I have a question. Volume 7 - Mark (RLBS)
******** Volume full & closed, please see volume 8. ********

In this thread you may ask any question for which you need help, advice, suggestions or whatever.

It does not need to be motoring related. In fact, in this thread it should not be.

No politics
No Speeding, speed cameras, traffic calming
No arguments or slanging matches
Nothing which I think is not following the spirit of the thread.

I will delete any of the above. If the thread becomes difficult to maintain I will simply remove it.

However, as has been said a couple of times, there is a wealth of knowledge in here, much of which is not motoring related, but most of which is useful.

This is Volume 7. Volume 6 will not be deleted.
Blooming Plaster - Robin
I appear to have a problem with what looks like the plaster in my kitchen bubbling up. The plaster on one of the supporting pillars in my kitchen has a very rough feel to it and the surface looks like it has very small particles coming out of it - a bit like sand. (it actually looks like bloom on chocolate). It is a smallish patch about 2 feet from the floor and across the whole width of the pillar. When I painted the walls a few months ago I sanded it off but it has returned a couple of times since.

Should I be worried about this and is can I get rid of it permanently?
Blooming Plaster - Mark (RLBS)
Is it an internal or external wall ?
Blooming Plaster - Stargazer {P}
If external, is it a solid or cavity wall and what materials?

Ian L.
Blooming Plaster - Robin
It is an internal wall. The house was built in 1978 so most of the walls are faced with plaster board but the place where this problem is appearing is definitely very solid ie not plasterboard but I don't know what it is made from. Since it is so solid I assume it is a supporting structure. It is located next to the alcove where the clothes and dish washers are located but there do not appear to any signs of water leaks. Since the rough patch is about 2 feet above the floor I am guessing it is not water from the washing machines (especially as the pipework does not go near the affected part)
Blooming Plaster - Stargazer {P}

Is there any internal plumbing in this wall that may have sprung a leak, eg central heating pipes (esp plastic with pushfit joints) guttering downpipes from a flat roof etc?

If an internal down pipe is blocked it can overflow at the first join and fill the cavity, pushfit plastic pipes can seep water if not fitted correctly...often years after installation. Either of there will cause a damp patch part way up a wall.

Otherwise, has the plaster been recently repaired? Recent plaster that has not dried out fully before painting can effloresce giving a rough surface and white powder surface below the paint.

Other questions....does the house have a damp proof course (membrane or injected?)

Sorry about all the questions, but damp can have so many causes that to identify the likely one you need a lot of construction information.


Ian L.
Blooming Plaster - Ian (Cape Town)
Are you near the seaside?
Often, jerry-builders will use unwashed sea sand - and what happens is the salt absorbs damp, and starts to 'bloom'.
Best to check it out, with the age-old tongue test.
Blooming Plaster - Robin
We do have a flat roof but I don't think the downpipes gp through this pillar - it was raining hard tonight so I have not been out for a look on the roof. I don't think the old biddy we bought the house from 1 year ago had any plastering done - she did not seem to be the type.Although if she had it would have been done by the sort of blokes who tie their horses up outside. We do have a damp proof course, according to the house survey.
I think i will sand the paint off and see what happens over a couple of weeks/months.

Thanks for the suggestions.

(BTW - no where near the seaside worst luck!)
Blooming Plaster - wemyss
Robin.. flat roof on your house?? unusual but anyway as Ian L says services on modern houses do come down through a pillar on modern houses.
You will have noticed on older properties that the soil pipe from the toilet always used to come down the external wall into the foul drain but the trend began in the 70s to bring them down through a hollow pillar as you describe it.
Also on flat roof buildings the surface water off the roof is often carried down through the building in a similar manner.
The waste water from the upstairs washbasin and bath is also taken into the foul water 100mm down pipe.
Does your downstairs sink and waste water pass out through the wall or go into this pillar?.
So many possibilities really including rising damp but not if you have a damp course which you would see from outside the building and in any case would not have been passed by the building Inspector if it was absent.
Difficult to say without knowing the construction of the property but unlikely to be a water service pipe as you would have more than a damp patch showing over time.

Blooming Plaster - Robin
When I wrote about my flat roof I was in a hurry and got things a bit back to front. We have a flat roof on the extension to the kitchen. The offending pillar is not under the flat roof part and is part of the original house. The garage is connected to the house and the pillar forms the end of the wall common to the house and garage - but is in the kitchen. I have tried to follow the course of the downpipes etc and they do appear to disappers down the affected pillar. So, it looks like it may be a leakig pipe inside the wall.

Thanks for the input.
Blooming Plaster - Stargazer {P}

Thats good to know......much easier to track down than a rising damp problem. If it is a down pipe, then it is possibly a leaf blockage further down the pipe that is forcing the water to back up the downpipe. Downpipe joins are not normally sealed (try looking at any standard plastic or cast iron downpipes which are exposed). So when the water rises to the level of a join the push in join will weep water.

I had this problem in an exterior downpipe on the garage...caused a damp patch on the garage wall but because it was exterior it was easy to diagnose. Turned out that the pipe was almost filled to 2metres high with decomposed leaves. It required digging out then flushing through with a hose.

Hopefully the downpipe will lead to a free flowing stormwater
drain and not a soakaway that has also clogged up.


