• I've been reading the digital version of our local independent newspaper for years but they've suddenly begun putting MailChimp Trackers onto use of all their "Continue reading" links, which upsets Ghostery and isn't as easy to get around as the warning page suggests. Apparently I can't just stick in a screenprint but this link may show what I've been getting after clicking on such a link: extension://fclbdkbhjlgkbpfldjodgjncejkkjcme/app/templates/blocked_redirect.html I don't care for my reading habits being tracked, let alone by MailChimp; on the other hand, I do like being able to read local news from this excellent source. What (if anything) can I do to achieve the latter without being stuck with the former? I've written to the publishers, in case they don't realise what's happening, but I hoped that someone here might have other ideas before they reply - if they ever reply!
  • I was automatically upgraded to "superfast fibre" broadband last February, which I hoped would improve the unreliable daytime internet connection that had been plaguing me worse than usual for months by then. It's been even worse recently but the supplier insists that these problems are due to wi-fi failures inside the house, not with their connections outside it. (Their connection records show only one 'drop' yesterday afternoon, but I spent the morning wrestling to get - and stay - online.) There's no problem in the evening but trying to stay connected in daytime (including weekends) is simply maddening. They've checked and apparently I'm the only user of this internet channel; all my Sky and TalkTalk-using neighbours are on a different one, so it's not due to congestion. And their speed test unexpectedly showed a current speed of 40Mbps, even though I can't seem to watch more than a couple of minutes' recorded drama without it freezing. The supplier has recommended that I install a powerline adapter (or booster) but the standard advice warns that that device has to be on the same electrical circuit. Since the router is downstairs and I work upstairs (where it's warmest), and I know that each floor of this small house has a separate power circuit, that sounds as if no such device would help me. If only people living in single-floor flats (or bungalows) can benefit from using this device, hasn't anyone worked out a solution for those of us living on two or more floors? What about all those family houses with teenagers online in their bedrooms as well as adults downstairs? I'm only using a Dell laptop PC, which is usually plugged in at my desk upstairs. Any brilliant ideas for how to fix this maddening problem would be very gratefully received....
    See 15 comments...
  • Essentially, it's not the time to go for a fixed energy contract, despite the horrid prospect of the price cap going up hugely in April. There will be a few exceptions, however, for some very low or very high consumers of household energy. It's worth checking to see if either of those covers your case, but staying on a capped rate is still the safest option for almost everyone, for now. See https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/latesttip/?anchor=energy&utm_source=MSE_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=04-Jan-22-601f0e1500346a58738-61d4bc53452a53e583486e234472563f&source=CRM-MSETIP-601f0e1500346a58738&utm_campaign=nt-hiya&utm_content=3#energy
    See 11 comments...
  • Not being a driver, I know practically nothing about what restrictions there may be on parking what vehicles on our streets overnight. Very occasionally, something like a caravan appears briefly but usually disappears very soon. Some selfish person parked a huge, dirty-white van outside my house before Christmas, overflowing the parking space there at both ends and blocking the view from both my and my next-door neighbour's front windows; then another, identical van appeared on a single yellow line next to it last night. Neither shows any parking lights but the traffic wardens haven't done anything about them yet, so there they maddeningly remain. Talking to unreliable, barely adult children at both my neighbours' homes suggests that someone in each family who doesn't live there permanently may be responsible for each of these vans but catch them removing obstacles to other people's view! As this is a quiet residential street, not an industrial vehicle park, can anything prevent such intrusion? The AA claims that "Parking rules in London mean that parking commercial vehicles in residential streets overnight is banned in boroughs across the city. [They cite] Rule 244 of the Highway Code" but I can't substantiate that claim by reference to the Highway Code, let alone the legislation said in it to underlie that provision or any other possibly relevant one. Does anyone happen to know how to stop this kind of abuse in practice? I need an irrefutable way to stop the selfish tweenager next door from doing this again (such as a criminal offence which would put points on his very new HGV licence) - or from leaving this eyesore parked there any longer, this time - but I can't find anything clear enough.
    See 7 comments...
