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All Sorts of Knowledge is Probably Contained in LiveJournal
So, I thought I'd ask the collected LiveJournal mob for advice on a wide range of different subjects .

Cassette Adapter: Lots of people sell these, and we buy one about every three months, various different off brands. The main problems are:

- noise in the mechanism
- low sound levels with iPod
- weak connections everywhere

Web browsing suggests that it's all a bit of a lottery and expensive brands are often no better. Some people report good results with a £3 adapter, some terrible results with a £20 adapter. Does anyone have any good advice?

Retractable headphones: I want some earbuds of reasonable quality, of the isolationist type (shove deep in ears), with a retractable cable. I spend a few minutes untangling my cable every time I listen to music and I'm getting fed up. ZipKord have one but I'm not sure it's possible to buy it and I'm not sure how good it is. Other brands appear to be the fall-out-of-ears open type that's both rude and ineffective on the tube.

A really good saute pan: Needs to be big (think one-pot meal for six), non-stick, heavy, have a lid (our previous was Meyer Steelon now discontinued) and preferably go in the dishwasher.

One of those little trolleys on wheels that people take shopping: except that they seem to all be badly designed, presumably because people who walk to do their shop tend to be poor. We want someone to bring the same design considerations that have transformed baby buggies over the last few years to this problem. It needs to be light, fold small, and have a removable, waterproof bag made of, eg, pannier material.

A waterproof memo board, so I can jot down GTD ideas I have in the shower. As far as I can tell, I can't do better than writing on the wall with a chinagraph pencil.

A foolproof way to keep slugs out of the house: must not involve any form of poison. Snails too, thinking about it.

Will writing services for families.

Advice welcome.

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Don't know the Boots range, but I got a small Neutron pan from Habitat which seems to be pretty good, I'd imagine the larger ones are OK.

Sautee pan. Or, for that matter, any pan. http://www.allclad.com/

Memo board. Ceramic tile with grease pencil, which I think is USA for "chinagraph pencil". Or just write on the mirror.

Will service. If you have an attorney you work with now, consult them.

I've never found a casette adaptor or retractable headphones worth buying. Several people I know swear by the iTrip, but I don't know the density of radio stations in your neck of the world. If you have a modern car, it may have an auxiallry input for a CD player, in the form of an 1/8"/2.5mm TRS miniplug, or a pair of RCA jacks, in which case, the iPod cradle's Line Out and the right cable is Just So.

I don't know about "decent" sound, but for really, really good in-ear isolation 'phones, there's Shure E series, ($99 for good, $499 for great.) and then there is the Etymotic ER6 ($139, really, really good) and the Etymotic ER4 (The Gold Standard, $330)

In that vein, the Eytmotic ER20 earplugs are amazingly useful if you like live music, but not so loud. They work, and they're remarkably flat in what they cut, so they don't wreck the sound. At $12, they're a steal.

Earphones -- I'm considering the Etymotic 6i, the iPod version... but am waiting for a retractable version.
iTrip: very hard to use in the UK (especially in London, especially when driving because of the short range of most FM stations) plus it only works with one of our 3 iPods; plus it's illegal to use here (though we do own one).
Obviously, if we buy a new car, then an aux input is probably a key requirement. But this one doesn't have one. It may well have a CD-changer socket behind the radio somewhere -- one of the things we need to do is check. If it does then there's a fairly good solution (Ice-Link) for about £80. We use the iPod in the car a lot. The only problem with the IceLink is that it's very obviously an iPod cradle, so there's a risk our car would get broken into in search of the iPod that we never ever leave in the glove compartment.
Like most Londoners, the last time we used a solicitor was for conveyancing, and we came away determined never to give him any more business. When I've asked for advice on solicitors, everyone says, 'whatever you do, don't use the one I did'. (Except, to be fair, bugshaw, but she was a rather special case).

