Category Archives: Uncategorized

The folly of phone design

So, tell me, why after the development of phone design over the past 20 years that has claimed to make them so robust e.g. Gorilla Glass, ceramic backs and the like are they so bloody fragile?

My Samsung Galaxy S8+ is actually cracked in 2 places on the front and the back has several cracks running the full length.   I was quoted £250 to replace them but as it turns out to be an “International” version the company wouldn’t touch it.  I’m not even aware of how it got so damaged.  The only thing I can think of is that it came into contact with something else in my trouser pockets – possibly a key or possible a coin.  I’ll admit to having dropped it a couple of times but on both occasions it has either been fine or been protected by the case I have had to purchase to protect it since it got cracked!!

This from Tom’s Guide – Phone Drop Test results 2018:

Good news: Chances are, your phone will survive a 6-foot fall onto wood and, if it’s lucky enough to land on its edge, withstand drops onto concrete with minimal damage.

Bad news: If you don’t have a screen protector, there’s a really good chance something’s going to break.

It seems that the Motorola Moto Z2 Force was the winner – in fact, Motorola guarantees that the screen on the Moto Z2 Force won’t crack – and in Tom’s test’s – it didn’t! – but the rest suffered in varying degrees.  Sadly they aren’t planning on producing a Force version of the Moto Z3 – shame on you Lenovo!

So what else is happening in the world of screens and screen protection – improving that area is absolutely key.  Well the current leader in this area has to be Corning and their “Gorilla Glass” product which has been lauded around the globe by just about every phone manufacturer.

Visually stunning, incredibly tough Corning® Gorilla® Glass enables today’s sleekest smartphone and tablet designs, while providing exceptional damage resistance to the scratches and bumps of everyday use. Gorilla Glass is sensitive enough for today’s most sophisticated touch applications, and is available with an easy-to-clean coating.

Hmm the scratches and bumps of everyday use…I’d like to see their definition of that!  As millions of phone owners will testify Gorilla Glass is about as robust as a paper bag! Samsung did announce in July 2018 that they’d developed a bendable and unbreakable screen – I’d settle for unbreakable – the folding phone is interesting but not essential – an unbreakable screen IS essential!  and why do I say that?  Well it should be obvious – just look at the sumptuous photo shots that are being used to sell us this year’s latest phone – just check out those curves – I mean phaaw, c’mon!  Manufacturers have invested billions in designing “sexy”, “cool”, phones but sadly they also appear to have built in “built in obsolescence” as well.  I shouldn’t really be surprised.  However as the price of these phones skyrockets it is inevitable that replacement cycles will grow longer – so c’mon guys make the bloody things last better!

In some products’ life-cycle the manufacturers can make as much profit from marketing the accessories as they can from the main device itself but the ludicrously high cost of today’s phones (and no I don’t buy the precious metals argument I bit!) is such that it wouldn’t be worth the issues of product inventory management – lots of low value accessories is a real pain to manage!!  And easy to get wrong!

So please, will someone get the cost of producing Micro-LED screens down so we can start using them, thus saving power (and therefore eliminating the current issue of running out of juice) and at the same time due to their power efficiency and increased brightness can we have plastic coating applied which stops them cracking so damned easily – please?

What are Micro-LEDs I hear you ask? Well this – thanks to for the words!

Micro LEDs is a new technology still in its infancy, but it has great potential to become the next big thing on the display market. Micro LED displays work similarly to OLED panels, but are even thinner. They consist of inorganic semiconductors, specifically a gallium-nitrite combination. Like OLEDs, these are light-emitting diodes, but they are much smaller.

Backlighting is not necessary with micro-LEDs, nor is a polarization filter required. The glass layer above the panel can also be slimmed even further. The brightness per watt, which simplifies the efficiency of the displays, is even better than that of OLED panels and beats LCD by far. With the same brightness, a micro-LED display requires only half as much energy as an OLED screen, in some cases even less. The extremely small diodes also allow higher resolutions on the same surface – a 4K smartwatch would be conceivable with micro LEDs. Last but not least, micro LED screens are not as susceptible to pixel burn-in as OLED displays.

And as wireless charging is the de facto standard these days let’s just make sure that the phone back will allow inductance charging, avoid unnecessary fingerprint smearing and oh yes – stop bloody cracking!!

So c’mon Lenovo, Samsung, OnePlus etc etc – let’s see all of this in the new Z4, S10, 7T etc etc- I know it’s CES time – so go for it guys!

