Episode 91 – Off the Grid

No internet, a falling out with Amazon. and a broken Android phone. It’s all go here!

Billion BiPAC 7800N Dual WAN ADSL2+/Broadband Wireless-N Gigabit Firewall Modem Router

Amazon.co.uk: Customer Discussions: NEW Touchpad Refund Thread

Amazon refuses Touchpad refunds after price slash frenzy • The Register

Got a slow HP TouchPad? Here are 3 easy ways to speed it up | HP Touchpad | Scoop.it

Mobiles.co.uk – HTC Desire S, £30pm /12 months – 3 months free + £30 Quidco!

How to S-Off and Root the HTC Desire S [HD] – A step-by-step tutorial – YouTube

HTC Desire S – xda-developers

Parrot Asteroid to drive music, Android from your dash this October (video) — Engadget

This $25 Tiny Thumb PC Can Actually Run Quake III

Are iOS and a radar detector a good pair? A look at Cobra iRadar | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Using Apple OS X Lion Server as a Home Server (Part 1) | We Got Served

This Is What Amazon’s Kindle Tablet Looks Like

Bicycle Tutor – Bike Repair Video Tutorials

Bluetooth Headset Hack

AndyPad.co.uk – Tomorrow’s Generation of Tablets, Today.




Amazon UK and the case of the missing Customer Care

It’s been a frustrating week for many would be TouchPad owners.

When HP announced that they were discontinuing their tablet sales, most people were aware that there would be some sort of promotional activity to clear the million unsold units sitting in warehouses all round the world.

So, last Monday HP announced a reduction to $99 of it’s 16gb model. I tried like many others to buy a unit from US online retailers. I though I had succeeded with Barnes and Noble, but they rejected the card and then emailed me with an out of stock apology.

Things then started to move with UK retailers.

Dixons, Currys, and PC World were the first to move, then Carphone Warehouse, then Best Buy. At every turn I was foiled, I either got there too late, or the websites collapsed under the strain and my basket emptied. At about 10pm the only major retailers left who had not reduced prices were Argos, play.com, and Amazon. John Lewis had sold their units earlier, but stocks were very low. One online retailer, MISCO, mysteriously lost 200 units of stock at the full price, which then miraculously reappeared on eBay under a pseudonym.

It was now 11pm, and I then made the conscious decision to buy a Touchpad from Amazon at full price, with the option of returning it within 30 days if no refund was forthcoming. After I had gone to bed, in fact 5 minutes after, at midnight, Amazon reduced all their prices. Dozens of lucky, tired shoppers managed to add one to their basket at the special £89 price.

By next morning all retailers had reduced their prices. Play ran out very quickly, and the bricks and mortar stores were inundated with plucky shoppers. One of my fellow tweeters had his sons queuing up at 6am, strategically placed outside 2 Carphone Warehouses. Unfortunately all the stock had gone before they opened? The Internet became awash with stories of reserved items disappearing, some stock not being reduced, and tales of some unscrupulous customers walking away with multiple units for resale on eBay.

eBay kicked off with units fetching well over £200. That was the only option left to many shoppers.

By Tuesdays close, something strange happened at Amazon. Remember all those successful purchases. Many were cancelled. No explanation, no apology. Then one, by one, all the retailers started to email customers that had purchased Touchpads at full price, with an offer of a partial refund to cover the price drop. This was on the back of an announcement by HP that they would be rebating all retailers with the reduction, those retailers, most of them small, who didn’t want to do this, could return all their stock to HP.

So, well done to Dixons, PC World, Currys, Tesco, Dabs, and even Play.com ( after a bit of customer pressure). The one retailer who hasn’t complied yet at time of writing is Amazon UK. This is despite the US parent, offering to do this from nearly the beginning. So one full week later, my touchpad has arrived, but is sitting all forlorn on a cupboard, unopened, ready to be returned.

This could be my last ever purchase from Amazon. Sorry Amazon, but before this, I truly though you were one of the best online retailers on the planet. Perhaps I am being too harsh, but I’ve never known a retailer of this size to be completely out of step with everybody else.

I am waiting now to an email that I sent to the managingdirector@amazon.co.uk , a Christopher North. I suggest that you do the same, if you had your Touchpad cancelled, or you are waiting for a partial refund.

I’ll let you know what happens!

Edit: it’s now Thursday 1st September and Amazon STILL haven’t made a decision!

