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|Friday, April 20th, 2012|
For a couple of years, I've been phoned up around monthly by some nice Indians claiming to be "Windows Technical Department" or some similar name, and that they've phoned up because I have serious issues with my computer. My first exposure to them was a couple of years back, when my dad fell victim (he'd got issues, and felt guilty about always relying on me - he's usually pretty sharp, so I was surprised), and they effectively talked him through hacking his own computer. Fortunately he didn't pay them anything, and I was able to rebuild his computer so that it worked safely. They call from the same number (02133333206), and have done for years.
I intermittantly get frustrated, because it's so hard to believe these people are still operating. They hack and intimidate people, charge them to fix problems they create, and don't stop calling. You can't report it to the police unless you actually fall victim, and none of the relevant organisations say anything other than don't talk to them.
Enough people must fall victim for it to be worth them doing this, and yet they are still operating, from the same numbers, despite being known to many authorities. Just search the name and you'll see what I mean - warnings from Microsoft, various other places, or search the number, and you'll see lots of tales. They are targetting at all english speaking countries.
Surely something can be done? At the very least blocking their VOIP phone number above, or getting the VOIP provider to stop them using their service. One day I guess someone will find a way to stop cross border scams (especially these ones, which seem to be based in Calcutta and managed to find even numbers not published in the phone books).
|Sunday, July 10th, 2011|
|Legal input? NotW Theory
Heard a theory espoused that shutting down the News of the World was to avoid all the potential damages claims for hacking (4000 odd people hacked, Murdoch had already paid off people for £100,000 for a couple who'd been hacked, so that'd get quite expensive).
Does it work like that? By closing a company does the parent company avoid those legal responsibilities?
I've started to realise how insidious it is. By dropping support for old web features it's actually obsoleting older webpages, thereby making the web a medium for the current only, if it gets it's way. Gone would be the web as an archive of what happened, current thoughts only would matter. I guess that's what Web 2.0 is, a new web based on interaction, now, between people, rather than a useful resource for information.
|Wednesday, April 6th, 2011|
Why oh why has such a buggy bit of software gone out of Beta?
Almost every forum I visit has a "Firefox 4 Bugs" section.
On the website I run, it broke most of my pages, due to them using old, rather than recent HTML tags. In particular, it not longer supports the use of color tags in the body text, which set a default colour for all text on the screen. Well, except that isn't quite true. It does support them, but only for normal text and not in tables. If Firefox was just coming out and saying "We no longer support older HTML variants", that'd be fine, if they then implemented that in a consistent manner. My pages would then be in black on white, rather than yellow on black, whilst I bring them up to scratch, which would be fine. But no, they are instead yellow on black in some places, and black on black in others. And the Firefox reaction? "Well, if the site isn't using the latest HTML, that's their problem."
I guess it's just another variant of market leader can afford to screw everyone else.
I'm updating my site to use HTML 4.01, and W3C validating it for safety. I'm trying to keep it simple so it doesn't break too many older browsers. A few weeks of extra work I don't have time for, just so Firefox can remove code from their browser. Currently it works on every Internet Explorer, every Chrome, every older Firefox, and every phone browser I've ever tried, and displays the same. Well done Firefox 4, for managing to drop to the level of most detested browser for me.
|Saturday, February 19th, 2011|
|Am I missing something ?
Current UK voting system : Most popular candidate gets elected.
Proposed UK voting system : Most popular candidate gets elected if a majority don't hate them.
Isn't it that simple ?
|Thursday, December 9th, 2010|
|Read the Art of War you idiots !
I've not actually got a copy, so will have to paraphrase, especially as it's decades since I read it. However, the Art of War states quite simply that if you want your enemy to fight fiercely and to the death, the best way to achieve it is to surround them. If you want them to fight less fiercely and retreat, leave them a way out.
Apparently no one in the Metropolitan Police or the Government has read the Art of War, and thus do not realise that it's only been known for a couple of millenia that containing a crowd is the worst thing you can do to cool down a confrontation.
