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Wednesday
May012019

World Business List directory scams

[click to see]Here’s the latest in a long line of useless Business Directory listings that I've reported on in recent years. They mostly originate in Holland – this latest one purporting to be from ‘World Business List’. Apparently, updates are (still) free!

The small print is highly condensed but in fact it masquerades as an ‘order’ for three years priced at €995 per year. Having signed up, one can imagine that invoices would simply go through a large company unchallenged and ‘on the nod’. The form also collects valuable business information.

Variations of this directory insertion scam have been going on for years, eg EU Business Directory, World Trade Register and more besides.

I won’t link to it because that would give them valuable SEO traffic.  Below is the PDF’s small print which I’ve ‘uncondensed’ again into human readable format. It's the only place that a price is mentioned.

 ORDER

THE SIGNING OF THIS DOCUMENT REPRESENTS THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS AND THE CONDITIONS STATED IN “THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR INSERTION” ON WEB PAGE: WWW.WORLD BUSINESSLIST.NET THE SIGNING IS LEGALLY BINDING AND GIVES YOU THE RIGHT OF AN INSERTION IN THE ONLINE DATABASE OF THE WORLD BUS INESS LIST WHICH CAN BE ACCESSED VIA THE INTERNET, ALL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONTRACT CONDITIONS STATED IN “THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR INSERTION” ON WEB PAGE: WWW.WORLDBUSINESSLIST.NET. THE VALIDATION TIME OF THE CONTRACT IS THREE YEARS AND STARTS ON THE EIGHTH DAY AFTER SIGNING THE CONTRACT. THE INSERTION IS GRANTED AFTER SIGNING AND RECEIVING THIS DOCUMENT BY THE SERVICE PROVIDER. I HEREBY ORDER A SUBSCRIPTION WITH SERVICE PROVIDER EU BUSINESS SERVICES LTD. “WORLD BUSINESS LIST”. I WILL HAVE AN INSERTION INTO ITS DATABASE FOR THREE YEARS. THE PRICE PER YEAR IS EURO 995. THE SUBSCRIPTION WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY EXTENDED EVERY YEAR FOR ANOTHER YEAR, UNLESS SPECIFIC WRITTEN NOTICE IS RECEIVED BY THE SERVICE PROVIDER OR THE SUBSCRIBER TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF THE SUBSCRIPTION. YOUR DATA WILL BE RECORDED. THE PLACE OF JURISDICTION IN ANY DISPUTE ARISING IS THE SERVICE PROVIDER’S ADDRESS. THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE SERVICE PROVIDER AND THE SUBSCRIBER IS GOVERNED BY THE CONDITIONS STATED IN “THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR INSERTION” ON WEB PAGE: WWW.WORLDBUSINESSLIST.NET

Sunday
Mar172019

PURE Avanti Flow – replacing the OLED display

Updated on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 1:16PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Updated on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 2:51PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

I’ve had a few requests asking for advice on replacing the OLED displays in a PURE Avanti Flow. I managed to fix a used, working Avanti Flow which needed a new display but the Avanti Flow is much trickier to repair than an Evoke Flow as it contains a sandwich deck of printed circuit boards inside, each connected by a spaghetti of ribbon cables all located in a restricted space. A full tear-down with photos is here.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec062018

What’s happened to Westfalia.Net?

Westfalia.Net (UK) was a goldmine of hard to find and genuinely useful things [click to see]

Wo ist es? This online emporium run by Westfalia Werkzeugcompany GmbH was a goldmine of mostly German quality, hard to find tools, equipment and materials for the homeowner, DIY enthusiast, farmer and hobbyist. Not to be confused with Westfalia towbars, this Westfalia worktools company  (“Qualität aus Hagen”) boasted 95+ years of service and had a UK mail order outlet at www.westfalia.net.

I bought plenty of household, car, workshop and gardening items from Westfalia, all traditional quality items that were hard to find elsewhere. Snow clearing blades that sliced through ice, shovels, electric chisels, rare long-reach screwdriver bits, all sorts of accessories and bits for my workshop, and lots more besides. Their power tools proved very good too, provided you didn’t mind the German mains Shuko connectors and bulky UK 13A converters. Even their shipping cartons were useful for storage!

