* Posts by Fihart

1150 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Jun 2008


Scam or stunt? It's looking like the latter... Xiaomi so sorry for £1 smartphone 'promo'


@Ken 16 Marketurds

I live in an area of London with blocks of flats popular with students from Korea, China, Japan. Cost of shipping possessions home at end of stay means a lot of stuff gets dumped. This has included flatscreen tellies, laptops, laser printers, digital cameras etc. Likely some need repairs, but often the kind you can carry out on a kitchen table with basic tools.

Probably best finds have been a 42 inch Panasonic HD TV (can fail to start in very hot weather) and a Lenovo Thinkpad T410s with SSD and touchscreen (lid was hanging off, screen separated from lid, previous owner evidently heavy smoker).

Look out for wheely bins in privately rented blocks of flats and behind offices. Bear in mind that, once in bins, stuff actually belongs to the Council refuse dept. My defense is that I'm making a small contribution to reducing landfill.


@Milton Marketurds

......."that's what pays the marketurds' bills, and keeps them from rummaging in wastebins".....

Had to laugh. I'm an ex-marketurd, retired advertising copywriter, and have retrieved two free phones from wastebins in the past 2 years or so (iPhone 4S and Samsung S4) both working and unlocked.

BT's Patterson keeps his £1.3m wheelbarrow of bonus cash after all


Avoid any company with "British" in the name.

According to a German friend resident in London. I mean he was right. Starting with the BBC. BMC, makers of boring badge-engineered Morris/Austin/Riley/Wolsely/MG cars, British Leyland that folded BMC into Standard/Triumph/Jaguar/Rover -- that didn't end well. British Airways, British Rail, British Steel, British fucking Telecom.

Android users: Are you ready for the great unbundling?


A pity that EUcrats don't understand tech.

Few years back EE sold a nice ZTE-made model that was popular with rooters -- the next generation of the model was re-engineered to try to stop all that.

Granted, the EE phones were probably slightly subsidised at the time of purchase -- but EE recouped that from the vast majority of buyers.

At least at the expiry of contract, a phone you bought should belong to you, be unlocked and open to uninstalling apps and installing whatever OS you want.

In most industries the tech isn't advanced enough to allow makers to screw with your purchase, post-purchase. It's becoming clear that the same must be applied to the tech industries urgently before the tech evolves further and becomes more prevalent in our lives.

Did you test that? No, I thought you tested it. Now customers have it and it doesn't work


Re: Indeed on the pork ...

Got to be careful with a Rolex. Case is made from surgical steel and the bit where the strap attaches ends in a sharp edge. Apparently, Rolex-owning skydivers are advised to remove them or risk serious wrist injury on landing.

Data watchdog fines Brit council £120k for identifying 943 owners of vacant property


Re: This empty property thing @Teiwaz

Finally a comment about the real issue here -- so many empty properties. And so many people homeless -- or living in crappy, overcrowded, overpriced, rented properties.

Revealing the extent of underused or unused homes owned by offshore individuals and companies simply as investments deserves a medal, not prosecution.

'Our way or the highway' warranty scams shot down by US watchdog: It's OK to use unofficial parts to repair your gear


Re: Will no one think of the printers? @Roland6

Samsung laptop recovered from the trash and extensively repaired (keyboard reassembled, screen resecured to lid, lid reattached to computer, hard drive replaced) *. Optical drive damaged so replaced, but BIOS refuses to list replacement drive in boot sequence -- BIOS will list the original damaged drive but not the off-brand replacement. Result -- otherwise now working laptop goes back in the trash. Highly irresponsible of Samsung -- and, as you say, they aren't alone.

*probably a misguided attempt by original owner to secure his data, but perhaps just a tantrum.


Apple being stupid.

My brother's laptop bought from an Apple dealer in Belgium was refused repair under Apple warranty because the memory installed was not supplied by Apple. He pointed out that the memory had been installed by the Apple dealer -- and anyway the repair issue could have had nothing to do with what brand of memory had been fitted. As I recall, Apple relented.

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin


Small minded.