Motorway behaviour – it’s just plain embarrassing

Here’s a question for you…

I can guarantee, from my observations, that not everyone knows the correct answer, which is, according to Driving Test Success website:

A two-lane motorway – keep to the left-hand lane for normal driving. Use the right-hand lane for overtaking. Once you have finished overtaking you should move back to the left-hand lane as soon as it is safe to do so. Large goods vehicles are permitted to use either lane.

Three-lane motorway – you should stay in the left-hand lane unless you need to overtake slower moving traffic. To do this you should use the middle lane. If you need to overtake several vehicles then stay in the middle lane. There is no need to weave in and out of the left-hand lane as you overtake individual vehicles.

You should only use the outer lane to overtake slower moving vehicles when the left-hand and middle lanes are occupied with slower moving traffic.

When in either the middle or outer lanes, you must be prepared to move over, to the left or middle lanes, to let faster moving vehicles pass.

Indeed!  If only!!

Basically, whatever motorway you are driving on, these “rules” are simply ignored – by almost everyone!    Which still baffles me as to why our motorways are statistically the safest places to drive in Britain.  Research by the Road Safety Foundation, and published by the Telegraph back in 2013, showed that single carriageway roads seven times more dangerous than motorways! It’s there in black and white so it must be true!

In 2018 Erin Baker, writing for the RAC highlighted the 11 of the most annoying driving habits and at guess what people –  #1 was Middle Lane Hogging.  Despite police pledges to prosecute middle-lane drivers, nothing has changed.  There you’ll find the older person keeping plenty of space around him or herself, totally oblivious to the law and absolutely insistent that they have the right to be where they are and drive at the speed they want.  Or it could be the timid mouse clutching, terrified, to the steering wheel with a fixed gaze – forward – and in no other direction, at any time.  It could be a young guy lost in his music, a family having an argument – it could be you.  In fact it is highly likely to be a lot of you!  Just today I was heading back up the M40 from London and I spotted  a silver Mercedes Vito (registration beginning EN17 Z.. – and yes I do know the rest) in my rear view mirror, who was moving slightly faster than me, I was doing 70 (on cruise control) in the inside lane – honest I was! He slowly passed me – couldn’t have been doing more than 1mph more than me.  About a minute later I had to overtake someone in the inside lane and he appeared in front of me – going significantly slower than he had been previously – but still in the middle lane.  Why? Because he was looking down at his phone, possibly texting someone.  I overtook him, returned to the inside lane and within a minute he came whizzing past me, clearly having finished his “chat” and keen to catch up the lost time – he was doing well over the national speed limit (god I sound virtuous here – pass the sick bag).

That’s not an isolated example – in the past few weeks I’ve driven to the top of Scotland and back and can confidently state that it happens everywhere – people driving in the wrong lane.

In fact I’d go so far as to say we British are the World’s worst motorway drivers – although according to HotCars we don’t even make the top 20 – to be fair this is actually about people who just don’t seem to be able to drive at all…  India only makes #12 – and having been there that’s one place I certainly do not want to drive in!

OK let’s say we’re the worst in Europe – well we can until Brexit happens and then we aren’t in Europe anymore (Cameron you **** – thanks for ****ing it up for us – and now you think we’d be prepared to let you back into politics – think again you total numpty!).  The only place that comes close to us in terms of motorway bad behaviour is Germany, and then only in the rain – the rest of the time they seem totally sensible.  The best motorways to drive on are in Belgium (hey some of them even have their own Wikipedia pages!) and from my experience the most organised and responsive motorists are the Italians – strange but true.  In 2014 Autoexpress published a survey that showed us Brits thought that the Italians were the worst drivers.  And that may well be true in cities and on the twisty roads such as the Amalfi coastline – BUT it’s a different story on motorways.

At least they are predictable and in general they follow the rules.  The drive fast – true, they will let you know they’re coming – also true but unless they are in what many seem to be, a terrible hurry, they WILL stay in the slow lane – they do NOT hog the middle or other lanes.

The problem with drivers hogging the middle lane is then what happens…

  1. for starters on a 3 lane motorway this will lead to more and more people moving to the outside lane to get past them, this naturally causes the traffic to slow, as a concertina or ripple, effect builds up leading to what are termed “phantom traffic jams” – this is one reason why your are more likely to see an accident in the outside lane of a motorway.
  2. undertaking – passing them on the inside – usually accompanied by a long hard stare at them as you go by, possibly accompanied by a bit head shaking and/or finger wagging.  Go on, admit it – you’ve done it – I know I have, and whilst it’s perfectly permissable in the US it isn’t here – ok to be accurate – it is permissable here but only where the queue of traffic in the lane to your right is moving slower than your lane – but that is not the example I am describing here!
  3. overtaking and making a point.  This is the practice, especially on an otherwise empty motorway, of driving up behind a MLH (middle lane hogger) then dropping back and moving into the inside lane before flooring it and zooming quickly up the inside lane and at the last moment swerving to the outside lane to pass them before moving sharply left and back into the inside lane again.

