Category Archives: Gripes

Google+ birthdays in Google Calendar

Recently my Google Calendar notified me of a birthday. A birthday of someone I didn’t recognise. Slightly confused, given I didn’t actually put this in the calendar, I double checked who this person was. And at this point, I realised that my calendar is now importing birthdays from Google+.

Never mind – presumably there’s an option to remove this? A quick search online (using google, obviously), and I found just one solution, recommended by loads of people. The solution apparently involves going into your calendar settings, calendars, browse interesting calendars, more, and then clicking “unsubscribe” next to Birthdays. Easy.

Every website I found with a solution to stop these birthdays showing up is the same. And there are even screenshots showing how it works. But it doesn’t work for me. Continue reading Google+ birthdays in Google Calendar

A Complaint to Maplin

I’ve not blogged much lately. It’s because in the last couple of months me and my girlfriend have moved house. And even though there’s nothing majorly wrong with the house we’ve moved into, there are more niggles than I’d expected.

When we moved in, there was no Internet (or phone line). We couldn’t just reconnect the cable broadband that was here already, because we were half way through a contract with another provider. So we had to wait while a whole new line was installed and our old service transferred, or else pay a nearly-£100 disconnection fee. There isn’t a room in the building where we could get a reliable radio (DAB or FM) reception, so after a lot of mucking about, we gave up and just listen online (once the Internet was back on).

And then there was the issue with TV. The previous people who lived here had cable TV in the living room. Because of that, there wasn’t a TV aerial point anywhere downstairs. But there was an aerial in the loft, connected to the upstairs rooms. Easy fix, no? Just run a longer cable downstairs, right? You’d think so, wouldn’t you. But with no Internet access, I was forced to use physical shops for my purchases. So here goes. This is the email I’ve just sent to Maplin, that I thought I’d share with you. Continue reading A Complaint to Maplin

The Death of DAB at (My) Home

pic of my old dab radio

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with DAB ever since I discovered it.

I loved the added choice in radio stations, but hated that I needed a second aerial in the car, and that having it required a different radio, with severely limited choice of models. Even now in 2014, there’s not much choice if you want an in-car DAB radio with bluetooth.
Look for a radio with cd, usb input, bluetooth, etc. and there’s plentiful choice. But add those three letters of D-A-B, and it becomes all the more awkward.

Still, it was always good at home, right?
Well, yes and no. Continue reading The Death of DAB at (My) Home

Why Twitter DM sucks right now

For the whole time I’ve used Twitter, I’ve had my account set to public, and had open conversations with other people. I’ve also had private conversations via Direct Message (DM), with close friends.

While we privately chat about all manner of things, sometimes this is used to send URLs between each other that we don’t want the rest of the world to see. We might be chatting a job offer I don’t want to advertise publicly, a website that is especially good or bad, but is only of interest to one person, or something that some might deem offensive that I know one good friend will find amusing. We might be discussing a radio feature we’re thinking about, or some part of an upcoming podcast. And this is where Twitter now sucks. We used to be able to chat away, share web links aplenty. And then Twitter made some changes, and it just doesn’t work anymore.

I’ll go “hey did you see this in the news yesterday?” and dare to try and include a link to a website like which twitter then blocks. And what does it block? Loads of stuff. And it doesn’t block it intelligently like Google Chrome does. It blocks it like a moron. Like the worst kind of Internet filter, randomly deciding that the Huffington Post (US) site is fine, while the Huffington Post (UK) site is too evil to be allowed. The Mirror is ok, the Metro is ok, the Daily Mail is ok, a website of my own that makes podcasts – – no? Why not?) Continue reading Why Twitter DM sucks right now

Unlocking Nook books? No?

I currently own both a Kindle and a Nook.

One of the few selling points of the Nook over the Kindle, is that you can download books from places other than Nook’s store, AND that Nook books you download could be read on other e-readers. So if you got fed up with the Nook, or they stopped making it altogether, (which seems to suggested in the technology press every other week is just about to happen), you could buy a Kobo, and move all your books to that.

Except you can’t. By default, Nook books are locked, so attempting to put them on another device, requires an unlock code. A bit of searching, I worked out the code, and all was fine. A few months ago, I had this sorted, but now it no longer seems to work for newly purchased Nook books.
At time of writing this, I still seem to be able to download Nook books I bought a while ago, but a test 29p book I bought this morning just doesn’t have the options.

How it used to work:

A lot of places on the (frankly rubbish) UK Nook site, take you round and round in circles, giving you the option to “download” your orders, but actually just sending them to your devices again, so forget that. Continue reading Unlocking Nook books? No?

Nook Simple Touch E-reader Update

A few months ago, I bought an e-reader. The decisions I made you can read about in that blog post, here. At the time, I suggested I’d be doing more reading, and also possibly hacking it to run Android apps on it. Since then, the price of it has dropped from the £59 price I paid (an apparent special offer), to what is apparently another special offer of just £29.

Anyway, a few months on, I haven’t hacked it, and here’s a few quick thoughts on it. Continue reading Nook Simple Touch E-reader Update

Sportsdirect – very poor customer service – part 3

This is part 3 of my ongoing complaint against Sportsdirect. You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

Quite a few weeks ago now I made the mistake of buying a supposedly cabin-safe suitcase from Sportsdirect. I got it home, discovered the measurements on the label were wrong (they say it’s smaller than it is), so I attempted to return it (due to it being useless in the actual size and not the product described on the label), and they refused to refund me.

Since part 2, I have written them a letter and posted it recorded delivery. I posted it on the 8th May, and they received it on the 10th May.


As of 3 June, I’ve received no reply or acknowledgement of this letter. Continue reading Sportsdirect – very poor customer service – part 3

Sportsdirect – very poor customer service – part 2

This is part 2 of my ongoing complaint against Sportsdirect. You can read part 1 here.

Last week I bought a suitcase from Sportsdirect, discovered the measurements on the label were wrong, attempted to return it (due to it being useless in the actual size), and they refused to refund me. I’ve done some digging, mostly on google and web forums. Some very helpful people on MoneySavingExpert have given me links to various sources of information, but the most simple and helpful one has been a leaflet from the Office of Fair Trading’s website (link).

I’ve emailed, explaining the situation. I sent this Sunday, and there’s been a bank holiday, and then two working days since then. No reply, so far.

Today, I messaged them on Twitter:


OK so they reply on Twitter, but how come they can reply on Twitter in a matter of hours, yet they only “aim” to reply “within 5 working days” when you send them an email? That’s a bit shit. Continue reading Sportsdirect – very poor customer service – part 2