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Latest comments

Comments

Morning all 🙂

Good morning all.

I’ve often thought it would be useful to discuss topics covered in the current Which? magazine, so here goes.

NOVEMBER MAGAZINE

For a start, I see that there is a full page advert for something called Which? Conversation.

The magazine has an article about cordless vacuum cleaners. These are undoubtedly improving but I wonder how long they are likely to last thanks to the limited life of batteries and their cost of improvement, assuming they are available.

At the end of the article we are reminded that corded vacuum cleaners are still available. “Corded vacs can struggle to compete with the cool factor – or convenience – of cordless models, but there are still some good plug-in models around, and they can offer better value for money. Indeed.

Cigarette smoking was once marketed as ‘cool’. I’m happy to remain uncool and use corded vacs. It’s not too difficult to plug them into the nearest socket and do my bit for sustainability.

So far as I can see, no cordless or stick vacuum cleaner can compete with a good mains-powered corded model for capacity, endurance, and suction power. Used with a turbo-brush a corded cleaner is unbeatable.

We bought a Samsung stick vacuum cleaner a couple of years ago, partly as a result of reading a quick Which? review of the new product, and, while its performance is good for this type of machine, it is hardly ever used now because of its limitations. It is surprisingly cumbersome so difficult to use on the stairs. The dust bin fills up too quickly and is particularly fiddly to detach and empty. Compared with our 18-year old Miele cylinder vacuum cleaner it is only good for a quick once-over of one carpet. Serious vacuuming of the whole house in one session requires the services of a more substantial appliance with its range of speeds, variable suction power at the brush head, and versatility. The power cord is not really a limitation on the use of the Miele since it is long enough to enable the entire carpeted area to be cleaned with just one change of socket.

A turbo-brush relies on air flow to drive a rotary brush without the need for a separate motor. They are often recommended for homes with pets, but even if you don’t have a hamster they make cleaning carpets easier as John has pointed out. I bought a second corded cleaner last year because I was fed-up lugging the 20 year old Miele up and down stairs and chose a model with a turbo-brush. Unfortunately it makes a noise like demented bee on hard surfaces, so I use a conventional cleaning head for them.

I reckon the convenience of cordless cleaners is a good demonstration of the power of marketing.

Beryl — I can assure you that cordless vacuum cleaners [other than the robotic type] are not noted for their being lightweight and easy to operate. I would not recommend one for the frail or infirm. The motor at the top of the stick is quite heavy and creates an unbalanced load on the machine. Unlike with an upright or cylinder vacuum cleaner, the whole weight of the unit is unsupported and its length might not be suitable for some users of smaller stature.

As you suggest, having a cleaner is a good way get the housework done but they also expect to have a decent appliance to make light of the work. I did my duty in that department this morning.

Beryl wrote: “Wavechange – Maybe in about 10 years you may be grateful for a lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner to replace your existing ‘old faithfuls’…” I did buy a second corded cleaner for use upstairs rather than carry the old one up and down stairs. Since they are both ‘cylinder’ machines the handle and cleaning head are light and it takes little effort to pull around. I don’t have much experience of cordless vacuum cleaners but can relate to what John has said. The ones I have seen have had the heavy motor and battery at the top adjacent to the dust receptacle. I may see this differently in ten years but for the time being I want to be self-sufficient. Except when ladders are involved.

The reason I waited so long to switch to a cordless vac was because of the very reason you and John have stated Wavechange, until I discovered the little cordless GTech, Hylite, weighing a mere 1.6kg.

The motor is not on the handle but on the base so it’s not heavy to manouvre, together with an easy removable cylindrical brush, a small removable dust bag, plus battery.
The handle is easily detachable and it comes with a separate duster that makes light work of dusting the furniture and your favourite bits and pieces.

Without a cord to get in the way cleaning time is halved as you only have about 20 minutes battery charge. It’s small size easily fits under furniture and has 2 automatic lights at the front that light up when switched on. It resembles a motorised carpet sweeper but with a strong suction that increases when in reverse.

The downside is you need to clean it more frequently than the larger vacs, but it’s very easy to do and comes with a small comb especially designed to clean the brush, and a well illustrated instruction pamphlet. Everthing just pops back into place with ease after you finish cleaning. Replacement bags are available from GTech or Amazon, which retain any dust gathered, making it safer for allergy sufferers. Battery charging time from zero is 2 hours.

