* Posts by David McCarthy

41 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Dec 2007

123-Reg is at it again: Registrar charges chap for domains he didn’t order – and didn't want

David McCarthy

Not just 123reg but also LCN (though not on auto-renew)

I've been passed an email by a client who has a .co.uk registered with LCN ... the email encourages him to renew the .uk version of the domain or " ... all associated services on your domain name will stop working."

He doesn't have any services associated with the domain, but the tone of the email could easily spook non tech people into renewing. Not good.

Personally wouldn't touch LCN (domains or hosting) with a barge pole.

It’s baaack – Microsoft starts pushing out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

David McCarthy

Re: Windows 10 scares the shit outta me

I'm with you ... we're still on Win7 - have too many friends & associates who have had major problems with Win10. Last two PCs bought without OS and Win7 bought from eBay (I'm very careful about the vendors I purchase from).

But ... where can I get/how do I do a pirated LTSC (and what is it?). Need this as insurance for a future catastrophe.

Happy Thursday! 770 MEEELLLION email addresses and passwords found in yuge data breach

David McCarthy

Re: Blackmail spam

(Smug) Don't have a webcam.

David McCarthy

Re: explanation

Cunningly, I don't have a webcam.

If you have inner peace, it's probably 'cos your broadband works: Zen Internet least whinged-about Brit ISP – survey

David McCarthy

Beaming.biz for us

After a personal recommendation in 2006, we moved from troublesome PlusNet to Beaming.biz. They are a smallish outfit who never get into the league tables because they have stayed small. They are based in the Hastings area.

They answer the phones, they call back when they promise to. There are no call centre staff, just technical engineers. Some of the people we've got to know over the years are still there. And what's more important, some of them know us. We only have a 70meg broadband service ... no phones, nothing fancy ... and yet they make us feel that we are important to them.

We've had a number of speed increases at no extra cost ... in fact the cost hasn't gone up for several years.

And if there's a problem with the BT infrastructure ... they do all the chasing and kicking.

So long as they don't sell out to a big outfit (as happened to our hosting service two years ago), we would never move.

Do we recommend Beaming? All the time!

Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

David McCarthy

I have this notion that GDPR says you have to tell people what data you're collecting and why. This would apply wether or not you have an account. This clearly isn't happening.

Also, only the necesary data should be collected (by default) to enable the service to be provided (to the individual). If they don't have an account, or are not logged in ... then Facebook isn't providing a service ... and so shouldn't be collecting ANY data.

Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to: Maps, Search won't take no for an answer

David McCarthy

Google Chrome tracking on a PC

I know that Google are aware of my location, even though I'm not logged in to any of my Google accounts. And, yes, I have the location setting at 'ask' and 'don't track' in Chrome.

If I load up Google Maps on my PC in Chrome, the default location shown is where I live. I have NOT set the 'Home' location.

If I load up Bing Maps in Chrome, the default location is the town where my ISP is based (some 90 miles away). The same happens if I load Google Maps in Firefox.

This shows Microsoft doesn't know where I am (or is smart enough not to let me know that they know), but Google & Chrome does know where I live.

There seems to be no equivalent "Web and App Activity" setting in Chrome.

And I always thought Microsoft were the worst of the baddies!

Happy 10th birthday, Evernote: You have survived Google and Microsoft. For your next challenge...

David McCarthy

Have been an occasional user of Evernote for years, paying for the Pro version now.

But I'd still like to have Agenda back too. There are still thinks I could do with it that can't easily be done any other way.

East Midlands network-sniffer wails: Openreach, fix my outage-ridden line

David McCarthy

I'm keeping quiet about my ISP

Whatever you do, don't use Beaming - if they get too many new customers, I might not get such excellent service.

David McCarthy

Totally agree. Our ISP is Beaming (based in Hastings, but who cares?). When there's a problem with the infrastructure, we call them, speak to an engineer (no waiting, no call centre), and they do all the chasing and kicking of Openreach.

Costs more (£38 + VAT per month), but provides the level of service needed by a home-based business reliant on the internet.

