* Posts by Fihart

922 posts • joined 3 Jun 2008

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EE Harrier Mini grounded by errant Wi-Fi calling upgrade

Fihart
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Re: How do people contact them? @Mystic Megabyte

Your experience of Sainsbury's; at least they offered the voucher !

Though counter-intuitive, it's often smart to buy tech stuff from supermarkets. Okay, the available sales advice is zero and the range limited, but special offers are often bargains thanks to the big stores' buying power on end-of-ranges etc.

More crucially, if things go wrong, the supermarkets rely on goodwill to keep you coming in for the weekly food shop.

By contrast, a specialist retailer is lucky to see you once in 5 years when you replace TV/washing machine/ fridge -- so do they care if you never return ?

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Fihart
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Re: Good luck with getting a courtesy phone @Dainase

You're right.

A friend's TMobile branded ZTE wouldn't boot.

Took it into EE store who pronounced it beyond repair.

With no experience of Android, I fixed it in minutes by reloading the OS from ZTE's site.

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Fihart
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Re: How do people contact them?

Ridiculously, they refuse to deal with customers by e-mail.

Solution of sorts is to use their Twitter site and when the hacks on there feel unable to help they'll put you on an interactive webchat with a real person (or Siri's cousin ?). This has resolved things for me with EE/TMobile in the past.

Last resort, look up the name of a board member responsible for customer relations and write them an actual letter.

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Monster Scalextric Formula 1 circuit to go under the hammer

Fihart
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Ah those days...

Slot Car Racing (please don't call it Scalextric as there were other, better brands) was my teen introduction to soldering and re-winding electric motors (they usually caught fire).

Though we graduated to Revell and more exotic cars, never had more fun than with the cheapest brand Airfix whose track we continued to use as it was smoother than the Scalex polythene stuff.

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Microsoft co-founder recovers ship's bell of 'The Mighty Hood'

Fihart
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Unmistakable irony here.

Given that large corporations take as long to change course as an oil tanker, will they be diving for Microsoft's lost mojo at some point in the future.

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All hail Ikabai-Sital! Destroyer of worlds and mender of toilets

Fihart
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To return to IT.

My brother had a Fujitsu/Siemens desktop from the late unlamented Comet Warehouse. After nearly a year it started going funny so he asked me to look at it. But, he pointed out, a seal on it says breaking that invalidates warranty.

As it was still within the notional 12 month warranty period (which is merely an arrangement between mfr and retailer) he decided to let Comet sort it out. Their response was that they'd have to wait for the Fuj/Siem engineer to make his rounds -- up to three weeks away. My brother decided he could wait three weeks.

When a month or so later the computer was returned, working, he was told that the issue had merely been carpet fluff in a fan causing the CPU to overheat.

I think this qualifies as an Ikabai fuckup on the grounds that my bro could have easily analysed and fixed the problem in fifteen minutes max had it not been for the dumb sticker.

The sticker had no business being on a device such as an IBM-type PC which was deliberately designed to be opened in order to add network cards etc (hint; the PSU is in a separate enclosure).

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Fihart
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Re: Lack of bass?

Just what I was going to say. Hifi speakers are usually on the floor and often near a wall -- or in a corner. All of which boost bass considerably compared with something just dangling from the ceiling.

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EE recalls Power Bar phone chargers after explosion burns woman

Fihart
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Everyone's fingers burnt with Everything Everywhere

EE's PAYG charges render voice calls unaffordable -- and 12p for texts is scandalous given that they cost so little to the provider that they can't even calculate how little.

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Yahoo! website! ads! spaff! CryptoWall! ransomware! AGAIN!

Fihart
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False alarms ?

Don't know about Yahoo, but ads on The Register site were triggering alarms from Avast yesterday.

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Windows 10 marks the end of 'pay once, use forever' software

Fihart
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Now I can say no.

Granted, recent versions of Windows have been more reliable and included useful drivers. But, as other commentators have said, Linux is pretty viable now. In the past, every version I tried fell down on graphics or sound issues. Doubtless drivers could be found but usually not on the manufacturers' sites.

Installed the very slim Peppermint Linux this year and everything worked on both the machines I put it on -- amazingly, including wifi. Still looking for scanner software and a better screengrab application. But ease of use, speed, pain-free updates and seeming stability means I can now look at making Linux my main OS. It's already preferable for internet access just because it boots much faster.

Any Windows' improvements are not enough to justify the faff of installing and learning a vast new OS and its (doubtless) vast updates to fix the screwups inevitable in something so big

I suspect that if they could step outside the feature-led marketing approach and produce a slimline version of Windows, Microsoft would actually gain some friends among the tech community.

