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A TV aerial and SCART splitter I need for my bedroom TV - the new Freeview receiver needs a boosted signal and doesn't have SCART passthrough.

Two sealed packs of fruit tea teabags (short dated, but I doubt it goes off) for 50p - that's 50p for the two packs, not each. I haven't tried it yet and it may be horrible, of course...

update - tea is OK, not wonderful - a bit like hot ribena but a bit weaker and less sweet. I probably should use two in a big mug, not one, next time.

A camera rangefinder for £1.50

And eight USB temperature recorders at £1 each - list is £39 new, these are used but I just finished testing them and they're all OK, so I've bunged them onto eBay at £9.99 each, offers considered, we'll see what happens.
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On the 19th I said (re iMac G4 computers):

I think this is probably going to be the last one I do, unless something really cheap practically forces itself on me - they're a lot of work and I seem to be doing better with photographic stuff. But I find them fun to work on, so I'm not saying never again...

So needless to say today's car boot fair bargain was another 17" iMac G4, this time 1ghz and working as soon as I plugged it in. It isn't perfect, unfortunately, there's a dead area at the top left corner of the screen which fortunately will usually be over the menu bar rather than more important content, and a dead line one pixel high and about 2" long further down the screen. My guess is a dodgy connector somewhere inside the panel, which may be fixable but I really wouldn't know where to start. More positively, it already has a wifi card. I also picked up a 250gb IDE drive for a couple of quid, so that's the expensive part of the upgrade hopefully taken care of. Can't sell it as perfect, but if I knock twenty quid off my usual price for this model I think it'll sell.

Also got a MacBook Air / 13" Macbook Pro charger, which seems to be the real thing, and another Minolta 35-80mm AF zoom, both at a fiver, so reasonably happy despite the screen problem. And yet another FireWire ipod charger for £2!
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...Really was, for a change.

About ten days ago I bought a job lot of old lenses and photographic stuff for about £24 including P&P. It finally arrived tonight while I was out (thank you, MyHermes, the world's worst and slowest couriers), and contains a staggering amount of stuff for the money, all in very good condition:
  • Chinon 135/2.8 with M42 T-mount (not the world's most useful fitting, but the T-mount can be swapped for most SLRs including modern ones for a couple of quid), caps, and case.
  • Optomax 200/4.5, same bat mount, caps, and case, boxed
  • Pentacon 30/3.5, M42 screw, with caps
  • Helios 58/2.0, M42 screw, with caps
  • Jessop optical slide viewer, M42 T-mount with box and instructions
  • A x2-x3 teleconverter, M42
  • Four filters including a 72mm polarizer
  • Set of M42 extension tubes (probably fairly worthless)
  • and various odds and ends including a box of flash bulbs, a bulb type flash that unfortunately uses different bulbs, two fairly crap electronic flashes, a large photo-viewing magnifier I'll probably keep for myself, and a pneumatic cable release.
Now all I have to do is write up the ebay listings...
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Got another 17" iMac G4 yesterday, this time it's working! After a certain amount of panicking... Got it fairly cheap because the hard drive was dead, but I saw it power up and screen etc. were good so I bought it. The first bit of panic arose when I realised it was the FIRST 17" version, which means slower speed, no easy way to add modern WiFi , and the top OS X it'll run is 10.4, also that it's even more than a pig to work on than the usual iMac G4.

Then I tried booting from the DVD drive and found that was dead too. Again no great cause for alarm - they're VERY old and the DVD is usually the first thing to go. Though I did worry that there might be a fault with the disc controller or something! IDE DVD drives are like gold dust these days, so a while back I bought a couple of the little adapters that convert SATA to IDE that didn't have the connections upside down (see this post) at a couple of pounds, and I've bought a couple of SATA drives in readiness - most SATA drives are faster, cheaper, and MUCH less worn than IDE! This was my opportunity to see if one would work in a G4.

So I swapped out the drives and put in new ones, put it all back together again (which is the hard part because there are a lot of cables and weird connectors that have to go in the right places) and booted up... not. Twice... Third time, fortunately, I remembered to set the jumpers on the drives so that they didn't conflict, and things were OK. Finally got it running properly about 9 PM, finished installing and updating the operating system about eleven.

Next stage is to up the internal memory, put in a new PRAM battery, and do the finishing touches like heat sink paste, install some software, and hopefully !PROFIT!

