Archive for the 'Media' Category

If I didn’t Know Better (Dammit, I do) song from Nashville.

Here in the United Kingdom, we just got the new American imported ABC series Nashville which is airing on Channel Four. Nashville is an American musical drama television series. The series stars Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, a legendary country music superstar, whose stardom begins fading, and Hayden Panettiere as rising teen star Juliette Barnes. The series premièred on ABC on October 10, 2012, had more than […]

Dark Net: The Hidden Internet They Call The Undernet – Deepnet

I happened upon an article in one of the papers this week that touched a subject I had never heard about, here is some of it:

The internet is like an iceberg. The web as we know it – every Google result, all the billions of pages we visit – is just a tiny fraction jutting above the waves. The vast majority of it is invisible to web browsers and the general public. This is known as the ‘dark web’.

Most of this unseen mass of activity is perfectly innocent – paid-for content, sites that require log-ins, academic data, and so on. No one knows exactly how big the ‘dark’ portion is, but it’s estimated to be at least 15 times larger than the web we know, with more than 900 billion pages.

The dark web is a haven for criminal gangs around the world, to whom it offers a secret shop window where everything from child pornography to hard drugs to stolen credit-card details can be bought and sold.

The ‘anonymous’ web browser Tor is used by about 600,000 people a day – and is totally untraceable. Tor ‘bounces’ data between dozens of computers on its way to and from the web, making users effectively invisible.

Financed by the US government, the controversial browser is used by the FBI and championed by advocates of internet freedom. Tor offered a ‘safe’ channel to Egyptian dissidents during the Arab Spring and is used by bloggers in Syria. But it also grants access to a world where the illegal is openly traded.

Using Tor, you can visit special ‘.onion’ sites – a dark domain that is used to host highly illegal marketplaces. The notorious Silk Road site is an open drug market, where you browse and use a ‘checkout basket’, much as you would on Amazon. This week, offers include ‘250 pills of speed’, grams of Afghan heroin and new synthetic drugs.

Users report that contract killers can be hired via other Tor sites – and that fights to the death are a spectator sport. Many transactions are paid for in ‘bitcoins’, an online currency that allows money to be transferred without using banks.

Tor users in the UK openly offer weapons, high-grade cocaine and brides for sham marriages. Cyber criminals also advertise their wares.

One hacker’s .onion site proclaims: ‘I’ll do anything for money. If you want me to destroy some bussiness or a persons life [sic], I’ll do it! I can ruin them financially .  .  . If you want someone to get known as a child porn user, no problem.’

David Emm, senior researcher at internet security company Kaspersky Lab, said: ‘The “dark market” is the underbelly of the legitimate economy, but it operates in a similar way.

‘If criminals want to trade, they have to have a point of presence. Once you’ve found them, they’ll do business via sites on the “hidden web” or fake email accounts.

‘The key is they’re quite prepared to move. When the corrupt internet service provider Russian Business Network was shut down, a lot of people predicted that was the end of the “dark market”, but they just reappeared elsewhere.’


I am amazed as a webmaster of dozens of sites I had never heard of this before.

I was once on a black hat webmaster forum when I was heavily researching SEO that had sub domains and other addresses they referred to in the private rooms as the ‘dark side’ – but I never had enough site privileges to access them.

It was where you went to access the big link/email spammers and maybe meet naughty folks to take your competitors sites down if you were that way inclined. I wanted to do neither so I never tried so hard to get there.

Reading other stuff on this subject today, I realise now that some of those blokes were using language back then that I assumed meant other stuff. I remember mention of TOR, I assumed it was something like RAR, a lesser-known compression programme or something.

I remember odd mentions of ‘the Onion’ – I thought they meant the satire website of the same name. Duh!

As an experiment today, I did a search of a .onion site directory. I found some, but my browser (Chrome) wouldn’t open any of the links – gave me a page like my internet was down. Although it wasnt. I changed browsers and then I got an error page from my ISP. It seems internet censorship is alive and well but we just don’t know it.

Nowadays, if it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist, right? Wrong!

But what of the 900 Billion pages Google wont or cant index? What an interesting subject……

The TOR browser has a wiki entry:

As does the DeepNet:

Another interesting article I found:…net-anonymity/

I have never heard of a domain name ending in .onion

Has anyone else read about this before?

Forum Moderators Guide – How to be a Good Forum Moderator

The Moderators guide below was originally taken from several large forums with over a million posts between them.

It was further tweaked as a result of the published guidelines of several ‘big boards’ that have each around a million posts.

It was later honed and tweaked by a published author who administrates three large forums. This is the current exact version his forums use.

