Edge not updating on Windows 7 with installer error 0xc06d007f

Tuesday 7 September 2021 @ 8:37 pm

I quite like Microsoft Edge. It’s not my current browser of choice but a damn site better than Chrome which I stopped using months ago.

Why? Because Edge seems to pretty much get it all right.

  • Clear everything on exit? Check
  • Confirm closing multiple browser tabs? Check
  • Support for a decent ad blocker? Check
  • Timely updates? Check
  • Fast with a UI that doesn’t get in the way? Check
  • Customisable? Check
  • Supports Windows 7? Check

And it’s on that last point that you might have noticed installer errors when trying to update Edge to the latest version 93.0.961.38. In my case, the damn installer refused to update Edge and kept returning an “installer error 0xc06d007f” whatever the fuck that means.

Downloading the offline installer had the same result; in all cases the files download fine but the actual installer can’t finish the install process and throws up an error that’s as useful as diet water. I even uninstalled / reinstalled Edge and went as far as checking if my version of Internet Explorer was up to date (it was).

Sure, there are lots of other browsers available but it’s good to have a backup just in case; anything to avoid using Internet Explorer.

Long story short, and after many hours of browsing useless articles on Microsoft’s own forums (is there such a thing as a useful reply from a Microsoft MVP?), the answer is that a couple of updates are required for maintaining Edge:

KB4474419 (SHA-2 code signing support update for Windows 7)
KB4490628 (Servicing Stack Update for Windows 7)

These are both needed and if you don’t have Windows Update running in the background (it’s crap), you can download them from the Windows Catalog and install offline.

After a restart, the Edge installer completes successfully and you never have to look at Internet Explorer again.

Apple slam dunks with the iPhone 12 Mini

Tuesday 13 October 2020 @ 10:23 pm

After the fantastic iPhone SE 2020, and as an Android user I say that with no pleasure, Apple has once again knocked it out of the park with the fantastic iPhone 12 Mini.

Just look it. I mean really, it’s a work of art. Small. Compact. Powerful. Sleek. It’s all the phone I’ll ever need.

Bloody shame then that it’s tethered to the Apple ecosystem and has no 3.5mm headphone jack or SD slot. Or FM Radio. And still insists on using that silly proprietary charging port.

Here’s what I don’t get. When will the brainless Android manufacturers wake up and realise that there is a viable market for small compact powerful devices? And I don’t mean elongated crap like the Xperia 5 II which needs fingers like E.T. to use comfortably.

It’s totally ridiculous that in 2020, there is still no decent compact Android phone to rival the iPhone SE with similar specs, let alone the new 12 Mini. The best we have is still the XZ2 Compact from 2 years ago and even that was cribbed by having no 3.5mm headphone jack. Or FM Radio.

And another thing. Why is Android slowly morphing into a Google crapfest with all their shitty apps seemingly hellbent on becoming less and less useful and more cumbersome to use?

Take the basic Messages app for example. On Android 10, you still can’t see the date and time for each message in a conversation. Then there’s the Files app; if you wanna share a file via Bluetooth, you have to select a contact first instead of just switching on Bluetooth and sending it to a device.

Why the fuck should I select a contact first? What if the person I want to share the file to is not in my contact list?

It’s exactly this type of sub-optimal UX that the geeks at Google are fanatically building without any regard for user interaction. This is what happens when you treat an app like a technology showcase instead of a product.

Back to the iPhone 12 Mini though; this could be the one that just might tempt me away from Android. However, knowing the Android market, I’m counting on the likes of Samsung and Huawei to start working on their own version now that Apple has revelealed their mini masterpiece.

Why? Because they’re both reactive rather than proactive and just too fuckin’ stupid to come up with an original idea themselves for a small powerful compact phone.

Apple iPhone SE 2020 hits the right spot

Sunday 26 April 2020 @ 10:20 pm

Now I’m no Apple fan but at least they “get” that there is a market for small reasonably powerful compact phones. Meanwhile, the braindead Android manufacturers are still busy measuring their dicks and squabbling over who has the most cameras, fastest CPU, biggest screen, highest RAM, largest storage, widest ratio, thinnest bezels and other BS gimmicks that nobody really cares about.

For the first time ever, I’m seriously thinking of moving to Apple. Why? Simply because I want a small compact phone with decent specs. I really hope Android manufacturers sit up and take note, and come up with an Android equivalent but I fear they won’t. They’re simply too stupid, too clueless and too dim to have foresight of what the market really wants.