Maybe it’s down to a lack of education – certainly all those years ago when I learnt to drive I didn’t drive on a motorway until after I’d actually passed my test!  Thankfully things are changing:

With the changes that came into effect in June 2018 road safety minister Jesse Norman said: “Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world, but road collisions remain the second biggest killer of young people.

“Allowing learner drivers to have motorway lessons with a qualified road safety expert will help more young drivers to gain the skills and experience they need to drive safely on motorways.”

But even then, according to the AA: “more than a third of drivers rarely, if ever, drive on a motorway. If that’s you, you may find motorways daunting or may be unfamiliar with some of the recent innovations.”

Plus you then have to factor in the growth in the volume of traffic – which seems never ending:

RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said: “While traffic has only increased very slightly on the previous year, it has taken us to record levels. The longer-term picture is more concerning, with overall traffic since 1995 growing by 18.6% in stark contrast to the overall length of our roads, which has only increased by 2.4%.

“The data shows the length of motorways increased by 11.8%, however in the same period traffic levels on motorways increased by 44%, demonstrating that major road usage is outstripping road space.”

The DfT statistics also reveal that the number of cars in Britain has shot up by 43% in the past 20 years, from 21m in 1995 to more than 30m in 2015, yet in that time the length of the country’s roads has only increased by just under 6000 miles.

And there’s more – the shift from shopping on the high street to out of town shopping centres not only started the demise of the traditional high street it also increased the number of journeys people take in their cars.  That trend has now been amplified by the shift to online shopping.  The consequent increase in the number of delivery vans on our roads has only fuelled the frequency of traffic jams.

For the last four years, van traffic has increased on average by 4.8% a year, and has been the fastest growing traffic type (in percentage terms) over this time.

Dear god is there no hope for us?  Well clearly there is – but you’re not going to like it, well if you knit your own yogurt, you’ll definitely hate it!


Don’t spend £42billion (or £60bn as it might finally cost) on a crappy bit of railway – build more roads and help millions of people drive more efficiently as their cars can travel at the average speed it was meant to (c.56mph I believe) and give us more space just like driving in Belgium – ah bliss.

Scotland – beautiful yet bound to suffer from Brexit

When the clouds finally cleared, and the rain stopped falling horizontally Scotland shows you why so many love her.

Our recent trip around the country, from Glasgow to Dornoch, from there to the NW coast and back down to Auchiltibuie, then to Skye, then Pitlochry and our final stopover in Edinburgh, provided a mere glimpse of the abundant jewels that await.

The scenery is jaw-droppingly stunning (when you can see it! – see above..and below)

Castles in varying states of repair (this is Eilean Donan castle near the Kyle of Lochalsh), lochs of every size and shape (no we didn’t get a glimpse of Nessie) and every shade of ginger known to man (or woman) adorning the hillsides and trees.

I have to make special mention of the food. No deep fried pizzas anywhere. But beautiful, succulent seafood perfectly cooked and exquisitely presented. Lunch at Michael Smith’s, Michelin starred, Loch Bay restaurant in Stein, on Skye was a personal highlight – but then the Scotch Broth at the Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum was mighty fine too!

Ok this isn’t from the Loch Bay restaurant, c’mon, who photographs their food in Michelin starred establishments? You do? You’re weird!

Anyway its food that brings us to Brexit, well the hospitality industry to be specific…

At each of the locations we stayed the bulk of the team of people serving were not Scottish. A few were English but the vast majority were from Europe and predominantly eastern European at that. Even in Auchiltibuie at the Summer Islands Hotel the staff were a mixture of Spanish and eastern European. BTW do stay there. Accommodation was great, food fantastic, service impeccable and I reckon, in good weather, the views are to die for. And you might see this chap round the corner…

But my point is this.  Where are hotels and inns going to find the staff they need post-Brexit? Clearly the locals aren’t interested in working there…so who will be?


Not my kind of Summer Dream!!

More of a nightmare!! Poor service, slow service, food not as described, how’s that for starters?

