A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

Every now and then I trawl through Amazon’s bargain bin for old films I fancy watching again or feel like owning.  Just been through today.  Almost bought the complete Terrahawks DVD box set but it’s not exactly bargain price, likewise for Star Fleet (Staaarrrrfleeeeeeet).  Did end up getting some other gems though, a few I want to be a surprise for Grete so I won’t mention those, but I felt it was about time we owned the first Police Academy, Airplane 1 & 2, the Naked Gun movies, Lost Boys, Little Shop of Horrors, Dark Crystal, and Reservoir Dogs.  Most of them are under £3!

We recently watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Wargames.  Both of them are as good as I remember.  Wargames stands the test of time remarkably well considering the subject matter.  I was amused by how the FBI dealt with our super-hacker, these days the movie would probably have him being caught, bagged and shipped abroad for ‘special treatment’ without so much as a second glance, but in the 80’s they just put you into a store room with a randy guard on the door and lots of sharp objects in the draws.  How times change.  If Wargames wasn’t the movie that taught you what the term DEFCON meant, then I’m not sure I want to be in your gang.

I think Wargames should be part of all Computer Studies courses at university.  Both to remind people what daisy wheel printers were along with acoustic modems, and also to remind them why closed loop computer systems are bad.  Oh, and to prove to them all that even the geeks can get the girl (or guy, if you’re a girl geek, but you know what I mean).

That reminds me, I should probably get a copy of Sneakers on DVD at some stage.

Was Wargames the first movie to give us the trope of text appearing on the terminal one character at a time and making a noise while it did it?  I wonder.

Anyway I leave you with this quote, one of my favourite movie quotes of all time,

Joshua: Greetings, Professor Falken.
Stephen Falken: Hello, Joshua.
Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

PC World price promise pointless

I’m flirting with buying a blu-ray player (although frankly I have been for a long time) and I’ve had my eye on the Sony BDPS350.  It’s been as low as £158 on Amazon recently although it’s up to £169 now.  I like Amazon, but when buying expensive electronics sometimes it’s nice to be able to walk back into the store with the bits in your arms and say ‘it’s broke, make it work’, and obviously it’s difficult to do that with Amazon.

So I checked in PC World, and the same player was £230.  Being generous that’s about £60 more expensive.  Yes I understand PC World has to staff stores and pay rent, but still that’s a bit crazy.  However, PC World has a price promise, I quote,

Price Match Plus: We promise we won’t be beaten on price!

So I thought, maybe I should point PC World to the Amazon price and we could get the benefit of a good price and be able to pick it up in store.   So I read a bit further, and even this bit sounded ok,

We check our prices against major retailers and websites every day so you can buy with confidence.

Oh cool, they check websites, not just high street stores.

But then you check the rest of the page,

This applies to prices offered by retailers within 30 miles of your local PC World store.

The product must be identical, in stock and available for immediate home delivery in one of the retailers detailed below – single unit purchases only.

This price promise applies to:
Argos, Comet, Jessops, Tesco, John Lewis, Asda, B&Q, Game Gamestation, Halfords, HMV, Maplin, Staples, Toys R Us, Zavvi.

In other words, they can’t or won’t compete with the price that Amazon offers.  So the price promise is basically a statement which says, we’ll match the price of stores in your local area, who in turn are probably just matching our prices or those nearby, so in your area it doesn’t really matter who’s selling this item you’re going to pay out of the nose for it.

High street retailers complain that online shopping is destroying their business, I can’t believe PC World has to charge £60 more for a Blu-ray player to cover their store costs compared to Amazon’s costs, so I suggest it’s their overpricing which is destroying their business.

Of course, if you want truly crazy, Kays Catalog charge £269 for the very same player.  Now that is insane (especially since the higher spec BDPS550 is £238 on Amazon).

A very Amazon Christmas

Amazon is amazing.  I always knew it was amazing, but at Christmas it’s even more amazing if you’re buying their core products (rather than through partners) and you have their Amazon Prime free trial.  There’s something amazing about ordering 10 items, getting an e-mail an hour later saying they’re being dispatched, and then having them all arrive 9:30am the next day.

They deserve to make a killing.

I’m impressed by their packing system (yeh, I know).  Various sized items all purchased and then they seem to package similar sized items up and into a kind of wrap cardboard thing.  I wonder if it’s fully automated, partially automated or completely manual.