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.


To ensure The Lobby remains a healthy and friendly place for you all to share your thoughts, musings all of our Community Guidelines apply, with the exception of one:

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

Looking for other areas to talk?

• Website feedback: Let us know about any technical issues, and share your ideas on the future of Which? Conversation closure: A discussion about the closure of

Which? Members: Discuss issues related to our organisation, including governance

Welcome to the Lobby!

So without further ado… welcome! What are you waiting for!?


Surprised he didn’t end up in hospital looking for the other half.

I’ll write some more here when I’ve got nothing on…but that might be a bare-faced lie.

Thanks Vynor.

Does anyone know if Win10 has a built in PC Cleaner that appears to be called pccleaner that runs every day?

Hi alfa, if that is a standard part of Win10, I have failed to find any evidence of it as either “pccleaner*.*” (e.g. as an executable file) or as Windows Service.

If I were to speculate, I’d wonder if it might be a free bloatware add-on to another application. For example, where I use AVG antivirus, that now seems to offer a PC Cleaner diagnostic facility.

Hi Derek, I think your speculation is correct, the question is where has it come from? I haven’t delved into it too much yet but thought I would ask. There are a lot of PC cleaners out there so naming the product PCcleaner makes investigation harder.

I was checking my Dads PC remotely and discovered something called AppMaster was installed 6 months ago.

Look up just about anything these days and you get many results suggesting you have a virus and to download their suggested program to get rid of it. So I am still trying to work out how bad this thing is.

It has already installed AppSync, ZipCruncher, Normandoh, and I suspect a couple of others, one of which could be this PCcleaner.

He had Avast at the time and that didn’t pick it up. I installed Kaspersky a few months ago and not sure if I did a full scan at the time.

I noticed he had run full scans 2 days running and said that told me something was worrying him…? It turns out he was getting ‘messages’ but he’s not sure what they said. The last time he was getting ‘messages’ was demands for money to get rid of pop-ups.

Kaspersky detected and deleted some of the files but I am left with one that cannot be disinfected and I suspect something may repopulate and start again.

Annoyingly, I had 6 months of internet history and accidentally hit the X (delete) instead of the arrow to un-collapse the list so instant deletion.

Just found: Back up and Restore (Windows 7).

On what was supposed to be a brand new Win10 Lenovo laptop?

Mystery of PC Cleaner solved…. part of Kaspersky Internet Security.

As Ian is absent, I will say Welcome to Sustainable Gastronomy Day.
Sustainable Gastronomy Day emphasizes the need to focus the world’s attention on the role that sustainable gastronomy can play. It also reaffirms that all cultures and civilizations are contributors and crucial enablers of sustainable development.

We have to be careful our war against packaging doesn’t lead to more food waste. Also finding alternatives to plastics can create other problems such as the destruction of rain forest and land for alternate bio-products.

This is a big subject that I don’t have time to write about in any detail, but as an example, the new Which? magazine wrappers are made from potato starch derived from potato waste. What happens when there is no natural potato waste?

This subject would have made a good convo….

I’m all for more discussion about living a more sustainable lifestyle, Alfa.

As an example of how modern packaging can avoid food waste, packing meat and soft fruit in sealed containers with a ‘modified atmosphere’ can significantly extend the length of time that they can be stored.

I’m not keen on the sale of ready to eat fruit that is necessarily cocooned in protective plastic to avoid damage. What’s wrong with ripening fruit at home, as we used to do?

I see that alfa may not have time to write it – but maybe it’s something you could be the author for, wavechange?

I second that George.

A couple of titles for now or the future:
The Unintended Consequences of Doing The Right Thing.
The Knock-on Effect of Good Intentions

I remember when a cardboard box and a ten shilling note bought our groceries for the week. Flour came in bags that Mum converted into handkerchiefs for us, meat and butter were wrapped in paper and many staples were scooped from storage bins on the shop floor. If it wasn’t in season it wasn’t on sale. Thus, strawberries were a real treat and heralded summer. When visiting grandparents it was a wicker basket and a trip down the High Street for bread, fruit and unwashed potatoes and groceries from the Home and Colonial, which was twice as big as our local store at home. Newspapers and milk were delivered to the house and sweets came in jars and were weighed into paper bags. A kind shop keeper added an extra one, a mean one took one out.
Now, obviously, things have moved on and we live in our sophisticated society where foreign wines, cheeses and fruits await our shopping trolleys. Fruit out of season tends to be hard, flavourless and expensive. Vegetables less so, but still expensive. We expect all our staples to be available year round no matter where they come from. I wonder how much sacrifice would be necessary to curtail some of these far travelled items like the beans and sweetcorn that arrive from Asia and the tomatoes from anywhere they happen to be growing? Trading for these does give those countries revenue, but adds to transport pollution getting them here. A balanced diet requires a good selection of fresh food as well as tins and store items. Which supermarket would be brave enough to claim that everything it sold was locally sourced? Would the public simply go elsewhere to buy what it wants? Would a government be unpopular enough to make imports of food from far off suppliers difficult to buy? Post Brexit, we are supposed to survive by trading round the world, this is contrary to any green agenda that might help the planet. It is a difficult circle to square and one that needs public backing to succeed. As with all other climate decisions we do have to recognise where we are now and move a step at a time, with the country coming with the changes voluntarily. Public opinion helped with smoking and no one protests against the current restrictions even if they privately dislike going outside when it is cold. It is all very well panicking and telling everyone that they have to change now or face extinction. We need a coherent plan that moves us all to our new lives and it needs to start now, but not all at once. Likewise, it is all very well for us to change but other countries have to do the same or we are wasting our time and effort in our small area of the globe, while we move toward Armageddon in a handcart.