OK finally got round to completing this one.  As regular readers of my various social media missives will now I love Agios Stefanos (NW Corfu)!  It’s my second home.  The mix of sun, sea, sand, scenery, food and friends – from home and from there, all work together to make a heady mix that soothes and stimulates the senses – at the same time.

But it isn’t perfect – and we all know that – even if on “some other places” you aren’t allowed to say so!!  It’s like the buildings – there are loads that they just haven’t got round to completing yet.  They have excellent, long term disputes about stuff – hey, the Avliotes by-pass has actually been totally completed – even down to 50kph speed limit that totally nobody respects!

The Greeks have a more relaxed attitude to life, although when they are speaking to each other you’d think the 3rd world war is about to break out – but relax, it won’t, it’s cool.

That said there are 4 things this year that aren’t perfect – there maybe more but hey; I didn’t experience them…anyway.

  1. The litter – guys you really, really need to sort this one out.  Even the temporary refuse stores you guys put in place to cope with things while the negotiations continue are overflowing – literally onto the road near to Kassiopi.
  2. The weed on the beach – not the lack of long haired dope sellers but the naturally occurring weed that just keeps on coming.  You need to be a bit quicker in rounding that up and disposing of it – the likes of Mistral and the Waves had their beach fronts blighted by build up of weed and then by the tyre tracks from the digger.
  3. Vehicles on the road – there are way more than just a couple of years ago.  Some of them, these new quad-bikes, are the size of small cars themselves and seemingly driven by complete novices with no regard for other road users. The parking coming into Afionas is now mental – one Sunday we simply turned around! And it’s not as if the restaurants up there are benefiting – the visitors weren’t in them!
  4. The service at Summer Dreams.

This last one was not good at all. It’s turned into a pizza place with a fancy new pizza oven clearly on display.  Unfortunately the service wasn’t as new and sparkling.  To start with when we ordered – one of our party likes chilli (a lot) and asked for extra chillies on his choice of pizza. It already had chillies in the list of ingredients.
When the waitress said “are you sure” he naturally replied Yes – this is man with a cast-iron stomach.  An hour later after we’d chased them for service and when the pizzas finally arrived the foreheads of 2 of the party showed signs of distress.

This was a surprise indeed.

On further investigation of the pizza we discovered that instead of extra chillies the tomato base appeared to have been replaced by lashing of hot chilli sauce! I mean of course the rest of us were howling with laughter but in all seriousness this was a reckless piece of work by the restaurant.  You either get your menu written up correctly informing the customer that this has chilli sauce on it and is already very hot or you start behaving responsibly.  This felt like someone trying to get their own back on customers.

Now ok it may have been a genuine mistake but it wasn’t the only one.  I ordered a pizza with Parmesan and rocket.  From my recollection Parmesan doesn’t melt in quite the same way that say Cheddar does and rocket isn’t invisible…

While we were waiting for our food to arrive I heard someone who had ordered a take-away asking where it was…and the poor girl behind the bar was not being helped by the other two waiting staff – they just stood around waiting for her to complete each individual order..

And with no expectations about service times being set by the waiting staff I’m sorry Summer Dreams but you do not get a recommendation this year.  Hopefully by next year you will have sorted things out – I’d like all my meals to be fantastic!

Duty free shopping – an exposé?

Good morning campers (something I’ll never do…camping that is!). This is just a tease for my next post 🙂

I’m heading off to sunny Corfu this afternoon, traveling with my partner AND only hand luggage (!) and this will mean that some shopping for essential items may be required at Gatwick airport. I fully expect to find some disparity between the prices charged on our friendly high streets and the supposedly duty free shops – so I thought I’d provide a few examples…

So watch this space 😉

Ok here’s a shot from Boots on the High Street in Weybridge. Let’s see what its like at Gatwick a little later 😉

Ok people it wasn’t as dramatic as I thought. I mean if felt like some really cheap unbranded stuff was very expensive but the little travel packs were the same price.

Now that in itself is a bit of a rip as its supposed to be duty free, so you’d expect things to be 20% cheaper!!!

And then deal at the airport is 4 for the price of 3. The offer on the high street is 3 for 2….. Hmmm that makes even more of a rip.

And here’s another thing, why can’t you buy P20 suntan lotion in 100ml bottles on the high street.

So the moral of this story is, don’t believe the duty free hype, it’s a bit of a con really..

Remixes – good thing or bad thing?

I was on my way to work this morning, driving down a particularly quiet M4 and listening to the Chris Evans Breakfast show on Radio 2 – which is quite often my wont! The “long song gong” went just after 8 and Chris informed us listeners that we were going to here the whole 6 minutes and 7 seconds of Unfinished Sympathy…hooray I thought…unfortunately the euphoria lasted about 6.07 seconds!!

