Today, at the Microsoft’s Windows Event, Microsoft and Amazon announced plans to bring the Amazon Appstore to Windows 11. With the upcoming release of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows customers will have access to Android apps on their Windows 11 devices, expanding the selection of apps for customers across multiple genres.
Amazon is bringing the Mac Mini to the cloud for developers who want cloud-based build and test machines for any Apple device app allowing developers to create apps for iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more all on AWS.
My first foray in to The Impractical Jokers was actually through watching the spin-off by their British Counterparts, a show I stumbled across some 5 or 6 years ago. I found myself laughing almost immediately and the cringe factor was at times almost unbearable, but it was like a morbid curiosity. I was drawn in. I couldn’t look away and I found myself wanting more. So, I was saddened when it ended after three seasons.
At the time, I think, I had decided that I wouldn’t like the American version. I had persuaded myself that theirs would be too brash, too slapstick and over-the-top for my British sense of humour. And so at the time, I didn’t even look in to them, even though I began to hear their names mentioned more and more by friends and colleagues.
Well, as it turns out, I’d love them even more. Catching their show one fateful afternoon on Comedy Central, I laughed harder and longer than ever before. And as it turns out, being a little bit behind the times worked in my favour, as I now had 5 or 6 seasons to catch up on. Like coming in to Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad a few season’s in, I was able to sit and binge watch episodes, one after the other. The earlier seasons, my favourites if I am honest, were quicker paced, with lots of games/dares and ever so slightly more cringe and crudeness. The later episodes, although still brilliant, are more high-brow and mature, but with the odd throwback to days gone by when the Jokers were possibly more carefree (and had less money). Amongst those episodes there are some legendary dares, punishments, quotes and events that will live on among fans long after The Impractical Jokers show comes to an end (please keep going guys). And so my love affair with the Impractical Jokers, aka The Tenderloins, began, and continues to this day.
For those not in the know, The Tenderloins are an American comedy troupe composed of Joseph Gatto, James Murray, Brian Quinn, and Salvatore Vulcano. The comedians are four lifelong friends who met during their freshman year at college in their beloved Staten Island. And their friendship shines through, it’s part of what makes the show so appealing and so watchable. You want to be their friend too. The format of the show, similar somewhat to other hidden camera shows (Jeremy Beadle anyone) but with a slight twist on the genre is great, but the four characters of the show, each so different, is what takes it beyond great and makes it the success it is.
That’s my opinion of course. Ask someone else, and they’ll say, ‘No I haven’t heard of them’ or ‘No, I don’t like them’ or even, ‘It’s just too cringeworthy for me’. They are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or you hate them (you can’t really hate these guys, not when you get to know their characters).
And so, after a couple of years of binge watching, catching up sadly on all the episodes (I used to occasionally happen across one I hadn’t seen and it was like finding a lost Christmas present under the tree) and waiting for new episodes, I heard that they were to be touring and coming to the UK. This was my chance to see them live. And so I booked tickets to see them at The O2 with my partner who has often laughed along with me over the years. Even my 9-year-old daughter sits with us, laughing along, although ruder tasks have to be left unexplained.
I already had it in my mind that I wouldn’t laugh as much at the stage show as I do watching the TV show. I’m embarrassed to say that at times I have watched the show, with my partner sat next to me and I have been in such hysterics that I can’t breathe and my eyes are streaming, even attempting to hold it in, so I don’t look like an idiot, but it is impossible. Nothing beats laughing like that. It’s like a drug. But doing stand-up on stage, I just didn’t think it would have the same effect. And I was right. But it’s no fault of the tour, or the Tenderloins, it just is what it is. You can’t recreate the brilliant serving behind a restaurant counter or shopping mall scenes up on stage. And I think knowing that the scripted stories and subsequent scripted laughs and reactions from the jokers were somewhat put-on took something away from it. It was nowhere near as funny as the spontaneous reactions and laughter of the Jokers in the show, another vital ingredient of what makes the show so great and the guys so lovable.
There were many moments of laughter and joy though, mostly from the unscripted bits, or the recalling of fan’s favourite parts and quotes from the show, heckling from the audience or the merriment and buffoonery of the Jokers (mainly Joe) when they remained on stage for a few minutes at the end. For me it was as much about showing my support and seeing them up close as it was about watching the routine. I enjoyed the clips on the big screen, bonus unseen footage if you like, which you crave when you have caught up with all the episodes and there is no mistaking their talent. Sal is a master on stage, it comes naturally to him as a stand-up comedian in his own right and Joe is just so funny and infectious, you can’t help but love him. Q retold stories so well and I’ve always liked his affinity to the UK (the British Invasion episodes filmed in the UK were some of the best for me) and he is never short of a Union Jack t-shirt. Murr, I felt, was a little quiet but that last bit of footage starring him at the end. Well I won’t say any more and spoil it for those who haven’t see it. He is such a likeable, loveable character that he is immediately forgiven.
The Jokers remain down-to-earth, humble and modest (even with more than 1 million social media followers apiece) and they appear to love their fans as much as we love them. Joe must have shouted, ‘We Love you’ hundreds of times in the closing minutes up on stage. Sal threw stuff in to the crowd, not sure what it was but I missed out, before finally offering up Murr’s laptop, who in turn gave a defiant, ‘No, Sal, don’t do that!’ I came away happy, happy to have seen them, happy to have laughed at their stories and to be able to say, ‘been there, seen it, done it’. Hopefully one day I can do the same again, just not on the 4 day Jokers Cruise for jokers and lucky fans alike that sets sail from Miami, ending in the Bahamas, in February 2020.
