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February 6 2012 2 06 /02 /February /2012 19:07
Here I shall tell you the steps I took to get my faulty late 2006 iMac replaced for a brand new 2011 27" Core i5 iMac by Apple - completely for free.


279797661_eee115ea93.jpgWhilst this guide is somewhat lengthy by following my steps you too may not only get your faulty iMac repaired but possibly replaced for a brand new unit, totally for free. It was a several month process in me doing so but hopefully, with the following advice, you may be able to get similar results in a more shorter time scale. Please feel free to post links to this article anywhere you might choose (Facebook, forums, Twitter etc.) but please, don't copy and paste it - I've spent a considerable amount of time writing this and would appreciate it that anyone that finds it of any help to read it directly from here.

The fault

I purchased my late 2006 white iMac online via the Apple Store. The specifications of which were 2.17ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 3gb RAM, Nvidia GeForce 7600GT with 256mb RAM and a 24" display.


After about four years of not too heavy usage a problem developed. At first it wasn't too apparent; occasion ghosting of windows and icons would occur - this was also noticeable in the Dock (which I had set to be automatically hidden) with the application icons often coming up corrupted.


Over the next few months the problem increased. Videos and suchlike would often display corruptions; it didn't matter if they were Flash based, played in Quicktime or VLC for instance and increasingly upon playing a video the whole system would freeze. This would sometimes bring up the 'grey screen of death' or, more usually, wouldn't respond at all. Either way, I would have to hold in the power button to force the computer to restart.


Other problems would later become apparent - these could be from horizontal lines (that didn't necessarily cover the entire screen length and sometimes only on individual open windows) and also what looked like dead pixels would gradually increase as the iMac was being used. After reading about owners of the similar model of iMac I had read that installing SMCFanControl could help the problem as the problem seemed to have been diagnosed by myself and other users as being an overheating issue with the GPU. Whilst installing SMCFanControl worked for a few months even this was not enough in the end to solve the problems. Eventually the computer became unusable in any sort of capacity - any sort of 3D graphics would appear corrupted (both in Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Lion and even in Windows XP via Boot Camp), with kernel panics occurring regularly within 30 minutes of the machine being turned on.


Looking for a solution

I telephoned Apple to query this problem. Even though they denied that this seemed to be an inherent fault with this model of iMac (contrary to the dozens upon dozens of reports of exactly the same fault that I had read about whilst pursuing a solution) they nevertheless booked me in to see a Genius at my local Apple Store.


A week or so later I went to the Apple Store and a Genius had a look at it. He agreed that there most probably was a fault with the graphics card but both he and the manager both said that they had never heard of this problem - even though I provided evidence of what I believed was an inherent fault in that line of machine; the manager even went so far as to say to me "you can't believe everything you read on the internet"! Nevertheless they agreed to run some diagnostic tests and I left my iMac with at the store for them to diagnose the fault.


I received a call some days later and I returned to the Apple Store. I was told that a new logic board would need to be installed at a cost of just over £330. I said I would not be prepared to pay for this as I believed it was an inherent flaw and should be repaired by Apple for free. They disagreed and I not only was I fobbed off with nonsense by both the Genius and the store manager but they both tried to sell me a new iMac instead!


Consumer Rights

In the UK and quite a few other countries consumer laws and rights are very robust in being able to help the consumer. This I had already done plenty of research in and even took legal advice (this is in regards to English consumer rights but you should check the laws in your own country) to help get my problem solved...and for free.


The basic overview of my particular case are as follows:



     - The item should be of satisfactory quality  


     - As described


     - Fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time



So what does this mean? In England the law is good for items for up to six years (in Scotland it's five) - your own country may have different lengths of time. Seeing as my iMac cost me about £1700 it should be expected to last a reasonable length of time - for instance, you wouldn't expect the same of cheap toaster that cost less than £10 to last six years. With this is mind I quoted my Consumer Rights to both the Genius and the store manager but this fell on deaf ears - I believed that in this case Apple should have repaired my iMac for free - this was also confirmed from independent legal advice that I sought. However, they disagreed and turned me away with my still faulty computer.