Average download speeds mostly at 70+, but occasional periods as low as 45

Average uploads mostly around 17

But it's the service we get that has kept us with Beaming over 14 years and three locations.

Google Chrome update to label HTTP-only sites insecure within WEEKS

David McCarthy

The WordPress sites have taken about 1 hour on average, with most of the time chasing down links and images that didn't get changed by search/replace. Some bigger sites took 4 hours.

David McCarthy

Re: If only it were that easy

We moved 70+ sites (our own and clients') from a poor provider (part of the Paragon Group) to two much smaller UK hosts (split our sites/ client sites). Both providers moved the sites for us at no extra charge. We now have free certificates (tso wanted to charge £50 per year for each site), we pay less in hosting fees, have better performance, and great service when we need help - they actually have people who know what they're talking about. Average response to ticket has gone from 8 hours to about 40 minutes.

We did our research, talked to quite a few companies, and then made the choices - haven't regretted it.

Whois? Whowas. So what's next for ICANN and its vast database of domain-name owners?

David McCarthy

Yes, Whois has been flawed and ICANN are idiots, but we've already been prevented from helping a new client because Whois info isn't available.

He's just about to take on one part of a specialist modelling business (trains, not people). The business itself (or at least the operationsal part if not the interlectual property), has changed hands a couple of times in 25 years. The company currenly with the manufacturing and distribution rights (which is about to lose them) has also changed hands several times in the last 15 years.

Anyone familiar with the railway modelling industry will know that these changes often happen when the owner dies or is too ill to carry on.

There is an old website with a holding page directing people to the current distributors. It needs to point elsewhere from August. No one knows who registered the domain.

Without Whois, I can't help them discover its owner (who may be dead anyway).

So, however flawed the Whois system is, it can be put to good, legitimate use.

And we've no idea what to advise our client.

The glorious uncertainty: Backup world is having a GDPR moment

David McCarthy

The statement by the ICO spokesperson "data protection law is technology-neutral" is ingenuous.

The European clots who put the Regulation together are, at best, technologically ignorant, and at worst not doing their job properly by creating regulations which cannot be complied with and enforced.

Our new Policy says we won't delete backups because they are our DR lifeline, and as a micro-business we don't have the ability or resources to do anything different.

So we've made it perfectly clear to anyone who wants to be forgotten. What more can we do?

The award for worst ISP goes to... it starts with Talk and ends with Talk

David McCarthy

Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

Our ISP is also small (and perfectly formed). Been with them since 2004/5. Would rate them 100%.

Always get to speak to someone who knows what's what (not a call centre agent). They always call back when they promise.

The service is still delivered via BT's infrastructure, but if there's a problem, they kick BT for us until it's fixed. That's how we discovered BT had outsourced their core network support to India as well as the 'retail' side.

Who are they?

Beaming in Hastings.

Tell Steve I recommended them.

123-Reg customers outraged at automatic .UK domain registration

David McCarthy

Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

ECO host have same parent comapny as TSO

David McCarthy

Move domains to smaller company - we did years ago after probs with FastHosts, 123reg, LCN

A basic rule I continue to pratice to great effect (after 25+ years in corporate IT) - wherever possible, stick to companies close in size to you - your business matters more to them.

For that reason we've used Beaming in Hastigs as our ISP since 2004 (best service possible from Steve, Marcus and the gang), and FastVision/SimpleReg in Cheltenham for our domains (Andy is a great guy).

Just moved hosting from TSO (very poor response times and too many call-centre agents who know very little) - they bought out a great little company in Edinburgh we'd been using for 8 years.

Now with Certa (Oswestry) and AboveCloud (Newquay) - great teams at both.

Avoid the big boys - go with the smaller independants.

SanDisk's little microSD card sucks up 400GB

David McCarthy

1st PCs

My first ones were all bought by my employer (I was very persuasive), as I couldn't afford anything at the time.

Don't know the make of the first one but it was huge, had two 8" floppy drives and no hard disk. I think the screen was from Israel.

Company mainframe at the time was ICL with cat's cradle of metal rings for memory.

Second was a Torch micro, built in Cambridge, based on BBC micro ... 20MB hard drive.

