Since Google gets stuck in an infinite loop asking me to log in to leave a review, I’ll leave a few notes here instead.
I booked 7 days’ parking and a hotel room before my early flight through Holiday Extras, and it all went reasonably well – pick up of the car was fine, and it was waiting for me on my return. It had a few extra miles on it (about 25, from memory) – not excessive as they do make it clear they park the cars off-site. However, the battery was flat as a pancake and I had to call out a tow truck to jump start me.
The car has a central locking fault which I have yet to get fixed, so it’s quite possibly my own fault that it drained its battery inside of a week. I find it hard to believe that it went flat on the run back to the drop-off point, so the parking staff clearly gave it a jump. They could at least have taken 10 seconds to text me a warning so I knew to call out the tow truck when I landed, thus avoiding most of a 50 minute wait after midnight. Even better, a missed business opportunity – they could have offered to stay with my car with a battery booster on hand, e.g. for £20 (or even £40), and I would happily have taken them up on it. Four out of five there, chaps.
My radio and seat had been fiddled with, but this didn’t bother me nearly as much as many other reviewers – and they had used a floor cover to avoid getting mud in the car.
I don’t think I changed this
Last night, I got off a plane at Gatwick, breezed through security and baggage reclaim in record time, hopped straight on a bus to pick up my car, found it waiting for me, climbed aboard, turned the key … and nothing happened.
To be strictly accurate, what happened was the unmistakable sound of a starter motor with not enough voltage to turn an engine over. Never mind, this is why we have breakdown cover. Reaching for my phone to make the call, I found a complete lack of signal. I find it hard to believe that 3 have no coverage of one of Britain’s biggest airports, but no amount of rebooting the phone, popping the SIM in and out, or fiddling with the enable/disable settings for the slot it was in would make anything happen.
Fortunately, I managed to borrow an old-fashioned landline to summon a tow truck. It took me until the middle of this morning to work out that the “preferred network type” setting had somehow got set to “2G only” (I’m pretty certain I never touched it … a side effect of roaming, perhaps?). Setting it back to Automatic made everything work again. I’m not sure whether to blame 3, Google, OnePlus or myself for this, but it has made me ponder carrying my “festival phone” (a £10 Nokia which never goes wrong or flat) in my car for emergencies like this.
I’ve been away with a few friends this weekend to Ledbury, which, in case you were wondering, is near Hereford. In other words, it’s the heart of cider country, and very close to the source of Stowford Press, my favourite on a night out (or in). So no prizes for guessing what we all did on Saturday morning.
This weekend was also my first chance to try out a recently acquired gadget, my IMuto 30000mAh battery bank. It’s not light, but on a weekend away where I was driving anyway, taking it along was no great hardship. It takes forever to juice it up from 0 to full (about 3 days using the USB sockets in my flat), but once juiced, it’s capable of charging my OnePlus Two overnight at least three times, and simultaneously taking care of my Huawei W1 smart watch. Really useful to have along on a trip, though it does have an annoying habit of cutting off power to the port if the device stops pulling for a moment (this happens with the watch when it hits full, and means it’s dropped off a couple of percent by the time I wake up – but the watch is far longer lasting than the phone, so no great shakes). This should be the antidote to hotel rooms with not enough sockets, though the house we rented on this occasion actually had plenty of power bars for the modern traveller.
Google kindly gave my employer a Chromebook recently – all the better to talk to Google’s marketing team on about what one might buy. And once that call was over, there was no immediate use for it around the office, so I … borrowed it … for an extended road test at my flat.
Asus C202S Chromebook
So far, I’m impressed. This particular Chromebook is the Asus C202S, and it’s almost supplanted my company-issue Lenovo X230 as my do-everything laptop at home. One particularly impressive thing is that it can sit on my lap for hours without producing enough heat to be uncomfortable – something any “proper” laptop fails at within 30 minutes or so.
Since nearly everything is done via a browser these days, doing life admin and messing around on the internet is all taken care of. The only things I miss are Thunderbird (because the best webmail client I can find lacks the “redirect” feature) and an SSH client (yes, I have an installation of Shell In A Box, but that requires a password rather than SSH keys).
It uses some slick integration with Google Drive to make up for the lack of a local filesystem, and given I have an Android phone, that works well.
All in all, I suspect I’ll be buying one of these as my next “home laptop” rather than anything more full-fat. But then, I do still have a desktop with two 19″ monitors for the heavy lifting.