On the iTrip side of things, the Belkin Tunecast II is a much better approach - it's easier to tune, and can memorise the four frequencies you tend to use. It'll work with all the iPods - and I've seen them on sale on TCR recently (of course I'm just back from SF, otherwise I could have paid a trip to the Apple store for you!).

Solicitor-wise, why not check and see if there's one around you who does WillAid drafts? Not only are they cheaper, it'll also donate money to charity at the same time...

No idea on the retractable headphone cables. To be honest that's not something I've seen. However I have seen little cord winders that serve the same function - I think they're mainly intended for mobile phone hands free units, so you could check those TCR mobile phone shops...

Pans - I'd go Circulon and get the biggest pan you can get - tho' Circulon isn't dishwashable, however I find a quick swill around with hot water and a dishbrush remarkably effective with it!

Nationwide allocated us a firm of solicitors down in Exeter for our remortgage, and they were fine.

We'll probably use one in Ely for our wills, however. Must redo them now that Marcia is a UK citizen and joint owner of the house.

No personal experience, but http://www.dansdata.com/tbitety.htm and
http://www.dansdata.com/gz033.htm have some reviews/comments.

I'll second the Allclad recommendation - Ross Pavlac gave us one as a wedding present, and it's probably the best pan we have.

I have an iTrip - it works pretty well here.

Yes, yes, yes on the All-Clad pans. I adore mine. The stuff that comes with them advises not putting them in the dishwasher, but I think that this is for appearance reasons rather than anything else. I mean, they're covered in stainless steel for cripe's sake.

Diatomacous earth will get the slugs without being dangerous to other forms of life. Try an organic nursery or garden supply store.


The full stainless clad is dishwasher safe. The copper exterior pans won't be destroyed by a dishwasher, but, lordy, you'll spend more time polishing them than you will washing them by hand if you do. (And, yes, you'll need to -- corroded copper isn't nearly as good a conductor of heat)

Obviously, the non-stick pans aren't, but that's universal for non-stick you want to last.

Re wills: I know Brian and Caroline recently did this, you could check who they used.

Slug repellent: try sticky-backed copper tape across the relevant thresholds. I have a roll that you can borrow to test it out. (Acquired for dollshouse electrics).

Shopping trolleys: for years, I've been murmuring that the world needs Katherine Hamnett or Body Shop to design and market a stylish shopping trolley. We have a plain brown workhorse, bought from one of the suitcase places at Seven Sisters Market. One advantage of a dull, boring, bog standard shopping trolley is that you can leave it standing by the check-outs at the supermarket while you whizz around with a trolley or shopping baskets without being too worried if anyone should decide to nick it -- if they're desperate enough to go for such a boringly utilitarian object, their need must be more desperate than ours.

This is our third shopping trolley: I think the first was one of those lightweight foldaway thingies in discreet black -- whose wheels folded away when you tried wheeling it along with any load in, which made it completely useless. Then I picked up a fairly decrepit secondhand one from a local secondhand furniture shop, which we used until it suffered structural collapse. It was so handy that we rushed to the market to replace it.

We also have two of those 'hand trucks' that get advertised in mail order catalogues' gardening sections -- also v. useful for trips to allotment or B&Q. However, both have developed problems of axle pins dropping out and getting lost.

For the pan I'd try Paiges in Shaftesbury Avenue - our catering-quality pans we've got from there seem to last for ever. They have big saute pans, what they don't have are woks (which is why we buy a new one every 12 months).

I've been looking for retractable headphones too. Tell me if you find any - they don't need to be as good quality as you want them for.

The URL for GTD is davidco.com (not davidallenco.com).

On the shopping trolley thing, have you considered something like the rolling holdalls sold as luggage these days? Go to http://www.argos.co.uk and type in "A2B Urban Roller Holdall" for an example.

Saute pan - I have a set of sauteuses (which are similar) that my colleagues bought for me from Pages, on Shaftesbury avenue. They are fantastic. And Pages is great.

Retractable Headset

ZipKORD's Retractable stereo - In-Ear is very good - and you can buy it on their website (I did) - www.zipkord.com

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