There does seem to be an element of spite in some of the EU's recent pronouncements. I guess no good turn (World War 2) goes unpunished.

However, perhaps we can look forward to www.something.sco, eng, wa and ni.

BT to slash landline rentals by 37%... for the broadbandless


BT has finally compared prices.

And realised that several mobile providers offer cheaper calls than BT, even on PAYG. No line rental, texts -- and calls while you are out and about. BT's remaining customer base has, basically, been down to inertia.

What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs


We'll have no *unts here !

In a grown-up world the movie "Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri" contains the word twice. Microsoft show themselves to be as infantile as their general conduct suggests.

Brit retailer Currys PC World says sorry for Know How scam


Typical Dixons

Buying an HP scanner, realised on getting it home that box had been opened and power supply cube was missing. Took it back and given a replacement scanner. That also turned out to have been opened and wouldn't work. Third time we got a scanner which worked. Clearly, customer returns were being put back on display without being checked.

This isn't/wasn't the only High Street retailer willing to bamboozle customers into buying Extended Warranties. In a national chain store that sells car accessories and bikes I overheard assistant explaining to customer that an EW was a good idea because the warranty only covered the bicycle frame. I was so angered I wrote to the company. Received an unapologetic reply noting that things like tyres and brake blocks were considered consumables. That's reasonable, but it's very different from claiming that only the frame is warranteed.

Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper


Foreign body, literally.

Kitten asleep on keyboard. Kitten climbing on rotating turntable. Kitten dabbing at tape running through reel-to-reel recorder.

London Mayor calls for social networks and sharing economy to stop harming society


What about airbnb ?

Visible damage to society from the abuse of accommodation sites such as airbnb by landlords cashing in on the higher rents they can achieve via short lets to tourists instead of letting (annually or so) to actual residents.

Then there's Gumtree, favoured by fake landlords pocketing deposits on flats they have no connection with. Internet also home to chancers doing rent-to-rent sublets, adding to the cost and insecurity of those who end up actually occupying such places.

Microsoft says 'majority' of Windows 10 use will be 'streamlined S mode'


"....charmingly if tactlessly indicated with a green shamrock icon"

You sure that's not the Macro setting ?


Re: Majority to use S mode?

"MS haven't exactly done a stellar job lately of predicting what their customers want."

MS clearly don't know what customers want because their business model is based on customers having no choice.

Doubtless they take comfort in the car stylists' mantra which states that the public either don't know what they want or simply don't like change -- so the designers' job is to build something eye catching that customers will, eventually, accept as normal.

For example of going too far, see BMW 5 Series body shape for 2003 to 2010 and blander offering which followed it.

MS went too far with Windows 8 -- but are too arrogant to notice or care.

RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics


writing on the wall

"Maplin previously admitted it troubles could result in a pre-pack administration...."

I guess part of the problem was anyone who understood what a (for example) capacitor was wouldn't pay silly prices for them pre-packed.

The e-waste warrior, 28,000 copied Windows restore discs, and a fight to stay out of jail


Re: Linux Mint is free @LucreLout

For years I would have agreed with you that Linux was not consumer-ready -- usually hardware issues. Then a couple of years back I tried Peppermint Linux (Ubuntu based I believe) and found it simple to install and that it worked with most hardware, automatically.

Granted Linux lacks the polished apps we've become used to with Windows or Mac, but for basic tasks (email, letter writing, internet browsing, watching DVDs) it worked fine for a complete technophobe when I lent her the machine.

A print button? Mmkay. Let's explore WHY you need me to add that


Huh ?

Had some trouble reading the article. IMHO style should never get in the way of clarity.

Arrrgh! Put down the crisps! 'Ultra-processed' foods linked to cancer!


They'll take my crisps....

......from my cold, dead hand. Ah, okay.

You're decorating it wrong: Apple HomePod gives wood ring of death


Re: Apple home furnishings range.

The solution would be for Apple to produce its own range of coasters to be compatible with its devices.

Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers


Re: "such outmoded tasks as buying CDs (No. 10)"

Sadly, CDs are rapidly vanishing. Used to buy them in charity shops and car boots for between 50p and £2 which is far better value than downloads. But now the choice is shrinking and, anyway, I don't understand current popular music. Now tend to buy orchestral-- the less challenging classics composers (the Russian Romantics, Spanish and French impressionist and English).

I think CD remains the best/most convenient medium compared to vinyl which is easily damaged and really needs an expensive player. Though I own several turntables, I've transcribed many of my favourite vinyl titles using a CD recorder (which gives better results than a PC, probably due to the quality of the DACs).


Re: Cassettes -- sheer modern luxury !!

"Grundig dictaphone"

The valve one in a beige plastic box - with a glowing blue light for the record level?

The very same.


Cassettes -- sheer modern luxury !!

When The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" came out in 1964 I had just received a miniature Japanese reel to reel tape recorder. Naturally I took it with me to the nearest record shop.

Results weren't bad but the machine had a fatal flaw -- instead of the tape being driven directly by a pinch-wheel (as per every serious tape deck including cassette) it relied on friction drive to the tape reel carrier. That meant that the speed of the recording would vary according to the ratio of tape on the take-up spool. Not crucial so long as the tape was played back on the recorder but potentially ghastly if transferred to another machine.

But for me it was the beginning of a lifelong involvement in recording -- with a Grundig dictaphone and then cassettes -- and graduating to a Ferrograph, Revox and Studer machines when making radio ads professionally.

Boffins crack smartphone location tracking – even if you've turned off the GPS


Re: Great!

Yes. I was puzzled when my phone displayed my postion on a map app even though GPS and Location were turned off. Cell towers will still show where you are. You could switch to Airplane mode -- but then you can't receive calls/texts.

Slightly more worrying is the way Amazon etc calculate your street address via your IP address. And get it wrong. Careful when ordering or your neighbours may get your stuff.

The Reg visits London Met Police's digital and electronics forensics labs


Drug dealer numbers.

Puzzles me that while the mobile phone numbers that punters use to order drugs from dealers can change hands for £thous, the cops seem unable to get the telcos to just cancel those numbers. Every phone contract contains a condition that the service isn't used for illegal purposes.

'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'


I always switch off at the wall now.

Instances from my own computer and friend's of PSU exploding spontaneously when PC off but left plugged in. Visible burn mark on the wall adjacent. PC assemblers using cheap PSUs doubtless to blame.

Personal best for stupidity; replaced capacitors on a flatscreen. Checked it worked while still in parts. Reassembled. Over-long or over-tightened screws on the VESA bracket at the back, shorted something out. Big bang when next switched on.

Apple iPhone X: Two weeks in the life of an anxious user


Re: getting photos off an iPhone

Getting photos off an IPhone isn't a problem. The issue is trying to get picture and other files onto the iPhone.


Rolex or iPhone ?

"A Rolex wristwatch can cost a lot more than an iPhone X, for example, and all it does is show the time."

"A top-end smartphone isn’t just for Christmas: it’s for 18 months, maybe two years, two-and-a-half at a push".

I've had the same Rolex since about 1980. It still tells the time -- and pretty accurately.

Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?


Don't let this man near a car boot sale*.

"Children do this with lost dogs. I do it with IT gadgets."

Oh God, yes. I see some neglected piece of quality hifi or IT stuff and I have to "rescue" it.

*For our transatlantic readers: garage sale or flea market

Yes, your old iPhone is slowing down: iOS hits brakes on CPUs as batteries wear out


Re: "Would you rather have shit battery time?" @d3vy

"And nowadays if you bought something labelled as "genuine Samsung" or "genuine Apple" the chances of it being genuine are slim."

So true. Needed new batteries for a Lumix camera and a Samsung phone. Reading Amazon feedback, many/most "genuine" batteries were shown to be not only fake but faulty.

Instead I bought a Hama camera battery on the basis that this is an established German camera accessory brand. For the phone I bought from a supplier that had countless positive reviews (battery brand I'd never heard of before but which has been working well for 6 months so far).

It's a scandal that enormous firms like Matsushita (Lumix), Samsung and Apple refuse to police their brand names, to the detriment of their customers. Of course it would help if they charged a reasonable price for replacement batteries, sold from their own sites or official retailers.

