More Snake Oil, Anyone - Or as they say in Business, Rapport Trusteer..

Today I decided to completely remove my complimentary copy of Rapport Trusteer. This decision was not taken lightly, but it had to be done for the following reasons:

[1] I hate any and all software that loads; behind my back, on Start-up (anything that has no useful purpose, like tool-bars, browser helpers, etc..) and especially  when they seem to do absolutely nothing. And Rapport Trusteer seems to be one of these programs, it just annoys me with a pop-up, usually after the event, that asks me what it should have done 20 or so minutes ago, when I visited a certain website. If it is really that good, it would not bang it's own drum so so much, and it would know what to do...

[2] I've read all the bumf about the software and why do I need, and I still don't understand what it really does, all I know that, both my Business and Personal internet accounts insist on, me, installing this..

Truthfully and after using the software for over a month, I really don't understand it or get the point. It reminds me of the 90's PC Memory Cleaner / Reclaimer Software, whereby it supposedly sits in the background cleaning and optimizing your RAM, when in reality, it was just sitting in the tray, using and abusing resources, but albeit,  with nice animations. And the only thing I regret is, why did I not think of that piece of software first, and who do you need to know, to sell it to all those gullible people and Banks..

I'm sure the people at Rapport Trusteer are laughing, all the way to the Bank, behind closed doors. The link above is some information regarding the software, and no, I do not bank with them..

Read them and WEP...

Today I visited one of my customers to sort out a little software matter., and while I was there, and as per usual, everybody started telling me about their PC problems, and my obligation to fix every faulty, bastard, computer on the face of the planet, FREE OF CHARGE, just because I happen to know how, why, what, where and when...

So when I finished my job, and as per usual, the Bastards started gathering around me, like shit on a blanket, each with a more bizarre request that the next. And then, the BIG BOSS came and asked me whether I can setup his new Talk-Talk Wireless Router, which he and his circle if merry men, tried to setup, but failed, and since, I did sort the original BT Wireless router, then I was the messiah of all routers, and I can conquer that router as well...

So I took the router out of the box, connected everything, searched for the SSID within the list of available wireless network(s) , and guess what, I couldn't find the bloody thing... So we enter the IP address for the router in the browser windows, enter the user name and password, change the Channel to 11, and other bits, but sadly, still no joy. Then, I tried to use the supplied CD, this seemed to work, up-to a point, but then it gets stuck in a loop, unable to detect the bloody wireless network... So I bit the bullet and called the Talk-Talk helpline, and after me telling them the story and some deliberation, the person on the other end of the line told me to change the Channel to 9 (because it's one of only 3 channels that they recommend users to use), and also to change the security to an open 64bit WEP encryption, which meant that the password needed to be 10 characters in length, so I used the man's telephone number as the password, and law and behold, the laptop managed to detect the network... I mentioned security to the man, but he said, don't worry, all will be OK, so I just agreed and left it at that (if it works, and it ain't broke, just don't fix it or bother)...
And I just thought, why bother having a password or anything else, but hey, cest  le vie.

My New Elonex eTouch 10" 1000ET Android Tablet PC - Is it any good?

The other day, while browsing the web, I saw what I thought was, a little Gem, an Android based Tablet PC, with a 10" Touchscreen.

Full Specifications
Media Reader Micro SD slot for photos, music, movies and apps storage
Memory 256MB
HDMI Port No
Operating System Android 2.1 Mobile
Sound Card Yes
Bluetooth No
Ethernet 1
Dimensions 270 x 179 x 16 mm
Battery Description Li-on rechargeable battery
Processor VIA ARM 11 1ghz processor
Modem No
Colour Black
Hard Disk Drive No
Battery Life (Light Use) 3 hours
Screen Size 10 inches
Graphics Yes
USB Ports 1

So I decided to get one of these, for basic internet browsing, email and possibly a few apps / books to read on the go..

I headed to Toys R Us and got one of these... I charged the unit and, excitedly, turned it on. I was like a kid with his new toy, so very overjoyed. Sadly this joy did not last long. The PC crashed within 1 minute (I was just trying the screen auto rotation feature). I really was not happy, so I went on the (the supposed manufacturer) Elonex website, and checked for a solution. I downloaded the latest firmware and carried out the upgrade procedure. This went smoothly, but sadly, I still had the same problem and issue, especially when I rotate the screen. So reluctantly, I decided to contact Elonex and give them a piece of my mind..