Ian L.
Blooming Plaster - Robin
Ah hah! In the garage is a rectangular metal cover which presumably is for inspecting the drains. On occasion I have noticed that when the bath is emptied there is a horrible pong in the garage, presumably emanating from the inspection cover. (only observe this occasionally as I am not often in the garage at the same time as the bath is emptied). In typical Ostrich mode I thought nothing of it as it did not seem to be causing any problems. From what you have said it looks like I may have a blockage of some sort and this is causing the damp patch and the pong. Mind you, we have not noticed any problems with very slow water drainage.

Looks like it is time to get the clothes peg on the nose and lift the cover.

If there is a blockage could I use some sort of rod to unblock it from the inspection hole? The affected pillar is actually very close to the hole.
Blooming Plaster - Martin Devon
I appear to have a problem with what looks like the
plaster in my kitchen bubbling up. The plaster on one of
the supporting pillars in my kitchen has a very rough feel
to it and the surface looks like it has very small
particles coming out of it - a bit like sand. (it
actually looks like bloom on chocolate). It is a smallish patch
about 2 feet from the floor and across the whole width
of the pillar. When I painted the walls a few months
ago I sanded it off but it has returned a couple
of times since.
Should I be worried about this and is can I get
rid of it permanently?


I've just come in here and haven't viewed all of the replies so if this is repetition chuck it. Solid construc' etc it's going to be salt from the construction materials emerging on the surface due to a variety of reasons and I mean a variety from Rising damp. Penetrating damp. Bridging of cavity if there is one, to lack of air movement internally etc etc etc. Plumbing etc within the wall area should be unlikely, but with this sort of scenario keep a very open mind and DON'T be led up the Garden Path by a Contractor or otherwise who wishes to remove you from your hard earned £. If external ground levels are higher than internal floor levels there may be another issue. Also are rainwater goods in a sound condition and not leaking? It takes very little continuous moisture to cause what seems like a very big problem. We as a company undertake repair work for most of the major domestic insurance companies. The majority of claims are leaks from something in the Kitchen, often very small leaks and by the time these have been noticed they have caused quite a bit of damage to plaster and localised timberwork. Best of luck.

Another question on electrics - Rebecca {P}
Hoping someone will once again prevent me from electrocution....

I have bought a hairstyling appliance in Canada. It's a 'flet iron' or 'straightener' and is designed to heat up to nearly 200 degrees. It's dual voltage but fitted with a US/Canada style two (flat) pin plug.

I know I can get a US to UK adaptor, but my question is whether I could simply cut the plug off and fit a UK one? Will the wiring be blue/brown? The instructions offer no clues.

Please advise!

Thanks very much...
Another question on electrics - SteveH42
If it is dual voltage there will almost certainly be a voltage select switch - can you spot this? If not, what makes you believe it is dual voltage? It's quite unusual for an appliance that uses heat to be dual voltage, due to the complexity of the design to allow multiple voltages.

Assuming you are certain it will work on 240V, or can switch it to work on 240V, then there is no problem with changing the plug for a UK one. The colours won't necessarily be blue and brown, but it shouldn't be difficult to identify them for you if necessary. (Not that it actually makes a lot of difference with AC) But I'm more concerned that it will definitely work on 240V.
Another question on electrics - Rebecca {P}
Well it said 'Dual Voltage for world wide travel' on the box, and the handle has 240v moulded into the plastic along with some other info, so presumably that's OK? There isn't a voltage selector switch. If it makes any difference it's a top of the range model designed for professional use.

Thanks for your reply, will just wait in case of any other opinions before taking a knife to the cord...

PS Should have typed 'flat iron' instead of 'flet iron'
Another question on electrics - frostbite
If the two-pin plug conforms to the usual pin size and spacing, you could use what is sometimes referred to as a 'shaver adaptor' that plugs into a 13a socket and accepts a 2pin plug.
Another question on electrics - mal
If the two-pin plug conforms to the usual pin size and
spacing, you could use what is sometimes referred to as a
'shaver adaptor' that plugs into a 13a socket and accepts a
2pin plug.

Had a similar experience with a travel hair drier from Japan.
Although it might fit, it will probably blow the fuse in the adaptor due to it being a heated hair appliance.
Another question on electrics - SteveH42
Must admit it's a strange one. Heated appliances usually use resistance wire connected directly to the mains, and so are voltage dependent. It's possible it either has a very clever temperature control circuit, an automatic voltage selection system, or an internal power supply. All would add drastically to the cost though, but I suppose in some cases that isn't that important.

But if it says 240V then I can see no reason why you couldn't fit a normal plug to it.
Another question on electrics - Tomo.
Of course we are all thinking 110V but I just excavated this (from TUV Rheinland certification facility).

"Voltage - 1 ø: 120V (Most commonly used in US and Canada, measured line to ground, provided on 15 or 20A protected branch circuits);
240V (measured line to line, commonly available)"

I take it 240V will be available for power applications, hence the 240V inscribed on this appliance. I'm sure it's going to be OK.

I'd be inclined to fit a UK 13A plug with the two wires connected to live and neutral and use a residual current device (probably desirable anyway on this sort of thing).
Another question on electrics - Tomo.
Just one more thought, is there any indication of frequency moulded on, adjacent to the voltage, like 50 with an s lying on its side, or 50/60, or just 60? In the last case only, and if there are some not too cunning electronics inside, there just might be a problem; though I think it quite unlikely.