Better still batteries should be standardised across brands (they already seem to be pretty similar in format) so that one could buy them like torch batteries, picking a trusted brand like Energiser, Duracell, etc via regular retailers. This would go a long way to reducing the number of devices which are dumped when the battery fails.

Let's not even mention phones with fixed batteries.


Battery Time ?

"Seems like sensible and clever solutions. Would you rather have shit battery time?"

I'd rather have a battery that can be replaced without special tools !

Dump ur mobile provider via txt by 2019: LMFAO cu l8r


As ever, too late.

My impression is that the telcos have realised for some time that making users jump through hoops to leave has the opposite of the desired effect.

As in making people even more angry isn't going to persuade them to stay.

Now all we need is legislation to ensure that subsidised phones automatically unlock at the end of contract term (or within a similar period for PAYG).

Hot chips crashed servers, but were still delicious


My keyboard stupidity.

Friend reported that her Sony laptop's keyboard was playing up. I too couldn't access certain letters on the keyboard and feared the worst because it persisted even after rebooting the machine. After some head scratching, turned out that this Sony's Num Lock remained on despite restarting the computer.

Lesson learned -- though I never got round to testing whether this was normal for all brands as I avoid using laptops because the keyboards are, generally, so awful.

In my defence, I should add that the Sony's Num Lock LED was particularly small.

Voda customers given green light by Ofcom to ditch contracts


Re: Three of course, who abolished *all* roaming charges ...

Friend took up the Three offer for a trip to the USA. Discovered that it only applied to calls home. Perhaps understandably, did not cover calls to numbers within USA. Three offered refund of sorts. Generally, Three seem less user-hostile than EE and (apparently) Voda.

Hello, Dixons Carphone? Yep, we're ringing from a 2015 handset. Profits down 60%, eh?


"Should have changed the name to buzzphone slab showhouse years ago".

Personally, I always referred to them as Carphone Whorehouse, though -- to be fair -- their staff seemed more knowledgeable and helpful than most of the others.

Of course, on returning to the store found it had closed and was now another coffee shop/estate agent or whatever


Never paid more than £10 for a phone.

I have enough friends and wasteful neighbours that I've been able to progress from a base model LG (£10 Sainsbury's) to a Samsung Galaxy S4, within 8 years via top of the range Nokia and Blackberry and iPhones 4 and 4S.

Two of the phones have been salvaged from the rubbish and others were gifts from a friend when she upgraded. Galaxy was the only one that seemed to need a new battery (£7) but, like the Apple S4 before it, was unlocked. So I could switch my PAYG from EE to Three and actually afford to make phone calls !

I suspect that like Car/Dix I will find the gravy train has left the station as more people buy unlocked phones and switch away from providers who bribed them with new models every 24 months.

Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires


Re: Recycle platters from modern hard disks

Once converted a defunct hard drive to a desk fan by cutting the platter and bending it into fan blade shape. Doubtless lethal.

Russia threatens to set up its 'own internet' with China, India and pals – let's take a closer look


Let them have their own internet.

Sadly, wouldn't get them and their scams and hacks off 'our' internet.

User dialled his PC into a permanent state of 'Brown Alert'


Re: Brownouts

Reminds me of user manual included with a graphics card. Perhaps translated from Chinese by the only person in the company who spoke any English, but who evidently to had little idea about the product.

There were various vaguely comprehensible suggestions on remedies if no image appeared on the attached monitor. The last was advice to check that the monitor's screen was not so dirty that you couldn't see anything !


latest user folly

Called out a few days ago to home of friend of friend. She reported that her internet was down and Sky had suggested she borrow another Sky router to see if that fixed it. I actually had the same model kicking around so set off. Check her router -- power LED not lighting. Tried another mains socket, same result. Tried my router -- again no power LED.

Checked the fuse box, jumper needed resetting. Then search for the phone cable -- seems to be several alternatives from different directions in the flat. Locate the correct one and as I'm sitting down at the PC, notice the user is stuffing the spare phone cable connectors into the empty network sockets on the router. Can't help but wonder if this is what blew the mains fuse.

