It is high time that it's customers WalkWalk.
There is an early Christmas present for customers of TalkTalk Business as the company prepares to swing the axe on a legacy email service. Users of talktalkbusiness.net have received notification that TalkTalk intends to shut down email services for the domain. As of 4 January 2021, email addresses for the domain will simply …
You know when you've been dido-ed…
(Yes, I know she doesn't anti-work there any more, but the black hole effect still lingers…)
It's also just as well that businesses (and the rest of us) don't also have any other very critical and as yet undefined important business changes to occupy us immediately after 31 December 2020, isn't it? Having said that, any business, even a small one, using TalkTalk in any shape or form practically deserves to go bust…
" or register a domain and roll your own."
There are service providers who will act as registrars and mail service providers. Having your own domain does not mean having to run your own server.
A business with a gmail, hotmail or whatever address rather than its own domain raises a flag with me (and it's surprising - or maybe not - how many offers of web site design, app design, SEO etc come from allaged businesses without a domain to call their own). A TalkTalk address would have raised an even bigger flag.
... and if your're going to get your own domain please, please ensure that you have the registration directly with the domain service provider. Have seen too many examples of an organisation paying for a domain via a third party (web designer etc) only to have their domain suspended/cancelled because the third party hasn't paid the required subscription fees. Use third party services if relevant but always register the domain directly.
please ensure that you have the registration directly with the domain service provider
Absolutely. One of the first things I did in the current role was to take control of our own domains, it took me a few years to manage it and I ended up having to pay one company a significant transfer fee to release a domain but we got there. All our domains are directly with two providers (UK and Aus) and in our name.
"Have seen too many examples of an organisation paying for a domain via a third party (web designer etc) only to have their domain suspended/cancelled "
I've seen a number of cases where the "third party" then sold the domain to someone else for fun and profit
Good luck getting any happy resolution when that happens.
"A business with a gmail, hotmail or whatever address rather than its own domain raises a flag with me"
A lot of the ones I see like this are usually one man bands like window cleaners, builders or holiday lets, basically non-tech small businesses who set their email addresses up years ago and either don't have the knowledge or will to change it.
On a tangent, but related, one of my flags is when I see a business telephone number where they have the area code in London as 020x or in Reading 01189. I immediately know that this business is to thick to understand how area codes and local phone numbers work. Best see if there is a more intelligent provider out there.
"I immediately know that this business is to [sic] thick to understand how area codes and local phone numbers work"
To be fair most people are experts in something you and I are not. I don't let number arrangement bother me anymore because I never dial the local part by itself anyway. As far as I'm concerned, a UK telephone number is a string of numbers normally starting with +44 or zero.
"to be fair most people are experts in something you and I are not"
Showing a seven-digit local number which plainly WILL NOT WORK if dialled as-is shows a pretty fucking braindead approach to doing business
You start wondering how such companies STAY in business
It's stay, not expand in business.
The number on the side of a van/shop frontage etc. is to attract new customers- tell 'em your number.
It won't lose them customers who get their details by recommendation - but it will block off an extra source of business. So they can stay in business if they don't rely on passing trade.
In Sheffield there's been a long-standing shop frontage claiming it's phone number is 01142 2xx-xxxx. Yes, they've put the 2 *both* on the dialling code *and* on the local number, completely destroying it.
Just yesterday I spotted a second one. A take-away. Too thick to notice they have actively gone out of their way to prevent any potential customers contacting them.
Perhaps the most worrying thing about the "0207" fan club is that a lot of the members of it seem to be journalists (or at least reporters or newsreaders, not necessarily the same thing) or other media relations "professionals" who, given that it is their whole job to relay information clearly, succinctly, and correctly, Really Ought To Know Better, grrrr…
I can't help wondering how many businesses it would effect. From a PR point of view having that as part of your email address implies you are either way too small to have your own domain or really cheap. In other words you're a Mickey Mouse operation, a very very small rodent of an operation.
This is talktalk business and small companies employing a dozen or so staff would quite reasonably use this. They aren't big enough to have their own tech support, may not be in a tech industry and have little or no knowledge or interest. They just wan an email system that works.
But that "very very small" " Mickey Mouse" operations is a couple of dozen, or more, livelihoods, not including the thin margins of their suppliers etc. Multiplied by by thousands of businesses. And in a Pandemic with lockdown etc.
This could be the difference between survival till things recover or failure for many of these companies.
We can't all work for Amazon.
I just can't believe that businesses that depend upon email use a third party email service (and put up with the whims of such).