  • The suddenly skyrocketing and apparently relentless rise in gas prices must be a factor in how fast we all move away from using gas central heating. While my ageing gas boiler is usually still functional (apart from a stuck valve which meant a chilly Christmas weekend), keeping it may no longer be the most sustainable approach. I hate waste and wouldn't normally replace a functioning device but the awful prospect of unaffordable gas bills is very real. As the boiler is well over a decade old, I was previously offered a replacement - so I'm asking the grant managers if this offer would cover replacement with an electric boiler. I do hope so but will seriously consider funding it privately, if not - as long as the new boiler is compatible with a solar water heating installation on the roof of the room containing the boiler cupboard. (Not ensuring that would be stupid, given that it's not feasible to install solar PV panels on this house.) So I started looking into this and found a useful initial guide at https://www.boilerguide.co.uk/articles/best-electric-boilers . It's not obviously dated and must, I think, predate the rise in gas prices, but it's a good start.
    See 27 comments...
  • Try this approach instead and be happier for it: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/jan/01/be-bad-better-from-anger-to-laziness-how-to-put-your-worst-habits-to-good-use?fbclid=IwAR0bsWcY5fn29rTjke-jnBdTsaTTaWLf-0D7N4-ZzWWtLWKkKIVc0XjUy3g
    See 5 comments...
  • Sellers' assurances that more trees will be planted if we buy more stuff from them aren't necessarily reliable or beneficial to the planet. As with so much else in life, getting this right takes time, thought and effort. https://www.euronews.com/green/2021/09/01/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-tree-planting-schemes-and-scams?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=green_newsletter&_ope=eyJndWlkIjoiYTMyZmIyMTZlZDMyMTdhNWMzZTUwMzhlOGY4N2I0ZjEifQ%3D%3D
    See 5 comments...
  • I've not yet obtained any of the newer, rapid LFT kits which only require one to swab inside the nose (as I understand it) but it seems that that system doesn't necessarily detect the Omicron variant of Covid-19, perhaps because its primary symptom can be a sore throat. So do follow this advice and continue to swab both, to ensure that your test result is as accurate as possible. https://inews.co.uk/news/lateral-flow-tests-omicron-covid-variant-detection-testing-kits-1374073?ito=twitter_share_article-top&fbclid=IwAR3ZLzKxMXt-wzEDBngeHo6g_ZTH87ZWKFp51k7Icp0oCAwUSMtVhbdyyVc
    See 36 comments...
  • I'm having to consider switching suppliers again, because the supposedly fibre service that I've had this year has been no better (recently worse) than the standard broadband I had before. The landline connections have been hopelessly unreliable, even though the handsets are properly fitted. Switching services advise that my area already has both BT Openreach (non-exclusive, fibre to the cabinet) and Virgin Media (fibre to the property) networks and G.Network have just laid another exclusive network in our streets. So there should be options available.... Since the exclusive networks only provide fibre broadband, however - not landline service - that's another wrinkle that I'm trying to manage. I do need to keep that facility, if it can be made sufficiently reliable, as I don't carry a mobile everywhere. The only useful, if too sales-oriented, advice I've found online is this article: https://www.premitel.uk/consultancy/expert-advice/what-type-of-phones-for-fibre-broadband/ Has anyone else done this successfully, or found more objective advice on how to manage it? Switching providers is bad enough but changing services and possibly losing the landline number that I've had for nearly 30 years are really unnerving me.
    See 14 comments...
  • 'You and Yours' is just airing a programme about a truly terrifying case, in which a stranger managed to obtain a valid lasting power of attorney entitling them to manage the financial affairs of someone who didn't know them at all (!) and tried using it to sell a house owned by that other person. An astute conveyancing solicitor, instructed by the supposed attorney, asked for additional proof of the supposed attorney's alleged relationship to the real owner, which stopped that particular attempt - but they may not have been the only conveyancer who was approached to act. Apparently the fraud began with a Freedom of Information request to identify empty properties in that borough area. The programme warns that properties held in one person's sole name, with no mortgage, are particularly vulnerable to this fraud. Since it's not been possible to retrieve the valid LPoA document from the fraudster and cancel it, the victim's entire financial affairs may also be targeted as well. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0012scr
    See 32 comments...