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Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

Fihart
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Word Free

The "urban myth" that MS let Word get pirated seems more plausible when you consider that Microsoft Press did a roaring trade in an overpriced guide to using Word which more than replaced the printed manual that accompanied legitimate copies of the appplication.

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Ballmer's billion-dollar blunders: When he gambled Microsoft's money and lost

Fihart
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Re: To paraphrase Reagan...

@ Charlie Clark

Hard to think of a firm that has less goodwill from its customers. Perhaps H.M. Prison Service is slightly less popular with users.

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Crazy Chrysler security hole: USB stick fix incoming for 1.4 million cars

Fihart
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look and learn

Before they start adding more pointless electronic complexity to their cars, Chrysler/GM/Ford should study German cars that are safe and durable, Japanese cars for reliability, Italians for style and performance.

With few exceptions (Studebaker Avanti, 1964 Buick Riviera, 1964 Mustang, 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, Corvair) most post-war American cars have been hideous and as horrible mechanically as they look.

Of course, US drivers expect to buy cars cheaper than almost anywhere in the world and they get what they pay for.

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China wants to build a 200km-long undersea tunnel to America

Fihart
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Re: So,an invasion route ...

Tunnel is never going to happen.

If you think UKIP times 12 you have the Republican Tea Party faction.

Historically, Teddy Roosevelt allowed Los Angeles to hijack water from Northern California in part because he saw building a second large city on the West Coast as a bulwark against potential Asian expansion.

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Microsoft starts switching on paid Wi-Fi service with latest Windows 10 preview

Fihart
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It's just business. Nothing personal. Again.

Think of something that's free or cheap and try to get people to pay a premium for it.

Isn't that the MS way ?

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Osbo PRINTS first Tory budget in 19 years with his BARE HANDS

Fihart
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Re: Cutting Tax Benefits.

@LucreLout

As you say, you are well paid enough to make the commute worthwhile.

I agree with you that you should not have to pay more tax to subsidise low wage employers -- but then you may have to pay more for food and the other goods sold by those firms when they are finally forced to raise wages or close branches in London.

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Fihart
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Cutting Tax Benefits

This is very serious for the working mums on low wages who keep our infrastructure going.

Someone I know working for Sainsbury's can only afford to live in London with state help with rent and kids. The budget is saying that either (a) Sainsbury (etc) must raise wages and prices if they want to operate in London or (b) their employees will have to commute from the suburbs.

I don't see (a) happening because of competition nor (b) because commuting for several hours a day (and the cost of fares) to work for peanuts is unviable, especially where mums have to fit work around their kids' school hours.

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Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment

Fihart
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Re: I'm starting to lose track of this

@TheOtherHobbes

"Nadella is replaced by Cortana."

Brilliant. Have an upvote.

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Microsoft in Blighty reveals its 78 THOUSAND POUND Surface 3 slabloid

Fihart
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The price is right.

That's no typo -- it's what it cost Microsoft to build the Surface range, divided by the number sold.

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Revive the Nathan Barley Quango – former Downing Street wonk

Fihart
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Well spotted.

That the impetus behind this scheme is property values. Fact is that fatuous, boy-beardy, businesses are soon be priced out of currently affordable spots by chain stores and prestige buy2let residential blocks.

See Notting Hill, Camden, Islington, Brixton etc.

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Google harms consumers and strangles the open web, says study

Fihart
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When Google was good.

X years ago when a techie friend e-mailed me insisting that I must try this new search engine called Google.

But now Google is bad. Brother looked for a hotel near my place and Google was cluttered with paid-for results for sites recommending hotels.

So now use DuckDuckGo -- seems to work and claims not to track.

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Hi-res audio folk to introduce new rules and weed out impure noises

Fihart
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It'll do !

Hard to trust studio engineers when it comes to sound quality as half of them have been deafened on the job. Just listen to the awful speakers* they monitor on and the painful levels. As a friend who sells audio stuff said recently, most engineers have reliability as their number one priority when choosing gear -- fidelity somewhat less. Worse, recent artists seem to actually seek what they call a lo-fi sound -- e.g. albums by Doves.

* is that a JBL in the picture ? Nuff said.

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Google's new free music service is classic Google: Take someone's idea and slap ads on it

Fihart
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All we love about Commercial Music Radio.

On a website. What could go wrong ?

I guess they won't have nauseous deejays, at least.

