The Lobby: Off-topic discussion

Hello and welcome to The Lobby! Your place to discuss subjects that just don’t fit in our other conversations. Make yourself at home!

Do you want to discuss an issue but can’t find the right place to post it? Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere to chat with your community pals? Well, you’ve come to the right place…

As with any community or conversation it can – and does – wander off-topic. This is perfectly natural, but it hasn’t always been possible to do so on some of our posts because of the precisely defined nature of each subject.

So, at the behest of some of our community members, we created this off-topic discussion area – The Lobby.

Any ideas spawned here in The Lobby could generate new posts for debate and discussion on Which? Conversation, so you – our community members – are able to help shape the direction of our community.

What happened to the original Lobby?

Why do we have two Lobbies? Well, like all good franchises, we wanted to experiment with a sequel. But seriously, the original Lobby was so popular (with almost 13,000 comments), it was becoming hard to load the page.

So we’re starting fresh with what we’re affectionately calling “The Lobby 2”.

No comments from first Lobby have been deleted, and you can still link to comments, but you won’t be able to add new comments.

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You may go off-topic… that is the purpose of The Lobby.  🙂

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Comments

Ordered some Christmas “goodies ” by phone from Lakeland ,delivery company -Hermes , it never changes .
Unlike most delivery services I cant access the tracking–why ?— because they want me to “sign up ” –“you cant be serious” said the famous US tennis player —they want your details to make money out of you , never going to happen .

I thought Hermes had improved recently. I must admit I haven’t tried the tracking facility because they have started sending messages updating their delivery forecast and are now giving a sensible two-hour time slot which has proved reliable. Their delivery person is also putting parcels in the proper place as instructed now instead of in a wheelie bin and their “We missed you . . .” cards are more helpful. I still don’t like them though.

Duncan, given the highly competitive nature of the home delivery market, it is not surprising that successful companies can only survive with the aid of little tricks like that for making extra money. I think I heard recently that one particular company only pays its self employed drivers 50p after each successful delivery.

My neighbour recently lost a Hermes delivery. She asked where they left the parcel and they sent her a picture of our woodstore in the front of our garden but there was nothing there. They had not delivered anything to our address that day, so what was all that about? We don’t even have the same postcode.

PS – These comments should probably be in a parcel deliveries Conversation, but there are so many of them it is not obvious where they would best fit.

Got my new BT “Smart Hub ” bigger than my HH5 but its got 7 aerials for wi-fi but I don’t use wi-fi.
Tested it right away –lost 4Mbps in speed but they have to do some adjustments it went out during posting and reset so will try it again .
Wavechange-Derek- Roger the old power unit on the HH5 is SMPS at 12V DC at 1.5 amps and the positive is the centre hole in the plug – very handy.
I notice most electrical equipment sent to me now has the interchangeable slot for EU type plugs .
If its as reliable as the old HH5 then I should be okay.

Routers do seem to be getting bigger. I presume that the aerials in mine are internal, but the range is better than its predecessor. It’s branded ‘Technicolor’ but reassuringly it is black. The power supply for my router will also accept interchangeable plug adaptors. Apple has used this arrangement for their laptop power supplies for years, allowing world travellers to select the appropriate adaptor. Most small electronic devices will run on 100-250V AC and 50-60Hz thanks to SMPS.

Once the router has had time to get to know the server, you should soon get back to full speed.

There has been another change Wavechange I am now on IPv6 no longer IPv4 and no longer IP numbers like 109. etc etc .
I will give it two days to see if any speed change develops if not I will phone up a number they have provided.
As you are FTTP I take it you are already on IPv6 ?

No, it looks as if I’m still on IPv4 at present.

