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News

Wednesday 07 December 2005 - Expected service interruptions, How NOT to buy a PC, A winters tale
Expected service interruptions

This is just a note to advise you all that I am expecting interruptions to the intranets connection from approximately 0400 (4AM GMT London) tomorrow morning. This is due to work my ISP is carrying out once again, on their networks.

Hopefully the work will be finished before I go to work, in which case, everything should be fine for most of tomorrow. However, I leave for work at 7am, which is when PlusNet are expecting their work to finish, so if it takes longer than they plan, you may find the intranet offline for quite a while tomorrow as I won't be here.

Information on this (what little they sent) can be found here:

http://mysteryfcm.co.uk/misc/pn_0812.txt

How NOT to buy a PC

Okay so the title's rubbish, I'm ill, leave me alone.

After speaking to my brother over the past couple of days, I felt I had to mention this as not only a warning to other less technically inclined, but also as a small gesture of humor.

A few days ago, my brother advised me of a computer he had purchased from a man in Hartlepool (somewhere in the UK). Intel PIII, 80GB hard drive, and alledgedly, 300MB+ RAM. Alas, like everything else my brother does with computers, it wasn't long before he called for help.

Now, usually, giving him help requires advising him of how to use a feature here and there, or upgrading something or other. Not so in this case. In his words "this things running as slow as hell" - fine I said, tell me the specifications first (he waffled the above). Now, the computer had not, at this point, been on the internet so the problem was not malware related.

Having had him tell me the spec's, I asked him to run some general cleanup and diagnostics, all was fine there. Becoming concerned, I asked him to look at the "My Computer" properties and tell me what he could see, to my suprise, he said "Windows 98 Second Edition, Intel Pentium III, 15MB RAM". Did you notice that too?, yes thats right folks, the computer he was sold and advised, had 300MB+ RAM, actually only has 15MB of RAM. I asked him to double check he wasn't misreading it, alas he wasn't.

I advised him to call the guy he bought it from and ask him what was going on, he was told "thats normal, Windows lies about that alot". Now granted, Windows might miss the odd Kb here and there, but missing 285MB+?, not even Windows is that bad!. Unfortunately for him, the person he bought it from scrounged the parts out of a skip apparently, and won't give him a refund or replacement (and I'd kill him myself if he got another from the same person!).

The point to my mentioning this you ask?, simple. The moral to this story is my brother, instead of using my recommendations to get one from the company I use regularly (infact, the only company I use), he decided to be a cheapskate and get one from some guy from some random place without testing it first. Had he told me he was going to do this then fine, I'd have told him what to look for, and what to expect. Instead he has gotten himself ripped off and yours truly has to go round his tomorrow to sort it out for him.

To the less technically inclined, if you are going to purchase a computer, or parts for a computer, please do yourself a favour - check the person your purchasing from is legit and is someone atleast one of your friends/family has used before and most importantly, get notification IN WRITING that explains your rights as a consumer and gives mention of your right to return the product(s) for a complete refund (NOT just a replacement, but a REFUND!) (the Trading Standards folk will be able to advise you completely of your rights, and will even send you a lovely little pack that explains it - complete with rather ditty little pictures).

On a side note, and this is the funny I mentioned earlier, my brother asked about networking PC's (he did not use the word networking, but thats what he meant) and asked how he could do it. No problem I explained, a USB crossover cable or router would be fine, "I've got a router!" he shouted, but what did he not have?, oh nothing important - just the power cable for it (yep, thats right folks). Fine I said, give me the make and model and I'll have a word with my friends at Wrightway Computers and see if we can't get you one... you'll love his reply. Having told him to look at the router and tell me I needed the make and model, he replied "it's a flat one" (doesn't come accross the same as it did when he said it). Naturally, I couldn't help but laugh - alas we got there in the end (after telling him where to look, he advised it was a DLink DL106).

This leads me nicely onto ...

A winters tale

No, this is not about my being a huge Queen fan but is instead, to let you know there atleast 4 days this month that I will be unavailable.

As mentioned above, I will be at work tomorrow morning, then straight to my brothers. I am expecting to be back early afternoon. However, I will also be unavailable on Friday 9th as I've got to go to my sisters to fit her new hard drive and re-install Windows (oh the joys).

I am also expecting, if all goes to plan, that I will also be unavailable on Monday 12th and Friday 23rd (the latter is due to a friend coming home for Christmas (he's currently in the middle of Angola somewhere) and is unconfirmed at present).
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