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Bitpipe last won the day on January 13

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  1. The only time I miss an old fashioned kettle is when occasionally filling a hot water bottle for the kids - the built in anti scald 'splutter' makes it a bit hazardous to get too close so I need to full a jug and do it that way. Still waiting for my decalc kit - must ring them again..
  2. Apple / iPad

    I remember going to the first Microsoft Store in Redmond when it opened. Was almost a carbon copy of the nearby Apple Store, right down to the wooden benches and colour coded t-shirts for staff. Totally deserted (and this in a city where MS employs tens of thousands of people).
  3. Quooker Nordic hot water tap. We have some beautiful contemporary danish furniture (Skoby) including an expanding table that is very cleverly designed.
  4. Apple / iPad

    Apple is in the premium experiences business and to guarantee those experiences they demand control of the hardware, OS, apps and backend. They also require a very healthy margin on their revenues and rarely discount anything. They spend a LOT on cultivating and protecting their brand, even if the products themselves can be hit and miss. Back in the desktop days, this strategy did not work that well for Apple as volume distribution was key and Windows won that battle through their partner approach (machine for every price point) , however it was at the cost of a guaranteed user experience - the whole Vista debacle was really down to the lack of drivers (due to late shipping of the OS) between the OEM h/w and the OS on the top which resulted in crashing machines, unsupported peripherals etc. This situation flipped when smartphones and then tablets started to dominate as to deliver an effective experience on such constrained h/w, you need to own the whole shebang or the UX starts to suck. This is what killed Windows Phone (even when MS bought Nokia to effectively have it's own h/w platform). Google Android is effectively following the MS playbook in smartphones - lots of OEMs knocking out high (Samsung) and low (Xaiomi etc..) end h/w with generic or customised OS on the top. You experience may vary but Google does not really care about experiences but does care about data and search so scale is the priority there. I had my first Mac (Macbook Air) at my last job and I've just handed it back after 5 years - was still running more or less fine albeit after a few battery replacements. I was amazed at the first time I opened the settings panel and saw just how little you could do via that interface compared to Windows settings. However it was pretty much impossible to screw up the Macbook also (unlike Windows). That said, Mac OS is built on Unix so via command line you can do some powerful stuff if you know how (I really don't). The Apple h/w design philosophy is to keep removing features to refine the design. I have a new work Macbook now and it has precisely two USBc ports and a headphone jack - that's for power and peripherals etc... My iPhone 7 has no headphone jack so i can't charge and listen simultaneously unless I buy a dongle. Can't say I love any of this but they must be doing something right from a commercial perspective as they're making LOTS of money. Microsoft does not make that much from its OS anymore and is focusing on enterprise services, cloud computing and productivity tools (like office).
  5. Self-Build induced Insomnia

    He has to catch them first...
  6. Self-Build induced Insomnia

    He has to catch them first...
  7. Resin bound

    All done - just need to keep cars off it until we get the entrances paved next week. Then I can render wall, hang gates, plant hedge, turf front etc... I keep telling myself that we’re almost done 🙄
  8. Self-Build induced Insomnia

    My 'get to sleep / get back to sleep' technique is to visualise, in great detail, a job that I've done, like assemble an idea wardrobe or installing a bit of kit. Sometimes I recall a specific drive or walk - does not matter. What's key is to concentrate on this thing in only and hopefully drown out anything else (i.e. whatever thought is keeping you awake). Usually works after 5 mins...
  9. Bio-ethanol fire

    Looks great. I made provision for one in our build as I had to box around a soil pipe coming down the living room wall from an ensuite above. As the pipe had a dog leg, we got the joiner to build a fake 'fireplace' alcove. Plan was to line with heat resistant material and install a bio fuel burner - however even the smallest size would kick out too much heat and make the room uncomfortably hot. So we make do with a fire app on the TV and I'll put some fancy logs in the alcove...
  10. Resin bound

    Same for us - I understand that it's not as hard wearing as the impermeable variety but as a base layer its fine.
  11. Resin bound

