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.
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...
Updated on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 12:57PM by Alan W
Updated on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 12:46AM by Alan W
Updated on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 6:55PM by Alan W
Updated on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 1:53PM by Alan W
Updated on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 10:14PM by Alan 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.
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...
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”.
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.
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.
Updated on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 3:37PM by Alan 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!
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...
New paperback handbook published
After 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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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...