Thanks for the invitation, George. If you can give me until August I’ll see what I can do. I have committed myself to a great deal in the next month or so.

It is not beyond our capabilities to keep food without all the unnecessary packaging. We always used to, even on our case without a fridge. However, we can replace food, but not retrieve all the waste plastic that pollutes the planet.

The sheer range of foods that are available nowadays add to the packaging waste. For example, instead of making ginger biscuits using powdered ginger from a glass jar I now make stem ginger cookies and the ginger comes in a stout pouch of a composite composed of aluminium sandwiched between layers of plastic.

I make fresh fruit salad or buy it if it is offered at a reduced price. Either way, it always seems to involve plastic. When I was younger, mangoes, passion fruit, etc. were not readily available, so fruit was apples, oranges, pears, bananas and whatever soft fruit was in season, and none of it was in plastic containers.

My coffee beans come in plastic/aluminium pouches, but when I started to buy them they always came freshly roasted in paper packets.

Although I don’t buy bottled water and fizzy drinks and would not know where to find the ready meals in the supermarket, I could probably do a lot to reduce plastic waste. Maybe I could start by trying to make stem ginger rather than buying four packs at a time.

This made me embarrassingly giggle snort this morning on the train on my way in.

🙂 I wonder if the Which? magazine has ever been available from shops or only to subscribers? As someone who keeps a car for about ten years I would prefer to buy the car magazine when I need it. At present I just pass on my copy to someone who is looking to change their car.

If the one on the right is Montgomery, the artist has left out the gold chain that he always wore across his battledress between the right and left breast pockets.

I suspect Which?’s business model relies upon the “captive” purchaser who subscribes by standing order and direct debit, automatically paid. Were the magazine to be on the bookstalls at £10 a go I doubt their income would be maintained.

I’m all for a subscription model as a) I don’t have to purposely go out and buy it each month and b) have to make a choice as to whether the content is worth having – at that immediate moment, but it might be something I would refer to in the future.

I get Private Eye on subscription (fortnightly). I wonder if Which? are subscribers? Some of the content is occasionally relevant. A possible organisation where collaboration could be useful. Keeping the lights on, Medicine balls, Signal failures for example.

Our subscription model is something that we keep hearing people would like to see changes to and it is being discussed. It’s obviously a huge change though so it will be a little while before we know any details of proposed changes.

I’m very happy with paying a subscription for the magazine, Abby, but I would rather pay for a copy of the car magazine when I’m in the market for a new car. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I used to buy Which? books on subjects of interest. Presumably they were phased out when information became freely available online, albeit of rather variable quality.

I would be more than happy to pay for detailed independent information about electric vehicles.

Abby Semple Skipper says: 18 June 2019

Our subscription model is something that we keep hearing people would like to see changes to and it is being discussed. It’s obviously a huge change though so it will be a little while before we know any details of proposed changes.

But Abby – the pace of change at Which? is glacial at best. That’s one of the biggest problems with the organisation. Tectonic plates make more progress than W? consultations, sometimes. Did I mention that we’re still waiting to see the proposed changes that ‘watch this space’ has promised?

So when you say ‘a little while’ can we assume it will still be within the Anthropocene?

Patrick Taylor says:
18 June 2019

“In 2016 the Guardian revealed the case of a Birmingham flat owner who discovered that her ground rent was not £250 a year, as she had thought, but £8,000 a year, and would keep doubling so that in 95 years it would be £8m.”

Where Which?

Half of BT’s public phone boxes will go:
” BT intends to scrap the 20,000 telephone boxes over the next five years.
BBC News Aug 2017

The reason is much reduced use as we (well most of us) use mobile phones. But here is the key – “most of us”; what about the rest who don’t have mobiles? The reason for their loss is understandable.

There are similar reasons why ATMs are reducing in number – largely from areas where there are too many – through much reduced use. The reason for their loss is also understandable.

Which? campaign about ATMs. So why has there been no similar campaign for phone box retention?

A large number of the older telephone kiosks are listed buildings so BT will have to get listed building consent to remove them. This should prompt the local authorities to consider alternative uses for them; ATM’s perhaps.

Welcome to National Refill Day.
National Refill Day is public awareness campaign to help prevent millions of single-use plastic bottles from polluting our streets and our oceans by encouraging people to carry a reusable water bottle and refill on the go. Every time someone refills a bottle rather than throwing a plastic one away, we are reducing the amount of plastic that reaches the ocean.

Welcome to World Sickle Cell Awareness Day, the day in 1829 when Robert Peel introduced the Metropolitan Police Act to establish a unified police force for London and the notorious day in 1975 on which an inquest jury decided Lord Lucan had murdered the 29-year-old nanny of his three young children. Being incredibly wealthy, of course, he was able to disappear.

Sorry Ian, I didn’t think you were around. Glad to see you are back for the morning humour.😁

Only just got back yesterday 🙂 But I wish I’d noticed it was National refill day…

How difficult would it be to provide public water taps in built-up areas so that anyone can refill their bottle? I hope you had a good break, Ian.

Never hypothetically ask yourself if the person in front of you can go any slower, because the answer is yes.

My dad was a stalker. I want to follow him in his footsteps.

My wife had me take out more life insurance and now there’s no grip left on the bath mat. Weird.

A few jokes related to coffee:

Barista: How do you take your coffee?
Me: Very, very seriously.

Sleep is a weak substitute for coffee.

Q: What’s it called when you steal someone’s coffee?
A: Mugging!

I think the Xmas crackers were raided for that last one 🙂