goods and services

Fair tips campaign

Tipping, of the sort where you leave a few pounds extra to your nice restaurant waiter, is a kind of bizarre custom anyway in some ways. Most people doing other sorts of jobs don't tend to get tips, and you'd never really think to give your bank clerk an extra fiver if they paid your cheque in particular fast. Nonetheless, they are part of established UK culture. Also, to be fair, the kind of jobs you do expect to get them in are probably some of the most annoying, worst paid jobs around, so why not reward your server with some shiny shiny coins if they do a good job?

Well, one good reason why not is because in many cases your tip does not actually benefit the person you think you are paying. Rather, some restaurant owners actually pocket all the tips themselves and, at best, recycle it to make the sub-minimum wage they pay their staff up to the bare legal minimum come the end of the week. Outrage.

Stop Virgin (twice, slightly NSFW)

Now we live in a world where high-speed Internet access is almost as essential to modern rich-guy life as say water, net neutrality is a potential hot topic. Net neutrality refers to the historic practice of your ISP granting (kind of) equal access to the internet, no matter what you do with that access – subject to legality au naturelle. From Google's – who of course have a vested interest in this – guide:

Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet…the broadband carriers should not be permitted to use their market power to discriminate against competing applications or content.


Hard to know how to approach this product…is it a massive scam, the likes of which you’d need big big balls to even attempt, or a fascinating and medically beneficial play on the weirdness that is human psychology (and perhaps even physiology)?

Enter the cunning wonder that is… Obecalp. Yep, Obecalp. D’ya geddit?

Making the most of your expense account

These days with more mobile working, more business travellers and an ever greater need for those at the top to steal what could be their employees' wages to fund their restaurant / mistress / coke habit there are a serious number of expense accounts around. These, for the un-initiated, are what one charges business expenses to in cases where you aren't expected to pay for them yourself, which should be in every case that is vaguely to do with non-recreation.

For the more lowly peons, such as the Poorhouse, the whole company credit card idea is out. Rather one has to take on personal debt then claim it back. This is a bit annoying in some ways so it pays to try and make the most of the opportunities for personal profit.

Diary of a Heathrow victim

Oh Heathrow, how people love you. The biggest and busiest airport in the UK, the Poorhouse has yet to hear anyone say much good about it. It was therefore with some trepidation that a journey was attempted passing through this gateway to the heavens earlier this week.

Software to backup your Flickr account, and more

Recently, a strange and magical event (slip of the finger, some would allege) mean that the Poorhouse had cause to attempt to download all of the inane pictures that constitute his Flickr account.

The (or rather 'a') great beauty of Flickr, as opposed to the evils of Facebook et al, is that it does preserve your original photos - but it is a mission and a half if you want to download them all back to your computer en masse. It is significantly less hard however if you use FlickrEdit.

The very definition of luxury

Tesco may basically own you and your planet, and indulges in an indecent amount of world-ruining evil-doing to please its share-holders whenever possible, but it seems it does share one Poorhouse trait - the concept of what constitutes luxury items.

Yes, the weekend was so fascinating it became necessary to flick through the illness-inducing nonsense that constitutes modern-day groceries just to keep the brain active. Imagine the Poor-joy when finding the "Special Occasion shelf" within the biscuit aisle. Surely this would be the nearest to heaven section available in Tesco, full of chocolate marshmallow caramel laden crunch beautiful oaty hobnoby goodness? YUM! Biscuits so tasty you could only rationally eat them on real down-to-earth special occasions, as their site claimed, must be god-damn fine, no? Well of course. The 2nd entry down on this shelf did indeed remind the Poorhouse of special times, and his agreement as to suitability is probably why people don't like to come visit all that much. See below for the glory.

Microsofty tidbits for work and pleasure

What could be more interesting on a weekend than an article about Microsoft Office? I know...a story about the most common aspects of it that everyone knows about anyway.

Those of you with recentish incarnations such as Office 2003 may be aware that unless you tell it not to, Office monitors (parts of) what you're doing and reports back to big bad Microsoft which collates this information, hopefully to inform their designers and developers rather than another step towards world domination. So guessy guess time: what were the most used commands in Word based on this data (circa 2006 anyway)?

Another cashback opportunity:

You all know how much the Poorhouse loves his Quidco, and a few other cashy-cashback sites. If he couldn't steal gain a profit of 1% of his other-wised expensed train tickets per transaction, the world would be a sad place. To be serious though, you can rake in serious money in the world of cashback.

Kathryn, from a site called was kind enough to drop the Poorhouse a line. She runs a site in many ways similar to quidco. You do the whole click-through-links-to-retailer business, and you get 100% of the commission, minus an annual £5 fee. Where it is slightly different though is a) Amazon is on it (2.5% cashback at time of writing) and b) the "give" bit of "giveortake" refers to the fact you can choose to donate your cashback directly to charity through it.

Emergency Valentines day card

Cheapskate mofos, forgetful idiots, the Poorhouse is proud to point you in the direction of the ultimate Valentine's day cards to keep everything sweet with the wife / mistress. You still have at least 6 hours to download this, print out on the office printer, steal an envelope from the stationery cupboard and throw in the general direction of your intended.

And if you need some inspiration for what to put in it, the Poorhouse can heartily recommend the eighth poem down on the page which appears to be highly inaccurately titled "Short Funny Valentines Poems". Well, funny is as funny does one imagines, but the Poorhouse has laughed harder elsewhere.

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