What is the brand name?

Another question on electrics - Rebecca {P}
Brand name is Isinis (who?) from Canada.

Moulded on is

100-240V 50/60Hz
50W MOD NA1000
S.1400W Uso Professionale
Made in Italy

A 'don't take it into the bathroom/get it wet' icon, a square within a square icon, and a CE mark

Thanks for all your replies. I'm a bit embarrassed actually. Just think, all this effort just to make straight hair even straighter! There is a war on...etc

PS new car coming tomorrow! (motoring link)
Another question on electrics - Carole
Aha! I found out about this symbol at work last week during a Health and Safety visit and I believe it means the applicance is double insulated. Also - a slightly off topic comment here -this means that it only has to be Portable Appliance Tested once every four years, not annually.

And Rebecca: don't forget to use lots of conditioner if you use your straighteners a lot. Am I right in thinking your new car is a Picasso (or have I missed a few posts?) If so, watch out for the airbag light......

See, I'm a mine of useless information.

Another question on electrics - Tomo.

At only 50W a shaver adapter should be OK even with a little 1 amp fuse (my old brain was running on hairdryer lines, but on reflection a kilowatt or so would do more than straighten hair!)

Joy with the new wheels, too.

Another question on electrics - SteveH42
Looking at the isinis website, it appears this sort of thing doesn't use much power, so Tomo is probably right that the consumption is 50W rather than 1400. Use a shaver adaptor - they should be able to cope no problem, unless you really want to change the plug.
Another question on electrics - SteveH42
What is this in relation to? The 240V in the UK is essentially line to ground - the neutral is actually a big spike in the ground. While I don't know the full details of the US etc system, I'd be surprised if they are any different.
Another question on electrics - frostbite
As it's only 50w you shouldn't have any fuse problems using an adaptor but if you fit a 13a plug, change the fuse to a 3a.
Another question on electrics - Tomo.
Agreed, in the modern protective multiple earthing system (PME) the earth bonded domestic facilities are connected to the supply companies earthed neutral line, and the line to neutral and line to earth voltages are effectively the same. We still have the older (and I think more common worldwide) system and we still connect our appliance cables to the plug, brown to live (fused)pin, blue to neutral pin and yellow/green to earth pin; and if two wire, brown to live and blue to neutral. With an older or overseas device we may well find red instead of brown and blue instead of neutral.

Another question on electrics - wemyss
Still on electrical..... last Saturday night we had a flash of thunder and lightning and the electrical supply surged and flickered a few times.
A little later I went to use the phone and it wasn?t working. Looked at my modem and its normal lights were on and thought at least it didn?t take that.
Reported the fault and finally the BT repair man came on Wednesday. He checked the outside lines and said no problem with them.
Went to my computer equipment which was all turned off and unplugged the modem. And the phones then worked.
"Your modem was causing it... happens all the time. Only last week went to a big house in the country where the owner works from, it had taken several modems and his cordless phones."
Next day I went and bought not only a new modem but also Belkin spike and surge equipment to close the door after the horse had bolted..
Anyway later my son in law told me that on the same night the surge had damaged his television, DVD and VCR and he would go through his insurance. Properties in his vicinity also suffered damage to equipment.
Is there any redress on the electrical supplier for this damage. I recall several years ago in my work that they had a statutory duty to supply AC230 + or - 3%. Before I retired this was changed to + or - 5% giving them more leeway.
Obviously they cannot be responsible for an act of God but adequate breakers may have disconnected before damage was done.
Does anyone have experience of claiming recompense for these incidents.

Another question on electrics - NWS
Good luck with your Belkin gizmo, in my experience their stuff is junk.
Another question on electrics - Godfrey H {P}
Well NWS, all I can say is a Belken suppressor saved my telephones and electrical appliances when a nearby lightining strike damaged my neigbours' equipment. The surge destroyed the suppressor as it was designed to do in extreme circumstances and
Belken shipped out a replacement suppressor next day FOC.
Another question on electrics - wemyss
Thats right Godfrey they do back up their equipment with not only replacing their suppressor but also cover up to £40.000 any equipment which is protected by their equipment.
They must have faith in their products.
Another question on electrics - SteveH42
I believe their requirements to control the voltage are limited to what comes out of the substation and is just to filter any surges caused in generation or from transmission. There is very little they can do about lightning TBH. Not sure about the modem damage though - BT *may* have some responsibilty for this as I believe there is some form of protection in their wall boxes, but I'm not sure.

Moral of the story is, either fit lots of surge suppression stuff that may not be enough, or pain though it is, unplug everything when there is a thunder storm.
Another question on electrics - harry m
as a dare i say it a bt eng i think you will find in the small print you cannot claim for lightning damage as they class it as an act of god!usually if we go on a fault and find it is customers own equipment we are supposed to charge an abortive visit charge.you can imagine the verbal abuse we get when this happens.
Another question on electrics - Rebecca {P}
Alvin - I remember that a guy in my office had a saga relating to a TV in similar circumstances...will check the facts with him, but I know someone paid up, just not sure if it was the power co. or insurance.

