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Member postings for Peter G. Shaw

Here is a list of all the postings Peter G. Shaw has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: windoze 10
18/10/2019 18:02:48

In my early experiments with running various DOS & Win 32 bit programs under Linux I tried, and indeed did use for a while, Oracle's Virtual Box. The main problem I found was that it was a multi-load sequence to run the DOS program - load Linux, load VB, load XP, load DOS program, whilst shutting down was only slightly less time consuming. Other than that, everything worked ok with lots of access to my data files. One way of speeding up somewhat was to write a DOS batch file for use within XP and thus automate some of the sequences. The major problem, though, was that the system just wasn't fast enough with the DOS program stuttering when trying to rapidly step through data records. Eventually I had to abandon VB in favour of DOSEmu.

In respect of anti-virus & other support for deceased Windows versions, I used to run, eg SuperAntiSpy on Windows 2000. When W2K was eventually abandoned by Microsoft, initially SAS et al all worked satisfactorily, however, as time rolled by, scan times became slower and slower, with SAS in particular taking many hours. The effective result being that I was forced to upgrade regardless of my wishes if I wished to maintain system protection. Thus, when support for XP was ceased, in addition to the other problems of hardware & software compatibility, I could envisage a loss of system protection as well.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: What are these pliers for
15/10/2019 11:18:11

I have a pair of quickgrips which I bought from either RS Components or Maplin - can't remember which. This would have been around 1980 which was when I had to give up my GPO toolkit. They are boxjoint construction.

Looking at Michaels blown-up photo, I would say that they are not boxjoint as the rivet for a lapjoint can easily be seen. Moreover, it also shows that a slight amount of wear is present.

Peter G. Shaw

14/10/2019 17:40:10

Known as Quickgrips, and are used as quick & easy way of tightening & undoing nuts and/or screws as long as there are two opposing flat surfaces for the jaws to bear on.

Very useful for smallish nuts & bolts, say up to about 10mm across flats.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Caravan Insurance
06/10/2019 11:23:09

Just a follow-up to let you know what I ended up doing.

I did a bit of checking around, well not too much really, but came to the conclusion that trying to go for 3rd party only was looking difficult, so following oxymoron's recommendation of Caravan Guard, I checked with them and found that they could insure the caravan for £157. Now ok, it's a bit unfair since I did indeed take the minimum possible insurance, and I took a large excess. But to put it in context, the Camping and Caravanning Club asked for £293, so quite a saving.

As I mentioned earlier, after what the C&CC club did to me earlier in the year, there was no way that they were going to get any repeat business from me, regardless of the costs.

So, my thanks to Oxymoron.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: windoze 10
03/10/2019 11:51:36


Unix is an operating system, just as Windows is an operating system. Both do the same job of acting as an interface between the user, ie you and me, and the hardware of the computer. Although they do it differently, you and I do not need to know how it does it, simply that it does, after all, do you know how Windows works at the basic level? And, more to the point, do you need to know?

As Dave/SOD says, Mint is Ubuntu with an XP-like interface, and that is how I use Mint. Yes there is the, to some people, the dreaded command line interface (CLI), but you generally do not need to use it, just as in Windows, there is, if it's still there, the command line interface known as DOS. How many people actually use DOS? And in any case, in my limited experience of Mint, whenever I've needed to use the CLI full instructions have been given which is perhaps as well considering my lack of familiarity with it.

I actually completely agree that there is no necessity to upgrade just for upgrading's sake, and this why my equipment is many years old, as my software, and yet it does everything I want quite satisfactorily, ok, sometimes a bit slowly, but for heaven's sake, it's not that long ago when I had to prepare data for submission to a mainframe computer, and wait for the program to run overnight, yes, overnight, so what does a few seconds matter here and now.

And I quite agree, little children should be seen and not heard!

Peter G. Shaw

30/09/2019 19:53:07

I too was faced with upgrading/replacing both equipment and software when XP reached end of life. Rather than subscribe even more to Microsoft's coffers, I decided to move to Linux Mint. Currently I use a DOS based database via DOSemu as if it were a Linux program, and an old but perfectly satisfactory for me Win32 bit CAD program via Wine which also performs as if it were a Linux program albeit with a couple of oddities, both of which are easily got round. I was already using Firefox, Thunderbird, Libre Office on XP, so the data transfer to the Linux versions was achieved without problems. This left an early version of Paint Shop Pro which was more or less satisfactory under Wine, but has now been replaced by Gimp, a much better program.