Look at folding screens. An idiotic response to a question nobody asked or requested. Here’s the thing; no matter how innovative they think they are Android manufacturers are always playing catch-up with Apple who seem to do it right.

TouchID? Early Android phones had a rubbish swipe style fingerprint scanner which was as reliable as next weeks weather forecast. Apple did it right with a fast reliable scanner that was secure and just needed a single touch to unlock.

FaceID? Again, Android phones had versions of this before Apple but it was crap and simply took a photo of your face meaning it could be spoofed with a photograph. It took Apple to do it right with proper biometric 3D scanning that was also secure. Incredibly, a lot of Android phones still use the old “take a photo” method to implement Android Face Unlock which is about as secure as a 1 digit PIN code.

Premium materials? Apple was pretty much first again with a beautifully crafted handset to justify the ludicrous price charged for the iPhone Sheeple to lavishly lap up. Meanwhile, Android phones for a long time were just a sea of cheap plastic with occasional touches to make them appear premium. Sure, it’s no longer the case now but it took Apple to shake up the market.

It even works with the more hare-brained decisions; Apple were the first to start ditching the headphone jack and the Android Sheep promptly followed suit. If Apple says it’s not needed, who are we, the Android community, to argue with such a comprehensive and obviously sensible design?

And here we are again with compact phones. The last decent compact Android handset was the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact from 2018. Can you believe that since then, there has been pretty much nothing else?

It can be argued that the market will only provide where there is customer demand but you can bet your last wired headset that Apple were actually smart enough to see that there was a gap in the market for a small compact mobile and were savvy enough to build a phone around this to fill the gap. Sure, the battery life is lousy, but then, Apple phones have always had mediocre battery so it’s nothing new.

I’ll give it a few more months to see if anything pops up on the Android front that’s small, compact, not crippled by feeble specs and gives the iPhone SE a run for it’s money. Can’t say I’m optimistic though.

No Facebook crap on Huawei phones – Result!

Tuesday 4 June 2019 @ 8:03 pm

With all the fuss over Chinese spying, Farcebook has announced that their shitty apps will no longer be preinstalled on Huawei phones. There’s an extra 20% battery life right there and no Facebook is even more of an incentive to buy a Huawei mobile (which by the way are excellent).

Now if only Amazon, eBay, InstaCack, Twatter, Google shite and all the other preinstalled bloatware could be removed, the phones would be even better.

And this is the other thing. I’d be far more concerned about Google spyware on Android phones than anything else.

A consumer guide to LED spotlights

Wednesday 24 January 2018 @ 7:47 pm

So I decided to change all my current MR16 GU5.3 50W halogen lighting (about 30 fittings) and join the glorious LED revolution. Here’s what happened.

Conversion from halogen to LED
Before diving into the LED jungle of bulbs, watts and colours, the first task was to convert the existing fittings. All the MR16 GU5.3 fittings, except the ones in the bathrooms (more on that later), were being run off individual halogen transformers to convert the mains 240V to 12V. My transformers had a power range of 20W to 60W which meant the minimum wattage bulb that could be used is 20W. This is no good for LED bulbs where the wattages are much lower (typically around 4-8W) so the fitting had to be converted. There are really only four options for this:

  1. Replace existing halogen bulbs with MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs (cheapest)
  2. Convert the GU5.3 lamp holder to a GU10 lamp holder (cheap)
  3. Use special Philips LED bulbs to work off existing halogen transformers (expensive)
  4. Replace the transformer with an LED driver (most expensive)


Options 2 and 4 require some work whereas options 1 and 3 require nothing more than just changing the light bulb. If you have dimmers, this also makes a difference as to what you can use.

Let’s look at each in more detail.


1. Replace existing halogen bulbs with any MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs
Depending on the transformer you have have, this might be an option. The bathrooms were using one transformer to power 3x 50W MR16 GU5.3 bulbs. I had a look at the 10+ year old transformers in the bathrooms but there was nothing on the labels other than it was 240V in and 12V out so I contacted the manufacturer with the model number. The response from the company was that these were toroidal transformers that didn’t have a wattage range and would work perfectly well driving LED bulbs.

Result! I ended up buying a box of normal MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs and just replaced the existing 50W MR16 GU5.3 halogens with the new bulbs. If I’d known it was this easy, I’d have switched the bathrooms to LED years ago.