If you are new to managing forums, you need to outline to your staff what exactly you expect of them. You cannot expect them to guess or know already. Almost nobody inherently ‘knows’ how to be as good moderator – they must be taught.

Sometimes that stuff is ABC; stuff you would expect is a given already. But with some people – especially Americans – it needs to be spelled out in no uncertain terms. Americans are not like the rest of us – they make friends in elevators, and tell strangers their life story after one drink.

Similarly, many Europeans are simply stupid. They also need guidance on what is normal behaviour, and what is expected in a position of trust.

So here are the moderator guidelines that several large forums use to teach their mods how to behave on their site:

Moderators Guide


Thank you very much for volunteering your time in helping us to keep the forums tidy. The task of a moderator is very important in keeping the community together and helping it remain attractive to newcomers. Here are some simple guidelines.


Your responsibilities extend across all forum rooms.

Do not moderate in topics that you are controversially involved in, or against those you have an acrimonious personal history with.


Within the forums, we expect that you will always take the high road. Do not belittle members, do not air dirty laundry in public, etc. If you have a personal problem with a member, PM them or e-mail them.

We expect you to keep the best interests of the members/forums in mind. It is not in the best interest of anybody to start or contribute to flaming/bashing threads. The only result of these threads are hurt feelings and general negativity in the forums. It is not necessary nor useful to participate in such things.

Please note that it is completely unacceptable to use anything that you have found out in this forum or through being a mod against a member.


It is important that mods have a place to discuss matters frankly without worrying about confidentiality. We expect you to keep ALL discussions in this mod room confidential. If we cannot trust each other, there is no hope. If you will not stick to this, please notify me so that I can remove you from the mod group. If we discover that you have breached confidentiality, we will remove you as mod. The mod room must not leak!

Any information that is sensitive in relation to the forum owners or the forums operation must not be disclosed to the general members of the forum (or anyone else) using any form of communication either within or outside of the forums. Failure to abide by this guideline may result in the immediate removal of your moderator status.

Forum Duties:

The primary role of a forum moderator should be to promote interaction. A forum moderator should be posting new threads and adding new content to the site. They should be helping out members with their queries, encouraging them to post an introduction topic (and welcoming them when they do), and they should be keeping threads alive by asking questions and promoting discussion.

Most moderators see themselves as forum police officers and will only edit/delete/lock content without creating any themselves. This is a mistake – the primary role is to encourage interaction, to encourage member involvement, and to encourage a sense of community within the forum.

As a moderator, you are required to be an active poster and visitor to the site, as well as a visible rule-enforcing figure. If you do not meet any of the aforementioned requirements you may be removed as a moderator. Too many forums have drive by mods who only look in once a month for ten minutes. On a busy site, that is no good.

All moderators should be visibly present to the forums a minimum of twice in any one week. You must always inform other moderators of your intended absence on the topic we have for that. For example, if you are away from the forums for a length of time longer than a few days.

Start topics, and keep existing topics moving.

Please lean on other mods here for support and advice when needed.

Moving Threads:

If there are any threads that need to be “deleted”, move them to the trash bin. The only time you would use “Move thread and leave redirect in previous forum” is when someone posts a question/thread in the wrong section.

Editing Posts:

There are a lot of occasions when you will need to edit a post. Whenever you do, please insert a small edit note at the very bottom. For example, if a member attached an advertisement of his or her website in a post, you would want to edit that part out and put a note at the end like “(YOUR NAME edit note: No advertisements allowed)”.

Exceptions might be spelling/format/layout/punctuation corrections you do. No need to record those or anything similarly minor like quote corrections.

Feel free to edit topic titles from something like “i have a question” to something Google has a chance of finding and people will read. “visa question” would read better as “USA K1 Fiancée Visa Query”

If a member posts something objectionable about you, have another mod deal with it rather than just nuke it yourself. That removes accusations of bias. We must be seen to be transparent and honest in our actions. Doing so gains us respect with the members.


No violent, discriminatory language or personal attacks are tolerated in the forum. If you see any inappropriate posts, edit the post immediately. Remove the offending portion or entire post body and insert an edit note explaining your action. If an excessive amount of profanity is used in a post, simply delete it. Remember to edit any subsequent quotes of deleted posts.

Thread Title Punctuation:

Subjects must not contain excessive amounts of punctuation (namely exclamation marks or question marks). Should you see a thread with excessive punctuation in the subject, edit it by choosing “Modify” at the upper corner of the post. Capitalise the first letter in the first word also, or add title caps if you prefer.


No advertisements of any form are tolerated in any forum without prior approval. Private website links in the signature are fine as long as it doesn’t have too many links in it. Use your judgement based on our stated policies.