It is very nippy and an ideal way to do a quick clean up and perfect for the elderly and frail, but I would advise you to still hang on to the old heavier model as a stand by.

,

Thanks Beryl. We had discussed this before and I will bear it in mind about the GTech cleaners.

I am not familiar with G-Tech vacuum cleaners and they seem to be useful machines. They are clearly intended [and well-designed] for lighter duties whereas other cordless vacuum cleaners are trying to do the job of normal machines but are unsatisfactory in various respects.

I have a Shark vacuum cleaner. Mine is corded but the same machine can be bought in a cordless version for about double the price I paid for mine. It has a motor and dust container at the top and, while this is not a problem, it has to be folded in half to stop it falling over. The biggest problem is the dust container. It has to be emptied every five minutes and doing so is messy and dusty at the exit point into the bin. These stick cleaners all have small containers and opening the trap door at the base does not completely empty them. This means delving inside and, in my case, removing a filter which creates more dust. I bought a Miele vacuum for the boat and a larger one for the house, which I use in conjunction with the Shark. This has a dust bag and I have yet to change it after six months of floor cleaning. I wouldn’t buy another stick cleaner nor would I buy the latest Dyson at around £600 +. This boasts a bar chart on the top and a laser to show up the dirt. Solutions looking for a problem and extra hype for the latest gadget fiend perhaps?

Thought for today

You have two parts of the brain, left and right. On the left side there’s nothing right, and on the right side there’s nothing left.

Which? News has useful information on how to cut your energy bills , including insulating your home. However, they omitted any mention of glueing yourself to the road and increasing traffic emissions as another way. How effective might that be?

Having read some of the rhetoric being uttered by the Insulate Britain campaigners I am appalled at the decline in the intellectual quality of modern protesting. I hesitate to call people cranks and crackpots but I struggle to give their spokespeople any credibility.

Their cause is ultimately sensible as many of us have been saying for years how important home insulation is to reversing our destruction of the planet over the last two centuries, but to demand [with menaces] that the government commits to insulating all twenty-five million or more residential properties within nine years strains credulity to the limit. This must undermine public support for the message and the means, and their disruptive tactics are completely counter-productive unfortunately.

The expectation that the public and the authorities will respect them and consider them to be brave and heroic in their actions by fearlessly defying court injunctions is wildly misplaced and they have possibly harmed Extinction Rebellion in the process.

I don’t support the tactics of Insulation UK, especially illegal behaviour, but I wonder how concerned members of the public can bring about change without protests.

I wonder what progress would have been made against slavery and racism without protests. Didn’t someone glue herself to railings to help women achieve the vote?

Nowadays there are many who are concerned about plastic waste, and I have been opposed to plastic carrier bags and bottled water for 40 years. I have not done anything more confrontational than refusing carriers at checkouts and occasionally telling staff what I thought about their company policy insisting that I should use their branded bag rather than one of my own. I’m not convinced that legislation resulting from the Environment Bill will do enough to tackle the problems of plastic and other waste.

I am not opposed to sensible protest in support of reform, but it needs to have a viable objective and be conducted in a way that does not alienate potential support. Making unrealistic demands and putting other lives in danger is not the best way to proceed in my view.

Doing something dramatic is a good way of drawing attention to a campaign provided it does not offend those the protesters seek to influence. There are plenty of examples of effective campaigns that have commanded respect across all communities. Friends of the Earth gained a lot of support for their forms of NVDA [Non-Violent Direct Action] leading to many changes in environmental law and practice during the 1980’s

We expect some hot-headed firebrand action from the younger members of society but Insulate Britain — generally of an older generation — seem to have misread the instructions somewhere with their particular form of civil interference and unfortunately they have achieved little more than anger and ridicule.

A Which? press release:

Which? responds to Credit Karma figures that show Buy Now, Pay Later debt bubble surpasses £4bn
27 October 2021
Gareth Shaw, Which? Head of Money, said:

“Our research shows that shoppers are being bombarded with Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) schemes at the biggest retailers, often with no information or warnings about the risks of late fees or getting into debt, so it’s very concerning to see such a huge amount of debt related to these schemes.