Welcome to our main web site... only it's all in GermanHowever, without explanation, it seems the UK operation has vanished without a trace during the year and the URL now redirects to their German website, with a popup promising a ‘perfect shopping experience’ from their larger German store.  Problem now is, the website is entirely in German.

Perhaps this was a pre-Brexit strategic move? Did they decide to bail out of Britain? If there isn’t enough UK trade to justify the extra web design work needed, perhaps there will never be an English language version of their German store. It’s a shame that this highly-rated mail order supplier has shut up shop in Britain. 

I also know how ruthless and unpleasant some German firms can be to deal with, and they will simply walk away without a by-your-leave. In the last couple of years I noticed that German PC supplier Medion shut down its UK mail order operation as well. Their range included (surprisingly) kitchen appliances, Medion-branded Dustbuster-type vacuumers and my Medion Internet radio with 2.1 stereo speakers, all of a very good quality indeed. Medion suddenly sold it all off at silly prices and I snapped up some bargains. Now all these have gone without a trace, with Medion merely advertising computer gaming and a laptop or two on a hugely over-elaborate website. I’m gutted that Westfalia.Net and Medion have ditched the UK market.

You can visit the (German) Westfalia site at https://www.westfalia.net and UK Medion site at http://www.medion.co.uk

Thursday
Dec062018

Everyday Practical Electronics changes hands

Hobbyist electronics magazine Everyday Practical Electronics (EPE) has new owners. It's been taken over by Matt Pulzer, the current Editor who acquired the title from Mike Kenward and Wimborne Publishing Ltd. on 2nd November 2018. The title will now be published by Matt's new company, Electron Publishing Limited.

New title and magazine style coming in March 2019All the core features in the magazine will stay the same but readers can expect a 'refresh' and restyle and this has already started with some column artwork redesigns. The most important news is that, as from April 2019 issue (published in March), the title will revert to its original one of Practical Electronics.  The 'Everyday' moniker (inherited from Everyday Electronics, a beginner's magazine) was past its sell-by date and no longer needed, so the original Everyday Electronics title will finally be laid to rest.

Stewart Kearn of Wimborne Publishing is helping with the transition over coming months, so it is hoped to be 'business as normal'. Further changes are in the air including the website and shopping cart, the latter never really having been polished off since it was introduced a couple of years ago.

Change is in the air, with the UK's last remaining hobby electronics magazine looking to appeal to the rising trends in the maker and coding sectors. Constructional projects will still be sourced from Australia's Silicon Chip magazine and there are no plans to move away from them. One benefit is that by the time they appear in EPE, the projects have been fully sorted and sometimes updated, so EPE readers benefit from SC's  learning curve.

Interesting and exciting times are ahead, so watch this space for more news.

 

Friday
Jul202018

A tribute to Watford Electronics Ltd.

This article is a tribute to Watford Electronics’ journey from its humble beginnings as a hobby electronics supplier to a major PC system builder and IT supplier in its time.

I retrace their origins and progress, helped by Google Street View, and there's also a download of the Watford 1978 catalogue  available along with some contemporary advertisements from Watford, which became saverstore.com during its heyday. Read more...

Friday
Apr272018

Maplin Electronics - the long farewell

Reflecting on the loss of Maplin, one of Britain’s last remaining hobby electronics brands and how hobby electronics has changed dramatically since the 1970s. This article documents Maplin Electronics' rise and fall and offers a snapshot of key events along its timeline along with some interesting links, for anyone interested in the hobby electronics industry. Or just for old times' sake.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb212018

Replacing a PURE Evoke Flow Display

Updated on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 2:48PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Updated on Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 3:56PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Updated on Monday, December 10, 2018 at 1:41PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Updated on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 at 6:04PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Updated on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 12:38PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

If you own an old PURE Evoke Flow DAB/ Internet radio then it's likely the yellow OLED display will have failed by now. They have been impossible to find until now - at last I found a source of replacement displays so this article with step-by-step photos describes how to repair the OLED display of a PURE Evoke Flow.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul292017

Marguerite Web Design

Updated on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7:28PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

I am sorry to say that I have been contacted today by Mr. William Mairs, the husband of Margaret Mairs of Marguerite Web Design, who advised that sadly, Margaret passed away on Thursday 27th July 2017 following a stroke.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul072017

Saverstore.com lights out?