Next plan of action

I telephoned AppleCare once more and entered into an extremely unhelpful conversation with person who wouldn't discuss repairing my computer for free or even talk about my Consumer Rights. I was eventually warned by this person that any more discussion about my rights should be taken up with Apple's legal department and that any more mention of my rights would end her terminating my call...which she did rather rudely and abruptly two minutes later.


What to do next? I wrote a letter to Apple. Here is the letter template - please feel free to use it and adjust the items marked in red to suit your own circumstances:





Your address


Today’s date


Dear Sir/Madam,



RE: Faulty goods and the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended)



In 2006 I bought an Apple iMac (white 2.16ghz, serial number W87********) from you for £1700 (approx.) which has stopped working.


The problem is severe graphics anomalies which render the computer unusable after approximately 30 minutes of use.


The Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) states that when a consumer buys goods from a trader they must be: as described; of a satisfactory quality; and fit for any purpose made known at the time of sale to the seller.



This legislation also states that the seller, not the manufacturer, is legally obliged to sort out a problem if the goods do not meet these requirements.


The law also says I have six years from the date of purchase to claim damages for faulty goods.



My goods are not fit for purpose and I wish to claim a repair of my goods under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 as amended.



Please respond to my complaint within 7 days from receipt of this letter. 


Yours sincerely,


Your name.




If you are corresponding with Apple (or anyone for that matter regarding similar issues) always, always send your letter recorded delivery. That way you have proof that they have received it. The address to send it to in the UK is:


Director of Customer Services

Apple Inc. UK

2 Furzeground Way

Stockley Park


UB11 1BB


The response

I received a letter that said that my problem would best be solved via a telephone conversation. I was given a number to call and duly did so. After two or three conversations backwards and forwards and with me also threatening to take legal action via the small claims court, as I believed I had ample evidence to prove that the fault in my iMac was an inherent fault across many of the same line, they agreed to replace the logic board for free. On the plus side, the correspondence I had with the person dealing with my case was extremely helpful.


The repair (and lack of)

I booked my iMac into the Apple Store and was telephoned to collect it about a week later. This I did and upon firing it up what should happen? EXACTLY THE SAME FAULT. Another telephone conversation later and it was booked in for a Genius to have a look at over the course of a few nights. Another round trip to my local Apple Store (with parking costs and fuel this was adding up to about £40 per time) and then home to wait. I received a call to say that my computer was showing no signs of the previous fault and that I could pick it up again.




Drastic action

By this time I was starting to lose patience, not to mention I was wasting my own time and money going to and fro with the Apple Store. I decided to take drastic action. Another letter to Apple (same address as above) and a copy of the letter sent via email to Steve Jobs (who was, by that time, still CEO) as I had read that his email is regularly monitored and sometimes even replies were sent out by himself. I expected no reply to my email and a letter was not received in due time. By this time Steve Jobs had resigned as CEO so another, very lengthy, email was sent to the new CEO, Tim Cook (I won't publish his email address here but it can be easily found with a bit of simple searching) containing in detail everything that had been happening to me, including my frustrations, time wasted and accumulating travel costs.


A result!

4113150020_33650dc5af.jpg Only a day after sending the email to Tim Cook I received an email from an Apple Executive Relations EMEIA employee 


asking to arrange to speak to me. This was arranged and she telephoned me regarding my case. She had been in personal touch with the Apple Store in question and had asked me to email her photographs of my faulty display / computer so that their technicians could have a look - the very same machine that the Apple Store said had been repaired. A couple of days later she had yet again arranged for another repair to my iMac at their expense however this time they were going to replace the logic board (again) and also the 24" display.

