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Are you a student over 18? Part-time teacher? Parent? Just someone that needs some extra income? Some free food and drinks perhaps? Would you like to pick your own hours? - Casual work is available to you now...

The following is an article taken from Choices Magazine after a visit to the Mystery Shopping Club.

"Wanted: Shopaholic nosey parker with excellent observational skills, a good ear and flexible attitude to part-time work. Anyone can apply. Work available in all areas. Must be prepared to eat free meals, enjoy shopping discounts and visit pubs - and be paid for it."

Believe it or not, the above job advertisement is not as far fetched as it sounds. If you love shopping, you'll be pleased to hear that it's possible to shop for a living. In fact, it's a multi-million pound industry for market research companies who employ "mystery shoppers" to shop up and down the country - all in the name of customer service and research.

There are a number of mystery shopping companies who organise whole armies of professional shoppers on behalf of retailers, pubs, restaurants, banks and other service industries. Their mission? To mingle in, look inconspicuous and file a report on anything from customer service to cleanliness in the restrooms.

If you visit one or two pubs in a night, you'll get your food and drink paid for, travel expenses and you'll be paid anything from £6.00 to £8.00 up for each visit.

But there is one problem with mystery shopping: truly dedicated shoppers never switch off from their work. You'll find yourself compulsively evaluating service and checking ceilings for cobwebs even when you're not on duty. It eventually becomes a part of your life.

To find out more about casual employment opportunities in the "Secret Shopper" industry, please visit's sister site:

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BECOME A MYSTERY SHOPPER Are you a student over 18? Part-time teacher? Or maybe a parent or just someone that needs some extra income? Some free food and drinks perhaps? Would you like to pick your own hours? Casual work is available now.

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ICT and Technology in the Media

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UK education minister Baroness Ashton unveils plan to create paperless schools. Speaking at the launch of the government's £200m scheme to get schools online, "said she believed 'computers will eventually replace these' as she held up a pen and a piece of paper," reports the Independent ...More from What The Papers Say

Blair to unveil online classroom revolution. Tony Blair announces a £210 million ($300 million) scheme to bring computers into the classroom. The UK Government will provide £50 million and the BBC a further £160 million to create the "classroom of the future". Among the innovations will be online lessons from teachers and professors around the world ...More from Ananova

Irish Betting on Biotech. The little country that squared away a big chunk of the IT industry is betting heavily on replicating the success with biotech ...More from Wired News

UK problem schools to get computers to track truants. Comprehensive schools where truancy is a big problem, are to get hand-held computers to keep track of pupils. Six hundred secondary schools in England are to be supplied with the equipment, which will ensure persistent truants can be tracked from lesson to lesson. The system will cost £11.25 million ($17 million) ...More from Ananova

Internet 'loners' enjoy social whirl. People who use the internet at home, far from being the isolated, geeky nerds that they are popularly painted to be, are in fact highly social animals ...More from the Financial Times

Oz Proposes Tough New Filter Law. Australia's most populous state is considering a law that would require an adult verification system in place before a Web user could upload data considered unsuitable for minors ...More from Wired News

Head orders extra lessons for text messaging children. A public head schoolmaster is ordering extra English lessons because pupils' literacy is faltering due to text-messaging. Robert Repper is head of Wisbech Grammar School. He's noted worsening standards of English and thinks this is because children increasingly text-message each other. He's now ordered extra English lessons at the 600-year-old Cambridgeshire public school ...More from Ananova

Digi Pens: Anybody need 'em? The burgeoning digital pen space appears to be getting crowded, but aside from not leaking ink on your shirt, are there any real compelling applications? ...More from Wired News

Computing students downgrade their desires. With the sector in crisis, the next generation of IT professionals are fearing the worst. Some are beginning to rethink their career priorities ...More from the Financial Times

Laptops: To Have and Have Not. A school laptop plan is put on hold after parent opposition. Also: A university offers a certificate in game development.... Berkeley and Columbia business schools offer a joint MBA program ...More from Wired News

Professor of software systems engineering, Cambridge University, says university computer system is £10million ($15m) failure. A report by Prof Anthony Finkelstein catalogues the "unmitigated" failures in both management and technology. "The university treasurer was not financially qualified," reports The Telegraph. "With double the turnover of Warwick University, Cambridge employed half as many accountants" ...More from What The Papers Say

Computer students get course to stop them acting like geeks. A German university is giving computer students courses to stop them acting like geeks. The course at Munich University promises to give IT students "much-needed" social skills. Subjects include how to dress properly and how to make small talk ...More from Ananova

