Archive for April, 2013

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

Posted in Books on April 8, 2013 by thecognitivekey

Strictly speaking it should say in the title ‘Tom Sawyer’s Companion’ but that would make for too long a heading.

Interesting is the best I can say. This is a book for children and the plot level is pretty much aimed at them. The characters do things which an adult wouldn’t, they also display a level of ingenuity which is only acceptable in a novel for children.

I assume the attitudes of the characters is a good reflection of the times, the treatment of black people is dreadful. The ‘n’ word is used freely throughout. It describes a shameful time in World history. A time when people were sold as slaves purely because of their skin colour. It wasn’t the only injustice of the time, but it’s the one which is the most wrong and least justifiable.

The plot was OK at first as Huck and Jim floated down the Mississippi, a few adventures, it dipped a great deal when Tom Sawyer made his appearance at the end, and the ending is limp, though happy.

I was unhappy about the ‘n’ word throughout but that’s the way it was written, so that’s what should be read. It just makes the attitudes of the time more vivid. The world is not perfect but at least slavery has been abolished in some countries. Time to work on the remaining slavery and the other problems in today’s world. A big challenge.


Argos and the 30 Day Money Back option

Posted in Customer Service, General on April 8, 2013 by thecognitivekey

Argos do have a 30 Day Money Back option on purchases. They make a big deal of it. And it is a good deal too.

However what I didn’t realise was that the goods have to be returned unused so they can put them back on the shelf for resale. Ah, my Pure Internet Radio has been used. Damn!

Argos were very good. They explained that the Sale of Goods Act means they can’t just sell goods that have been opened and used. Oh no – looks like I shall be left with an £85 radio I don’t want. The manager is an angel though, this once they will give me the refund but if I need to return anything in the future that has been used, they won’t exchange it unless there is a fault. Well that sounds good to me, in future I shall view larger items in a shop before deciding to buy.

Thank you Argos, you didn’t have to refund me, but you did. I am impressed with the commitment to customer satisfaction. I shall buy from Argos again, but will be more careful to be sure it’s what I want first. No more impulse buys.

Pure One Flow Internet Radio

Posted in Customer Service, General on April 8, 2013 by thecognitivekey

My studio headphones finally gave up the ghost. The ear pads disintegrated and the headband broke. They had given good service and I have had no complaints with them. Time for some new headphones. I knew which ones I wanted – Sennheiser HD201 – lightweight closed headphones. I already have the Sennheiser HD449 and I have been very impressed with them.

So just where from. Argos – they have them in stock and they are about the same price as Amazon.

But, I have also been thinking about a new radio for the bedside. I currently have a Sony XDR-S1 which has DAB/FM/MW/LW – a good solid radio – it’s about 10 years old now but still performing well. I now have a few music tracks on my PC now though and it would be nice to be able to listen to them through the radio. Currently I use the radio with cordless headphones so I can wander around the house and not lose the thread of a programme. If I had an internet radio which allowed my music on the PC to be played through the radio I could listen to the music too.

Pure make internet radios and they can play the music on the PC via WiFi. I looked at the two likely candidates, one oval shaped thing with a touch screen to control it (about £170) or the simpler box shaped One Flow (about £100 but on offer at Argos for £85). I checked out the reviews. The One Flow gets some great write-ups, the other has a lot of problems reported with the touch screen. So it looks like no competition.

I bought the Sennheiser HD201 headphones (they are great) and the Pure One Flow Internet Radio from Argos on my way home from work. It was a Bank Holiday in the UK, Easter Monday.

The radio is a black box. Very light, extremely light in fact. I think it must need the optional battery pack to add weight. Not a promising start. The buttons are on the front of the radio. Pressing one would push the whole radio backwards, so to operate a button the radio needs to be held with the other hand. Not ideal for a bedside radio. The Sony has buttons on the top so the radio doesn’t need to be held steady.

