Back in 2007, pioneer aviator Steve Fossett went missing in the Nevada desert. He had left an airfield and never came back. You may remember the extensive search efforts, even involving Internet users (like myself) who were asked to scan images on Google Earth for anything resembling a crashed aircraft.
You had to subscribe to Amazon's Mechanical Turk programme, which I duly did, and off I went perusing dozens and dozens of pictures of desert as seen from space. Several plane wrecks were located using this technique, but not Steve Fossett's. His plane, and remains, were located more than a year later, in November 2008.
After I got enough of staring at all shades of colour between brown, green and grey, I ventured into other areas of the Mechanical Turk. You can do all sorts of mind-numbingly dumb chores for which you get paid a couple of dollar cents a go. The more challenging tasks can earn you a few dozen cents, and the big jobs several whole dollars. In the end, I had accumulated nearly $12 in Amazon gift vouchers.
I then came across dearmissmermaid, an Internet blogger from the island of Tortola in the Caribbean. She had written a book, called Hurricanes and Hangovers, which I could purchase from Amazon. However, I could only use the gift vouchers on Amazon US. So, off I went to buy the book all the way from the States. It would cost me more than $28, but the Mechanical Turk knocked off those $12, so it's down to about £10.
When the book arrived earlier this week, it was annotated that it had been produced for me on 6 March 2010 in Lexington KY. I've let DMM know that I'm thoroughly enjoying her book - I'm not going to link, as I've done more promotion in one post than I've done for many a month.