Watch this space.
USB port on my PC? - bazza

I'd like to buy a digital camera but they all appear to require a USB port on the PC. Now I don't know what one of these is or looks like. My PC is about 6 years old (Compaq Deskpro), Pentium 200. I've had a look on the back and can't find anything labelled up as USB. Can anyone advise me? Also, if I don't have one of these, is there an adaptor kit available to do the same job some other way?
Any advice welcome.
USB port on my PC? - frostbite
Hi Baz,

You probably won't have a USB port on your computer, but it may well be 'capable'.

Do you have any documentation relating to the motherboard? It *might* have a facility. Failing that, do you have a PCI (white) slot free on the board? If so, you could probably add a couple of ports by this means.

What version of Windoze do you use? It will need to be 98 or later really.

Finally, you don't have to have a camera with USB link - there are a few about that use serial connection.

USB port on my PC? - bazza
Thanks FB. I'll have a look inside the unit tomorrow. But it sounds like it might be better to wait and upgrade the PC as well, as I don't really want to spend too much on this one. It doesn't owe me anything as it was bought from my firm when we were all made redundant! It is running Win 98 though.
Re the cameras, are there any pros & cons regarding USB compatible or otherwise?
USB port on my PC? - frostbite
The USB option is probably faster, but this would really only be important if you were using it fairly heavily. The age of your machine will probably limit usage more.

What processor and RAM do you have? My serial connecting camera and software will run with an old 486 processor but it's not top spec. - 640x480 IIRC.

There might be a usb link (3pins?) on the mobo, if so you can connect a link unit to put a socket on the case. It's a square 4-pin thingy on the case while you're looking - might be one there!
USB port on my PC? - DavidHM
www.ebuyer.com has some very cheap PCI cards to add USB ports. I added one to my mother's (now dead) PC and it cost me about a fiver plus postage. While you're there, you should probably get some extra memory. I'd have thought that your PC could take up to 128 MB of PC100 but you'd have to check your manual for that.

Total cost, including postage, should be about £15 (as against £25 for the card alone in PC World) and compared to changing the plugs on a car, it's an easy job with a Philips screwdriver.
Another question on electrics - mal
A couple of years back during a lightning storm our modem and security alarm control box was knocked out. Insurance company (AXA) paid out without any objections.
Another question on electrics - Rebecca {P}
So always check your facts....turns out it was a power surge in his case when they were replacing overhead cables. Power company denied responsibility (in fact denied they'd even done the work until he sent them photos of where they'd been). In the end they offered £50 as a goodwill payment which covered the excess on his insurance claim (accidental damage).

Another question on electrics - wemyss
Never mind Rebecca...thanks for trying.
Another question on electrics - Tomo.
Oh, dear!

"blue instead of neutral."

Soul be "black instead of blue", of course.

I must stop Mitten the 16 y-o Kitten prancing in front of the screen - very distracting.

DVD Players. - Dynamic Dave
I've just bought one and not too clear about what is Region 2 & Multi regionable. The way I understand this is that region 2 will only play DVD's purchased in the UK, but if I change the settings to Multi-regionable I can then play DVD's bought from anywhere in the world. Can someone confirm?
DVD Players. - John R @ Work {P}

Region 2 covers the UK, Europe and (IIRC) Japan.
So disks from these areas can be played on a unmodified player.

Yoy are correct in your understanding of regions but there are always exeptions. My player is set to play DVDs from any where and in 99% of cases it does, but Final Fantasy region 1 just will not play, it will only work on an unmodified region 1 player!

Enjoy the advantages of better picture, sound and extras you get on DVDs.

For buying DVD films www.play.com has always been OK for me (but you must make your own mind on purchasing DVDs)

John R
DVD Players. - John R @ Work {P}
www.play.com is also known as www.play247.com

John R
DVD Players. - blank
To follow on from John R's post...
There is wide variety in methods of Multi-regioning players. Some just need a combination of buttons pressed, others chips to be changed. Do you know how to change yours?

DVD Players. - Dynamic Dave
To follow on from John R's post...
There is wide variety in methods of Multi-regioning players.
Some just need a combination of buttons pressed, others
chips to be changed. Do you know how to change yours?

I bought it mail order, but it's still in the post - hasn't arrived yet, but from the reports I've read on the web, and the blurb in the advert it can be changed to multi region using the code supplied.
DVD Players. - SteveH42
In general, those discs that will not play when the player is set to multi-region will play when you set it to the appropriate region. A couple have even more stringent protection, but not many.
DVD Players. - harry m
there are some region 1 dvds now being sold which will not play on some multi-region players,some new thing the usa studios are now doing.if you buy from play.com they do warn you that this might happen when you go to buy the disc.
DVD Players. - harry m
also meant to say you can buy multi-region players off the shelf no messing about with codes etc
DVD Players. - Mark (RLBS)
Or you can simply use your computer dvd drive, plug the feeds into your television and, if you choose, your home theatre system and forget the issue forever.
DVD Players. - Dynamic Dave
That was the dilema I was faced with Mark. My computer doesn't have a DVD player, but it does have a TV-out on the graphics card. so I was faced with the choice of either buying one for the PC, a separate DVD player, or a DVD video combination player. I might replace the PC later this year and the new one *should* have one already fitted anyway, my video is only 12 months old, so a DVD Video combination player seemed a waste. In the end I opted for the separate DVD player after seeing one advertised in the paper at the weekend for £49.50 Phoned to order it yesterday and was also offered 50 DVD's of various titles for an additional £50. The DVD player "might" be cheap, but according to the blurb, it's packed with the same features that come with the more expensive ones. It was also given a rating 4 out of 5 in a November 2002 DVD magazine.
DVD Players. - Hairy Hat Man
DD, sounds like an excellant offer. Are you going to let us all in on where the offer is from?
DVD Players. - Dynamic Dave
Well, the DVD player is made by Hyundai (guess that covers the motoring link critiria) and the company are called Deal Direct. If Mark doesn't object I will post the phone number as this seems the only way to order it.
DVD Players. - Mark (RLBS)
Don't ask me, ask that other moderator - Hydraulic Henry or something.

