I have a question. Volume 11 - Mark (RLBS)

This thread is full, locked and has been replaced by volume 12

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 11. Previous Volumes will not be deleted.
Steve's boiler (cont'd from Vol. 10) - Onetap
?Should the overheat button 'pop out' when triggered??

Commercial boilers have at least two thermostats, a conventional thermostat with an exposed adjustment dial and a manual-reset high-limit thermostat which usually has the adjustment dial concealed under a cover to prevent tampering. The high-limit is a safety device that should only operate if something has failed and allowed the boiler to over-heat. They have a button that will pop-out. It will lockout the boiler until pushing the button manually resets it. This is supposed to alert the operator to the fact that there has been a potentially dangerous incident.

I?m not certain what safety devices this domestic boiler should have. You need to get the manuals to find out the function of the device you have been resetting and what the ?pop-out? button device does. Is this a sealed heating system, and are there any over-pressure/under-pressure lock-out devices on the boiler? Does the manual specify a by-pass pipe, to ensure flow through the boiler at all times, and, if so, have you got one? The boiler control thermostat might be set too high; 82 degC is the maximum setting usually required.

I suspect that, since the boiler seems to be over-sized for it?s application, that the burner is usually being turned off by the boiler?s thermostat; the pump will then continue running. However, once the thermostat on the hot water cylinder reaches it?s set-point, it is probably turning off the burner and the pump simultaneously. The over-heat device may then trip out due to ?heat-soak?. IF this is the problem, you can obtain run-on relays for the pump, which will allow it to run for 1 or 2 minutes after the burner has switched off, to dissipate the heat remaining in the cast iron heat exchanger..
I have a question. Volume 11 - CM

All my icons seem to move around by themselves. I have had this problem before and it was down to a virus. Does anyone know what this is and what to look for?

I have a question. Volume 11 - HF
This happens to us sometimes, and seems to occur after my children have been using a certain internet site. There are a number of viruses that cause this to happen, and I'm afraid I don't know the name, but running a virus scan should find and heal it for you.
I have a question. Volume 11 - Dynamic Dave
All my icons seem to move around by themselves.

Waht operating system you using? If Win95/98/ME, then right click on an empty space on your desktop, from the drop down menu select "Arrange Icons" with the left mouse button. Another sub menu appears, make sure the "Auto Arrange" is unticked.
I have a question. Volume 11 - eMBe {P}
Icons: Once you have removed any virus, I suggest you install "IconLock" freeware software. Search on google will bring it up.
While you are at it, look up "Magic Folders" as well - this will help you keep your private folders/documents hidden from your kids.

eM.Be. # Note: {P} means I am DECLARING that my profile can be viewed.
I have a question. Volume 11 - CM
The OS is Win98

Autolock is on already and they still re-arrange themselves

Is there a specific virus to look for (ie do you have a name?)
I have a question. Volume 11 - Dynamic Dave
The OS is Win98
Autolock is on already and they still re-arrange themselves

CM, if you re-read my message, I said to untick the option. ie, turn it off!! I suspect this is why they are re-arranging themselves as some icons are loading quicker than other ones when you boot up - hence the quicker ones are arranging themselves into places that are normally taken up with other icons that you have manually placed there previously.
I have a question. Volume 11 - CM

You're right - I misread your message. I have unticked the option and presume that all will be well. If not I'll go the more technical ways and download something.

virus? - Icons rearranging - eMBe {P}
CM: re icnos - have a look at



let us know if that works.

eM.Be. # Note: {P} means I am DECLARING that my profile can be viewed.
Popups - blank
Firstly, I am not talking about what I used to think of as popups! When visiting sites like Parkers or the Telegraph, I am used to adverts for L*ndr*ver and other rubbish popping up, but this is something else.
These are windows which look like Windows error messages (hope this is a useful description!), but contain tempting offers of Russian or American ladies looking for men, ways to make a pile of cash and the latest one for software to stop popups!(the cheek!). They pop up at seemingly random intervals, whenever I am on the net.
Does anyone know how to rid my PC of this problem?

Popups - blank
Oops, I have just re-read my post. I didn't mean to slag off all Landrover products, only Fr**l*nder! ;-))
Popups - Godfrey H {P}
What operating system do you have on your PC Andy? Your problem sounds like you may be using Windows XP in which case you need to disable Windows Messenger. You should also be running a reputable anti-virus scanner on your PC. Another type of annoyance which you may have is advertising material dumped on your system by web sites and emails. This is not a virus but is known as ad-ware and can also compromise your privacy. A free tool for removing these is Ad-aware which can be found at:

Godfrey H
Popups - Altea Ego
Andy - this is a messenger back door loop hole. sub 7 trojan i think. You need a firewall to stop it
Popups - SpamCan61 {P}
I was also fed up with unsolicited popups; so ahve started using the 'Opea' browser rather than IE5.5. This has much better user - adjustable filtering of popups.
Popups - Kuang
If you get popups like that, there's a chance you have some spyware on your machine.

rough definition: software that sends information out about your computer usage without your consent and/or carries out a destructive or intrusive function other than that for which it was installed, or cookies that allow companies to track your internet usage.

The most common forms of spyware come in the form of Kazaa, Gator, Bonzi Buddy, and Time Manager. It's also quite easy to contract spyware (and viruses) from screensavers, and installs from other programs. There's recently been a trend towards webpages asking you to install components which turn out to be malicious. Bonzi Buddy tends to target kids, because its a cute purple gorilla that larks about on the desktop - unfortunately, it's monitoring your email and internet use and providing details to subscribing companies so they can target you with spam. The golden rule is never to install anything unless you're absolutely sure of its origin.

Adaware is a great piece of free software for dealing with spyware - you can get it from www.adaware.com/ - it'll scan your machine, give you a list of everything suspect, and allow you to safely remove anything you don't like the look of.