What started playing wasn’t the 1991 classic but something else – apparently according to a quick search on Spotify the Paul Oakenfold remix – no no NO, Chris, wrong wrong WRONG!!!

I don’t want to hear his remix, nor the Nellee Hooper one (not even the 12″ one) – I want the one that has got over 30m plays on Spotify – that was originally released back in 1991! It’s the one I remember from the first time around.

Now I’m not against a good remix – after all a remix can turn an average/good song into an absolute classic (I believe the youf call them “bangers”) – take the case of Republica’s Ready to Go… The original is a very keyboard heavy song that is interesting but not stunning – a remix by renowned American producer Ben Grosse, switching its keyboard focus for driving guitars, is just about the best song ever for driving along an open road. I defy you to keep still and stop your toes tapping – it just can’t be done.

A quick bit of googling and hey presto there are loads of people who are clearly making a damn fine living from remixing… “list of famous remixers” not that I’ve heard of any of them!! Although I have heard of Nelle Hooper – what that man did with 6 Underground by the Sneaker Pimps is stunning

On the other side though to add balance Fatboy Slim and Simon Thornton’s remix of the Mock Turtles “Can you dig it” is an abomination – sound weird sucking noises that have been added to spoil the original clean cut!!

So in summary the message here is – think very carefully Mr/Mrs Mixer before you decide to do your own “thang” with a tune – sometimes less is actually more!!

Amazon using bullying techniques – Jeff Bezos must be a friend of Trumps!

OK let’s set this in context – I love the Amazon Echo. It’s fab. OK it’s expensive to automate your home still but the future of devices such as the Echo are massive. I bought mine from the states and had it shipped over here months ago I was so keen to get my hands on one. Well as of today my views on it have changed dramatically!

Simon, the chap who has been running has received a letter from Amazon’s lawyers telling to take the site down.

Now I can understand Amazon wanting control of the url – that is one thing. Surely the decent thing – as the site is so positive about the device – would have been to make an offer to buy it – wouldn’t it? Or to tell him that he really should change the url becuase it could be thought of as an official Amazon site – that’s fair enough.

But bullying tactics are the worst possible way to try and achieve this. Not only will the community find alternative ways of discussing the Echo – and what a bunch of monkeys amazon clearly are in other ways btu the reputation of Amazon and the echo has been severely damaged – potentially fatally. Two words…. Google Home!

Google Home

If you want to find out how to get one here in the uk – click this link. The AI already sounds as though it might be better than Amazon’s

Personally I’m both disappointed and outraged that Amazon should act in this way. And I’m not the only one. This is the conversation on the site form this morning….

I am posting this without having any connection to Simon other than as a user of his site. I have not asked his permission to do this. It is a freedom of speech issue.

Amazon have demanded this site is taken down
Date: December 1, 2016
Author: Simon
Today I received a letter from Amazon lawyers saying that this site, which has set out to help Amazon echo owners, be removed.

For that reason there will be some changes around here. As I was doing this just for fun and to help people with the echo, and made no money from the site it’s not worth me helping them any more. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.

I hope I helped people and want to say thank you everyone who has commented or just read the posts, there was a really positive community growing here and people were always polite and kind to each other, something that is rare on-line these days.

Take care and good luck.

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More Details On Echo on Amazon Fire Tablets
More Details On Echo on Amazon Fire Tablets

In “Echo News”
How To Change US Echo to UK
How To Change US Echo to UK

In “Using The Amazon Echo In The UK”
Amazon Echo Full Features List – Updated August 2015
Amazon Echo Full Features List – Updated August 2015

In “what is the amazon echo?”

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Previous post:Amazon Echo UK Black Friday Deals
December 1, 2016 at 9:09 pm
How mean spirited of them and makes me all the more inclined to believe the horror stories I have read about how Amazon is run.

Roll on the Google Home in the UK.

Liked by 1 person

December 1, 2016 at 9:17 pm
I’m so disappointed. If they’d just politely contacted me and asked me if I could work with them or perhaps offer to run the site for me, I’d have been fine with it, but to be. Threatened by a legal team is low.


December 2, 2016 at 9:21 am
Exactly – talk about shooting yourself in the foot! I’ve used my Echo account to send some feedback to customer services – expressing the very same view!!