“This demonstrates why there should be no further delay to plans for BNPL regulation, which should include much greater marketing transparency, information about the risks of missed payments and credit checks before consumers are cleared to use BNPL providers.”

For years, credit cards and other means have been used to make it easy to live in debt. BNPL just adds to the problem. There seems to be more problem with debt now that it is common for both parents to work than in the days when one stayed at home to look after the kids.

Many thanks for listening Harry Rose!
We have a full page spread on page 4 of November Magazine 🙂
All that is now required is the appropriate software to accommodate the extra input from prospective conversationalists?

It’s considered cool to BNPL. The government does it so why shouldn’t everyone else? Would this be considered herd immunity or herd instinct? Whichever herd you belong to, the reality, sooner or later, is going to dawn in the present, when pay back time will arrive and attempting to live in a future that doesn’t exist will emerge. Ouch!

Materialism has its roots in a collective ‘must have’ mindset, fuelled by subliminal messages from big brother, who habitually takes centre stage in our living rooms, even to the point where the elephant shrinks to the size of a small rodent in a corner.

Wavechange – Maybe in about 10 years you may be grateful for a lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner to replace your existing ‘old faithfuls’, unless like Malcolm, you happen to have a friendly hairdresser to pop in and oblige, preferably one without a penchant for glueing herself/himself to the road.

We repeatedly mentiion “materialsm” and “consumerism”. We could have a Convo about just what those with spare money should do with it.

It’s worse than that, Wavechange. It seems that even two decent incomes are not sufficient to allow families to get everything they want. I don’t know how society can change that. I have been dealing with a debt problem within our own family and can see how easy it is to stretch out to buy something in order to have a higher status home, or to own more impressive personal possessions, or to lead a more socially noticeable life. Commerce has found a way of gratifying those desires and making the means to do so instantly available on the click of a button. Regulation is essential, especially in regard to credit checks and existing commitments.

I recall a Conversation that mentioned that Which? are pushing for regulation of BNPL, but wonder how it was introduced without regulation. I try to avoid people who try to impress me with their latest purchases. Once I’ve led the subject on to sustainability they don’t try again. I don’t believe that anyone in my family has financial difficulties but it’s not something I have explored.

Both parents need to work in many cases, to pay the mortgage and to support chikdren . That has been the case for decades. I am not convinced it leads to greater profligacy or debt.

A big expense that may lead to debt is then having a family.. Many couples delay having children until they are better able to afford them.

Hard though it may be, having children is a choice and we should be prepared to deal with that privilege.

There is a difference between a customer who simply carries the debt, interest free, over a few monthly payments and the customer who doesn’t know how he/she is going to meet the payment next month but is tempted to buy anyway. The facility is a tempter for high priced items where the household budget might fail in one payment, but could manage three or four lesser payments. I would like to know the percentage of bad debt this causes to discover how much of a menace it is. Are we a nation of spend now pay later,( perhaps), or are we just canny shoppers who like to keep our money in the bank?

Unless you know the link to lobby 4 it seems difficult to find. I don’t see why it doesn’t appear under recent/latest comments.

Unless you cannot sensibly use mains vacuum cleaner I see little point in a battery version, at least from an environmental standpoint. You need a (limited life) battery that uses more materials, a charger and lose energy in the process of charging the battery.

As I have mentioned above I am not keen on cordless cleaners but they do not use more energy. Their motors use much less power than mains cleaners.

They might use less power than corded cleaners but if that means they take longer to achieve the same result there could be little difference in the amount of energy consumed. As Malcolm has said, though, there is probably some energy dissipation when recharging the battery.

There are energy losses in charging batteries and in the switch mode power supplies used in battery chargers, but if these losses were high the battery and charger would become hot rather than slightly warm. In contrast a mains powered cleaners can use a kilowatt or more. That’s similar to a small fan heater.

I get the impression that most people don’t use their vacuum cleaner for long periods. During the heating season it probably makes little difference to overall energy consumption. Television sets possibly contribute much more to global warming and some are on all day in commercial premises.

I am fond of finding unexpected notices and signs. One of my favourites is: ‘Beware of golf balls for 3/4 mile’. I’m not sure of the reason but one day it might hit me.

