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For the first time in many years I wanted to listen to an upcoming news article on the radio. On parking the car (FM radio) I thought I could switch to the iPlayer app on my Pixel. Fail! Login required. Into the house, try the kitchen laptop. Fail! Login required. Ok, I'm into my retro tech, so grabbed my Sony Walkman. Fail! Flat battery. Change the batteries. Somewhat fail, the reception is terrible. 'Hang on, I have an FM app on my Wileyfox'. Success!

Firstly, like many providers, if the BBC wants to keep their listener figures up they need to stop putting barriers in the way of listening, like needing a password. That's so Room 101.

Sometimes the old ways are best, like a proper radio with a proper aerial, manual tuner, plugged into the mains. However, that's not going to work in today's mobile society.

Whatever works: Wileyfox and other phones with an FM tuner.

Room 101: BBC iPlayer and any other service requiring a password to listen to a free service, and Sony Walkman FM reception.
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B2X Customer Service

Definitely going into room 101 for this. I am having ongoing issues with a Lumia 950XL suffering from fast battery drain even when switched off. The first time the folks there claimed "no fault found". I am currently struggling to get the service agent right now, at the time of writing, to understand that surely this isn't a normal thing especially with a brand new battery. A pity Microsoft has decided to throw those of us using Lumia's under the bus...

P.S. Also their agents seem a bit rude and impatient, asking if I am still there if I don't type a response immediately. Double 101 trouble.

Harumph. Bluetooth headphones into Room 101:

I realise that this might be a controversial opinion in the current climate, with Apple and others moving phones away from 'ye olde' 3.5mm headphone jacks and towards increasing use of wireless solutions (e.g. AirPods, Pixel Buds), but I'm still not convinced about Bluetooth audio when on the move.

In my tests, I've tried several different makes of Bluetooth headphone (most recently these and these) with a variety of phones running Android and Windows 10 Mobile. And have been left unimpressed.

And, contrary to what you might expect, the issue isn't audio quality - though, by definition, there's usually some loss in the recompression of just-decompressed music just to traverse the few feet to your ears. No, my problem are the occasional tiny cut outs.

Now, this might just be me being hyper-sensitive, but every few minutes (at random) there's a tiny cut out in the audio stream - you wouldn't notice it for speech, but for music it's very distracting. And these cut outs are common to every Bluetooth audio solution I've tried. Some only do it once a day (bearable), some do it several times a minute.

Curiously, I have no such cutouts when streaming to Bluetooth speakers around the home, meaning that it's something to do with either:

- the physical movement of my ears relative to my phone while I walk/run and the moving layers of fabric and my limbs getting in the way of the signal

- interference from surrounding Bluetooth gadgets and Wi-fi networks as I pass each house on my way

I'm honestly not sure which of these factors is to blame, but it's a genuine phenomenon, and not one that's tied to any headset or phone OS/device.

Which means I'm back to good old fashioned wired headphones into a 3.5mm. Nothing to recharge, no loss of quality (assuming a good DAC in the phone, which is usually the case), no cut outs, no hassles.

I don't think I'm an old curmudgeon. Well, not completely. But I do have standards!

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Previously on...
How annoying is that, when you're binge watching!
Some smart services are now getting with the programme and offering a Skip button, but most are not. Tedious. Fix it!
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What a surprise. My AMAZON delivery fails again. After sitting here all day waiting, I find this Email. "Delayed by a few days". What are we paying them a delivery fee for?
I live in an ordinary accessible place just 35 miles from central London.
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ROOM 101 for YOGURT
It's simply the most boring food ever put together. It's dull, dreary, tasteless and annoying to eat!
When you have to actually add food to a substance to make it taste of anything and become in any way palatable, there's something wrong.
It's really not like anything at all. It's like medicine. No satisfaction value after eating. Might as well have not bothered.
Yeah, yeah, yeah - you're all going to come out the woodwork and tell me about all the wonderful health benefits of forcing it down. But I say, give us healthy food that's not so dour and dull and boring to consume!
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AMAZON STEPS UP USE OF ANOTHER UNTRACKABLE COURIER
Yes, added to Amazon Logistics and Amazon Shipping, Hermes seems to have been bolted on to the list of Amazon's couriers in a bigger way.

Another courier who could deliver anytime "up to 8pm" for Prime payers without any specific timeslot.

I had a Hermes delivery this week and by the time I opened the door, the driver was walking back to their van and I had to intercept.

I have stuff I'd like to do today, but guess I'll have to stay in! They're just encouraging people to cough up for Prime then, by providing such a crap service, making it clear that the only way to get a reasonable courier service requires one to pay again for 'proper' delivery. Prime subscribers getting a second rate deal, now that Amazon have the money up front.

So, let's summarise. Amazon make Prime customers wait for deliveries in an unreasonable manner and timeframe, clearly allowing a courier infrastructure to abuse their employees with unreasonable targets, make customers pay again in order to get the likes of DPD on the case (which, even if paying again one can't choose), and then when something needs returning, make it so difficult and cumbersome using poor couriers and options like PassMyParcel, Hermes or other rubbish solutions that people like me just accept the cost of taking items to the Post Office, paying again and not getting a full refund on the cost of RMSD, which one must get for the amount of insurance needed, and only getting £4.75 of the money back. No Amazon Lockers within 30 miles.

Just this week I sent something back via the Post Office, because of lack of other reasonable options, worth nearly £400 and had to pay £8+ and only got just over half of it back. I tried to take it to a Hermes shop but they said that the barcode wasn't recognised. Also Amazon won't allow returns now via Amazon Lockers, even if there was one anywhere near me!

I wish that Amazon didn't have such a stranglehold on the market. I try to break away from using them but when I do, I find that one just can't consume in the same way elsewhere.

Other services execute better courier services. This week, a delivery came from Jacamo (another stranglehold for us big people) via Hermes, who gave a 2 hour delivery slot. So they can do it (apart from him not giving time to get to the door). But presumably Amazon get it cheaper from them if there's no slot. Thus grabbing money from Prime payers and giving us a second rate service.

CPW, Argos, Clove, all getting onboard with the programme to put their customers first, amongst many others, just not Amazon. I shall be cancelling my Prime again, get back to Netflix and seek other outlets to buy stuff.
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ROOM 101: WELSH BUGS AND FLYING BITING CREATURES!
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Why do people still watch X Factor?

I had a few years' hiatus from this programme, which I used to absolutely love.

Really tried to get into it again this year but it is so unbelievably boring, bloated, predictable and...I just don't get it.

Why haven't all the people who are still watching this programme turned to each other and said 'this is sh*t, isn't it? Maybe we should find something new to watch'.

I have decided enough is enough and I won't be watching any more episodes. Apparently it drags on right up to Xmas, which is just painful. So far I've seen nothing to hold my attention, and have only lasted this long because I was determined that there must be some reason why people stick with it. It's not as if I don't like the format
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