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Noshing moth menaces misled into male-on-male mating

Fihart
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Re: straight in the microwave

Found one of the buggers (doubtless laying eggs) on drying socks. Missed the little blighter but re-washed socks, rinsed, popped them in microwave for 2 minutes. Poached eggs.

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Fihart
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Bloody moths.

Clothes moths seem to be supreme survivors. Just whacking every one you see settled on a wall reduces their numbers and subsequent damage but they still come back in a trickle throughout summer/autumn and return next spring.

Friend has used pheromone stickers and they certainly attract and trap the little buggers. But the numbers trapped seems to remain constant, so this is less effective than whacking them.

Forget fly spray which kills mozzies and flies -- and spiders that may prey on moths. Probably do more harm to yourself than to the moths.

Best is prevention. If you buy secondhand clothes, run them through the hottest wash immediately. If holes appear in a garment, hot wash or discard at once. Store all natural fibre garments in reasonably sealed cupboards with mothballs. Regularly use vacuum cleaner attachment on carpet edges.

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Bring on the Music, Apple: Spotify ups the ante - and money pot

Fihart
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Apple v. Music

Though I own two (secondhand) iPods I seldom use them because adding music via iTunes is a pain (at least compared with drag and drop on Samsung and Sony players). Occasionally I have to help a friend with her iPod and end up shouting at it.

This weekend I was asked to try to rescue an Ipod Touch which friend of friend had locked up with a wrong passcode (why would you need a passcode on a music player, anyway).

As far as I could see, without diving into the bowels of the OS or backing it up to the original computer it was teamed with (which I didn't have), all the music on it would be lost when unlocking, as that involved a complete wipe and OS reload. The operation, including research and downloading iTunes to my computer, took more than an hour.

Once it was working again the iPod displayed a new beastliness towards music in that it seemed impossible (I know now it isn't) to rip a CD to the iPod. At least on older versions of iTunes, it was a little simpler to rip and transfer. With the new generation Pod with wireless net connectivity Apple has made it simpler to just download tracks from them -- at a cost per track that I pay for complete albums in charity shops and flea markets !

So, in helping out, I assume I have destroyed her music collection purchased at some considerable cost -- and she may have some trouble restoring it from her computer as the iPod is now teamed to my computer.

I may here be displaying ignorance of ways of managing an iPod that are obvious to the more experienced user -- but my complaint is that the Apple approach (which doubtless extends to iPhone) is annoying nonsense compared with other brands.

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HTC execs: Oh dear, did we say we'd sell lots of smartphones? Our bad

Fihart
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HTC One now a lovely phone - but seems expensive for a relatively obscure brand. Wonder too if some bitten by M7's unresolved camera bug (in low light everything goes purple on my mate's) have deserted. HTC budget Desire looks nice but doesn't review enthusiastically.

Confirms theory (expressed a year ago ?) that "landfill Android" would reduce even quality smartphones to a commodity. Only vast marketing budget (and dealer sweeteners ?) are keeping Samsung and Apple in the game.

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NetApp consciously uncouples from 500+ staff

Fihart
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Reminder from England.

To U.S. users (abusers) of English.

We're happy to have you to borrow our language but we'd like it returned in one piece.

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BT boss in shock 'bigger is better' claim as £12.5bn EE bid heats up

Fihart
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Waste of (my) time.

On hold for 20 minutes yesterday trying to clear up BT bill overcharge dating back to January when unknown to me they started charging for caller ID.

So angry when finally connected to Indian call centre, told them to issue new correct bill or I would close the account.

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Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers

Fihart
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Big Bro's bright idea.

"Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers".

And, in time, cameras built in.

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Facebook is VIOLATING your SEXUAL privacy, warn Belgian data cops

Fihart
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Does this work ?

As I like to use Facebook, I do so exclusively via Firefox with History turned off. All other browsing is via Opera.

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Google fastens buy buttons to paid mobile search results – report

Fihart
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Unusable

Google has long been an advertising medium with paid results cluttering up your searches. I use Duck Duck Go these days.

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Good luck displacing Windows 7, Microsoft, it's still growing

Fihart
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Re: You listening Microsoft? Epson Drivers @gerryg

Thanks for that. As I'm thinking of moving some of my work to a Linux machine, may prove handy.

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Fihart
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Re: You listening Microsoft? @Red Bren

Another big reason for sticking with older OS is hardware makers understandably won't write fresh drivers for old kit.

Had enough trouble searching Epson sites worldwide for XP drivers for scanners that came out in the days of XP. Let alone, hoping for drivers for 7 or 8/10.