Seriously, there is no issue posting contacts under these circumstances.
DVD Players. - Dynamic Dave
Well, the DVD player is made by Hyundai (guess that covers
the motoring link critiria) and the company are called Deal
If Mark doesn't object I will post the phone number as
this seems the only way to order it.

Now that I've clarified with Mark that it's ok to post the phone number, here it is:- 0800 138 8744. Prices and description of DVD player mentioned in other parts of this thread.

Usual disclaimer applies, I've no connection with the company, apart from being a customer[1], etc.

[1] Hopefully a satified customer. When the Posty gets around to delivering it, I'll post an update of what it's actually like in the flesh.
DVD Players. - SteveH42
Apparently a lot of recent DVD-ROM drives are actually region locked so you'd have more trouble playing DVDs on the PC than you would on a dedicated DVD player. Also, you'd be stuck with the fan hum from the PC.

Do you have the model for this DVD player? I've never come across a Hyundai one before, but most of the sub-£100 ones are pretty much of a muchness. Nothing too special but adequate. The main thing to watch out for is if you are using a 28" or bigger TV then you'll probably notice a bit of pixellation.
DVD Players. - Mark (RLBS)
Well, mine isn't and nor is my Father's. Even if it was, it wouldn't take 5 seconds to unlock it, just treat it as a data disk. And fan hum ?? Not audible on mine.

BTW, are portable DVD players region locked ?
DVD Players. - Stargazer {P}
I use a DVD-ROM for watching films under Windoze and Linux, the region encoding for my drive (Matsui) is built into the firmware of the drive, and can be set to any region a total of 5 times before it gets locked to the final region. Same behaviour under both OS.

However, a quick search on the www will throw up 3rd party software to zero the firmware counter!

I also use a dedicated DVD player, multi-region or any individual region available using a combination of remote keys
(see www.dvd.reviewer.co.uk/news/default.asp for an up to date list of hacks) but be aware that some recent disks have additional non-standard (RCE) features that can still stop them playing...in fact they can be so non-standard that even a region 2 DVD will not play on an out of the box region 2 player.

Ian L.

DVD Players. - Dynamic Dave
Do you have the model for this DVD player?

Still waiting for Mr Posty to deliver it, but the picture in the advert looks remarkably like the Hyundai DVD-360A. I found a write up and a picture of it here www.totaldvd.net/reviews/DVDPlayers/Hyundai/Hyunda...p Ignore the phone number and website it directs you to - I believe these are out of date contacts.
most of the sub-£100 ones are pretty much of a muchness.
Nothing too special but adequate. The main thing to watch out
for is if you are using a 28" or bigger TV then you'll
probably notice a bit of pixellation.

I didn't want anything too flash as space is limited. This DVD meets my current demands as its only 44mm deep. I have no room for extra speakers to benefit from suround sound, and it's being coupled to a 14" portable tv in the bedroom.
DVD Players. - Dynamic Dave
Still waiting for Mr Posty to deliver it,

Mr Posty delivered it this morning. For those people that were interested, it is in fact a Hyundai DVD-320A, not the 360A that I mentioned in my previous post. The only difference that I can see is that the 320A doesn't have Dolby 5.1 outputs. Well for £49.50 + £6.50 p&p, beggers can't be chosers can they. Included in the offer were 4 free DVD's - it's just a shame that those same 4 DVD's are also included in the additional 50 DVD titles they offered to me for a further £49.50. So in total I got a multi Region DVD player & 54 DVD movies for a grand total of £105.50 (inc p&p) Also included was a Scart Lead, batts for the remote control & 1 yrs guarantee. In all, not a bad deal really. I haven't had chance to try it out yet as I've got to make some room for it - although that won't be difficult as it's only 44mm deep.

Details available at www.ddoffer.com They also have an LG Logix DVD player for the same price at www.ddoffer2.com

Usual disclaimer applies - I've no connection with Deal Direct apart from being a customer of theirs.
DVD Players. - John S
Should be OK. One thing to watch though. We have a 'chipped' multi region DVD player, and until recently had a fairly old TV. Region 1 discs from USA were not playable because the TV was only PAL 50 capable. The Region 1 discs output a 60 Hz signal and unles you've a newish TV that's PAL 50 and 60 compatible, the picture 'films' up the screen. with a new TV it's now fine.