Kettling - Known to cause conflict escalation since the 6th century BC, but the chosen tactic of today's modern police force.
Of course, it's also possible that they do indeed know exactly what they are doing, and are trying to escalate the situations, so they can dismiss the concerns of the demonstrators due to outbreaks of violence. Or would that be too cynical.
|Friday, October 15th, 2010|
First Chuck episode included a brief cameo by Harry Dean Stanton as 'a' Repo Man !
|Sunday, September 12th, 2010|
|Shouldn't have blamed the cats.
Woke up this morning to a large ring of pidgeon feathers on the back grass. Assumed it was cats.
Came home this afternoon to another large ring of pidgeon feathers, about three feet from the first, with a happy looking sparrowhawk eating the pidgeon.
I wonder how large their range is, and what chance there is of more feathers soon !
|Friday, September 3rd, 2010|
|Unsolicited Phone Calls
I really hate unsolicited calls. Since registering with TPS a few years back, I don't get that many.
Most of the ones I do get now seem to come from India I think, though often routed through UK numbers, so probably using internet telephony or corporate networks to cut costs, whilst avoiding the TPS legislation from calling from abroad. The most amusing ones are usually those trying to sell me computer support, and claim I logged calls with them (a well known scam, they offer to do a free healthcheck, but they actually insert back doors into your computer and infect it so you call them back and they can 'fix it'. After that success, you might sign up for their ongoing support. The london number they called via has been linked to this on the internet for 18 months, so I don't think the police care, or maybe haven't the power do deal with it).
Anyhow, today I tried a new tack, which I think may be a keeper.
On being called, before I answered anything, I asked them three questions, "What is the full name of your company?", "What is your company's address?" and "What is the name of your managing director?". Or at least, I would have got that far, but they put the phone down before answering the second question. Much faster than trying to tell them I'm not interested, and I get the feeling they won't call back.
|Saturday, April 24th, 2010|
|Oi, Cameron, No !
This is not a presidential system. We do not vote for you, we vote for our local represenatives, and they decide who to put forward as a 'first among equals'. If a Prime Minister is now more than that, edging towards President, then THAT is the problem, not that we didn't elect the person that our representatives picked.
We need the whip system outlawed, and our representatives free to represent us, if it goes against their party line, not more emphasis placed on dictation from a tiny elite. Is the Conservative insistence that all candidate blogs and twitters are approved by central office just an indication of a plan to centralise all power? Is the plan to reduce the size of parliament just that plan again, rather than a marginal cost saving?
For a man who claims to want to devolve power to local councils, there isn't a lot of sign of it.
This is starting to get scary.
|Thursday, April 15th, 2010|
|Volcanos and the Media
It was very odd today, driving back from London, listening to the media (5 Live in this case) trying to talk about ash clouds and volcanoes. The highlight was a short interview with a volanologist who knew the area, and knew what is now likely. The lowlight was all the interviews with members of the public asking them when they'd be flying back, when there isn't a person on the planet who actually knows the answer to that question!
Have felt quite close to the recent volcano stories in Iceland, which I've been following mainly on www.icelandreview.com, as there wasn't much on other places (until today). The reason for this is we were on holiday there, around 15 miles from where the first fissure opened up, in March. The tour guide was telling us all day how there were lots of small earthquakes in the area, and showed us them increasing on an internet terminal in the evening. We were also told that Katla was rather overdue an explosion, it was right above the hotel. Usual tour guide winding up stuff. So, next morning, I went for breakfast, and everyone was "there's been an eruption". Turned out that had the wind been blowing the other direction we'd have been evacuated in the night, as we were that close, and that now we were stuck the other side of the exclusion zone from Reykjavik, and our flight home. Fortunately it turned out that it was just a small fissure (though it cancelled our drive up the glacier, as it was right where we would have driven), and not one of the volcanoes they feared going off (which were under major glaciers and would probably have taken out the road in flash floods), so we were allowed through the exclusion zone, past several police checkpoints.
