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  1. How often do these £1 offers turn up? I seem to remember taking advantage of one last autumn when I embarked on my first concerted bout of eBay selling for many years, but I've not had sight of them since. Do people get e-mails to alert them when they're available, or do yuou have to be a regular visitor to eBay to see them?
  2. Historically (many, many moons ago) people used to game the system by listing items at 99p (private sellers didn't get free listings regardless of the start price in those days) and charging an amount for postage which was effectively their reserve price for the item (less 99p, plus the actual postage cost). That way eBay only got their cut on whatever the item made over the 'reserve'. eBay shut that down by charging commission on postage as well as on the selling price. So basically, some people took the proverbial and everyone ended up being 'punished'.
  3. They didn't have to eat the M&Ms, just check whether the ones of the requested colour had been removed.
  4. AKA a "jeweller's peg" - useful to know if you want to search for one online. Brenton, the silversmith on The Repair Shop, is often shown using one. Can be acquired fairly cheaply if you shop around.
  5. Blimey, that means that I was only 10 when it happened. I remember hearing about it on the news at the time, though, and being quite upset. I knew about the Britannia Bridge and its innovative design, and I admired its almost minimalist elegance. Although it's good that it's still basically in use I do think that the rebuilt arch-supported spans are nothing like as attractive as the original box girders. At around that time there were a number of failures of newly constructed or in-construction steel box girder bridges. These led to a fair amount of largely ill-informed comment and discussion in the media about whether the box girder design concept was fundamentally flawed. I remember thinking at the time that a wrought iron box girder bridge that had stood for 120 years until some idiots managed to set fire to it could be considered a convincing counter-example. I still regret never having seen the Britannia Bridge in its original form. I know the bridge at Conwy is the same basic design but IMO it doesn't have anything like the visual appeal of the Britannia Bridge, with its slender cantilevers springing at such height across a rugged but picturesque void. P.S. Sorry, meant to add: thanks for the link to the programme on iPlayer. I'd not seen any mention of it in Radio TImes or elsewhere.
  6. The OP is actually asking about using flexible track for straight sections, not curves. There's nothing to stop you cutting setrack straights to different lengths. It's what I do with Code 100 in OO. If you want to use a different rail code to that offered by setrack then it would probably be simplest to stick to flexi all round. AIUI the Peco N scale setrack is code 80 whereas in flexi you have a choice of code 80 or code 55. (IMO the rail height of code 80 for N looks even more "train set like" than code 100 does for OO.)
  7. I'd suggest that thinking distance is also conditions dependent: darkness, fog or torrential rain can all affect visibility and contribute to delays in recognising potential hazards; heavy traffic can create distractions etc etc.
  8. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    I do that to check for broken eggs - after checking the exterior of the box for any obvious signs of leakage - bit I'd be less keen on doing it just to check the sizes of the eggs within. Specifically so these days when people can be quite fussy about other folks taking stuff off shelves and then putting it back, due to a perceived risk of contamination. If the box contains broken eggs then I'd be happy to put it back - perhaps at the back of a low shelf, with the lid open so others can see that there's something amiss with it - because no-one else is likely to want it anyway. But rifling through multiple boxes looking for one with decent sized eggs in it might raise more than a few frowns, as well as causing me to spend more time in a place where social distancing is tricky enough to maintain at the best of times...
  9. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    "Best before" does not mean that the product will have gone off after that date. It actually means what it says: after that date the product may have started to become stale or lose its flavour/texture/fragrance: https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/best-before-and-use-by-dates#best-before-dates-are-about-quality It's the "use by" date (if present) that tells you that the food item might actually not be safe to eat after a given date: https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/best-before-and-use-by-dates#use-by-dates-are-about-safety This stuff is mandated by the Food Standards Agency so food manufacturers are legally obliged to use the correct term when providing such information to customers. "Sell by" has no statutory meaning: it was originally used by supermarkets for stock control purposes but you hardly see it these days since it conveys little or no useful information to customers.
  10. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    I found exactly the same situation in my local Sainsbury's again today. I was going to M&S anyway so thought I'd be able to get six large there. No luck: exactly the same inadequate choice as Sainsbury's, just a smaller acreage of shelf. Passed Tesco on the way home, no queue so thought I'd pop in there to see. Same again. No queue at Aldi either: they had boxes of six large but they weren't free range - the boxes specially said that they were laid by caged hens (although I thought that was illegal now in the UK?) Last stop: Morrisons. Can't see the car park or store entrance from the road but drove in to have a look anyway. No queue. Plenty of free range eggs in all size options including large. So five supermarkets within roughly a mile radius and, while there were eggs on the shelves in all of them - and in some cases an overabundance of eggs, only one of the five had boxes of six large free range eggs. I remain puzzled.