Ah, the joy's of non MS operating systems and applications!

Happy days!

Cancel the farewell party. Get back to work. That asteroid isn't going to hit Earth in October

David McCarthy

Slap a speeding ticket on it's windscreen, and the next time it comes past we'll be able to catch it with a butterfly net.

The lady (or man) vanishes: The thorny issue of GDPR coding

David McCarthy

What of micro-businesses, clubs & societies

I'm starting to be asked about GDPR by people who know I work in IT and by some of our very small clients (that's their business that are very small, not necesarilly the clients).

I did the on-line chat thing with ICO the other day (summaries for clarity).

"Have you read our on-line stuff?" (stuff is my word)

Yes. Doesn't say anything about small businesses, clubs and societies who were exempt under the prevuious Data Protection. Do you have some specific guidance for these organisations?

"We have guidance for commercial businesse, public bodies and fund-raising charities"

Do you intend providing guidance for the people I mentioned?

"We have no plans to."

Thanks a bunch.

On the "Overview" page is says (in 'Who does the GDPR apply to?')

"If you are currently subject to the DPA, it is likely that you will also be subject to the GDPR"

Does this mean there will be exemptions as with the DPA?

There's nothing on the site ... haven't had a chance to ask them ... what are the chances of a helpful answer?

Do we need Windows patch legislation?

David McCarthy

I might have sympathy for Microsoft if ...

... if they played fair and provided proper upgrade/downgrade paths from one product to another. They could even charge (not too much) for it.

Have you ever tried to upgrade a WinXP PC to anything later?

The same goes for their various email clients. We've had real trouble moving emails from Outlook on XP to Outlook 2010 - it shouldn't be like that.

Don't even think about Outlook to Mail for Windows 10.

If only Microsoft were to act responsibly, this issue may never have arisen.

And I'm sure they could find a way of playing nice and still making a profit.

It's time they learnt that the big stick isn't the best solution for anyone.

Today's bonkers bug report: Microsoft Edge can't print numbers

David McCarthy

Re: Edge isn't the only MS product that can't count

I'm so glad I've found something no one else seems to have heard of!

Out of curiosity, I've just looked at my partner's Outlook (also 2010). When she sends one email, the dialogue says "Sending message 7 of 7"

Weirdly inconsistent.

Both PCs running Win7 Pro

David McCarthy

Edge isn't the only MS product that can't count

I've noticed this for years (but never seen it reported) ... when sending from Outlook (2010 in my case) the send/receive dialogue numbers are wrong.

If Outlook is sending 1 message, the dialogue says "Sending message 10 of 10"

If there are two messages in the Outbox, it says "Sending message 10 of 11" and then "Sending message 11 of 11"

So, Microsoft programmers have previous for not being able to do sums.

Two words, Mozilla: SPEED! NOW! Quit fiddling and get serious

David McCarthy

Using Firefox (old) and others

My business partner and I still use mostly Firefox ... but we're sticking with older versions (currently 39), partly because we don't like the constant updating, mostly because we don't want our time wasted by constant UI changes. We went back to 39 so we could run a few addons that stop each time the browser upgrades.

We also use Chrome ... because sometimes it makes sense to use more than one, especially when developing websites. I use K-Meleon just to manage our Trello, and I often open others when I want to have admin & visitor access to the same website.

Constant updates are a modern curse that the tech companies seem addicted to ... without, as has been mentioned by other responders, there being any driver from users (to have rounded tabs, for example).

For our sanity and the safety of our systems, we do not allow ANYTHING to update automatically ... except our Internet Security systems.

Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10

David McCarthy

What ever happened to privacy and data collection regulations?

Apart from the 'Cookie' laws, what has the EU and our own Information Commissioner's Office actually done to stop our data being collected?

Even the Cookie law was pointless - poorly conceived, shambolically implemented (in the UK), and largely ignored (especially by anyone collecting data).

From the European Commission Justice pages:

"In January 2012, the European Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of data protection rules in the EU. The completion of this reform is a policy priority for 2015. The objective of this new set of rules is to give citizens back control over of their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for business."


It seems every OS, computer application, website or mobile app grabs whatever data they can ... regardless.

