* Posts by paulf

1245 posts • joined 25 Aug 2009

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If you own one of these 45 Netgear devices, replace it: Kit maker won't patch vulnerable gear despite live proof-of-concept code

paulf Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Netgear has been off my “buy” list ever since the DGND3700 v1 ADSL Router I bought in 2011 was EOLd 13 months after release even though the ADSL support was still fucked and not working properly. I managed to get it mostly reliable thanks to a beta version of the firmware, that was never officially released, from support after much nagging. Even then I had to download it from that well know legit file distribution service Dropbox. Support was switched to the v2 Hardware released 6 months later.

They abandoned HW they knew was not working to spec because selling stuff is more profitable than supporting it afterwards. Netgear can go fuck themselves with a big rusty razor blade.

In comparison my Draytek router is 3+ years old and still getting new features plus bug fixes.

Oh what a cute little animation... OH MY GOD. (Not acceptable, even in the '80s)

paulf Silver badge
Gimp

Re: Researching

That reminds me of a story from about 20 years ago. Someone rather naive to the naughtier parts of the interwebs had a genuine reason to use his work computer to investigate the practice of plugging in tech kit while it was all powered up.

His search for "Hot insertion" proved to be quite the education, in NSFW ways he wasn't originally expecting. Even worse, it was an open plan office with computers overlooked by colleagues every which way so everyone got a good laugh.

TomTom bill bomb: Why am I being charged for infotainment? I sold my car last year, rages Reg reader

paulf Silver badge

Re: As I read that

"or a big note on the screen stating what isn't covered by the factory reset"

which includes how to [erase/purge/contact those who can purge] anything not covered by the factory reset.

We've paused Sigfox roof aerial payments, says WND-UK, but we'll make you whole after COVID

paulf Silver badge
Meh

Re: Yagi?

FTA: "...WND-UK’s network consists of dual-core Intel boxes hooked up to rooftop yagi (TV-style) aerials, as Harris's predecessor Neal Forse explained to The Register back in 2017 when it first launched."

paulf Silver badge

Re: Yagi?

A bit of digging and I found this news article:

Sigfox operator WND UK exceeds 90% coverage for secure sensor data network.

Mind the airgap: Why nothing focuses the mind like a bit of tech antiquing

paulf Silver badge

This is straying off topic from the article but hey ho. I tried Mint on the desktop as a Win 7 replacement. I've heard lots of good things about it but there were a few too many aspects that just didn't work (no hibernation, no soundcard audio pass through, switching Firefox to the ESR channel was a right faff, no iTunes support even with Wine/Crossover). Also it took several attempts to get it installed right as one false move during installation (e.g. picking the nVidia video drivers rather than the open source ones) borks the install completely. Then fixing things tends to require C+P of commands into a terminal window which makes it risky on the parental computer for remote support purposes. I really wanted Mint to be a viable escape route from Windows, and I know it is loved by others, but it just had too many downsides for me.

As for my Mac - I'll stick to El Capitan, thanks.

paulf Silver badge
Happy

My MBP is of the same vintage: Mid 2010 17" with CTO processor bump to the i7 option and the anti-glare screen. The keyboard has proper travel while ignoring the dust and pet hair my office throws at it. It's since had a bump to a 2TB SSD and 8GB RAM. It's on 10.11 El Capitan because the macOS quality went down hill too far after that and it isn't supported beyond 10.13 High Sierra anyway. All it needs to run is Firefox, iTunes and Office 2003 when I'm away from home and it does this admirably.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

paulf Silver badge

Re: Thank fuck for that

Yeek - NICAM was great when it added stereo sound to analogue telly (UK) in the early 1990s but to still use that as your reference distribution feed to radio transmitters is pretty crap. I suppose the best way to get around the distribution limitation of FM and the broadcast limitation of DAB is to use get_iplayer and set it to the highest quality stream, on the assumption that the feed is encoded direct from the studio output. That gives me 320kbps VBR downloads in MP4 AAC.

If I want to remind myself of how crap audio compression was back in the early 1990s I dig out the Sony MiniDisc demonstrator I got at the Live 94 show in Earls Court. The comparison with the encoding on my 1999 MD deck is not flattering; Des'ree sounds like she's singing with a peg on her nose!

paulf Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Thank fuck for that

It's worse than that, sadly. DAB uses MP2 compression, not MP3, which is why it sounds so bad, even when the Beeb throw a 50% bigger bitstream at the Third Program, than they do Pop stations like Radios 1 and 2. DAB+ uses the more modern HE-AAC v2 (AAC+) audio codec and would make a big improvement in sound quality.