It's not hard, or expensive, to register a domain name with a service like OVH. You get a little bit of webspace and an email address (with aliases). More space or addresses? Buy a higher tier offering.
The upsides? Your email service (they run the server), your domain name (looks more professional), and if they should pull the plug on you (unlikely as it's their business, but hypothetically) then just shift your domain to a different host.
I agree. Ease aside, the only reason I can think of not getting your own domain and email address is if you've got a very common business name and can't get a web address to match it. However, even an address that''s not identical to the company name looks better, IMO, than something tagged talktalk or btinternet .
"I just can't believe that businesses that depend upon email use a third party email service (and put up with the whims of such)."
You would be completely gobsmacked how many use the email@domain provided by their broadband ISP and end up being vendor-locked as a result
I think us geeks here are guilty of mixing up businesses with tech businesses.
Most (small) non-tech business I know couldn't give the slightest shit about computers, phones, internet connections, domains, websites and all that malarky. They absolutely know they need such evil things but look elsewhere for that stuff to get sorted out, to enable them to concentrate on what they do & the reason they're in business - plastering walls, preparing food, whatever. For the same reason they're likely to call a plumber if the sink breaks, they're likely to rely on other people or business to sort their tech.
Even though *I* have long held it makes loads of sense to have a domain and at the very least forward your mail to somewhere so the address people know never evaporates, why on earth should we expect a business owner to understand, nay second-guess that this might happen? Or even that it "looks bad" just cos _we_ all know that @talktalkbusiness looks bollocks (and even then, not for any good reason other than we know TalkTalk is bollocks).
Going to someone that holds themselves out as SomethingSomething *business* seems like a perfectly good idea on the face of it. If I'm a business, I've bought a business service from a big place that provides business services. It even has business in the name. Sounds good to me. The likes of us and/or regulation should be holding the likes of TalkTalk to a higher standard.
... especially because when forwarded, some kind of Sender Policy Framework "feature" will manifest itself, and all your email will get dropped because the service forwarding it isn't the same as the service where it originated, hence next hop (e.g. your isp, just before you grab it) "knows" it is forged and silently deletes it.
I don't forward from my personal domains any more, I download directly from the hosting service using imap.
True. Like the local garage I use for the MOT. They've been on XP for years and last year were still on it with the database they use just be slapped in MSAccess. I was going to offer services to upgrade but knew they probably didn't give a shit.
Went recently and someone has obviously told them as they are now on Windows 10 but with the same database in MSAccess. Which is all fine, I'm just curious to know if that machine is connected to the Internet and how secure that database is. Again, I suspect they don't give a shit.
Not all Car Mechanics are going to be an IT whizz. I help my car mechanic out with IT. Him and all the staff are techno-phobic. Can't do anything about that. Computers are not their "thing".
In his case he has a Windows XP system running an really archaic database for creating his invoices. It works. He knows how to make it work. That is all he needs. A "Cloud Solution" would be far too weird for him.
Earlier this year that XP PC was still running. ZERO connection to the internet so it is safe as houses. (Also how many hackers would even know how to break into XP anyway?)
As the PC was getting old, he now has a Win10 box. (I pointed out the PC was as old as his son... and his son can now legally buy beer) And that XP system? Happy in a VM with zero access to the Internet, but he can keep working.
Car mechanics don't use email. Clients phone or drive in.
(I think if I talked about the other Engineering guy who is using DOS you would have kittens... :D)
Him and all the staff are techno-phobic.
I doubt that. Very, very strongly.
Computer-phobic I'd grant you.
But a techno-phobic car mechanic? There are few jobs where you don't have to deal with technology at all anyway, and ones that do so in the most limited way imaginable are also scarce and getting more scarce every year.
My mechanic, until he retired two years ago, used an invoicing system that worked on DOS on what looked like an original XT, with 5.25" floppies. He never saw any reason to change because what he had worked.
As for ordering, phone call with confirmation fax. Fax is still used around here as a signed piece of paper sent by fax carries legal weight, the same sent as an attachment by email does not, because it isn't a direct connection and could easily be modified en-route.
As for technophobe, he had no idea about new-fangled stuff such as ODB2. He was great at maintaing any car that predates computers inside, but sadly technology kind of left him behind. Or maybe, given the many restrictions on messing around with managed engines, he didn't think it was worthwhile even bothering?
My old mechanic found out my job and roped me in to keep his old business PC going. This was in 2005. It was an amber screened 286 that used a dialup modem to contact the parts database of his supplier. Managed to repair it (PSU) and source 4 similar chassis for future parts donation from the graveyard at the college I worked at. He was chuffed to bits.