I persevered. I tune the FM and get a reasonable sound. I connect to the WiFi and it finds some stations. Moving through the stations is not that easy as tracking is via a dial which moves very slowly. Suddenly the radio says there’s a Network Update, the option is OK. No other options. I press OK. The documentation says it will take around 5 minutes. Forty minutes later it’s still running. I decide to check out the website and register while it’s going on.

The website in the documentation is OK and I try to register my radio. Ah, problem here because it’s not listed. There is a note, phew, if I have an Internet Radio then I need to register on a different site. So off to that site. Nothing there indicates how to register, but there is a FAQ. One of the questions is how do I register my radio. Haha – no help though. The FAQ says

Sorry – we’re closed.

The specified article does not exist or you do not have permission to view it.

If you believe this is in error, please contact

Well I thought this was an error so I sent them a note explaining that I was struggling to register my radio, I was also still having a Network Upgrade after an hour.

They reply very quickly. Or at least the mail robot does.

Unfortunately this email address has now been disabled and is no longer monitored. This email will not be read. To contact the support team with your question please click here

Great. They are closed and appear to have moved too. On the end of the click is a problem ticket raising tool. I cut and paste my complaint and add a little bit more about the quality of their service.

Network Upgrade still ongoing. The documentation says there is a free telephone and email support. Can I find the telephone number? No sign of it. I raise another ticket complaining about the support and lack of telephone number.

The Network Upgrade is still running when I go to bed. Do not interrupt it says. I warn my daughter that it might complete during the night and the radio could come on. It does, at 2 in the morning.

Next day it’s all there. All I have to do it sort out the music on my PC. I finally find the software (XP/Vista were the options – no mention of Windows 7/8). Software downloaded it now needs to register the tracks. It takes hours. Once done I can listen to the music on the PC via the radio. But the navigation is rubbish. The dial is far too slow and the screen doesn’t show enough to allow faster navigation. Sound is OK.

I have a  reply from the support desk.

Dear Richard,

Please be aware that your ticket was sent in over the bank holiday weekend and the office didn’t open until the 2nd April 2012 and we are still working through a backlog of tickets.

As of April 2012, our e-mail address has been replaced by a far better ticketing system which allows us to keep better track of communications between our customers and ourselves.

To Register your One Flow, you will first need to go to and create an account on here.

Once this has been created, you can log-in click your e-mail address, select ‘Devices’ and under ‘Manage Devices’ and ‘Device Registration’ you will see a 6-character registration token.

This token needs to be entered in to your One Flow by going to ‘Options’ followed by ‘Pure Connect Settings’ followed by ‘Register with Pure connect’.


Dxxxx Xxxxxx
Technical Support Engineer, Pure

I had worked out the registration process by myself. A backlog of tickets after a couple of days away….hmmm. Plus they are obviously living in the past, it’s 2013 here in Hampshire.

Decision time. The radio does work. It’s very light. The support desk are crap. If I have a problem down the line, say 6 weeks time, what sort of support could I expect? Easy decision – take it back to Argos – they have a 30 day money back offer.

So Sennheiser HD201 headphones are a great buy, the Pure One Flow Internet Radio just isn’t going to do what I want.

Pigs Have Wings – PG Wodehouse

Posted in Books on April 6, 2013 by thecognitivekey

Back at Blandings Castle…everyone is here as the Empress of Blandings comes under threat from Sir Gregory Parsloe yet again. This is one of the lesser Blanding novels. It’s well written but there are areas of the plot which are not quite as tight as we would expect from a Wodehouse story.

That’s not to say it’s not a good book. It is. If this book had been written by Jane Austen everyone would rave about it saying what a pleasant change it was for Miss Austen to be writing a decent plot for a change with interesting characters. They would say it’s the best thing that Miss Austen has written. Of course she it was very unlikely to write anything quite as good as this. But it was written by PG Wodehouse, we know what PG Wodehouse can do with the pen, and he has written better than Pigs Can Fly, good though it is, it’s not the top notch.

We, who like PG Wodehouse, are very difficult to please. Once you have tasted ambrosia…