Yesterday I went to buy some ethanol-free fuel and there was an odd sign on the door: ‘Leave lawnmowers outside’. Then I remembered that the company did repairs.

Should we be putting a topic heading on these posts in accordance with the new Lobby protocol?

My favourite sign was one on a solitary pole that said “Do not attach bicycles to this post”. The post had no other purpose.

I have also seen, on an office noticeboard, “It is not necessary to read this information” and nothing else.

I always wondered what action drivers should take when encountering the ‘falling rocks’ road sign: speed up or slow down?

The intention of having a heading is to group posts on a particular subject and was first suggested a long time ago. If comments are to be moved out of The Lobby and into a new Conversation it will be much easier if we do this.

From my recent visit to Oxford, maybe the cycling capital of the UK, signs asking people not to attach bicycles seem to attract them.

Hmm. It’s hard to escape the feeling that making the lobby comments extremely difficult to find (and the lobby as hard…) is a very similar tactic to what was employed with the Which? members forum.

I suggested the original lobby as a place where the regulars could meet and natter about anything, with the long-term aim being to consolidate the collective identity of the regulars. After all, the aim of the lobby was–or so we were told–to create a community.

However, now the entrance has been effectively hidden and the internal ‘spirit’ of the place removed from public gaze, I suspect the new lobby will slowly wither and die. After all, setting up a village hall but not telling anyone where it is or how to reach it does seem odd.

It’s certainly a very far cry from the place the indomitable Patrick Steen espoused. But over the past 25 years, this is what Which? has done. The enormously successful and innovative forum, launched in 1996, was slowly strangled until it was closed. The Which? members forum was launched, but the entrance cleverly obfuscated until it too, died from lack of nourishment.

It’s almost as though Which? only wanted a forum where it could dictate policy and tell the world how good it is, without the benefit of a single dissenting voice. But surely that can’t be true…can it?

If you ever perchance a visit the Oxford area again Wavechange, if you haven’t already done so, a visit to the diamond light synchrotron at Harwell, just off the A34, south of Oxford, is well worth a visit, but you need to book before you visit. It was closed to visitors during lockdown, but not sure about the current situation.

See: diamond.ac.uk – About us – Virtual visit

Maybe I will, Beryl, when life returns to normal. It looks interesting, though it mentions bringing an Android phone. I live in a pet-free home.

Thought for today

Q. Why is England the wettest country?

A. Because so many kings and queens have been reigning there.

I found some coins in the garden after torrential rain.

I guess it’s climate change.

Kevin says:
28 October 2021

I hope you sequestered them. I’m always losing change in my garden buildings, I think it’s the greenhouse effect.

Unfortunately it was just a joke, Kevin. When I first heard of greenhouse gas it was used to heat glasshouses to extend the growing season. Cheaper than electricity.

Well done. It’s good to laugh after having a Covid Jab.

ULEZ discussion as promised, complete with previous Lobby comments: https://conversation.which.co.uk/motoring/low-emission-zones-london-ulez-expansion/

I’d like to do more of this on certain topics that take off in the Lobby where possible, so please do reach out to me once conversations evolve here and I’ll see what I can do.

malcolm r says: 27 October 2021
Unless you know the link to lobby 4 it seems difficult to find. I don’t see why it doesn’t appear under recent/latest comments.

It’s worse than I thought. In this latest venture to effectively conceal the activities of the regulars from each other, the post summaries have been removed, even from the member profile. That makes it very difficult to find.

The justification of doing this is that

“contributors to Which? Conversation told us that people wanted it to be a place to learn and grow their knowledge of consumer issues. So we’re keen to better help people locate that knowledge and those discussions on the consumer topics they’re looking for.”

There’s also a link to the W? Connect page which launched the survey.

However, and it’s a big ‘however’, the original survey questions are not available. Statisticians spend years on learning how to construct surveys, as the pitfalls from poorly designed ones are numerous.

I would like to see the survey in question, so as to determine the objectivity of the questions or to what degree and how much of the survey was open ended or closed.

But even without the questions it’s entirely possible to debate the veracity of the conclusions. For example, when it states

‘contributors to Which? Conversation told us that people wanted it to be a place to learn and grow their knowledge of consumer issues’

the conclusion of W? Conversations’ leadership seems to have been ambiguous:

“So we’re keen to better help people locate that knowledge”.