Scavaging a 10Gb HDD & a Ghost image of the failing drive got me a free MOT & a few other after hours services at a garage in Ilminster.
Here's a pint to Dave (Have you got that Triumph Stag roadworthy yet - Fuck it he wont be reading this anyway) & the legendary Shermie (Who so often got me through any car issues by his love of old cars, welder & MOT inspector, he was also a IT Guy, TV\Radio repair & cider press repair guy (That's just the start of the many hats I saw him wear)). He truely was\is your go to man.
Icon - Here's a pint of scrumpy until the next time I'm down in the shire(s).
This comment is mostly good, but then I saw this: "(Also how many hackers would even know how to break into XP anyway?)". The answer: a lot of them. XP has holes, and if it wasn't patched, some really big holes. Someone who didn't update the operating system, even just to Windows 7, probably doesn't have great patching regimes for the XP boxes. Protection against malware which makes it to execution is almost nil. Protection against external penetration is a little better, depending on the firewall settings, but there are bugs which can allow an automated installation of software without needing the user's permission. Put an XP box on the public internet and someone will be attacking it soon. Put an XP box without the emergency patches from 2017 on the public internet and it'll be in a botnet in half an hour. With luck, most XP machines still in use are either kept offline or at least behind a NAT or restrictive firewall.
While I don't know if it's relevant here. Not every garage is an MOT station. Our local, nearest, for example takes cars to a friend who does the MOT at his place. This is not uncommon. Some just do servicing and repairs and leave MOT to bigger places. Some just don't want to do admin and prefer to keep their hands oily.
My local (independent) garage has a complete online booking ( pick what you need, eg, MOT, headlamp fix, air con, etc) and invoicing system with their own fancy domain
As for old systems and car diagnostics : https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/227828-the-mclaren-f1-supercar-can-only-be-serviced-with-this-ancient-compaq-laptop ( also covered somewhere in The Register)
Giving a shit only occurs after some major disaster has befallen them, whether it's ransomware, disk failure, phishing attack, virus infection or the secretary watering the houseplants plants on top of the "hard disk". Then they will do a bit of (but probably not enough) shit giving, though many of them will almost certainly try to find a scapegoat to blame first.
One thing to bear in mind is that a lot of legacy diagnostic software doesn't work on anything other than XP. I diagnose Peugeots freelance and the best software is one that only runs on XP 32 bit.
Yes there are newer programs out there (Diagbox) but its clunky and far less user friendly than good ol Peugeot Planet.
One thing to bear in mind is that a lot of legacy diagnostic software doesn't work on anything other than XP. I diagnose Peugeots freelance and the best software is one that only runs on XP 32 bit.
That's what VMs are for.
I've had no issues running various vehicle diagnostics/programming tools in a VM (XP or Win7). Admittedly my diagnostics laptop runs win 7 but still.
Mostly issues tend to be due to crappy cables. Some software can be quite touchy about timings especially if you're intending to program any modules. It is worth spending the extra for real FTDI.
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Not relevant to the conversation. There's a GMail address behind my domains, but you don't see that if you want to email the domains in question. Using a single mailbox rather than a domain seems unprofessional, and for certain types or sizes of institution, it is. A single mail address usually means a single mailbox, with everyone having access to it. For that reason, I wouldn't send any personal or financial information to a company using one of those. For something smaller, I don't care so much. It's about what address they want me to use, not what addresses they might have behind the scenes.
"So you have your own domain what email address did you use to register it?"
That's an interesting bootstrapping question.
When I first registered a domain, I would have used the email address I had with my ISP to register it (but for subsequent domains, I would then have used an address on my first/main domain, so, once you are initially up and running, that is no longer an issue).
Hmm, and for registering with my first ISP, I guess I must have used my Spuddy email address (thanks, sweh!)…?
(And for a Spuddy account, you could self-register an account. I guess if that option hadn't been available to me, only then would I have had to register with my first "proper" ISP by post or «shudder» phone…)
There's a similar issue these days if you want to buy a kitchen knife in a shop. These now come in heat sealed plastic packaging or have zip ties attaching them to a backing board. No problem, just use some scissors! But scissors now also come in heat sealed plastic packaging or have zip ties attaching them to a backing board.
At some point in the future, someone will be setting up home for the first time, and could discover that they don't already have a pair of scissors or have a relative or friend in reach that they can borrow a pair from to start the process…
"no chance of updating the accounts of all the contacts and businesses that use them."
