Category Archives: Guest post

Guest post: Things you can do to speed up your broadband connection

I’ve traded reciprocal guest posts with the nice people at Broadband Genie – my post on this topic lives here, so you can compare advice and see who you rate better :-). Yes, it’s a kind of mutual self-promotion, but I’ve written about the topic before and they’ve put together something that fit my specific request, which is how I’m always happy to receive (and indeed contribute) guest posts.

This post was conrtibuted by Rob Clymo from

If you live in the centre or even the outskirts of a town or city then chances are you will probably be able to enjoy high-speed Internet in one form or another. After all, the choices will be more extensive and connectivity is likely to be more durable too, either via ADSL or cable.

Out in the sticks

However, if you live out of town then it may well be an entirely different story because of less connectivity options and more issues with the technical side of things. Even if you live in an area covered by the extensive BT network, there are distinct possibilities that you’ll have to endure a poor level of performance due to your proximity to the local telephone exchange.

Broadband only deals and offers may well be plentiful back in town, but if you’re away from populated areas then you may well have to be just a little bit canny in order to pep up the performance of your current Internet connection.

People in this kind of scenario can often find that any chance of NGA, or next generation access, will be sorely forgotten because the range of next-generation optic fibres does not extend to them.

Faster, faster

Although Ofcom has already stated that the average UK broadband download speeds in the UK back in 2009 were 4.1mbps, many rural user still get far from that sort of performance even now. Of course, there are some things you can do to get a little bit more out of your current connection. Start by using the free tools on broadband comparison websites to find out what sort of speed you’re currently obtaining.

If it’s poor, or fluctuating, then you could try tracing back all of your cabling, repositioning routers, refreshing your supply of filters to the phone points and also shortening the distance between the connection point and your computer. If you’re on a conventional BT landline ADSL setup, or one that comes via their network, but through a different Internet service provider, then you may have the same problem.

Clearing interference

And while wireless broadband via a router at home can be handy, it can also mean slower connectivity. If you have problems, then try relocating your device to sit closer to the machine you’re using. Remember that these devices can suffer interference too, not only from things like walls and other obstructions, but also devices including baby monitors.

There are plenty of things that can slow down a broadband Internet connection, so working methodically back through the obvious potential suspects may reveal a defect or positioning issue that could resolve things a little and offer up a bit more speed.

Make a change

If all that fails to make much of a difference then consider another angle, including cable broadband from a provider such as Virgin Media. Their network doesn’t doesn’t cover all areas, but it could be a great alternative if you’re lucky enough to be in a catchment area.

Another route to take is that of mobile broadband, which is becoming cheaper, better performing and also very competitive. All of that means lots of great deals and offers for consumers, and although there are shortcomings with using large amounts of data, it can be an ideal solution if you consider yourself to be an average user of the high-speed Internet.

Guest post: sk on preparing for the new season

This post comes courtesy of  fellow B2L-er and ‘True Lad’  Sam Kane – always an inspiration… Follow him on Twitter at @SamKano.

I’ve loved sport all my life. You name it, I’ll try to play it. In the off-season though, I’ve never really done much training in preparation for the new season come September-time – I’ve always much preferred Red Stripe, crisps and Nandos (because I really am a True Lad) if I am honest. However, last season, I had a bit of awakening. I always used to be able to go out drinking on the Friday and still turn in a half-decent performance on the Saturday. The past season, I found that this was no longer the case… any boozing on a Friday meant sheer fatigue on a Saturday. I’m sure turning 30 and a visibly slowing metabolism is nothing more than a mere coincidence.

So this summer, I thought, for once I am going to make sure I am in some sort of shape for the coming September. And naturally, working in such close proximity with James and Armo meant running was front of mind. So I have been attempting to do a couple of runs a week to help with the upcoming season. The main sports I play (football and rugby) are very stop-start, and when it comes to running are much more about pace over 40m than any distance. As a result, long distance, which for me is about 800m, has never been a forte.

However, after talking with the LSR boys about their running exploits and the fact that a certain other person recently smashed a 10k run (it’s either talk “running” with them or actually try to have a conversation with them… the former always wins). The Charminator put me on to a really useful app, RunKeeper, which uses GPS to monitor your distance, heart rate, calories burnt, pace and speed. Despite the new advertising campaign for Adidas’ miCoach, starring SK-rejects Jessica Ennis and Victoria Pendleton (unlucky ladies), I can’t recommend this app highly enough. I have been running for about two months now and was taking on 7k runs. I’ve got my time down to 31.26 from an initial 34.50. This week however, I hit a true personal milestone.

I knew I was meeting a friend for the football last night, am going to a pub quiz tonight, have a birthday tomorrow and wedding reception on Saturday, meaning running won’t be too high on the agenda for the coming days. So I decided to do two laps of Wandsworth Common instead of the normal one, which transpires is a 10k run (ok 9.8km, but I’m new), to justify the impending drinking. I’ve only ever run as far once before in a Nike 10k, when the aforementioned age was considerably lower and the aforementioned metabolism was considerably faster. I got round then in 48.17. I surprised myself with the result (and believe me, my ego is often off the Richter). I clocked 44.28.

Now, I’ve seen what James and Armo do on this blog, so here are my mile times or “splits” as I believe people in the know call them:

Mile                  Pace (min/mile)

1                                             6.33
2                                             6.26
3                                             7.59
4                                             7.20
5                                             8.15
6                                             7.30

I think it’s fair to say I went off too quickly, but was pleased to almost keep under eight minutes a mile. There’s no doubt that the regular running has improved my fitness and probably put me in better stead for the upcoming season. And there are two other points to end on. 1) I’m now obviously completely ripped and 2) it is undoubtedly completely down to the sheer inspirations that are Armand David and James Coyle… Both are gospel truth…. Obviously…


Guest post: Claire’s British 10k experience

Fellow B2L Blogger Claire made a running-oriented new year’s resolution and kept to it! Here’s her race report. If you want to read more from Claire, and are into film, check her and colleague/co-writer Katie out over on idontwatchcoolmovies.

My New Years resolution was to get fit and start doing some exercise and the only way I could imagine motivating myself to do this was by signing up for a race. The British 10K presented the perfect opportunity – it was in July so there was plenty of time to train and it was 10k, which I thought was an achievable target but one that would take a bit more work than a 5k.

So July 11th soon rolled round and it was race day! With my dad by my side, amongst 24,998 other runners, we set of on our 10k journey. 1k came around much sooner than I expected and an attitude of ‘I can do this’ washed over me. Regrettably I lost my dad somewhere between 3-4k and I hit a real barrier around 6k, having to slow down to a fast paced walk. However, I soon picked it up again after a few minutes and got myself back on track. After another burst of walking around the 8k mark it was nearly over and I managed to push through to finish – and it was great. In my training I had only probably run up to about 8k, figuring if I could make it 80% of the way I may as well carry on until the end, and it completely worked. I wasn’t aiming for a ‘time’ as such, just to get through it, but I ended up feeling really pleased with myself as I did it in just over an hour (and ended up just one minute behind my dad after all). It was also a very hot morning and I will be eternally grateful for all the water points along the way, although you do have to be careful of the bottles littering the floor around them – a few accidents almost happened.

I have to say I wasn’t expecting the crowds and constant cheering to really have much of an impact, but it does and I have to admit I almost enjoyed it ;-) I have been for one (short) run since and plan to keep it up, so perhaps the next guest blog post from me will be for a much longer race……