  • I've been using Microsoft Edge since the summer but have recently had such constantly failing internet connections at most times of day that I tried Chrome instead and found that it usually worked when Edge wouldn't. Is Edge misbehaving at present, does anyone know? The problem with Chrome is that it's so user-unfriendly and cumbersome. I can't search for anything (even Gmail login, to get into my webmail) using that without having to go through the process of customising cookies, and it seems incapable of memorising any passwords for websites, so I have to keep resetting those (and then remembering to transfer the new ones to Edge, when that's working). What am I getting wrong, please? I'm using a Dell laptop PC.
    See 7 comments...
  • Given how little Christmas shopping I have to do, keeping it sustainable seemed as if it should be easy enough. That was before I read this, however. What a good thing that I'd already bought what I needed.... https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethical-christmas?utm_source=ECRA+Monthly+Newsletter&utm_campaign=a21898f971-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_12_16_2021_non-subs&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9856040c29-a21898f971-321357508
    See 10 comments...
  • Although we should all consume less of everything, some essentials are constantly used up, or wear out and need replacing. So seeking out more sustainable replacements for our daily needs seems worthwhile. This offer can be used as a starting-point for finding ethical suppliers, not only of the small treats in the goody bag but other presents for our nearest and dearest: https://mailchi.mp/ethicalconsumer.org/christmas-goodies-giveaway-2021-non-subs?e=57f084c3a9 .
    See 2 comments...
  • One of the saddest tales of hardship following Storm Arwen was told by a woman lamenting that, if they hadn't just changed their old oil heating system for a new air source heat pump-based one, the loss of power wouldn't have deprived them of heat as well as electricity. Something rather similar happened locally, when a district heating system failed over this last, perishing cold weekend; see https://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2021/11/30/shoreditch-pipe-leak-450-residents-without-heating/ . That reminded me just how useful it is to have both gas and electricity, as when my new gas boiler broke down just after I moved house at the end of November. At least I still had an immersion heater to produce hot bathwater, after having to keep 'warm' getting grubby with endless furniture shifting, cleaning and unpacking of boxes. If we all go all-electric, we put ourselves at the mercy of a breakdown in our only source of power. So I'm hoping that pure hydrogen-fuelled boilers become practical in London by the time that my current gas boiler needs replacing. I don't want to lose the alternative source of power, in case something goes wrong in future - as it invariably will do, sooner or later.
    See 12 comments...
  • Like so many people, I was a customer of one of the energy companies that recently failed and whose customers were reallocated to another supplier. That was about six weeks ago and I've just received my old supplier's final bill (for only about two weeks' energy supplies), accompanied by a long note telling me (amongst other things) that the new supplier is taking over supplying my energy in January but NOT to cancel my direct debit mandate to the old supplier. So, although my account is now in credit with the old supplier, they want at least two more months' worth of higher, winter-level payments to be channelled through them - even though they ceased supplying me in mid-October. This seems daft to me....
    See 12 comments...
  • Someone - not one person but perhaps only a few - constantly puts up these posts in the Anything loop. Why not set up a separate loop for these, to declutter Anything a bit. After all, they're all similar, so would make more sense grouped together.
    See 27 comments...
  • Staying ex-directory and registered with the Telephone Preference Service mostly keeps away scam callers, except those using foreign 'phone banks beyond the ICO's reach, but I had a tiresome new variety of caller today. She sounded English, rang my home landline number and used my correct title and surname, which is unheard of. (Spam callers mostly misaddress me by a first name that I don't use, which is an invaluable tell-tale.) And the call came from an unhidden London exchange number, also not at all usual. The reverse lookup records a lot of previous reports about unsolicited calls from that number, as follows: "💡 The overall rating for telephone number 020 3154 6770 is Negative. There have been 3,372 phone lookups and 107 comments relating to this number. On this page: 12 Users rated it as Dangerous, 6 Users rated it as Harassing and 2 Users rated it as Unknown. The summary of detected keywords found in the reports is as follow: scam (12 times), lottery (9 times), bank (5 times), spam (1 time), credit card (1 time)" Fortunately, I've never played a lottery in my life, so being told that the caller was "from the Lottery Department" didn't sound right. And she broke off the call when I asked where she'd got my name and number from, since I've never played any lottery. So don't be fooled into believing that you've won the lottery if a civilised-sounding English stranger rings your home number and addresses you by your correct name. It's just yet another scam, although I didn't wait long enough to find out exactly what they wanted.