You don't have to write them individual emails, send out an email to multiple recipients but just remember to put them all in BCC. OK? But we all know what's going to happen, don't we.
One thing to consider - send out the email from the old address, otherwise it'll look like a scam to some recipients. In fact it shod look like a scam to all of them except fellow victims.
I've recently changed mail address. The easy bit was emailing a bunch of contacts with my new address. The hard bit was getting people to use it, because although they updated address books and deleted my old address as requested, the autofill in most of their mail clients still enters my old address when they type my name in the 'send' box. I've got a year before the old hosting expires which was intended to catch any registrations for forgotten accounts and services, so luckily I've got time to help people sort it out their mail settings. The poor buggers on talktalk won't get much time to do any of this, will they?
Oh - and great advice to send the details from the old address - and include something personal if possible otherwise many people, particularly techhies, will just ignore it. I didn't the first time, but I got enough queries to make me send another message from the old mail address
"the autofill in most of their mail clients still enters my old address"
Which is made doubly worse because too many email programs or systems nowadays (especially mobile apps) have adopted the absolutely fucktarded UI "design" of showing only the person's name in the recipient field and not also the email address, meaning if you have selected (or had auto-selected for you) the wrong email address you have no way of spotting this!
Not to mention the not even remotely unusual concept that someone may have different email addresses (in your address book) for work, home or various other purposes, and you still want to be sure that the email is going to the right one.
And also not to mention that part of the reason that phishing emails often work is because, tada, again fucktarded email clients only show the name and not the email address (not that that's a guarantee that the From line is not a spoofed real address with a different Reply-To, but it still helps).
And (contd. p 94)
(It's the same reason that it's a good idea to always include the day of the week when quoting dates to people: not only does it helpfullly save (each recipient × several seconds) of time for them to not have to look up which day is meant, in case that affects their availability, but it also acts as a sanity check in case you typoed/brainoed the date that you actually meant incorrectly.)
"Did you contact them on email@example.com?"
They probably waited the requisite 30 minutes between sending the enquiry and publishing the story, then because the response came in after that, ignored it.
That's my PERSONAL and repeated experience of such "theregister" claims about having "contacted the organisation" - it's their version of "being economical with the truth"
Not a great look for Talk Talk, but businesses should be using their own domain for email anyway. Ensures that nonsense like this can't happen. A very small cost for the flexibility it gives. If you don't want email infrastructure, then you can always forward it to a free email service, or get a cheap plan from a cloud email provider.
The companies that I find most bizarre are ones that clearly have a domain for their website, but STILL use AOL, TalkTalk, Hotmail, Gmail, BigPond, etc domains for their email.
Why on earth does any organisation calling itself a "business" rely on a service such as this? Getting your own domain, getting it hosted with someone who provides an email service is so cheap and easy to do. If this one month notice is all that TalkTalk has given, then that is bad practice. I would reward that with a migration away from TalkTalk. If they did give decent notice before, then the fault is entirely on those who ignored that notice.
Not everyone is like the average El Reg reader, so I can see why smaller businesses may have used such an email setup. But Talk Talk only giving a month's notice for the closure of the service is completely shit (though to be honest, would we expect anything else from them?). As someone above said, moving to a new email address etc is just about viable in that timeframe, but getting anyone to take any notice of it (esp over a pandamic hit holiday period) is a different matter.
The timing is the worst bit.
Let’s announce on the 1st of December we are shutting down a service that you have just used for years.
So in December instead of the normal 25 working days we only have 23.
Effectively most businesses are shut from the 25th to the 4th jan.
It is the busiest time for a lot of businesses who will be trying to stay afloat after the effect of the lockdown.
A lot of the customers for this sort of service will probably be small one man retail or service companies.
The people they need to update will probably be suppliers and invoicing systems.
If they announced today that the service would terminate at the end of March it would give people a couple of invoice cycles to ensure everything had been changed over. But.....
"The timing is the worst bit."
Yes, but.... it's been impossible to GET one of these addresses for years and they HAVE actually had the decency to warn customers for several years that it was going to go away
Giving 1 month notice on an actual drop dead is bad practice but they've been telling people to move for at least 5 years and to be honest in my experience people would scream loudly when given the 30 day notice even if told a year in advance that 1/1/2021 is drop dead date
In that respect, British business operators are just like the British government's preparations for Brexit - ignore the warnings/looming deadline, then make it all someone else's fault when it doesn't go away
This kind of attitude is WHY foreign buyers have tended to avoid "British" products for decades