“Tested it right away –lost 4Mbps in speed but they have to do some adjustments”

What a lovely problem to have. If I lost 4MBps mine would be going backwards at 3MBps… 🙂

Although my location IP is Dundee my real IP has now changed from a small village in middle England to London.
IPv6 is supposed to be more secure but its not really although less of the world population use it its got built in ability to use point to point encryption but I might have to go through all my firewall settings again need to check first .
As they have run out of IPv4 numbers that’s why I am on this new protocol which everybody will be on eventually as IPv4 becomes obsolete .
IPv6 is supposed to make connections easier but time will tell this will give me more work .

I fully understand and sympathise Roger I used to get 6Mbps till FTTC came around and I am only 120 yards from the cabinet.
Your obviously a long way from that green street cabinet even with FTTC if not FTTC then you must be a mile or more on copper ?

My oldest router works on the plunge operating system and does not require an internet connection.

Operated by the Old Water Board Wavechange ?
Speed reliant on water pressure in the UK and phases of the moon when accessing overseas wetsites ?

🙂 Let’s hope Ian comes back and does the humour, once daily with breakfast.

Around 3 miles as the crow flies on copper.

Not good Roger I take it the only ISP is BT as most others wont want to know ?
Have you tried all the options, I don’t know how isolated you are from other properties whether you could get together and get FTTPoD or some type of radio relay ?

I am actually with Talk Talk Business. Been having a few connectivity problems recently – will detail a tech thread in Tech Talk on it – would be interested in observations. I am convinced it is not hardware per se – though could be a problem of needing to throttle something back to avoid a stack overflow in a TTB system somewhere thanks to the slow uplink.

Was with BT but they started toTTP so TTB it was 🙂

Despatches tonight at 8pm Wavechange -Professor Lawrence Harwood (chemistry ) -bath toys sold by Amazon had up to “500 times ” the legal limit of a fertility reducing chemical -DEHP.
Male babies chewing them risked growing up infertile .-quote-
Channel 4 Dispatches tested five toys available from the retail giant and discovered that three had “incredibly high” levels of the chemical.

Testing showed more than 30 per cent of a red seahorse and green seal from a bath toy set was made up of DEHP – more than 300 times the legal limit.

A yellow duck was more than 30 per cent DEHP and a red octopus was more than 50 per cent DEHP. 500 times the limit. All were described on Amazon as “non-toxic”.

Professor Laurence Harwood, director of chemical analysis at Reading University said: “Children when they play with these toys, put them in their mouths and just by in fact handling them they can absorb the [phthalate].

“They look harmless, but the phthalate will dissolve in the fat in your tissues and you can absorb it through the skin.”
Your a Chemistry Professor Wavechange –aren’t you ?

Thanks Duncan. Unfortunately I missed the programme, but here is an article that refers to it: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/nov/11/the-secrets-of-amazon-review

DEHP is a phthalate – a chemical widely used as a plasticiser in the manufacture of PVC. Plastics are are used in large quantities in the plastics industry to produce soft and flexible materials from materials that would be hard and brittle without them. Being a small molecule, DEHP can migrate or leach from plastics, get into food and pass through skin. It’s one of the chemicals referred to as endocrine disruptors, which have been mentioned before.

When I studied chemistry, the risks associated with plastics were little known. When products are commercialised prior to learning about hazards there can be tremendous opposition to banning or regulating their use. Poor public understanding does not help. For example there has been concern about BPA (another endocrine disruptor) used in the manufacture of polycarbonate, even in plastics that don’t contain BPA. Pressure groups may help to raise awareness but they also spread mis-information.

Here is a Wikipedia article on endocrine disruptors: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocrine_disruptor#Bisphenol_A_(BPA)

I had a read of the wiki Wavechange, pretty serious -IMO- I notice it does affect females too with cancer etc.
Another Amazon “product ” taken off the shelves I hope it isn’t like their EU 2 pin plugs –keep being sold by them even after saying -“no more ” ?

It is serious, but these products are unlikely to be exclusive to Amazon. I wonder if the greatest risk comes from plastics containing smaller amounts of phthalates that are legally being sold.