    See 7 comments...
  • I used the NHS website to book my anti-Covid booster and had the jab at a local pharmacy yesterday. Meanwhile, I've also received a text invitation from a collective address called (I think) GPHubClinic every day this week, to book a booster at one of the local vaccination centres. So there are two NHS-connected systems for getting the booster, which plainly don't liaise with one another. The steward at the pharmacy yesterday thought that the texts would stop after I'd had my booster jab because both systems are connected to the NHS, but it doesn't work that efficiently - I've just had yet another text! If you've booked/had the booster via the NHS website and keep getting these texts, then the way to stop them is to follow the link provided in them, which will give you an option NOT to book your booster by that route and explain why. Otherwise, these redundant texts may continue for some time, which is maddening.
    See 19 comments...
  • The Restart Project has been producing a podcast for some years now, which sounds good, judging by their recent survey of what their listeners most value (and want from it in future): https://therestartproject.org/community/listener-survey-results-2021/ . I don't want to spend more time online and am perfectly happy with my own thoughts (and birdsong) while working outdoors, out of range of the radio, but I know that others want more constant access to interesting listening. So you might like to try this podcast....
    See 3 comments...
  • As I don't use streaming services, I only catch good US drama rather belatedly but the Freeview showing of the latest series of "The Good Fight" was well worth the wait. I didn't notice it was back until this week, so had to catch up online (although even that wasn't nearly as tiresome as on my previous computer). The first two episodes left me feeling almost as relieved as American friends must be at the change of regime in the White House, even with a pandemic thrown in. The reviewer seems to have liked the first four, which bodes well for my Thursday night viewing.... https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/tv/2021/07/07/good-fight-season-5-review/
    See 9 comments...
  • Martin Lewis has suggested doing this via Make My Money Matter, which is campaigning to make pension funds invest not in arms/tobacco/fossil fuels etc but sustainably. There's a petition at https://makemymoneymatter.co.uk/ which people might like to sign. Managing to ensure that savings are invested in really 'dark green' investments has never been easy but this seems an excellent opportunity to put pressure on the biggest holders of our money to do so. Unlike the average person, pension funds control so much money that they can afford to take the best specialist advice on green investing.
  • I'd hever heard of Dabba Drop but its complete avoidance of environmentally unfriendly packaging is admirable. https://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/business/dabba-drop-hackney-business-natwest-awards-8449356?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=DM48909
    See 10 comments...
  • I knew that natural dyeing had taken off in some of our community gardens but this is a new development. So far, it's mainly been silk scarves etc being dyed, presumably because that's the easiest material to dye. But now there's this: https://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2021/10/27/natural-dye-studio-hackney-underwear-company-crowdfunder/
    See 14 comments...
  • (No, I didn't recognise that term either. Probably better termed 'production emissions', I reckon - but maybe that one's already been allocated to something else.) The Restart Project has a good article about this, introducing the podcast episode at https://therestartproject.org/podcast/consumption-emissions/ .
    See 4 comments...
  • Dignity in Dying believes that 84% of us support the right to assistance in achieving a dignified death, when desperate to end one's own suffering. How large a proportion of SL users agrees, I wonder? Those who do (of whom I'm one) might want to sign this letter to the PM, seeking adequate Parliamentary time for discussion of the new bill in the House of Commons: https://action.dignityindying.org.uk/page/92231/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=fb_share&utm_source=fb_share&fbclid=IwAR3a-4zclYV6OYxWnntSAYmD5yfPQkAn_ttSi64br6vjYSHI-oIxU37ZG2w
    See 55 comments...
  • Rather than the American 'trick or treat' approach, North London is asking people to replace the sweet treats for participants with donations to the local food bank. See https://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2021/10/12/trick-or-eat-halloween-hackney-foodbank/ .
    See 8 comments...
  • The Ethical Consumer has produced a new report on the gap between aspiration and necessary action in relation to climate change, which makes useful reading. I've looked at various parts of it but the most useful is the section on heating, which is explained at https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/energy/climate-gap-report-heating?utm_source=ECRA+Monthly+Newsletter&utm_campaign=f8669e674d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_10_14_nonsub&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9856040c29-f8669e674d-321357508 Other sections can be found by searching their website for 'climate gap report'.