Mark Reed
December 1, 2016 at 9:18 pm
As owner of highly respected Hardware review site I am very disappointed in Amazon for this move. My 12 year old Son and I have happily been playing with that Amazon echo, Alexa and apps for nine months now. I wanted to use the device to help him understand how voice and AI will shape the next 10 years. Sites like this help Early adopters get a head start and can help nurture excitement of new technology. Very, very, very disappointed in Amazon


December 1, 2016 at 9:24 pm
Thank you for your comment! Love your site!


December 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm
I’m going to return my echo and never shop on Amazon again.

My wife and I spent £15k on there so far this year. We buy everything on there. I should I say bought…


December 1, 2016 at 9:28 pm
Thank you but you know what, we like their cheap prices and stuff… It’s our own making and I’m as guilty as anyone for supporting it. I will try to shop elsewhere now but I’ll probably find myself back on there from time to time. I feel a bit sad though, enjoyed writing on this site!


December 1, 2016 at 9:31 pm
Is there an email address we can all write to, to tell them the great service you have done them? It is down, at least in part, to your posts that I ran out and bought one; they should be grateful to you.
Many thanks

Liked by 2 people

December 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm
I don’t think it would help, the letter came from a legal firm, on behalf of Amazon, so they aren’t even talking to me. They never even tried to contact me.


December 1, 2016 at 9:36 pm
It is a good point though, on launch day alone my stats showed that over 150 people linked from my post onto the Amazon echo page. I guess thousands will have gone there over the life of the site.


December 2, 2016 at 9:22 am
If you’ve got an Echo account you can contact customer services that way.


December 1, 2016 at 9:48 pm
What a self-defeating piece of stupidity from Amazon. Shame you cant post the letter and leave that up for everyone to see…. or can you …. I’d love to understand their grounds for the demand.

Liked by 1 person

December 1, 2016 at 10:02 pm
I’m not going to push it, slightly worried that they’ll attack me just for this post!


December 1, 2016 at 10:08 pm
I fully understand. I assume the heavy tactics are because they think you are usurping a domain name that makes it look like an official amazon domain and confusing customer? No need to answer of course. Still think its rotten.

Liked by 1 person

December 1, 2016 at 10:15 pm
I think that’s what they’re saying but it’s hard to understand to be honest. They’re not clear or specific. Luckily I was just writing my new novel “echoes of the Amazon” so I can reuse the URL! What a treat


December 1, 2016 at 10:19 pm
The thing is, this site was running way before Amazon announced plans to come to the UK, so it was a reasonable URL to take surely. Urgh, I don’t know.


December 2, 2016 at 5:28 am
They wont.


December 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm
Additionally : I have just submitted my review of the dot and echo and explicitly mentioned their heavy handed demand to remove the only useful resource I’ve found (other than their gibberish marketing guff promising features that … drum roll … dont exist in the UK….) Perhaps a few more comments might get their attention (if they post them that is….)

Liked by 1 person

December 2, 2016 at 5:27 am
It is disappointing that Amazon did recognise the value of the site and instead of closing it supported instead. I share Philips view that it is the domain name that they have issue with rather than the contents of the site. My instincts would be to make a counter offer, which the lawyers are obliged to take to their client. As it is, there is nothing to stop you from moving the site to a new less contentious domain name, Lose any branding that may make it look like amazon and retain the existing domain name or sell to Amazon.

The objective here for the Amazon Lawyer is get the domain back onto the market so that Amazon can buy it. I would hang on to it and if Amazon want it let them buy it from you. You could also redirect the domain to something like “”. That would irritate them but not much they could do about it. Also I doubt the lawyers can do much about the your service if it is on a different domain. You are in the UK and you are protected by freedom of speech laws.

Their only real beef if they can show that you are intentionally (or even unintentionally) passing yourself off as Amazon. Caveats on your site and postings stating clearly that you are not Amazon and do not speak for them would put paid to that complaint.

My advice is don’t panic, stand your ground, ask them what they want, not what are they demanding. It would be a pity to see this site and your service to close because of heavy handedness.

Just remember the Amazon brand is important to them, and protecting it and obtaining that domain name is what this is all about. The brand is trademarked but they would have to show that you intended to pass yourself off as Amazon or that their business was harmed by your posing as Amazon. The Courts are littered with these kind of cases but the bully tacits create fear at the start often gets companies like Amazon what they want early doors. Plus you do come up on page one when you type “Amazon Echo UK” but you are not at the tip.


December 2, 2016 at 8:24 am
Hi Simon,

What a shame! I really enjoyed this site, I came across it after pre-ordering the Echo, which I love by the way!