Don't Trust Any E-Mail Over 30. Yes, it's true. E-mail is just about 30 years old, and its founder reminisces on the early, humble beginnings of what has become an integral part of daily life ...More from Wired News

It is official: Women love technology more than men. Britons can't get enough of their electronic devices: Women think technology is more important than men do - in fact they want to put it at the heart of family life ...More from

Charting Virtual Worlds. Since the inception of the Internet, cybergeographers have been trying to draw maps of cyberspace. The results have been mixed, but a new book brings together some of the most interesting -- and breathtaking -- maps of virtual worlds ...More from Wired News

Machines in the Myths: The State of Artificial Intelligence. From 2001's HAL to Star Wars robots to Terminator and the sad little boy in A.I., we've been provided with images and mythic tales of machines making informed conscious decisions and exhibiting emotion ...More from Chip Center

Smart Idea: Laptops for Teachers. Teachers in Michigan are starting the school year with their own computers, thanks to a new technology initiative paid for by the state ...More from Wired News

Web without the waiting. A British scientist has gone back to the drawing board to make computers that can cope with the internet age. By ditching the 50-year-old internal workings of existing computers, Geoff Barrall has developed a new design that does a better job of finding and passing information to web users ...More from the BBC

Surgeons here, patient there. Doctors in New York have successfully removed the gall bladder from a woman in France, using a remote-controlled robot ...More from Wired News

Robots scour WTC wreckage. Robots that can flatten themselves and change shapes were used to scour the wreckage of collapsed World Trade Center towers ...More from Wired News...Red Cross Donations

Autopilot could land hijacked planes. Aeroplane hijackings could be halted in progress with existing technologies, say aviation researchers, but the attempt would be risky. "Most modern aircraft have some form of autopilot that could be re-programmed to ignore commands from a hijacker and instead take direction from the ground," says Jeff Gosling of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley ...More from the New Scientist...Red Cross Donations

Who said the web fell apart? The Internet was criticized for buckling under user demand and failing to provide help and information following the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks. On the contrary, it sparkled. It was merely a matter of knowing where to look ...More from Wired News...Red Cross Donations

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, You? Online multiplayer games are booming. But can Internet technology keep pace? Virtual worlds like Anarchy Online stretch the boundaries—and the bandwidth—of players' imaginations. Currently, about 230,000 people live in the nation of Britannia: soldiers, tailors, blacksmiths, musicians—people from every walk of life. Of course, Britannia does not exist anywhere but in the minds of the people who live there ...More from Technology Review

Kids, Academics Share Internet2. Internet2 is working with state education networks to bring high performance networking and applications to K-12 schools and community colleges ...More from Wired News

Report claims faster web will make for brainier kids. New research claims broadband internet will help ensure British children are brainier in the future. Psychologist Dr Kristina Downing-Orr is convinced educational standards will improve when high-speed access is more widely available. She says children already find the internet a more engaging and stimulating way to access information than using books ...More from Ananova

Regulating Minors' Access to the Internet Can Backfire. When Chris Manley, a high school senior in South Carolina, started thinking about applying for college, his teachers recommended he use the school library computer to research universities like Duke and Stanford. But he couldn't reach their Web sites. This was hardly a case of computer illiteracy. "At my school they have filtering software," Manley says simply, "and I can't get to these sites, because they've been blocked" ...More from the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner

UK government urges teachers to take computer training. Almost every school in England has an internet connection but thousands of teachers have yet to sign up for free computer training. Schools minister Baroness Ashton says 96% of primaries and over 99% of secondaries are hooked up to the worldwide web ...More from Ananova

Delhi children make play of the net. In the slums of Delhi, an experiment has shown how illiterate street children can quickly teach themselves the rudiments of computers and the internet. The results were startling, showing how much children with little or no English and no computer training at all could achieve ...More from the BBC

Internet Banned in Afghanistan. Afghanistan's Taliban militia has banned the Internet and ordered the religious police to punish users according to Islamic law, the official radio station reported ...More from the Nando Times

Out of the Minds of Babes. Jeff Conor is 16 and completely e-literate. The 10th-grader from Olympia, Wash., knows a listserv from a link, a browser from a bot. It is just that some of his teachers don't. So, on some days for about an hour, Jeff the student becomes Jeff the instructor to various teachers around his school who aren't quite as comfortable with computers ...More from the Los Angeles Times

Internet2 a scam?. Some months ago, a scam artist was attempting to sell participation in the "New Internet". As it turned out, the offer to secure yourself an e-commerce spot in the next generation Internet was a scam. But the Internet 2 is as real as it gets ...More from - Internal Article