Episode 24 – Here comes the sun

Ahhh, spring peeks its head through the dismal grey of winter this week, just reminding us in the UK, of what the sun looks like! I fall out with Amazon this week, just like 1 or 2 book publishers it seems. Maybe some of our thoughts turn to summer holidays? Is there an app for that?

The Cancel Sky deadline approaches…






iPhone Apps of the Week



WebSite of the Week


Bargain of the Week

2tb Hard Drive!!

A bit of Computing History

Alan Turing

My idea for a new App – listen to find out!

Please send comments and feedback to david@iconfessimageek.com

Amazon and LoveFilm and the £20 incentive that never was

Do you see the email above. I was sent this by Amazon.

I signed up to the deal, had my free trial. Paid a month’s subscription (to qualify for the £20 offer), and then cancelled, mainly due to the shocking condition of the discs I was receiving, usually scratched, covered in marks, and unplayable.

That was 3 months ago.

I am still waiting for my £20 gift certificate.

Lovefilm are telling me they are out if stock! (of a code???), and Amazon, listen to this, are saying, it’s got nothing to do with them! Hang on, let’s back up a bit. Who sent me the email? That’s right, Amazon!

I’m still waiting Lovefilm.

Is it just me, or has anyone else fallen foul of this sharp practise?

Mono Laser Printer for the Mac (and PC) for under £50

When I switched to the mac nearly 2 years ago, I decided to keep my HP laserjet 1018. But there was a problem – it wasn’t very mac compatible! It worked but it wasn’t terrific – every time I switched it off (by accident usually), I had to do 15 minutes of black magic code to get it to work properly. (Using it through Vmware Fusion on XP was no problem.)

Fed up with this, I set off in search of another small footprint mono laser printer (I already have a nice colour inkjet in another room). My extensive research (5 minutes on google) led me to the Brother HL2035 from Amazon for only £49.99. At the moment this also comes with 3 year warranty.

Brother HL-2035 Printer

Brother HL-2035 Printer

With Amazon’s usual reliability this turned up the very next day. I popped the toner in, installed the mac software (good sign!), plugged in the USB and power lead (the standard  3 pin kettle type) and, hey presto, it worked straight away.

This printer is very fast  (quoted at 18ppm) and quality seems more than adequate. The sheet feeder takes 250 pages and it also has an individual sheet feeder (great for letterheads and envelopes). Build quality is great and there a few indicator lights on the front for quick troubleshooting. It’s nice to have a good printer that works properly on the mac and, at this price, it has to be a bargain!

PS It plays nicely with Windows too.

Brother HL-2035 £49.99 including shipping. Free 3yr warranty until 31/03/09

Gizmodo UK : Amazon & Play.com Tops With UK Shoppers

Gizmodo UK : Amazon & Play.com Tops With UK Shoppers.

Amazon and Play.com have snatched top place in an online consumer satisfaction survey of the UK’s Top 30 etailers.

Both sites scored 78 out of a possible 100 points, leading the chasing pack which included eBay and Apple iTunes, among others.  Almost one-third of sites surveyed by ForeSee Results managed to score over 70: eBay [72], Apple iTunes UK [71] and Screwfix Direct [71].  A score over 70, places the etailer in what’s called the ‘Top Performer’ category.

The big loser this year was Tesco Direct which slid from last year’s 8th with 69 points to 18th on 65 points.  HMV and Marks & Spencer, who managed 70 points apiece last year, this year managed to slip to 69 points and 68 points, respectively.

Amazon £3 album deal in MP3 war – Take That!

I’m a big iTunes fan. It’s convenient, it’s got loads of choice, and prices are reasonable. However, there is now a new kid on the block. Amazon are selling MP3s.

They are DRM free – meaning, there are no restrictions on how many computers, or devices, you can put the tunes on.

They are great quality – ALL Amazon music is coded at 256kps – not all iTunes music is.

They are cheap – lots of albums at £3, single tracks from 59p.

Amazon MP3 Store

Amazon MP3 Store

I tested the store by downloading a couple of tracks. An Amazon program has to be downloaded first – this looks after your music, and using this you know the status of any downloads. You can also specify where you want the music to go. There is also an option for iTunes to add any music that you download, straight into the library.

Download speed was excellent – and all artwork was correctly attached. A very easy way to buy music. The range of albums was also very good – at the time of writing – Take That’s brand new release was available for just £3. Cheaper than a closing down sale at Woolworths!

Amazon MP3 Store

Amazon £3 album deal in MP3 war | This is Money.