The following are considered spam:

* Very short posts that do not add value to the current discussion. For example, a post with only the words “yeah me too!” or an emoticon are spam.
* Off topic posts should be either removed altogether or moved to the appropriate place, depending on the moderator’s view on the content.
* Posts that obviously serve no purpose other than upping ones post count. Again, this is up to the individual moderator to decide.
* Posts like “XXX, I have a question for you” are considered spam. That should be done via private messaging. Often on-the-topic guidance is all that is needed there.
* Starting a new thread when a similar thread has already been started.
* Restating ones vote in a poll thread with no explanation.
* Any other posts that we deem inappropriate for other readers.
* Responses to spam posts should be considered as spam and be removed. However, spam warnings should not be given in such cases except in severe cases.
* Restating someone else’s opinion, or re-answering a question that has already been answered. Some members up their post count by re-answering a question in exactly the same way. “Yeah, what he said. for example.” If its occasional, leave it. If someone does that often, delete it.
* Posts that contain large amounts of smileys and/or spaces to make it look like they contain useful information often don’t. Be aware of those tactics to quickly up post count.

Give a bit of leeway to new posters (you can tell by their join date).


When you found a thread that is not relevant to a particular room, immediately move it to the appropriate one. Sometimes you should leave a “trail” and sometimes you shouldn’t. I usually leave it if there isn’t more than 2 close visible trails. Try not to leave too many “moved topic” notifications around, it makes the place look untidy.


We currently allow polls in most forums. Remove polls if they are idiotic and irrelevant. eg. John Doe made a poll titled “Who’s da man?” and put his name in the options. Polls like “What’s the juiciest kind of carrot???” are usually not productive and should be deleted.

Sexual Content:

Sexual content is not permitted except in the most general context. This includes sexually explicit avatars, use of violent sexual language, unwanted sexual advances, and anything else that could be hurtful and offensive.

We serve advertisements from Google (and occasionally private advertisers) in order to fund the sites operation. Accordingly, we must adhere to Google’s acceptable content guidelines in that regard. If we don’t, they have the power to de-index the site with a single click. As a general guide, we should be aiming at their published standard: “If your site has content which you wouldn’t be comfortable viewing at work or with family members around, then it probably isn’t appropriate”.

On the internet, Google is like God. Every site must bend to Google’s wishes or die on the vine. Google has more power than governments.

Closing Threads:

When you can foresee that a thread is going downhill, you should close the thread only as a last resort. A prime example will be flame wars or totally off topic discussion.

Off topic discussion can be split off, retitled and placed in the correct section (or merged with an existing topic if the usual suspects).

However, do not close threads just because the initial question/concern was answered. It is because although the first question is answered, the thread starter might have another question related to the original one. Bottom line is, don’t close a thread if a normal conversation is going on smoothly.

Whenever you close a thread, make a post to briefly explain the reason behind it. Moderators can post to closed threads.

Sticky Topics:

Don’t sticky anything unless you are sure it is of value. Review the current stickies occasionally to make sure they are still relevant to our members.

Suspensions, Warnings and Bannings:

Either [insert], [insert] or I will deal with this. Please make a topic on the mod board if you think someone deserves a ban or warning.

Those who have ban buttons can freely ban Chinese spammers and the like. If you don’t have ban buttons, make a mod room topic to get it done.

Multiple Accounts:

Not allowed. End of story. Make a mod room topic if you find one.

Rules and TOS:

Read it and be generally familiar with it. Remember that we do not delete members or remove members posts on a whim. If someone asks you to do that, refer them to the TOS with a link.


It is not the intent that mods here issue “missives from upon high”. Do not employ red capital letters or other high profile nonsense. Our actions should be discreet and not overly visible to readers. Nobody likes an over-moderated and oppressive forum. Do not moderate in topics you are controversially involved in. Try to be fair and objective with all posters; no favouritism.

Sometimes a bit of general guidance is all that is needed to guide a topic back on track. Members need to see that the mods are actually active, both as contributing members and moderators.

Do not publicly criticise or override another mod’s actions. We have a mod room for any disagreements between ourselves. Members must see that we are a cohesive team that work together and support each other.

Further questions, clarification and discussion on this topic is welcome. Don’t wonder…… ask!

How Forum Spammers Operate. How To Spam A Forum

Forum spam is a big issue if you own a forum. This title is probably going to bring in some folks, thinking ‘why the heck is he writing this here?’ We don’t need to know how they work, we just need to know how to stop forum spam.’

The simple truth is, if you know exactly how it’s done, and how it all works, you can then know what counter-measures you can invoke to help to combat this problem. Note how I said to “combat it”, and not stop it.

The only way to completely stop forum spam, is to stop people signing up to your site, and just have your own little website or bulletin board with six members.