A week later I received another phone call:




AER - "Hi, this is ***** ***** from Apple Executive Relations. Well, I have some good news and bad news."


Me - "Go on..."


AER - "Your iMac's display and logic board have both been replaced. Sadly, the graphic problems and kernel panics are still occurring..."


Me - "Oh dear."


AER - "...and the Geniuses at the Apple Store are unable to find what is causing the problem."


Me - "Oh, right. So now what?"


AER - "Well, as a gesture of goodwill and seeing as you've been an Apple customer for many years now I've used everything within my power to replace your iMac with a brand new one of similar cost."


Yes, you read that right. After many months of determination and perseverance I finally came good and received a brand new, Aluminium 27" Core i5 iMac. 


In summary

Obviously this is only a document of my own experience and laws and rights will vary from country to country. However, I am proof that if you think you have been hard done by in any way then stand up for your rights and prepare to fight to the end. I did...and I won.

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August 18 2011 5 18 /08 /August /2011 11:41

Many people have small businesses and they may not have even considered promotional materials as a way of getting their company recognised. This could be for a multitude of reasons, be it from seeing these as an unnecessary expense to not actually realising what it can do for their brand, no matter how small it can be. This article looks at the benefits of promotional materials in businesses.

Why use promotional materials in a business?

Promotional materials used within a business can really help to let customers and potential clients know about your company. These can range from simple things like sending them a pen with your logo and contact details on to such things as a calendar with similar traits that point back to you. With these sort of things, you have far less chance of them going into the bin with junk mail as these items both have 'value' in terms of their usefulness to others, whether they have your brand advertised on them or not.

What is the future of promotional material?

Many companies are now sending out branded USB memory sticks; something that is becoming so widespread in use and a device that you can almost be guaranteed that it won't be disposed of.

Other ways of corporate promotion

With many workplaces now requiring people on-site to wear high visibility gear due to health and safety laws, it can be relatively easy and cheap to get your company's name and details printed on these. Not only does this make your on-site workforce look smart and efficient, but any employee who has to undertake work off-site will certainly be noticed, perhaps by potential customers.

logo templateComputer flash memory isolated on white backgroundGreen helllogo
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August 18 2011 5 18 /08 /August /2011 10:06

The FBI Files is a television programme that was originally broadcast from 1998 until 2006. It is an American show and was first shown on the Discovery Channel. Even though the programme was cancelled, it is still receiving regular repeats across the world, including Channel 5 in the United Kingdom. This article looks at the top five episodes of The FBI Files (1998 - 2006).

The programme often had re-enactments of a dramatic nature of real FBI cases. These were intertwined with interviews from people who actually worked on the cases in the show. A total of 120 episodes were produced.

Factors taken into consideration when choosing

A number of different things came into play when choosing the top five episodes. It is generally perceived by fans of The FBI Files on the Discovery Channel that the earliest episodes showcased the show in its prime. Other elements also to be considered are reviews of individual episodes that have been written. It can be concluded that episodes with more reviews than others are also more popular.

The top five episodes (in no particular order)

Cat and Mouse

Young women in South Carolina are being abducted from their own front gardens in broad daylight, after which they are then tortured and murdered. FBI profilers and forensic experts struggle to end the serial killer's deadly game of 'cat and mouse'.

A Model Killer

Posing as a fashion photographer in Miami, a sadistic serial killer lures young women with promises of fame and fortune. Using the 'Ten Most Wanted' list, the FBI catches the calculating killer.

The Unabomber

This episode depicts a period of 18 years during which a nation has been terrorised by Ted Kaczynski (aka The Unabomber), all the time baffling Federal and local authorities. This stops when the FBI uses DNA from a stamp to trace the Unabomber to his backwoods cabin in Montana.

The True Story of Mississippi Burning

When the Klu Klux Klan members murder three civil rights workers in Mississippi, the FBI turns to a local informant who helps them to secure justice for the victims.