That has translated into obscuring the lobby and all the excellent information stored within.

But, as one who is actively involved in running forums, it was the next sentence I found somewhat odd:

we’ll be actively moving them (postings) into matching discussions.

I seriously doubt if that will be possible and it’s almost certainly impractical. It’s also interesting that none of the ‘regulars’ was ever (as far as I know) consulted about this. Which seems very odd, as it’s that group that will be most adversely affected by the changes.

But it does sit neatly with Which?’s total refusal to acknowledge the potential value of volunteers in any way, shape or form.

Kevin says:
28 October 2021

Which? could clear up this controversy about “Latest comments” by changing the nomenclature, since latest comments in the Lobby do not appear in “Latest comments”. Or do Lobby comments now self-identify as observations and responses to the syntax overlords of the Cloud? Any comment?

@jon-stricklin-coutinho @gmartin, I haven’t looked too hard but how do I get to Lobby 4 (other than following the link in the inital comment?).

There is a link to the current Lobby under the heading ‘Our community’. I have now bookmarked this one provided by Jon, which I find more useful because it takes me to the end of the list of comments: https://conversation.which.co.uk/discussion/off-topic-lobby-4/#share-bar-link

I’m hoping that there will be a way of seeing a chronological list of comments similar to what we are accustomed to in ‘Latest comments’.

The new lobby should be just as accessible as the old, with comments appearing under ‘recent actuvity’ and ‘latest comnents’ (I’ve never seen the need for both, as an aside).
Why conceal it?

I don’t want to have to go to the Lobby 3 just to get a link to Lobby 4. I can of course keep lobby 4 up permanently but if I inadvertently close it I’ve either to use history or find the link. Why make things even slightly more difficult than they need be?

Even my own comnents are not listed under my own comnents history.
I look at latest comments before deciding which Convo to look at.

If we are having a new Convo I would like one only for Which? Members where parochial issues can be discussed by those with a direct interest in Which? (Although I din’t think Which? have much regard for Members’ views 🙁
So it won’t happen).

I second that completely.

Perhaps if the menu bar had ‘The Lobby’ between Topics and Our Community, that would draw attention to the existence of The Lobby. I did not ask for this change but have long felt that the value of Convo as a place to find information about consumer issues was being debased by having Recent Comments including jokes and other trivia.

We certainly need to see recent posts in The Lobby in chronological order.

Thanks wavechange. I hadn’t spotted that. I do wonder why the Lobby 4 needs to be treated differently.

Perhaps jokes and trivia could be included under “recent activity” with more serious contributions under “latest comments”.

That’s a very interesting idea. I’ll be curious to see what response–if any–it evokes.

Covid: All countries to be removed from UK’s travel red list https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59063818

Maybe the Transport Secretary should have a competition to name the next new coronavirus variant that arrives in the UK. 🙁

Difficult one. We have to get back to normality at some time. Just how much longer, and what critetia shoukd ve used, before we do?

Difficult one. We have to return to normality at some time. Now most of us have had 2 vaccinations and many are getting 6 month boosters I wonder just what criteria we should use, and at what point we should otberwise relax restrictions.

You have been rather critical of Which? when they have mentioned foreign travel, Malcolm. There have been reports that some people who have been double-jabbed can be infected and meeting one recently helped make it sink in. This article has just appeared: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-59077036

From what I can see, many people are no longer wearing masks and the idea of social distancing – which should be the top priority – seems to have largely been forgotten.

At present we have nearly 40k known cases of Covid (plus however many more mild cases that are not known about) and nearly 9k in hospital. I don’t mind my own company and chatting online but I feel very sorry for children growing up in these difficult times. I’ve not been abroad for nearly 20 years and maybe I should head off to wherever has fewest cases, like people I know.

Malcolm wrote: “Perhaps jokes and trivia could be included under “recent activity” with more serious contributions under “latest comments”.”

Essentially that’s what I’m keen on. A major problem with the present software is that the search facility is useless and a web search can be more effective in finding relevant Conversations, certainly the older ones. I have little doubt that this is why we get visitors posting in ten year old Convos. I’m sure that the possibility of moving to different software was briefly mentioned several years ago.

