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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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Dremel 3D Idea Builder lands in UK

Look what Dremel have sent me to play with! Their 3D 'Idea Builder' Printer which is launching in the UK on 1st September.

I'm looking forward to taking it for a test run so watch this space for any updates and news.



Beware spearphishing mail 'Apple-ID login suspended'

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  (it’s rare for a 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.


Life after Clearmymail

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.

  • Clearmymail is still in business and their website is here.
  • Check my earlier Clearmymail blog entries here

My Hermes and how to phone them...

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!

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View your Credit Rating for free

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  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



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