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Friday
Nov282014

Time to build a new PC

You know it’s time to swap a PC when it takes 10 seconds to open a window, nothing happens so you click two or three more times, then you get two or three windows opening at once. Web browsing grinds to a halt and anti-virus software brings it to its knees.  You have time to make a coffee while it updates itself. So, I’ve decided to build myself another one, and I expect it will last me another ten years, so it has to be future proof.

How to build a new PC step by step (with photos) ...

Tuesday
Nov252014

NEW Basic Soldering Guide Worklab Edition now on sale

The Basic Soldering Guide Worklab Edition

The Basic Soldering Guide Worklab Edition

The Basic Soldering Guide Worklab Edition by Alan Winstanley is the No. 1 resource to learn all the basic aspects of electronics soldering by hand. This Worklab Edition is spiral wire-bound, lays flat on a bench or table and is brightly presented with appealing graphics that makes it perfect for…

Find out more on MagCloud

Sunday
Nov232014

Interview Part 7: At the surgery

With Teach-In 93 behind me I find myself at the helm of Circuit Surgery, Ingenuity Unlimited and more at EPE Magazine. Also I have uploaded copies and prototype notes of my final constructional projects including the popular Windicator of EPE July 1995. Read more...


Tuesday
Nov182014

Clearmymail down: domain expired

Updated on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 12:57PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Updated on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 12:46AM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Updated on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 6:55PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Updated on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 1:53PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Updated on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 10:14PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

Clearmymail's domain name problem (or their ISP's, anyway) caused an outtage for several days which broke my incoming Email. Here's the background and some workarounds.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct282014

Interview Part 6: a labour of love

In Part 6 of my potted history (nearly there now!), we pick up the story as we entered the early 1990s. The hobby electronics market was still quite buoyant at this time and Everyday Electronics and Electronics Monthly (to give it its full title then) was going from strength to strength. I tackled the flagship tutorial series, Teach-In '93 featuring the Mini Lab and Micro Labs.  Read more...

Saturday
Oct182014

Soon be 2015 - time for a new diary...

It’s time to start thinking of next year’s diary and the new 2015 diaries are now in stock. I’m not one to put all my eggs in one basket so I never use PC office software nor my mobile phone to keep track of appointments. Instead I use an old-fashioned product that contains strange white material called “paper” and data is entered using a “pen”. 

Collins Wiro A5 notebook diary is simple to use, opens flat and has plenty of space to jot down notes every week [click to see]My personal favourite diary for many years has been the Collins 61 Wiro Weekly Notebook diary. It’s spiral wire-bound so it opens easily and lays flat on my desk. Its best feature is the lefthand side which is left blank for notetaking. Great for scribbling down reminders, jotting down things to do, taking notes during phone calls and so on, I use it all the time. Also, there’s no guff that bulks up other diaries and things like dialling codes and national holidays are kept to the minimum. The Collins Wiro Notebook diary is easy to use, versatile and focussed on the job of showing a week to a view.

Interior view - the lefthand side is for notes [click to see]

The A5 size (my preferred choice) is perfect for many desks and tabletops, so if you’re starting to look ahead to 2015 now’s the time to source a useful diary like the Collins 61 Notebook. If you’re busy with more notes and appointments, the A4 size is probably better. I also like to use neon pens for writing or highlighting notes and you can try some fun stickers too.

  • Just a tip, it’s worth keeping diaries for several years because you never know when you might want to look back and refer to useful notes, phone numbers, quotes etc. that you jotted down.

Wednesday
Oct152014

Get rid of BT 1571 and save £22 a year

Updated on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 3:37PM by Registered CommenterAlan W

BT’s 1571 service is a simple voicemail service that takes a message when you’re line is engaged or there’s no answer. If you’ve already got 1571 then you can’t turn it on or off, and BT now charges £1.75 a month (rising to £1.85 shortly) for the privilege of having it. To see how to delete 1571 and save money, check this article!

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct062014

BT8500 Advanced new Call Blocker DECT handset

If you're pestered to death by nuisance phone calls like I am - a dozen phone calls from TNS alone recently - then a nuisance call blocker is the answer.  The most effective design has been the expensive TrueCall system, a separate box that answers the phone on your behalf so you don't have to directly engage with the caller.  A separate Internet-related service is available (£20 a year from year Two) if you want to micro-manage your incoming calls.

However, for many harassed consumers who are targetted by junk calls, the answer may well be BT's new BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker, a cordless system (up to six DECT handsets) that is powered by Truecall.  Junk calls can be dealt with silently, or sent to the answerphone, or put through to your handset - it's your choice.

This is a fantastic and long-overdue development, a proper game-changer and one that I'm looking at very closely. Also check my earlier article about the problems of nuisance calls and how to deal with them. More details...

Tuesday
Sep232014

New - The Basic Soldering Guide Handbook

New paperback handbook published

Click to see coverAfter publishing a Kindle e-book version of my Basic Soldering Guide, I’m pleased to launch a paperback version called the Basic Soldering Guide Handbook. This unique new 84 page book is printed in full colour throughout and contains more than 80 photos illustrating the whole process of soldering by hand.

Typical steps in through-hole (pcb) soldering are depicted in full colour [click to see]No prior knowledge is assumed. Everything that you need to know about starting is soldering is here, commencing with explanations of different soldering equipment, solder, fluxes and tools followed by step-by-step photo sequences of p.c.b. soldering.

How to choose and use a soldering iron - it's all here! [click to see]

Examples of tasks such as l.e.d. wires, flying leads and potentiometer soldering are  provided along with basic reflow methods. Then various desoldering techniques are discussed, with more quality photography showing clearly what readers are likely to expect in real life.

Various practical soldering tasks are described [click to see]You’ll gain a good understanding of all the critical factors that affect the quality of a soldered joint. Extra resources for training and education are supplied, including a Troubleshooting Guide and Basic First Aid guidance. With a multitude of colour photographs, the Basic Soldering Guide Handbook is a complete training resource in its own right and the book explains everything you need to know to start soldering with confidence in next to no time.

Available from local Amazon websites or direct from the book printers Createspace, who deliver worldwide. Please see the EPE Magazine Resources page for details.

The Basic Soldering Guide Handbook by Alan Winstanley

Size 6” x 9” paperback. Full colour. 84 pages. ISBN 9781500 531140

UPDATES AND ERRATA

Page 77, Useful Check List

... through-hole joints should be slightly concave in shape [the text on page 38 correctly mentions the concave shape]

Monday
Sep222014

Upgrade a Circline fluorescent lamp

It's out with the old and in with the new (some of it, anyway), as I upgrade a Circline 32W circular fluorescent tube fitting with an electronic ballast that offers instant-on lighting and silent, reliable operation. Just the thing when an expensive update to a legacy light fitting can't be justified. Here's a step by step walk-through with photos explaining what to do. More details...

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