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.
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...
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.
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.
I'm looking forward to taking it for a test run so watch this space for any updates and news.
Some interesting results but that didn't last long - I powered it down overnight but starting on Day Two the unit would not feed filament :( I removed the nozzle and cleared everything through, and then found that it would still not feed filament and was emitting a worrying clonking noise from the extruder. Possible some filament has got snarled up inside somewhere, or something has come adrift somewhere, but there is a definite blockage that is stopping the filament from feeding through.
I guess a broken piece of filament clogged the feed near the extruder stepper motor.
Dremel (Bosch) sent me another, and I was unable to reproduce this problem at all despite my best efforts. The replacement unit has worked flawlessly.
What a blast!
This machine is one of the first of a new breed designed and packaged for the family user, or beginner in 3D printing. It is designed to use PLA filament only (not ABS) but has a fine 100 micron resolution and I managed to produce dozens of 3D models, some of them very intricate and impressive. The product is commendable and the software is non-intimidating to use.
The Dremel 3D Idea Builder is Windows, Mac and Linux/ Ubuntu compatible. The supplied Dremel 3D software is however only a printer driver/ controller. You can view, rotate and scale objects using it, but you need separate third party software to design your own 3D objects. You can make a start with Tinkercad. Standard .STL files are imported and converted by Dremel 3D to print them. Other packages and models are downloadable from Dremel's website.
The build-platform is a cold-bed type made of acrylic with replacement 'build tapes' and after a few teething problems I was able to design and build 3D objects with some confidence. It's mainly getting the objects to stick themselves down initially which is the main consideration, and after some trial and error the machine performed flawlessly.
Dremel PLA filament should be used and this is available in ten colours including metallic and translucent. A reel of white PLA is included with each machine.
As I conclude in my review, if I had one of these as a kid then my parents would not have seen me for months. I would have been making gadgets for marble runs or domino races, Matchbox Superfast car races or Scalextrix, my model wargames dioramas, model railroads, desktop organisers, you name it. Electronics hobbyists will soon be making simple enclosures, LED display holders, speaker grilles, parts for buggies or robotics, levers and actuators, badges and lots more besides. Dremel has done a thorough job of bringing 3D printing to the everyday user or beginner, and the new printer launched in the UK on 1st September.
Full review coming in EPE Magazine December 2015 issue! Don't miss it!
I just received a highly authentic-looking mail supposedly from Apple to say that my Apple ID had been suspended due to an unusual number of failed log-in attempts. I’m supposed to log in and change my password. It's perfectly formatted.
Phony junk mails like these are commonplace but unlike most spam mails this one contained both my ‘work’ Email address and my name, so it’s likely a spearphishing attack caused by someone else’s PC and address book being hacked, or a database has maybe been stolen from somewhere.
However the click-thru 'verify' link goes to apple-verification2.co.uk (it’s rare for a .co.uk domain to be used this way) and a quick check on Nominet reveals the domain is registered in the USA - but not to Apple!
Anyway, it almost had me fooled. Crooks are getting ever more sophisticated as they continue to hone their techniques, and clicking on a phony page like this could infect your PC with a serious virus that could steal your ID, bank logins or even damage your hard disk. It just goes to show how vigilant you have to be.
I must say that life without Clearmymail hasn't been bad after all. Seems my ISP (or the network in general) filters out most of the spam before it reaches my mailbox, and in truth I am only seeing maybe half a dozen spam messages a day.
The free version of Mailwasher handles one POP3 mailbox and lets me screen out any junk before it is fetched onto my PC, and I can also bounce back any unruly mail. It does a very good job of analysing incoming mail. The paid-for Mailwasher Pro ($29.95 per year, 3 machines) handles multiple POP3s and enables the Message Preview pane. It also syncs to mobile devices. A lifetime licence, though, is about £60 / US$100 which is pushing it a bit.
If you like to manage mail the traditional way - on your PC - Mailwasher is worth a close look.
An item on the Royal Mail's scandalous parcel rates, details of My Hermes as an alternative carrier that's much cheaper for heavier parcels, and how to phone My Hermes as you won't find their phone number on their website!
There’s been a gradual move in the UK credit reference market towards getting people to subscribe to a service that monitors their credit rating. One pretty tenuous justification behind selling this idea is that if someone impersonated you in order to make a dodgy loan application, or they perpetrated an identity theft scam and defaulted on some finance deal, then this would damage your (genuine) credit rating – so by monitoring your rating, if it plummeted suddenly then you would know something was wrong.
Hence the two mainstream agencies Equifax (£14.95 a month) and Experian (£14.99) offer subscription services to help monitor your rating or check out anything untoward on your credit file. A Statutory Report is available at £2 a time. However a third UK agency called CallCredit has been a gamechanger in this field. Instead of trying to tie you in to nearly £170-worth a year of credit monitoring that I would suggest you don’t really need, Callcredit offers a consumer-friendly service under its Noddle brand to give you basic checking and a view of your history all for free, as I wrote back in 2012 here.
Noddle has now gone a stage further by offering users a chance to see their credit rating, again for free. Now anyone can log into their Noddle account and see their credit rating instantly. A 3-digit value is displayed.
I did notice the values don’t seem to tally with those provided by e.g. Experian http://www.experian.co.uk/consumer/experian-credit-score.html For example the values for a Good or Excellent rating on Noddle equate to Poor on Experian. But it’s still officially ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ as far as Callcredit is concerned.
Noddle also offers a range of credit rating monitoring, protection and improvement services that are far cheaper than their rivals so log into Noddle now and see what your rating is for free.
Everything you need to know about credit reference agencies will be found at the Information Commissioner’s office website at https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/credit/
It’s come to my attention that a pirated copy containing malware is starting to circulate in the Torrent network. As always, this is fuelled by people’s greed, fools trying to download something for nothing and coming unstuck in the process.
A phony copy of my book has been disguised as a PDF but it's actually a small executable (.exe or program) file called The Basic Soldering Guide - Alan Winstanley.pdf.exe. I have nothing to do with this file. It points to an illegal, pirated version of my original ebook, presumably hacked from Kindle. The .exe tacked onto the end should immediately cause alarm bells to ring. When you try to fetch this file for ‘free’ from Torrent websites, it tries to drop a suspiciously small .exe onto your system that will then install Malware, tricking you into thinking that it’s installing a pirated PDF.
A programmer named as Yuriy Drachev has been associated with this malware. That name also popped up when I analysed the .exe – see screenshot above. It is possible the name is false or spoofed but see FreeFixer which identified the same issue at http://www.freefixer.com/b/yuriy-drachev-virustotal-detects-the-download-as-multiplug/
The good news is that Kindle sales of my 'BSG' are higher than ever. The only way to get a clean, malware-free copy of the Basic Soldering Guide by Alan Winstanley is via your local Amazon site. A hardcopy paperback is also on sale, and a spiral-wirewound layflat version for education and benchwork is sold on Magcloud.
Don’t be fooled by innocent-looking files fetched from the dark web. Some downloads and file attachments could even destroy your system completely – such as the deadly Rombertik virus that arrives in a small screensaver (.scr) file but will try to smash your hard disk MBR and render your PC useless. See Cisco’s log at http://blogs.cisco.com/security/talos/rombertik if you don't believe this.