Sunday, 31 May 2015

The 400th post

I wasn't sure what to blog about for this one.

This is my 400th blog post published on, which I started in August 2012, and I continue to enjoy blogging, and feel as good about blogging as I ever have - I've been fortunate enough to make contact with some other fantastic bloggers, and all in all it's been good.  There has been times when I've struggled to come out with posts, but I'm pleased to have been able to keep it going for so long.

I was going to perhaps do a post all about the number 400, or, as the excellent Jeremy Crow suggested, I could have just done a blank page and made up a reason why it was blank... perhaps because 400 is an important number to do with leap years, and because 2015 isn't a leap year it HAS to be blank?

But then this morning came.

I like writing stuff.  But, I'm not brilliant with a pen and paper - I know people talk about the romanticism of a (quill) pen scratching on paper into the little hours, but I know that ultimately whatever I write, if I want to do something with it, I want to be electronic in some form.  It needs to be in a MS Word document or in a Blogger post or something that I can copy and paste and share and upload and email and do all of those things that you just can't do with an inky scrap piece of paper.

As I've mentioned before, I'm getting married soon (and I promise that those guest posts I've been saving up will start leaking out!), and we'll be hopefully going away for a honeymoon - we don't know where yet, we're going to head into the travel agents after the wedding and just see what they have on offer.  And I'd like to be prepared if I want to scribble stuff down while I'm away.

Now, I could take a tablet with me, but I just don't like typing for long times on tablets, the keyboard is just a little bit too small for me.  Same for phones, although my phone will certainly be coming along as I can't imagine being parted with it for any appreciable length of time.

I don't know if you're aware of USB OTG cables, but basically it's an adapter that lets you plug USB stuff into things that you wouldn't think USB stuff can go into (I'm still talking technology though, it's not a fetish or anything like that)

As an example, here's my smartphone with a full size keyboard plugged into it.

Works perfectly and the keyboard LEDs are even lit up

So, I went on Amazon to select an appropriate device.

Amazon has approximately seventeen million items when you search for "smartphone otg keyboard", none of which are actually keyboards that connect to smartphones via OTG.  You can get smartphone bluetooth keyboards (which would be perfectly acceptable except for that I don't like bluetooth and they were more expensive than I wanted to pay), you can get OTG keyboards for tablets, that come in a case a suitable size for a tablet to fit in.  You can get hundreds of OTG adapters.  And hundreds more absolutely normal keyboards, which are fine except that I don't want to carry a full size keyboard around, if I'm doing that I may as well just bite the bullet and take a laptop.

In the end I went for a seven inch tablet case with built in OTG keyboard - I do have a 7" tablet that might fit into it, and if not I can always sellotape my phone into position and use it.

However the item I went for is apparently something called an "Add On".

What this means is that I have to spend £20 before I can buy it, because it's a special offer or something.  The price was really good so it was understandable, but nevertheless I was now on Amazon, the place that sells everything, trying to think of £20 of stuff that I wanted.

And all of those things it does, recommending items, was totally useless, none of the things it was recommending was what I wanted.

I ended up buying a pile of mostly Bill Bryson books also for the honeymoon - I love Bill Bryson, but I've only recently discovered his work, so there's a whole back catalogue for me to work my way through.  Originally I wanted to get them all as e-books so I could take a tablet with me and read them all on a single device, but it's just cheaper to buy secondhand paperbook books.

Once I reached the magical £20 figure where I could buy my tablet case, I went to checkout.

I selected my delivery address.

I entered my new debit card details.

And on the final confirmation screen I saw that I was being charged nearly £3 for postage - not a lot of money, but I had been careful to select free delivery.

One - just one - of the books wasn't being dispatched by Amazon, so I was being charged delivery for that one.

I'm not allowing this to happen! I furiously thought, went back, deleted the book in question, tried to find the book again (took me two attempts), and then discovered that I couldn't buy the book from Amazon, so I picked the first seller that did sell the book, resolved myself to paying £3 postage, and went back into checkout.

Then discovered that the seller of the book that I had picked the second time was based in the USA, so it would take an extra week to get to me.

Went back - deleted the book - added the book with the original UK seller I had in the first place - and checked out and confirmed purchase before I could spot anything else I wanted to tweak.

So, I have a pile of books and a new tablet case with keyboard winging its way to me, probably as I type this there is a chap in a huge warehouse on a forklift (no, it's probably a Segway) picking it.

I realise that this post has gone on a bit, I'll bring it to a juddering stop soon.  I'll just finish by thanking everyone that's been kind enough to read my posts over the almost 3 years I've been doing this, and I sincerely hope that you've gleaned at least a little enjoyment from some of them.  Here's to the next 400!

Here's some of my most popular posts should you feel the need:
Your Internet Connection is unstable
I hate nappies (diapers for non-UK people)
I'm eating Pocky (no idea why this one was so popular)
Subscribers and Dan Abnett (even though most of the post is actually about the game FTL)
Dawn Park Patrol returns (which is actually a guest post from my dad, many more posts from him to come!)
4 rants about products that have cornered their markets
8 things you learn when you go to a slimming club

I also make videos at - they're not very good, but you're still welcome to go and watch them!


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