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Archive for the ‘Electronics’ Category

DCPayments (Infocash) and Wilko: Avoid or Lose Your Money, Time


YESTERDAY I ranted about my experiences with Wilko. This rant came after wasting no less than 3 days without making progress, so I wasn’t so trigger-happy. In fact, I was patient and polite all along. I was trying to be understanding. I am still polite, but obviously my rants are becoming more disruptive to Wilko, as my messages — I am told — now circulate at management level and they try to find a solution. I haven’t received the money that was ‘stolen’ from me (yet) and it’s no longer about money. It’s about a lot more than that. Had Wilko dealt with the faults of DCPayments more properly, things would be smooth and trivial for everyone. There are two parties at fault: DCPayments (of Infocash) and Wilko. The audio below explains why.

In the previous post about it I explained what had happened and shared some correspondence for the record. When I came to the store today (especially for that I had to go to Town) I was greeted by a nice lady who said she had heard about this or remembered me.

This was not the person whom I needed to speak to (I asked for management), so I was then escalated to another non-manager. She wanted me to have a bunch of forms to fill out, as if the issues are indeed quite frequent (they seem prepared for this). But still, this is not what I asked for. Here is the short conversation:

I declined to waste my time doing this and asked to speak to the manager, who turned up several minutes later and took me for a discussion at the corner (further away from clients). I needed to be escalated to the third level to speak to this manager, who was the person I was there to see in the first place. That’s the same thing which happened last time (several escalations needed). The main conversation was with him and it was amicable. Some bits were rather revealing (about what had been going behind the scenes, so to speak).

Personal lesson learned from this: record staff you speak to as they tend to lie afterwards (to cover their behind) about what they had said. This is actually the first time that I use a recording device in such a circumstance. I have never done this before. In the audio, as I pointed out, there is an alternation of what was said by the previous manager I spoke to (regarding going to the bank), or maybe an alternation of what she had said by the second manager (‘broken telephone’). He said that Wilko had 400 such machines and defended their robustness. This turned out to be a weak argument as towards the end he admitted that he himself had experienced an issue with the machines.

I am supposed to hear back by Tuesday about what happened and what happens next.

I only found out the name of the supplier, DCPayments, after I had gotten back home and looked up Infocash. Wilko never gave me the name of the supplier, or only gave it begrudgingly at the end (saying I can find the name on the machine, which sports the “Wilko” logo).

Review of Archos Clipper

Archos Clipper

THE FRENCH firm Archos is known for its line of Linux-based products, mostly multimedia players. A month ago I bought 2 Archos Clipper units, one for myself and one for my sister. There has been not a single issue with the player so far and it was very trivial to operate (instructions come in very many languages). Battery life is as good as promised, the USB port (which also acts as a charger through the headphones jack) works perfectly well, and headphones have suffered no damage despite being pulled a lot, and the player suffered no damage — not even scratching — despite falling a lot and facing rough conditions at the gym.

There is really not a single negative thing to say about Archos Clipper. If someone else has had similar/different experiences, please share them below.

Cellphones Harm Health, Says New Study

Antennas and satellite dishes

Some time ago I wrote about the health implications of cellphones, Wi-Fi and wine. There are the “only make believe” and wishful thinking studies, which much like in global warming can be funded by those with vested interest. And then there’s reality. After a study from Japan which suggests cellphones are no health hazard there’s this from the news:

Heavy mobile phone use may be linked to an increased risk of cancer of the salivary gland, a study suggests

A lot of people will be unhappy to read this. Personally, I’m glad I stopped carrying a cellphone back in 2003.

Linux Buys you More

Cheap computer

Not the actual box. Treat as
placeholder for illustrational purposes.

When you see a great deal, you simply know it! 149.95 dollars will buy you:

  • AMD Duron 2.8 GHz Processor with 800 MHz FSB
  • 180 Gigabyte Hard Drive
  • 256 Megabytes of RAM
  • K7MNF-64 nVidia nForce2 Socket A Motherboard
  • nVidia nForce2 chipset


The machine will of course run GNU/Linux. It seems too good to be true, so I remain skeptic. Having toyed with the cart feature, it seems to be genuine though. The site statistics (Alexa, Netscraft), as well as some other available products, seem to suggest it is real.

Noteworthy: get Windows and double the cost of the worktstation…

Related item: Expensive Developers, Cheap Hardware

Eccentric Computer Setups

5-head display

Picture from PlanetQuake

CHECK out some of the strangest computer setups you have ever come across. I particularly like the one which demonstrates, side by side, the difference between a dual-head setting and a very large screen. It has recently begun being manufactured for Dell and Apple, but is rather pricey.

Monitors of Three Dimensions


Screen-shot of Metisse for FVWM

YESTERDAY I read about three-dimensional displays, which are said to require no glasses and make stereo-vision a reality. This seemed like ‘queue hopping’ from a scientific point-of-view, so I had to read it carefully and identify some points of skepticism. I was successful in finding some gaps and deficiencies, which a careful read would quickly reveal (albeit the headline is very eye-catching — an exaggeration within or even beyond reason).

If you have some idiosyncratic interests which pertain to the study of vision and human-computer interaction (HCI), you may find some of my past essays on the topic intersting:

Interesting Product Listings

Shrimp USB drive
A shrimpy yet fully-functional USB drive

Here are a couple of fun lists which I have recently come across:

Some even contain videos.

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