Again, it might work for you, it might not. Take a look at your transformers before trying it out.


2. Convert to a GU10 lamp holder
I went with this option to convert all my other halogens to LED. It involves ditching the transformers completely and replacing it with a GU10 lamp holder. Not only are there more GU10 LED bulbs available to choose from, but with no transformers, that’s one less thing to go wrong. As a bonus, you’ll also get rid of any horrible buzzing coming from the lights, especially when they’re dimmed.

The actual conversion takes a bit of time depending on how many bulbs you want to convert but the job is straightforward depending on access to the ceiling space and how comfortable you are with a couple of screwdrivers and electricity. Speaking of which, before starting, SWITCH OFF THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND TURN ALL LIGHT SWITCHES OFF.

First thing to do is check if you can access the transformer in the ceiling recess / loft / attic as this makes it much easier. If not, or it’s too much of a faff to gain access, the next option is to remove your existing MR16 bulb and gently pull the cable to bring the transformer out of the fitting. All halogen and LED transformers are a standard width so that sucker should slip right out of a standard lamp holder fitting. Once removed, take a look at the wiring to see what’s there and how much room is available in the fitting as not only are GU10 lamp holders larger than MR16 GU5.3 but the bulbs are longer too so you’ll need a bit more space above the ceiling for a GU10 LED lamp.

My MR16 GU5.3 lamp holders were connected to the transformer via a junction box that clipped to the existing lamp fitting so I could just reuse the junction box to connect the GU10 lamp holder to the mains instead. Despite easy access to the ceiling recess (all the lights to be converted were on the top floor), a few were inaccessible because they were tucked away under the eaves so I changed these from the rooms below and then spent the rest of the day crawling around in the loft to finish the job.

Here are the detailed steps I took for the actual conversion. Before starting SWITCH OFF THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND TURN ALL LIGHT SWITCHES OFF. Then DOUBLE CHECK MAINS ELECTRICITY AND ALL LIGHT SWITCHES ARE TURNED OFF. Finally, ARE YOU SURE THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND ALL LIGHT SWITCHES ARE OFF? If in doubt, get a qualified Sparky round to do the job.

  1. Disconnected the mains cable from the transformer. This left the transformer with a “tail” power cable connected to the junction box.
  2. Disconnected the transformer tail-end power cable from the junction box which completely removed the transformer.
  3. Disconnected the MR16 lamp holder from the other side of the junction box. This left the junction box with nothing connected and the MR16 lamp holder could now be completely removed.
  4. Connected the new GU10 lamp holder to the junction box.
  5. Connected the mains cable to the other side of the junction box.


Here’s a quick text diagram of how it looked before, during and after the conversion with reference to the steps above:

==== mains cable
---- power cable
[Tran.] transformer
[J.Box] junction box
[-MR16] MR16 lamp holder with cable
[-GU10] GU10 lamp holder with cable



1. ====    [Tran.]----[J.Box][-MR16]
2. ====    [Tran.]----    [J.Box][-MR16]
3. ====    [J.Box]    [-MR16]
4. ====    [J.Box][-GU10]
5. ====[J.Box][-GU10]

As you can see, removing the transformer and MR16 lamp holder shortened the cable length to the fitting. I didn’t have any excess slack on the mains cable so used another junction box to lengthen the cable. I had to do this for a few of the fittings so bought a few extra junction boxes and re-used the tail end cables from the transformers to lengthen the run to the fitting. Here’s how those installations looked after the conversion:


And that’s it! Once converted, the LED bulbs could be fitted.


3. Use special Philips LED bulbs
By far the easiest option but an expensive one. In short, Philips sells a range of MR16 LED bulbs called Master Spot that can be retro fitted in those installations where you don’t want to (or can’t) remove / change the existing halogen transformer. It does this by having some clever circuitry in the bulb to handle the higher watts but there are a few considerations:

  • it won’t work with all transformers (likely to flicker)
  • dimming performance will vary (likely to flicker) and may not even work
  • the bulb is physically larger than traditional MR16 halogen bulbs and even LED GU10 equivalents because of all the extra electronics

If you want the least hassle and a simple plug-and-play upgrade to LED, the Philips Master Spot are worth considering. I bought a few to try and they worked fine but the cost of replacing all 30 odd 50W halogens was three times more expensive than converting everything to GU10. It might work for you, it might not.