John S
DVD Players. - Dynamic Dave
John S,

The tv is approx 18 mnths old. Last night I *tried* to change the DVD player over to the multiregion settings as per the included instructions - it didn't work. I've got some other settings off the internet this morning that apply to the newer model of Hyundai DVD player. The site also mentioned that it could be either of the settings to convert it to multiregion.
I have a question. Volume 7 - SteveH42
Any suggestion how my sister's boyfriend can get out of a dodgy situation. They were in Coventry last night when they saw a gang of lads messing around with some cars - one was wreathed in smoke, so they called the police who send out a fire engine. Of course, when they heard the sirens they scarpered. As there was no sign of anything when the police got there, they phoned her boyfriend back, threatening to have his mobile cut off for making hoax calls. Is there any substance to their threat, and if so, how can he go about proving that it was a genuine call? As you can imagine, he's hardly likely to do anything else public-spirited if this is the response he gets...
I have a question. Volume 7 - HF
Was there no visible damage to the car that was smoking? If he really gets done for hoax calls then that's a very sad situation.
I have a question. Volume 7 - SteveH42
She doesn't say, but I get the impression it was their car that was smoking. She said it looked like they were setting some bushes on fire, but it could have just been they were smoking the tyres.

Apparently she mentioned the police response to the woman in McD's and they reckon the police never do anything about these kids despite them being a regular fixture...
Big Brother watching - mal
As is the case in some of the other forums out there I was wondering If you guys in the controll room can actually monitor who is logged and which thread they are reading at any given time. Must admit I would find it wierd knowing someone can be watching your every move, if this is the case.
Big Brother watching - HF

We have no Big Brother here - rest assured.

OR DO WE?????? Should I feel sudden pangs of desperate paranoia, purely because I have chatted to people here?!

Even allowed my name to become known, and my email address too, in mad moments of actually believing that people are what they say they are ;)

All TIC Mal, as you will realise now ;)
Big Brother watching - Mark (RLBS)
Not really, no.

Who logs in and when is logged by the computers obviously. What forums they read is also logged.


There is no indication of which thread(s) are read
I have no way of knowing the log-in information until reports are compiled at the end of the week or month.

There is no way of me knowing at the time, if you see what I mean.

It would be fun to see who is logged in at a particular moment and which thread they are reading, but sadly we can't.
Big Brother watching - Dynamic Dave
Oh come on Mark, tell the truth. We both roared with laughter when we saw Mal picking his nose whilst reading this thread earlier ;o)
Big Brother watching - mal
Well am I pleased about that, and another thing Dynamic********Dave I do not pick my nose I discreetly relieve it of obstructions!!!!!!!.
I have a question. Volume 7 - HF
Steve this sounds weird - have you asked your sis about this?
I have a question. Volume 7 - SteveH42
Steve this sounds weird - have you asked your sis about

Sorry, asked about what?
I have a question. Volume 7 - Obsolete
I have a question relating to council tax:

I recently discovered that I had given the wrong date to the council when I recently told them my moving in date. They said they would send a bill for the 'missing' council tax due. Today I got home to find a very threatening and menacing letter from Slough Council asking for £50. It was entitled "Council tax final reminder", dated 13 March 2003, and stating that if I did not pay within 7 days they would go to court to get bailiffs to visit, and charge me the court costs.

To say that I found this letter menacing and threatening is to put it mildly. I have never been anywhere near a court in my ~40 years of existence.

How can this be a final reminder when it was the first letter asking for payment? And how can they issue a deadline that I probably cannot meet? After all tomorrow is already 5 days into the deadline and a cheque takes 3 days to clear.

I presume that if I do not succeed in getting payment to them in time, then the court case will damage my credit rating? And when the court case takes place, I will be charged court and bailiffs fees.

It strikes me that an elderly and infirm person receiving such a letter would be really shocked by it.

Anyone know how I can complain about this letter? Is their some 'independent' body that handles complaints.

I really am quite shocked by such heavy handed menacing tactics being used against someone who WANTS to pay and who has tried to go by the book to do so.
I have a question. Volume 7 - Rob the Bus
Leif - I am no legal expert but generally, these letters are computer generated. I have had something similar and the reply from my council was 'oh, we can't stop the computer from sending out letters'. My reply was something like 'you could if you used a ruddy great axe' but I think they'd had a sense of humour by-pass.

If I were you, I'd ring them again, and explain in words of one syllable or less what you've already told them. Also, I'd send them the full amount that they're demanding because if it does eventually come to court, they will look more favourably upon you if you can demonstrate that you've complied with their deadlines, however unreasonable they may be.

Hope this has helped


PS I agree with what you say about if an elderly person had recieved the letter though. Inexcusable, if you ask me. Which you didn't. But you know what I mean.
I have a question. Volume 7 - Obsolete
Thanks Rob. I did ring them (intended to anyway) and it took a while but I finally got them to agree that they had made a mistake. (Words of one syllable and a big gap between each.)

Obviously I will pay the sum due ASAP but blimey what a way to deal with the public.

It does indeed seem to be a computer generated letter. And to think that if it had been lost in the post, or I had been on holiday for a week, they would have taken me to court and fined me for the privilege.
I have a question. Volume 7 - Robin
Oh how my wife will laugh at this. Her job is actually write the code that generates these letters. Whilst she is of course technically very competent she does tell some stories about her less computer literate colleagues.
I have a question. Volume 7 - HF

Wrote a reply to you last night shortly before the site went down, so it never got posted.

Have had similar problems myself re council tax threats, and spent similar amounts of time on the phone trying to sort things out.

Thankfully, for me too, the message seems to have finally got through.