I did increase RAM to 2GB, but that was all, and I'm still using hardware many years old, indeed the laptop I'm using at the moment is almost 12 years old.

I've never looked back since escaping from Microsoft's clutches.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Unusual GPO hammer?
30/09/2019 10:49:42


I wasn't your manager! And whilst at one point I worked with another Peter Shaw, he was on EL&P. Unfortunately, I was actually P G Shaw, whilst he was P H Shaw. Guess who got all the 'phone calls!

I must admit that I had forgotten that idiosyncrasy of the Rate Book re "Unit of Issue"

And yes, like you I took the money and ran. Not surprising really as BT pulled the rug out from under my feet. After declining TXD training in favour of remaining as a TXE4 planner, BT suddenly advanced TXE4 closure, stopped all TXE4 planning and I was out of a job.

And also like you, my wife was a telephonist.


My brother, also a GPO/BT technician but younger than me, said exactly the same thing (re change), and couldn't wait to get out. Unfortunately, he was too young for the Early Release programmes, and finished up having to wait until around 60 otherwise he would have lost a lot of his pension.

Peter G. Shaw

29/09/2019 11:15:48

Re GPO tool & item nomenclature.

I always understood it to be from the military, certainly when you started using electronic components, valves, transistors, diodes, they all used CV followed by a number even though there was a perfectly good commercial designation, eg (from memory) CV9507 (PNP 65V 500mA 40-120HFE transistor) commercially was a BFX85.

However, although the designations did indeed seem odd, in fact it was perfectly logical, eg, suppose you wanted a pair of pliers, you would start by looking for Pliers. You would then find a large variety of different plier types, so if you wanted some for wiring, then the designation became Pliers, Wiring. Finally, under Pliers, Wiring would be found the different sizes, eg Pliers, Wiring No. 2, Pliers, Wiring No. 3 (standard length & long length jaws respectively). This system was applied to all tools & parts, eg screwdrivers where an 8" cabinet screwdriver became Screwdriver, Cabinet, 8 inch, whilst ordinary screwdrivers as might be used by a technician in the field were known as Screwdrivers, Instrument, No's 1 through to 6 depending on blade width & blade length.

This system was used for everything, hence as has been described, Blocks, Terminal, usually followed by some more letters or numbers, so Blocks, Terminal, 20/4 had four sets of terminals in it, Blocks, Terminal, 20/8 had eight sets of terminals in it. Jacks (or sockets to the unitiated) was another one. Just imagine the sheer variety of sockets you might have in your house - mains outlets, telephone outlets, light bulb fittings, 3mm & 1/4 inch on your hifi. Now think of the old telecomms systems where you had switchboards with strips of jacks, some being 1/4 inch, some being 3/16inch, headsets jacks where old versions were of the order of 5/16 inch, later versions being 1/4inch. Then there was the exchange equipment, a lot being plugged in. Not surprising really that the Rate Book (Vocabulary of Engineering Stores to give its correct title) was a good 3 inches thick.

Peter G. Shaw (Y2YC, T2A, TO, AEE/MPG2/etc between 1959 & 1994)

Thread: Iím done with big pharma‼️
26/09/2019 16:28:16

It's a bit awkward with some medications. I had a mild heart attack almost 5 years ago and was put on, amongst other things, 75mg aspirin as, I think, a blood thinning agent. Or was it to reduce clotting? Dunno. At the same time I was already on Lansoprazole 15mg from a much earlier problem involving mefenamic acid (Ponstan) and an irritated stomach so the heart people doubled that dose. A few months later, one of my GP's reduced it back down to 15mg. No problems so far as far as I know. But what do you do? Cease the aspirin to protect the stomach and risk problems with the heart? I think I prefer to risk the stomach.

Recently, I've been diagnosed with lung cancer and been put on a chemotherapy tablet which has a list of possible side effects as long as my arm. So far, most of the oddities which have happened are things that have happened before. So what is it? Chemotherapy? Or other things? I tend towards the view that since they are minor, a careful watching brief is indicated, especially as I'm more concerned about possible cancer reduction.

Another one is Codeine. Again, I recently ended up with 60mg every 4 hours of the stuff. (Ok, the problem that caused it was cleared within 5 days with codeine usage decreasing over the 5 days.) But a major problem was constipation. So I ended up on three separate drugs to clear the logjam. Took a few days but they worked and I immediately stopped their use. But again, what do you do? Suffer the pain, or take the drug and suffer the, in this instance, the constipation?