    I'm having mine laid as I type - just had the resin bound/bonded discussion with the contractor. He's amazed that architects interchange the two when they are quite different - bound is permeable and the bonded is not. Spec is pretty much same as Peter. We've laid a block perimeter to enclose the resin and have a substantial sub base, competed in layers, before the permeable tarmac and resin is laid. Our landscaper did all the prep work. Very surprised at the speed. Our H shaped drive is about 250m2 and the tarmac was down and level in half a day. They're back today doing the resin and after an hour have already done about 20%. They're using a specialist mixer to blend the resin, aggregate and sand (looks like a candy floss machine) as he says standard bell mixers don't mix as well and the resin collects at the bottom. Hand troweled finish and a dusting of powdered glass for grip and sparkle! Cost wise (and these are SE prices), tarmac is £25/ms and the resin bound gravel is £51/m2, although we've gone for a very light colour which necessitates more expensive clear resin. Darker colours can use the cheaper yellow resin and are more like £30/m2. Like any high value service, there are lots of chancers in the game (glorified tarmackers) so we were careful to get a good recommendation and check the work of our guy. As we're a big job - he has about 8 lads on site right now so it will get all laid in a single day with no joins. For the bel mouths, we're going for blocks (to match the perimeter) with the gates as a transition point between the two materials. It's the final big spend of the build but a great note to end on as it looks spectacular.
  12. balcony

    Back to balconies - we have two at the back of our house on master and guest bedroom - obviously added for aesthetic rather than function and I admit they do look good externally and break up what would otherwise be a flat expanse of wall but I seriously doubt that they'll ever get much use. Also added significant cost (some of this was my fault for not putting in provision for supporting glass so we needed to go for a suspended deck system) and eat up floorspace that could have been used in the bedroom itself.
  13. exploring options

    They are two very different systems. The internal flooring system is a 2-3mm sub layer of resin (ours is a Sika comfort floor system, laid on a 4mm rubber crumb mat) and then a top coat (the colour) is painted on with a very thin layer of very hard wearing topcoat. This is the bit that can be refreshed if you want a colour change in the future. Initially shiny, it quickly wears to a matt finish and is extremely robust. Works out at around £100/2 which is not far off a high end floor tile plus labour. Aside from the aesthetic of a solid colour throughout, the other advantage is a continuous surface that has no joins or grout lines etc so it stays quite clean. Ours covers the whole ground floor in every room (kitchen, dining, study, utility, hall & WC). The resin bound driveway (which we're also getting installed next week) is a fine aggregate bound in clear (expensive) or yellow (cheaper) resin on a concrete or tarmac substrate. Our old house had a gravel drive and it drove us crazy as it either got stuck in shoes and ended up scratching the floors in the house or ended up in the road outside. Only downside of the resin bound system is you miss the 'crunch' of approaching visitors but we're having external gates so this is not so much of an issue.
  14. exploring options

    We have resin on GF (on a suspended timber floor) and it feels really, really nice underfoot with (or without) UFH - a warm and slightly squashy floor. Bathrooms are tile with UFH. Rest of upper house is engineered wood and no UFH under that but still feels warm under foot. Basement (insulated concrete slab, no UFH) is Karndean, cooler than wood but still not cold. Rugs here and there break up the wood but I really went off carpet after our last new build house and two small kids. Carpets were wool and decent quality - we got a professional cleaner in a few times and DIY annually the rest and the practically black water that we were disposing of was disgusting - goes to show how much dirt and dust embeds itself in, despite very regular hoovering. With hard surfaces throughout I find the hoover out more often as dirt, dust & pet hair are more obvious but equally the floors are clean and a decent multi surface steam mop brings them back to new once a week, removing anything the hoover missed.
  15. Soil survey findings implications

    if you're digging a basement then this is an important consideration (it was for us). From where did they detect the contaminants? How much made ground do you have under your feet? Worst case you may need to dispose of the made ground and the as yet undisturbed ground separately which will add to your costs but some further clarity on the scope of the contamination will help quantify this (and minimise cost).