I understand Wavechange long term lower doses just make it harder to position blame on illness unless specialised blood tests are taken.
Your suspicions are justified as there has been a big increase in infertility in males which I think females should take note of when it comes to fertility to become pregnant due to low sperm count/no sperm /lack of mobility .
While vast research goes into causes of female infertility when it comes to males its “we don’t understand why ” (NHS UK ) .
That doesn’t hold water in the 21Cent.

Green Thumb visited my neighbour’s garden yesterday and used a leaf-blower to blow the fallen leaves off the grass and into the street but failed to sweep them up. Now we all have a share. Thumbs-down for Green Thumb.

i see its a British “startup ” but its a franchise isn’t it ?
Would it have any connection to green thumb .com –USA –garden tools -lawn equipment etc ?

It’s certainly a franchise for lawn care in the UK, but popular terms like green thumb are used by companies operating in different sectors.

We used Green Thumb some years ago at a previous property where we had three large lawns that were in bad condition when we moved there. They sorted them out very well in a way that I could not have done and within two years we had excellent weed-free lawns. I don’t recall them ever having to blow the leaves off; I think I raked them up myself and made leaf mould for future use. I expect the standard of service differs from one franchisee to another, but we were very satisfied with the people who provided the service for us.

Green Thumb have been around for a long time now so are hardly a ‘start-up’ company. Other franchised lawn care providers are available.

My neighbours were out when the van came round. Had I realised that they would not be sweeping up the leaves I would have done it myself. Their van is a common sight round here and they have been operating locally for at least eight years.

Have you any experience with poor grass growth near trees and bushes, John? I’ve read that some varieties grow better than others. I might have to get someone in to lay new turf.

You can get grass seed mixture for shade and poorer soil. I prefer seed to turf but probably too late to sow it now. April is a good time when the soil begins to warm and there are morning dews to keep the seed moist.

Thanks Malcolm. That’s what I tried this year, with little success, though I cannot be sure I used the best seed for the job. The soil is rather too well drained and the grass suffered in the drought, for the second year running Another neighbour had new turf laid this year and that looks good.

I believe it is illegal to sweep leaves into the road.

And being seasonal it is also illegal to clear ice/snow from the council owned pavement leading to your house , I was told I could be sued by anybody going from snow/ice to clear and then back to snow/ice and slipping .
I phoned the council Roads dept. and they told me not to do it.

It’s a widespread myth; it’s not illegal and the only way you could be sued (highly unlikely) is if you’d used water to clear the snow and ice… In more direct terms, you’d have to make it worse than it was when the snow fell.

Duncan, in that case, I believe it is not the actual act of clearing the snow that is illegal.

What would, however, be illegal is attempting to clear the snow and then not doing a good enough job of it.

For example, as you suggest, a poor attempt to clear the snow might subsequently allow the surface to change from snow to ice, thus making conditions worse.

That would potentially create a legal liability on behalf of whoever was responsible for the change.

If the council were responsible, they would be potentially liable under the health and safety at work act.

Householders carrying out the job as unpaid volunteers would not be bound by that act, but could probably be sued via a civil action. Furthermore, if the council advised householders that it was alright to clear the snow, then the council might still be liable under health and safety legislation.

At the site where I used to work in Gloucester, their estates staff always cleared snow from and then gritted the site’s footpaths, so we could all safely access our offices.

As an an example of why sites should do that, one of my brothers broke an arm several years ago, after he slipped and fell on snow and ice in one of his employer’s car parks. As his employer was responsible, it had no option but to pay for him to eventually travel home by taxi (i.e. after his visit to casualty), all the way from S. Wales to W. Sussex and to pay for all his subsequent expenses.

Our local council supply bins of salt and sand so residents can grit a steep access road. Locals who don’t need the slope have a bad habit of nicking it for their own drives and paths.

Obviously its only in Fifeshire this seems to apply to but it does –phone them up yourselves , even council workmen told me not to do as did the neighbours who got into trouble doing it.
That was about 30 years ago and nobody in the village does it.