This is unfortunately the big problem - there's a big base of older DAB receivers that don't support DAB+, and DAB sets aren't forward compatible to DAB+ broadcasts. Try to pick up a DAB+ station on a DAB set and you just get silence. So the UK being an early adopter of DAB was the first problem, as that gave us loads of old DAB sets installed that would be obsoleted by the (necessary) move to DAB+. That DAB+ support wasn't mandated quick enough in all radios sold since its introduction in 2007 was the next big mistake as it meant non-DAB+ sets kept being sold making any switch to DAB+ progressively harder.

Barclays Bank appeared to be using the Wayback Machine as a 'CDN' for some Javascript

paulf Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: I'm smarter...

Perhaps AManFromMars1 is using El Reg posts as a gibberish words based numbers station via teh Interwebz.

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: Data not at risk?

"..has affected only a small* number of customers..."

Where "small" = 0-100%

Now that's a train delay Upminster with which London travellers shall not put

paulf Silver badge
Boffin

The difference here being that neither the Chiltern Train (facing the photographer in top photo of that story) nor the Metropolitan line train (next to the photographer) operate under any kind of ATO on that part of the line through Chalfont and Latimer.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: chewed wires

Sorry straying a bit off topic but this reminded me of something.

At a previous employer an unexpected fire alarm evacuation revealed a problem with the security barriers that controlled access to the building. Due to a misconfiguration on the fire alarm panel the barriers didn't open automatically, as they're supposed to, and when the fire alarm activated by mistake the evacuating masses had to queue up and swipe their badges to get out. This highlighted a glaring omission - the barriers didn't have an green emergency release button, whereas all the access controlled doors did (on the secure side of the door, for emergency egress only)

Cue looking up the regs The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which explains that (14.2.f) "emergency doors must not be so locked or fastened that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person who may require to use them in an emergency". IMO (IANAL) the barriers didn't comply with this aspect.

Long story short - the Facilities Manager point blank refused to install the required emergency release as there'd been a break in a few months earlier and an emergency release would have made a future break in easier (it wouldn't - he just vaulted the barriers when the foyer was unattended, then went through a door with a broken access control lock!).

The problem is if you give a clip board to a dumbass jobs worth box ticker they'll never admit they're wrong, even when presented with the facts, evidence, and legislation showing they are. You didn't let HR off lightly, you let yourself off lightly - pursuing it would have just caused yourself a load of grief with no useful outcome. Unfortunately said box tickers know this.

Logitech G915 TKL: Numpad-free mechanical keyboard clicks all the right boxes

paulf Silver badge
Happy

I've got a Corsair K90 which I got cheap at Flea-Buyer in 2013 thanks to a sudden price drop. The black paint is wearing off the space bar a bit, but otherwise no issues. My only complaint is the key pitch is slightly different to the other keyboards I use so the muscle memory typing can get a bit out of kilter sometimes.

Update Firefox: Mozilla just patched three hijack-me holes and a bunch of other flaws

paulf Silver badge
Meh

Re: I'd be happy

Disagree to some extent. There are many pages that print fine in other browsers but Firefox still can't cope with. One example is the radio program playlists on the BBC website, example:

Pete Tong 2020-04-10

Prints fine in IE 11 on Win 7, but still fails to print properly on the latest Firefox ESR release (68.9).

When IE is better in a "Just works" kinda way, you might want to consider if you've got something fundamentally wrong. Printing in FF has been a bin fire for years and it's not because it's not possible, it's because it's not possible in Firefox.

EU General Court tears up ban on Three slurping O2. Good thing the latter's not set to merge with Virgin Media, eh?

paulf Silver badge
Terminator

Re: Vodathree UK

I've been with Voda since 2007 after Orange (as was) pissed me off so much (despite being a customer of 10 years) I left them.

I've just checked and the last times I called Voda were three years ago (plan upgrade so relatively good service as they were selling something), another plan upgrade a year before that, and tech support to sort out the Wifi calling on my Jesus Mobe in Dec 2015. I think I was routed to some guy in Egypt but not only did he fix the problem, but I fell off my chair when he actually called me back as promised later that day to check the problem was resolved.

I don't doubt lots of people have had shitty experiences with Voda, so I'm rather grateful I've not faced the same perhaps because I don't have cause to call them that often.

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle

paulf Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Manufacturer???

It's the rest of that paragraph that is interesting to me as I followed the link to Trueform.

They do anti-terrorist bus shelters with a suitably dramatic explosion added to the picture by the Photoshop intern.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

paulf Silver badge
Meh

There is another story I heard about the IEP that was a consequence of design by Government committee. Existing HST coaches are 23 metres long. Some smart arse at the DfT design committee noted that bogies (that assembly under the coaches that encompass suspension and wheel sets/axles etc) are the most costly thing to maintain on the coach. If we lengthen the coaches of the IEP to 26 metres we get fewer bogies per seat and reduce maintenance costs. Neat huh?!

Cue Network Rail having to spend millions adjusting platforms across the network as the longer coaches were now foul of platform edges that were on any kind of curve.