There are two main types of spam: Human and automated.

This can then be split down into profiles, and posts. Posts are good as they give you the contextual links; profiles are OK, as they give a hyperlink to somewhere.

Human spam you just have to deal with manually as best you can. Automated spam you can do much more to prevent it happening.

If you consult Google, you can find numerous automated programmes like ScrapeBox, designed to create links back to other websites from forums, article directories, social bookmarking sites like Digg, Facebook, etc.

To perform automated spam, you need one piece of software, and a list of websites. That’s all.

The software is a matter of personal choice (or maybe cost), the list you can create your own (but nobody does that – they buy them), or they use the inbuilt software ones if they are beginners.

Creating forum profiles is easy with yet another piece of software.

To show how easy it is, go to Google and paste in “SMF © 2011, Simple Machines” – with the quotes. When I did it, I got “740,000 results”.

So that’s lots of forums to choose from.

The software allows you to create you own lists; we will now look at that, and your ‘niche’. Lets say your niche is antiques. It will then give you a list of quite a few thousand SMF forums, where Google has brought them for the keyword ‘Antiques’

Another way, is to look at the actual web addresses. Many forums have a custom URL structure, that runs throughout all pages of that software. /members.php as a simple VBulletin example. There are so many, so I won’t bore you with them all here on this article.

Having our target list, and our spamming software, we need to now set it up.

First things first: proxies (ability to switch IP addresses). Either purchased private ones (the usual type), or publicly available, yet slower ones (for the beginner). Either way, load these into the software, and it will switch and change as it creates accounts.

Next, email addresses. No need to worry too much, as the software will auto-create many for us from Hotmail, Inbox, Yahoo, AOL, Easy, Gmail, or any other free email provider like this. You can try to get around a few spam measures by using your own domain emails. It works just as well, just many spammers are complacent, and won’t want to click more than one button to make an email address that will never be used for anything else ever again.

Then we need to tell the software our account name. Many support ‘Spinning’. This is where you write the text like this {liked|loved|appreciated|enjoyed} and each time it posts, it chooses one from the brackets and so changes the sentence structure making the comments look to Google as unique. OK, much of it will be Indianglish crap, but Google won’t recognise that usually. So comments will get ranked.

Password, date of birth etc., they just click ‘auto create’ and the software does it. Including address etc…..

Now we have all we need to create a zillion profiles, and its taken about ten minutes – if that – to set up the software to get to this point.

We click start and off it goes. Depending on the computer speed, we may be hitting anything between five and one hundred forums at any given time. These are simultaneous connections.

The software goes off to the forums, finds the sign up page, and fills in all the details. I don’t see the forum on my screen, just a status update saying ‘Signing up’ etc.

Then we hit the captcha. There are three ways to deal with this:

Manually: A little box appears on the screen, with just the captcha image, and a small box underneath to enter the text. I can sit at the computer all day long entering these if I feel the need.
Software: A clever piece of software that sits on your computer and solves them for you. Works OK, but is no good with the Decaptcha (Black and white with squiggle writing).
The India/China/Pakistan Connection: The software many are using can use a service where the captcha images are sent to the developing world and solved by them, sent back to my computer, entered on the sign up form, and membership signed up in less than one minute. I have known it to be as quick as twenty seconds.
Sign up questions work the same: Just a small box appears on the screen, with the question, and a space for an answer. ‘What day is after Monday?’ ‘What is the last word in this phrase?’ ‘What is 3+4?’ anyone can solve these, even my toddler. Better ones like “Who is the president of Russia?” or “Who was Obama’s main contender in the last US election?” work better as Gupta doesn’t know the answer without Googling.

So, we’ve done all this, and the accounts are made. We then need to verify them. No problem, just let the software run, it logs into AOL (or wherever), downloads all the emails, extracts the sign up links (it knows the URL structure) and clicks them all.

Hey Presto! An hour later, and maybe a thousand verified forum profiles. Next we need to log in and post our details. A bio would be nice (and if we can link in it, even better). Make the bio about what our site is about (remember links come from pages with relevance) and a link back to our homepage. How many forum owners allow members to post their homepage in their profile? If the signature appears on the member page, we’ll post something there as well.

That’s it, all done. No need to post on the forum itself, unless you want to be banned. The software also tells us if our profile is publicly viewable, if the admin have to activate the account and anything else that would cause the process to fail.

The link that is placed on a forum profile isn’t really worth much, and so normally points to a page that then links to another page (linkwheel), which may link to another page (inner circle , and then to the persons main site (the money site). So you can see they are used pretty low down, but still worthwhile for getting things indexed. All that Google juice passes through. Forum links matter when done en masse.