Debating Merits of Palms in Class. Some US schools provide handheld devices to help students learn, while others ban them to prevent disruptions and cheating ...More from Wired News

Massive jump in UK students taking IT. There was a "massive" jump in the numbers of 16-year-olds taking exams in IT this year, official results show. Figures released ahead of the GCSE results show a leap of more than 14% in the number of students taking IT at GCSE. And the interest in computing was reflected across the qualifications board with a further increase in GCSE Short Courses and Entry Level exams ...More from Ananova

Zimbabwe's Lutheran University of Technology seeks Western help in AIDs project. The Lutheran University of Technology "is a church institution whose focus is on how science and technology can improve the lives of poor rural people". The Chairman of University Council, Sam D. Gumbo writes for ...More from - Internal Article

When Robots Attack: 'Igniting Fear With Flying Metal'. The Survival Research Laboratories are a loosely assembled group of half-mad scientists who build big robots and then blow them up ...More from Wired News

Ah, the summer of 1961. United States President John F Kennedy was coping with the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs invasion, Berliners were learning to live with the wall, the Beatles were singing up a storm at the Cavern club, and in Boston a small group of programmers were about to invent the computer games industry ...More from the BBC

This New App Sounds Fishy. Tired of having the same old fish swim across your screensaver? How about fish that have minds of their own and swim off your screen onto someone else's in, say, Japan? ...More from Wired News

Senator Targets School Hackers. A New Jersey senator thinks hackers who attack school computers should be imprisoned, but critics say his proposal goes too far ...More from Wired News

Brit art gets mobile. New British art can now be downloaded onto your mobile phone thanks to a collaboration between phone manufacturer Vodafone and the internet art gallery Britart ...More from the BBC

Cyber-games make children brighter. Computer games are giving a generation of young Britons a level of co-ordination and powers of concentration equivalent to those observed in top-level athletes, a government-funded study has shown ...More from the Sunday Times

But Will They Listen to Kids? We know children don't always listen to their parents; that's why teenagers are banding together to spread the news of online peril. Also: E-learning with a side of fries, e-learning for colleges cost $5 billion, and a chat about apes ...More from Wired News

Vigilantes patrol the web. When individuals take the law into their own hands off-line, we normally condemn them as vigilantes. But in the online world, where traditional law enforcement has largely failed to make an impact, citizens are increasingly having to act as police ...More from the FT

Psychologist Dr Mark Griffiths says children's computer addiction is causing behaviour problems. Dr Griffiths's study reveals that children suffer from "severe mood swings, conflict with others and withdrawal symptoms when they can't feed their habit for computer games and the internet," reports The Mirror ...More from What The Papers Say

Quantum Mechanics' New Horizons. Microscopic robots, atomic lasers and the 100 billion neurons in your brain will be among the topics discussed at the Quantum Applications Symposium. Hey, we're talking the future of technology here ...More from Wired News

Net Experience Is Best Teacher. Students learn better when challenged to find the answers themselves, say creators of a technology-rich science curricula ...More from Wired News

U.S.: Fear Countries, Not Hacker Teens. Forget the supposed menace of teen hackers causally bypassing the security of U.S. military computers. The real worry isn't a teen like Analyzer -- the alias for an Israeli youth who penetrated dozens of Defense Department computers -- but foreign governments, according to a hearing organized by the U.S. Congress' Joint Economic Committee ...More from Wired News

Electronic paper now works in full colour, thanks to a fine filter. The day you can download print onto "electronic paper" and take it anywhere to read just got a step closer. E Ink of Boston has announced that it has succeeded in making electronic paper work in full colour ...More from the New Scientist

Mobile Messaging: Not in the USA. When The Guardian staged a poetry contest in Britain, more than 4,000 people banged out poems on their "mobiles". Whenever students at Yishun School in Singapore play hooky, administrators alert the parents by sending a short text message to their mobile phones. When a woman was stranded at sea off Indonesia, she sent her boyfriend an SOS on her mobile. The man, hanging out in an English pub at the time, managed to alert the coast guard, which sent out a rescue vessel. But people in America can't have it ...More from Wired News

Code-Breakers Go to Court. The Princeton professor whose team was prevented from publishing how it cracked a purportedly impenetrable music-watermarking code takes the case to court ...More from Wired News

