Friday, May 09, 2014

Virgin Media V+ dead (bricked) - how to fix

Virgin Media (nee NTL) have been providing what I consider to be unbeatable cable broadband for about fifteen years now, and in that time the set top box provided for the television part of the Internet / Television / Phone package has changed several times.  The first box was a tiny little effort with a silly little remote control that didn't make much sense.  The next set top box NTL gave us came with a remote control that appeared to have been designed with the ability to always be sticky to touch as a priority.

The current set-top box we have is the Virgin Media V+ box, I believe it has been superseded by a Tivo box, but as plenty of other folk must still have the V+ box I'm going to share with you a little fix that might just save you a bunch of trouble.

How the Virgin Media V+ box died

I was watching telly and paused it so go and eat my supper (pizza it was) and when I came back the screen was black, but the little widget that informs the viewer that the program is paused was still showing on the bottom left of the screen.  I couldn't get the box to respond to anything pressed either on the remote or the actual device itself.  I tried the power button; nothing.  I pulled the power lead out of the back, left it for a few minutes and plugged it back in.  Nothing.  Now the V+ appeared to be well and truly dead.  No lights, no whirring, nuffink.

How to fix a dead V+ set top box.

I rang Virgin (by dialling '150' from my landline) and the operative was very sympathetic to my woes, and ran me through his entire repertoire of troubleshooting magic for the issue I was having.  This process involved asking me to switch the thing off and on twice.  After a brief period of presumed noodle-scratching (on his part) he kindly offered to send out an engineer.  When the engineer arrived he picked up the V+ box and as if by magic it sprung to life in his hands.  I was amazed, these Virgin Media guys are always polite and efficient, but I've never seen such a fast repair in all my life.  I asked how he was able to fix the problem so quickly, I'll leave his reply as the last line for this blog post:

'I just switched it on, you had switched it off; there's a power switch next to the power lead.'

01747228096 - who is it?

I just received a call on my VirginMedia line from 01747228096 and got an automated message telling me the caller had a special offer that was only for BT Customers.  Are they just being a tease?  Is the special offer a deal on a Virgin Media account?

I was then given the option to 'opt out' of further calls.  If you are ever given this option don't take it, it's the fastest way to get yourself / your number onto a 'suckers list' that makes you more valuable to other unwanted callers.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Apple Dictation + Toddler = potential genius

I write a LOT of words every day, for a great number of clients and projects, so I've been experimenting with using the 'dictate' function that I found on my Macbook.  On the whole it's been working quite well, but this morning I was writing / dictating a blog post with a little 'help' from my two year old daughter.  Seemingly non-plussed with the topic I was nattering about she threw in her own little questions, affirmations and random noises.  The result on the output of the dictation software was quite remarkable.  In the spirit of literary adventured championed by the wonderful Good London Copywriter website (well, the 'blog' section) I thought I'd share with class.

I guess you could call this the first collaborative project between myself and my daughter.
Dishwashers used to be seen as a bit of them or why not sure that if you stay is oh is out is this what you really see this what is on the mark in my some work well at some time is this what is stop and when he is still what is the eye this what you had me at this what is stop to the bar we've used box is for any many as I say there is any cost about 60 para as I seem to last a long time and I some times there are some from them is with that at the see my and my be very soon are at the very very it is boss at six is for sure is that, flex a row poor to grow if you find the man you'll feel this will see you'll see you can send a lot the time how thing but as I'm reading a: it's and just time out why this is a still come in last and I speak get the ball and now is that some sign's boss made things a little bit you see which is why on the car six this for Sirane is there a C is a light on the answer that it's done.

Bosch Classixx dishwasher check water error

Dishwashers used to be seen as a bit of a luxury, but these days any household with the space can have one of these marvels of the modern age.  The problem with having a dishwasher is that you can come very to dependent on them,  and when they stop working the dirty dishes soon pile up.

We have always bought Bosch becuase they seem to cost very little and last a long time. I think we pay about £60 for each of the dishwasher's we've bought.  However, we don't think of these machines as disposable in any way; A lot of the time they stop working they are actually quite easy to fix. Most Bosch dishwashers have a complex series of error-checking programs that can tell you exactly why your dishes are still covered in remnants of last night's vittles.  If you can figure out which combination of buttons you need to click in what order then you can get the error codes, your next task is figuring out what the hell they mean.

The Classixx range is somewhat easier to diagnose. thanks mainly to the clearly labelled error lights on the front panel.  One error light that has troubled me more than most is the 'Check Water' error.  So I'm going to tell you how to fix it.  The problem with hiring a repair-man to fix a machine that costs so little is that the repair may well be higher than the the cost of a new machine.  That's not to say it shouldn't be fixed though, I think we're all aware that reuse-recycle is much nicer to the trees and bees than chucking stuff away at the first sign of trouble.

How to fix the Bosch Classixx 'check water' error.

If you've got this error message there's a chance your dishwasher has stopped mid-cycle, either through power-cut, the law of random-averages, or because your toddler has figured out how to open the door.   These Classixx don't like it up 'em, by which I mean they don't like being stopped in the flow of their important work.  As long as there actually is water going to your dishwasher then you might yourself scratching your noggin as you stare agape at the 'Check Water' error light, as fears of actually having to wield a washing up brush enter the darker parts of your psyche.  Do not fear, here's how to fix this error message:

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Switch your dishwasher off at the wall, leave it for the length of time it takes you to say 'rum baba makes me wish donuts were sold in kebab shops'.
  2. Explain to whomever happens to be present why you just mentioned 'rum baba'.
  3. Pull the dishwasher out of its little 'ole
  4. Gently (and carefully if full!) tilt the wisher about 45 degree angle (sideways), first left then right.
  5. Clear up the water that spills out.
  6. Put the dishwasher back
  7. Switch the device back on at the wall and wash your dishes!
  8. Buy me a pint, I've just saved you a wodge of cash.

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Update - September 2019
This post is now five years old and is still visited many thousands of times a year.  The advice hasn't changed in all that time and I still get a lot of messages from Bosch Classixx dishwasher owners thanking me for helping them fix this check water error.  I'm guessing eventually the number of Bosch Classixx dishwashers still being used will decline, but in the meantime I'm still really happy that this troubleshooting blog post is still helping so many people.  I'm also still really happy that a few people (roughly 1 in 5,000) are so pleased they buy me a pint :)

Update - January 2021
Well this post continues to be very popular, and was viewed 8,424 times in 2020! The only change I've made to this page is to add a Bitcoin donations section. I REALLY appreciate the few people who are kind enough to click the PayPal link for 'buy me a pint' so added a bitcoin QR code. I honestly do think Bitcoin is the way forward for money as a whole, but that's a subject for another time!