I am a Paralegal in a firm of Solicitors, and for what it’s worth, I agree with gardmal’s post timed at 2nd December 2016 5:27am (who is obviously an early bird!). It is scary to be contacted by lawyers, but a lot of those type of letters are designed to frighten the “lay person” into backing down, when actually that person is perfectly entitled to do what they are doing. Unfortunately most people cannot afford to instruct lawyers of their own to call their bluff.

There is no harm in going back to them along the lines gardmal suggests – you can down the site temporarily and can always bring it back up again? It may be they just want the domain name, and you can re-open the site under a different name or something?

Anyway – thanks for running the site to date and good luck!



December 2, 2016 at 8:36 am
Thanks Stuart, I think they want the URL so I’m going to use it as a site about the Amazon rainforest. Perhaps a novel…simply to not give in to what they want. I’ll see if I can keep the rest of the site on a free platform somehow, perhaps change the name…any suggestions?!


December 2, 2016 at 8:37 am
I suggest this post is shared with their media targets also – Stuff, T3, CNet, Engadget, TechRadar, Huffington Post UK, Business Insider, BBC Tech, The Register etc – all of which have carried news coverage of the echo and some on getting it configured etc.

Also I would do it soon as the Amazon marketing guys in the US are pushing out stoies about the next wave of updates to Alexa AI.

All those outlets have editorial contact emails – email the outlets individually,,,,

The more people who tell them the more likely it will be picked up – plus do it sooner rather than later…


December 2, 2016 at 8:51 am
I really appreciate it Paul but I dont have the time or money to try to fight any kind of campaign. I’m just going to fold unfortunately. As I said, I did this for fun…there are adverts on the site but since conception it has made £20 and the costs are above that so it costs me money to run it. It’s no fun if the company I was kind of helping are out to close me down. It just feels so over the top.


December 2, 2016 at 9:13 am
There’s some good advice in the comments already and I agree they want the domain name for themselves. As others have said get the content onto another url and remove any intentional or unintentional Amazon branding.

If they continue to go down this heavy handed route then they will alienate loyal users of the echo who will start to think hmmm maybe Google’s Home will be a better alternative!



Moneygrabber medic claims “care concern” cash

Former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro has settled her dismissal claim against the club on confidential terms.

“My priority has always been the health and safety of the players and fulfilling my duty of care as a doctor.”

That’s why she turned down £1.2m then is it?

Sounding Off about Amazon Music problems

Now this is a strange one dear readers!

I recently decided to factory reset my OnePlus Two as it was running a bit slow – laggy!  It started off blazingly fast!  I’d thought about rooting it and installing CM13…

…but I’ve decided to stick with the OS as is and wait for Marshmallow – hurry up guys they’ve already announced “N”!

So I did the deed and reinstalled the various apps – no problems at all – well not true there was one!!

My Amazon Music with Prime app suddenly, according to Google’s Play store decided it was incompatible with some of my devices – namely the OnePlus Two – hey it is even compatible with my old (very old) Galaxy Note! By the way my Amazon Shopping app seems to work perfectly…wonder why that is? (That’s a rhetorical question by the way)



A quick trawl across the internet and it transpires I’m not the only one – see link below.  Anyway I think it’s a good idea to have a chat with Amazon to see if they can assist me…so here we go – here’s the chat – verbatim!


You’re now connected to Arun from

Me: I can no longer play Amazon music on my One Plus Two phone

Arun: Hello, my name is Arun. I’ll be happy to help you.
I can see that you have authorised 2 devices on your account and are as follows:
* Paul’s 2nd Android Device (MP3)
* Paul’s 3rd Android Device (MP3)
Please confirm the exact device you are referring to.

Me: I’ve no idea which one it is
I’ve got an 8th Android device!!

Arun: Okay.

Me: I certainly don’t have an iPhone 2 so that can be deleted

Arun: Okay. Have you installed Amazon Music app on your One Plus Two phone?

Me: I’ve had it and used it no problems previously but I had to factory reset the phone (backed it up first) because it was running too slow. I then reinstalled the apps but when I tried to install the Amazon Music app it said it wasn’t compatible with my phone

Arun: I apologise for that.
To install the latest version of the Amazon Music App on your mobile device, make sure your device is running Android OS version 4.1 or higher. The Amazon Music App is not supported on some smaller screen devices (less than 320×240 pixels).
Older versions of the Amazon Music app are compatible with any Android device running OS 2.3 through 4.04, but further updates aren’t available.

Me: It is running Android 5.1.1 and the screen res is way higher than that min figure

Arun: The complexity of this issue requires real-time troubleshooting; we’ll be better able to help you with this over the phone.
In this case, please provide your contact number so that I can arrange a callback for you to resolve this issue.
Are we connected?

