A cheerful story of a Roberts radio and Blackwell & Denton in York

It was a lovely looking retro style red Roberts radio. I got it at a boot sale for a bargain price. It served me well but it developed a fault. It started to go silent after being on for a while. Panel was still lit up but no sound!

As they are expensive – and wonderful, I decided it would be worth finding out if it could be repaired. But where to go? I have always found the service at Blackwell & Denton in the centre of York to be excellent so off I went.

David, the friendly chap at B&D announced that Roberts were an excellent company with a great customer service and they would sort my radio for a set repair fee. He showed me one that had just been returned from them. Roberts had replaced the whole top of the radio that had been damaged.

I delivered my treasure and waited.

David called me on Saturday to tell me that Roberts had decided not to repair my radio. They had decided to replace my radio with a brand new one. It was even the more recent model! The photo has given it a purple tinge, it is not, it is deep red.

I already loved Roberts radios but now… well… what can I say?

A big thank you to Roberts and to Blackwell & Denton.

Lightweight folded plastic tricycle camper with bath and shower included. Extreme large scale #origami

The tiny tricycle mounted house is the creation of the people at peoples-products.com.

It is made from lightweight plastic that has been cut with a CNC router, scored, folded and welded into shape. The polypropylene plastic bodywork can expand like an accordion to create more space, and connect to other houses. The translucent plastic allows the interior to be lit by the sun during the day or street lamps at night.

Camper van or festival luxury? Inside the panels fold out to create a cosy place with two bunks and a little bath.

I like this. Perhaps I should suggest one to my wife as the next holiday solution. Perhaps not! See the YouTube for more:

Mega is great. 50gb of FREE cloud storage without the USA snooping in all my stuff

Not that I have anything to hide, because I don’t, I just don’t like the invasion of privacy.

On their website MEGA quotes Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference.”

Lifted from the MEGA website:

We are a dedicated group of technologists who were given the time, opportunity and Internet access to build an awesome cloud storage service that will help protect your privacy. We have programmed this Internet service from scratch in Auckland, New Zealand. Unlike most of our competitors, we use a state of the art browser based encryption technology where you, not us, control the keys.

MEGA is Cloud Storage with Powerful Always-On Privacy
MEGA provides robust cloud storage with convenient and powerful always-on privacy. MEGA believes in your right to privacy and provides you with the technology tools to protect it. We call it User Controlled Encryption, or UCE, and it happens automatically.

For MEGA, privacy does not mean flouting copyright law:

“We respect the copyright of others and require that users of our services comply with the laws of copyright. You are strictly prohibited from using our services to infringe copyright. You may not upload, download, store, share, display, stream, distribute, e-mail, link to, transmit or otherwise make available any files, data, or content that infringes any copyright or other proprietary rights of any person or entity…”

Bitcasa were recently promoting unlimited cloud storage but I found their web interface very slow – and they are not cheap!

For the extreme geek, read the explanation of their encryption.

gscan2pdf paper geometry on Fujitsu S1500 in Linux

I have been in the process of going paperless now that I have a bulk scanner, a Fujitsu S1500 (a great Ebay bargain). What a difference it has been making to my life. I have got rid of lots of paper archives and uploaded to the cloud. One document of 90 pages went through in a flash and is now uploaded to my Evernote. An old book of prayers (out of copyright) was pulled apart and is now uploaded.

I am very pleased with the Fujitsu S1500. I did download the Windows software to use on a Windows machine I have access to but as I usually work in Ubuntu I have ended up just using it in my favourite operating system. It performs very well in Linux using the gscan2pdf interface which is already part of the Ubuntu repository.

A simple problem I had was telling the scanner what paper size I was using when in gscan2pdf. I looked for answers on the web but found nothing very clear so I figured it out myself. This is my offering for anyone else who had been puzzled and is still looking for the answer.

In the picture below I have entered the numbers for an A4 sheet. Whatever odd size you want to scan, you simply measure it in millimetres and add those measurements to the bottom two fields where it says page width and page height.

You then need to add a second lot of measurements that will be only slightly less than the page width and page height. Bottom-right x is the width and bottom-right y is the height.  An easy way is to put in something in less, then using the up arrow the correct number will be chosen for you. For the example below, with a page width of 209.97 (width of an A4 page) you put in the ‘bottom-right x’ field the number 209.00 then click on the up arrow (which is to the right of the field) and the maximum number available will be chosen automatically. You then do something similar with the ‘bottom-right y’ field

So which is my favourite Android keyboard?

The great thing about Android is the ability to customise so much of it so that it is just right. With some other operating systems it seems users are put in a beautiful garden but with a high wall around it so if you start to tire of the garden, tough, you are stuck there.

Keyboards I been using:


Swiftkey does not have the usual ‘swype’ feature of Android keyboards. But their beta version which included it, called Swiftkey Flow is the one I have been trying. Not bad but some people find it a bit creepy that the app wants access to your email, twitter and sms in order to learn your style. This is so it can offer you your next words accurately to speed up your typing – and it does!

There is a free and a paid version. The paid version is good value, not much more than the price of a coffee at the sign of the tax-dodging-smirking-mermaid.

Kii Keyboard is good. It is very similar to Swiftkey but does not need to have access to emails, etc. I have found it to be better at predicting the next word I need. I also like the style of it, and the huge number of different themes available. It is in the beta phase so it has frequent updates as the developer is tweaking it to get it right. Kii is free but I doubt if it will be free when it is our of the beta phase.

Adaptxt is by far the best one at predicting what the next word is that I need. Using Adaptxt I can type documents at speed. Two problems with Adaptxt though: The secondary keyboard has everything in the wrong place on the UK keyboard, and does not have the ‘swype’ facility so it is only for key tapping.

Which is my favourite? They are all good and all can be used on tablets too, or have a tablet versions.

Do I have to have a favourite though? I think I will probably continue to do what I have been doing – change from one to another from time to time simply because I can!