Saturday, 22 May 2010

Improve Your Life!

This is going to sound along the lines of a spam email, or a virused MSN or Myspace account. I'm just plugging a few things I think more people should get onto.

First is to anyone at Downing who has found their internet has been shit lately, and that's OpenDNS. If you've found that you frequently can't connect to web pages, it's because whatever DNS server the college use is hugely unreliable and seems to break pretty often. It's usually fairly obvious that it's the DNS because you can't access anything on the web, yet things like MSN all stay connected without a problem.
Easiest way to fix this is just to switch to using a more reliable DNS server instead of the college one. It's fairly straightforward - you register and follow their fairly clear instructions on how to change your internet settings to use their server. You don't need to download anything, it doesn't take very long, and once it's done webpages should load fairly reliably again.

Second is to anyone on the CUDN at Cambridge, and that is the CamDC client. Screw torrents or other ways to obtain files, this is way better. It's much faster, less likely to have legal ramifications, and it also doesn't count for external bandwidth so you're free to download and upload as much data as you like. Maybe not something that should be discovered right before exams, given that rewatching every episode of Scrubs isn't good for revision, but anyone who isn't massively against filesharing should definitely have it.

Thirdly is open to anyone living in a country it supports (or possibly outside if you lie), and that is Valued Opinions. The general gist is that you sign up, fill in a few online forms so they get an idea of who you are (you don't have to do this, but you'll barely get anything if you skip it), and then they send you surveys. You complete the surveys online, and then they give you money in the form of vouchers for a pretty nice range of stores. It includes Amazon.co.uk and Tesco, so I find it to be pretty nice given I already buy stuff from them anyway.
I've been on it for a few months now (realistically since late Feb) and I've gotten £20 in Amazon vouchers, and it's not a huge amount of effort. They'll generally send you anything from a survey a day to one every two weeks, so it's not a particularly constant flow, and you tend not to qualify for every one you send them (as in you're not the sort of person they're looking to survey), but they're usually worth from 50p to £3 each, sometimes more, and I find it's a pretty easy and not too taxing way to get some free money.

So yeah, a few plugs for things I feel more people should have if they can. Hopefully at least a handful of people who read this can get some benefit.

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