Makes one think, does it not.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Worried
26/09/2019 16:03:55

Well now, as someone in their mid-70's I went to school from 1948 to 1959 and was taught imperial measurements, weights & currency (£sd), and therefore I should be totally at home with imperial. However, I always struggled with converting up and down between the various units, inches to feet to yards to miles, ounces to pounds to stones to hundred weights to tons, pennies to shillings to pounds (sterling) etc. Things like adding 3/32 to 1/4 were, and still are, fraught with errors and mistakes.

Decimal conversion for money, apart from an initial hiccup or three, is so much simpler and easier to use. And so, when metric became all the rage in the 1970's, I deliberately set about making a set of kitchen cabinets wholly in metric, and since then have worked in metric as much as possible, so much so that in some respects I now think in metric. Frankly, it's so much easier that I fail to understand how anyone could ever want to use imperial.

Of course, there are some things that haven't yet changed, eg body weights, but even here I'm slowly beginning to think in kgs. Body height I haven't yet conquered, and I still use mpg and my spreadsheet for car fuel consumption automatically converts from litres to gallons before telling me that my car does 38.7mpg. Distances on signs - when you can find them, that is - are still in miles or yards, but even so, I now think in metres rather than yards. Incidently, sometime ago, I think I saw something that implied that distance measurements for roads and paths in the UK had to be in either imperial only, or both imperial and metric simultaneously, with metric only being illegal. Anyone remember this, or know anything about it?

An anecdote. Recently I went to a local cafe and had a cup of coffee, price £2.60. I went to pay with a £20 note. The young woman behind the bar brought out the calculator, so I went "That's £18, no £17.40 in change." Her calculator agreed! A few days later I went to my elder grand-daughter's house. She is 12 yrs, 9 months and in top set in everything at school. I said to her, "If a pay for a cup of coffee costing £2.60 with a £20 note, how much change should I receive?" The answer came back immediately, no hesitation, no thinking time, "£17.40". I then told her the story, finishing up with "And that's why you are in top set at school".

In respect of centimetres, I don't use them if I can avoid them. Unfortunately, they have become so ingrained into common parlance now that it's almost impossible to avoid their use, so reluctantly, I do sometimes use them, usually as a conversion from millimetres.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: If I were coming here I wouldn't have started there... (possibly)
23/09/2019 10:13:39

Horses for courses. Does it really matter how you do it, as long as the end result works. And I quite agree with Andrew, why waste time over measuring something that most people will only glance at before putting their hand on it.


Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Metal stock
23/09/2019 10:09:33

After all the problems I have had trying to turn unknown steel, I have started marking it - Red = useless, Green = good, Yellow = care needed, no colour = still to be tested!

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Caravan Insurance
22/09/2019 20:29:45


Please note: I am NOT proposing abandoning Third Party protection - merely the other stuff, eg fire, theft, damage etc as I can easily afford to pay for it myself.


The full story is this:

Yes, new caravan which automatically includes the tracker system. However, to activate the system requires an annual subscription of £95. (Actually, I took out the 3 year cover for £285.) The insurer, which as I have already said was more or less the default one from the C&CC club because I was too lazy to try elsewhere, did indeed allow a reduction becasue the tracker system was activated.

The caravan is normally stored inside an old barn, or possibly a cowshed. Access into it is by means of a personnel gate comprising a set of heavy steel bars welded together. To remove the caravan one has to walk to the other end of the barn and undo another set of gates, again heavy steel bars welded together. Both gates are secured by locks. On top of that, the barn is located deep in the depths of an old quarry, along an access track past the landowner's house. Finally, most of the time, the landowner's locked up tractor and trailer are parked in front of the caravan. Indeed, standing instructions are that whever we want to remove/replace the caravan, we have to give the landowner 2/3 days notice so that he can ensure access/egress is clear. It is my personal belief that this location is about as secure against theft as it is possible to be. Malicious damage, though, is another thing, even though any possible vandals would need to get on site whilst carrying a petrol powered disc cutter of some sort.


Yes, I quite agree, it may be cheap, relatively. However, over the 40 years of caravanning, I have made a total of four claims - two for windows being accidently broken, and two for corner damage done whilst manoevring in confined spaces. Possible total of £1.2K to £1.5K . I haven't bothered working out the premiums paid over those 40 years, but I'm darned sure it's a lot more than that. Also, the last claim was at least 10 years ago.

