UKP35 for a six year old video camera, with power lead but no batteries or instruction manual. I call that a pretty good bargain from ebay.

On an impulse, I had a look at the newsgroups dedicated to ebooks. I was expecting a few posts of old classics from Project Gutenberg. Well I was wrong.

The largest newsgroup I looked at - alt.binaries.e-book.technical - had over 160GB of stuff. That's one hundred and sixty gigabytes - enough to fill 36 DVDRs or 233 CDRs! There's PDFs, CHMs and RTFs covering a vast range of subjects - from ancient history, human anatomy and photography to the specifications of warships, home electronics and big bang nucleosynthesis.

It took me nearly two hours to sort through the list to select the fraction that I thought might be interesting - or comprehensible. But now I've got 50 introductions to C++ (some of them full length books), some classic transcribed lectures from Richard Feynman, instructions on how to do pencil drawings, textbooks on calculus, and language courses in Spanish, German and Japanese. Oh, and a hundred Star Trek novels from another group.

Sometimes I get jaded and blase about the internet, with it's spam, viruses endless stupid websites. But there's just so much great stuff out there - If I want to, I can read ten books about abstruse scientific subjects the average university library wouldn't cover.

Even if it does take me hours to sort through, and take up all my hard disk space.

Mother is studying XHTML, XML and CSS (subjects I know only in barest outline) with the Open University, so I've got a load of stuff on that for her.

Karel Fialka is a professional teacher of music technology. He also had one hit record in the 80s with "Hey Matthew" (here on YouTube). It's a slice of one-hit-wonder idiosyncratic DIY synthpop, in the same vein as White Town (Video) and Murray Head (Video)

So, guess which song I had the urge to cover?

I don't believe it. The email scammer, the one who needs my bank details for their USD5 million, the one I sent a sarcastic reply to - they've got back to me.

And they're going along with my suggestion - I open an empty account, and they put a million dollars into it. But they stress that time is short, so could I please do it now.

I'm half tempted to see how far this could go. Maybe I should find a bank I've never used, make an account, and email the "African heiress" - dropping in asides about my time spent imprisoned in The Bay and mentioning Allah-May-Peace-Be-Upon-Him.

But then, it has all been done already.

PS. More short stories coming soon.

1 comment:

  1. I used to fancy Karel Fialka. The child was annoying, though.

    I adore Your Woman. The additional tracks on the CD single were really good, too. Will have to hook it out.