Officially stupid – yes that’s me !

24 06 2008

I’ve been working in IT since 1990 which makes me..

  • almost middle-aged
  • cynical
  • continually surprised by the stupidity of the average web user..

..and many more no-doubt, but it is this last category of definition I want to talk about in this post..

As a warning I should tell you that this post is more of a therapeutic rant than anything else. I can’t find any other avenue of resolution for my frustration, so if you read on and are bored – you have been warned.

I pride myself on spotting the usual web scams, I have (of course) been amazed at the generosity of our west african citizens and their willingness to help my bank account swell to ecclestonian proportions or that apparently if I forward certain emails my entire hard drive will be wiped, my car will transform into a pumpkin and I will awake to an enforced sex-change operation.. Computers and the web continue to baffle the most logical and intelligent of people – something which provides opportunity for those people with less scruples than you or I..

Which brings me to my current frustration..

In retrospect, I guess, it’s never a good idea to buy things last minute or when under pressure but occasionally we all do it.

It was the night before my son’s birthday and I was still looking for that ‘something’ special (after all what do you buy the teenager who has it all ?) when I happened upon this site which prompted me along the following thought pattern..

  • hmm, cricket ? what a good idea – he likes cricket
  • England – NZ ODI – in Lords, sounds great
  • £145 per ticket !! jeez I’m getting old
  • I spose thats what you pay for an all-day seat at Lords..
  • ah, well it’s only once a year
  • click, type, pay, print, relax..

My son was OTM about going to Lords, so I mused, it was going to be money well spent. That is, until this morning, when the tickets dropped through the letter box.

To my horror the face value on the tickets was £65. I had been well and truly done up like a kipper.

I surfed in anger to find an avenue of retribution but it would appear there is none.

I spoke to Eileen at the Trading Standards, they were helpful and sympathetic but there is no recourse. The following is an extract from their website which pertains to ticket purchases..

“Price Indications (Resale of Tickets) Regulations 1994

These Regulations apply to persons acting in the course of business who re-sell tickets for entertainment events to consumers.

A consumer is entitled to expect that, when a re-seller states the price of a ticket, any information which was originally printed on the ticket by the event holder or promoter, such as the price of the ticket and location of seating, is also given. If the ticket does not contain specific details, the re-seller is required to take reasonable steps to ensure that as much accurate and relevant information as possible is given on things like location of seating and whether there is a restricted view.

These regulations are designed to allow consumers to make informed decisions about whether or not to buy the tickets.”

You can read it in it’s entirety here if you’re interested. Basically the vendor had complied by sending me the original ticket, there is no need to give prior warning of the 110% profit they may make on the tickets you purchase.. I did however, manage to persuade them to refer the case to the OFT on the grounds that a criminal act had taken place.

I won’t be holding my breath, but hopefully, somewhere down the line the robbing b*stards get what’s coming to them.

They say that retrospection gives the clarity required to navigate a dangerous course.. guess I should have read the map before setting off on this particular journey..


google search

Sunday Mail





Kudos to OpenDNS

18 06 2008

strange how you learn to live with things that you should really deal with sooner rather than later..

it’s a common theme which has cropped up in my life time and time again.. getting a new job, fixing the leaking shower, finishing the painting in the bedroom etc etc; you get the picture ?

one of those moments has just happened to me where I wish I’d spent some time sorting it out and then I wouldn’t have wasted hours sitting looking at a damn blank screen..

sorry if this gets a bit technical but someone may learn from it..

I run Mac’s and of course (being a fanboi) immediately upgraded to Leopard when it was released.. (upgraded the GF’s Mac too – more on that in a bit). Ever since upgrading to Leopard I’ve been getting weird errors in my browser (mainly Firefox, but Safari too) along with that (now I think about it in hindsight) some weird connectivity errors and issues when connecting to different services on the web.. (FTP, webdav etc)

Mainly the issues occurred when searching google or navigating to google pages.. There was a definite slowdown of the web as far as I could see.. I hang my head though when I say it wasn’t slow enough to make me go and sort it out..