  • I found this article much more informative and original than it might at first have seemed, so it's well worth reading. https://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2021/10/11/citizen-gardener-humans-decision-making/
  • See the newsletter at https://therestartproject.org/news/repair-lowers-emissions/ . The new Community Repair Network should become extremely useful in time but its list of local repair groups is far from complete - so do re-check it in future.
    See 5 comments...
  • This is good news for shoppers seeking more competition among nearby supermarkets and access to the Aldi chain locally: https://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/business/aldi-local-shop-dalston-8367148?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=DM47129 But the best bit is at the end of the story, which emphasises the new shop's intention to use the Neighbourly network to liaise with local food banks etc to minimise food waste. The De Beauvoir Association has already passed this to (what they term) the Downham Road food hub but do please do the same for any other local charities that could benefit from this offer of spare food surpluses etc.
  • I do wish that we heard more about plans for this kind of demonstration in advance, rather than only getting the local press view on what's just happened. I'm forever playing catchup with this evolving story.... https://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/protesters-demand-end-to-edmonton-incinerator-rebuild-8366360?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=DM47129
    See 8 comments...
  • I don't recognise many names in this local loop that SL has created.... Looking for a way to do local plant swapping - NOT selling (nor for subsequent profiteering) and not just for sharing seeds - which is something that the late lamented Streetlife made really easy to do. Is anyone else interested in pooling their unwanted spare plants, to find them new homes? A multi-way swap can work really well, if there's enough interest.
    See 7 comments...
  • I've just seen this poster for the upcoming Green Jobs Fair in the London Wildlife Trust newsletter. There's also a website with further details at https://www.wildlondon.org.uk/green-jobs-fair . Great resources for interested young people, so do please share them widely.
    See 4 comments...
  • Having always been the only person using my home internet connection, I was startled to find that my IP address had been blocked by Wikipedia. When I explained that to them and asked how to unblock it, they introduced me to the unexpected concept of a dynamic IP address, which might previously have been allocated to someone who misused it on that site and triggered the block. Since I don't use mobile internet at all, I'd assumed that my IP address was static - but it turned out to be dynamic, instead. Hunting around in search of clarification, I found this useful guide to finding out whether one's IP address is static or dynamic. (It works, although getting into Command Prompt entailed some lateral thinking.) https://www.techbout.com/check-ip-static-dynamic-4135/
    See 11 comments...
  • I can't think of any practical way to reuse this bulky rubber item, so I need to dispose of it as sustainably as possible. Can they be recycled, does anyone know?
    See 14 comments...
  • This is an inspirational model, which UK cities would do well to emulate. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/19/ithaca-new-york-raised-100m-climate-proof-buildings?fbclid=IwAR1QTYoavBZX1G5xxBysppQM1rMTPuZ1633QDbyvMNvSQLwh3_WYSt2kCu8
    See 1 comment...
  • I'm useless at science but almost everyone knows the chemical formula for water. And, with global warming leading to rising sea levels, there's increasingly too much seawater. So I wondered what progress was being made towards making hydrogen from seawater - and there have been encouraging studies, although whether the methods they've developed can be scaled up to industrial production levels is another matter. It sounds like a better approach than making 'blue hydrogen' from gas, though. See what you think of these ideas: https://news.stanford.edu/2019/03/18/new-way-generate-hydrogen-fuel-seawater/ https://phys.org/news/2020-07-material-hydrogen-salt-polluted.html https://www.fastcompany.com/1781495/making-unlimited-hydrogen-salt-water-and-wastewater
    See 5 comments...