I think this is probably going to be the last one I do, unless something really cheap practically forces itself on me - they're a lot of work and I seem to be doing better with photographic stuff. But I find them fun to work on, so I'm not saying never again...
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I sent a small packet to Greece several weeks ago. It came back today, torn open in transit and the actual item (a focusing screen) missing, with a rubber stamp from the Greek post office which they conveniently didn't tick to show why it was returned etc.

So I contacted the buyer and told him so that he could make an item not received claim and I could give him a refund and claim it from the post office.

So he made the claim, I gave him a refund. He then sent me this email:

I am ebayer over ten year, this happened to me for the first time. I don't believe that the screen was stoled or broken in shipping. You never send it.

Ignoring the fact that if I was trying to scam him in some way I would have never contacted him in the first place.

So I sent him a scan of the padded envelope and suggested he complain to eBay if he thought he had a case. Somehow I doubt he will...
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A Psion Organiser 3a, 1mb RAM and some dead lines on the screen, but including manual, chess datapack, and Berlitz interpreter datapack, for £2.99

A Sigma 35-80 autofocus zoom in Canon Eos fitting for £8 - works well on my 35mm Canon body, but like many older Sigma lenses has a horrible sticky rubbery coating - not as bad as some I've seen, but it's definitely going to reduce the price I can sell it for.

Both should be moderately profitable though neither will be a huge earner, and I walked a couple of miles in the course of finding them which is the main point of the exercise.
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BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina are sending me reminders to pay my bill on line. Since I am British (and we have Eviiiiil socialised medicine) and have never had any sort of account with them I suspect that this is related to the person whose medical test results were sent to me a few weeks ago.

Does anyone have a way to contact these idiots by email that doesn't involve being a registered customer or something?

Update - solved thanks to Livejournal's jgd; I contacted them via their "Report fraud" contact page, and hopefully they'll sort it out.
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 Has anyone ever written a story in which the soul given to Spike is Tara's?

If not, why not?
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 I've noticed that some people who crosspost from Dreamwidth to Livejournal use a version of the footer discussed in earlier posts that is somehow updated to show if there are comments on Dreamwidth. I'd like to do this if possible, what's the procedure?
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This is another "old school" RPG offer, basically dungeon crawling etc. - the big difference that the system emphasis is on constructing and running fantasy kingdoms.


"The Adventurer Conqueror King System is Autarch's sweeping FRPG that lets you build and run your own fantasy kingdoms. In other Old School Revival FRPGs your character's path to greatness is abstract, even undefined. ACKS adds a new wing to the Old School with its epic-scale domain construction rules, which help you develop an entire setting in the sandbox spirit of the hobby's earliest campaigns -- and then give your high-level player characters the challenge of conquering and running it. And many ACKS systems adapt easily to any D20-based FRPG or B/X retroclone.

This bargain-priced offer brings you pretty much the entire Adventurer Conqueror King product line. We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity chosen by Autarch owner Alexander Macris, the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. "It's a charity near and dear to me," says Alex. "My wife, Amy, was the first bladedancer in the Auran Empire, but she is now so sick with mito disease she can no longer even play tabletop RPGs. Her illness has no cure and limited treatments; the UMDF is trying to change that for her and other sufferers."

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$95. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $40) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Adventurer Conqueror King System (retail price $10): The complete corebook with comprehensive, integrated support for play across all levels of a campaign. (Previously presented in the November 2013 Old School Revival offer.)
  • ACKS Player's Companion (retail $10): Add 19 new ACKS character classes, and get under the hood to create your own classes.
  • Domains at War: Campaigns (retail $7.50): Chart your heroes' rise to power with these rules for comprehensive military actions among kingdoms.
  • The Sinister Stone of Sakkara (retail $10): This ideal introductory adventure highlights everything ACKS brings to your gaming table.
  • Auran Empire Primer (retail $2.50): An introduction to the official ACKS campaign setting, a not-yet-fallen empire in late Antiquity ripe for conquest.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $18.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles (retail value $55):

  • Dwimmermount (ACKS version, retail $10): Autarch's colossal 400-page science-fantasy megadungeon and campaign setting. Includes the Dungeon Tracker (retail $10), Map Book (retail $7.50), and Illustration Book (retail $5). (We presented the Labyrinth Lord version of Dwimmermount in the November 2015 OSR +4. The supplements are new to this offer and work with both versions.)
  • Domains at War: Battles and Troops and Terrain (retail $7.50 each): Conduct the landmark conflicts from your Campaigns actions as easily as you run character combats.
  • Lairs & Encounters (retail $10): More than 165 ready-to-play monster lairs, plus rules for creating and advancing monsters fit to challenge a kingdom.
At least one more item will be added after launch; "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."