Viruses are a while different ballgame - I'd recommend getting a copy of AVG antivirus from www.grisoft.com - this is again absolutely free, and I'd say its on a par with Norton. The installation is simple and updates are regular and usually quite quick to download. I put this on all of my machines, and it hasn't failed yet.

For broadband users and also the truly paranoid (and lets face it, you have a right to be in the current climate), grab a free copy of Zonealarm from www.zonelabs.com - this is a firewall that sits quietly in the background of you PC and informs you of any attempts by people to hack in or, more crucially, any attempts by software installed on your computer to use your internet connection without your consent. This is really handy, as viruses and spyware are ineffective if they can't get out through your connection. Zonealarm will quite happily allow you to set which programs are allowed to connect (usually your internet browsers, personal messaging software, and email program), which have to ask your permission, and which ones should never be allowed out (eg: don't let windows media player dial out, as it cheekily sends out all sorts of personal stuff back to Microsoft). If you just want a quiet life you can install Zonealarm, and tell it never to warn you about intrusion attempts - it'll merrily chug along protecting the machine without you ever having to worry about it.

Happy hunting :)

Popups - Kuang
Oh, and while I remember - if you're really bugged by website popups it might be worth grabbing a freebie copy of the Opera web browser - it has facilities to block popups, but will allow any popus you actually *ask* for (eg: the preview facility on this forum). It's also far more stable than Nutscrape, and a damn sight faster than Internet Explorer. It also has a superb zoom function for people with limited visibility, and includes a mailreader and email client.

Bargain :)
Popups - Focus {P}
Another useful free tool is Spybot Search & Destroy from security.kolla.de/

MS Windows june2003 Update - eMBe {P}
Since some of you are recommending using browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer, it is worth noting that a new threat has been discovered which affects anyone who has Microsoft IE on their computer EVEN IF they do not use it as their broowser! Microsoft says:
" ... an attacker could run programs on a computer used to view the attacker's Web site. This vulnerability affects computers that have Microsoft® Internet Explorer installed. (You do not have to be using Internet Explorer as your Web browser to be affected by this issue.)..."

Install the June 2003 critical update issued by Microsoft at
eM.Be. # Note: {P} means I am DECLARING that my profile can be viewed.
Popups - blank
Thanks for all the useful replies. I'll have a go at home - it's that PC that is the problem

Popups - OAP

Attention: Kuang.

I thought your post, above, was particularly interesting. I am a Silver Surfer with limited understanding of all things PC so may I explain that I have got Norton Systemworks and Firewall...and ask you (or any other Backroomer) whether there would be any point in me adding 'Adaware' to my system...or do you think that the Norton products are doing all that 'Adaware' would do?
Popups - Kuang
I'd say that adaware is a very useful addition to any system. The problem is that spyware in its program form isn't technically a virus, so Norton Antivirus won't pick it up. Indeed, most spyware is authorised by the user (even if its just clicking 'ok' to a question without stopping to consider what you're really being asked). Norton firewall is responsible for detecting hacking attempts to your computer (Ingress attacks), but I'm not sure how well it detects outgoing unauthorised use (Egress attacks) from sources such as spyware. It's definitely better than nothing though.

Adaware is useful because it will not only track down programs that carry out unpleasant naughtiness in the background, but will also remove certain internet cookies that are there to allow collaborating sites to track your browsing habits.

Cookie: Small text file that is placed on your computer by a website in order to store a personal set of preferences for when you return - storing your username for Hotmail would be a good example, as would a site that remembers which news stories you've read.

This in itself isn't really a security risk for the most part, although there are a few rare circumstances where it can get iffy. Most cookies are perfectly useful and legitimate, and just go about their business, but a lot of people take exception to the few that effectively leave a whacking great 'papertrail' behind you across the net. As always, this is largely a privacy issue.

Its also worth remembering that it's perfectly possible to have software that carries out the same function as spyware, but does so legitimately. Remember that long spiel just before you install something? The 'I agree to the conditions' bit that everyone skips? Well, that's where the details of the softwares activities will be so it's often worth a read. You can decide whether or not the usefulness of the software is enough to offset the potential intrusion to your privacy. As always, caution is the key thing.

In summary, I'd say that attacks of the security of your PC and also on your personal rights are becoming more subtle and sophisticated over time, so the more tools you can get to protect yourself, the better! Besides, having a clean, optimised machine with no nasty software dragging the performance down is reward enough in itself ;)
Popups - DavidHM
I actually have both AdAware and Search & Destroy on my system. I'm pretty switched on to spyware, I hope, and try to avoid it, but I'm also not good at ratcheting up the security (what security?) in IE because I find it interferes with legitimate sites.

While AdAware is excellent for cleaning up the problem, Search & Destroy actually stops spyware from entering the system as well so maybe a belt and braces approach would be a good idea, particularly for those who automatically click OK to every suggestion coming from the computer.

One thing it won't do though is get rid of an annoying pop up that seems to be hardwired into my registry somewhere as it opens every 10 browsers or so advertising a "system performance wizard" or similar. It seems to have no relevance to the site I am actually on and is always the same. Any idea?
Popups - Mark (RLBS)
Have you thought about searching your registry for something illogical ?
Popups - DavidHM
Yes, but then I thought that the registry name only has to be indentifiable to the original programmer of whatever software introduced the pop up - so I have no idea what to begin looking with.
Popups - Mark (RLBS)
Have a look. You frequently find that there is a reference which somehow looks wrong to the eye, or it seems that it should have been blank.

We normally find most of them just by looking at them.

Alternatively, dump the registry to a file, mail it to me, and I'll tell you which one it is. (Actually, I'll ask one of my guys to tell me, since they're better at it).
Popups - HF
Apologies if I've missed it elsewhere on the thread, but where can I get Search and Destroy from?

Also, I have AdAware, but when it lists its 'suspect' files, I never know whether to delete them or not, because from the file names given, I cannot tell what they are (it lists hundreds of them so I can't go through and individually check them all). Could it be trying to delete valid files, or does it really only list ads?
Popups - Kuang
ISTR that Adaware splits the suspect file list into program and cookie categories - cookies can be deleted with no problems whatsoever, but if you're getting hundreds of entries in the programs part, there might be a serious problem.