However, this IS one of the ones they feared going off. It's not gone off for 190 odd years, and last time it did, lasted 2 years. The last three times it's gone off, it's triggered Katla, which is already overdue. So you've got to expect Katla to go off soon, which will be major, if it happens, though much shorter, more Mt St Helens. We're just not used to such things in Northern Europe in modern times. It can't be at all unlikely that for the next couple of years, we'll lose a few days of air travel every now and then when the wind is in the wrong direction.
|Saturday, March 27th, 2010|
|Politicians and Economics
Why do so few Politicians (and indeed Media commentators) seem to understand that there is a difference between Government Economics and Personal/Company Economics ?( moreCollapse )
|Saturday, January 23rd, 2010|
|So why isn't there a law . . .
that stops people in this country running scams on people in other countries, unless there happen to be British subjects who can be affected by them in those countries ?http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8475875.stm
It's madness that people can deliberately set out to con others, whilst being based in this country, and there is nothing that the police can do, surely ?
Are we as bad as those overseas callers, that call us trying to scam us, safely out of reach of our justice. Are people here doing just the same ?
|Thursday, January 21st, 2010|
Saw (and enjoyed) Avatar last night. Unlike many of the trailers before it, Cameron was able to use 3D to just give depth, rather than as cheesy shock tactics. Nice to see a 3D film that doesn't give nausea.
It's a much simpler plot, but it's leaving me wanting to re-read The Jesus Incident by Frank Herbert, which must have been an inspiration for Cameron (humans from a dying earth trying to survive (partially by bio-engineering people who could live unaided) on a planet called Pandora vs a host of deadly life forms, including an entity called Avata, whose nature would be a major spoiler for the movie if I explained it!).
I can see the real challenge with 3D will be seperating out those movies that can use it well and those that'll just make me feel ill. The issue seems to relate to fast moving, in-focus objects in the 'foreground', and the affect on me from this.
|Wednesday, January 6th, 2010|
|Monday, June 8th, 2009|
|Friday, April 17th, 2009|
|Sunday, November 9th, 2008|
Had a gig at a private party with Way Out West
last night. So good, so normal.
Had more time to set up than usual, so managed to use the multi-core and set up the mixer at the back of the room for best mixing. This isn't something that can usually be done in those frequent gigs where people are already around. It is much more satisfying, though.
All went as planned in the sound-check (other than finding a dodgy cable - since resoldered and fixed), til we hit the Ukulele and picked up a local radio station in addition !
Eventually tracked the issue down to one cable within the Multi-core, which though electrically identical (just verified that) to the other 19 cables, picked up radio !
Still, it was easy enough to work around (we only use half the cables in the multi-core anyway) and then the gig went swimmingly.
At one stage seeing the effect of the music on one member of the audience particularly, I thought we'd have to add a health warning - "This music may cause excessive mirth". He seemed to be really struggling to breathe and going an interesting purple colour.
|Sunday, September 28th, 2008|
Don't you love working with hosted servers.
I recently got a nice mail from my host of a couple of years, giving me free access to a lot of 'premium' services. Apparently there was going to be no visible impact on the website of being moved from one server to another.
Of course, life isn't that simple. Turns out the new server is a UNIX system that cares about case, as a result of which lots of the images on my LOTRO Crafting site quickly became broken. Still, nothing a couple of hours work couldn't fix.
Still, at the end of that, I was able to add a feedback form, and have access to far more information about people using the site than ever before. It's nice to be able to see the errors that people are getting when trying to access the site. Most of those that are now failing are due to things that used to look for .jpg now needing to look for .JPG. This has clearly confused Google Images by the number of 404's from there. I've also found a site someone has been building which basically copies and pastes lots of information from my site and other LOTRO sites, with no attribution, claiming it to be their own work, and just links the images from my (and other) sites. Cheeky.
Still, apparently lots I can do now, should I feel the need to start a forum, blog, guestbook or database on the site.