And I'll bet they couldn't tell us why, or what they want it for (other than to sell to advertisers). "Let's just hoover it up, and see if anything interesting bubbles to the top."

If anyone from ICO reads this stuff ... what are you actually doing that's ever going to make the slightest difference?

David McCarthy

Re: FTFY @badvok

Maybe this is also illegal in the UK. What is ICO doing about it?

Chaos at TalkTalk: Data was 'secure', not all encrypted, we took site down, were DDoSed

David McCarthy

"Harding previously said the company had assumed a worst-case scenario that all the personal data relating to its customers was compromised until TalkTalk could confirm exactly what was taken. She has apologised to customers for the third cyber-attack affecting the telecommunications firm in the past 12 months, but said the breaches were “completely unrelated”.

That is, only related by the fact that their security still isn't up to scratch!

Another chance to win a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive

David McCarthy

Of all the webs, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine

David McCarthy

Girl caught trying to eat helpless spider

We tried using Windows 10 for real work and ... oh, the horror

David McCarthy

Re: Are you ready? Probably not.

I'm with you on that, Bob.

Any mention of new Windows or Office are met with a stony silence and a finger pointing to the spare room.

Windows XP beats 8.1 in December market share stats

David McCarthy

My New Year Windows XP Prediction

Okay, so most people have a resolution about this time, but I'm going to put this prediction in my calender (Outlook, of course!) and check each January:

"Windows XP will outlive Microsoft."

Pick the bones out of that, Satya.

Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?

David McCarthy

Regulator's name?

I presume the Scottish equivalent of Ofcom would be Scofcom ... and also regulate the sales of battered Mars bars.

The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

David McCarthy

Win9 should be codenamed Amnesia

I can't think of another company which has so totally forgotten the basic business premises of keeping your customers happy and building on your successes.

That's probably because only their dominant market position has prevented Microsoft from going to the wall like all other companies that forget.

I remember looking forward to new versions of Windows because each one did stuff better, more easily that the one before ... Win3.11 ... Win95 ... NT/Win2000 ... WinXP ... and then Microsoft forgot who they were, where they were going and, most importantly, why.

Perhaps if they call Win9 Amnesia, it will act as a constant reminder.

Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge

David McCarthy

Just a long line of (arrogant) mistakes from MS

We all took to XP because it was a dependable, reasonably reliable OS to replace 95/98/2000/NT ... and it still is.

Then they brought out Vista. Vista didn't support all the existing hardware ("Not out fault", MS). It was buggy and resource-hungry. The effect on productivity & cost meant the business world largely ignored it. Only consumers were duped. If you don't like the look of the bus, wait for the next one.

Windows 7 arrived. A much better OS than Vista, but still didn't address the XP legacy ("Not our fault", MS). With a bit of fiddling, it can be made to look enough like XP that there isn't a signifcant re-learning effort. But, oh dear, there's still the hardware issues ("There isn't a driver for your hardware? Tough - buy a new computer", MS). And suddenly, some of my applications won't run (even in any compatibility or virtual mode).

For at least 90% of business tasks, an older PC with XP is more than adequate to do the job, especially with so much stuff moving online.

Next, Windows 8 comes along ... huge interface changes ... the world is up in arms ... MS backs down (a bit). Why do they want to change the look so dramatically (with no 'legacy' skin), when they should be concentrating on functionality, security, and making it easy for folk to upgrade?

All the while (Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8), the world is in an extended economic slow down. Result? People don't want to spend on new kit, the installation costs, and re-training staff to do the same thing with a different version of Windows.

Everyone leading MS's marketing since 2007 should be forced to use Windows 2 (in 640kb). Or even MS-DOS.

Instead of leading us by the hand, helping us move from one version to the newest, removing obstacles (surely what any company would do if it cared about its customers) ... MS have at every stage ignore its customer base and tried to force us to move up and buy again.

It's sad there isn't a viable alternative - I'd love to install a non-MS OS which would run all the apps I've accumulated and rely on.