I think for all the minutes and even hours we spend pressing options 1,2,3,4 or to speak to an advisor press 5', and then, on our own phone bills, having to listen to endless canned music interrupted only by the 'sorry, your call is important to us' messages, it is a *very* rare occasion that we actually get through to someone that understands what you're saying, and even more rare that they actually do something about it.

Moan over.
I have a question. Volume 7 - Obsolete
Hi HF, thanks for the posting. Sorry to hear you had council trouble too. A colleague next to me was wrongly taken to court by Ealing Council and he had to successfully defend himself.

It is worrying to think that a council behaves in this manner.

I have a question. Volume 7 - eMBe {P}
There is only one sure way to deal with such problems with Council ( or Civil-Service) staff. Find out the name of the head of the Deparment and write to them, marked "for the personal attention of .....", and copy to your local-councillor (or MP in case of Civil Service). Nowadays, these details are usually given on the Council web-site.
I have a question. Volume 7 - Tom Shaw
I've lost the address bar from Internet Explorer. The address bar is ticked on the view menue, anybody help?
I have a question. Volume 7 - Another John H
If nearly everything top of explorer frame has gone, press F11, which toggles "full frame".

If one of the bars has a pair of small chevrons out to the righthand edge, then some of the options are out beyond the screen edge.
Left click and drag the nearest vertical bar (in the menu area) to the left and see what appears.
Hover your pointer over the bar, it will turn into a double headed arrow, the left click and drag..

You can drag down to create more lines of menu bars.

I have a question. Volume 7 - DavidHM
If it's just the address bar that's missing, go to View, Toolbars --> Address Bar to get it back.

If that doesn't get it back, go to View, Toolbars --> Lock the toolbars, uncheck that, bring the address bar back as above, and then recheck Lock the toolbars so it can't happen again.

This works for IE6 and Windows XP at least.
I have a question. Volume 7 - HF
I have a question. And it's not political in any way, although it might seem so on first reading.

My 13-year-old told me tonight that a teacher at his school has been parading around wearing a 'Don't Attack Iraq' badge'.

That angered me a lot, because to me, a teacher should not be using his position to try to influence the minds and beliefs of a young and vulnerable generation.

I'd say exactly the same if a teacher was wearing a 'Let's Get Saddam' or whatever badge.

Whatever my own beliefs about this war, I do not appreciate a teacher abusing his position to try to turn the minds of young boys.

My question is, is this a real violation of position? And does anyone agree with me that teachers should not be allowed to do this?
I have a question. Volume 7 - Dave_TD
My question is, is this a real violation of position? And
does anyone agree with me that teachers should not be allowed
to do this?

I think it is abuse of position, and agree with you they shouldn't be allowed to do this.
With my 5-year-old having been at school for less than a year I have yet to really experience too much of the quirks of teaching staff, although I was getting nagged at the weekend for throwing newspapers in the dustbin and not the recycling box.
The "don't attack Iraq" thing though is expressing a simplistic view which obviously is different to that of the powers that be at this moment in time. By all means children of your son's age should be encouraged to debate the pros and cons of war, but it would be difficult for a teacher to be respected for their impartiality in such a debate when they wear their opinion on the matter on their sleeve, so to speak.
I have a question. Volume 7 - HF
Absolutely, DTD, and thanks for that.

I believe that the teacher in question has the right to wear that badge any time he wants to, UNLESS he's working in the school.

And, since you mention it, (sort of), neither of my sons has been given the chance to debate the war at school. I've asked them both, and bizarrely neither school has even mentioned the subject!

Glad yours are too young yet to have to get into all this, D.
I have a question. Volume 7 - Alfafan {P}
Can anyone explain the mysteries of Windows Media to me please. I?ve tried downloading short movie clips from the Internet, (not always mpeg files), but I can?t seem to find any way of saving the files to my hard disc. This is not such a problem with a broadband connection which I have at my office, but with a dial-up connection (using Windows XP), there doesn?t appear to be an available option. I?ve saved mpeg files using Real Player in the past, but with Media, there is no option to ?Save File as..?. The particular files I?m looking at are asx files (I think).

Any guidance appreciated, I?m not a techie, so keep it simple please.

Many thanks
I have a question. Volume 7 - DavidHM
It's because this is what's known as 'streaming media'

The deal is that, although they don't mind you seeing the video, they want to control the distribution, which they couldn't do if you could save it to disk and then host on another website, upload via file sharing, or give to friends on CD.

Sorry, no way around it, although broadband is getting more affordable so it might be time to take the plunge.
Off topic: Video Cards! - martin
gonna get chastised for this one, it's not really anything to do with motoring, but then again I can't play Grand Theft Auto III on my PC unless i get a good card. Can anyone help? I want something that will not be out of date in 12 months time, also i want to be able to watch DVD's on the TV via a cable from a video out source on the graphics card, is this possible?

many thanks and tale between the legs!!!!!

Off topic: Video Cards! - DavidHM
I imagine it'll be moved to the "I have a question" thread before long, but until it is I'll respond with more questions for you.

What is the processor speed of the PC?
How much RAM does it have?
How old is the PC? Specifically, what kind of AGP slot does it have?

When you've spent money on all of that, you might find that it'd be cheaper to get a Playstation 2 and use it with the TV instead, although of course there might be reasons why that's not as convenient?