Me: It’s a problem with your app. I am able to download lots of other apps, including the Amazon Shopping app – what a surprise!! I’m not the only one with this problem 

Arun: This will need to investigate over phone to resolve this issue.

Me: Why over the phone?

Arun: The complexity of this issue requires real-time troubleshooting.
We’ll be better able to help you with this over the phone.

Me: I’m here now…..
My phone is beside me… I can’t talk over the phone and check settings etc out at the same time…

Arun: As we continually seek to improve our service, this occasionally means we can no longer support certain devices or features.
I regret to inform you that One Plus Two phone doesn’t support Amazon music.
I’m sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.

Me: So you are accepting that it is an issue with your apps compatibility. So do I get compensation given that I can no longer play my music on my phone?

Arun: Customer feedback like yours really helps us continue to improve our digital music service. I’ve passed your input to the Amazon Music team for consideration as we make future improvements.

Me: That’s evading the issue. I have purchased music from you, I have paid for an Amazon Prime account but I can’t play my music….

Arun: I understand your reaction and I’m sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. However, I hope you’ll understand that we are unable to offer you any compensation in relation to this matter.

Me: No sorry but I don’t understand why you aren’t able to offer nay compensation.

Arun: I understand you’re upset and I regret that we haven’t been able to address your concerns to your satisfaction. However, we are unable to provide any compensation for this issue.
We won’t be able to provide further assistance for your request.

Me:OK I will be commenting on various social media channels about your (lack of) service. Perhaps I’ll shift my business to other online retail channels – and I’ll recommend that other people do too – if this is the way you respond to a simple query as to why your app no longer supports one of the most popular and best reviewed phones. your policy of not supporting modern phones seems strange!

Arun:Unless there’s a different issue I can help you with, I’ll be ending this chat.

Me:That’s ok I’ve already copied and pasted the transcript – I’ll post it in a minute

Arun:We hope to see you again soon! Please click the “End Chat” link to close this window.

Wow! So we (Amazon) shift from “Sorry”, to “The complexity of this issue requires real-time troubleshooting”, to “I regret to inform you that One Plus Two phone doesn’t support Amazon music” (it certainly did last week!) to “no compensation” and “We won’t be able to provide further assistance for your request”!!!

That my friends is a classic example of how to turn an Amazon advocate – Kindle, Echo, Fire TV stick, online shopper – into a critic and someone likely to spend my money elsewhere – will I renew my prime membership? What do you think?

If I was using a weird and wacky device – say for example a Jolla phone (which I do possess) I might understand that an updated version of the Amazon app might not work but why when their other apps appear to work fine does this one not? And why aren’t they prepared to do anything about it?

Given Amazon’s desire to be an eco-system they do seem to make some odd decisions (here’s another one – like launching new Echo devices in the US before the first one is available outside of the US. Maybe Trump’s antics are in favour at Amazon Towers…perhaps Jeff wants the VP nomination – I don’t know but clearly stranger things are happening!

When technology doesn’t improve things

3056730-inline-i-2-silk-labs-wants“You have to fumble out your smartphone and turn it on and type in your PIN code and launch an app,” he says. “We just made your experience four steps worse than flipping a light switch next to you.”

Andreas Gal is describing what it’s like to turn on a Wi-Fi-enabled light using your phone, and he’s making it sound like a major step backwards rather than the way of the future…..that’s on this website.  And he’s so right!  How many times have you got so frustrated with technology when it doesn’t work properly – it may be “cool” to a geeky mate of yours but yea gods what a palaver it can be some times.

Unfortunately the article doesn’t really provide a solution to the problem but at least it realises that IT IS A PROBLEM!

Amazon-Echo-1 I’m having plenty of fun with my Amazon Echo – not just because of all the Easter Eggs built in but it is just easy to say stuff like “Alexa, play Submotion Orchestra on Spotify” and hey presto it does just that 🙂

Hopefully those laggards in the US will “get it” that making it open to the wider world – yes there is sentient life outside of the USA you muppets (probably far more than inside to be frank!) will actually be beneficial to them as well as us and then we can all enjoy our Amazon Prime accounts!!!

I learnt the lesson many years ago when Dr Edwin Turner – distinguished ICL Fellow, brain the size of a planet and the man who thought of the screenfridge decades ago – said that people will always take the route of least resistance.  So if you are adding steps to a process you can bet your bottom dollar that it won’t get used!!

Wise up you tech gurus out there!!