Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

January 1999

Meanwhile articleWednesday, January 27th, 1999, (10:07 pm)

Meanwhile : Articles written by Simon Jones

Ever since I moved to Birkenhead in Merseyside I have been “moving out soon”. However after some seven years in the town that statement has grown to become less and less convincing.

Five of those years have been spent living at the same address, this from a person who was once known for making a mess of peoples address books as I moved around from place to place. Paradoxically it has been my northern friends who have moved away from the town, leaving me as probably Birkenhead’s most unappreciative tenant.

I have made two failed attempts to leave Birkenhead. The first was back in 1995 when I tried to make a move to Cambridge in the South of England. However that quickly fell through when my friend Mark Dawe announced that it had “gone too far, get out”. I wasn’t really sure what had ‘gone too far’ but one thing was certain, I wasn’t going anywhere apart from back to Merseyside.

Last year (1998) I again tried to move, this time setting my sights to a much more achieved goal with a move locally to Oxton. However after some rather questionable work practices of a local letting agency I was once again left disappointed.

However the seven year stretch in ‘Birkenhell’ is about to come to its end. The once inevitable and now almost unbelievable is about to happen… I really am moving out of Birkenhead!

Yes this coming weekend I will be moving into a new flat in Bebington on the Wirral. It may not be so far from Birkenhead, but you have to know Birkenhead like I do to appreciate the fact that you don’t have to go far from it to be a million miles away!

There are some though who feel that my moving away from Birkenhead will mean a huge decline in my fountain of story worth material. They think a move to a quieter neighborhood will have me climbing the walls in a search for some sort of incident, drama or excitement. Perhaps they’re right, but I am not so sure. I tend to be able to find stories in the strangest places. However Birkenhead has provided me with some great material for my often animated and sometimes plain unbelievable stories.

I came to live in Birkenhead quite by accident… [Click here to continue reading this article at ‘Meanwhile’]

Meanwhile articleWednesday, January 13th, 1999, (1:10 am)

Meanwhile : Articles written by Simon Jones

So far this year I have been offered “hot Russian women to wed”, “free subscriptions to 100’s of top mags”, “best deals on low APR finance”, “free false eyelashes” and on my Birthday I was offered “the most convincing wigs ever”! But this is no dodgy back street of a dark city, this is the information superhighway, the technical revolution that will empower us all, this is the internet.

Needless to say, I never once asked anyone on the net (or otherwise) for a “hot Russian bride” or “convincing wig”, but somehow someone out there has gotten hold of my email address and decided to sell it, along with millions of others, to someone who has gone hunting the net for someone who is indeed looking for their perfect ‘hot Russian bride’ or ‘convincing wig’.

Such mass mailings have earned the nickname ‘spam’ and are now the No1 cause of annoyance on the net. I manage to avoid it on the most part by using a web based email address when entering my email details on any form. My private mail address has as a result remained relatively spam free. Even my business email address hasn’t suffered too badly. But get on one of these lists and the problem can become so serious that there is often only one way to fix it, terminate the email address completely!

According to a survey carried out for Novell by Benchmark Research “Junk email is fast becoming the scourge of business in the United Kingdom and could severely curtail the Internet’s progress as the business medium of the next century”

Spam could be costing British and Irish business more than 5 billion pounds a year ($8.3 billion), the report showed. Novell said junk email may become such a threat to recipients that professional advice and specialized software will be required to curtail it. The results of the survey were based on interviews with 801 employees of information technology companies.

“Seventy-five percent of the people surveyed receive up to five spam emails a day, with a further 16 percent receiving between six and 25 spam emails a day,” Novell said in a statement. “In dealing with these emails, 75 percent said they wasted up to 15 minutes a day reading, deleting, filing or responding to spam and an amazing 15 percent wasted an hour doing the same.”

As yet there are no laws that make ‘spamming’ illegal. Service providers have taken to implementing there own solutions by limiting the amount of emails a person can send in one go. While this is effective to a point it only stops an inexperienced spammer, and perhaps more seriously it… [Click here to continue reading this article at ‘Meanwhile’]