Chris Croft's Personal Blog

September 17, 2011

Second batch of PS’s from past tips of the month

Filed under: Lists, Music, Random stuff - uncategorisable — chriscroft @ 5:32 pm

PPS  Thanks to Bob Battye of Vistage for telling me about

which is an amazing free collection of educational business videos on subjects like “How to prioritise all the biggest problems in the world”.  I love it!


PPPS – if you prefer your media to be in paper format I’d thoroughly recommend a weekly magazine called The Week, which has the best of all the papers, and compares them.  It gives you a one page summary of UK news, what’s happened in Europe this week, what’s happened in the world, the best articles from the UK and European papers, sport on one page, a tabloids and gossip summary, science news on one page, a section called “boring but important”, who has died and what’s happened on the archers and desert island discs, the best letters from the papers during the week, a review of books and films just out, art exhibitions, best TV, suggested holidays, recommended websites, city news and share tips, occasional gadget corner, and even a sudoku!  More info at or any newsagent.  I love it.


PPPS – talking of fast driving, I regularly hear about people who have been done for ridiculous speeds like 33mph in a 30, by a camera which is set at 31 and cannot use its discretion.  Because of course sometimes it’s dangerous even to do 30 in a 30., and sometimes it isn’t.  But I’ve never actually seen any evidence of this camera tightness – and there is another rumour that you’re allowed a 10% margin of error, so 33 would be legal (though not always safe!).    Anyway, if anyone has actually been done by a camera for 33 or less I’d like to hear from them – please do email me.


PPPPS – greatly enjoying those X-files reruns on whichever obscure satellite channel they are on.  Heroes is OK, but Mulder and Scully are still the business!


PS – a few extra Christmas present ideas (all the previous ones can be seen at

Pilgrim Jewellery – this really is the best, I think. And relatively affordable (ish!).  See google.

How about getting children (yours or a friends) into the idea of reading a newspaper and thinking about the world?
You could get them a subscription to First News
might be a bit worthy, but on the other hand, what’s wrong with that? Better than the latest transforming robot snake with laser (maybe!)

…or how about some celebrity weighing scales (since both celebrities and weighing yourself are both pointless wastes of time, they sort of cancel out with this gadget)

Meanwhile I think I might finally succumb and get an 8GB ipod nano.  They are just SO beautiful, and I have finally found a way around my pet hate with ipods, which is that if you visit someone you can’t take music off your ipod onto their PC, or from their PC onto your ipod, like you can with a Creative Zen or Archos or Sony.  But now you can, by using Yamipod.  Google it, download it (free), and install it on the ipod and then, wherever you go and whoever you connect to, you can see all your files as mp3s.


PPPS – I’m gutted that the Pope has brought out a sort of rap record, (heard a bit of it on radio 4, and I rather liked it actually!) just beating ME to it.  My Time Management rap is nearly ready.  I’m just not sure what to do with it when it is.  Suggestions please….


PPS – Christmas – a couple more present ideas (the full collection is at

Two gadgets for around the house: (a bit expensive, but go on, spoil yourself!)

1.  A kettle that makes boiling water in five seconds – it boils the water in a continuous flow rather than hearting up the whole lot every time, so it’s much more eco friendly as well as faster.

And 2.   The most beautiful and powerful hand-held vacuum cleaner, the Dyson DC16 Animal (titanium and bronze edition)


PS – how to avoid sending ANY Christmas cards this year (in order to help with the environment, obviously).  I learned this from some friends of mine who revealed that they just send cards every other year – and if anyone notices that they didn’t get one (unlikely) and asks “What happened to my card?” you just say “Well, you SHOULD have got one!” as if to imply that it’s the post.  It’s not quite a lie – because really they should indeed have had one from you!
So you still get to keep in touch with people, by sending them a card every other year, and if you think abotu it, would you notice if you didn’t get a card from just one of your firends this Christmas?  Of course, if we all do it then it might get noticed.
PPS – one more present idea: these LED candles are great.  Really cosy, safe, and even rechargeable! .  Full list is at the forum at as usual.


PPPS – thanks to a Matrox DualHead2Go Digital, I am now operating with two screens at my computer.  It’s great!  You can have one with the net and one with Word or powerpoint or whatever.  If you ever need to compare two documents or have one huge spreadsheet or edit a multipage Word document then it’s great.  Of course most new PCs have a graphics card that can take two screens, but if not, the n a Matrox is the thing!


PS – in case you still need a couple of Christmas present ideas, I had an interesting experience yesterday morning with the Debenhams Personal Shopper!  Mine was in Bournemouth but I expect they have them in other branches.  It’s free, and they don’t humiliate you a la Trinny & S, but they do suggest all sorts of things that you wouldn’t have thought would work.  Not sure if it was more of a present for me or the wife (who says I look 10 years younger).  Ended up costing a bit for all the stuff we got, but I’d really recommend it for those of us who just want to wear the same thing every day, and have no concept of what matches what.

The other present is for a dog, and it’s a Kong (thanks to John Chambers for this one).  It’s a hollow rubber cone and you stuff biscuits or bits of fat inside it and the dog tries to get them out, poking it’s tongue in etc.  Keeps them happy for hours!


PPS – got my dog from and she’s brilliant.  Very laid back, very cuddly, and really rather handsome!  She’s asleep next to my desk as I write this.  Look at the other ones who need homes – you know you want one!!


PPPS – currently listening to For Your Life by Led Zep, from the underrated album Presence.  How may beats to a bar is it?  So clever!


PPS – humble pie corner.  My ipod nano is indeed brilliant.  I hadn’t expected the sound to be so much better than my Zen but it really is, even with the allegedly rubbish headphones that come with it.  Although I kind of resent being controlled by World of Apple, it is leagues above any other player I’ve used.  There, I’ve said it.


PS  – Pet hate for January:  Unnecessary and distracting background ‘busy’ music on radio travel news.


PPS  – Has anybody else noticed that Gordon Brown has stopped dyeing his hair black and is letting the grey show – in order to look more distinguished maybe?


PPPS – listening to Van Morrison ‘Celtic New Year’ as I write this.  What a fantastic track!


PS – Kepner Tregoe’s problem solving method says “find out when the problem happens and doesn’t happen, so you really understand it, before trying to fix it”.  Very useful when tracking down printer and computer problems, and car problems.  Wish I’d remembered that, and tried different phones on the ipod and the headphones on a different ipod, before cutting up and re-soldering the plug on my son’s expensive Bose headphones and then realising that the phones are fine and it’s the ipod phone socket…  The headphones are now reassembled again, but an hour wasted, and of course the ipod is probably unfixable.  Unless I take the back off…


PPS – just been enjoying Matty Groves by Fairport Convention, and also Sandy Denny’s amazingly female breathy desolate voice on Fotheringay.


PPPS – I’m going against the flow and recommending Harry Hill’s TV Burp.  You may find him annoying but it’s a very clever little programme – I think!   And of course This Week (late night Thursday BBC1) continues to be the only thinking person’s politics programme.


PPPPS – Following on from background music on radio traffic news, don’t you just hate the way the TV gets louder just for the adverts – (thanks Tony Glover for that – you are so right!).  I also hate the squeaking and plopping sounds in the background of cute baby nappy ads.



1 Comment »

  1. Pet hate from me: the percussive and loud “music” that heralds and interrupts BBCTV news, especially in the very early hours when I like to watch the news while putting on my slap before leaving for work, and am trying to keep the noise down.

    Comment by Bernie Mayall — September 18, 2011 @ 10:22 am

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