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Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 up's down's side ways, backwards.

What shapes our lives?
What forges us to be what we are?
Where do these memories that fade come from and go to?
Where do these things we see but never understand fall into place?
A year of turbulence in the beginning and now at the end.
A year of highs, lows, and madness, like everyone else the year has had its amazing moments and its horrible ones.

So I sit putting my head together not for you, but for me as I always do at this time of year.
As we get ready to say goodbye to the 12 year in the 20th century.
We remember the good, we remember the bad, we never forget the beautiful and we always push forward for new experiences, new highs, new lows, and new interests to be discovered.

What the 13th year holds for us all we won't know till it arrives and then with the magnificence of what is hindsight we will look back in 52 weeks and see where we could have improved, where we could have been better, where we could have done worse and where we lost control of the things that mattered to us.

As we all do now, as we prepare to celebrate the coming of this new year.
We all sit panicking looking back at what has happened and shaped the year, be it consciously or subconsciously.

I can't say I am better or worse than anyone else, these are just words I type out before me while I shift images and memories in my head from one place to another, as I remember holding that person as they cried on my shoulder, as I recall how I was helped up when I fell to the floor as my body gave way beneath me. The smile from a child we never knew that rang out radiantly when they did something amazing for the first time though to you and me it was something we had been doing all our lives.

The perfection in the way the sun lit the sky and how the darkness came early with the rain. The snow that washed away the darkness in the night and the stars that sparkled always so bright.

What the new year holds for us all? Only you can find that, all of you.

What I Wish my year holds for me. What it always holds for me surprises, twists, turns and that smile I adore.

Its with these words I end 2012 heading into 2013 not with promises to myself to improve who I am or how I live, to give up the habits I should have given up decades ago. But to wish you all the best of luck and hope and luck in what ever you strive to do. There is nothing without hope and we all need it from time to time.

So Have a happy new years celebration world. I hope to see you on the other side of it.
And if I don't just remember a world is what you make it. Your dreams can come true. If you try as hard as you can to make them come true.

Just find the right words, the right ways, and the right ideas, and you will get there in the end.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Hornby, Scalextric, Work, and The World.

For the last 7/8 years I have been running Scalextric Racing, I have moaned about the job and I have moaned about customers and I have moaned about a lot of things to do with it, be it the way the boss's are or the way the site is treated by some of its customers, I have never really moaned about the product. I have usually stood up for the product be it to customers or in general.
Today it ends.

I was explaining to a customer as is the normal how to build a 4 lane track, how to make it over sized and how to keep the power through the track constant, the use of more than one transformer, cable extensions to keep the power up and so on, promoting the power base for its ability to have a transformer for each lane and that though the cars were 12 volt and the transformer was 16 volt it needed the extra voltage to keep the cars going over greater distances because of the resistance in the track when I noticed it. On the new power base box a big 15V logo and that the plug for the transformer point was different, I opened the box thinking oh what they done! To discover that the plug is now the START plug and transformer. This isn't really a major problem if your using the track in the box. If that's all the track you are ever going to use then this is all good. HANG ON A MOMENT! How many of us build a track that we got in a box? We build the track then we go out and we purchase all manner of straights and corners to increase the size and make different designs we end up with great tracks we enjoy racing and they end up a lot longer than the track in the box. This means we need more power, any one who races knows how the cars slow down as we get further away from the power base and having a transformer for each lane is a better idea and then the power taps go in and this extends the power a bit further.

The other issue when you have a long track on one transformer is that when one car breaks to slow for the corner the other car will increase in speed as it gets more power, causing it to spin off and crash. With the power supply that has been around for the last decade this has been stopped by having TWO transformers running each lane independently.

This is not my major grumble, though it does mean that as our power bases die we will have to find alternative ways of running 120 feet of track. My major grumble is that Hornby keep jacking the prices up and up a detailed car with lights (If you're lucky and it has lights) will cost you £39.99 (At the time of writing this that is the price on detailed cars this may go up in the new year or may go down but I doubt it)
The power base is £26.50 it has not increased in price for 2 years thankfully, but the components inside have gone down in quality, it takes 2 controllers still, (Scalextric Controllers are not the best) But it now uses the START transformer, its a large square plug no switch to alter the power supply and only one plug able to be inserted!
So its a cheaper product at a penny more than the original with the ability to run two transformers!
This is also the power base I found in the latest sets as well.

Not happy bunny with Hornby this most trusted of British institutions.
An yes its all about making money and surviving and its a recession and we are all finding it hard but really! Hornby your half a million in debt, you are struggling to shift products, your inflating your prices well over inflation oh and your lowering the quality which means they are costing you less.

How about you sit down sort out your head and be the hobby company you used to be with good product that arrived on time instead of 6 months late, was what you said it was going to be and stop wasting money on crap that no one really wants. An no I'm not talking about the STAR WARS toys or the vast amount of Olympics merchandise you couldn't shift and ended up selling off with an 85% reduction.