Precycling phone directories, Oxford style

Quick guide to reducing paper waste by precycling phone directories in Oxford, UK:

To: info@thomsonlocal.com
Subject: Subscription cancellation

Good day

Please stop sending unsolicited mail, including the “Thomson Local” directory, to <address withheld>. Thank you!

Best regards
<name withheld>


To: service@yellgroup.com
Subject: Subscription cancellation

Good day

Please stop sending unsolicited mail, including the “Yellow Pages” and “Packed full of useful stuff” directories, to <address withheld>. Thank you!

Best regards
<name withheld>


To: directory.products@bt.com
Subject: Subscription cancellation

Good day

Please stop sending unsolicited mail, including the “The Phone Book” directory, to <address withheld>. Thank you!

Best regards
<name withheld>

Now let’s see the result…

Reply from Yell/Hibu

From: Customer.Service.Team@hibu.com
Dear <name withheld>,

Thank you for your email.

I am sorry to hear of the problems you have encountered.

Your email has now been passed to the relevant team to stop the directory and they will be in contact with you regarding this matter.

Inorder to assist you regarding the unsolicited mails please provide us with your account number or business name, address along with the postal code and telephone number.

Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to call our Customer Service team on 0800 555 444.

My emphasis. Thanks, but I’d rather not give any more information to an advertising company who have already spammed me. That was email lesson #1 way back in the 20th century. You know perfectly well how to stop spamming based on the address which I already sent you.

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Ultimate unit of time

Everyone knows Y2K (or else you wouldn’t be reading past this parentesis), but there’s also Y2K38 (32-bit Unix timestamps run out) and the Y292B277M026K596 problem. Why not get rid of these problems through the power of science?

The Planck time, at roughly 5.39106×10-44 seconds, is the smallest time measurement that will ever be possible. The Universe is, at current reckoning, about 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years. Seems to me we could put these facts together, and create the last reckoning our computers will ever need. With a bit of generous rounding, we get to around 2.6×1053 Planck time units of time until now. Converting to binary, that’s 177 bits. But what about the future? Well, since computers generally work best when given data in sizes equal to a power of two, we might as well round up to the nearest – 256 – And have plenty of time. In fact, 256 bits (less than it takes to store your postal address) would be sufficient to store time units until way, way beyond the existence of the human race, or indeed, of the fundamental particles of the universe.

Morning sight

One more reason for walking to work: The strange things you may encounter. Like this morning, when I saw a tree from which black little birds were flying, like autumn leaves, in the hundreds, all in the same general direction, perpendicularly across the fence, not as one, but in a steady stream, out of sight, and then returning in a parallel stream.