Generally, look for names you recognise - most will be software you're aware of (Kazaa comes up a lot, as do Bonzi Buddy and Gator). It's usually better to make a note of these, see if they're in the 'installed programs' list and uninstall them yourself. You'll then have to re-run Adaware to pick up any components that have been left behind.
Popups - HF
Thanks Kuang, I'll give that a go. If I'm remembering correctly there are loads of names I don't recognise - but I'll take a look and come back with any probs.
Popups - Mark (RLBS)
Kuang is probably right, but I have to say that way back when I installed adaware it found loads of stuff and I let it delete it all. It never gave me a problem.
Popups - HF
Hmm - well it throws up loads of files/programmes that I know are valid ones - I think. For example it even lists MSN as suspicious. And I have no idea of what a lot of the programmes are. I think I'd better leave well alone.
Popups - Robin
You can get Search and Destroy from
Just type search and destroy in the search bar on the downloads.com site and it comes right up. It is a 3.5Mb file.

It is currently downloading as I type this so I have no idea how easy it is to use etc.
Popups - Kuang
The other possibility (if the popup content is coming from a site rather than from the PC itself) is to right click the popup, choose 'view source' if it'll let you, make a note of the URL the contained information came from, and then run a registry search for a part of that URL (usually just the first part of the domain name does it).
Popups - Altea Ego
Word of advice here for anyone looking at this and mucking about in the registry - back it up first please.
Popups - Technoprat {P}
Another solution would be to throw the PC away and invest in an AppleMac. Totally immune to PC viruses. There are a few Mac compatible viruses around, but very few.
Popups - THe Growler
I also have this problem and have all the goodies Ad-AWare, BulletProof etc. Try RegCleaner 4.3 (free) from tinyurl.com/e81k

It has a non-techie interface and you'll be surprised at what sneaks in there despite your efforts. It's easy to recognise what shouldn't be there and zap it, since it labels new reg entries as such so you can ask yourself should that be there or not. YOu don't have to do that scary drilling down theorugh your reg that you get with Regedit, where everything look slike gooble-do-gook.

At the same time you get a back up of anything you delete in case you messed up. It also runs a check on those orphaned DLL's which get left behind from old software and help to deliver you into the land of BSOD. You need to do it every few days or so, especially if you have DSL and leave your PC on for long periods (stuff creeps in while you're not looking).

PC Cleaner bernatbozzo.tripod.com/ is also useful. The phone company tech when he puts in your DSL here runs that as SOP to clean out your system.

THe other thing I do is simply pull up the cookies file now and then and zap everything that looks like it shouldn't be there. Worst case is I lose a few auto log-ins to sites but no big deal.
Window Washer will do that for you but you have to pay for it, and when it comes to this stuff I'm a Cheap Charlie. If Microsoft wrote decent software all of this could be built in.

My browsers are Mozilla and Opera (new Opera 7.1.1 just out). Mozilla especially seems to manage these things better and it's so much faster than IE. Opera is nice and sleek and I love the way it manages multiple windows but (no idea why) you can't log on to the BR from it.

Popups - Mark (RLBS)
As a general rule you should never leave your PC switched on and connected to a DSL line. If you can't be bothered to keep powering up & down, then pull out the DSL cable when you're not using it.
Popups - THe Growler
>>As a general rule you should never leave your PC switched on and connected to a DSL line.

...but how else would I get the music for my CD collection? ;*0
Popups - HF
Well this is strange - ever since I put the {P} on my name, read posts are coming up as new, and new posts are coming up as read. Anyway, thanks to Robin for the info - am currently downloading it myself now too. And then I'm going to download Growler's suggestions too - I will shortly have the most protected PC in the world, I think. By the way, what is DSL? Does that mean broadband?
Popups - Robin
A couple of things I have already noticed about Search and Destroy

1. It outs an icon on your desktop which is a shortcut to the program. If you use this shortcut you get a basic version of the prog. If you start it from Explorer (or make your own shortcut) you get the full version. The automatically created shortcut has a command line switch to put you into 'easymode'. Mind you, the 'full' version has loads of gobbledegook settings in it.

2. I ran Adaware and got no problems. I then ran S&D and it found about 10 naughties. Looks like it is more thorough than Adaware?
Another computer question - Robin
How can I stop programs enabling themselves to load when I start my PC. Let me explain: I have a program called Window Washer which removes all the detritus that surfing the WWW leaves on a PC. Whenever I use the prog it changes something somewhere on my PC so that it automatically loads next time I switch on. I use msconfig to disable and enable things at startup but WW seems able to enable itself. So does Quicktime.

So, is there a way to stop a program enabling itself.
Additionally, when using msconfig there is a list of items to select - how can I edit this list so that stuff I no longer use does not even appear on the list? Hope this makes sense.

Another computer question - Kuang
Some programs allow you to right click the tray icon and deselect \'open at startup\' (or similar). Others have that option in the preferences, if you trawl deeply enough. Because there are quite a few places where programs can be started from - from the registry, the startup folder in the start menu, the system files - its always best to try to get the program to sort otself out rather than forcing it.

As for the second issue - the startup items that show up in msconfig are stored in a couple of specific places in the registry. When you untick one, it gets moved across to a different part of the registry specifically for disabled items. Active startup items can be found at:



WHen you untick an item it shifts to the equivalent folder of the bottom two.



If you untick a box in msconfig, and then delete the entry from the lower registry key, it\'ll vanish for good (unless the program reinstates the key, in which case you have to ask it nicely not to, or find an alternative piece of software).

FInally, remember never to fiddle with the registry unless you\'re confident and, as renault family rightly says, back it up first.
Another computer question - Robin
"FInally, remember never to fiddle with the registry unless you're confident and, as renault family rightly says, back it up first."

