Plastic pencils really don’t work

If your plan to save the planet is to purchase pencils made from recycled plastic then think about the logic of your action. You will be taking a piece of safely collected plastic, rescued from a milk bottle, or similar, that could go on to make yet another milk bottle. Instead of that perfectly reasonable second or third life, you create an item that is ultimately destined to be shaved into a thousand pieces. Each tiny fragment never again having a chance to be a milk bottle again.

Oh and of course the point (pardon the pun) to this whole blog article is that plastic pencils really don’t work. They scratch and they shine but they really don’t write, anything like as good as an old-fashioned biodegradable wooden pencil with non-toxic graphite lead. This last and most pertinent point is ultimately the reason that the humble wooden pencil will remain king for evermore.

0843 Number Missed Call Scams

0843 numbers are not always scams but be aware of the potential to be caught out, particularly on returning missed calls.

What’s the scam?

The key to the scam is that 0843 numbers generate an income for their owners. An 0843 number normally costs up to 52p per minute to call, with up to 7p per minute passed on to the number’s owner.

Typically, the owners of a rogue 0843 number will automatically ring thousands of regular landline and mobile phone numbers, but hang up almost immediately. The people who receive these calls then see the 0843 number in their list of missed calls – and many will call the number back out of curiosity.

Alternatively, the scammer will pretend to be a bank or another trusted institution and send out text messages claiming that the recipient must call an 0843 number because of an issue with their account or a similar urgent matter.

The 0843 number’s owner then makes money from each call back they receive. Often, they will arrange for the 0843 number to connect the caller to a long recorded message or even a fake ringing tone, as a way of keeping them on the line for longer and increasing the call cost.

This kind of scam is often known as a ‘callback scam’, ‘cost trap’ or ‘wangiri’.

Are all 0843 numbers dangerous?

Most legitimate companies don’t use 0843 numbers for customer services any more, as this has been banned in most cases.

However, some companies use 0843 numbers as a way to charge for legitimate services, such as sales lines, technical helplines, conference call facilities or competitions.

Is it dangerous to answer 0843 calls?

You should not be charged to receive a call from an 0843 number, or any other normal UK phone number.

Paying to receive an incoming call is normally only possible through recognised ‘reverse charge’ call services which should seek your consent before connecting you.

Other numbers to be aware of

Numbers starting 0843 and 0844 are particularly common for this kind of scam, as they are fairly loosely regulated. However, the scam can occur using any 084, 087 or 09 numbers, as all numbers starting with these digits can be used to generate income for their owners.

Similar scams have also been operated on numbers starting with 070 and 076. These look similar to mobile phone numbers that also start with 07, but are charged at higher rates.

What to do

The easiest option is simply not to call back unfamiliar numbers that start with 070, 084, 087 or 09.

There is also a slight possibility that rogue apps, viruses or malware on a smartphone could cause the phone to make chargeable calls to 0843 numbers or other premium rate numbers without the user’s permission – so be careful about which apps you use and what you download.

Plym river level (0.75m) at Shaugh Prior

Plym - up stream from Shaugh Prior foot bridge

Plym – up stream from Shaugh Prior foot bridge – Carnwood 0.75m guage reading

The Plym is a fast rising river during and after rain. There is good information available online that reports on the River level guage readings at multiple locations along the River Plym. This post aims to inform about what the data really means in terms of the guage at Carnwood in relation to the River Plym and River Meavy.

Carnwood record 16th May 2017 – 0.75m

Meavy at Shaugh Prior - Carnwood 0.75m guage reading

Meavy at Shaugh Prior – Carnwood 0.75m guage reading

So this is what the Plym and Meavy look like at their confluence whilst the River  a level guage is reading 0.75m at Carnwood. That assumes that the river Meavy is affected by the same additional load. The Plym or Meavy could potentially fill up due to localised showers but often the case is that the Meavy lifts along with the Plym. The side shot is of the Meavy at the same time as the above photo was taken. Pushing but quite tame due to it’s lesser gradient at Shaugh Prior.