I hope we can pull together. We seem to have lost a few regulars recently.

It seems most of those in W?Cs in the management agree the software is very poor. But yes; we’ve had promises aplenty of something ‘really good’ on the horizon. Nice to know some things never change…,

Thought for today

Q. Why don’t ants get sick?

A. Because they have little Anty Bodies

The sick ones should be in an anteroom to avoid spread of infection.

I concur with everything that’s been said about Lobby 4. I, too had a job finding it. I also note that Jon has stopped telling us how good the change is. Perhaps he can explain again what he has done and why? If it wasn’t broken why did he need to mess it up?
A very brief PHEV. Next fuel input 6.1 gallons. Next mileage. 351. Latest MPG 57.5.
Ps I have just put this page on my “Favourites Bar.” It might make it easier to find.

As a very long-standing member of the various W? forum incarnations, I see what’s happening here as merely a repeat of W?’s behaviour over the past twenty five years, as they move to exclude groups from forming and becoming too awkward.

It’s really important to see this for what it is. It’s a deliberate policy to ‘lose’ the lobby. It’s a mirror of what they did to the original forum, the short-lived Newwol forum, the Which? members’ forum and, of course, let’s not forget the ditching of the ISP and email service so many of the older members depended on.

For me, personally, I wanted this place to work and to foster the same sort of community spirit we had in the original place. The adoption of the Lobby was, I thought, the most promising move, but now it seems Alea iacta est; the die has been cast.

Further to my last post (above) this change might not entirely be down to JS-C. I do know a little of the internal dynamics of Which?, and I’m uncomfortably aware that Which? Ltd–the group that brings in the money to keep the organisation afloat–do wield what some might consider a disproportionate influence over the place.

Since W?Cs is in effect, the audience-facing part of W? I suspect (but don’t know) that they might be pulling the strings. No matter how we might choose to look at it, the results of the current changes will be to effectively remove the Lobby from public view. Since regular criticism about W? is often made in the Lobby removing it in this way might serve to placate the financiers.

It’s curious, however; one simple thing I (and others) have repeatedly suggested is an ‘off board’ area, where those with issues about the direction of certain aspects of W? could meet and discuss these, out of public view. But we’ve always been told the software wouldn’t allow it. Now, however, it seems to. Babies and bathwater seem to spring to mind…

A Which? press release:

Which? responds as half a million rural homes are to gain access to gigabit capable broadband
29 October 2021
Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy, said:

“Gigabit capable broadband has the potential for much faster internet speeds with more reliable networks than the connections most consumers currently rely on, so it is positive that it will be rolled out to more homes in rural areas, which for too long have suffered from slower speeds.

“However, Which? research has found that there is low awareness and understanding among consumers and businesses of these better networks, which could hinder its rollout.

“More must be done to ensure more people understand the advantages of gigabit capable broadband. This should be done collaboratively between government, Ofcom, industry and consumer and business groups to help address the barriers that are currently preventing consumers from benefiting from better connections.”

Gigabit-capable broadband is proper fibre broadband, which dispenses with the need for copper wires and maintaining them. For too long we have been spending money on ‘fibre to the cabinet’ rather than taking fibre optics into homes. In future we will be able to pay for whatever speed we need and receive a more reliable service.

Gigabit broadband
https://press.which.co.uk/whichstatements/which-responds-as-half-a-million-rural-homes-are-to-gain-access-to-gigabit-capable-broadband/
I do wish Which? would link to the substance behind their press releases so we can see the detail, rather than a selective extraction. This seems to be it, updating the original August announcement https://www.gov.uk/government/news/two-million-rural-homes-and-businesses-to-benefit-in-5-billion-broadband-upgrade

What bothers me is spending £5 billion if this is going to be the reason:
” New details published today reveal up to 1,850,000 additional premises across 26 English counties will get access to gigabit speed internet of 1,000 megabits per second – enough to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds and lay the foundations for next-generation tech such as 8K-quality video streaming.” The ability to provide faster entertainment seems a poor reason to support such spending. It is hardly of crucial importance in the economic recovery. I only hope those who choose it pay for it, along with the entertainment providers.