Thanks for the info Kuang. As a result of your warning and the info given about the registry keys I will leave well alone. I played around with the registry once - never again!
Another computer question - THe Growler
YOu are talking WIN SE or ME I take it.

The startup tab on msconfig should normally do the trick but unchecking Quicktime however doesn't work. It is a menace and it annoys the hell out of me too the way it keeps resurrecting itself. The only way to get rid of it (that I've found)permanently is uninstall it. Configure your File Types to use Media Player for the stuff QT normally plays, so if you click on a bit of video it doesn't automatically look for QT and then install it if it can't find it.

I use Window Washer 4.7 too (I think there is a later one but not sure). Just load WW from the Programs Menu and up comes Washer Settings. Choose Wash Options and make sure the "Load WW at Startup" is unchecked. If the Startup config isn't loading it and you haven't taken the option for it to load itself I don't see why it should be a problem.

Above on another post I recommended RegCleaner 4.3. It's a free safe easy to use utility in non-tech language that will show you the junk sitting in your registry without the need for you to go drilling down through Microsoft gobble-de-gook. You can zap anything you don't likle the look of in the knowledge it makes a backup if you get something wrong. Run RegCleaner and you'll be amazed what's sitting on that disk. Old DLL's, invalid or unwanted reg entries, all sorts of junk. It has helped me deal with some of the types of issues you mention.


Another computer question - Robin

Thanks for that - I think a big Homeresque Doh! is in order. I didn't think to check if Window Washer had a setting to stop this happening. Doh. Doh. Doh.

I have WW v4.5 - must look out for v4.7. Where did you get it?

Another computer question - THe Growler

No worries, it's easy to overlook this stuff. www.webroot.com is where you get WW. I bought 4.7 well over a year ago following one of those 30 day trial things. I do like it. But not enough to upgrade yet again to the latest! 4.7 seems to cope admirably and it's worth going to the site and getting the WW add-on plug-ins which will work with various softwares. For example there are plug-ins to wipe your Google search history (always a good idea hehe, one for Opera and Irfanview etc etc.

My only problem with it is the way it handles cookies. You get a list of what's there and you are invited to select keepers. OK so you see you already have your Honestjohn BR cookie saved so you zap what seems to be an extra one in the "new" column. Lo, next time you try and log on to the BR it's lost your record.

Otherwise good.

Another computer question - THe Growler
>>> 2. I ran Adaware and got no problems. I then ran S&D and it found about 10 naughties. Looks like it is more thorough than Adaware?

Missed this one earlier. You are probably running the free demo AdAware which doesn't do the whole job.

Finally O/T and this is to everyone but something somebody put me on to yesterday: an on-line virus check facility is worth a look at www.panda.com. It's free and seems pretty quick off the mark. Bugbear.B is the current Top of The Pops.
Another computer question - Robin
I guess you could be right. It was probably a free download or a free trial which got 'extended' but it does claim to have over 7000 signatures. anyway, Search and Destroy is now my spyware remover.
Another computer question - HF
Growler - I can't find a virus check facility at www.panda.com - could you give us an extra pointer please?
Another computer question - THe Growler
Apologies, HF. Correct URL is www.pandasoftware.com/
Another computer question - HF
Another computer question - glowplug
Hi all,

To stop intrusions I would recommend Zonealarm. There's a free version but if you buy the Pro version then there's also a popup stopper. I don't use antivirus software at home, I depend on Zonealarm to control the internet surfing and I'm very careful what discs I put in the machine. If you just want to stop the popups then try out pop up stopper from Panicware.com, also freeware. This works well on my work machine where a firewall already protects the network from intrusions.

As for icons that move around and other such things, it may be worth checking if multiple user profiles are in use.

Another computer question - THe Growler
Try Sygate Personal Firewall also -- www.sygate.com.

My phone company recommends this as its standard when it hooks us up to broadband. Works well and very unobtrusive.
Another computer question - HF
Am I right in thinking that pop-ups are a major source of income to free sites like this one? And if so, aren't we all cutting off our noses to spite our faces by stopping them?
Another computer question - Kuang
I gather that the income often comes from click-through revenue - the site has no idea whether or not you've viewed it, but should you click it to show interest then the popup uniquely identifies the hosting site and the money is transferred to the hosting account automatically. Wit this in mind, stopping the popup is just the same as closing it when it opens.

Personally I find popups extremely annoying in the same way I find junkmail annoying - I din't ask to see it and I don't want it to interfere with my viewing of the information I *did* ask for. I have no issues, therefore, in sending them to digital limbo ;)
Another computer question - HF
I understand that, and they annoy me too. But there has been talk of a serious lack of funding on this site recently, and by ignoring any pop-ups here we would be contributing to that problem. So purely to help this site in any small way possible, I would make a point of clicking on any pop-ups that might appear here.
Another computer question - Mark (RLBS)
We would be very grateful if you could visit as many of the links we have as you can, and preferably as often as you can.

It is measured, and such little revenue as we have depends upon it. We have a truly huge amount of visitors here, maybe 40 times the amount of contributors, yet only a tiny fraction ever click through to elsewhere.

And, or course, if you use anyone recommended from here, whether by us or any contributor, you would also help us by telling them where you got their name.

Right now I\'m down to a half-pint of shandy and a marmite sandwich once a year for my work. I strangely miss the anticipation of the dodgy ploughmans and a pint.
Another computer question - Dynamic Dave
Right now I'm down to a half-pint of shandy and a
marmite sandwich once a year for my work.

Which is more than I've had so far. I haven't had so much as a sniff of a beer mat, let alone a shandy!!
HJ and this site - DR
[meaningless drivel deleted]

I don\'t quite know what your sly inferences and snide comments were supposed to mean, but if you have a question, ask it.

I did not like the tone of your note at all. It was without merit by virtually any standard. I am not sure if it was supposed to be clever or you were trying to be mean, either way it is not welcome.

I am undecided as to whether or not you are welcome at this point. I suspect you to be a troublemaker and unlikely to add value.