I have at this minute phoned Fife council and they told me it would take 10 days to get back to me on the official legal position.

I suppose a response within 10 days would be counted as “fast” by many councils 😀

I expect that you could get into trouble if you blocked the pavement or the road with snow. I don’t clear the pavement because we don’t have one.

On this morning’s fact finding mission I confirmed that there are no grit/salt bins round here but there is one near the bus stop on the B-road into town, and it’s still full from last year. I was delighted to see a new notice indicating that our afternoon bus service into town has been reprieved. Where I used to live we had two grit/salt bins in our small cul-de-sac, provided by the rather profligate city council.

Derek wrote: “I suppose a response within 10 days would be counted as “fast” by many councils” I reported a LED street light that was on permanently for two years and received a response saying that it would be inspected within five working days, but two days later it had been fixed. Round here, there are stickers asking for street lighting faults to be reported and I have not seen any routine inspections for years.

I was disappointed to receive a prompt response to say that a pothole at the side of the road was not big enough to merit attention, but it did get filled.

Going back to leaves on the grass, I decided to blow them onto the drive rather than into the street and swept them up. In the back garden I just blew them under the trees and bushes.

The leaf blower is one of my least liked products (because of the noise) but it’s easier than using a lawn rake.

I find using a rotary mower collects and shreds the leaves and adds, with the grass cuttings, to the compost heap.

The mower is also useful for dealing with hedge clippings. I wanted to get rid of leaves from borders as well as the grass, which is why I used the blower.

I find that a metal spring-tine rake does help aerate and scarify the grass and provides some pleasant exercise. I sold the vacuum/blower because it made far too much noise and the collecting bag became extremely heavy and awkward.

With the amount of rain we have had, the grass was too wet to rake without damage. I don’t even attempt to vacuum up leaves because I had to take the machine apart to unjam the blow/suck selector after the first use. Industrial ear defenders are quite effective….

Email from Hermes > your parcel from Lakeland will be delivered between 5pm and 7pm> left light on in alcove >outer door left open > phone call from neighbour in cottage 20 yards down from me > parcel thrown over her back garden fence > meet her and she gives me parcel > thank her > email timed–18:11 pm –
Hi Mr LUCAS
Your Lakeland parcel has been delivered at 18:11 by your local courier and was posted through your letterbox.
Absolute -downright lie !
Phoned Lakeland >got apology >asked to check if contents are okay and phone back if not > was told by a nice Lakeland gentleman >note put on your computer details >do NOT use Hermes for Mr Lucas >yes they can get alternatives > contents survived due to good packing but the last thing I want is after 6pm in darkness my female neighbour has to meet me and personally give me my parcel which was for my wife .
Angry ? I nearly went on fire !
Tried in the past to contact Hermes –waste of time -referred to sender .
Hermes the worst delivery service in the UK and I can prove it as can my neighbour.
https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.hermes-europe.co.uk

I agree with your verdict, Duncan. Hermes have made improvements but other carriers have outpaced them

It’s all very well Lakeland marking your card with a “No Hermes” note but it would be better if they used a different carrier altogether.

I have received a message from Hermes today saying they have a parcel for me but it doesn’t give any clue as to the likely date of delivery.

Amazon has improved its service lately, but they tend to deliver up to two days ahead of the date given on the dispatch message so you cannot organise for it; Hermes remains the worst.

If you try their “tracking ” John you will find you have to log in ,where they collect your details and then third parties track—-you !
I don’t need to “login ” with many others and any I do need to I end up phoning the sender who “miraculously ” is able to tell me the progress.
Phone the sender John always works for me .

I used the Hermes tracking facility – no log-in required – and all it could tell me was that the goods were on their way and with our local depot. I am hoping they will out for delivery tomorrow.

Funny how the reputation of a company is all decided on the last employee in the chain of a delivery.

