Cheap Watch Comparison

When I wrote recently about cheap watches, I said that was it for now, but I have ordered another one, not only that, I’ve received it as well as the super-cheap one I had already ordered. It’s difficult to draw comparisons as I haven’t had a couple of them long enough, but some things are very noticeable.

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George Foreman and Daylight Robbery

No, I’m not talking about a dodgy decision in a professional boxing match. Read on and it will all become clear.

Our George Foreman grill had to be replaced. Big areas of the non-stick coating had come off. The reason for this is that it’s almost impossible to clean, because being an electrical item, it can’t be immersed in water. There are things you can do to make cleaning easier, but none are perfect.

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Buying Cheap Watches

I’ve got a Tissot watch, had it for around 20 years at a guess. I remember it cost me £175, that would be much more in today’s money. It chose the Covid-19 lockdown for its battery to start running out, and it was getting a bit grubby. Normally I would take it to a jeweller, get it cleaned and the battery replaced. But times were different, and the jeweller I normally entrusted it to had retired and his shop closed.

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Hacking the Lenco L-3808 turntable

As promised, I’ll let you know of some of the hacks I’ve used to try to get a better sound on my record deck. First you should read my previous article about the turntable. Some are more orthodox than others, some are cheap, some less so.

Isolating the Platform or the Feet

My turntable is on a slide-out shelf. It’s joined to the runners by four layers of velcro. This means that the platform is isolated from other vibrations in the room, but if I tap the shelf while a record is playing, you can see how important that is, the noise comes straight through the speakers. If you can’t isolate your shelf, you can maybe put some soft material under each of the feet. Some cork coasters should do the trick. Continue reading →

A Cheaper Record Deck

Problems with the Project RPM Genie One

Since 2008, I was using a Pro-Ject RPM Genie One, to play my vinyl records on. It was cheap for its time and quality, but there was definitely several down sides to owning one.

  1. The motor only went at one speed, so you changed speed by swapping the belt between two pulleys on the motor spindle.
  2. The tonearm didn’t have anti-skate, resulting in records often jumping forwards as they were playing.
  3. The belt itself had to be quite loose, otherwise it would pull the motor and the turntable parts together.
  4. The belt had a habit of falling off and it wasn’t as easy as you’d think to put it back on again.
  5. The belt got looser over time, and given that it’s a glorified elastic band, I think that £20 is a bit much for a replacement. The outcome is that the records took a long time to come up to speed, and even then, were about 3% too slow.
  6. When my domestic situation changed, due to space, I had to put the deck on a slide-out shelf, which made getting the belt back on, and even switching the deck on and off, very awkward! Both the spindle where you hook on the drive belt, and the on-off switch are located at the back, and the shelf doesn’t come all the way out!

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PCLinuxOS 2020.01 and XFCE

My favourite Linux distribution is PCLinuxOS, and I have been using it for years. My favourite Desktop is XFCE. More recently, I discovered another Linux Distro, MX Linux, which specialises in the XFCE desktop. So, the aim of this article is to get XFCE working in PCLinuxOS, as well as, or better, than it does in MX Linux, so I can return home. I shall be listing, in this article, a number of tips to do this. Some will be straightforward and others might need some digging into the system. I hope you can make use of them!

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Linux: Linking Orage (XFCE4 desktop) to your Google Calendar.

What I am about to describe is a method that has worked for me on both PCLinuxOS (XFCE4 Community Edition) and MX-Linux (which uses XFCE4 by default). It ought to work on any version of Linux using the XFCE4 desktop (provided the necessary python dependencies are available — always the case as far as I know). Bear in mind, though, that there are no guarantees that it will work for you, or the sky will not fall on your head, or your computer won’t explode. You do this at your own risk.

You need to ensure that the Orage calendar is applet is on your XFCE panel. If you are using a desktop other than XFCE4, you can set Orage to appear as an icon in your system tray instead (Edit>Preferences>Extra Settings). Continue reading →

USB 3.0 7-way Hub — Beware!

I get a lot of stuff on line, and much of it is really cheap. This particular USB Hub seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. So I ordered it. £8? You can’t go wrong.

7-ports-usb3 Continue reading →

HUION 610 Graphics Tablet and Linux

EDIT 27th August 2019: I have found out what caused the problem with the v5 kernels in PCLinuxOS. Having discovered the problem the solution is simple, so on we go!

EDIT: 5th September 2019: This article got unpublished in error. I do intend to rewrite it, but it’s best to have something there in the meantime!

Just over a year ago, I did a piece about using the HUION 610 Graphics Tablet with Linux. It’s time to update what I did last year. But one thing is for certain. The Huion 610 and 610Pro are much cheaper than Wacom tablets, and are said to work on Linux. And it’s not too hard to get them working.

So here’s how to get it set up in two different Linux Operating Systems (you may jump ahead to find out about MX-Linux): Continue reading →

British English on a US Keyboard


I keep reading “reviews” on Ebay and Amazon UK that British people are buying keyboards on line, only to find that they are American. The main problem they have is that the keyboard does not have a Sterling sign (£) on it, the quotedbl (“) and at sign (@) are swapped over. The key that produces hash and tilde has backslash and pipe on it, backslash and pipe are no longer available, as there is one key less on the US keyboard! Everything will appear in the same place on the keyboard as they did before, but the legends on the keys are wrong. Continue reading →