4. Replace the transformer with an LED driver (more expensive)
Replacing the halogen transformer with an LED driver is, in my opinion, the least sensible. If you are going to all the trouble of removing the halogen transformer, why not just convert it to GU10 which is much cheaper instead of replacing it with an LED driver?

If you absolutely want to stick with the MR16 fitting, the conversion is easier than converting to GU10 as all that is needed is to swap the halogen transformer for the LED driver. Here are some before and after diagrams of how it would look:



The choice of MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs is much less than GU10 LED but the light from MR16 bulbs tends to be brighter and nicer than GU10 plus dimming performance can also be smoother. No idea why but there you go.


Dimmer switches
If you have any dimmers, they might need to be replaced with LED compatible dimmer switches because of the lower watts consumed. Incompatible dimmer switches will cause your beautiful new LED lights to flicker more than a candle in a haunted house. I had to change all of mine as the existing dimmer range was 60W to 400W whereas the new LED’s would be pulling a maximum of 50W.

Some LED manufacturers recommend specific dimmers to use. Mine didn’t so I went for Varilight V-Pro dimmers which come in a range of finishes and have a good warranty and after service as well as being compatible with a wide range of LED bulbs.

Once again, before changing any dimmers, SWITCH OFF THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND TURN ALL LIGHT SWITCHES OFF as you’ll be dealing with bare mains electrical cable. If in doubt, get a qualified Sparky round to do the job.


Which LED?

So now you have your fittings sorted, the next question, and the one that causes the most confusion, is which LED bulb to go for.

First things first, forget how many watts your old halogen bulbs use, it’s all about the lumens (brightness). This will be clearly displayed on the LED packaging and bulb and if it isn’t, find another bulb. Don’t get hung up over the actual wattage of the LED bulb either, your cost savings will be realised by going from 50W to anything less than 10W and not so much by fussing over whether to get a 6W or a 7W bulb.

Here are the other points to consider:

Do you want warm white, cool white or daylight? The colour that a lamp gives off is shown by the colour temperature of Kelvin measurement. The higher the rating, the whiter the colour is.

Warm White
A nice comforting warm yellowish white colour, like the glow from a gas fire lamp. Warm white lamps are rated between 2700k and 3000k and I went for these in all the rooms.

Cool white
Rated between 4000-4500K and gives a much cooler, crisper colour. This is quite nice to have in bathrooms, kitchens or any other work place but you can also use them around the house.

Like daylight and rated between 5000-6200K. This is very bright but very blue and doesn’t really suit for inside a home as the lighting becomes very harsh. Best to keep these lamps for office use, outside lighting or large spaces.

Colour Rendering Index (CRI)
The higher the CRI number of a lamp, the more accurate and richer the colours are under that light. Most lamps are at least 80 CRI with more expensive and specialist LED’s (e.g. for lighting artwork) numbering 95. I bought a few to compare and the difference between a 95 and 80 bulb was barely noticeable. Certainly not worth the crazy premium that 95 LED’s command over 80 versions. As long as the LED you buy has a CRI of at least 80, I don’t think it’s worth paying a premium for the 95 rated LED lamps.

If you want to dim your lights, you’ll need a compatible LED dimmer switch and dimmable LED lamps which cost a little more than non-dimmable LED’s. If you don’t have a dimmer, there’s no point buying dimmable LED’s as the extra circuitry usually means a higher cost and a possibly less reliable lamp. The few LED’s that have failed in my setup were all dimmable versions.

Beam Angle
A narrow beam angle focuses the light on a particular spot. A wider beam angle spreads the light which tends to be softer. What you need to take into account is the height of your ceilings (higher ceiling means wider spread of light) and position of bulbs (further apart means potential darker spots between light fittings). I went for standard 45 degree angle LED lamps, the same as the halogens they were replacing.

Type / Aesthetics
There are two types of LED downlighters:

Chip on board (COB)
These have one big LED and tend to be the more expensive lamp. Because they have just the single LED, they use reflectors to spread the light which looks nicer, more like conventional halogens but with a cleaner, narrower focus than SMB. However, COB LED’s are less efficient and usually need more cooling. The choice is also much less.

Surface Mounted Diode (SMB)
The more common technology, these use lots of smaller LED’s, are more efficient and tend to be cheaper to buy. Because there is more than one LED, the light is brighter and spreads further with a wide beam angle. Most LED downlighters are SMB type so there’s lots of choice but huge variation in quality and how they look. The cheapest have no frosted lens cover, just a bare circuit board with LED’s, and look bloody awful. Others have weird arrangements of LED’s so the light isn’t spread very evenly or the lens cover looks like it has acne.