I'll be honest, this isn't one that really interests me, but it looks like you get a lot for your money. Whether it's stuff you want is another matter, and one that's up to individual tastes.
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This one was in Basildon and sold me an iMac G4 17", buyer collects, with keyboard and mouse. The fare to Basildon is only £5.50 for someone my age with Freedom Pass and Over 60s Railcard, so it seemed reasonable. Unfortunately it took me two hours to get there, it was bloody cold, and when I finally found his place it turned out to be a 15" one without keyboard or mouse - the idiot had used a stock sales template with a photo he'd found on line. The picture in his item description was also clean, the one he sold me was covered with cigarette tar etc.

So I refused to accept it and said that if he didn't cancel the sale I'd have to report it, and by the time I got home this evening it was cancelled. So I'm out £5.50 and time, could have been a lot worse.

Meanwhile the other one I didn't buy (the one that was my fault) has now been cancelled - I've now got an unpaid item strike, but I've never known them to cause anyone any problems so I'm not too worried about it.

I'm really hoping that this will end my run of bad luck with G4s, but I'll be honest, if I saw another on offer at a good price I'd probably go for it, I just find them fun to work with when they're OK.
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I've just posted a story called Vanishing Act on the Buffyverse crossover site Twisting the Hellmouth - https://tthf.me/kl7K

This is basically a Jonathan Creek mystery in a world with superheroes, the main fandoms being Jonathan Creek and an AU non-magical version of Harry Potter - and bits of several other fandoms.

I won't be posting it here because it's set in the Teraverse, a hugely complicated multiple crossover setting created by Diane Castle which must be getting on towards three million words by about twenty authors - the bits you will need to read for it to make any sense, at a minimum, are the first, third and possibly fourth stories of this series: A Brane of Extraordinary Women - together they're about 2 million words! I think it's a fair assumption that most people who read this will already be familiar with this setting from having read these stories over several years, so I'm not going to try to explain it here.

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I picked up a job lot of filters and hoods, which included an Itorex 50mm f40 (and yes, I meant 40, not 4.0) lens. It's basically a very simple pancake lens which is about f2.8 and fits into a T-mount, with a removable disc that fits between the elements to stop it down. The disc was missing but I cut one from the black vinyl wallet an old multimeter came in, with the diaphragm burned through as a pin hole. Doesn't focus, but doesn't need to because the tiny aperture gives huge depth of field (but of course means exposures are VERY slow), but even stopped down it isn't incredibly sharp. Here's a quick test with and without the stop disk:

Read more... )

Unfortunately the T-mount it came with is the old Contax-Yashica fitting, which is fairly useless, but I had a spare Nikon mount to try it.

I don't think I'll be keeping it, but it was fun to play with.
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iPhone is now sorted - cost £25, on top of that I've paid £1 for a charging cable and ordered a Freedompop SIM, they seem to be OK if you don't need a huge amount of data a month. That costs £6 including activation - I could have got an extra sim for 1p but I completed the process before I realised that it wouldn't have been a bad idea to have a spare. Too late now anyway. It appears that the phone isn't locked, which is one less thing to worry about.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] coth for her help with this, it's greatly appreciated - sorry for wasting your time.

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Gacked from [personal profile] minim_calibre


Grab the nearest book, flip to page 117, the second sentence is your life in 2017

There were three books on my kitchen table, marginally the closest was The Outsorcerer's Apprentice by Tom Holt:

"You'll have to buy a new one, or borrow one from somewhere."

Words to live by...
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Someone on freecycle has very kindly given me an iPhone 4S, in good working order except that the glass is badly cracked in the top RH corner. The actual LCD seems fine, everything works, etc., it's just the glass so far as I can tell. Having looked at the price of the kit (tiny) I was tempted to try DIY, but the web sites that show how to do it are scary - I've decided to chicken out and just pay for someone to repair it.

Can anyone point me at a phone repairer in central-ish London that can do this without messing it up and won't charge an arm and a leg?
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This is a new departure in these bundle offers - freeform murder mystery games for parties etc., in which each guest takes on the role of one of the suspects / detectives / whatever, and the plot is resolved by mingling, acting out various goals, etc. They're six players and up, with the largest providing for up to 32. I've played in a few freeform games in the past and they can be immense fun, especially if you're prepared to submerge yourself in a role, so this interests me a lot.