Plym Meavy confluence (0.75m)

Plym Meavy confluence (0.75m)

 

Net turner off’er

So, I’ve been trying to justify my carbon footprint, or at least to myself. My attempt and means of measurement has come in the form of turning off lights and switches. To be clearer, more lights and switches than I have turned on myself that day. That makes me a Net turner off’er in my simplistic definition of carbon neutrality. I combined this act with a personal ritual of visualising a tiny bit of coal  being removed from an industrial furnace. Misguided perhaps but it works for me. Maybe it will work for everybody?

There is a sad realisation and failure however within this model of saving the world’s climate crisis. For there to be enough powered lights and switches for everyone to contribute to the carbon neutral movement. It needs to be supported by an army of Net turner on’ers to help us off’ers feel good about ourselves. There can only ever be one real solution; don’t turn it on in the first place.

It may mean that after more than 50% of the population  has joined my secretive and somewhat exclusive club of Net turner off’ers that I’ll have to start a new club. Until that day arrives I can remain blissfully ignorant to my true footprint (Yeti-sized), thanks to the still rather large club of Net turner on’ers. Thank you people, you know who you are.

Adsense to wordpress

Adding Google AdSense in WordPress

Appearance >> WidgetsYou need to determine where you want to show the ad on your website. Most commonly ads are displayed in the sidebar. You can add the Ads in your sidebar by using WordPress widgets.

Select widget locationSimply go to Appearance » Widgets in your WordPress admin area. Next drag & drop the Text widget to the appropriate widget area and paste your Google AdSense code in there.

From the widgets dialogue simply select the widget area that you wish to add your Google adsense code snippet. Here I’ve chosen the sidebar. This is to ensure that the content is not over-powered by the advertising.

Widget editNow cut and paste your Google adsense code snippet into the text area, add a title and save. This should now be saved throughout each post or page that uses the sidebar area.

Philosophical (phil·o·soph·i·cal)

phil·o·soph·i·cal (adjective)

Relating or devoted to the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.

Better than ‘blog’ maybe (?), sounds a bit Buddhist but as the Revels advert goes; “But I like Buddhism!” (Coffee in the Ad I think). Well Buddhism er no… philosophy/’ical’ it will be for now. Until I get the chance to reflect on things… Ha

Big bruv creeping up (?)

I only really read the BBC news pages. They seem to do their job very well. I’m glad for their reporters looking into things that I don’t, or can’t look into whilst busy being me for a lifetime. The license fee is well spent, if not just for the news, their internet pages. It allows me to read things like this ‘Real-time surveillance‘ on the British public, a report by Chris Baraniuk a BBC technology reporter. Thank you Chris my credit for your investigation.

Investigatory Powers: ‘Real-time surveillance’ in draft update

How do I feel about this? Well lots really. Understanding the concept is greater than just taking sides on this one. The concept to consider is one of trust, who are we not trusting here? I get caught in twists over whether this draft-update is protecting the British public by in effect building a wall between us and the nasties out there. Or is it putting the British public  in a cage of paranoia, wondering just who the nasties really are.

So, to the real questions. Is it that we really don’t trust the reasons behind a creep toward big brother. Or is it that Big brother actually is trying to do a good job and that’s what democracy is all about. Double-or!, If 1984 had never been written, would we ever notice so many eyes in the shadows?

Nasal irrigation (?)

Ho yeah baby, we are going straight for the juggular on this one. Stick a tube up your nose and squeeze your sinuses full of water. Oh and add some dissolved salt and bicarbonate of soda for good measure. It’s claimed to be the way forward for people like me who seem to forever being bunged up. Well, that’s nasal irrigation theory. I’m going to make one and use it, that’s what I’m going to do, we’ll see!
Elephant jug and Pugg mug

If that’s all you need to see then: Watch the Nasal irrigation video now!

The story and the facts

So, broke, bored and bunged up for the tenth day running I spent the morning internetting for all the old wives tales to fix poor head. Sure enough the one I’ve tried awfully at before came up time and again. I’m not allowed to use my wife’s elephant jug anymore as I’ve been banned. It was no good anyway, I couldn’t squeeze it and the rinse just ran out of the top onto my head. A new plan was required and a new sense of purpose.