The Impractical Jokers, aka The Tenderloins, will always have a special place in my heart. They have made me laugh longer and harder than anything I can ever remember. They are a joy to watch and I pray they continue to keep doing what they do together in one form or another. Please come back to the UK (more Pub scenes please!!) especially when you get far too recognised in the US (disguises?).
If you’re like me (and my wife), then you’ll spend lots of money each month online, you’ll buy car insurance online, you’ll sign up to cable TV online and you’ll renew your mobile phone. Doing it online is easy, most of the time.
So if I told you that you could earn money back just for visiting and purchasing at sites you’d ordinarily use anyway and all it takes is a couple of extra clicks. Why would you not?
I recently signed my new puppy up to Tesco Insurance (Tesco for those not in the know is one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains who tried, unsuccessfully to branch in to the US). Tesco also offer banking services, car and pet insurance, mobile phone plans and much more. For a big corporation, I actually don’t mind them and prefer their supermarkets to the competitors (probably because I know where everything is). Anyway, I clicked through a cachback site link first and made a whooping £54 cashback, on a year premium that was £21 a month. That’s some cashback! And when I bought a server at work, I purchased through a HP link, earning myself another £20.
So let me introduce TopCashBack. TopCashBack is billed as the UK’s most generous site, but it’s also running in the US. There’s no join fee and no catches, so not only do you earn at least 101% cashback, but there are so many fantastic benefits from being a member. They have over 5,000 merchants including Amazon. They also offer benefits for referring friends.
This is my link – please feel free to use it, and if you are quick you will earn yourself £5 too. 72 hour Tell-A-Friend up to £25, plus a £5 M&S eGift Card for your friend. Click here.
I’ve been a customer of Virgin Media in the UK for many years, enticed away from Sky with an amazing offer, many moons ago. In their defence, I’ve not had that many issues and their broadband speed in to my premises is currently 200 meg – the only provider to offer this speed. Their new Tivo box, delievered for free a year or so ago, improved the TV service somewhat, so on a day to day basis, I’d say I was a satisfied customer. But the price, set at £58 odd in 2018 with some promotions applied, rose to £70 and is now at a whopping £90. Time to try my luck again right, and get some discount for being a loyal customer. Try, being the word!
There’s no sense in holding back. Virgin Media’s customer services is beyond shocking, a parody of bad customer services, the likes of which we see in comedy shows like Little Britain – “Computer Says No!”
Being at work and thinking I might avoid being on hold on the phone, I used their chat feature which I started at 8:38am. It took a whole hour before I was given the link to their Secure Form to enter my password, and then another hour of tumbleweed responses (twenty or so minutes in between each one) before I was eventually told, ‘we can’t do anything for you’. Or in other words, ‘Computer says No!’.
You only have to visit review website like Trustpilot to see that I am far from alone. 9,450 reviews with an average of one star and the comments reveal a worrying trend of customers fighting to get anywhere, often being cut off from calls or waiting on hold for what seems like eternity. Even new customers are having massive issues. Why anyone would currently choose to move to them is anyones guess.
If it wasnt for the fibre, I’d move away from them in a instance. I know now that I have to fight to get through to cancellations, to be offered any kind of deal that might persuade me to stay. And if I stay, I have to pray that everything works and I won’t ever need to rely on customer services.
If you are in the business of website hosting and domains names, you’ll probably know that the struggle that is transferring domain names is very real.
Some registrars make the whole process as painless as possible. If they do the job right, they provide a nice user interface where you often have to unlock the domain wherein the option to transfer the domain is revealed or enabled. It can all be done without involving support and in the case of a .uk transfer (where you only have to update a identification name called a TAG), the whole process can be completed in a couple of hours. This is how it should be. And I find that the simple process is usually only found at the smaller registrars/companies.
So I wanted to transfer a .co.uk domain from GoDaddy. First I logged in to my account and unlocked the domain, as the option to transfer away was greyed out with the words – “disabled” next to it. I refreshed the page and the otion was still disabled, so reading on the GoDaddy KB, I thought that I should probably wait 24 hours, just in case it took this long for the link to become active.
I logged back on 24 hours later and the option was still greyed out, so I started a chat session with support, specifically selecting Domain from the drop-down list hoping to get someone who knew how to help. I initiated the chat request at 08:08am. It was only by 08:50am that I seemed to be getting somewhere. During those 40 minutes I was sent two articles on how to transfer a .uk domain away, even though I had already done everything listed in those articles, and even made reference to everything requested in those articles before being sent them. One of the artciles even specified, “To transfer a .uk domain name to another registrar, contact our support team to request the transfer..”
Eventually the support team member had to manually create the transfer, ending with ” your domain will be transferred….within in next 7-10 days.” I wait to see how long it actually takes. But I have transferred other .co.uk domains just this week and it took 2 hours from changing the TAG to having it at the new registrar.
What worries me is, what if I was in a hurry or what if I had 100s of .co.uk domains with GoDaddy, would I have to involve support in such a lengthy coversation for every .co.uk domain?
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