* Posts by Fihart

1096 posts • joined 3 Jun 2008

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Indian call centre scammers are targeting BT customers

Fihart

try to avoid BT's offshore call centres

During years of unsatisfactory dealings with BT I realised that I could not rely on the Indian call centre to actually do anything. They were helpful and polite but when I received my next bill, the promised corrections were not there. Instead I emailed the Customer Services boss of BT and was, in turn, contacted by a woman with an Ulster accent who actually fixed things.

Alternatively, use Twitter and when (inevitably) the BT's Twitter Jockeys can't fix issues they may hand you on to online interactive text chat. You then have a written record of your dealings, unlike on the phone.

In the end, increasing fees meant I dumped BT 18 months ago -- so things may have improved/got worse since.

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Two million customer records pillaged in IT souk CeX hack attack

Fihart

Colourful history....

Quite a 'colourful' company, originally the Music and Video Exchange, with main branch in Notting Hill Gate. I seem to remember reading their terms of business at that time when buying a used CD -- these implied that part of the price was to purchase a warranty and that portion was not refundable if the product had to be returned. I thought at the time that this would have raised some eyebrows if a customer took it to small claims. I may be mistaken, but I recall that the original firm was registered in the Channel Islands, which would have matched the freebooting style of the now deceased founder.

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Hate it when your apartment block is locked to Comcast etc? Small ISPs fight back

Fihart

Re: As a building owner...

Similar issue with TV. Sky has been incentivising landlords to install a dish and wiring. Just coincidentally, the regular coax wiring to traditional roof aerials gets removed. Sky presumably hope that leaves tenants no choice but to subscribe.

Fortunately, there's a good supply of old Sky boxes dumped on the street and they work as Freesat without a subscription -- I'm happy to pass these on to my neighbouring landlord's tenants. Equally, Sky haven't reckoned with the fact that today's tenants are just as likely to watch TV via the internet.

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Sonos will deny updates to those who snub rewritten privacy terms

Fihart

Re: Old Skool @Stuart 22

Me too -- Quad preamp and 405 power amp, B&W DM2 speakers, Thorens 125 turntable with Mission arm, Arcam CD. Most bought for peanuts, some actually saved from landfill. Lovely.

I've heard of Sonos like I've heard of Bose. Seem to defy physics and half a century of hifi evolution.

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Police camera inaction? Civil liberties group questions forces' £23m body-cam spend

Fihart

Could save money ?

If footage of incidents avoids lengthy enquiries over allegations police brutality during arrests it may pay for itself. If the cameras record indisputable evidence of crimes and more accused plead guilty, will save police time. Equally, may discourage any misconduct by officers.

However, as a local activist I despair that the shortage of resources for London's force is affecting operations to the point where, for example, individual drug dealers seem not to be considered worth targeting.

But I also note that didn't stop the Met ordering lots of Thinkpads, among the more expensive laptops on the market.

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Don't buy Microsoft Surface gear: 25% will break after 2 years, says Consumer Reports

Fihart

Not just Microsoft

As laptops grew cheaper a few years back they clearly lost quality. The ones turning up broken in my local dumpster are relatively new.

Most keyboards are fragile and near-impossible to repair. Complete or partial mainboard failure (on-board power components, I suspect) seems common across brands. Broken lid hinges on a Dell, an HP, Lenovo Thinkpad and a Toshiba. Loose and missing screws on a Samsung left the lid hanging on by one hinge.

Worst example was the top of the range i7 processor Toshiba where the aluminium lid had only been secured to a plastic hinge bracket by glue. Mainboard seemed to have failed too. Date of manufacture stamp on the optical drive suggested the Tosh was about 18 months old.

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Tech giants warp eco standards to greenwash electronics, rake in cash

Fihart

Re: Standard sizes @Kevin McMurtrie

I take your point(s) but as most phones are very similar devices (viz: the common chipsets used) if a standard set of batteries was created, manufacturers could design new phones around those specs.

Even if specs evolved over time, it would make replacement a lot simpler and cheaper -- if not quite as simple as buying torch batteries in a supermarket.