Do we use XP? Yes, and Windows 7. Are we going to rush out and upgrade? Oh, we can't - we have to buy new kit, each with a new OS, and new versions of Office (and a few other things). This is an expense we cannot afford, not at this time.

Are we worried XP is no longer going to be supported? Not really. We protect ourselves and we're careful what sites we visit and emails we open. It's not as if moving to Windows 8 would improve our security more that just a bit.

Dear Microsoft - if you'd like to talk to us about your marketing and customer care strategies, our rates are very reasonable.

Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me...

David McCarthy

It's a question of tatse

Personal, that is, not in any other sense.

Bought an Acer Netbook in 2011 - nice shiny screen. Then found unless I wore black and sat against a black background, I couldn't easily read the text. Changing the screen angle didn't make enough difference. Turned the screen brightness up - helped a bit but the battery didn't last so long.

It was close to unusable in all those places away from the office where I had a spare half-hour and wanted to write something.

So I looked up matt overlays, and found a very helpful outfit in Hong Kong (Exim). They have huge range, and when I enquired, yes they had one which fitted.

It was a bit fiddly to install, but made a huge difference. The screen is a little darker, but I was able to use the netbook on my Greek Islands cruise, so long as I sat in the shade.

ICO on new Cookie Law: 'Don't expect torrent of enforcement action'

David McCarthy

Oh what fun!

Just spent a day working on a briefing for clients (though none of them have asked about cookies yet). It's a bit difficult to advise them when the ICO 'clarification' is as clear as mud. None of our clients use 'bad' advertising cookies ... just stats and 'share' cookies ... so it's a complete waste of our time and money, and their's too.

So, I think I'm just going to have some fun ... with a new (annonymous) hotmail account, I'll complain about all our competitors and all the companies with lousy customer service ... especially all the government departments and local authorities ... oh, and quangos too.

dabs.com says sorry for delivery debacle

David McCarthy

It's been down hill all the way!

I used to use DABS ... they were one of the best at one time.

Then BT bought them, and their customer service started to take a dive.

It comes as no surprise they've had more problems recently (fortunately I don't use them). So often good companies only lose quality & personality when purchased by a large organisation like BT.

It's happened so many times in my 30 years in IT. This won't be the last!

A sysadmin's top ten tales of woe

David McCarthy

Two tales from the 1990s

Two problems, both caused by me:

1. Changed an account latency setting in Netware (to stop people being logged in when they didn't need to be on an over subscribed server). Set the wrong value and watched as Netware terminated the connections of over 100 users in just 30 seconds.

2. Was testing conditional email forward in Lotus Notes. So, unfortunately was a colleague. We set the same conditions and forwarded to each other. The system sent thousands of forwarded emails before we could brake the loop.

Ah, happy days!

Facebook quietly switches on facial recognition tech by default

David McCarthy

The Facebook attitude? They don't give a damn.

We have clients who use Facebook - that's the only reason we have accounts ourselves. We've tried to do useful stuff with Groups and Business pages, but the whole thing just doesn't hang together.

An creative writers group I belong to have tried to use Facebook to keep in touch and to share and exchange information - we're creating our own hosted solution because Facebook just isn't up to it.

After many years in IT I can confim Facebook is the most poorly thought out and executed application I've ever come accross (and I've seen quite a few bad ones in 25 years!)

I don't want to have to keep checking Privacy (or any settings) in case the goal posts have been moved again.

Please, someone create the alternative - Facebook would soon die.

Ofcom imposes new rules on silent callers

David McCarthy

Your TPS experience

If you only get phone calls from overseas as you're TPS registered, you're lucky. We still get lots of UK calls even though we've been registered for 5 years!!

Fasthosts customers still frozen out of websites

David McCarthy

Thursday & still locked out

It's Thursday maorning and were still locked out of all our web sites.Nothing has come in the post, and their customer service number is constantly engaged (it sounds very mush as if there's somethinf wrong with the line as there's a loud 'click' before the two-tone sound is heard.

Sent an email support request in to them on Tuesday at mid-day - we still haven't had a response.

Up to now, we've been very happy with Fasthosts - but not responding to its customers is the quickest way they will lose our business.

David McCarthy ... WORD-right & IDEAS-right