For the bored bit, I decided to document the manufacture of my own nasal irrigation system, it really doesn’t deserve a copyright campaign to defend it but it bloody works.
If you can’t wait for ingredients then go straight to the video now. If you have two more minutes then read on and you will find the video at the bottom of the page.

Inspriation and credits for the Whole Nasal inspriation system thing

So, some credit first to the page that inspired me go for the whole Nasal irrigation thing. Secondly for the Nasal rinse (solution) ingredients list that I used for my experiment. The rest of the approach I made up but I’ll paraphrase the content below.

Nasal rinse in a nutshell

Nasal irrigation system

The nasal rinse bottle

  1. One 250ml squeezable clean and empty condiments bottle (There are some 57 varieties of these)
  2. One lid for the same bottle!
  3. Approximately 30cm of 6-8mm transparent flexible hose (I cut mine from an old activity drinking bladder)
  4. Some Blue-Tac, scissors and a drill bit the same diameter as the flexible tubing.

The nasal rinse

  • Half a teaspoon of Salt (NaCl – table salt etc.)
  • Half a Teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • An average size glass of pre-boiled water but cooled to be tepid. (To be precise that’s enough to fill a 250ml bottle).

The Video – Nasal irrigation system, Kiwinutz style

Next steps?

Well, I hinted that I saw it through to the end. I’m still here, it’s not an instant cure but I do feel slightly better. The headaches are fading but the long game? I didn’t think you needed to see me squirt it up my nose, it’s not pretty but is slightly amusing. You don’t drown if that’s what you are worried about, you do still get wet(ish) but the good news is that no elephants were harmed in the making of this video.

Addendum (18th May)

Two weeks after my sinusitis attack, and my counter-attack with nasal irrigation Kiwinutz-style I’ve found that it actually works. I haven’t breathed through my nose this easily for months. I‘ve maintained my assault, sometimes three times per day, sometimes only once but always daily. I tried upping the quantity of salt and bicarb, it didn’t really provide any more benefits, in fact I quickly returned back to the recommended half teaspoon. Keeping a warm hat on has also been a good backup.

The bottle is still the original however it has started to degrade after lots of squeezing and will need replacing soon. The blue tac often needs respreading and I’m going to upgrade to a hot glue gun for the next model. The summary is that I want to progress with this, perhaps even purchase one of the commercial units but when in the middle of a sinus nightmare it was perfect for the job.

Autel Autolink AL519 – unpacking video and review

Autel AutoLink AL519If I had to guess then I’d say that the item shamefully missing from most modern household garages or sheds has to be the  ecu scanner / engine management light reader / engine diagnostic reader or whatever you care to call those mystical machines that go ping!.. in the hands of the AA / RAC / Service mechanic or local mechanic, as you wait for the sharp draw of breath…

if you don’t want to read?…, then the Autel AL519 unpacking video is at the bottom.

Well I’ve finally got one. With three cars recently at the mercy of the darned engine management light blinking at me or sneering at me, I bit the bullet. I researched the heck out of it for all of two days, then with £50 to spend I hit the amazon account and took up one one time ‘Prime offer’ for free next-day delivery. Turned out the Autel AL519 was only £49.33 on Prime so happy days. I could have saved another £2.45 if I wanted to wait an extra four days for delivery. Not me I wanted it now, well tomorrow*.

*It also turns out that I didn’t get it out the box for a week so another pointless prime cash-in but impulse is impluse. If anyone’s interested, it did turn up next-day at the prescribed time, so well done Amazon.

I think that I’ve got about as good as I could do with my buck. The final purchase came down to the Autel AL519 OBD2 & CAN (whatever CAN means?). So, watch the vid, it’s short so don’t put the kettle on.


What’s in the box? AUTEL AL519 OBD2 & CAN Scan tool >>

Next…

Well if you’re still interested I’m going to put this beauty into action, in true numpty style and see what I do with it. I’ll post any links as they happen. Ta ta