Re: Coathangers are handy.
"Brits can only dream of that kind of response from Openreach"
To be fair, Openreach doesn't supply PABX switches, that's a BT/BT Business/$Whoever-else service
420 posts • joined 6 Aug 2008
Pretty much the only reason I went for Virgin Media was their MVNO agreement with EE/BT which meant decent 4G coverage locally (North Wales is rubbish for most networks) but without dealing with EE prices or customer abuse. Also, virgin mobile SIMs would work with EE's signal booster boxes.
<dons flack jacket and tin(foil) hat>
One thing to remember about the big players (Sky, TT, BT/EE, Virgin Media) is that compared to smaller providers such as Plusnet/Andrews and Arnold and the like they're going to have a much higher percentage of non-technical users, and so more complaints.
For example, is the slow broadband speed actually because the ADSL/VDSL/Cable network itself slow, or because J. Doe has plugged their router in to a phone extension that's got a fault?. Are the dropouts because their home wifi install is on the same channel as their neighbour and can't deal with interference?
Note: I'm not saying the big players are blameless (VM has well known contention issues and our local BT Wholesale backhaul was swamped when fibre whent live) but compared to more specialised providers they will have more users who don't have a clue.
Who shops on the high street any more? Even maplin stores are out of town now and have free parking. High street shopping is expensive (either through parking or the four buses it takes to get there) before you start.
As for "need to get a desktop working *now*" I must say I see very few desktops in home service these days, the ones that I do see are either gaming/pro rigs where the owner has their own spares stash or older users who wouldn't know what to do with a power supply to start with. Also, when was the last time someone changed a power supply? At my work I think we've changed one desktop power supply in the last 3 years.
"It's not as if Maplin are a Woolworths - where everything they sold could be bought elsewhere. Unless Clas Ohlson expand and extend their range, there's nothing on the high street which directly competes." "
Except that a lot of it can be, for example Screwfix carries lots of basic networking and TV cables and components (e.g. signal boosters or RJ45 crimps) and even more advanced things like CCTV kits.
As for electronics components like resistors etc the only advantage Maplin had was instant supply, otherwise they are massively more expensive than online.
2: If you have to get a laptop form there (usually a cheap HP laptops for Aunt Mabel) reserve a device online and then send said person in to the shop to collect it, having instructed them not to take *any* add-ons like a warranty or "backup". If you do that the prices for standard HP kit isn't too bad, and as its branded kit the quality should be no different from the same model sold by other retailers.
...They do end up taking the blame for issues that might not be their fault. Remember all of a customer's interaction with OpenRetch (missed appointments, crap cables and poor maintenance) goes through them and therefore any blame sticks to them, not Openreach. Also, "slow broadband" could easily be down to congestion on 2.4 GHz in tower blocks/dense housing or similar.
Of course, any billing and upstream networks issues are 100% their problem, and they should sort it.
Back in my younger days I'd always try and "rescue" a near-dead Windows install rather than nuke from orbit, but these days unless there's some vital software where the user doesn't have the install media or licence keys any more its a case of erase and rebuild. The only offputting issue is the number of windows updates a new PC needs...
...which doesn't even have terrestrial TV service (narrow, steep valley) now has a shiny new 4G tower under construction and ready to commission. The site was previously identified for TETRA/Airwave but they never got round to building a tower, but it looks like ESN does actually need one there.
As long as the locals get 4G mobile (which will be better than the 0G coverage they get now!) they'll be happy.
Self driving combines and tractors can steer a much straighter and truer course than any human operator, and can do so at a reasonably high speed. Its not a big deal if you've got a small field, but in places like the Ukranian Steppes a tractor can travel 10s of miles in one direction sowing seeds, spraying weeds or harvesting grain, and not wasting fuel, seeds or weed spray with "wonky" driving means having to use less spray, fewer seeds and less diesel for the same output.
Many a company has found out that simply switching the power off to the server doesn't replicate a power cut properly. There's always one rack, router, switch or other minor bit of kit (NTE for fibre or EFM lines are usually good bets) that someone's plugged in to the unprotected mains "just for now" that doesn't stay up when the supply goes off.
The other classics are generators that only have enough diesel for a few minutes running (because some berk forgot to wire the fuel lift pumps to the UPS) or having the whole IT infrastructure hooked up the generator, but not the air handling plants...
Amazon, for some reason, stock genuine Ford car parts, and usually at a bit of a discount compared to Ford dealers.