  • I've been trying to get rid of tiresome electronic clutter and unintended consequences, on and off ever since having to begin using Windows 10. Today's main bugbear was the apparent impossibility of stopping the 'hover click' problem. I don't want the cursor's hovering over a list of what's in my e-mail inbox to result in the computer's deciding to open a message, for instance. I thought that I'd opted out of that, early on - but it's become very active recently. It turned out that what the Start button on this computer offers when one tries to alter any settings is an app, not the traditional control panel. Some useful geek identified the distinction and how to use the control panel instead of the app - but I lost the reference. The Geek Page approach (at https://thegeekpage.com/how-to-disable-hover-select-in-windows-10/) doubtless makes sense to techies but it's not easy for those unaccustomed to using code to reach what they need. Is there any simpler way of searching the computer for what it actually does (as in Windows 7), as opposed to being presented with a long and confusing list of unwanted apps and web search possibilities? My searches did result in a useful post about getting rid of background apps - including the one that only exists to try to sell one unwanted subscriptions to Microsoft Office - at https://www.howtogeek.com/241752/how-to-stop-windows-10-apps-from-running-in-the-background/ . (Sadly, the list of apps that one can turn off didn't seem to include one that produces the nagging McAfee subscription pop-up.)
    See 2 comments...
  • I hadn't heard of the proposed Clean Heat grant scheme (opening next spring) until it was mentioned on the radio this morning, nor had I really been aware of the Renewable Heat Initiative which it's apparently replacing. As I have natural gas heating and a rather good (if ageing) boiler, no-one had ever tried to sell me a ground or air source heat pump. But it makes sense to focus now on how to replace that boiler with something that uses renewable fuel and how best to finance that, when that becomes necessary. The most useful articles that I found were a bit dated but a good introduction to the idea of what may become essential for us all to consider soon: https://www.homeheatingguide.co.uk/grants-schemes/clean-heat-grants https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/ground-and-air-source-heat-pumps/article/air-source-heat-pumps-explained-al5MC4f773Zq
    See 28 comments...
  • An otherwise useful website that I just consulted was impossibly littered with Google-generated ads, so I clearly need to equip this new computer browser with an effective ad-blocker. I was prompted to consider TotalAdBlock but was put off by user reviews saying that they'd been pestered by constant pop-ups nagging them to buy the more sophisticated version. Is there a good ad blocker that doesn't have this tiresome sting in the tail, please?
    See 5 comments...
  • We're all used to having to reject unwanted cookies whenever visiting any website and to choosing whether to avoid using American-type websites, which don't offer any options to reject any cookies at all. But I've just found myself needing to buy a specialist item from a UK company whose UK website (ending in .co.uk) wasn't working properly yet but referred me to its "main site" whose name ends in .com. That "main site" offers one no chance to reject any of the numerous cookies that they use (and list) if one refuses simply to "accept" all their cookies but follows the "learn more" button on the cookie banner. Yet one of the cookies they list seemingly claims to allow customer choice about cookies, being (somewhat ambiguously) labelled: "USER_ALLOWED_SAVE_COOKIE Indicates whether a customer allowed to use cookies." I went looking for an example of the infinitely more familiar and manageable cookie options list that I've seen and used so often but the first UK selling website that I tried (which I've used for years) now sends one off to a site called https://www.allaboutcookies.org/ - which discusses this at great length. As far as I could gather, our right to opt out of cookies comes from the 2002 e-Privacy Directive, as helpfully interpreted by the ECJ in October 2019 to require that "Storing cookies requires internet users’ active consent" (not just pre-ticked checkboxes). That EU law presumably still applies in the UK and (if I read correctly) to all websites which sell to EU customers. Is there any simpler guide to what and which businesses must do about imposing cookies on visitors to their websites?
    See 15 comments...
  • This guide to how many hectares of trees have been planted in recent decades looks encouraging. Obviously the planet still needs massively more to be planted, but it's a start.... https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-where-afforestation-is-taking-place-around-the-world
    See 9 comments...
  • Yesterday's rainstorms looked more like a deluge but the effects were very temporary around here. Other parts of London suffered much worse, however. Not only were there two flood warnings but 14 other flood alerts were issued, supposedly covering most of the capital. But such detail as the BBC reported suggests that the worst affected areas were in either SW London or out to the east, around Walthamstow; see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-57963856. Parts of London's old sewer system evidently can't cope but I suspect that those which can benefit from much better local surface drainage, so that less rainwater floods into the sewers. Some of the worst-affected areas are hotspots for massive redevelopment of old houses, where vast basements have been excavated and tanked to make them waterproof. All that excluded groundwater has to go somewhere, after all. Flood risk should be a serious consideration when planners assess such selfish planning applications.
    See 9 comments...