Now the GF has been moaning vociferously about the performance of her Mac when browsing and TBH I didn’t give it much brain cycles cos it didn’t directly affect me.. “Try Safari” I told her and other helpful things like that but it didn’t stop the moaning. I thought perhaps it’s a wireless issue so I hardwired the mac to a devolo EOP device… which helped NOT..

Then today I reverted back to my iphone (been using my blackberry on holiday) and I couldn’t get the wifi to work it just would not connect to the internet – connect to the wifi yes, but I couldn’t browse anything or twitter or email or flickr or any of the things I’ve come to rely (?) on with mr jobs toy..

Anyway, so I restore it to virgin 1.1.4 then ziphone it, (nada) then restore and try iLibertyX same result… hmm, must be fcuked thinks I (after all I did drop it the other day)

In the middle of all this, GF comes in an announces that her Mac is unusable and (horror) she’s having to use her work (windows) laptop to do her hotmail (don’t ask).. and “her laptop is 10 times faster than the stupid mac”.. OK OK I give in..

I make a cup of tea (still off alcohol – boo), and employ a spot of judicious googling..

“firefox mac os x slow”

is all it takes to get me started on the thread..

I read this interesting article about IPV6 and DNS which got me thinking about DNS in general..

(I tried turning off IPV6 resolution with little effect) the comments at the bottom of this page was a link to discussion forum about Verizon and it’s slow DNS servers..

..which gets me thinking..

OK, so I pay £18 a month for “lightning” fast broadband from – the quotes are mine, the claim is theirs – which is supposed to upto 24mbps but never exceeds 6mbps not that I mind cos thats plenty fast enough for me.. however.. I got to wondering if their DNS servers are upto snuff..

Guess what, I updated my system preferences to use the Open DNS settings mentioned in the Verizon discussion and it was an instant improvement.. did a little testing (i.e. navigated to three sites) and proceeded to proclaim my brilliance to the GF.. I changed her settings too which had the same effect.. My status as an IT deity was restored (at least for today)..

Upside to all this.. I updated my router so that it uses Open DNS and provides those IP’s to DHCP clients and guess what.. all of a sudden my iphone can connect to the web !

Happy days…

Tree 1 : Leg 0

18 06 2008

Leg 0

interestingly as I stood in the shower watching the water run down my leg, it didn’t occur to me that I’d managed to bring home a piece of the forest with me..

Sure, I’d brought lot’s home on my bike and some on my clothes, but not in my body..

Sounds sordid I know, but I’d never noticed the graze on my leg had turned into a raging blood torrent cos I was pedalling so fast..

It happened like this..

I was riding my bike in Delamere Forest when me n sam decided to have a race (well I raced off and he chased me). This invloves me riding as fast as I can down a long downhill and then up the otherside, however, this time I noticed a new track I’d not been down so I jammed on the brakes and turned left onto the new track.. turned out to be a great (awesome) trail which was mainly downhill and was heading vaguely in the right direction. It was wide enough to go fast(ish) not too many overhanging branches to smack my head on and no major logs in the path..

..until I came round a left hand bend and there was a deer in the path..

I don’t know who was more surprised.. anyway I went right, the deer went left and all was OK apart from me smacking my leg into a tree stump, but not enough to fall off. Sure it hurt, but I was winning the race so I wasn’t going to stop..

..cut to the car..

Hmm thats more than a graze thinks I.. I’ll sort it in the shower..

So, there I am in the shower watching the blood wash away except for this stubborn dried clot hanging to my shin. I tried flicking it off but it wouldn’t budge so I ran my finger over it.. I figured it was a big lump of skin so I tried to peel it off.. It came away in my hand and then the pain shot up to my brain..

After a lot of swearing I finally got round to looking at the offending lump of skin.. turns out it was a piece of wood ! I guess I’d speared my leg on a stick or something, not the tree-stump I thought..

Anyway, I kept the wood (about 3cms by 1cms) for posterity. Worst thing is, I’ve been back since and I can’t find the same track even though I’ve retraced my steps.