I await your next \"contribution\" to help me decide.

HJ and this site - Mark (RLBS)
Actually I realise I have decided.

HJ and this site - Blue {P}
Thanks Mark, I wasn't sure which way to take his little contribution in the damaged paintwork thread!

Big Rant about Engineering... - Epic 80
Why are Engineers not recognised by the public today as professionals?

I was really fuming (quietly) today in the bank when the manager asked "hmm design engineer, is that a mechanic?"

Why does everyone call themselves an "engineer" today, if they fix washing machines, or mend cars or install heating systems?

To be an "Engineer" you need now to have a Masters Degree and several years experience in a position of responsibility. Engineers design and devlop products, everything we see around us, from car engines to fizzy pop bottles. Who do they think come up with these things? Martians?

How many times do doctors get asked "oh so you cut hair then?" or barristers "how many did you arrest in your uniform today?" What is it with Engineering!

Opinions please, you must all be guilty of saying at some point " oh the telephone doesn't work, best call an engineer round....."
Big Rant about Engineering... - Aprilia
I have BSc, MSc, PhD in Engineering and MBA (business qualification). I work mainly as an engineering consultant (in the automotive, and other, industries) and also get involved in training engineers and popularising engineering. I am currently talking to a BBC producer about a new 'prime-time' series, to be filmed later this year, based around engineering which will follow teams of engineers working on new products.

Despite (or perhaps, because of) my involvement in these things I remain convinced the the UK is 'finished' as an engineering nation. Most of our manufacturing has been 'exported' and the design work is now following suit. Many universities are now closing their engineering and science departments and they will never be reopened.
I regularly work overseas (EU, e.g. BMW) and the attitudes there are totally different.

The average British person is totally disinterested in engineering and lacks any semblance of technical nous - this is in complete contrast to, for example, the Germans who are generally much better educated, more knowledgable about technical things and far less snobbish. In the UK to admit you know what goes on under the bonnet of a car is to admit to belonging to the lower social orders - 'important' people don't trouble their heads with things like that.

This, of course, has been going on for many years and it will not change in my lifetime. To any bright youngsters I would say, 'stay out of the technical/scientific professions'. Medicine, law, accountancy, will provide a much better future for you. If you really are interested in engineering and technology then emigrate.
Big Rant about Engineering... - t.g.webb
One of the underpinnings of a engineering education has to be a good knowledge of, and feeling for, mathematics. Modern computer packages for design are impressive and essential but are misplaced in the hands of someone who hasn't a feel for the simple model of the situation. The more the politicians have mucked about with education the less impressive have been the results. I was never happier than when I taught mathematics to student engineers. The truly gifted will acquire what they need, the less than meteoric student however too often just lacks the basic skills. Continental students described to me how their university courses were longer than ours by several years and included mathematics through to the final years whereas ours are usually limited to, at most, the first two years.

Many people. I'm sure would agree that, in this country, the goodies go to those qualified in medicine, law or accountancy of which the last two don't do much for the human condition.

I've just realised I haven't mentioned automotive engineering once - whoops.
Big Rant about Engineering... - Epic 80
My main gripe is that the neither the Government nor the professional institutions so absolutely nothing to promote engineering as a profession with professional status.

Taking Germany for example, you are simply NOT allowed to call yourself an engineer if you are a mechanic, technician, repairman, plumber etc.

Remember the old chestnut about housewives being called "domestic engineers" under the political correctness fad......

As a side note, I do agree with you t.g.webb about the lack of fundamental knowledge of graduates at the moment, the number of interviewees that cannot calculate a spring rate from a graph of force-extension is absolutely astounding (ca. 50%)!
Big Rant about Engineering... - Steve G
If the proposed changes to tuition fees go ahead then engineering degrees will dissappear completely. Engineering courses have longer hours and require more time than other degrees. Its likely potential students will shun engineering courses due to cost as well as its poor image.
I started a electronics engineering degree but simply could not afford to stay at Uni so 'dropped out' after 8 months.
The friends i made in this short time are now struggling to find jobs even with good degrees behind them. Most have gone into IT which has little to do with engineering.
An article in a well known engineering magazine really summed up British attitudes to engineering. The public were asked the following question:
Q:Name a famous engineer
The most common answer....
A:Kevin Webster (the mechanic from Coronation street!!!)

When did engineering become so unfashionable ??
Big Rant about Engineering... - Epic 80
i was hoping to see if any non-engineers might be able to give a reason for why they think we are all mechanics, TV and washing machine repairmen etc?

Anyone out there out there a tradesperson repairing boilers got "Heating Engineer" on their van? Any electicians who list themselves as "electrical engineers" in the yellow pages? Any builders who call themselves "civil Engineers"? Why do you do it?
Big Rant about Engineering... - andymc {P}
So when BT send someone out to install a new line, the little card that says "our engineer will call with you between 10.00 and 12.00" is inaccurate in all senses?
Big Rant about Engineering... - Epic 80
yes totally. The dude who calls and comes to fix the system is a technician

The engineer is the chap who designed and implemented the network. Will be the person who decides what is needed for the telephone system to cope with broadband etc. ie mainly a desk and suit job. Not the guy with the van and tools
Big Rant about Engineering... - Jonathan {p}
I am a scientist and work very closely with engineers (civils, m&e, structures) and used to work for a multinational engineering company. In my opinion, one is not an engineer unless you are chartered (CEng or similar). That is the only mark of someone who has demonstrated to his peers that he is "qualified".

Big Rant about Engineering... - Epic 80
i couldn't agree more!
Big Rant about Engineering... - Observer
This subject has been popping up in the engineeering journals all my time.

In my view one thing is, Chartered Engineers do not usually render any direct service to the public, unlike at least some members of most professions (and all of the oldest!) and so they have little idea of what it means to be one. It is difficult to see what more might be done than has already been tried.