The World Trade Center Bombing

In 1993, a big explosion rocks the garage found under the World Trade Center. Six people die and more than one thousand people are injured in the bomb blast which rips a massive crater throughout the building. The FBI aims to identify and convict the terrorists behind the plot.

1 Sign at FBI Headqarters washington DC 1 Schild am FBI Headqarters waJ. Edgar Hoover FBI building - headquarters Edificio J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Headquarters. | Source http://www. fbi. gov/multimedia/photos. ht1 Shield of the FBI Police, as seen on the side of an FBI Police vehic
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August 15 2011 2 15 /08 /August /2011 12:23

Regardless of the material of which it is made of, there often comes a time when a watch strap will want replacing, be it through wear and tear or just from personal taste. Whilst this might not seem like too much of a difficult thing to contemplate, with a little bit of thought put into it, choosing the right strap could be like having a new watch. This article details out the factors that you can consider before choosing a replacement watch strap.

Why go for a new watch strap?

The reasons for a having new watch strap are manifold but the two most common factors are as follows: either it needs replacing because it could be old or worn out, or it might just be a fashion decision. Indeed, the fashion conscious may well have a perfectly fine watch but they may wish to change their strap to match their outfit on numerous occasions rather than amassing a large collection of timepieces.

Cost over quality

Whilst there are many cheap watch straps on the market, it may well be worth considering whether it is a false economy to go for such an option. For instance, an artificial leather watch strap might look the part but will it last as long as real leather? Also, whilst counterfeit straps are readily available online, how can you be sure that they do not also contain harmful metals, for example?

Replacing the strap

If you have many watches, the process of replacing the strap can be performed by yourself. However, for more sophisticated watches try and factor in the cost that the seller or a watchmaker might add to the initial cost of performing such a service and always find out if they will do this for free before making a purchase.

Corduba Chrono - High NoonwatchDive WatchesDay 105Panerai PAM 312 on ABP Paris Grey Elephant StrapHand with red watch
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August 9 2011 3 09 /08 /August /2011 00:02

The spicy noodles with vegetables recipe detailed out below serves two people and is a combination of a variety of different dishes that you have tried up until a few years ago. It's tasty, nutritious, healthy and can be prepared and cooked in less than twenty minutes.


1 pack of fresh noodles

1 onion

2 carrots

2 sticks of celery

Half a cup of garden peas

Half a cup of sweetcorn

1 to 4 cloves of garlic (to taste)

Balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon of chilli powder or flakes

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

5 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt (to taste)


  • Finely chop half of the onion, then thinly slice the other half and put to one side.
  • Crush or finely chop the garlic and add to the onions.
  • Next, you need to take the carrots and the celery and do the following to both: chop them in three identical lengths, then thinly slice them lengthways.
  • After doing this, add the olive oil to a large, (preferably) non stick wok or frying pan and place on a medium heat.
  • Add ginger, turmeric, cumin and coriander.
  • After about 30 seconds (or if you detect a tiny amount of smoke), add the onions and garlic.
  • Stir these on a medium heat for about three or four minutes, just to soften the onions up and to cook some of the harshness out of the garlic.
  • After the onions have been cooking for a while, add all of the other vegetables and turn up the heat for two minutes whilst constantly stirring.
  • Pour in a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, then finally add the noodles, chilli flakes or powder and keep tossing them so that all of the other ingredients get intermingled with them. After two minutes of cooking, the noodles dish is ready.

Add salt to taste and serve!

Chicken Stirfry四川担担面 Spicy Szechuan Noodles in Soup - HuTong Dumpling Bar A
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July 15 2011 6 15 /07 /July /2011 11:43

KillaCycle is billed as the world's fastest electrically powered motorcycle. It was built by a team run by Bill Dubé and was specifically designed for drag racing and is it is also claimed by the KillaCycle team that it is the quickest and fastest electric powered vehicle of all time on the drag strip.