So, how can you clamp down on these spammers? Make member profiles visible to only logged in users is a big one. If Google can’t see them to index them, why would a spammer want a link there? It won’t stop all accounts, but will help a lot.

Ban free email accounts, or if you can, have @gmail, @hotmail on admin approval some people say, but that’s crap. Almost everyone uses a free email account. That blocks genuine members.

Change your questions to the not so obvious as mentioned already, and change them each month! Some software now learns the answers to these questions, and share them on a remote database to Indian and other spammers.

The ‘sought after’ profiles, are those that come from high PR forums and .edu domains. Many of these may be signed up to manually, and indeed a little industry has built up around this activity, with people selling monthly lists.

I read on a site last week, someone said they left their membership open, and now had IP, email and usernames of over 1000 spammers and they would share them so they can be added to a blacklist. This is a totally pointless and not worthwhile exercise, as I explained, the email, IP, user, whatever, can all be changed at the click of a button.

Normally, all details are changed per run that is performed. So banning an email address is OK, but just remember the chances of it being used again in your forums lifetime is slim to non-existent.

The old Lucky Lovers forum. What happened to it?

Many people mourned the loss of the forums that were once attached to the Lucky Lovers dating site.

They were popular forums in both the English and Russian languages. It was a place many Russian women congregated, and several marriages resulted between people who met on the forum.

What wasn’t widely known is that the forums were split off from the Lucky Lovers site and assigned a new domain several years ago. That domain was But it wasn’t very heavily promoted anywhere.

The last few years the site has limped along with a low Google ranking and lacking much purpose and not drawing in many new members. As with many forums, when the infighting between the members became too much hassle, the current administrator decided to call it quits.

Thankfully, the site is now under new management, and is about to get some of the work it has badly needed the last year or two.

So if you are looking for a place to chat with Russian speakers, or chat with anyone, GoGabber is for you.

If you are wondering what happened to the old Lucky Lovers forum, well, you just found out. So what are you waiting for? Go join GoGabber today!

Alternative to AOL Email and Outlook. What Email Client Do You Use?

Some of you techy types may laugh at this, but that’s OK.

Since year dot, I have been with AOL. That means I used the AOL software to access email. I never used it for browsing of course; only emails. I liked the format, the ease of use, the way read stuff vanishes and is stored in the “old” folder, the way you get a little aural “pop” when new mail comes in – all of it. I have used it for 15 years or more so am VERY used to it.

Recently I have ditched AOL as an internet provider, but I haven’t yet stopped paying the monthly subscription, as the moment I do, the functionality of the software vanishes and I get left with the AOL web based email client that is woefully slow and painfully lacking. The web based one is nothing like the software one AOL users get.

AOL in the UK is different to the AOL in the US BTW. They sold the UK arm of AOL to the dreadful Carphone Warehouse/Talk Talk a few years ago.

So its time to move on. Also, my needs have changed since way back when.

I find myself in a funny place, in that I know a ton of stuff about all kinds of website stuff and internetty things. I can write html in notepad for example. But I don’t know zip about email stuff – because I never needed to.

The first question is whether to use a programme or a web based client. I guess a programme makes more sense as I want to be able to use one interface on several machines and access email from many domains, together with a few AOL accounts, a Yahoo one and a Gmail one. I also want facility when replying an email to use a drop down menu to select the address the email is “from”. I want to be able to collect all incoming mail – from various addresses (domains and also free places like Yahoo and AOL) – in one place. An automatic backup from a local machine to one of my own servers would be a bonus too. I also need to store some pre-written replies to save me writing the same stuff over and over.

I checked out Outlook, it wasn’t at all reliable at fetching emails from the AOL addresses – and it seemed overly complicated. Although, I have generally found Microsoft to be the less than ideal answer to whatever the question might be.

I know Gmail and Yahoo can so some of this stuff, but I prefer something I have control of, and no ads or Google datanapping.

On the hosts cpanel, there is Squirrel Mail and a few others, but I read some reviews and tried one out and they seem to be way more complicated than I need, or lacking in functionality so much that I may as well use the AOL web based one.

I am not against paying for something that does what I need it to do. A friend recommended an online one he uses some time ago, but without actually buying it, I couldn’t seem to figure out if it was exactly what I needed.

I am thinking a programme similar to Outlook – but better – is what I need (perhaps with remote on-line access as well for when travelling). “The Bat!” was mentioned by another pal, but that would cause most of my outgoing to end up in peoples spam folders as Fat Yuri is so fond of it.

I need total reliability as I receive many online payments, and just want to funnel a bunch of incoming emails from several different sources into one place. And be able to reply from whatever address I want to.

Suggestions and ideas from RUA’s tech minded folks most welcome.

e-petition deliver Mottram – Mottram Bypass – Stuck in Traffic?