Yes, it is possible to connect a card to the TV, but this feature will add about a tenner to the cost. You also need to buy a separate cable, have the PC located in the right room and set up properly, and given that you can buy a perfectly serviceable DVD player in Richer Sounds for £59.99, or just play them off a Playstation, I'd do that instead. In fact, I just have.
Off topic: Video Cards! - martin
it's a 1.3 Ghz Athlon with 512 ram on a P3 motherboard. And to be honest if pushing the image across onto the TV will be a problem, i'd just like a juicy graphics card instead. What about a Geforce or something that can handle the action of GTA III no probs as well as Quake ect. I can run all this software already, but it aint up at high resolution and is a little blocky/stuttery etc...

Off topic: Video Cards! - Jonathan {p}
if you want something that won't be out of date in 12 months and can play dvd's on the tv, i suggest you but a playstation2.

Off topic: Video Cards! - smokie
I'm using a fairly old GEForce video card on a P800 with 515 RAM which manages some pretty heavy duty games (Medal of Honor right now) adequately.

I haven't looked around much recently but CCL Computers (i use 'e, regularly) have a range of NVidia cards with TV Out from about £38 to £145. Even the bottom spec ones are better than mine...

DVD players for the PC are anything from £31 - £58 for the PC.


Why ayone would want to buy a PlayStation when they already own a computer already is beyond me.
While on the subject of computers - PhilW
I bet there is a really simple solution to these but I'm blowed if I can find them.
When I switch on my computer it has started to dial up my internet connection (Freeserve Anytime) automatically even when I don't want it - how do I stop it doing that? Secondly, whenever I click on one of my favourites it always brings up the last viewed page of that site (eg BBc weather this morning brought up Friday's forecast not Saturday's) so that I constantly have to "refresh".(Strangely enough Honest John is the only site this doesn't happen on!) Obviously it's OK if I clean out all the past Internet pages stored by Explorer (cache?)but it's a pain doing this constantly then having to enter all user names, passwords etc. Why has it suddenly started doing this and what's the (simple!!) solution?
Thanks in advance
While on the subject of computers - HF
One or two others had this dial-up problem recently I think, Phil, and IIRC it was due to them having recently installed a new version of ZoneAlarm. The only way that they got rid of the problem was to uninstall the new programme and return to the old version.
While on the subject of computers - Peter D
Try www.Annoyances.org
While on the subject of computers - Robin
Re. Autodialing. It was me who brought this up last time so here is the solution as posted then by M.B.

In Internet Explorer, click on Tools,Internet Options, select Connections tab; and make sure that of the three "radi button" options for dialling your connection the MIDDLE one is NOT SELECTED (middle one says "dial whenever a connection is not present"). Either of the other 2 will do - I use the top one (Never dial a connection)

For your other niggle you should again go to Internet Options, General and click on the button marked Settings on the Temporary Internet Files option. On tthe option 'Check for newer versions of Interent pages; select the top button, marked 'Every visit to the page'

NB this is for Windows 98SE.
While on the subject of computers - PhilW
Thanks for those tips all. Will try them and let you know - on "Options, general, settings " mine was set to "never" check for newer versions , so that probably explains why I was having to refresh continually.
While on the subject of computers - king arthur
Why is this forum's clock still on Daylight Saving Time? Or has that been asked before, sorry, I'm new around here.
While on the subject of computers - Dynamic Dave
Why is this forum's clock still on Daylight Saving Time?

While on the subject of computers - lezebre
You call it "Daylight Saving Time"?

king, I bet you remember when Autogas fuel meant cars running around with a great big inflated bag on the roof, and at night with most of the headlamps blacked out.

Anyway, the forum isn't on what you call it, it never budges from the standard GMT.

And, although I'm not 'one of the lads' here, Welcome to the BR!
Microsoft messenger - PLS
Does anyone know how to remove "Microsoft Messenger". I do not use it yet annoyingly it boots up every time I log onto the web.

I can find no 'uninstall' and trying to delete using Norton cleansweep or just using 'delete' brings the message that it is a protected file.

Any advice on how to safely uninstall would be appreciated.

Many thanks
Microsoft messenger - Robin
I don't have this prog running so am guessing how it could be removed. Goto to Control Panel and select Add/Remove programs. Select the Windows Setup option. You should find Messenger in there somewhere. De-select it and it should trouble you no more. This is how you can remove or add new parts of Windows.
Microsoft messenger - frostbite
If Robin's suggestion doesn't work, you may be able to stop it running by going to Start> Run> type msconfig then click on Startup and see if it's on the list - if so, untick the box.

Next time you start up it will not.

Otherwise, it sounds like a DOS job to get rid of it.
Microsoft messenger - Dynamic Dave
Does anyone know how to remove "Microsoft Messenger".

With Messenger running; goto the Tools menu - click on the "General" tab and remove the tick from the "Run Messenger when windows starts"

Also Open Outlook Express and again goto the Tools menu, On the "General" tab page, make sure there isn't a tick in the "Automatically log onto Windows Messenger"
Microsoft messenger - PLS
Does anyone know how to remove "Microsoft Messenger".

The 'Outlook Express' solution worked. The crafty people at Microsoft don't seem to allow it to be deleted from the add/remove programs.

Thanks to everyone who replied.
I have a question. Volume 7 - Mark (RLBS)
Pulling the volumes together
I have a question. Volume 7 - Mark (RLBS)
pulling the voluems together.

Value my car