The Serpent

// Cursing the Internet since 1998

Year 2003 Roundup

Posted December 31, 2003 Archive
Definitive list of UK dialup prices
Published April 15, 2003

Being in an era of broadband, UK providers such as BT, NTL, Demon and Freeserve (to name a few) are beginning to shift their Internet packages to favour broadband.

Don't get me wrong! That's great, but have you noticed what's happening in the world of dialup...? Read on for the complete story.

Being a broadband user for sometime now, I have forgotten the old style ways of logging on to the net, waiting for the modem to stop screaching, and being dropped from BT after 2 hours of use (and downloading!). When broadband became available, it was a life saver!

However, over the last couple of days the need to find a single user, 56k connection was needed. This proved hard! I wanted to pay a monthly cost and no call charges, paying as little as possible each month. These are the results:

BT Packages

BT AnyTime

£15.99 a month, time limit applies, requires BT Line

BT Pay As You Go

No Monthly fee, pay by the minute, local rate, pay by phone bill

BT Surf package (the complicated one!)

£6.99 month, flat fee 6pm - 8am weekdays and all weekend. Requires additional SurfTime package (what ever that means) at an extra £6.00 a month


Standard Dial Up Account

£11.75 month + all local call charges (what!?)

Demon Premier Connect & Connect Plus

Go to to find out, way to complicated to put here!!! Something like 50% discount and then 2p per minute.



This could be it! £10.00 a month and totally unlimited access to the net! No mention of what phoneline is needed.

Pay As You Go

For 1p per minute (plus 5p each connect charge), you can surf anytime you like!


Not available in our area, south of England. So screw that!!!


Pay As You Go

You only pay local call charges for the time you are online.


Access to the net anytime, day or night for £14.99 a month, or get 3 months free and have a 12 month contract.


Free connection during offpeak times (6pm to 8am), with one month trial, I assume local charges all other times. With free trial.


Free daytime calls, from 8am - 6pm weekdays, for only £6.99 a month



Go online as much as you like at anytime for £6.99 for your first 3 months. Then £14.99 each month. No contract though!

Pay As You Go

Usual stuff, 1p per min at all times, no monthly costs and no BT Line required.


Evening and weekends (6pm - 8am) for £6.99 a month, all other times charged at local rate. Requires BT line. Needs an appropriate BT upgrade package charged at an additional £6.00 per month (whatever that is).


Some CD

ha ha ha ha!! We got lost with the word 'hours' being used to many times.

So there you have it, the definitive guide to UK Internet providers and they Dial up charges. Please note that we may have missed the odd '12 month contract' required on some packages, and neglected to explain what every single star meant above almost each price mentioned above.

It looks like NTL have pulled through for us, being the cheapest, simplest for only £10 a month, but please check with the providers site before quoting.

For any of the companies listed above: Change the bloody package names!! Get something original!!

Note: hmmmm NTL ey? Seems there must be some service cutbacks to pay for this.

CoolTrax MP3 Player
Published May 6, 2003

Need drivers or info on the CoolTrax MP3 Player? The drivers will be on the Serpent in the next 12 hours, look out for them here

Long awaited Opera 7 for Linux
Published May 18, 2003

Opera's new version 7 release has been a hit for Windows users, featuring fancy skins, and little tweaks, but Linux users have been left behind with old version 6. Not anymore! 7.11 has been released for the Linux community.

I personally have been using Windows for the pure comfort of browsing the web using Opera 7.03. I love the style, mouse gestures, and amount of skins available. However, I can return to Linux with just a flashy browser!

With Netscape loosing out on market share, Microsoft IE not making a new advance in Internet browsing technology for the last 4 years and well....Lynx for those sad UNIX admin geeks in the basement best not mentioned.... Opera seems to be the only browser in development. Check out there site for a FREEEEE download!"

Brownie points for!
Published June 03, 2003

When asking why they have locked themselves into the browsers of Redmond, we got a rather touching reply!

As you may or may not know, are one of these locked down browser unfriendly sites. This means us poor Opera users get told to %&@$ off basically with a friendly, yet badly worded error message. Read on for more...

'Sorry, in order for you to use this site (and to enjoy a better all-round web experience) you will need to update your browser.’

How upsetting is that. Not only can't you buy your 2 DVD's for £18 (which lets face it, is a pretty sweet deal!), you can't access the entire site at all - Not even to view. Well the Opera community certainly found this insulting, considering that Opera is pretty much the only browser bringing out new developments into the web market today, leaving IE far behind with its 'Oh look, we made Active X' attitude.

So with the latest versions of Opera, the advanced features and of course - Open Source ideals, why are we being told we need an Upgrade?

A customer services rep gave us this nice reply:

‘I have looked into your query, the Argos website is currently compatible using the most widely used browsers, such as Netscape and Internet Explorer. We regularly monitor browser usage trends and development work is continuing to ensure that the Argos website is accessible to as many people as possible, using a multitude of browsers. In the meantime, may I take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience caused to you.’

Peachy. She then continued to exceed our expectations by stating:

our e-mail has been brought to the attention of my supervisor, he in turn will duly note your query.

and finally...

'We apologise for any inconvenience caused.'

Well, I believe this answers our question quite nicely. Let’s keep an eye on for the next few months to see if they pull the message.

Of course, Opera users can use their far superior browsing features and identify themselves as IE. "

RIAA Boycott has started!
Published June 26, 2003

Well it finally had to happen. With everything the public and artists put up with, the RIAA has finally lost public support...

check out

Has Netscape Died?
Published July 18, 2003

Download the latest netscape browser while you can. AOL has finally pulled the plug on their funding.

Could this be the end of an Internet browser war? Won so eaisly because of AOL's own mistakes?

I don't think we will ever see the day when Netscape dies and Internet Explorer is the only remaning browser. Let's not forget Mozilla and Opera. Netscape may have losts it's funding, but it still relies on the ideals and intelect of the Mozilla delevopment group.

Linux hardware review: Biostar iDEQ 200V Cube
Published December 09, 2003

If you're looking to build a small form factor Linux system that uses the excellent AMD XP 2500+ Barton chip, you might want to look at one of the new Biostar iDEQ barebones aluminum cube systems. Librenix recently took a look at the cheapest Socket A iDEQ, the Biostar iDEQ 200V Cube.

Already installed are all the cables you need for an IDE system, prerouted, labeled and cut to exact length. The cables snake around the chassis so cleanly that they are barely visible. The cables are labeled in easy-to-read lettering on sturdy pull-tabs. This is a very well-organized and uncluttered system.

Year 2003 Roundup
Posted December 31, 2003
Written by John Payne