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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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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
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