Searching for ‘e-petition deliver Mottram’? Start here!

Mottram bypass information.

If you saw one of the yellow signs on the A57 Hyde Road in Mottram or are seeking information on Mottram bypass you may have landed here. Perhaps you are stuck in the traffic queue right now and looking at this on your phone bored to tears?

Well actually, you are not stuck in traffic – you ARE traffic. But you want to get to where you are going like everyone else, so lets talk about Mottram bypass.

If you are a Mottram in Longdendale local, you will know the ways around some of the worst of the queues out of peak times, but you will no doubt be used to sitting at the A57 Hyde Road / Stalybridge Road / Market Street / B6174 (post Office) junction with your engine off waiting for the lights.

If you are stuck in the traffic jam, or know of it, you know Mottram needs a bypass. There are no ifs and buts about that; if you have ever been to Mottram – even as a visitor – you will remember the traffic.

Here is what you need to do before you read further: Go to the government e-petition site and sign the electronic petition. If it gets 100,000 votes, this topic will be debated in the House of Commons. It wont get 100,000 votes if you don’t vote. So click here: Deliver Mottram / Hollingworth / Tintwistle Bypass Now (the page will open in a new window so you can come back and continue reading).

Now you have done that, please share the link with your Facebook and Twitter contacts so they might vote. These buttons will help you:

The existing A628 trunk road connects the M67 from Manchester to the M1 in South Yorkshire. A single-carriageway road through the villages of Mottram in Longdendale, Hollingworth and Tintwistle and through the Peak District National Park, it is used by a relatively large number of heavy goods vehicles.

The A628 is one of the most congested A-road routes in the country, with high volumes of traffic (including HGVs) using a road which is totally unsuitable for the volume and nature of traffic it carries.

There is no viable alternative to a bypass.

The new Tesco at Hattersley will only make it worse.

And on that note, what swivel-eyed lunatic at Tameside Council gave the green light to Tesco’s to build a superstore there? Which politicians got a brown envelope in their back pocket to rubber stamp that?

No sane council would approve such a scheme, slap bang in the middle of one of the worst traffic congestion spots in the country would they? But then again, Tameside Council has always been a law unto itself. Gleefully ramping up the Council Tax every year – until David Cameron stopped them – to fund the late Roy Oldham’s penchant for bronze statues and stained glass windows.

The same Socialist council that engages in much public hand wringing that Hyde and Stalybridge town centres have become an economic wasteland and bereft of shoppers – but can’t see why. We can tell them why – because there is no parking!

Nobody pays to park to go shopping in Hyde or Stalybridge. In Kensington they might, but not in Hyde. Nobody wants to run the gauntlet with little parking Nazi’s on Scooters funded by their Council Tax. Way easier to shop elsewhere. You don’t need Mary Portas to tell you that guys – you just got it for free!

But back to the bypass.

If you live in Hyde, Godley, Mottram, Stalybridge, Tintwistle, Glossop, Broadbottom, Simmondley, Hollingworth, Hattersley or anywhere in the locality, you have an interest in getting Mottram Bypass looked at again by the government.

Sitting in the soul-destroying traffic hoping someone else will do something for you will make it never happen.

MP’s and councillors wont fund it unless forced to by public opinion. They find it easier to fiddle the expenses and have some lunch (on you) than do something about a very real decades old issue which Mottram traffic congestion is.

You need to contact your elected representatives. Its easier than it used to be. There is no getting out the pen and paper and trudging to the mailbox and paying for an over-priced stamp any more. Its all online. You can do it in a few clicks.

Here’s how. Go to this site: Write to your local Councillor or MP (opens in a new window)

Write to your local elected representative and complain that they are not campaigning for a Mottram bypass. If enough of you do that, they will be forced to listen and it will get debated once again. If they ignore you, don’t vote for them next time. Simples!

Write it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social networking pages. Link this article in your email signatures. Get the word out!

There is rumour of something happening in 2014/2015, but there seems to be little online about it. Do you know more? Use the comments section at the bottom to tell others.

Use the comments section below to give your opinion or thoughts about Mottram bypass.

There will be a small delay before comments appear due to anti-spam controls.

The Dyson Vacuum Cleaner Forums Newsletter – Autumn 2011

Hello Dyson Enthusiast,

As a member of the unofficial Dyson Forums, we just wanted to take an opportunity to bring you up to date with a few happenings, a few special offers and a handful of other things that may be of interest to you.

Do you have a Dyson repair shop in the US or Australia? If so, you are welcome to place an informational post about yourself in the “Worldwide Dyson Resources” section. Use where you are in the title. For example: “Jackson’s Dyson Repairs in Idaho.” All we ask in return is that you look around our forums and answer a few questions when you can.