Irony is, the likely reason I have these Epson models is that they were originally dumped in the street by Mac owners when Apple deserted SCSI.

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High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables

Fihart
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Re: Noise!

Some particularly noisy ones were issued by BT to connect their router to your TV. These caused a ruckus and BT withdrew them -- but it makes you wonder whether the current management appreciate how much their forerunners at the GPO contributed to science.

The models in question didn't work anywhere in my home and interfered badly with my hifi.

More recently tried Netgear models -- worked but not everywhere in the house.

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Brit boffins BLOW UP Li-On batteries and film the MELTING COPPER

Fihart
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Not in my pocket, thank you !

......... “we tried to simulate a range of abuse conditions, from moderate temperatures up to trying to simulate a fire. And who wouldn't love to have the chance to try and reproduce that experiment"........?

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REVEALED: The 19 firms whose complaints form EU's antitrust case against Google

Fihart
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Fed up with Google.

Fed up with the paid-for results cluttering what was once an honest search engine. Happily, Duck Duck Go does the job and claims not to spy on you.

Of course, all we'll witness at the EU is competing monopolistic (if there's such a thing) bastards -- lying bastards anyway. Outcome unlikely to benefit consumers.

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Not so fast on FM switch-off: DAB not so hot say small broadcasters

Fihart
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DAB DRAB !

Finally got a DAB radio (cheapo portable from Argos). Mixed feelings.

Ignoring the anti-intuitive controls on this particular model and the predictably laughable battery life.

Reliable reception on the stations it receives in my North London location, fairly high up -- though doubtless many other stations it doesn't get. Nice to get Classic FM more reliably than via my expensive FM tuner. Radio4 Extra is my main reason for turning it on.

However. So many music station are at less than MP3 quality (I can't quite see how better radios are affected less by that as claimed in a recent Sunday Times piece). If I wanted AM quality I wouldn't have bought a DAB.

So many stations are irrelevant to me (religious nuts, foreign language stations, sport). Looks like DAB has gone the way of Freeview -- too many stations, too little quality content.

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What's broken in this week's Windows 10 build? Try the Start Menu, for one

Fihart
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Re: Company bloat/inertia?

".......absurd warnings like "Do you trust this printer?"

Priceless.

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Singapore's PM personally programmed C++ Suduko-solver

Fihart
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Sure you aren't....

....confusing him with North Korean Dear Leader ?

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Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC

Fihart
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Re: Err... @Johndoe888

My (least) favourites were anything with a PC Chips motherboard. Promptly renamed PC Chimps. Runner-up, Foxconn boards for apparently little driver support on website.

Generally, manufacturer whose drivers don't work with OEM versions otherwise identical to branded retail versions and who deny any knowledge of OEM products clearly manufactured by them.

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Microsoft to open first flagship Store beyond North America

Fihart
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If we build it they will....

....(probably not) come.

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Go for a spin on Record Store Day: Lifting the lid on vinyl, CD and tape

Fihart
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Re: A modest haul

The entire works of Iron Butterfly (60's proto-heavy band). Five or so albums including the most awful hammy vocals on screechy Atlantic recordings . However, proving the joy of ripping, I've selected a good CD's worth of tracks that are actually rather enjoyable.

Equipment: Thorens TD125/Mission arm/ADC XLM cartridge via Quad 34 pre-amp to Sony CD Recorder.

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Revealed: The AMAZING technology behind Apple's $1299 Retina MacBooks – a lot of glue

Fihart
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Bloody proprietary screws !

Glue at least aids structural integrity -- and recycling (apparently). Fixed battery is becoming universal in phones because they last longer than most people choose to keep the phone. Not so sure about laptops as, when I fix them for some other fault, also find the battery on its last legs. The industry doesn't help by using uniquely shaped batteries and charging silly prices for replacements.

But there is absolutely no excuse for using weird screws -- before I got the right tools I used to curse hex and torx and drill them out. Risky trying that in a superslim laptop.

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Life after Nokia: Microsoft Lumia 640 budget WinPho blower

Fihart
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I don't want.

I don't want to learn another phone operating system - that will resemble a desktop OS that no-one likes.

I don't want to rent a word processing application (the only bit of Office I'd use).

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Amazon listens to MORE of your private stuff

Fihart
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pointless

I have a device which switches stuff on when you clap your hands. Great idea for lighting. In theory. In practice you have to clap in exactly the right way. However the thing seems to respond randomly to other sounds. So unless you want lights flashing in time with music,forget using the hifi.

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