Hi-tech toaster that keeps a weather eye on the day’s forecast. Too rushed to look out of the window while you're making breakfast? Then the Java toaster is for you: today's weather forecast, burnt into your toast ­ sunny, cloudy or rainy. Developed by Robin Southgate, a product design graduate of Brunel University, UK, the toaster dials a freephone number to get the weather forecast when you slot your bread in, and then burns the result into your bread while you wait ...More from the Independent

Battered Computers: An Epidemic. About 25 % of all computers have been beaten and kicked and mauled by their users, according to a recent study. No, really ...More from Wired News

Computers will save us. "People think that when computers become intelligent, they will become intelligent like we are," says computer guru James Martin. "Nothing could be further from the truth." In 1977, Elvis died, Gerald Ford left the White House, and Bill Gates still banged out business correspondence on a typewriter. Most had never seen a personal computer, much less a laptop. Meanwhile, James Martin looked into the future and saw the Internet, as well as computers in everyone's pockets ...More from

Cheese beats crackers. Cheese is on the loose on the web! A helpful virus is making its way around the web, checking computers for vulnerabilities and closing them. The "cheese worm" targets computers running Linux that have been attacked by a similar, but malign, program earlier this year ...More from the BBC

U.S. Wooing Student Hackers. The National Science Foundation will award scholarship money to computer security students who take government jobs upon graduation. Reactions are mixed ...More from Wired News

Parallels drawn between PC, biological viruses. Scientists studying how diseases spread believe there are many parallels between computer viruses and biological ones ...More from USA Today

US libraries win net filtering delay. Public libraries will have until July 2002 to certify that they have adopted Internet filtering technologies required by a new federal law, under terms of an agreement reached in U.S. District Court. The agreement came during a hearing on the twin lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Library Association challenging portions of the Children's Internet Protection Act ...More from USA Today

'Aaron': Art from the machine. Aaron, 28, paints and draws and he isn't even human. The much-ballyhooed computer program designed by the acclaimed Harold Cohen will have its first public release, ...More from Wired News

S. Dakota Gives Palms Thumbs Up. The University of South Dakota will arm all of its freshman with a Palm handheld this fall. Also: Students walk out on a standardized test.... The Hewlett Foundation donates $400 million to Stanford ...More from Wired News

The ultimate no-brainer. John Cage's composition 4' 33" is a piano piece that is performed by not performing. The pianist goes through all the preliminary motions, but sits in silence for 4 minutes and 33 seconds — after which, one assumes, the audience applauds. Two scientists are now aiming to produce a computer that works in the same spirit — to give the answer without ever being switched on ...More from

Women Are Geeky People, Too. Joan Korenman, one of this year's celebrated Women on the Web, says girls must ignore the boy-dominated tech culture and press forward. "Women are in danger of becoming the new illiterates," she says ...More from Wired News

School's Projects Sense Environs. Instead of writing programs to get computers to run faster, USC grad students create systems that interact with the real world. Sensory computing can help you baby-sit, shop or even park your car ...More from Wired News

A boy and his computer. Linus Torvalds' autobiography reveals a geek's geek who is changing the world, just for the heck of it. ...More from Salon

A robotic scorpion relying entirely on its reflexes could out perform smarter machines. A dim-witted robot may survive in circumstances where smarter devices would fail. Next year, a robotic scorpion built on this principle will try to make its way 80 kilometres across the Mojave desert in California, using little more than programmed automatic reflexes to survive ...More from the New Scientist

Match? Computer programs battle for the right to play world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik in a man vs. machine competition. But controversy rages and accusations fly from the corner of the reigning computer champion ...More from Wired News

2001 and beyond. "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." HAL might not be able to, but the robots of today are accomplishing some surprising tasks ...More from

Scientists teach computer to speak. Could tutoring a computer be the way to develop machines that talk back? Scientists in Israel are treating their computer like an unruly child, correcting its mistakes and punishing it for errors ...More from ZDNet UK

Getting Schooled on Ed-Tech. Linda Roberts headed up the Office of Educational Technology for the Department of Education from 1993 to 2000. With a change in the White House, there's a change in the school house. Roberts discusses the state of technology in education under the Bush administration ...More from Wired News Radio (25:59 min.)