Can you help out our new member Lawrie7062? He has a problem with his DC14. The topic is here: My DC14 “backfiring”.

Those in the UK have likely never have seen a DC04/DC07/DC14 brush roll and belt removal tool. We are the sole UK stockists of these tools. You can see a tutorial and read all about them here: Dyson Belt & Brush Bar Removal Tool (Belt Lifter Tool) Tutorial.

Do you own a DC07? Our member Angus Black has released a Dyson DC07 workshop manual. It is only available in paperback, and you can get one directly from his site here: The Unofficial Dyson DC07 Workshop Manual.

Do you have a favourite Dyson? Did you vote in our poll? Here is the link: Poll — Which is your favourite Dyson? Vote Now! Up to now, the DC07 is in the lead with 32.5% of votes. If you havent voted already, we want your vote!

And last but not least, we work quite hard to make sure people can find us on Google. But we like to know how you found us originally. Was it a link from another site? Was it from Google? Was it from an email or a recommendation? Tell us. Here is the topic: New Members – How did you find us?

Thanks for reading. You are receiving this newsletter as a member of the Dyson Forums. Don’t worry, you wont be getting three a week; nor will your details be passed to any other organisation or entity. But, we would love to see you as an active partcipant on our forums. Why not drop by and say hello?

The Dyson Forum – Dyson Advice – Dyson Discussion Board – Dyson Talk Team.

DPD Geopost Telephone Numbers

Looking for a local number for DPD Geopost? Here they are:

Delivery firm DPD is doing very nicely, judging by its latest accounts says the Daily Mirror.

It’s owned by Geopost UK (ultimate parent company is La Poste in France), which last year made a £34million profit, £20m was trousered by shareholders, and the top director got £465,000

They don’t publish local phone numbers except a dratted 0844 number. I hate those, so here they are:

Customer Services: Dont ring 0845 930 0100 – Try: 0121 569 1390 or 0121 525 4065.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0113 292 5600- – Leeds depot. Also: 0113 292 5643.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01622 714606- – Maidstone depot. Also: 01622 714630 /643 /646.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0116 250 1606- – Leicester depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0141 305 3600- – Glasgow depot. Also: 0141 305 3643.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0161 956 5640- – Salford depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01745 357800- – Abergele depot. Also: 01745 357843.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01772 662600- – Preston depot. Also: 01772 662643 /646.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01933 414606- – Rushden depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01904 527606- – York depot. Also 01904 527643 & 01904 476606.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01733 842643- – Peterborough depot. Saville Road, Westwood, Peterborough, PE3 7PR. Also: 01733 842606 /646.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 023 8025 8600- – Southampton depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0115 977 7600- – Nottingham depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0161 777 4606- – Manchester depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 020 8498 8600- – Woodford Green depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01392 449600- – Exeter depot. Also: 01392 449643.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 020 8453 9500- – Park Royal depot.
Frogmore Industrial Est, Acton Lane, Acton, NW10 7NQ.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0191 402 5600- – Newcastle upon Tyne depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01582 470600- – Dunstable depot. Also: 01582 470606 /643.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01322 625600- – Dartford depot. Also: 01322 625643 /646.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01245 232056- – Chelmsford depot. Montrose House, Montrose Road, Dukes Park Ind Est, CM2 6TE.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01925 605600- – Warrington depot. Also: 01925 605606 /646 /647.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0118 923 2600- – Reading depot.

*DPD- – 0844 824 0505- 01- 313354043- Edinburgh depot.

*DPD- – 0844 824 0505- 01- 215002500- Edinburgh customer service.

*DPD- – 0844 824 0505- 0141 305 3643- – This is the Cambuslang branch at Glasgow.

*DPD- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 020 8978 3843- – Park Royal/Acton Depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01792 704640- – Swansea depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01872 574643- – Truro (Goonhaven) depot. Also: 01872 574606 /642.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01452 727150- – Gloucester depot. Also: 01452 727193 /196.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01293 893646- – Crawley depot. Also: 01293 893647.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01635 812643- – Newbury depot. Also: 01635 812606.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 020 8243 3606- – Croydon depot. Also: 020 8243 3643.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01202 850300- – Bournemouth depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01228 829606- – Carlisle depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01698 811235- – Glasgow 2 depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0131 335 4000- – Edinburgh depot. Also: 0131 335 4043 /4045.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0117 941 5600- – Bristol depot. Also: 0117 941 5643.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01782 578646- – Stoke on Trent depot. Also: 01782 578605.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 020 7394 3926- – London Bridge depot. Mandela Way, London, SE1 5SE. Also: 020 7394 3949.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 020 7391 8643- – King’s Cross depot. Also: 020 7391 8606.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0114 257 2643- – Sheffield depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 020 8601 7643- – Wembley depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 029 2077 2600- – Cardiff depot. Also: 029 2077 2643.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01224 878686- – Aberdeen depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01842 855643- – Thetford depot. Also: 01842 855646.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 028 9044 9700- – Belfast depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01698 811235- – Glasgow 2 depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 020 8243 3641- – London South (Croydon) depot. Also 0208 243 3643.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 020 8978 3843- – Park Royal depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01726 892600- – Roche, Cornwall depot.