That 70s Show: Windows sprouts Sets and Timeline features


Trying to second-guess = fail.

Most programs that try to think for you -- second-guessing what you might want to do -- just cause confusion.

Wait, did Oracle tip off world to Google's creepy always-on location tracking in Android?


Re: WiFi too

Presumably the answer to that is to keep wifi switched off until you need it.

Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style


Re: Que?

As I recall DOS progs like Wordstar and WordPerfect contained printer drivers. As the Epson FX80 had been rebadged by IBM and sold as part of early PC systems, it was the default -- many other printers of that period emulated the Epson so most worked without needing drivers.

The problem with finding printer drivers may have begun when Windows took over much of the heavy lifting for laser printers, allowing them to become dumber and, thus, cheaper. Fortunately, printer manufacturers have a relatively honourable record of supporting legacy products. I say relatively because the rest of the IT industry can be shockingly irresponsible.

Dot matrix printers could be programmed via text files to do entertaining things like wind the (sprocket fed) paper up, print a line at the bottom, change text size, wind the paper down, print another line at the top of the page and so on.


Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

When I first got a PC for work in 1985 (paid for by me !) I used a Daisywheel printer (which produced typewriter quality text). However this type of impact printer made a sound like a toy machine gun when running.

Guys I shared an office with insisted that the printer was exiled to the toilet nearby -- with a cable through the windows between computer and printer.

Inevitably, this raised the possibility of waiting for some hapless soul to point at the porcelain -- and me issue text to the printer. With predictable hit and miss outcome.

Once dot matrix printers boasted "Letter Quality" printing (it wasn't as it turned out) their extra speed and compactness led me to upgrade. Instead of the daisywheel's machine gun fire, my colleagues were treated to a sort of nightmare giant mosquito whine.

TalkTalk sees red after chucking £75m on restructuring bonfire


At least you don't have to sit in the same room as these jerks.

In advertising one occasionally had meetings with Marketing grads in their first job as brand managers. They spouted a lot words which individually probably meant something but together made no sense to any of us on the actual working side of the table.

Didn't matter, as we just created the sort of ads we thought best and they then put them out to focus groups and we never heard about them again.

Your next laptop will feature 'CMF' technology


Let's hope the paint stays on better....

.....than on the Windows 7 HP Pavillion g6 with extensive wear to the area around the keyboard, revealing black plastic below the apparently metallic finish.

Consigned to the trash, probably because the power supply plug had disintegrated. Working again after some soldering.

Ignoring appearances, this is a decently speedy little laptop -- though I've seen another HP g series machine with serious overheating (the case melted).

HP maybe need to pay more attention to the materials and construction of their products and leave design aesthetics to later.

Those IT gadget freebies you picked up this year? They make AWFUL Christmas presents


Useless Use of USB

Cup warmer. Rechargeable hand warmer. Desk Fan.

Doubtless the last straw for your laptop's power supply circuitry.

Silliest USB sticks:

In the shape of a door key (gift from estate agent), stick which is a bare circuit board (gift from Intel) neither work reliably as they are a loose fit in most USB sockets (there's a reason for putting that metal casing around the connector).

USB memory in the shape of a little VW with headlights. Everyone who sees it wants to nick it.

Hardware has never been better, but it isn't a licence for code bloat


Re: Unacceptable @ stu4

To take the example of Windows, MS got into the habit of launching new versions mostly because shareholders came to expect the windfall that followed. Windows 7 was replaced to facilitate a world (phone, tablet, PC) domination strategy. So, Win 8 and 10 had less than ever to do with users' wishes.

Fortunately, the world domination strategy was doomed -- but can we expect a slimmer, more user oriented replacement for 10 ? Can we hell !


Ah, when I were a lad.....

On my first computer, a 1985 Apricot with twin floppy drives, you could run a word processor from a 720k floppy and still have room for documents on the disk.

The program was Superwriter from Computer Associates, which I think had been ported from CP/M to DOS -- as indicated by the restriction on document length that Superwriter would support as a legacy of CP/M's 8bit (?) origins.