  11. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    The term "scrambling" has been used for lower-grade climbing for over a century. Edward Whymper's Scrambles Amongst The Alps, which includes a description of the first successful ascent* of the Matterhorn, was published in 1871. That pre-dates the first IC-powered motorcyle by 14 years. These days it generally refers to any activity which requires the use of hands as well as feet i.e. more than just hillwalking, but not involving the use of removable or fixed protection such as nuts, cams, bolts and the like (for information: other than in a few specialist disciplines, the use of pitons went out with the ark). In scrambling a rope is sometimes used for confidence or, using natural protection such as rock spikes or threads (holes in the rock), to provide an additional modicum of safety on a more difficult pitch, but you don't usually tie on for the whole route. So it's a term that's been in use for generations within that particular sphere of activity. The term "scrambling" in the context of motorcycling, in the general sense of riding bikes through unpaved and/or challenging terrain, has rather fallen into desuetude. Not because people don't do it, but because these days the activity is generally split in to two distinct disciplines: trials, which use routes across open country and which have been going on for over a century (such as the Scottish Six Days Trial), and motocross which is a more modern variant based on circuit racing on dirt tracks with manufactured 'obstacles' (these days usually just big jumps). The kind of thing you used to see on Grandstand in the 1960s described as "scrambling" was really a precursor of modern motocross: a development of trials riding in to an easy to understand, short format that suited a TV audience. A bit like autopoint, if anyone remembers that, which used to feature unusual devices such as the twin-engined Mini Moke and the Haflinger; IIRC the latter used to win most of the time (there's a guy down the road from me who still has one). * The descent didn't go quite so well, unfortunately...
  12. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    The egg section in my local Sainsbury's last week was stacked full of eggs. All mixed size boxes, though, apart from a very few 6s and 12s of medium and XL. No wonder they had loads in stock, no-one wants to get home to find they have six small eggs when they wanted six large. Especially so if you need them for baking, which usually requires a fair degree of exactitude in quantities. (I once saw baking described as "like science for hungry people".)
  13. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    Sorry, in what fashion? Do you mean that the payment apps won't function unless the phone is unlocked? You'd better hope so, otherwise you're walking around with the equivalent of a contactless card with no transaction limit on it. As it happens, of course, they do work like that - and in fact it's one of the key security controls that has allowed the contactless limit to be removed on smartphone payment app transaction (don't believe the flannel about "not sending the card number across the network" that the app builders seem to like to push: all contactless terminals basically work that way, and anyway it's effectively only a secondary control to the use of a securely encrypted end-to-end connection). Unlike with a physical contactless card where all you need to make a payment is the card, with a smartphone payment app you need to unlock the phone with your PIN/pattern or with your fingerprint to make a payment. In information security terms the PIN or pattern is "something you know", and your fingerprint is "something you have". It's a second level authentication mechanism, akin to sending an auth code to your mobile phone ("something you have") via SMS to gain access to online banking - a control which is pretty much mandated by the FCA these days. I decided that my old wallet was on its last legs a few months ago, when it started eating coins and secreting them in inaccessible crannies within the lining. While shopping around for a new one I came to the conclusion that almost all purses and wallets on the market now claim to have RFID protection built in. It's generally recognised in the industry that the true incidence of contactless fraud, i.e numbers of confirmed instances of it happening, is actually vanishingly small. Theft and user error/carelessness are still by far more prevalent, and likely to remain so. Given that these are much easier ways to compromise someone's card, I reckon that the existing controls around contactless are probably going to remain adequate for some time yet.
  14. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    See my earlier post on this thread. In summary: I tried it and thought that it was rubbish. IMO a mobile phone is a terrible device to use for scanning a large number of bar codes expeditiously whilst also manhandling a weighty trolley (probably with at least one wonky wheel). Especially if you set the phone to stay awake for extended periods so that it doesn't go to sleep in between scans, and you've got Apple Pay or Google Pay on it in order to be able to pay a three-figure bill contactlessly. You're then basically walking about with a contactless card with no transaction limit in your hand, whilst carrying out an activity that is riddled with distractions. No thanks. The system in the stores which have their own trigger-operated scanner devices is much better but, as noted above, probably costs more to deploy than relying on customers bringing their own (distinctly sub-optimal for the function) devices.
  15. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    They used to have a system like that at one of our local Sainsbury's, many years ago now. It worked quite well. You still had to go through a checkout to pay (IIRC there was a dedicated checkout for scan-as-you-go customers) but unless the system decided to spot-check you, all they did was verify your age and take the money. It was much better than going through a recalcitrant self-checkout and having to be age-verified at an unpredictable point in the process IMO. For some reason it never really took off and they binned the system. I think it was before smartphones became so ubiquitous and people weren't as used to handling gadgets. More recently they've rolled out a similar kind of system where you use you mobile to scan the products. I've tried it and it's horrible! Your average mobile phone is far from ergonomically efficient for scanning stuff as you put it in to your bags compared to a trigger-based device. The app also stops working in any mobile data/wifi black spots within the store. Basically, it's rubbish. It takes twice as long to just pick your items off the shelves and get them successfully scanned (barcode scanning using the phone camera - mine is 12mp so should be OK - seems to be disappointingly unreliable) and you still have to go through - and queue for - the self-service checkout. A big fat implementation fail IMO: a good idea on paper but sooooo badly thought through. Their old system worked well but was introduced at the wrong time to get traction with the customers. The new system is just bad - though I suspect some customers will use it anyway 'coz it's all on your phone innit. I believe Tesco have a system which uses dedicated handsets, but we don't shop there often (and I don't think our local store has it anyway).
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