The point is, Maurice, I'm in my mid-70's with money in the bank, and all I can see for the future is theft by the state when I die, or even before that depending on the political party in power, or theft by various parties, eg insurance companies, care homes etc. I do have children, but still foresee difficulties in passing it on, hence I'm loth to fork out good money, for something that I can cover myself - if needed. And that is the important point - if needed.


There are other points which so far I haven't mentioned. The tracking system is only of use if the caravan is stolen and the monitoring people advised, and hence the Police. This means that whilst in storage as outlined above, I may not see the caravan for a few months through the winter, but I do consider this to be acceptable considering the storage location. Therefore, the only real use for the tracker is when on site, and hence theft would be detected within a few hours at most.

Another point is that although it was January when I was advised of the problem, I decided to leave it until late March/April when the caravan has its annual service. It is actually 59 miles from my house to the nearest authorised dealer. So, in due course, the caravan went in for service/repairs and whilst it was in, I received a call from the tracker manufacturer stating that they had discovered that the system as fitted to certain caravans did not work correctly, hence they were being recalled for rectification. So, there we were, being penalised by the insurer because the tracker manufacturer had produced some duff equipment. And that led, in turn to my original thoughts about self-insuring for everything EXCEPT Third Party risks. Hence my original question.

Incidently, the same thing could also apply to the car. My car cost £19K, so if it was readily available (actually it is no longer made, but that's by-the by), I could just go out and buy a replacement. But that still leaves the problem of Third Party claims.

Now I know that what I'm saying is somewhat radical, since we have all been brainwashed into buying expensive Comprehensive insurance, but really, do we actually need Comprehensive insurance if we can afford to self-insure? Perhaps ThirdParty insurance might well be satisfactory, and would certainly stop all these problems one hears about caused by insurance companies looking after themselves at our expense.

Peter G. Shaw

21/09/2019 21:01:31


Yes, I am aware of the difference, and it is indeed the third party risks I wish to cover. As I said, if I suffered a total loss of the caravan, I could simply cash in some investments and replace. But, if something drastic was to happen, eg, and here I'm being silly, the caravan when parked outside my house on a gentle slope, somehow raised all four legs, removed the wheel clamp, and the brakes failed, such that said caravan rolled away by itself and ran over someone, then I could be in serious trouble. That would be third party and damages could be quite high.


I started with the C&CC Club something like 48 years ago when we were tent users only. I seem to recall that there was free kit insurance up to a certain value, and I suppose through laziness, stayed with them ever since.

I note you suggest A-Plan. I will try them on Monday.

Peter G. Shaw

21/09/2019 15:21:14

Michael G,

More or less correct. I'm thinking of my liability to other people.

I have already tried NFU and been told that they would do an add-on policy provided I already had their car insurance. As it happens, both car and caravan insurance renewals both fall within October. NFU's car insurance proposal is already higher than my existing car insurers renewal quote which in turn is some £40 higher than last year. They refused o give some idea as what the add-on premium might be. Truly a chicken & egg situation.

Actually, that gives me the idea that perhaps I should try my existing car insurer and see what they say.


Will try them on Monday.


Logically, I would try the Camping & Caravanning Club of which I am a member. However, it is their insurers who slapped on the extra £60!


I must admit that over the 40 years of caravanning, I've never had, or experienced, or seen anything like what MichaelG is suggesting, yet that is exactly the sort of unforeseen peril which might just happen. Probably the worst I've experienced was during high winds where the awning pegs were slowly being pulled out of the ground (actually one of the silly so-called hard standings - an area of stony ground about 8 or 10 inches deep). Most of my problems have been accidental damage - dropping a window out of its frame, catching one corner on a pickup whilst manoevering in a tight spot, etc., and these were indeed covered by insurance.

Peter G. Shaw

21/09/2019 11:58:35

Bit of a silly one this, but here goes with a bit of background first. The background info is to prevent people querying why I'm doing this.

When I first started caravanning, I was an impecunious wage slave with a mortgage, 2 kids, permanently hungry labrador, no money in the bank, etc, etc, and hence insurance was a must. Today, 40 years later, all the above have gone/moved on and we have money in the bank.

Last year we bought a new caravan, £16K's worth (ok it was at the lower end of the range due to size/weight considerations), and duly insured it for something like £250. This caravan has a tracking system fitted which cost me £95 p.a so all in all, £345 p.a.

