Showing posts from June, 2024

Fixing a Ford Focus/CMax's auto-start/stop system - it's all in the battery!

This foxed me for ages. And I'm hoping that relating the tale will help someone else. We have a Ford CMax (2015), but the same systems apply for the Ford Focus, on which the CMax is based. We bought it in 2018 and the auto-stop-start system worked fine for a couple of years. As a reminder, this auto-stops the engine when stationary in traffic and when the handbrake is on (and gear in neutral, obviously). Then, when you engage a gear and release the handbrake, the engine is auto-started and you're off. A nice fuel-saving measure, in theory. Alas, around 2020, the auto-stop-start system ceased to work. The green 'A' above was greyed out and with no explanation. Research online pointed to this system not working in very cold or hot weather, or when the engine's not warmed up enough, or if you have all the lights and wipers on. Sensible reasons. But not applicable in our case - it remained a mystery. There was a clue in that 'low battery state' was also listed,

Why I don’t use streaming music services

There, I said it, I don’t use any streaming music service. Unlike, it seems the majority of people, certainly from younger generations. But I thought it would be interesting to delve into the main reason why I’m errr… different! I think I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past, for example on my podcast Chewing Gum For The Ears (which I bet you didn’t know about!), but it’s a necessary caveat to my music experiences. Roughly half the music I like listening to is custom or obscure in some way. Most is from the 1970s and is either too niche for the likes of Spotify or has been customised or remixed by me in some way. To give an example, when I ask specifically for Hawkwind, with Lemmy on bass and lead vocals, playing ‘The Watcher’ live, I do actually want my personally remixed version of their 1999 Party Chicago gig from 1974, rather than about 10 other versions that Spotify or Amazon Music might select. Streaming services are fine for generic music and pop and so on, where people

Has the phone world 'plateaued'? Yes. And no...!

The titular question is one we debate often on podcasts and the like. The most obvious answer is 'Yes', of course. Any smartphone made in the last five years will be waterproof, can run anything you care to throw at it, its screen will still be fine, the cameras eminently good enough for what most of us 'snap', and so on. So for uncle Joe and cousin Betty, and probably for you, the reader, tech plateaued some time ago. With the likes of the iPhone X onwards, the Pixel 5 onwards, the Samsung S10 onwards, even if some niche security updates have now stopped, they still run up to date apps and have updated middleware - they'll do the job for everyone. And with the tech from such flagships rippling down to mid-priced phones and even really budget options,  even examples from those worlds in the last few years are now perfectly useable and long-lived. (True, in most case, you'll need a case these days, but that's a given.) Making for a short blog post. But talk t