The problem is that the malgorithm (copyright the commentard from earlier) doesn't quite understand that your average person will only need (for example) one thermostat housing, and only for the car they own at the time, so there's no point trying to sell me either
A: Another, identical thermostat housing to the one I've just bought
B: The thermostat housing for another, totally different Ford because I happened to buy one for the car I own
Ebay's junk email is just as bad. Subject lines like "Are you inspired by LUCAS 6A256 TRACTOR IGNITION SWITCH..." don't really work...
When I do data recovery (both at work and at home) then I will rarely (if ever) go out of my way to look for anything in particular (unless the user has requested a particular file/folder).
However, if I did come across something that was obviously illegal (e.g. opening an image file to check the data was readable and finding child pr0n) then I would report it. Something legal but not my business? Then it isn't my place to judge, tease or generally be an arse so I'll just copy it and say no more.
"Or you get a builder to build a summer house at the end of the garden: is he supposed to look out for buried bodies or leave a hidden camera in case you plan to use the place to store kidnap victims?"
So imagine this hypothetical builder is replacing a patio and discovers someone who's been Trevor Jordache'd  underneath it? Is he meant to just bury the body again?
My father works in similar industrial installations and he's supplied with what I can only describe as a swiss cheese padlock. It's a hoop with two plates full of holes to close it, which you then thread a padlock through, locking the isolator in the safe/off position.
If someone else was working on another part of the installation that used the same isolator they'd thread a second padlock in to the plate so that the first person couldn't inadvertently re-start the unit
I understand what you're saying, however given this situation I would of course act in a professional manner and answer any questions or queries raised.
However, in this case, where the plan for using a temporary (expensive) ISDN line until a (cheap) broadband line is available should have been known about (and signed off) at least at the next management level up. Therefore it should not be up to James to remind them of it. At the very least accounts should be keeping an eye on it.
"he wouldn't be the ONLY person to know about the existence of such a line - hell, accounting should have queried it a LOT earlier!"
Indeed, considering you're talking about a 50k a month spend accounting should really have been on it, but that isn't James' problem.
"Deliberately not telling them when you're AWARE it's going to go unnoticed until it hits the hundreds of thousands is being just as dick-ish as DELIBERATELY making that happen."
Deliberately not telling James that he's up for redundancy as soon as the project's done is also rather dick-ish. If the firm wanted a proper, mature and open debrief then they didn't exactly go about it the right way.
If I were in the same situation I'd keep quiet as well. If, on the other hand the handover was more mature and, quite frankly, pleasant, then I'd not hesitate in mentioning it.
James owes this bunch of feckwits nothing.
First off, if the ISDN contract was for £50k a month then someone senior should have known about it. By making both James and his Manager redundant in such an abrupt/backhanded way this knowledge was lost.
Secondly, having been marched out of the building in such a way, I would also not be in the most co-operative of moods.
Thirdly, it sounds like the company had their own "cost management" plan in place. Wait until James and the team get the new system up and running, then bin them off to reduce headcount/save money. To see it backfire so amazingly must have been satisfying.
Try living within range of one of DTT's "filler" transmitters with only three multiplexes rather than the full 8. A pretty paltry selection of channels with only 6 in HD (BBC1/2/3, ITV1, C4).
Many new builds aren't bothering to install an aerial at all, and simply going for sky/freesat from the get go.
SU electric fuel pumps had a set of mechanical contact breaker points (like an old distributor) which liked to stick open or closed which stopped the pump running. Quick bash of the top of the pump and you're away.
(for those who are really nerdy, look at the first item on the 2nd page of this: https://www.holden.co.uk/cataloguePDFs/cat10/Fuel_Air.pdf )
As edge_e mentions, Jeremy Clarkson (at maximum arrogance) said "No one can steal money from you with an account number and sort code!", and proceeded to publish his own personal details in his column in The Sun.
Within hours someone had signed him up for a £500 donation to either Cancer Research or Diabetes UK (can't remember which) via direct debit, which is he took in good humour as he changed all his bank details...
Back in the day (probably about the turn of the century) I was doing some work experience at a PC repair workshop. It was two weeks of tinkering and I learned a lot. Especially after the thunderstorm...
Basically, a large thunderstorm rolled in across the local area one night, and for the next four days the most common job that came in was for blown modems. You could actually see the scorch marks on some of the boards. Usual rate for a V90 internal modem at the time was something like £60 including fitting (except for one poor bloke with a compaq that used an odd half-height card which was something like £70 on its own). I don't think we saw any dead motherboards, but of course it would have been possible.
At least with a DSL Modem/router the unit was usually external so when it went bang it didn't kill anything else.
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