  • Literally every day since I began using this new laptop, a pop-up ad trying to get me to subscribe to McAfee has appeared when I switch on. I don't want ever to subscribe to McAfee, so I've tried to get rid of it but to no avail. I've tried tackling it directly, by clicking on the "accept risk" option in the pop-up itself, and indirectly, by altering the notifications management system to stop apps from sending me notifications - but nothing stops it. Is there any way to stop this happening? It's driving me mad!
    See 16 comments...
  • As with so many things, this issues has become vastly more complicated; see https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/home-garden/shopping-guide/ethical-washing-up-liquid?utm_source=ECRA+Monthly+Newsletter&utm_campaign=bc939db0be-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_07_15non+subs&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9856040c29-bc939db0be-321357508 . It sounds as if refilling my old Ecover bottle at the local health-food cafe may no longer be the most ethical approach....
    See 4 comments...
  • I have yet to see any post listed under "Local" which is about local issues. Every post that I could see there just now was about some form of sale, job opportunity etc. The mere fact that the person posting each item may be based within a few miles of me does not make the subject of these items "local". Please would SL either rename this loop as "Marketplace" (or something that accurately describes what's being posted there) or actively redirect misposted items into some more appropriate location - such as "Business Opportunities".
    See 40 comments...
  • This new Dell laptop came without the basic software that I need to create and work with Word or Excel documents but I'm confused about how best to obtain what I need. The shop mistakenly told me that I'd have a 30-day free trial of Microsoft Office - but that trial turned out to be for McAfee anti-virus, which I can't wait to get rid of. The salesman said that I'd need either to buy that entire suite of software, including Powerpoint (which I don't need) either as a one-off (which can't be transferred to any other device) or by taking out what seems to be a hefty and indefinite monthly subscription. I don't want a subscription at all and buying the full suite as a one-off price seemed very expensive, when PCWorld quoted for selling that, so I put off the purchase until I had time to think about it. What Windows 10 apparently wants me to do is to use a supposedly free web version of Word, Excel and Powerpoint but, when I follow the link to set up a Microsoft Office account on that basis, the next page doesn't make it clear what I'd be getting into. It looks more as if it would be a subscription system - certainly nothing as simple as a free Web version of the software that I need. What's the best and simplest way to obtain Word and Excel for a new computer nowadays, please?
    See 25 comments...
  • Is it possible - or might it be made possible - for one to belong to a particular group on Scooploop but NOT automatically be notified of every new comment (or post) in it? For instance, I've just joined Anything! for the second time, specifically to ask about something mentioned there, but I really don't want it flooding my notifications list here (let alone my own e-mail inbox) with every little scrap of activity in that group. Anything!'s only notification setting only lets one opt into receiving posts from another group member; there's nothing there to stop one being notified about comments on existing threads, which often proliferate very quickly. So can one opt out of all/any notifications from a Scooploop group of which one's a member?
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  • Having just regretfully had to buy a new laptop after its predecessor failed in under ten years, I'm horrified to learn from this report that manufacturers expect these to be replaced after only about four years. See https://therestartproject.org/consumption/hidden-impact-devices/ The CO2 equivalent cost of producing any brand new device massively exceeds the further CO2e generated during its lifetime so, the less often we replace our devices, the less the CO2e 'cost' of them. Keeping them going is therefore critical but manufacturers deliberately don't make devices repairable. That simply must change; the faster, the better. So the Restart Project is using their research as the evidential basis for petitioning the UK government to legislate for effective repairability - along similar lines to the existing European Right to Repair campaign. There's a link at the end of this report; do please follow that to sign the petition and share it with your contacts.
    See 12 comments...
  • I've had to swap my elderly and familiar HP Pavilion for a new Dell Inspiron 15 3000 laptop, which may well have many advantages but is taking some time to master. (It has a number keypad which I never use, so the cursor keys are all tiny and set in weirdly unfamiliar places; my ability to touch-type is seriously compromised as a result.) In particular, it has such a sensitive user interface that things I didn't intend keep happening. Its worst trick is to expand the scale of whatever webpage I'm using, without any warning and therefore providing no indication how to reverse it. (I know how to change the scale via the ... menu but it's not that; this is something separate.) Is this the OS or the machine and how do I stop/undo it, please? Is there a Dummies-type guide to Windows 10 anywhere, do you know?

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