The government is providing just £450 million over the next 3 years to give households £5000 grants towards electric heat pumps. That is less than one tenth of the money being given to households to watch films, play computer games and listen to music. Funny old world 🙁

Wavechange says that “in future we will be able to pay for whatever speed we need and receive a more reliable service”. I hope that is the actual outcome. Our household’s needs are modest and will probably diminish as we get older [in fact, we shall probably wish to exit the internet in due course if replacing devices becomes necessary or the practicalities of life supervene]. But, assuming we carry on as we are over the foreseeable future, we shall not need to increase our capacity or speed requirements.

The broadband service we receive is already extremely reliable, so no enhancement there is required, and the current speed is satisfactory. A low tariff would therefore be acceptable. I bet the rate will not be commensurate with the customer’s requirements, however, and that light users will effectively subsidise heavy users.

While I can agree with Malcolm’s points about the justification for public investment in higher speeds, if that does not happen and there is no effective means of charging the content providers, then the streaming and downloading of material by those who do want it will come at the expense of capacity and speed [the contention ratio] for those of us who are happy as we are.

Thought for today

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Quite right Beryl.
I read somewhere that our internet access will soon become satellite based when land lines are phased out in 2025. (Though I hope this will be fought against and defeated.) If this is the case, all our fibre network suddenly becomes obsolete! That’s a lot of money and hard work for nothing.

Malcolm – Improving our broadband is necessary for business as well as consumers. UK universities and certain businesses made their own arrangements before most homes benefited from a decent service. Other countries are already well ahead of the UK. The UK is also planning to shut down the existing phone network in 2025 in favour of VOIP, which will be cheaper to run and maintain. The old copper wiring will be progressively phased out.

Beryl quoted: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

Maybe Aristotle knew that one day, aided by the internet, people would become very vocal about what they knew little about.

I was quoting part of the Government’s justification.

I don’t know why you quoted Beryl in this context. Was it suggesting a lack of an educated mind? And I didn’t know Aristotle; but I don’t know the relevance that remark either.

Aristotle may have thought that there were more important priorities than entertainment but that is just a guess.

I was trying to respond to Beryl’s quotation but Vynor posted about broadband, so I commented about that too.

It’s popular to oppose change and perhaps educated minds foresaw the benefits of electric lighting, despite all the criticism at the time. I suppose we could have deferred the change until the phase out of mains gas and then introduced the incandescent lamp. 🙁

With regard to improvement in internet provision the big mistake has been not to recover money from entertainment companies to fund installation of proper fibre broadband.

Incentives drive progress:

Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/for-businesses/

“A business can boost the voucher value by joining together with other businesses or up to ten residential customers per business, where the value of a resident’s voucher is £500.”

If high speed broadband will benefit a business – its profits – why do they need incentives (from my taxes) and not just pay for it themselves?
I am all for businesses who would benefit having access to gigabit bb as I assume they will use it to benefit themselves and the economy and not waste the facility and the capacity playing games and downloading films at high speed 🙁

WhatsApp scam
In Nov Which? mag a WhatsApp scam is reported. A lady received a message purporting to be from her sister asking to transfer money to pay for a car repair. She did. A further message was then received asking for more because the bill was higher than expected. At that point a phone call to her sister found it was a scam.

The piece finishes “You sent money using a bank transfer………. your bank is signed up to the code….. you should get your money back.

Maybe the article is incomplete. A couple of questions arise. If a bank transfer were made, then the sister should have either known or checked the other sister’s account number and sort code, or had a confirmation of payee response to check it was to the right person. Or does the article predate CoP – in which case it is of little purpose now. Would you not expect the sister in need to phone rather than using WhatsApp when asking for money help, and would the fact that she did not have rung alarm bells? Clearly it should have, because the next request did result in a phone call to check.

This raises the question as to exactly what the bank did wrong to contribute to the fraud.Did they know the receiving account was fraudulent? Or did they, quite correctly, simply obey their customer’s instruction to move money in the normal way? If they had no part in occasioning the loss through any negligence, why should they be empowered to use customers’ money to “give money back” to the unfortunate person who responded to the fraud?

@lmerryweather, Lauren, could you explain the logic of exactly why this refund should be made please? Clearly the paying sister was concerned enough to make a phone call the second time and that concern should caused her to also check the first time. It just seems like a lack of care to me, but maybe there is more to it that was not published.