There’s an awful lot of crap LED lamps available from dodgy Chinese companies. LED lamps also seem to be a little less reliable than conventional halogens so a bulletproof warranty is essential. I’ve had branded LED’s fail on arrival, after a few days, weeks and even months so being able to easy replace the LED under warranty is a must. Some companies want you to fill in forms to get a replacement or only offer a standard 1 year guarantee. Other companies are interested in just shifting a box load of imported LED’s before disappearing into the sunset with the money so you want to buy from a supplier who will be around.

I bought my LED lamps from an established UK supplier offering a no quibble 5 year warranty so getting a replacement has needed nothing more than just a phone call to ship a new lamp.

Along with colour and warranty, this is a key thing to consider.

When looking at 50W halogen replacements, you’ll see loads of LED bulbs advertised as “50W equivalent”. Ignore this and look at the lumens output of the actual LED bulb instead. Disregard the actual watts of the LED too because as mentioned, the cost savings between a 4W and a 5W LED bulb total about 80p per month if you had 30 LED bulbs running for 6 hours a day.

Some distributors say that you only need about 350-400 lumens depending on the quality and efficiency of the LED bulb. I decided to try this out and bought a sample of GU10 warm white bulbs from different companies. What I found was a huge difference in the brightness and quality of light:

50W equivalent 5W LED bulb with 350 lumens
Complete rubbish. Nowhere near as bright as a 50W halogen but would be OK for a 35W halogen equivalent.

50W equivalent 6W LED bulb with 450 lumens
Still dimmer than a glow worms armpit, if you have a smallish room (say 12″ x 12″), this would *possibly* be OK as a 50W replacement depending on how many bulbs are in the room.

50W equivalent 6.5W LED bulb with 500 lumens
Not bad, this is just a little dimmer than 50W halogen but would do.

50W equivalent 7W LED bulb with 550 lumens
This is more like it. Good bright light and a decent 50W halogen replacement.

60W equivalent 8W bulb with 620 lumens
Even better and as bright, if not marginally brighter, than a 50W halogen. I went for these which were the highest dimmable lumens I could find.

The 30 odd 50W halogens have now all been replaced with 8W LED equivalents giving a massive energy saving of almost 75%. In total, including GU10 lamp holders, junction boxes and 30x LED lamps, it cost me under £100 it;s already paid for itself within a few months. Result.


To summarise then, if you have a bunch of hungry-ass MR16 50W halogen bulbs, it’s well worth the time and effort in getting these converted to LED.

The ridiculous popularity of YouTube gamers

Friday 23 December 2016 @ 10:45 pm

Here’s something I really don’t get; the ridiculous popularity of YouTubers with millions of subscribers who will happily sit for hours watching them play a video game that they likely already own. Back in the 80’s, the very worst part of video gaming, apart from having to wait for the tape deck to load the game, was having to sit and watch someone else play and not getting a turn.

The whole social media thing is a complete crock of crap. I don’t do FarceBook, Twatter, InstaCack, SnapShite or any other number of pointless social media platforms simply because I can’t imagine anyone would be the least bit interested in me and I’m certainly not interested in other peoples mindless ramblings (DISCLAIMER: I realise the irony of posting this on a blog).

Why on earth do these self-important cretins think that anyone would actually be absorbed by what they had for lunch or what they’re wearing or who they saw? Almost every post seems to comprise not-so-subtle product placements, stupid pictures of everyday mundane objects or airbrushed photos of people pretending they have a wonderful life filled with copious amounts of hot sex. And it’s not just people either, companies are increasingly using Twitter for customer service which means more and more people think they should kick up a fuss and tell the World + Dog about it just to get satisfaction. Net result? Everyone wants to be a zelebrity with their 15 minutes of fame and shortcut to easy riches.

Those famous celebrities, who are famous for nothing except being a celebrity, or releasing an “accidental” sex tap, are to blame. Social Media is now filled with nobody’s who want to be a pointless somebody, namely the latest footballer flashing their gold plated Lambo complete with hookers in the passenger seat or the identikit Instagram models who seem to do nothing all day except swan around the world at the behest of rich horny geriatrics. Is this really what we want our children to aspire to?