Its secret

The team behind KillaCycle claims that its secret to the speeds it is able to achieve are in the batteries. These are nano-phosphate battery cells and are the same which are found in certain brands of cordless power tools.

In August 2000, KillaCycle was the first electric powered vehicle of any kind to reach over 150 mph on a quarter mile drag strip. Seven years later in November 2007, it achieved another first and broke the eight seconds barrier on the drag strip.

Achieving a small amount of somewhat negative publicity in September 2007, KillaCycle's inventor Bob Dubé was attempting to perform a burnout on the bike in front of cameras. He was not the regular rider and was not wearing any protective clothing. Although it has never been properly documented as to what happened next, it appeared that he released the brakes and went flying off at high speed into the side of a minivan. Fortunately, he did not sustain any major injuries.

KillaCycle custom artwork
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July 15 2011 6 15 /07 /July /2011 11:37

The European Robin is a small bird which can be found throughout various parts of Eurasia during the summer months and is permanently found residing in much of Europe throughout the year. It is perhaps most distinct because of its bright orange breast plummage and is also recognised especially in the U.K. for its depiction on Christmas cards.

Characteristics of the European Robin

The European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) is a small bird which is classed as an Old World flycatcher. Previously, it was classed as a member of the thrush family. Even though it shares part of its name with the larger American Robin (Turdus migratorius), most probably due to the fact that the American Robin has a similar orange breast to the European Robin, the two are not closely related.

A diurnal bird, the European Robin is not unknown to be seen actively hunting for insects at night. This is especially true around artificial sources of light. It is also known as "the gardener's friend" due to its appetite for insects. Indeed, it is not unknown for Robins to stay within very close proximity to a gardener or even foraging animals in order for it to take advantage of insects that may have been disturbed.

The male European Robin

The male European Robin is known for being highly territorial and will readily attack other males which have ventured too close to their territory. Such is the violence of the male that they have even been observed attacking other small birds without provocation. It has been estimated that up to 10% of deaths in male Robins could be as a result of these attacks.

Robin Redbreast AgainRobinRobinRobinRobin on Gravelrobin on a boatRotkehlchenrouge gorgeRobinRobin sat on Tree Branch.Robin o the WireRobin
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June 7 2011 3 07 /06 /June /2011 14:57

Depending on what home appliance you intend on buying, be it from something as plain and simple as a kettle to something that involves far more investment like a new cooker, with a little careful thought, hard earned money need not be lost. Here I'll discuss the best practices to put into place when buying a new home appliance.

If you're buying a new appliance, then the first thing that should be taken into consideration is the cost and just what your budget will afford. Once this has been taken into consideration, you have to consider the fact that the cheapest option might not always be the best. Ask yourself some questions:

• Is the item adequate enough for your requirements?

• Will the appliance be adequate enough for unforeseeable future uses, such as an expanding family?

• If I can afford it, what I have I got to gain by not buying a more expensive model?

• Have you shopped around and compared prices?

Author's advice

When purchasing a new home appliance taking the lest costlier option may not always be the best policy. For instance, you may decide on purchasing a budget microwave oven with a one year warranty. If this breaks after just over a year, repairs or replacement will be required whereas if you had originally purchased a more expensive machine, you have to consider the fact that it may well have lasted considerably longer. Going for the cheapest options can sometimes be a false economy.

electric iron Historic Homewhistling kettleA Haier MWM7800TBPG microwave oven | Source | Date 2008-03-24 | AuthorHair drier for hair on a white isolated backgroundElectric Shower
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May 27 2011 6 27 /05 /May /2011 14:04

In today's world of (ever increasing) high-speed internet access a router is an essential part of your PC equipment, whether it be at home or in a small office environment. This is a brief summary of as to what a router is and how it performs its tasks.

So what is a router?