Sent: 07 January 2011 03:58 AM
To: Elonex-Support
Subject: eTouch 1000ET Support

Hi There,

I bought one of these, eTouch 1000ET, machines yesterday (from Toys R Us). I noticed a few niggles with regards to stability when using the product, namely the machine Crash and hangs on forever, not respond to any key presses. This is very evident when you rotate the unit few times. I updated the firmware to the latest version (from your website). This went smoothly, however, I’m still having the same stability issues, with random crashes, and the machine stops responding...

I’m not sure whether this is normal or expected. Please advise... And also, how can I view Adobe / Macromedia Flash Content on the unit..

I received the following reply:

From: Vicky Hill
Sent: Friday, January 07, 2011 8:22 AM
Subject: RE: eTouch 1000ET Support

Good Morning,

Can you please tell me, does this only happen whilst connected to the WIFI?

Also the unit however, is not compatible at this moment with adobe flash player.
We hope there will be an update to change this in the near future, but we do not have an ETA as to when this will be.

Kind Regards

Vicky Hill

Sent: Friday, January 07, 2011 12:37 PM

To: Vicky Hill
Subject: Re: eTouch 1000ET Support

Hi Vicky,

Thank you for the quick response, the unit is connected to an always on WIFI...

This morning, the task bar disappeared, then it appeared and informed me that there are some updates, so I clicked to update, and the unit crashed (no response)..

I think it might be a software update or even a user (none familiarity) issue, which that might settle within a few days...

There is an upgrade which is available to download off our website which may get the device up and running for you.

I have attached to this email some instructions on how to run through the update.

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards
Vicky Hill

There was an attached instructions sheet, on how to update the eTouch 1000ET. This might as well was written in Mandarin, because it was really incomprehensible. And also, it pointed to a non existent file. I tried to follow that to the letter, and downloaded the nearest named file that I could find. This update failed miserably, and the machine was still crashing even after the update..

Sent: Saturday, January 08, 2011 5:29 AM
Subject: Re: eTouch 1000ET Support

Hi Vicky,

I followed your instructions to the letter.

I downloaded the file,
I extracted the content to C:\1000ET,
I connected the Machine to the PC via a USB cable,
I simultaneously pressed both the "Back" and "Power" buttons,
I told the computer to locate the driver within the C:\1000ET Folder, and that was successful,
I run the "Burntool_v07.2.exe" program,
Device 10 turned Green,
I clicked on the Start Icon, below is a log file:

      FileLoad! szPathName: C:\1000ET\burn.ini
      [Nboot_DestAddr: 0x40200000 strNboot_DestAddr: 0x40200000]
      Opened successfully.
      Opened successfully.
      [SUCCESS: ReadFile otgtype:(1) hRead:(0xa4)]
      [SUCCESS: CreateFile]
      [Memory Allocation! txBuf = 0xfc0048 ]
      [UsbTxFile start! run_addr=0xffffffff]
      [UsbTxFile end]
      Find Device From Name
      Opened successfully.
      Opened successfully.
      [SUCCESS: ReadFile otgtype:(7602176) hRead:(0x110)]

This happens within less than 20 seconds, and then the device hangs up, displaying "Enter Downloading",
I tried that 4 times, but always with the same result..

After that, I changed the settings, using the Key Icon,

      uboot-img     =    C:\1000et\u-boot_et.img
      linux-kernel   =    C:\1000et\zImage
      linux-sys      =    C:\1000et\system.img
      linux-udate   =    C:\1000et\userdata.img

And tried that 3 more times, with exactly the same result...

I tried that on a Windows XP machine, I will try the same procedure in the morning on a Windows Vista & a Windows 7 Machines. I hope it does work..


This time, I just got ignored, because there was no obvious solution, that Customer Support could fathom, to the problem... So I decided that enough was enough, and I was going to take the  unit back to Toys R Us. But before doing that, I decided to investigate on the net. And guess what, everybody was having exactly the same reliability problems.

