HP Spectre x360 13″ OLED review

Almost perfect for me, just a couple of minor compromises

Five Stars

I bought this convertible laptop after my previous purchase of a Dell XPS 13 9350 died and had to be returned to the manufacturer. This laptop had the slight compromise of no USB type-C port, and only 8GB of RAM, rather than 16, but had the benefit of a convertible OLED screen.

The OLED screen is just amazing – the colours just pop from the screen, and it’s so bright, that even with the glossy screen it’s perfectly usable outside. Inside, in a dull room, you really don’t need it on any brighter than 20%. You can also view the screen from almost any angle, but you get a yellow tinge when you’re almost level with the edges. It’s a quad HD screen, and no matter how close I get, I still can’t make out a single pixel. It’s also always nice when you power on a laptop for the first time and you can see that there are no dead or stuck pixels.
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The Holidog ‘Happy Box’; free automatic renewals and poor customer care come as standard

image1Holidog have been streaming a torrent of direct marketing towards me since I registered with the site a couple of years ago just to get a feel for the service.  These emails continue sometimes daily despite me having never used the site either as a pet sitter, or for pet sitting services.  However, when they sent out an offer to try their happy box last month, I thought it was worth a go.  Unfortunately, rather than happiness, this box has ended only in disappointment, frustration, and what will consequently become the end of what could have been a beautiful relationship.

We received the happy box 5 days ago, and our big brown bubbly Labrador showed a mild degree of disinterest; she liked the snacks, but has blatantly ignored the scented rubbery toy.  I had actually responded to the offer of a ‘fox in a box’, but this was not what we received, and since I have had no communication from Holidog at all about when the box would arrive, or what to expect, it was a surprise for all of us.  I was not at all certain that this particular ‘treat’ was worth £29 a month. But I did consider purchasing a one-off box maybe every few months, around Christmas, time for instance, Easter, and Birthdays. Continue reading “The Holidog ‘Happy Box’; free automatic renewals and poor customer care come as standard”

Dell XPS 13 9350 Review

A noisy machine that will mutate into an expensive paperweight

One Star

I’m very sad to report that my Dell XPS 13 9350, with core-i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD has had to be returned to the manufacturer (at their insistence, I’d rather have had it fixed under the warranty I bought with it). Most of this review was written in the first few days, when the problems I saw I’d put down to other issues such as my external display lead or Windows. After the motherboard was replaced though, it lasted less than 24 hours, before Dell support insisted there was nothing they could do other than collect the machine and issue a refund. Note that I am an IT consultant with well over 20 years in the field – this is a review from a seasoned professional, who understands that computers don’t always work first time!
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Plunc – Recycle your old iPad

Mrs Zoo Keeper has not used her iPad mini (1st gen, 16GB, white) for a number of months now, so she decided to start the process of offloading it. Apple products tend to hold their value well, so selling it seemed to be a good idea.

Having had not too great an experience with fleaBay recently, when selling an old Apple iPhone 5S, we considered some of the various recycling sites. After trying a few companies, and getting pretty poor prices compared to the auction sites, we came across https://www.ipad-recycle.co.uk/. They were offering £15 more than their closest rival, and not too far off the expected selling price on fleaBay. They had some great TrustPilot reviews, so we thought we’d give them a shot. Continue reading “Plunc – Recycle your old iPad”

Muzzle all dogs or keep children under control?

We experienced a quite horrid incident yesterday, in Skegness on a day-trip, and it left us with quite a bitter taste in our mouths.

Whilst standing on a wide walkway, with Coco the dog sat next to me on her double lead, connected to her harness, a small child came straight up to her, put one hand under her snout and one hand at the side and started staring into her eyes. Even though Coco did not react, I pulled her lead backwards, put my hand between her and the child, and said to the child quite firmly: “No! You don’t go straight up to a dog and put your hands in its face, you could get bitten”. At this point, the “mother” came scuttling backwards, having walked on long before, having no idea where her child was or what it was doing, took the child away and started mouthing about us needing to keep control of our dog!
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