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Getting rid of spider mite on greenhouse crops and houseplants

This year my greenhouse crops are being plagued by a spider mite infestation. These miniscule bugs can  destroy the most handsome of tomato or cucumber plants as I have found to my cost in recent years, so this year I'm declaring all-out war on them using a specific organic insecticide that's made for the job. More details, along with photos of what to look for on your greenhouse or indoor plants, for are in my special feature.  Read more about how to control spider mite...


World Business List bogus directory

They’re at it again, the phony directory scammers who try to fool you into paying €995 a year (wow!) for their so-called ‘services’. This type of scam has appeared for years in other forms including World Trade Register, European Company Network and EU Business Register. Now it’s re-appeared as ‘World Business List’ complete, once again, with a directory website and I got a spam email trying to get me to sign up.

Updates are still free, they say – but the scrambled small print has the overrider of trying to flog a ‘subscription’ to punters totalling nearly €3,000. They hope victims will be suckered by the ‘Updates are free’ and an invoice for €995 will somehow subsequently slip through the company accounting system later on.

I tried the much-vaunted World Business List website, in search of a comprehensive listing of global internet providers (for example), or anything connected with Internet services. I searched the keyword ‘internet’ in ‘All Countries’. You would expect hundreds if not thousands of entries in the ‘World Business List’, but I found exactly eight listings, and one of those is a takeaway restaurant in Britain!

The World Business List is a product of EU Business Services Ltd. (not an authentic UK company) and is similar to another site run by the same ‘company’ – the EU Business Register. You might compare the T&C to see how near-identical they are.

Don’t be fooled by this ancient old scam! And don't even think of paying them anything!

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How to download older versions of Adobe Reader?

One of my older PCs has started playing up, due in no small part to Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader messing up, closely followed by Microsoft .NET problems and missing files – the usual thing of a small problem escalating out of control and before you know it, half of your PC’s software is toast and you end up rebuilding it.

I wanted to download Adobe Reader X but Adobe’s web site forces me to use Version 11, which proved incompatible with some legacy software I use (can’t remember which).

To access older versions of Adobe Reader, simply bounce over to Adobe’s FTP site where you’ll find reader from version 6.x to the present one, Reader for Palm OS (eg for a Palm Tungsten, which I also have!), Pocket PC and Reader for Symbian. You can fetch the 'base' version (eg. 10.0.0) .msi installer file, then fetch the patch (an .msp patching file) for the last release. I have yet to successfully patch the base version up to the latest one, though, but I am running V10.0.0 successfully.

Versions for Unix and more are also there if you go up to a higher directory.


How to check the voltage of a USB port charger

Highlighting some low-cost useful gizmos and gadgets that will enable you to monitor what a typical USB port is doing. Digital readouts of current and voltage show the load requirements placed on a USB port, and you can tell when eg a mobile phone charger has finished charging.

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Custom sticky notes from Vistaprint

Good old Post-It Notes are a boon but you can also get custom-printed sticky notes which I find are great for compliment slips or jotting down quick notes to attach to correspondence, a letter or photo. (Yes, letter post is still alive and well.)

Trouble is, these are usually produced by promotions companies and you have to commit to a sizeable print run. Vistaprint offered small runs, (one pad, if you wanted) but Vistaprint UK tell me they are no longer available. However I soon found their USA website still sells a massive range of sticky note designs, and you can design your own.

Bounce over to this address and take a look. Watch out for a 10-minute bonus window pop-up after placing your order, allowing you to buy more product at a heavily discounted price, with no extra postage.


How to fit LED daytime running lights (DRLs) to your car


I upgraded my car's LED daytime running lights with the latest Philips DayLightGuide and driving on Britain's country roads they're something that I would never be without. They are the best £100 you can spend on a car, and I show how to install them in this special feature. Read more...



Unique blade sharpening service

If you have one of those Cookworks (or similar) branded home food slicing machines - we use ours for slicing home-baked bread - then eventually the blade will need replacing. Spares are very hard if not impossible to find, so I found a mail order specialist who will re-sharpen the old blade at low cost, to make it as good as new. Much better than buying a new machine, and they handle almost any type of specialist blade covering many industry sectors.

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Wooden 1800mm fence panels and stop them rattling!

I've been replacing a lot of wooden fence panels, namely some 1800mm 'Euro' wooden fence panels that are now popular. Having learned a lot in the process, I've written some practical hints and tips for anyone thinking of buying or replacing these 1800mm panels that could save you a lot of hassle. Plus, I found a great way of stopping fence panels from rattling in the wind (a real problem if you use concrete H-profile posts). Read more...


Argos Fast Track Email never arrived?

Proof that the Argos Fast Track service doesn't always send you the proof of purchase email that you'll need for warranty repairs or exchanges etc.

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How to cancel BT Caller Diversion

BT offers several features that you pay extra for (of course!). If you try to cancel any of them online, you might sleepwalk into signing up for another 12 months of line rental. I tried cancelling Caller Diversion online and 1571 by phone, and ended up being sold another 12 month line contract that I did not want. Here's what to watch out for, to help you avoid this trap.

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