexibility of the InstallAware product I was impressed. I shall be downloading that very soon and running it through it’s paces, their pricing also looks very impressive and a much more friendly upgrade policy!

I couldn’t end the post without mentioning Bob Walsh of My MicroISV and author of Micro ISV, From Vision to Reality of which I am half way through, this is a great book, full of useful links and interesting interviews. Anyway, it was great to see him talk in person, and very interesting as well. You may also want to check channel 9 as their are a couple of interviews with him under the micro ISV section (sorry no link, it's a nightmare to navigate channel 9, maybe I'll post the links in my next post when I have a little more time).

I’m looking forward to Sunday’s presentations, although dreading the 9am start, I mean, a 9am start on a Saturday and Sunday I’m a night person and this is one major shock to the system!

Partial outage of Analysis UK web sites.

Apologies to all those effected earlier today by the outage of a number of the Analysis UK websites, including and Dollars2Pounds as well as the other exchange rate sites.

This outage occurred on the main web server and was caused by a power supply failure. The hosting company were quick to get the problem identified, however unfortunately their was significant delay in finding a replacement power supply, hence the sites were off line for a number of hours.

All sites are now back up and running.


Dinner Timer Lite

I am pleased to announce the release of Dinner Timer Lite and the web site.

Dinner Timer Lite can be downloaded, for free from

Dinner Timer Lite is as the name implies a timer to help with the timing of cooking, although it doesn’t have to stop there, it can be used for any application that requires a count down timer.

Dinner Time Lite in action

Dinner Timer Lite is the first of a few Dinner Timer applications to come from Analysis UK, however these are still in development and there are more features to be added to Dinner Timer Lite as well so please keep an eye out on

Dinner Timer Lite features a flexible notifiers architecture, it currently ships with bubble and sound notifiers so you can get a pop up bubble from the system tray or play built in, or custom sounds on specific events.

A number of different events are supported when running the application, these naturally include start and end events but also a timer end close event, two timer over run events which can be configured to suite your own style of cooking.

A novel feature is the over run timer, when the time is complete the timer keeps running, telling you exactly how long over the completion time you have gone, no need to scramble around resetting the timer just to get an extra minute for the peas.

The transparency/opacity settings of Dinner Timer Lite can be used to allow the timer to be visible as well as what ever (TV on the PC?) happens to be underneath it, the transparency changes with the events of the timer, so when your dinner is cooked the timer is fully visible and when it’s not running it can be practically invisible.

You may well be asking why you need a PC based timer when you have a stand alone one. I have two stand alone timers and I still use Dinner Timer Lite regularly. Often I return to my PC to carry on working on the various projects and realise that I have not set the timer, Dinner Timer Lite is only a click away at this time and becomes very useful, especially as it would typically be 5-10 minutes before I got around to returning to the kitchen to set the timer and I would end up burning the dinner.

I wrote Dinner Timer Lite to solve the problems of me returning to the PC to carry on working and forgetting to start a timer, so I could easily see how the time was going and because I didn’t find the two normal timers I had to be particularly use friendly.

Even if you are using a normal timer, Dinner Timer Lite can still be very useful, it’s easy to see how long remains, or if you want to put something extra on a set time after you started dinner you can put Dinner Timer Lite into elapsed time mode.

Maybe like me, you’ve set the timer for your Pizza, returned to the PC to get a little bit of work done but you know full well you want to be back for the Pizza early, just start the timer, it will warn you just before the timer is complete (1 minute by default), you can also keep an eye on the time remaining with out having to be in the kitchen to watch the timer.

This is the first release of Dinner Timer Lite and I am keen to get feedback, so please use the support page or comments here to let me know what you think and what extra’s you think a timer should provide. I already have a big list of bits to add to the full Dinner Timer and Dinner Timer Lite.

NetFlix announces $1 Million prize.

In case you haven’t already heard, NetFlix has announced a competition with the grand price of $1 M USD (Convert) for a system that will improve it’s prediction of movies it’s customers would like to rent. (or as NetFlix put it “promote progress in recommendation systems”).

To help contestants NexFlix is providing a huge 100 million anonymous movie ratings (it’s a 665M download) training data set from its archives and they have very carefully updated the data to remove privacy issues (e.g. you can’t find out who actually borrowed what).

If you want a little help understanding why NetFlix would put up so much cash for a small (10%) improvement in their prediction have a read of Why better DVD recommendations are worth a million bucks from Chris Anderson over on the Long Tail (and don’t forget to have a look at his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More).

Now if you want to enter the competition or learn some more about machine learning then you may want to have a check out of a recent Channel 9 video MSR Cambridge Tour: Machine Learning Group, Computer Vision and F# from Microsoft Research down the road here in Cambridge. If you are interested in what the future holds for games, video conferences, machine vision and learning then it’s well worth a watch. Also you may want to check out Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning by Christopher Bishop for a read to help you when your wading through all that NexFlix data.

BTW: Anybody having issues with dumprep.exe, I’ve had a few crashes recently and this thing takes forever to work and steals all my CPU. IE 6 just crashed when I was hunting round Channel 9 for a link to the video and now dumprep.exe has 133M of my memory and 92% of my CPU, and it’s been that way for a while.

Whilst I’m on a Channel 9 note could they make it any more horrible to navigate, they have some fantastic video’s on there, just you have to go hunting – and you should as there are some really interesting ones. Mind you theirs not even a nice link from MSDN to Channel 9 like their used to be so I guess we just aren’t meant to be watching them.

OK, rant over!

Anyway, the NetFlix competition looks like it’s going to be interesting, good luck to all those that enter.

Consumer book publishing

Veronis Suhler Stevenson today published a press release discussing consumer book publishing as well as other aspects of the communications/media sector.