A router is a piece of electronic equipment that moves data through computer networks; it controls the direction of of flow of data (or 'traffic') on the internet and also on local area networks (LAN). For a router to work it needs to be connected to at least two machines that are transferring data, eg. two PCs. As data is being shared between the two devices, the router reads the 'address' information in each data packet. This is then used by the router to determine the data's destination.

As a simple example, a data packet is typically passed from router to router through the various networks of the internet until it gets to its final destination computer.

The more familiar type of router are those that are classed as home routers and/or small office routers. These simply pass data, for example email or web pages, between the DSL or cable modem and the home/office computer. Routers can either be a wired router ie. physically connect to the user's computer via an Ethernet cable, or they can be a wireless router.

Since the decline of dial-up internet access and the massive growth of broadband internet connections, coupled with the fact that many homes and small offices have more than one PC, broadband routers have become a necessity.

Routers and security.

With exponential growth of the internet, security is a major factor with routers. Before the advent of modern day routers a firewall tended to be software based on the user's computer (external firewalls did and still do exist). Many routers now have their own built-in firewalls, sometimes along with various other security functionalities, offering an increased level of security.

Unless defined by the user as otherwise, a wireless router can only be accessed via the use of a password. Earlier wireless routers used a security protocol known as WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). It was later discovered that WEP had serious security weaknesses allowing (relatively) easy access to even a password protected router using the WEP protocol, thus allowing hackers within the vicinity of the router's signal to be able to 'steal' someone else's internet connection. WEP was later superseded by the far superior WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and, later still, by WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II).

Wireless High Speed Internet Cable DSL Network Broadband RouterRouter/Ethernet Switch
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May 27 2011 6 27 /05 /May /2011 13:54

PC flight simulators, combat simulators, PC flight sim's, flight combat games, flying games for the PC, whatever you know them as, they all share one thing: FLIGHT! Here I'll be discussing the Top 7 of the genre over the last ten years.

The Best of the Bunch

IL-2 Sturmovik - In terms of graphics, this game can in no way be compared to something like Microsoft Flight Simulator. What matters here is that the graphics more than match up to the game play...and that is something it has tons of. Along with multiplayer modes (co-op and dogfight) it'll be difficult to see this one beaten for sure playability. With the player able to choose of flying for either Germany or Russia, plenty of missions and with a mission builder there's plenty for a hardcore flying fan to get their teeth into here.

Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight - Not only do you get to fly a multitude of aircraft from yesteryear, this game also helps educate about the history of flight. What other game gives you the chance to pilot the 1903 Wright Flyer?! The thrill of trying to keep this slow moving, unwieldy beast airborne is worth the money alone!

Combat Flight Simulator 2: WWII Pacific Theater - As a World War II combat flight simulators go, you don't get much better than this. There's an amazing feeling of epic-ness in some of the battles. If you can handle the difficulty curve, give this a go.

Not the at the top but nearly there

Crimson Skies - Set in an alternate past where the United States had broken up as a result of the Great Depression. The game's atmosphere is pretty much set by its loudness and the emphasis on adventure more than destruction. Whilst not too realistic in the physics department, this only enhances the fun aspect of the game.

Falcon 4 - For superb realism in terms of aircraft physics and great depth in gameplay, few games can match Falcon 4. The documentation is superb and features fantastic tutorials missions making it accessible even for novice pilots.

The last two...but nowhere near the very bottom

Enemy Engaged: RAH-66 Comanche Versus Ka-52 Hokum - The only helicopter flying game to make the list, you get to fly either the RAH-666 or the Ka-52. The vehicles look quite amazing whilst the weapon effects were before their time, with both choppers handling noticeably different.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X - If you've got a meaty enough PC to cope with the graphics set to Ultra in this game then you're in for a real treat. Plenty (and varied) aircraft to enjoy and pilot. Only let down by its hefty system requirements.

F-16 Thunderbird jets flying in formation| Date 1903 | 12 | 17 | Author Attributed to Wilbur Wright (18671912) Helicopter rescue
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