Oh for the days when life was much simpler, we didn’t have all of this social media BS and gaming meant a shelf full of £9.99 tapes, a cassette deck and actually enjoying playing video games with your mates.

Stupid Samsung ship AMOLED mobiles with crap themes

Wednesday 23 December 2015 @ 12:30 am

Most Samsung mobile phones have an AMOLED screen which is power efficient and offers fantastic black levels. However, when showing a white screen, AMOLED displays are more power hungry than normal LED displays. That’s why for years, the default theme for Samsung mobiles has always been something with a black background that, apart from being comfortable to view in all lighting, made the most of the AMOLED screen to maximise battery life.

With Android 4.4 KitKat and upwards though, Samsung have decided to change the default theme from a black background to a white background with no other alternative dark theme. Why has Samsung done this? Because they’re fucking stupid, that’s why.

What is the point of using a fantastic AMOLED display with a bunch of themes, none of which are optimised for that screen? There is no point of course and given that pretty much everyone is sick to the back teeth of Samsung’s endless tide of overpriced Galaxy mobiles with their fixed batteries, copious bloatware and non expandable memory, it makes you wonder what their next birdbrain decision will be to drive the punters away.

BlackBerry Link installation fails or hangs

Saturday 18 April 2015 @ 1:26 pm

So you’ve bought one of the fantastic new BlackBerry devices (the Passport or the Classic) and are ready to install BlackBerry Link. The only problem is that it won’t install and hangs or bombs out. BlackBerry Link includes the USB drivers and BlackBerry Blend (an absolutely brilliant and innovative software package) but unfortunately needs the crappy Dot Net framework v4. This bloated piece of shitware is mandatory for quite a few programs but Lord knows why as it serves no useful purpose and upon installation, will massively increase the boot time. On an SSD, I’ve seen Dot Net add another 4 seconds which in the SSD world is horrendous. Anyway, I digress.

If you haven’t already got Dot Net 4 installed, the BlackBerry Link software will download and install it for you and on Windows 7, this is where it tends to hang or fail. However, installing BlackBerry Link without any problems is actually very simple; all you need to do is install it with admin rights so just right click on the BlackBerry Link install file and choose “Run as administrator”.

Once Dot Net 4 has finished installing, it’ll carry on with the BlackBerry Link install where you can also select BlackBerry Blend too.

To summarise then; Dot Net 4? Utter crap. BlackBerry Link/Blend? Truly excellent.

Why I regret buying an LED TV

Monday 16 March 2015 @ 1:29 pm

This is the story of an idiot who bought a top of the range LED TV three years ago and has regretted it ever since.

My previous TV was a much loved Panasonic Plasma but after several years of enjoying its fantastic picture, it was time to upgrade to something bigger with HD, streaming capability and kick ass 3D. Yes, I admit it, I like 3D.

I was all set to buy another Panasonic but didn’t want the active 3D system or the energy hungry, radiator heat of a plasma TV that tended to buzz after a while. And neither did I want something so heavy that it required an elephant to carry it home and a complex series of pulleys to hoist it into position, complete with a voucher for a free hernia operation.

The answer then was LED. Now, all LED TV’s are actually LCD TV’s that use a backlight for the image, the difference being that with LED, the light is provided via LED lights and not conventional lamps. The TV we decided on was an LG that was smart-enabled with passive 3D and the full suite of streaming options such as BBC iPlayer and DLNA.

The image on the Panasonic was always a bit dim and dull so the brighter LG was much more impressive. I spent some time setting it up but the big problem was and always has been and still is to this very day with all LED TV’s, the complete lack of any deep inky blacks. You can forget all the other specifications and scams like 4K, when it comes to judging image quality, one of the main criteria, if not THE main criteria, is how a TV can handle black colours.

With a plasma set, it’s perfectly black since the areas with black are actually switched off. With a shitty LED though, the light is always shining from behind the picture and the options available are limited to either dim the LED light locally or fiddle with the settings for dynamic contrast, black levels, brightness, backlight and all other manner of crap that interferes with the actual image. Regardless, the result is a washed out dark grey rather than jet black and terrible light bleed that once you notice, you can never not notice again. Films in particular are much less watchable because of the borders at the top and bottom which are school uniform grey and hugely distracting.

Tweaking the settings does help but the compromise is severe; enable the LED local dimming or reducing the backlight means that you get darker blacks at the expense of a dimmer image. Bump up the contrast or brightness to counter this and the picture starts to lose detail and focus. In short, there is no suitable compromise with an LED TV, even if it is fully backlit rather than the cheaper edge-lit. Buy one and you can look forward to years of watching TV’s with unconvincing black levels.