I really had no idea who the original manufacturers of the unit was, the only thing I had was the Burntool file, which I used for the upgrades. This mentioned Zenithink. So I searched Google for Zenithink, and there it was. - I went to the News and Latest Software Section - and downloaded the latest Firmware. I applied that patch, and guess what, the unit came alive shortly after the update. No crashes or anything. just pure joy to use. So I decided to contact Elonex Customer Support and tell them, that way they can help others in my situation.

Hi Vicky,

I was 5 minutes away from returning the pad to Toys R Us, the unit  was flakey at best and very unreliable, even after downloading and installing the Firmware upgrade.

However, and as a last resort, I decided to visit the manufacturers website and try my luck. I brushed up on my Mandarin and navigated to the Latest Software section, and downloaded the update.

I downloaded and installed the - as per the instructions given, and this has resulted in vast improvements in reliability and enjoyment... I can now run Apps and games with no random crashes, I can browse the web, browse my photos, read a book without the unit crashing.. I even managed to use the unit, solidly for 2 hours, without a crash.. 

The last update that you mentioned, did not solve the problem, but this one does.. The only down side is, the name and the logo of the unit, when booting, changes to ePad.

The thing is, the unit is very good, but is let down by second rate software, however this update seems to resolve 99% of all the issues.

I hope this helps you and other customers, struggling with these units,


And this time I got ignored - no thank you, no nothing...

The above are copies of email correspondence between myself and Elonex Customer Support - The RED emails are Mine, while the BLUE ones are their replies - I hope the info would help somebody out there, and save them time and hassle.

USBWriteProtect - Why?

From my previous post, I was still after a read only USB device, or means to control access to that, and on my quest, I came across this program. USBWriteProtect (there were a few variations on the same theme), that promise to write protect my USB drive.

The problem with this software is, you need to run it on the target machine before it would work. So. in the meantime, you'll just get infected... So bloody stupid...

To be fair, there is a use for such software, at organisations where you don't want staff to copy material to and from their USB devices, etc...

Our Treasure Islands - Why is the UK so expensive?

I really hate it when I lose a USB Flash Drive or when I take it to a place, to copy things, and by the time I finish, my whole USB Drive is filled with Viruses and Malware. This is so very annoying and frustrating, especially when you consider that I do that around 4-5 times a day, and I'm sure my clients would not appreciate it, if I started spreading viruses around... This meant that I have to cart around 5-6 USB Flash Drives with me at any given time, and also cleaning these, everyday, upon my return to the office, which is, frankly, a huge pain in the butt...

A few years ago, I found a solution to my problem, a USB Flash Drive with a Write-Protect Switch... I used to have that switched on to the write protect side, when I used that on Client's machines, and turn it off, when using it to copy files from my machines.

This worked so well, that I bought 5 of these drives... But sadly, these drives were not the best manufactured devices in the world. The quality was shoddy, and 2 of them just refused to read, write, format, work, breath after 2 weeks. One of them was lost, I left it at a client's shop. And the other 2, served me well for over 6 months until they succumbed to the rigours of daily use, putting them in my pocket with loose change, dropping and accidentally standing on them, attaching them to my keyring, sitting on them, etc... Well, we just say, that they really did not have an easy life... 

And since then, I've been looking for a similar, reasonably priced, USB drives with a write protect feature. That is until the other day, when I came across those babies on

I tried to order 10 of these, but sadly, the sellers on would not post these to the UK, and all attempts to find these in the UK failed. So I thought, I will just have to try and see what we can find..

The good news is, I did find these at 5 times the price. I can buy an 8GB drive for $16.00, I would have to pay over $80.00 to buy a 2GB version in the UK. And seeing that all these are made in China, I still don't get the wild variation and discrepancy in price. Needless to say, I will be cleaning my existing USB Drives, everyday, for a long time to come... 

The reason behind the Blog title, is price fixing in the UK - even though we, supposedly, have a FREE and Open Market, with Healthy Competition. All the participants seem to sell the same items at the same price, which tells me that there is a Price Fixing Cartel working behind the scene. If you don't believe me, just check the price of a loaf of bread, a tin of beans, a bus ticket, a train ticket, a plane ticket, a package holiday, a computer, a litre of petrol, gas and electricity, your weekly shop, etc. etc.. You will see a difference (in pennies), And guess what, all the participants are laughing at us, all the way to the bank... And the regulators, are just sitting there regulating...