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Fihart

Re: Ramble On @Nick Pettefar

"why does my iPhone 6 run so slowly nowadays compared to my iPhone SE? Also my Mac Mini (2.53GHz CPU) is really slow. I am almost certain that Apple deliberately cause older models to run slowly so that the newer models appear to run much faster"

Two issues here: 1) upgrading the OS will often slow a device, especially if the OS has been designed for later models with faster hardware. 2) OS will slow under weight of your added content/apps and build up of redundant files.

Solution is to wipe everything (having backed up personal stuff) and reload original operating system.

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Fihart

Re: Repair != Green @Ian Cognito

I recently needed a replacement battery for a Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung's site does recommend a UK supplier but that vendor didn't have the battery I needed. Those it had seemed rather expensive.

Amazon had dozens of (apparently) Samsung batteries at a wide range of prices. But user reviews suggested that many were fakes that performed badly or failed soon after purchase. One vendor's reviews seemed to suggest that it was a fraudulent operation, failing to deliver merchandise and using credit card numbers to steal further funds.

In the end I bought a battery from a vendor with good reviews, even though the battery brand was unknown to me.

Much the same story when I needed a battery for a Lumix camera -- thankfully, the long established German photo accessory brand Hama sells a fairly full range of camera batteries with a long warranty.

I guess big manufacturers don't care enough to police the fakes and would prefer we replaced the device rather than just the battery.

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Google tracks what you spend offline to prove its online ads work. And privacy folks are furious

Fihart

stick with cash

More evidence that our privacy and in the long run, perhaps our liberty, at stake.

Minimise use of credit cards, don't use payments via phone on near field. Whenever possible use high street stores and pay by cash -- and no loyalty cards.

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You know what’s not so throttled at O2? UK sales. They're up 2.6%

Fihart

Re: You know what else is going up at O2? @Haku

Looks like 02 are following EE by pricing out PAYG vermin. How can these companies justify 15p per text when they cost them too little to calculate ?

Solution is to quit -- Lebara, Giff Gaff, Three etc offer much better deals.

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Alexa, why aren't you working? No – I didn't say twerking. I, oh God...

Fihart

About as reliable.....

...as those devices that let you turn on a light by clapping your hands. I gave up on the thing when my hands hurt from clapping.

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Repairable-by-design Fairphone runs out of spare parts

Fihart

Re: 4 year life?

So right. Back when Dell laptops were all similar in design and shared components I needed a hard disk tray. Bid for one on ebay and lost -- it went for about £12 as I recall. Next week found an entire laptop from same range for £15 with broken screen in fleamarket. Haven't bothered ebay since.

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Microsoft drops Office 365 for biz. Now it's just Microsoft 365. Word

Fihart

Another cynical abuse of language.

"We are transforming the way we partner with you,"

In other words we are not your partner but, rather, have become an abusive spouse.

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Windows Insiders with SD cards turn into OneDrive outsiders

Fihart

The usual abuse of language.

"Microsoft OneDrive wants to ensure users have the best possible sync experience on Windows, which is why OneDrive maintains the industry standard of support for NTFS."

How is not being able to sync, ensuring that users have the best possible sync experience ?

SD cards are Fat32 so they work with Mac and with cameras as well as Windows. It's a fact of life Microsoft have simply ignored.

They show their utter contempt -- and we increasingly return the compliment.

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It's the iPhone's 10th b'day or, as El Reg calls it, 'BILL RAY DAY'

Fihart

Re: Don't mention the iTunes. Kies @ Nick Ryan

Oh God, Kies ! Version from Samsung UK wouldn't install on W7 32bit, would install on 64bit but refused to work with Galaxy S4. Version from Samsung US installed and seemed to work. But by then I'd lost the will to live.

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Fihart

Don't mention the iTunes.

Two major hurdles to all iPhones: cost (obviously) and iTunes.

Insisting that anything uploaded to the phone has to go via the worst piece of commercial software I've ever encountered is a major no-no.

I struggled install my own ringtones (essential as the iPhone's default ones are too quiet to be audible on an urban street). Being unable to easily upload documents and pics stopped me using iPhone as a mobile office, something I'd been able to do with a Symbian Nokia E71 in 2011.

Some relief to go from iPhone to Android on an aged Samsung G4 (had the unique price advantage of being found in a dumpster, so just cost £7 for a fresh battery).