I thought I would take some time out to to entertain thoughts about the changes to Which Conversation, by analysing thoughts about which responses were positive, which were negative and which were worth pursuing (acceptable) and which were not.

Coincidentally, my thoughts led me to a video link hosted by the Dalai Lama, along with four other Nobel Laureates, and other respected leaders in the field of education, business and social transformation, taking part in the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit, some of which seemed also to relate to current COP26 events taking place in Glasgow.

One thing that was very evident from all speakers was, they all had a great sense of humour. Other points of interest illustrated the importance of developing the natural creativity in every young child that is all too often quashed by too much standardised mind and knowledge teaching, and it’s affect on a child’s compassionate and empathetic understanding. It also sheds some light on the phenomenon of the origin of involuntary insights and awareness that appear to surface from beyond the mind in everyone from time to time, without the need to sneeze Wavechange 🙂

If interested to view the whole intriguing discussion you can find it on
youtube.com – Peace Summit 2009 – Educating the Heart and Mind

Regarding the changes to Convo, as previously stated, change is inevitable, and you either accept it or you don’t, and it helps to try to focus on the positives and less on the negatives, an excellent example is Vynors continuing delightful verses, and now even Wavechange has earned a place in poets corner and also a thumbs up to both from me 🙂

Change is not inevitable. Change is only worthwhile if it improves things, or if circumstances alter. We need to assess it on that basis.

As for “natural creativity in every young child” it is something to be fostered, but they also need to be stimulated. Both my sons with new children take them to all kinds of places to get new experiences and have them in nursery at a very early age (compared to when my children were young, anyway). There, they mix with other children and adults and are introduced to a whole range of activities that supplement what parents can do. But they also need to be taught the knowledge they will need to deal with life.

Sorry if you didn’t like my poetic contribution, Beryl. 🙂

I hadn’t read your poem at the time of posting Malcolm, so was unable to comment on the unseen.

Changes have to occur in order to evolve, progress and learn from past mistakes. Time will tell whether those changes are positive or negative, but what is abundantly clear, being permanently stuck in the same old way is unproductive, sterile and out dated.

If you viewed the video I posted, you will learn that all young children are naturally creative, they don’t need to be taught it. It’s the standardised education they receive from 7 onwards that stifles that creativity, resulting in a society of restricted awareness and limited understanding of empathy and compassion for others.

Creativity opens up new horizons that enables one to embrace and accept the many changes that occur throughout life, up to and including senility; the alternative is an endless negative fault finding and complaining about what is.

Beryl – I see writing poetry about as difficult as being depressed – neither comes naturally. I did make a contribution on stem ginger cookies, which is somewhere in the Rhyming Room. Thank you for our thumbs.

I have today received a Covid booster injection named ‘Comirnaty’, a name that I had not heard of, but seems to be the trade name for the Pfizer-Biontec vaccine. It’s obvious which shoulder was injected, but no other reaction so far. Why do those wielding syringes and needles say they you will feel a scratch just before you are stabbed?

Better than the “little prick” as sometimes described.
When going through my state of health before being pricked the nice lady asked if I was tired. I said “no” then realised she was asking about my work status and I’d not heard the “re” bit. Anyway, we has a giggle. Maybe I need an earing check.

Earlier in this Convo Beryl pointed out that the Nov. mag. had a page advertising Which? Conversation. I see the same ad appears in the two other mags I get – Money and Travel. Whilst I think they could have been more imaginative and informative I do hope they entice far more Members to join and add their views, experiences and expertise. We desperately need more constructive regulars.

I also hope they would support a Members-only Conversation to discuss certain Which? matters that – well – matter to Members.
@jon-stricklin-coutinho @gmartin, Jon and George, this has been requested a number of times. What has orevented it from being launched? Some conspiracy theories have been put forward. Perhaps they have substance?

The fact that it was featured in all three mags. was the main reason to separate the Lobby from the main conversation.

It’s now probably a case of use it or lose it. The lobby did become a bit disorganised in places at times with new important issues appearing randomly by the regulars, resulting in a potpourri of jokes and trivia and serious stuff.

The full-page add appeared in an earlier issue of the magazine.