It has somehow slipped beneath the radar but the website of saverstore.com - the IT vendor that rose from the ashes of the old Watford Electronics - has disappeared altogether. Nowhere can I find any details about their downfall though.

The website is unreachable and at the time of writing, their .co.uk domain name has been suspended at Nominet too. The dot-com domain merely shows a private registration now.

Clearly a wheel has fallen off but it's very sad to see this particular brand name sink without trace. I used Watford Electronics some 40 years ago to supply parts for my Multi Channel gas Sensor and other magazine projects, when they ran a small shop on Cardiff Road, Watford.

The original Watford Electronics shop, 33/35 Cardiff Road.I believe that originally Watford Electronics was set up by Nazir Jessa and his son Shiraz ran it. The name 'Watford Electronics' is now a dormant company [resulting from changing the name of another associated company to Watford Electronics] controlled by Shiraz Jessa, maybe for sentimental reasons(?).  Saverstore.com's address was Jessa House, Finway, Luton founded in the era when the home computer sector was thriving.

Several popular UK PC brand names eventually crashed and burned, including Tiny and Carrera and after diversifying into the IT sector Watford had its fair share of woes.  Today's PC market bears no resemblance to the scene of the 1990s and 2000s. A useful write-up on The Register is here.

I won't rake over the ashes any longer but I wrote a piece about the original Watford Electronics shop, as it now appears on Google Street View, here.

I also scanned my catalogue rear cover (image, left), as a nod to those fun, exciting and pioneering days of 1970s hobby electronics that I grew up with, eagerly awaiting my next packet of parts arriving in the post, paid for out of my pocket money.

 

Thursday
Jun082017

Parker Pen fibre tip adaptor

A new lease of life for a favourite old pen

I have a trio of engraved Parker pens from the 1970’s that have sentimental value, comprising a ballpoint pen, a propelling pencil and a fibre-tip pen.

Parker pen (and compatible) ballpoint refills are commonplace but refilling my fibre tip pen has been a problem as the refills went out of production long ago.  Fibre-tips were a relic of the 1970s - a time when the Japanese Pentel rollerball first came to Britain - and they quickly fell out of favour with the advent of  rollerballs and gel ink. In practice fibre-tip refills often dried out, or the tip would get scratchy and damaged, so they were unrewarding to use anyway.

My Parker fibre tip pen in need of a refill

How to give my precious Parker fibre tip pen a new lease of life? The obvious answer is to see if another kind of refill would fit, but there are so many variables (length, diameter, shoulder height, tip length, end cap design and so on) that I found it impossible to get an alternative.

Then I came across a very helpful precision engineer called Darryl Kingshott based in the UK. He describes himself as an ex-Parker Pen engineer and he manufactures individual adaptor sleeves to fit your choice of Parker pen and pen refill. His website shows many examples of his work at

http://www.moreengineering.co.uk/parker-fibre-tip-adaptors/4582872279

Turned brass spacer adaptor for the tip...Adaptor components can be precision-made to fit both the tip end, so your choice of refill sits properly, and also an extension piece may be needed at the cap-end to get the overall length right within the pen.

... and an alloy spacer piece for the endDarryl identified mine as a Parker P61 and offered to take a look. I also suggested the refill I’d like to use. I recommend Cult Pens for refills, so I chose a Schneider Slider 755 (blue). It needed to be something that would not go obsolete overnight. Also, the pen will only be used very intermittently so I hoped to avoid leaks.

The final result, new refill fitted with adaptorDarryl obtained the refill and then machine-turned suitable adaptors, one as polished brass to fit the gold-plated end of my pen, and an alloy extender for the cap. He also tweaked the pen clip a bit.  At a cost of less than £30 including recorded delivery, the pen was soon back in my hands, an old friend from 1978 ready for work once again.

Darryl’s friendly helpful service was terrific and is highly recommended – if you have a Parker pen and want to adapt it for a modern refill, you can get in touch directly with Darryl via his website.