To be fair, the iPhones 4 and 4S I used were 100% reliable. In common with friends, I've found Android very occasionally falls over.

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Fihart

Re: Don't give me no static ...

On one occasion I touched a laptop and felt/heard a flash of static. The computer stopped dead.

Fortunately laptop could be restarted and was apparently undamaged. Culprit, pair of trainers with (presumably) synthetic soles, walking on a wool carpet.

Note also that opening envelopes with self-adhesive flap generates static -- try opening one in the dark

(don't ask !) .

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Men charged with theft of free newspapers

Fihart

Re: Nothing is 'free'

"Probably a cunning plan by the editor to boost circulation by having large amounts taken from various stations."

Shrewd comment. When working in ad agency with a client who was a magazine publisher I brought a meeting to a standstill by suggesting that instead of running an ad campaign to boost circulation we simply spent the money buying copies of the magazine and dumping them. Wasn't too surprised to some years later see a skip/dumpster near a publishing house full of current copies of a consumer mag.

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Sharp claims Hisense reverse-ferreted its US telly licence deal

Fihart

Who made your TV ?

Universal Media Corporation (UMC Slovakia) now makes TVs sold under an astounding range of formerly famous brand names: Grundig, Bush, Blaupunkt, Akai, Ferguson, Teac, Goodmans, Alba-- plus (in the UK) Sharp.

TVs sold under those brands are not necessarily made exclusively by UMC.

Fortunately, the UMC TVs I have encountered have proved pretty good, in fact a current model I tried is at least as good as an LG. One that failed (dodgy capacitors) at least had the virtue of being easy to disassemble and repair.

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My unpopular career in writing computer reviews? It's a gift

Fihart

Please don't write this.

"Year after year, I watch on........"

I don't know where this kind of English came from, but I strongly suspect Australian soaps.

Fine to say "look on" or "watch", but "watch on" jars. It's like "park up" when "park" would do. Parking up is when something is left permanently or semi-permanently.

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Lexmark patent racket busted by Supremes

Fihart

Re: What about other measures?

All sounds very complicated. Simple solution, don't buy Lexmark printers.

See also; don't buy inkjet printers as they are unreliable compared to lasers.

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Ransomware realities: In your normal life, strangers don't extort you. But here you are

Fihart

In your normal life, strangers don't extort you ?

Well, it's called rent and most of us pay it monthly in order not to perish on the streets.

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Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

Fihart

Re: Jewel cases

The biggest problem with jewel cases is, as you say, the centre crown that holds the CD in. Much worse with the innovation of clear plastic (so that artwork under the disc was visible) which seems more brittle than the regular opaque plastics used before.

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Fihart

Re: On air compression

When working with the old Charisma label Genesis were on, I complained about surface noise even on the white label vinyl samples I used for radio ads.

Rather grudgingly, I was informed that they'd gone for a "classical press" when the live double album "Seconds Out" was produced. Can't say I could hear any difference. Worthwhile seeking the

fairly recently remastered CD versions of the band's early albums, they really are an improvement.

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Cisco to fire another 1,100 after sixth straight revenue fall

Fihart

Good riddance.

Nice products. Horrible company.

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Gig economy tech giants are 'free riding' on the welfare state, say MPs

Fihart

Re: A long time coming

Unfortunately, it's not just the disruptive new economy's low wages that exploits the welfare state. For example, supermarkets employ thousands of young mothers in poorly paid part-time jobs (necessarily because they have to look after kids out of school hours). Benefits, especially housing benefit, make up the difference. Food shops depend on cut-throat pricing and we consumers won't pay more.

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Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

Fihart

Re: I can't even rememer the name of the damned thing but....

LS-120 a good idea spoiled by greed, as you say. But perhaps also the fact that early external drives by Imation suffered from a power cube that failed. Company offered free replacements but it must have shaken faith for early adopters versus the more widely available (but in my view inferior) Zip disk.

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Fihart

Re: Kodak Digital Camera

Eating batteries was a common fault with most early digital cameras. In many instances could have been solved by making space for 4 rather than 2 AA cells -- but pocketability won over utility.

Only solution for consumer was expensive Lithium AA batteries.

