heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk

Vacuum cleaner

Having not ever really made much use of the Black & Decker Dustbuster thanks to its deplorable excuse of a filter (recap - the filter is crap and the air flow design treats left handed people to a faceful of dust), I saw a cheap model on sale at the local supermarket so I decided I'd give it a try.
By preference, I would like a vacuum with a bag. We have one of these bag-free ones at work and it is horrible trying to clean the thing. Unfortunately basic models come in at around seventy euros and I'm afraid I just can't justify that sort of expense on something to replace a dustpan and brush.

Enter this:


[generic publicity photo]

This isn't the exact same model as mine. It is one that looks very similar. Mine? A 1000W motor. The body is... Cheap and somewhat fragile looking. The dust collection part is a plastic bowl like a supermarket-brand "tupperware", there is no retractable flex (you have the option of fitting two plastic hooks to the rigid part of the pipe in order to wrap the flex around (reminds me of '60s style upright vacuums), and it is basically a plastic shell with a motor inside.
But I can't complain too much.

It cost me €19,99.

That's right. It cost the same as a meal out (or two if you count McDo).

With this comes a useful length of semi-rigid hose plus two pieces of rigid pipe. A large floor head with adjustable 'brush' for doing carpet or tile. There is also a mini head (curtain?) plus a crevice tool that has a flip-down brush option. That ought to be useful for doing the car dashboard. The crevice tool is 'lightly broken' (a little piece of plastic going from here to there). I ought to be able to fix that with two tiny holes and some jiggery-pokery with a paperclip. At any rate, the result will be stronger than the piece of plastic that was obviously not strong enough.

Official ratings are that it will burn through 33.6kWh per year. Given it is 1000W and running that for an hour is a kWh, that implies that the manufacturers reckon you'll only be doing thirty three and a bit hours per year. Which works out to be about forty minutes a week. Evidently a vacuum for somebody in a studio apartment...
It claims that it is "B" on tiled floors, and "D" (average) on carpet. My carpet wasn't sparkly clean afterwards, but when the comparison is the Dustbuster, anything is an improvement. It would also be unfair to compare a kilowatt vacuum cleaner's abilities with a model pushing 2400W.
There is, however, a negative point. Despite claiming to have a HEPA filter, the rating for exhaust was a "G" (the worst). This means that a certain amount of the dust that it sucks up will make it through the motor and out the back. The evidence of this is that the filter on entry to the motor was quite dusty. I suspect if anything does in the vacuum cleaner, it will be the stress of dealing with dust in the spinny-roundy part.
Even so, I really don't understand why a measuring beaker costs a fiver, a pack of rechargeable batteries costs fourteen, and this costs twenty. It just doesn't make sense.

 

Purely Purple Ones

I recognised this practically from the other end of the aisle. You know Quality Street, right? You know there are a selection of flavours, some... less attractive than others? Well, this half price (as Christmas is over) giant "purple one" (hazelnut and caramel) is called "Purely Purple Ones" and, hey, guess what is inside? No longer do I have to think "oh yuck, is this strawberry paste or something?", I can just have the "purple ones" and nothing else. That's exactly how it should be. ☺ Though, if I was Nestlé, I'd be somewhat inclined to drop in one of the strawberry ones with a little sticker attached saying "This is extra, and yes, I'm trolling you; Best wishes for 2015! :-)".
To give an idea of size, it is sitting on the dashboard and that hatch underneath is the passenger airbag.

 

Writing on the go

Sometimes when Mom goes in to places in town, I just don't want to go. I don't much like crowded places (I'm either an "avoidant personality" or an "antisocial git" (take your pick)). So Mom goes off and I sit in the car and I can write stuff. The "secret sauce" that makes this work is Google Docs. While I am not a fan of sticking stuff in "the Cloud", Docs offers a number of benefits, namely:
  • It is actually a reasonably well featured word processor considering what is normally available for mobile devices.
  • It is quite happy to store documents locally and work on them offline, it doesn't panic if it can't access the net.
  • PC browser, PC, iPad, Android... there's a Docs implementation for pretty much everything I use (except RISC OS, meh!).
  • Apple hardware has serious psychological issues syncing with anything that is neither Apple nor iTunes. Docs cuts right through all that bull. I can save a document on the iPad and retrieve it on the PC with Firefox.
  • And, if I should want to include others, there are a variety of sharing options.

With the Bluetooth keyboard, it is quite pleasant writing documents on the iPad. A number of blog posts were written like this, and you can see in the screenshot a story that I am writing.

 

Why your WiFi sucks

I was in a town the other day and while caressing a cup of tea (it wasn't Yellow Label), I fired up my WiFi scanner and I saw this. It speaks for itself.
If you live in an urban area with conflicting WiFi activity, you might benefit from scanning your frequencies. There appears to be a 2-channel spill (channel 11 affects channels 9 through 13); however if the above represented you, imagine how much nicer your WiFi would be if you pushed it down to, say, channel five. You'd have the whole frequency entirely to yourself, not fighting who knows how many other signals.

 

 

Your comments:

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Gavin Wraith, 7th January 2015, 14:05
Purely purple ones? I think this might be another good reason for a day trip to France, beside stocking up on booze at Mamouth. For myself I prefer the green triangles, but now that I am officially diabetic I must refrain from both.

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