Time Not on Your Computer's Side. Your whiz-bang computer can process mega-tons of information in the wink of an eye. Then why aren't computer clocks always accurate? They're in computers, after all ...More from Wired News

Kids Need Hands-On Tech. Professor Elliot Soloway believes that handheld computers can enrich a child's educational opportunities. He also discusses the Bush administration's education plan... More from Wired News (Radio 14:39 min)

Internet2 Will Expand to K-12. Previously reserved for research institutions, Internet2 will open its high-speed network to schools around the country... More from Wired News

IT's Cool. Forget the computer techies of old - today's IT professors are shedding their old image and enjoying a renaissance. Last year's dotcom boom has brought a surge of interest in the once dreary subject, from students and managers eager to embrace the information age... More from the Financial Times

College: A Cracker's Best Friend. When it was discovered that a Swedish student had used Indiana University's computer network to store music and video files, it underscored the fact that many colleges' systems are favorite hideaways for crackers and hackers the world over... More from Wired News

Muscling in. The first robot to be powered by real muscles has taken its first swim. It waggled off looking surprisingly lifelike, but a few minutes later, it flagged and came to a complete stop. It was not faulty - it just needed a break... More from What The New Scientist

Trailing Edge: Simple Simon. Quick — name the first personal computer. No, it wasn't the 1981 IBM PC, which introduced "PC" to the vernacular. Nor was it the 1977 Apple II. Not even the 1975 Altair—the first machine to run Microsoft software—represents the true origin of this species... More from the MIT Technology Review

Computing the Geek Gender Gap. Almost as many women entering college are using computers as men, but their confidence in their technical skills lags behind, according to a new survey. By Kendra Mayfield. More from Wired News

Setting Standards for Web-Ed. The American Federation of Teachers proposes standards for online education. Also in Dean's List: Learn Yiddish online ... the University of Colorado receives a record donation... More from Wired News

Ed-Tech Skeptics Change Tune. Former US Secretary of Education William Bennett, who has been skeptical of the use of technology in education, has formed the first K-12 online school. Also: GM touts its new environmentally friendly website for kids ... an embarrassing spelling error... More from Wired News

Bluetooth Comes to Your Notebook. Your paper notebook could soon be swapping messages with your notebook computer. Anoto's digital paper technology uses Bluetooth to interactively send your writing to your Palm, mobile phone or PC... More from Wired News

Do Kids do Better Without Computers? A growing number of educators, child-development experts, and doctors are beginning to speak out against early computer use, especially when coupled with regular television watching. Too much "screen time" at a young age, they say, may actually undermine the development of the critical skills that kids need to become successful... More from US News

'Fool's gold' of school computers. Schools should end their "infatuation" with computers and find healthier ways of teaching young children, says a report in the United States... More from the BBC

Out of the digital ooze: Robotic life. Forget Terminator or the Matrix. Computers that reproduce their own robotic young are alive and well and on the campus of Brandeis University. Read about "the ultimate dream of self-evolving machines."... More from US News

College With No Wires Attached. More US campuses are going wireless for the convenience and low cost. Students and administrators are looking forward to computing where they want, when they want... More from Wired News

Tech Boom a Bust for Teachers. Skyrocketing housing costs are forcing teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area to share bedrooms, live in dormitory-style housing or move. Technology companies are offering aid to keep their schools staffed... More from Wired News

Teachers Learn Tech Lessons. Teachers meet in Atlanta for education on the latest advances in classroom gadgetry. The National Educational Computing Conference attempts to fire up teachers to stay ahead of their students ...More from Wired News

Protecting kids, here and there. Keeping "harmful" Internet content from children is approached differently throughout the world. In the U.S., muddy laws prevent action. In Europe, it's equally unclear. Manny Frishberg reports from Seattle ...More from Wired News

Techie girls head off to camp. For girls, traditional camp activities have morphed into courses on how to be a computer programmer and run your own business. It is an effort to get girls thinking about future careers ...More from Wired News

Offered old computers, some school officials decline. Linda S. Smith, director of technology at the San Bernardino school system in California, says there is one type of gift she would rather not receive: used computers requiring so much tinkering that they end up being more trouble than they are worth ...More from the New York Times (Free registration required)

Everyone to have Internet access by 2005. That is the ambitious target UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is calling for as part of a drive to make the UK the best place for e-commerce by 2002. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Centres across the UK will help to bring Internet access and learning into disadvantaged communities ...More from the DfES UK.

Why girls don't compute. Jane isn't afraid of technology, she's just turned off by how it's presented. Educators need innovative ways to engage girls in computer culture so they don't get left behind ...More from Wired News

The Story of E (Books). In the aftermath of Stephen King's e-book extravaganza, e-authors are finally attracting the respect and attention they believe is their due ...More from Wired News

Teaching with bells and whistles. How should teachers implement new technology in their classrooms? One educator believes that plain-text websites won't do it, and calls for more interactivity and innovation ...More from Wired News

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