Soon most makers offered models with Lithium Ion rechargeables -- but, being greedy, refused to make these interchangeable between models, let alone brands so they could charge the earth for replacements.

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Fihart

Philips Digital Cassette Tape etc

The infamous (or unfamous) DCC -- I only know one person who bought into it -- though a few record shops stocked the prerecorded tapes, as I recall.

Then there were those really big cassettes (LCassette ?). Sony made some machines, but the medium barely surfaced.

Quadraphonics -- none of the systems (SQ promoted by CBS and Sony, CD4 by Warner and Panasonic or QS by ABC Records and Sansui) actually worked and, having tried quad out, I was relieved to go back to regular stereo.

11
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BT's spam blocker IDs accident claims as top nuisance call

Fihart

Too late for me and BT.

When I rang to close my BT account they made little effort to dissuade me.

Offered a deal which cost precisely the same as I was already paying.

Replied to my comment that most calls seemed to be PPI pests that they could offer caller display (I'd already cancelled that when they suddenly started charging for it).

When I explained that calls via my Three mobile were cheaper than on BT landline, the reply was that BT offered mobile phones too -- yeah, but I' was leaving BT-owned EE because they were raising their charges.

BT seem to still have the GPO monopoly mindset.

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Put down your coffee and admire the sheer amount of data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC

Fihart

Multiple OS on multiple machines.

I think we may have to move to a situation that, where obligatory, Win10 is run on one machine (preferably without a full time internet connection) and 7 or Linux or Apple or Android on a couple of other machines. Feasible given the power of laptops and tablets.

It would be a big step backwards, but it's this or surrender to Microsoft's clearly unethical (if not illegal) intrude and control business model.

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PC survived lightning strike thanks to a good kicking

Fihart

Re: Pauli Effect

Oddest failure I've encountered was when a desktop PC refused to boot having worked perfectly for months. Forgetting the rule about removing boards to see if that fixes things, I concluded that the hard drive had failed and swapped in a new PC.

Eventually, when I placed the Netgear wireless adapter in another PC and that refused to boot, I twigged that the wireless adapter failing had caused the previous PC to lock up.

Most amusing fault was hearing a persistent beeping at home. Eventually traced to a PC with a kitten asleep on the keyboard. "Individual PosturePaedic Springing" obviously appreciated.

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'Clearance sale' shows Apple's iPad is over. It's done

Fihart

Still too dear.

I confess that when the iPad appeared my reaction was WTF would I want with a device without a keyboard ?

A decade later I'm instead asking why anyone would still pay £300 for one when a decent brand like Lenovo offers a pocketable 7 inch pad for around £60 ?

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Palmtop nostalgia is tinny music to my elephantine ears

Fihart

Modern life is rubbish (stuff).

Somewhere I still have a pair of AKG headphones bought in the 1970s -- still worked when I last listened, though from the sound of them, technology has moved on.

Still using Sony MDR 40 phones that came with a Walkman Pro in 1986 (though rewired several times)

I have some very nice sounding Sennheiser PX 100s. And horrid sounding PX 200s, but I was even less impressed with some larger Sennheisers which disintegrated. The latter seems typical of current products from all brands (as you say) regardless of price.

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Nokia 3310 'Supremo Putin' edition goes on sale in Russia

Fihart

outmoded Nokia for outmoded regime

Putin phone will soon be found among other soviet-era detritus like Zenith cameras that turn up in charity shops.

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Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions at one London court targeted women

Fihart

What the elite find inconvenient....

...is made illegal. No more justification for the BBC license to be subject to criminal law than for rail companies to have these powers. As with similar examples such as trespass, belong in the civil courts.

As for the argument that the license fee saves viewers from inane advertising, a license is needed to watch Freeview channels which are already wrecked by long and frequent ad breaks.

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Blighty floods with techies' tears as Capita boss Parker quits

Fihart

Capita, you must be kiddling !

Hear of case where they sent two of their monthly TV Licence letters to the same address warning that they were scheduled to visit on a specific date. Date different on the two letters. Either lying or bizarrely inefficient.

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Microsoft slaps Apple Gatekeeper-like controls on Windows 10: Install only apps from store

Fihart

Re: Puts me off using them..