Personally, I shut up about C. Eng and MIEE: somebody would ask for advice on rewiring their house or want a free fix for something!
Big Rant about Engineering... - Aprilia
True enough, but how many people know that? In my experience even company directors can be ignorant of the implications of Chartered status and few will want to pay extra for the privilege of employing Chartered engineers. They want someone to do the job as cheaply as possible; ONC/D HNC/D BSc/BEng - its all the same to them.

Another factor we have now is that there are large numbers of engineers coming into the country from overseas (largely Middle East, India/Pakistan and China). They are usually willing to work for much lower wages than a 'home' applicant and that is depressing engineering pay in some sectors. I believe that the same is happening in IT.
Big Rant about Engineering... - Amin_{p}
I wouldn?t be so quick to jump to the conclusion that a certificate automatically denotes the engineer status. I have a B.Eng, M.Sc and a Ph.D. in Advanced Control Systems Engineering ( well, I am sure this will get some noses up, but they say control is the mother of all engineering). BUT I DO NOT call myself an engineer. Let me elaborate. Engineering in essence is about solving a given problem, in an ?optimal? manner, where of course optimal may take many forms (cheapest, quickest and so on ). In many cases the ?experience? which an engineer collects through his day to day work will put him in a better position than the person who knows the ins and outs of the theory. For example my first degree was in electronics. I could tell you in astonishing detail how the computer works, how the CPU is built, what does the ALU do and even to tell you in great detail how the transistors are made using doping in silicone or molecular beam epitaxy or for that matter any one of other techniques, BUT if someone gives me a computer with a faulty mother board, I have no clue what to do. Similarly as part of my work now, I am working on the control systems of high performance gas-turbine engines, of the type used in the Eurofighter Typhoon and whose ancestor is the Rolls-Royce Spey engine found in the F-4 and the Fokker, and again, although I know the ins and outs of the engine and how it works and how to design the multi-loop controllers, IF someone gives me a real one of these with a problem, I am lost. I think nowadays engineering is more about theoretical than practical knowledge and this is the reason many companies now prefer to recruit people with no degrees at all and to train them for their need. In addition, increasingly engineering is becoming multi-disciplinary in its nature (control engineers learn thermodynamics, mechanical engineers learn electronics, ?. And all of the have to learn managements and corporate finance!!  ) which means the subject is becoming even more abstract and theoretical. I dare anyone who could show me a fresh engineering graduate who can actually fix anything, never mind design anything that works. This problem is of course not helped in this country by the very weak link which exists between the universities and the industry, unlike for example Japan. So to wrap up, I don?t agree at all that a person without a certificate cannot be called an engineers and equally that anyone who has a certificate should. Engineering is about possessing a certain kind of problem solving mentality, not possessing stamped papers. Best wishes to you all - Amin

PS. This very topic is now hotly debated both in the IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers) and the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers)
Big Rant about Engineering... - Epic 80
My problem is not within the Engineering industry, it's outside. As it's been said above, I hate it when it's assumed by 9 out o 10 people, that an Engineer is the man who fixes the washing machine or mends the phone. The fact that i CAN fix a washing machine is neither here nor there, it's just annoying when for example a bank manager of all people says Engineer? oh that's a mechanic right? and you have to explain that it's under professional, no really it is..
Big Rant about Engineering... - Dynamic Dave
Not much of a motoring discussion going on here. This will get moved to the current "I have a question" thread later.
Big Rant about Engineering... - Observer
>>The fact that i CAN fix a washing machine is neither here nor there

Well, I don't know; if it's not actually your job and you have no cover, in the current litigious world I'd suggest you stick to tinkering with your own one!

Same applies to cars.
Big Rant about Engineering... - Jonathan {p}

Surely the best way to prove that you have a certain kind of problem solving mentality is to demonstrate that to your peers, who have already demonstrated it to theirs etc. I agree that a certificate isn't the be all and end all, but becoming chartered is about a lot more than a certificate, it involves a lot of very hard work, most reputable bodies do not accept time served as a guide, they want papers, demonstration of project management both practical and theory, evidence of sufficient achievement of core ccompetencies and so on.

I am obviously talking about the area that I have most knowledge (contruction and design), in which an engineer has to know and model the components, but also has to understand that practicalities also apply, like getting the damn thing to site and erected. its no use knowing what size of ac units to use in a turnkey office facility if the structures design hasn't incorporated sufficient ducting for all the correct sized pipe to fit.

Big Rant about Engineering... - Rebecca {P}
Interesting thread...

My Husband does indeed repair boilers, working for a household name multinational. When he was taken on his job title was Heating Services Engineer (has no formal qualifications although accredited by OFTEC). Last week he received some business cards and it appears he is now a Heating Services Technician. Maybe the tide is turning?!

And why do self employed trades use 'Engineer'? Because it supposedly sounds better that's why. And if there's no regulation around it, I'm sure they will continue to do so.
Big Rant about Engineering... - Flat in Fifth
Seeing as we are about to be zapped for OT discussion I'll have my 2p on a related subject.

The value to society of various professions is all out of step these days in UK. Engineers, in the truest sense, are just one example.

Those of us who are parents bring our children into the world, nurture them, try and bring them up to be good citizens. Then we let them into the care of teachers for 6-7 hours a day, umpteen weeks a year from 3/4 yrs old until 16 or older. We are giving our most precious commodity into the care of strangers to educate them in ways we cannot ourselves achieve. So how do we treat education and the educators? Pathetically.

If I had my way teachers, lecturers and the educating profession would have their true distinguished place in society, in both remuneration and professional standing. I am so grateful that these people strive to improve the knowledge of the ungrateful population, we should be behind them and support them all the way.

Yet society rewards, amongst others a group of jumped up bookies runners in the City.

Rant over.

BTW I am not a teacher nor related to one.

Big Rant about Engineering... - Fullchat
After the last summer holidays I came to 2 conclusions.

1. Teachers should be paid double.
2. School holidays should be halved!!!!!

FiF your so right I do not think that teachers are given nearly as much recognition and support as they deserve.

