Welcome to the Poorhouse - a pointless bloggy site with news, views and opinion on stuff.

How to be (fake) popular

It's now not enough to be uber-popular with the cool crowd in real life; you need to be in there in the virtual world of slightly-geeky social networking too. Those with MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and other pointless profiles will be aware of the concept of friends (those who don't have such accounts may also have heard of them to be fair, but perhaps in a slightly different context). For many people your profile friends exist to make you look cool. Who doesn't want to see "You have 10000 friends" every time you log onto such a site to check your spam?

Not that MySpace people are notoriously choosy anyway, but for those who are so inept that they can't get anyone except Tom - the default friend for all new and lonely people - to be their "friend" but feel excess friends in the online world will make you look elite, pump up your ego and get you hot chicks for some reason, you've just missed out on a service to fulfil all your dreams.

Fixing "the DLL C:\Windows\System32\Hhctrl.ocx occupied an address range reserved for Windows system DLLs"

You've got to love the user-friendly wonderfulness of Microsoft Windows XP error messages. Imagine the Poorhouse's angst upon every turn on of the Poor-computer resulting in the following morsel:

Rthdcpl.exe - Illegal System DLL Relocation

The system DLL user32.dll was relocated in memory. The application will not run properly. The relocation occurred because the DLL C:\Windows\System32\Hhctrl.ocx occupied an address range reserved for Windows system DLLs. The vendor supplying the DLL should be contacted for a new DLL.

The Poorhouse runs virus checkers, adware checkers and even tries to put some sort of cap on the amounts of p0rn and hack1ng 1llegal sites used per day. But something had clearly slipped through. Indeed it had...the nefarious and cunning creature known as Microsoft Windows Update.

McJob McAnger

Fairly or not, the prospects (for want of a better word) of "a job at McDonalds" is a threat oft-used by parents, teachers and other authoritarian figures to get their kids to work hard at school and learn something other than dirty sports songs and push-penny. Generally taken to mean a lowly, ill-paid, career-non-progressive, insulting job that really would be a hideous pain to have to turn up to each day, the highly respected Oxford English Dictionary has for several years defined the phrase "McJob" in the following manner:

McJob: an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.

McDonalds aren't impressed.

Hands over your eyes kiddies

We've previously heard tales claiming factoids such as that as the less-than-innocent Bratz kiddies dolls have foul-sounding mouths. It now turns out even the audio-free world of sign language is being used to transmit awful words into the minds of our innocent kiddie generation.

The controversial children's programme of the moment is Something Special, a show featuring Mr Tumble who educates and informs the youngsters by using sign language to translate his speech as he goes around doing the sort of weird stuff these kiddy characters do. All good clean fun - the only problem is the way he joyously greets his audience. The programme makers claim his hand-rubbing hello translates to "I'm happy to see you".

Jamie Miller, who works for the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, disagrees.

Repetitive eating

Britain isn't really internationally famous for its wonderously varied cuisine, but we get by. Apparently on an amazingly unextravagent menu of about 4 items. Research (by Loyd Grossman sauces) claims that in the average British household the inhabitants generally cook and eat just 4.1 different dishes for their whole lives.

Whilst that is at least 2 more than the Poorhouse tends to be adept at producing, it is not quite sure that the results are credible - there being at least 3 different variants of beans on toast regularly enjoyed here.

nRich someone else - part 3

It's probably about time for an nPower update, no? For initial details of the "give me £8000 or get beaten up and go to court" nPower outrage feel free to check parts 1 and 2. It was left on a cliffhanger "part 3 in a few days"…and that was half a year ago. Please accept Poorhouse apologies for that, but of course it has taken all this time to actually get any more information. Wonderful.

So, do we think the problem is sorted now then - three quarters of a year after the whole farce started?

How to split your assets fairly

Divorce rates in England and Wales have apparently gone down in the last few years to a mere 141750 divorces in 2005. Before you get too excited about true eternal love it should be said that so have actual marriage rates, so it is still the case that about half of marriages actually end in non-wedded not-bliss.

Part of the problem for those unlucky enough to go through such a thing is often dividing up the assets. Commonly the home is shared, and no detailed account of what who bought when, why and so on is kept, even without the complicatedness of compensating people for sacrifices they made and so on. One soon-to-be-ex German man decided he wanted things to be straight-down-the-line equal - so he bought a chainsaw.

Toilet training

Well, according to the fantabulous if extremely distasteful B3TA newsletter, this video is on half the blogs in the universe at present. As of this moment the figure is presumably ((n/2) + 1).

Click "read more" below, sit back, turn the sound up and enjoy the following informational broadcast from Japanese TV designed to help the kiddies get potty-trained. It even makes those awful "mummy look! I'm a big kid now!" adverts here in the UK seem credible.

Implementing CAPTCHA spam protection in PHP

Those people privileged enough to have websites with fancy (or non-fancy) forms on them will probably be all too aware of the evil spambots that come along and auto-fill them in with commercial nonsense, inane content or on occasions just blanks and hit the submit button. Depending on what the form does this tends to mean you'll get 1000 advertisement emails, a database full of rubbish or a few thousands complaints at spam. The Poorhouse has already discussed a few ways of dealing with the problem but another common one is illustrated here.

Sunday income

There used to be a warning here not to dabble with the Bingocafe promotion - see below for an update as to why it was removed

Sunday may traditionally be the day of rest here in the UK, but the Poorhouse feels sure any higher being will forgive you having a few spins on the slot machines to make a guaranteed free £10 of real money (give or take) every week.

Internet slot machines are even less satisfying and no less unfair than real life ones, but luckily special offers sometimes make them risk-free and worth doing. One such offer is Bingocafe's Sunday Spin Spectacular. Rules & regulations at http://www.bingocafe.co.uk/spin.asp but the idea is that as long as you press the spin button on the slot machines at least 50 times on a Sunday, they will give you £10 back no matter what happens. The good bit is that spins on a machine there called Mermaid's Treasure cost a mere 2 British pennies.

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