Glad to hear that, but I suspect that many app sites redirect to Play Store.

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Fihart

Puts me off using them..

Irritated to find that Apple want credit card details even to download free apps. Then Google started to demand Play was installed in order to download Android apps. Now Microsoft goes the same way. I can see why some control is needed, assuming they actually do weed out nasty stuff.

Glad to see that Linux apps still easily available.

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Hold the phone! Crap customer service cost telcos £2.9 BEEEELLION in 2016

Fihart

EE another PAYG price increase

http://discover.ee.co.uk/3G5S2pCw

T Mobile/EE -- from March 15p per text, calls 35ppm.

Three Network, 2p per text, calls 3ppm.

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How Lexmark's patent fight to crush an ink reseller will affect us all

Fihart

major cause of landfill

I have lost count of the number inkjet based printers and printer/scanners I have seen dumped on the street locally. I suspect that most are there because owners are fed up with the price of ink.

I routinely try to intercept friends thinking about buying a printer and bully them into buying a laser printer -- leave photo printing to those machines in pharmacies and specialist photo stores which produce better results.

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Customer: BT admitted it had 'mis-sold' me fibre broadband

Fihart

Re:charging for unused phone @d3vy

"I know I could switch to one of the providers who have started doing this recently (like vodaphone)......"

My understanding is that firms like Voda and Talk Talk, who claim to have abolished line rental, have merely bundled it with broadband charge and raised prices to the same level as before, or more.

3
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Plusnet? More like Plus-naught: Mobile data on the fritz for days for some unlucky punters

Fihart

Yeww !!

Read that as Pusnet.

Another part of the putrefying BT network.

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Crumbs. Exceedingly good cakes, meat dressing price hike in wake of the Brexit

Fihart

Nothing to see (or eat) here...

A glance at a shot of Premier Foods' product line reassured me that any price increases would not affect me one jot. To take your example of Mr. Kipling -- he does make exceedingly over-sweet cakes.

I once read that many of the extra ingredients listed in factory-made cakes were there to prevent the mixture sticking to the machinery and the rest were there to prolong shelf-life.

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TCL vows to keep BlackBerry alive

Fihart

What's not to like ?

Android preferable to iPhone or the older BB systems. QWERTY keyboard (as my brother says, typing on iPhone is like elephant dancing on pinhead, with similar chances of errors).

Hopefully price and distribution won't shoot this BB in the foot.

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Why does Skype only show me from the chin down?

Fihart

@ Paul Renault

God, the number of PSUs I've had to take apart to replace the 2 cent fan that's usually in there, squealing as its bearings die from the inevitable dust ingress.

In the past, some computer builders used Papst motors which were pretty much indestructible -- but that was back when PC were priced in $thousands not $hundreds.

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Don't panic, friends, but the Chinese navy just nicked one of America's underwater drones

Fihart

Message to all Chinese naval commanders.

"The U.S. trade deficit with China was $365.7 billion in 2015 This is a new record, up slightly from last year's record of $343 billion. The trade deficit exists because U.S. exports to China were only $116.2 billion while imports from China hit a new record of $481.9 billion.21 Nov 2016"

So don't rock the boat.

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Brexflation hits Lenovo's Phab2

Fihart

It's a Marmite moment.

Brexploitation first surfaced (in my field of view anyway) with those buggers at Unilever causing an increase in the retail price of a big Marmite jar from £4 to £4.50, provoking outrage at Tesco.

Interestingly (or not depending on your taste for savoury spreads), Sainsbury's seemed to stop stocking that size almost immediately and their boss made a point of saying that they'd maintained the old price on smaller packs. Waitrose just went on selling it at £4, though perhaps their upmarket customers simply don't much stoop to such low foodstuffs and price will rise as new stock eventually comes in.

There have been claims that own-brand spreads were gaining market share as Marmite lovers turned to alternatives -- but, having tried one of those, I wouldn't fancy a repeat purchase and Vegemite, which I haven't seen on shelves lately, was even worse (and made by the hated Kraft/Mondelez).

This doesn't have much to do with Lenovo, except that a few weeks ago Argos knocked a tenner off the price of the decent Lenovo 7 inch Tab, bringing it down to an irresistible £50.

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