But this is typical of of British Society today. "Its someone elses problem thats what I pay my taxes for."

Big Rant about Engineering... - Andrew-T
You're not quite right, FiF - the bookies' runners manage to reward themselves, along with a lucky handful who vote themselves big handouts without 'society' being able to do anything about it.
Big Rant about Engineering... - Jim M
I fully agree with all that has been said above, but Engineers do themselves no favours when it comes to promoting their proffession. From above we are still calling ourselves CEng, whether we like it or not we are in Europe and all of us should have got our act together and registered as Eur Ing. You never know maybe the EU will do something about defining Engineers.
As for UK engineering, I now work in the Far East when I can get a "bookies runner's" salary, down side is much time away from loved ones. Be aware though guys (and gals) I am working with stunning local engineers who are up with the best, there are plenty of them and they work much cheaper I would suggest that this is one of the main reasons we are being trounced by Far Eastern car manufacturers.
FiF - over here education is a privilage, teachers are held in high esteme. Education is regarded as one of the foundations of society.
BTW the only thing Clarkson has said that I agree with is his story on IK Brunell
Jim M (GMT+8)
PS spelling mistakes prove that I is an Engineer
Big Rant about Engineering...contd - THe Growler
There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired.

Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multimillion dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past.

The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated, "This is where your problem is".

The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again.

The company received a bill for £50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded briefly:

One chalk mark £1
Knowing where to put it £49,999

It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.

IE6 on Win98 - wemyss
Regarding the above I have my e-mail address set as default.
When I reply to incoming mail addressed to myself it always puts Margarets (my wife) e-mail address in the from box and I have to manually change it to my own.
When I create New Mail it puts my own in the from box as it should.
I have checked tools, accounts etc many times but cannot find why it should place margarets address in reply when the mail was addressed to me correctly.
Any ideas please...
IE6 on Win98 - glowplug
Just to add to the discussion, I read an article that said that engineers in Canada had taken to legal means to stop software engineers using the title. Obviously this produced a battle of words, the engineering side stating that anyone without the appropriate degree shouldn't use engineer in their job discription, to this the IT lot replied that some extremely famous long gone 'engineers' couldn't then be called such. I think the example used was Eiffle.

Oh well, doesn't really involve me, I'm only a technician!

Big Rant about Engineering...contd - RichardW
I'm an engineer (Chemical), but I can also fix almost anything (cars, washing machines, houses etc etc etc), and am fascinated by anthing that 'goes round or needs oil putting in it'. Does that mean I have a personality disorder (probably they all sneer - you're an engineer - oh, and I think the refrigeration cycle is amazing!).

'Rhythmic Gymnast' is a protected occupation, but engineering isn't, makes you wonder really.

I know the fitters/technicians/mechanics are not engineers, but it still gives me something to shout at the TV about - see it's that personality disorder coming through again.

Good news is that if fewer people go into engineering, there will be a shortage and our pay will go up to match the 'bookies runners' (yeah, right!) and we might get the recognition we crave.


I have a question. Volume 11 - Soupytwist
Am considering a long weekend in New York with the wife in October. Has anyone got any tips on good places to stay, places to go, how to get a cheap flight etc.

We have a budget but won?t be frightened to push the boat out for a good meal etc.


Matthew Kelly
No, not that one.
I have a question. Volume 11 - Bob the builder
Yes, Herald Square Hotel. Cheap and cheerful , very centrally located (just yards from Empire State building. Clean Nice big baths with stacks of hot water. They have a website Heraldsquarehotel.com
I have a question. Volume 11 - henry k
Am considering a long weekend in New York with the wife
in October. Has anyone got any tips on good places
to stay, places to go, how to get a cheap flight
We have a budget but won?t be frightened to push the
boat out for a good meal etc.
Matthew Kelly
No, not that one.

A few tips to start with.
Try Gray Line as it gives you a tour around and gives you a taste of the area. You can then choose which sites you may wish to revisit.


You are no longer allowed to climb up inside the Statue of Liberty.

If you want to buy cheap clothes then pack a thin sports bag in your case.

TRI band phone if you take one.

General advice.
Photocopy your passport. Take a copy with you and leave one with someone at home. Consider blowing image up to almost A4 so it will be more readable if Faxed. I believe it will smooth the replacement passport process if you loose it.

PC Build - Hairy Hat Man
I'm going to build a PC from scratch for the first time. I think I've got everything covered except how to load the operating system.

I'll have a new Hard Drive (unformatted), a floppy drive and CD drive and Windows XP on a CD. Surely, the machine needs an operating system on a bootable device (floppy or hard drive). How do you get the machine to boot for the first time when you've only got the operating system on CD?

PC Build - Hairy Hat Man
Can I answer my own question?.....

"turn on your PC at this point and hit "Delete" on your keyboard, or the other key indicated by your BIOS information screen to enter the setup utility. In this utility, look for "Boot Sequence" or "Boot Options". You may have to search around a bit to find it. If you accidentally make a change, exit without saving. Otherwise, locate the boot sequence and promote your CD-ROM drive to the primary boot device. This is just the easiest way to boot from the drive. Once you?ve done this, pop the CD-ROM drive open and insert your Windows XP Installation CD. Choose "Exit Saving Changes" or whatever option allows you to save the current settings and exit. Your PC will reboot, and you?re on your way. "

PC Build - DavidHM
Many BIOSes will actually come with the CD drive (probably actually the DVD drive, the primary IDE device on the motherboard) as the default boot disk.

Even if not, is probably also no need to change the boot priority as your hard disk won't be formatted or have a boot partition on it. Therefore the machine will have no choice but to boot from CD.

In case you are using some weird combination of BIOS and CD drive, or want to do this for an older PC, you can get one from www.bootdisk.com - pretty much any OS is covered.

