Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Road(s) to Chaos

There seem to have been a lot of roadworks in our area lately, but this week things have really gone too far.

Motherwell is ultimately an important place for Lorraine and I. She works there, while I get the train into work from there. There are effectively three ways we can get there, which are:

1) Downhill out of the village, briefly on the A71, then the A72 and then the M74.
2) Out of the village at the other end, through Wishaw, past the Caledonian Retail Park and down under the railway bridge.
3) As above, but carrying on through Wishaw, turning right onto Shields Road and carrying on down into Motherwell.

(Arguably there are other ways, but those are my three options).

At the moment route 1 has roadworks on the A71, route 2 has Glasgow Road closed at the Caledonian Retail Park, thus pushing most of the traffic from routes 1 and 2 onto route 3. It isn't very funny. In fact I would say it is ridiculously stupid planning. Lorraine and I went on route 3 yesterday morning and it took twice as long as normally. Even with allowing extra time I was nearly late for work.

Bit of forethought next time please road planners, and if the problem is due to the problem areas being separately in North and South Lanarkshire a bit of communication between the two councils would be welcome.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

The Next Project (And How To Pay For It)

I've realised over the last couple of days that the computer in my office has begun to run a lot more slowly. While I'm inclined to think an upgrade of a certain anti-virus program is involved in this, I've also decided I should look into getting some more memory for my computer (CTRL+ALT+DEL shows just how much memory the anti-virus software is using - it isn't pretty).

Here's the important detail of the project: I'm not planning to fund it through my wages (or Lorraine's for that matter).

"Huh?" I hear you ask. "How are you going to do that?" Well, let's call this my guide to earning a bit extra for little treats.

1) Google Adsense.
Sensible web advertising. You get money for clicks, not for unlikely and costly sales. Furthermore they're presented in text, not garish and intrusive flash (yes, Yahoo! Mail, I'm talking about you).

The payments aren't huge, and you have to earn a minimum of $100 to get a payment, but it is a program I'd recommend.

2) Amazon Associates.
The program I've used for longest. If you are going to get money for clicks, why not use the UK's leading online retailer?

Simple to implement, easy to follow reports and payouts begin at a more than reasonable £10.

3) Money for opinions.
Being realistic, when it comes to a stick or two of memory the solutions above probably aren't the answer. However what I've found to be a quick and easy way to a little bit extra is to share opinions with people who want them.

I'm not talking about opinion surveys (not too quick in my experience) or consumer websites (where the payments are so small to not make them worthwhile), I'm talking about the magazine market.

It might not sound like much to get £5/£10/£15 for an e-mail, but think of the possible time/reward ratio. I might send an e-mail to a TV magazine which takes me about a minute (or possibly less) to type and send. It's usually something Lorraine and I are discussing anyway, all I'm doing is transcribing thoughts and sending them to an e-mail address I've kept handy.

If you've got opinions why not try your luck? The worst that can happen is that the e-mail isn't published and you don't get paid.

(Actually the worst thing that can happen is that a magazine can ask for a photo of you to accompany what you've written, but that's another matter entirely.)