There's an article about this type of game here


"This is a large and rich collection of live-action murder mystery party games from Freeform Games. Invite your guests to an evening of food, drink, and investigation of a murder. One guest did it -- but who? With no predetermined script, these party games put you and six to 32 friends in the heart of the action. Before the party, every player gets a detailed character background with goals, contacts, secrets, and costume tips. At the gathering, you all decide who to talk to, trust, or betray. In four hours or so, will the murderer be discovered? You won't know until the party's over.

With settings from Hawaii to Golden Age Hollywood to the Wild West, these .PDF kits include step-by-step instructions for the host, quick-start hints for guests, illustrated item cards, reference sheets, and much more. Many games provide versions for kids, extra "emergency characters" in case someone brings a friend, and other thoughtful touches. Check out Freeform's free introductory ten-guest Way Out West game, and then investigate this bargain-priced collection for groups of six to 30+ guests.

We provide each party kit complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these files have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Notes: Many Freeform Games party games have Standard and Extended versions; Extended versions support more guests. The games in this offer are all the Standard versions. And be aware, you print out all the guest handouts before the party. For the larger games you'll be printing a lot of pages.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Human Rights Watch.

The total retail value of the games in this offer is US$270 -- by far the richest offer in the site's history. Customers who pay just US$19.95 get all four party games in our Smaller Groups Collection (6-14 players, total retail value $120) as DRM-free .PDFs:

  • A Will to Murder (6-9 players, retail $30): In 1930s Britain, a wealthy family feuds over the last will of their murdered patriarch.
  • Lei'd to Rest (6-12 players, retail $30): A luau gone bad at a Hawaiian beach resort.
  • A Heroic Death (8-12 players, retail $30): The Superheroic Justice Doom Squad has to save the world, but first they must escape their volcano headquarters.
  • Way Out West (10-14 players, retail $30): The party's on at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Cactus Gulch, 1884.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $29.95 to start, also get our entire Bigger Groups Collection with four more complete games (retail value $150) for soirees of up to 30+ players:

  • Davy Jones' Locker (10-15 players, retail $30): In Tortuga, 1785, Caribbean pirates aim for the big haul -- or the keelhaul.
  • Spellbound (13-17 players, retail $30): At the Tremaine School of Magic, students must investigate a memory-loss mystery while also taking final exams.
  • Arabian Nights (18-24 players, retail $40): An hour after the Sultan announces his daughter's betrothal to handsome Prince Ala 'ad-Din, the young prince is found dead in the marketplace.
  • Hollywood Lies (16-32 players, retail $50): At the post-award party for Dazzled to Death, film stars and producers wheel and deal despite the sad death of the award-winning star.
There don't seem to be any surprise extras this time around.

I've looked at Hollywood Lies and everything seems to be very nicely presented, with 25 pages of instructions for the host, an eight-page briefing for each character, and various handouts etc. If you ran it for the maximum number of people you'd get through a LOT of paper, and if you're doing this a duplexing printer is possibly worth having - or get everything run off at a repo shop if you can afford it. The others are smaller in having fewer maximum players but you get the same number of pages per player, nearly as large a briefing, etc. Assimilating it all is going to be daunting if you haven't done something like this before, and I'd strongly recommend playing in someone else's game before running your own.

I'm not sure these are really my cup of tea - I generally feel happier running with smaller groups of players and a tabletop system - but as I said earlier, I've enjoyed this type of game enormously when I've played them. Given that these games often last an evening - say four to six hours - and sometimes longer they represent a LOT of entertainment, say 1000+ man-hours of fun for the host and players. The snag is that you can't really run them more than once unless you have more than one circle of friends. My interest is more from the point of looking for interesting ideas etc., and there ought to be plenty here. I think they're pretty good value for money, and I recommend them, but as usual I have to point out that I get them free if I want them. If you don't your mileage may vary.

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A bit late now, but fun (gacked from http://gonzo21.livejournal.com/ )

Donald Trump's New Year tweet - read by Mark Hamill as The Joker...

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Is it just me that thinks that the National Television Awards trophy looks like a globe being crushed by a tentacle, e.g. a variant Hydra logo?

Read more... )
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Hopefully adding a dreamwidth link on Livejournal courtesy of http://jedibuttercup.livejournal.com/ who spelled it out in nice small words for my limited brain.

But apparently not. Weird...

hopefully this'll add it...

OK, the trick is to change the default to "always show the footer"

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