Basically, my advice is to do nothing until you have finished building the machine, at which point you stick the CD in the drive and hope it works. If not, then is the time to start troubleshooting and worrying about boot disks - assuming the hardware is okay, the problem is easily solved as described here.
PC Build - smokie
HHM - Note that if the new drive is unformatted it may require a low level format before running the format command. ideally you create a boot floppy from Windows 98 (not sure XP does it properly), then copy onto it the programs FDISK.COM and FORMAT.EXE.

They need to be sufficiently recent versions to give proper support to large drives.

FDISK allows you to partition (if required) the disk and carry out a low level format. Until this has been done you won't be able to FORMAT the drive. Although some manufacturers now ship pre-fdisk'd drives.

I haven't explained this well but if you find yourself stuck on this contact me here or on email and I will try to help.
PC Build - Dynamic Dave
Hairy, you\'ll need to create a bootable floppy disk.

from your current pc,

1. Goto Start Menu > Settings > Control Panel.
2. Double click on Add/Remove programs.
3. Click on Start up Disk tab.
4. Place a floppy disk into relevant disk drive and then click on \"Create Disk\" button.

Reason for creating this disk is so that bios settings can use CD after you\'ve formatted pc.

5. Boot up new pc - first making sure you\'ve put the floppy in the disk drive beforehand.
6. Eventually pc should boot up in dos. a: prompt should appear on screen.
7. Type \"format c:\" (without the quotes) Probably get a question asking if you are sure.
8. Now wait. Once done, put WinXP CD in cd drive and switch off/reboot. PC should look for file on CD called \"setup.exe\" (without quotes) once switched back on.
9. Another way is to leave pc switched on after format and simply type \"d:setup.exe\" (without quotes) (d: referers to cd drive, could be another letter, such as \"e\". if so use that instead of \"d\")
10. At some point or another during or after format you will be asked a question about do you want bios to support cd drive. Answer yes.
11. Once CD starts running, hopefully WinXP should load from scratch.
PC Build - Godfrey H {P}
HHM, I don't know how far you've got with this project,but last time I looked into it I couldn't buy the parts as cheaply as I could buy a partially assembled chassis. If you know a source of cheap new parts do please let me know.
PC Build - DavidHM
www.ebuyer.com is about the cheapest for most things, e.g., cases from £15, motherboards from £35 including VAT

For OEM software and processors, try www.cclcomputers.co.uk
PC Build - Hairy Hat Man
I've bought the whole lot from ebuyer.....

I've tried not to cut corners on the important stuff (asustec motherboard, intel celeron 2.0 GHz, 256Mb PC2700 crucial memory, 80Gb seagate baraccuda HDD) and have put the box together for under £300 including 52x Cd writer and 64Mb graphics card.

As it happens I have no need for pre-installed software, so that makes a big difference.

Plus, I get to learn some stuff along the way - thanks to you guys amongst others.
IE6 on Win98 - eMBe {P}
Alvin asked >> "Regarding the above I have my e-mail address set as default.
When I reply to incoming mail addressed to myself it always puts Margarets (my wife) e-mail address in the from box and I have to manually change it to my own.
When I create New Mail it puts my own in the from box as it should.
I have checked tools, accounts etc many times but cannot find why it should place margarets address in reply when the mail was addressed to me correctly.
Any ideas please...
alvin " >>>

I suspect that the problem may arise because you use a service provider such as Freeserve, and that your wife's name is the main account name with the ISP. There is a possible way around this problem:
In IE6, select File, then Identity and create Identities for each one of you that uses the computer. While in each specific Identity, make sure you set tools, options, accounts, to select only those e-mail accounts that apply to that particualr Identity. Go to help and look up further details on how to set up identities. (In effect, by establishing Identities, you are splitting your Inbox and Outbox to those separate Identities just as if you had separate PCs.)
Alvin, please post to say whether this solves your problem or not.
IE6 on Win98 - wemyss
Thanks for that eMBe. Yes I do have Freeserve but my wife isn't the main account name with them.
I have consulted help and it would appear that if I create two identities it will in effect be two folders for everything and perhaps makes it more unwieldy. Will study the help files more before changing anything at the moment. thanks for the help.
IE6 on Win98 - smokie
I'm using outlook as mail client and I have a drop down box for which account I want to send from. Isn't there something similar in Outlook Express?
IE6 on Win98 - wemyss
Yes there is smokie with two names on it myself and my wife.
However when I reply to e-mail addressed to myself it is always my wifes name showing when I reply, and I have to change it with the drop down box to mine. It should (and used to) always set the name in the from box to whom it had been sent.
When I create new mail it always has my name in the from box.
My account is set to default so this is correct.
A couple of months ago I had to replace my hard drive and recover my account from freeserve. I then added Margarets account which is simply done through OE. It is since then that this occurred.

IE6 on Win98 - smokie
Doesn't OE have the concept of Default accounts, and maybe yours was default before your disk problem and Margaret had to change each time, now you've got the short straw? Will do some research...
IE6 on Win98 - smokie
Have a look at this support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;1...2
IE6 on Win98 - wemyss
Just read that smokie and it was interesting although it was not quite the fault what I am experiencing.
This was IE4 and mine is IE6.
Whether the message is either to myself or Margaret it places Margarets name in the from box and it should use the name of the person receiving the origional message.
And mine being the default name it always correctly places this in the from box and I would have to change it to Margarets if that was applicable.
Another clue is that when checking for new mail it always checks Margarets account first when I would expect it to go for the default one first.
Just had a look through Freeserve site but could find no mention of this but expect it is connected with Microsofts OE in some way as you did.
IE6 on Win98 - Dynamic Dave

You could try the repair option.
Goto Start/Settings/Control Panel.
Double click on Add/Remove progs.
Scroll down the list and click on "Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 ect"
Now click the Add/Remove button. A menu will appear.
Choose "Repair Internet Explorer" and let it do its stuff.
The reason I mention this is because Outlook Express shares some of it's files with Internet Explorer.
I have a question. Volume 11 - Mark (RLBS)
Pulling the volumes together
I have a question. Volume 11 - Mark (RLBS)
pulling the volumes together

Value my car