The light bleed in particular has gotten worse and will only deteriorate further. And then there’s the viewing angle. Unless you’re sat slap bang in front of an LED at the right height, the picture contrast suffers and you get a very uneven image with areas of light and dark. Stand up or sit down from you plum viewing spot and even then, the picture will change. As for the poor sods sitting at the side and having to view from a 60 degree angle, you might as well just tell them to leave the room. A plasma set has none of these issues and you could be standing at a 20 degree angle from the set and still enjoy the show.

If I could go back three years and choose again, I’d definitely say fuck LED, I’m sticking with plasma. However, given that plasma has now stopped being made, the only hope is OLED which, like plasma, manages deep velvety blacks and suffers no viewing angle limitations. In fact, OLED is even better than plasma as it’s thinner, brighter, lighter and even requires even less power than an LED TV. In short, OLED offers all of the advantages of both plasma and LED with none of the drawbacks.

Except one; cost. OLED is still too expensive to make so expect to pay a premium for one, especially since none of the other manufacturers apart from LG seem bothered to go down the OLED route and instead, are intent on pushing those stupid fuckin’ 4K TV’s that nobody wants.

I reckon it’s a premium worth paying though so my LG LED is up for sale and quite frankly, I can’t get shot of it quick enough to replace it with an OLED model.

BlackBerry Classic almost gets it right

Sunday 4 January 2015 @ 12:04 am

The launch of the new BlackBerry Classic is very much welcome. Apart from the keyboard, you also get a set of proper hardware buttons for calls and navigation along with the fantastic trackpad. I can’t tell you how much I hate all these fucking Android phones with their keyboard-less touchscreen displays and shite usability that make even simple things such as messaging or calling a real chore. And believe me, I’ve tried, even with those oversized stupid looking 5″ touchscreen Android’s that everyone seems to think is acceptable for a compact phone.

It often takes me a good 10 minutes to tap out a short two sentence message and then another 10 minutes trying to position the fucking cursor just to edit a word. Doesn’t matter if you use SwiftKey, Swype or any other Android app crap, nothing can replace a proper hardware keyboard. And BlackBerry makes the best. End of.

So here it is then, the BlackBerry Classic, following hot on the heels of the BlackBerry Passport (in my opinion, the most innovative and interesting mobile of 2014), and with a mission to convert the millions of BlackBerry fanatics grimly clinging onto their Bold 9900. I should know, I’m one of them and have another two as spare. There are plenty of reviews for the Classic floating around so I won’t bother going into the details.

Suffice to say, if you are a BlackBerry fan, you will love the Classic.

If you are an ex-BlackBerry fan now using Android and liable to stab yourself with a pen in frustration every time you have to message, it’s time to return to the fold.

If you like hardware keyboards and simply want to get on with the job of being productive, the BlackBerry Classic is the phone for you.

However, like a beautiful swan that has cruelly had its wings clipped, the BlackBerry Classic is not perfect and it’s bloody annoying.

Battery life with the Classic is great, you can measure it in days rather than hours but the battery is fixed and cannot be removed or swapped. Road Warriors used to carrying a stash of batteries will be sorely disappointed.

The screen is a bog standard LCD affair. No IPS LCD like with the Passport or even AMOLED like the Q10 which is two years old. Clarity, brightness and readability are all great but it’s disappointing to see the Classic fitted with such a cheap ass screen.

Everything zips along at a fair whack but the actual hardware chip is the same as the two year old Q10. You would have expected more than an ancient dual core snapdragon S4 which is about as cutting edge as a rubber knife.

The last criticism is more about the OS than the actual hardware. Whilst BlackBerry OS 10.3 is much better than previous versions, it’s still too awkward with a heavy reliance on gestures (not a problem with the trackpad though) and weirdness such as not having a proper home screen that shows you everything at a glance. And I can’t believe that the BlackBerry Link sync software is STILL not capable of properly syncing Outlook including Notes and Tasks. For fucks sake BlackBerry sort it out!

However, it’s great to see BlackBerry going back to its roots and actually making business oriented phones for grown-ups for which there is demand (the initial run of both the Passport and Classic sold out) rather than trying to chase the grubby teeny bopper market obsessed with their Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Well done BlackBerry and Mr Chen, let’s have more please.