For all those involved in the book industry, particularity the (internet based) used book aspect of it should find this interesting reading.

One piece that really interested me was the expected growth of the used books spending projection, which they estimate to be 25% compound annual rate over the next 5 years. So take the time to have a browse through the books you have listed on and have a think about when you last read the book and if you should be ticking the "For Sale" box as well so you can get some cash to buy more books…

Below is the Consumer Book Publishing forecast:

Total spending on new, used and online books will increase 2.7 percent in 2006 to $21.88 billion. The rise of used books is expected to alter the spending pattern on consumer books in the years to come. Spending on used books is projected to grow at a 25.0 percent compound annual rate over the next five years, reaching $2.25 billion in 2010. Record-setting demand for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, plus strong spending on titles related to the movie The Chronicles of Narnia, helped to boost total consumer spending on new books by 3.6 percent in 2005 to $20.48 billion. The used book market, limited primarily to small retail outlets, libraries and the neighborhood tag sales in the past, has become a more important factor in the consumer book market due to the Internet, jumping 25.0 percent in 2005 to $736.0 million. Used book spending pushed total spending on consumer books to $21.31 billion, a 4.4 percent increase over the 2004 level. The Consumer Book publishing industry is forecast to have total spending in 2010 of $24.9 billion.

Happy selling!


New RSS Feeds – publish your book collection online.

For sometime now has had RSS feeds for books that are for sale, if you look at the user’s profile of the book you are interested in you will see a RSS feed link. If you found that you were interested in the books that the seller had you could subscribe to the feed and keep an eye out for the latest books they had.

Alternatively for sellers you could use that RSS feed to add the books you were selling onto your own website. The links in the feed link right back to the book details page on where your customer could find out more details about the book and purchase it if they were interested. This meant all you had to do was add a simple RSS reader to your site and you were away.

Recently the RSS feeds available has been extended, the more observant will have noticed a "My RSS Feeds" link in the "My Account" section. From here you can configure special RSS feeds to publish your book collection.

On the right hand sidebar of this blog you can see an "I'm Reading…" and "My wish list" section, these are both automatically generated from a RSS consumer in the bloging software and feeds from

This screen shot shows a typical configuration of My RSS Feeds:

So if you would like your blog readers to know what books you are reading, or what ones you would like, or what books you have, if you are selling books or just want to list your entire book collection on your website then check out the MyRSS feeds.

The My RSS Feeds are also available on and so you can also list the CDs and DVDs you have, or like or would like.


DVD Downloads from

Robert Scoble yesterday talked about Amazon becoming the new Google (along with one heck of a busy schedule - I can’t wait to see the results of Scobel’s work, if its anything like the Channel 9 videos and his normal bloging they should be fantastic). Interestingly his comments come a year to the day after the Scoble goes to Amazon and Learns All About Web Services Channel 9 video was posted.

Amazon have also been very busy on the development interface over the last few years, AWS as it was, now ECS is a market leading initiative that has lead to lots of great sites consuming and mashing up Amazons data. Over at I have been able to include results from Amazon searches and product details with ease whilst keeping the style of, this is great for people looking for more details about a book they are interested in, with a single click they can get the product details, reviews and the product value information, as well as being able to purchase the product or similar products from Amazon or third party sellers if they wish.

The most recent offering from is UnBox a DVD download service. Along a similar line to Napster but for video rather than music.

Dave Taylor has an excellent review of unbox, a few things struck me about MP3 and video download services like these is that at the end of the day the products are still comparably priced to the CD or DVD based products, but the one thing you don’t get is a tangible product, hence it has no resale value which has the hidden effect of elevating the cost of the goods.

If you go and buy a DVD from your local retailer or online from or Amazon if you then decide you don’t like it, or just grow bored of it you can always sell or swap the DVD, however with downloads this becomes so much more difficult.

I would never pay for a second-hand downloaded DVD movie. If it’s DRM protected then chances are it’s not going to work on my PC, if it’s not protected then how do I know it’s original and the person selling it is legit? At least with DVD disk based products I have something that is easy to tell from a cheap rip-off.

The thought of buying a DRM protected DVD (a new one) leaves me wondering that when it comes time to upgrade/rebuild my PC will I still be able to watch this DVD or will I have thrown my money down the drain. I have one eBook (21 dog years) which I find really annoying to read off the PC and I just know one day I won’t be able to read it anymore because I will have broken something on the PC.

Personally I like to watch DVDs on my TV, music wise I enjoy the normal Hi-Fi, I’m a big fan of WinAmp on my PC, but I hate watching DVDs on my PC, you just know an IM window or email message will arrive at a key point of the movie popping into the middle of the screen and messing up the whole scene or the audio will get all messed up as the disk drives become busy for some other reason and sit their for 10 seconds making lots of noise for no apparent reason.

So for now I’m sticking with buying boxed DVD’s, selling them as I feel fit and swapping my DVD’s with my friends through The same goes for music, if I’m buying an album then I will buy the cased thing, selling and swapping with friends through

On a similar note I recently realised a new use for that hadn’t even crossed my mind, last week I went around a friends for a few Friday evening beers, before leaving I thought I would take a DVD with me, I couldn’t find one on my shelf’s that I thought he would enjoy or hadn’t already seen. It wasn’t until we were talking that I realised he should have used his DVDSwap.wsaccount to have a browse through my DVD collection and then ask me to bring over the one he would like. Look out for a new "Bring it over" style feature on to help friends get together over a mutually enjoyable DVD soon – when I figure out a good name and how to implement the service!!!

BTW, as I’m talking about WinAmp and listening to music on the PC I have to mention .977 the 80s channel a shoutcast radio station I listen to a lot. You can enjoy classic 80s tracks with WinAmp and [Club] .977.