Unfortunately, last January, I was informed by the tracking monitoring people that the system wasn't working, so I, possibly foolishly, informed the insurers who said, thankyou for telling us, that'll be an extra £60 please!

Now, no arguments please about insurance risks etc, but I started thinking. Unlike motor vehicles, there is no requirement to insure a caravan, so as we have money available, why not self insure? It turns out that for third party risks, the caravan is covered by the car insurance as long as the caravan is attached to the car. So that leaves, essentially, when the caravan is parked outside our home being prepared for/being cleaned up after, a holiday; or when on site.

So, what I'm looking for is someway of insuring the caravan for third party risks only in the above two situations. The question then, is, does anyone know of an insurer who will insure just for these risks as a standalone policy.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Not Your Modern Lathe Tools
31/08/2019 10:57:00

Ok, I'm going to bite.

Are we saying that The Freeman family made both a lathe, a mechanical engineering device, AND, a food stuff known as Henderson's Relish in the same factory, albeit on different floors?

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Dumb question from a none driver
31/08/2019 10:45:39

Talk to CAB. Your situation will not be unique.

A receipt from the sellar isn't going to be much good, after all anyone can draw up a piece of paper stating that I, Joe Bloggs, T/A Dodgy Cars Ltd, have this day sold a van bearing registration plate ABC123 to Mark Smith 20.

The V5C is of no use in this respect - it is purely a DVLA document concerned with the Registered Keeper and contains no information on purchase or other prices.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Equity release!
31/08/2019 10:32:10

I understand the logic behind it but I really do wonder if it is the best policy.

As the years go by, you may find yourself in need of good quality care. Wouldn't it be better to be able to pick and choose rather than be dependant on "the council" to do it for you? Along the same lines what if you suddenly need a major operation and decide that you would prefer a centre of excellence rather than the local NHS hospital?

You have no dependants. But what about any other relatives? Now ok, I do understand that you might not want to subsidise your more feckless relatives, but you may have some responsible relatives who would appreciate a legup when the time comes.

What about any favourite charities? But in this context note that fixed sums are, I understand, better than percentages. Apparently, some charities, if left a percentage pore over the executors accounts to ensure that they, the charity, have extracted the maximum amount possible.

On a personal note, I would fight tooth and nail against equity release - it's my house and I neither want nor need someone else laying down the law. But then I do have a reasonable income and I appreciate that not everyone is as fortunate as me.

I think that what it boils down to is, do you want to risk spending up, and then throwing yourself onto "the council" bearing in mind that there are rules about asset deprivation.

Otherwise, I wish you well.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: What started your interest?
23/07/2019 10:29:41

In the late 1950's, whilst still at secondary school, I was shown how to braze, tin solder, screwcut using a tap & die, and how to use a lathe, both a belt driven job which I understand was the property of the craftwork teacher and a Portass lathe.

Many years later, as described on another thread, I wished to make some replacement 00gauge wheels. A lathe was the obvious requirement and having gone through an attempt at homemade lathe, and a Unimat 1, I ended up with a Hobbymat MD65 with which I started doing other things, eg making a replacement axle for my son's bicycle (wrong steel, but that's by the by). Realising the possibilities together with a book recommendation from a work colleague and the discovery of places like Blackgates Engineering, I started taking much more interest in what I was doing. Ultimately, after getting sick of catching my hand on the Hobbymat tailstock, and finding the Hobbymat too small for some of the things I tried to do, I bought the Warco 220. That was in 1994.

I realized early on that I didn't really have any specific reason for the lathe, just an interest in learning how to use it - Self Education by Experimentation - and that still stands today. Obviously, it isn't only self-education because I do also make or repair articles for which I have a need.

Originally, I had no intention of writing anything for the magazine, I had sent in a small number of letters to ME which got published. One of these lead to some correspondence with one of the ME regulars, hence when one of Neil's pre-decessors in the Editorial chair kept making requests for articles and as I had successfully completed a self-releasing mandrel handle, I submitted it, and much to my surprise it got published. And that lead in turn to me submitting what in effect is a very slow blog about what I have done, mostly about the Warco 220, but along the way some other repair jobs.

One thing that I have realized is that I simply do not have the knowledge or the abiity of some of the other magazine contributors. As a result, my articles are always aimed showing how I did it, what compromises I had to make, and the mistakes I made, believing as I do, that not all of us are capable of turning out first class work first time.

All in all though, I do find it satisfying to accomplish something, no matter how small or insignificant.

Peter G. Shaw

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