Ever had a burning question you just MUST know the answer to?
You know the sort of thing… in what film would you give “thumbs up to science” (Back to the Future), what year was the Battle of Hastings (1066), who created Winnie the Pooh (A A Milne), does Croatia have a coastline (yes), how many miles is it from Dover to Calais (er…21?)?
I get it all the time – I HAVE to find out the answer before you do anything else or you’ll go insane.
Quext is a SMS answer service that claims to find the answers to all your questions.
You name it, we can answer. Text QX and your question to 82085 and our crack squad of brains will send you the answer back, normally within 5 minutes. Answers are billed to your mobile at a rate of £1. Long answer – no problem. Unlike some others, we can send up to four text messages worth of information for £1. Top up online and you’ll get your answers for 60p each (that’s cheaper than all the other providers
And following a request/suggestion from someone at Quext I put the service to the test.
I set about asking Quext five questions. I tried to cover different topics and ask them at different times of day, to see whether the service will actually prevent me from going insane when I can’t find the answer to a question I just need to know.
These are the five questions I decided to ask:
- What is the flight time to New York?
- How important do you have to be before you are considered assassinated rather than murdered?
- Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
- I’m doing a tandem skydive from 10,000 feet – how fast will I free fall before the parachute opens?
- What is the song with the lyrics “Now it’s a beautiful day, the postman delivered a letter from your lover”?
So this afternoon (Wednesday 31st March 2010) I started sending my questions. I was looking for just two things – a reply within five minutes and the answer to my question…
What is the flight time to New York?
- Question sent at 12:36
- Answer received at 12:58 –> 22 minutes
- “Flight times vary from London to New York. An average flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK is around 8 hours.”
How important do you have to be before you are considered assassinated rather than murdered?
- Question sent at 14:38
- Answer received at 14:41 –> 3 minutes
- “Traditionally assassination is defined at the murder of a “politically prominent person”. In modern usage it is used for any person in the public eye.”
Why is there a light in the fridge but not in the freezer?
- Question sent at 18:52
- Answer received at 18:55 –> 3 minutes
- “When a light comes on, it generates heat. Because of the extreme low temperature in the freezer, the change of temperature would explode the bulb.”
I’m doing a tandem skydive from 10,000 feet – how fast will I free fall before the parachute opens?
- Question sent at 20:53
- Answer received at 21:21 –> 8 minutes
- “When free-falling it is possible to reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, jumping from 10,000 feet. From higher it can be faster.” [ARGH!!!]
What is the song with the lyrics “Now it’s a beautiful day, the postman delivered a letter from your lover”?
- Question sent at 22:12
- Answer received at 22:17 –> 5 minutes
- “The lyrics are from the Queen song “Friends will be Friends” which reached number 14 in UK charts in June 1986.”
There is no doubt that Quext answered all my questions, and sometimes with more information than I’d asked for which was excellent. The average time for an answer over my five questions was 8.2 minutes, which isn’t quite what the company claims but it isn’t half bad at all I’d say.
Would I recommend it to others? Well yes, if you have a burning question and can’t get to Google or Bing for yourself (or can’t be bothered), or you’re searching skills just aren’t up to much and you’re still scratching your head even after you’ve had a look around the world-wide web. And of course if you have £1 to spare for the answer.
It is certainly worth having the number stored in your mobile phone… just in case the moment comes when you desperately need to know something!