I will get an email from Hermes to say ‘Your parcel is now with your local Hermes courier and is on its way to you. Delivery will be attempted between 08:00 and 12:00 today.’

The courier lives in the next village and if he doesn’t turn up until 10:00, I tell him he is late today but he will still pause for a brief chat. That is how reliable he is, usually arriving between 8:30 and 9:00 and has been doing so for some years now.

If all delivery people were as friendly and reliable as him, Hermes would have a fantastic reputation.

Delivery companies need to weed out bad couriers, so report them. You might not think you get satisfaction, but if enough people complain or companies make enough claims against them, you never know.

Hermes might have improved – marginally – but they’re still far from good. The other day I couldn’t opt to leave the parcel in a safe place (everywhere’s safe round here…) because it needed a signature. Fair enough, as the items were in excess of £300, but when we got home they were sitting on a rear doorstep nonetheless.

That didn’t last long , 2 days of BT,s new “super duper ” HH6 and even with BT,s UK engineering dept. they still cant even after tests , checking exchange equipment, increase the speed to what it was with the HH5 .
It seems to be optimised for wi-fi which I don’t use , after a long talk with the nice UK engineer we agreed I should refit the “not so super ” HH5 and guess what ?– speed back up but now I am connected to-HMS Peewit -near Carnoustie a still active Navy Fleet Air Arm base -nice area been to Carnoustie -golf course and test firing range (not too close together).

The “beauty “of the web is you can always find an answer to your question and I found out the BT HH6 has “bugs ” that affect its speed /performance and wont be fixed as BT is making too much money out of people paying for fixed IP,s and that’s coming from a veteran Regular of BT,s OWN website .
I don’t want to go into technical detail here as very technical but if you have a HH5 don’t at present update to a HH6 you might get faster wi-fi but your top speed will drop and it wont be –“intrinsically safer ” .
Home Hubs -Made in China –does Donald know ?

Welcome to World Kindness Day, the day in 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote “Nothing is . . certain but death & taxes and the day in 1979 on which The Times resumed publishing after a one year absence.

If you cross a cat with a Gorilla the result is a creature that puts you out at night.

I asked the chemist for something to stop someone being sick. He got too personal and asked if it was Aunty Emetic.

Wonder why only US males name their children after themselves? Never see a Sally Jnr.

Victor – the fat Russian cat was overweight and couldn’t board with its owner Russian owner Mikhail Galin on Russian airline Aeroflot so he scammed the company by substituting a thin Russian cat at the check in and swapped it for his fat cat on the way in to the plane –it worked.
He made the mistake of boasting about it online –Aeroflot took the huff and excluded him from their loyalty programme and scrapped his air miles.

I said I was going to buy the new CPR Callblocker V10000 and being a man of my word I just did from a nice sounding Welsh lady , firm is located in Wales.
I told her I still have the old model and she said in that case we will send you an envelope put it in the envelope >send it back to us and we will take £20 off the price — what a nice company and its British and it will be delivered by the PO –not Hermes .

Hopefully future versions of BT Call Protect will offer similar features to standalone call blockers, avoiding the need to pay for new hardware, since updates can be applied at the exchange.

Remember when there were separate answering machines and little devices to display and record callers’ numbers.

The particular disadvantage of the stand-alone device is that we would need three in order to be accessible to the master and two slave units. I presume the stand alone call-blocker has to be connected to the master DECT and will not synchronise with others. A call-blocker combined with a cordless phone set and central memory is the best answer.

Wrong John , I have a Panasonic DECT cordless phone with two extensions all three work through the callblocker its input is from the master socket via a two way adaptor to the callblocker then the dect phone master unit -it must work that way – it synchronises just fine thats why you can use #2 to block a scam call on any extension .

Thanks for that, Duncan. That makes sense. I wasn’t sure about multiple extensions. I still think an integrated unit would be more convenient. Don’t think we need one, though, since we rarely get a nuisance call.