*DPD (GEOPOST)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 01224 216143- – ABERDEEN DEPOT.

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 0191 402 5643- – Newcastle upon Tyne depot.

*DPD (Geopost)- – 0844 824 0505- 0117 937 3474- – Yate Depot.

*DPD Crawley Depot (for Brighton & Hove)- – 0844 824 0505- 01293 893647

*DPD (Geopost)- 0871 244 4442- 0844 824 0505- 028 8772 9306- – OMAGH DEPOT.

*DPD (Geopost)- – 0844 824 0505- 01726 892643- – St Austell branch.

Do you know any other DPD telephone numbers? Add them below using the comment box.

TomTom Start 20 Sat Nav Review – Beware! Item Not Fit For Purpose!

If you are seeking a satellite navigation device, you could do far better than buying a TomTom Start 20 model. I bought one today and it is a big thumbs down already. I do not recommend you buy one.

Fundamentally, the product is not fit for purpose as it is sold. Here is why.

I got the version with 45 European maps on. I actually wanted one with world maps (or USA at least as I visit there). However, I couldn’t find such a version online at reasonable money, and the guy in Halfords (yes, I know) said they could be downloaded from the TomTom website in exchange for money. All well and good up to now.

So I waste an hour or two clowning around on the TomTom website, downloading crap to make sure my computer can talk to my new TomTom Start 20. Then you need another programme – not really very straightforward (and I am not dumb with this stuff). A lesser mortal would struggle – trust me. Anyway, eventually they are talking to each other.

So I buy the US maps to be downloaded to my device – £35. So on top of the £140 it cost, we are now up to £175. Why they don’t sell them with US maps installed is anyone’s guess, but I digress……

The update screen tells me that in addition to the American maps I just bought, various speed camera updates are available, a set of newer EU maps and an operating system upgrade too. Fine, lets just do the lot and be bang up to date eh? Rock ‘n’ Roll. Um…… No.

It seems the TomTom Start 20 comes with a paltry 3 or 4 MB of internal memory. The European map it came with was something like 2.7. The newer version was 2.8. A few European map updates and the memory will be totally obsolete. Cute huh? This also means that there is no room to install the USA maps they just stung me £35 for. One must choose which map set one wants to use, install it and use that. Later you can revert it back. Well, how crap is that? Why isn’t there enough memory for both? I must start downloading and updating stuff every time I get on or off a plane to the US? A suitable sized chip would have added what £3 to the price? Meh!

The map download takes an agonising two hours as it loads only direct to the device. Two hours? Every time I go to or from the US? Oh dear!

Time to quiz TomTom [lack of] support. By phone it is a pay-for 0845 number. I don’t do those. I don’t need to pay to talk to someone in Waziristan who likely unconvincingly calls himself Michael instead of Gupta.

Lets try “live chat” instead. You are 7 in the queue, then 5, then 3 then……………. No operators available. Hmm. Probably a glitch; lets try again. This happens four times.

Google is your friend. Lets Google for some info. Google tells me the TomTom Start 20 has a micro SD card slot for memory expansion. Great! I check it and there is a sneaky slot I hadn’t seen by the power plug. I do another £6 on eBay for a 4GB card, so we are now up to £181 from £140 and I haven’t even used it yet.

Lets try the “support forums” and see who is talking about the dire memory issue, US maps, SD cards and the like. They are full of people complaining that although the micro SD slot exists, it doesn’t bloody work until TomTom do an “update” sometime in the summer [of 2011]. However, the forums are still full of people complaining that this promised update hasn’t yet arrived in October. When will it arrive? Who knows. There is no official response to that question.

So, does the SD card slot work yet? Nobody seems to know. Will my SD card purchase have been pointless? Who knows? When it arrives I will try it and see.

Right now, after spending an agonising 2 hours downloading the newer European maps, ist another hour and twenty minutes to “install” them.

I should devote an entire day to this probably.

Is it so much to ask to buy a satellite navigation device with world maps already installed? For TomTom, yes.

People – do what I wish I had done. Spend your money elsewhere!

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