2020 MacBook Air teardown shows in graphic detail how butterfly keyboards were snipped for scissor switch

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: smarter?

An external keyboard has the added benefit of being significantly easier to replace than the internal one when it finally gives up the ghost.

I do the same - not always easy to find the original style bluetooth keyboard and track pads but they are out there if you're prepared to wait/search.

FYI: When Virgin Media said it leaked 'limited contact info', it meant p0rno filter requests, IP addresses, IMEIs as well as names, addresses and more

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: Internet facing database?

Around this area the green cabinets (that I assume are VM) have a "report a fault with this cabinet on 0870..." stickers on them. Since 1. 0870 is near enough £1/minute from a mobile (and not particularly cheap from a landline), 2. There's no indication the number is definitely VM, 3. There's no unique identification code on the box to make reporting the fault easy; I've never bothered reporting the various VM cabinets with doors that have been forced open. If the local scallywags causing a bunch of costly damage to the kit in the cabinet isn't motivation enough to deliver an easy fault reporting system then they're hardly likely to hurry out and fix the doors because some random Joe calls their profit centre 0870 number.

I did try to report a BT green cabinet once since that was at least a free call. I think the call centre droid's script would only cope with faults on a residential line and would only take the report on that basis. After the third attempt to make them understand it was one of their network cabinets I admitted defeat and just hung up.

We regret to inform you there are severe delays on the token ring due to IT nerds blasting each other to bloody chunks

paulf Silver badge
Terminator

I still have a load of 10Base2 auto-terminating T-pieces in my drawer of many things. Just in case they come in useful one day (20 years and still waiting).

Icon -> (Terminators)

Netgear's routerlogin.com HTTPS cert snafu now has a live proof of concept

paulf Silver badge
Terminator

My experience of Netgear goes back further than that but just the same as yours.

Back around 2004 I had an early wifi router. The final firmware release completely borked the ethernet part of the switch such that transferring files between networked computers failed due to the high level of corrupted packets. Thankfully I'd kept the earlier firmware versions (Netgear had removed the earlier versions from their website) and I moved back to the previous version to get it working again.

Then I bought two DGND3700 routers back in 2011 (I think). One for me and one for the parental units. These were ADSL wifi routers with a Gb Eth switch. They never worked right with the last official release of the firmware (v1.017) having multiple problems in sustaining a stable ADSL connection (not to mention various Wifi bugs). In the end it was only after repeated hassling of support that I was sent an unreleased beta build of firmware v1.019 that sorted out most of the problems and it ran reasonably stable until the HW died a few years ago.

Meanwhile Netgear released v2 of the HW, only 6-9 months after v1 was released, which did get updated firmware to fix the myriad show stopper bugs IOW my router was EOLd barely 9 months after release. I swore off Netgear after that and haven't looked back.

These days my Draytek Vigor 2862 has been running the house network admirably for the last 2-3 years and is still getting decent semi-regular updates.

Come to Five Guys, where the software is as fresh as the burgers... or maybe not

paulf Silver badge
Meh

Re: upstart?

The concept of multiple cooked chips is bandied about by some establishments where I'm not sure they fully understand what it means. I had triple cooked chips at one apparently decent pub a few months ago, and I wasn't convinced they'd been cooked once, never mind three times.

Fed-up air safety bods ban A350 pilots from enjoying cockpit coffees

paulf Silver badge
Go

Despite their many reported faults, especially in this parish regarding data security, British Airways are pretty good at dishing out the free drink on board in the front cabin. After a lot of flying for work the other half got us both bumped up to Business for our recent holiday. AYCE bacon baps, hash browns and wine at 0600 in the LHR T5 lounge. Then more breakfast on board washed down with several mini bottles of Champagne. The cabin crew kept bringing more just in case - it would have been rude to decline :)

This all made it quite risky negotiating the green channel at Oslo Lufthavn in case our blood was taken into account for the duty free booze limit!

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

I remember my first deep fried battered mars bar - procured on the way home after a night of extensive refreshment while at university. My early 20's metabolism couldn't cope with that much lard in one go - ahem I've got no chance now. It was tasty though!

paulf Silver badge
Happy

One of the things I like about flying is it's a valid excuse to drink in the morning <hic>

Normally my breakfast fruit juice isn't that strong!

Bada Bing, bada bork: Windows 10 is not happy, and Microsoft's search engine has something to do with it

paulf Silver badge
Unhappy

Thanks AC for the tip about Startpage, link below for anyone who can't be bothered to C+P:

https://restoreprivacy.com/startpage-system1-privacy-one-group/

I have been using Startpage for some time now as it gave better results than DDG. I think that's about to end very quickly! Shame on the Startpage founders+owners for selling out to a data harvesting Ad tech company.

Things I learned from Y2K (pt 87): How to swap a mainframe for Microsoft Access

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: What he said

@Tinslave_the_Barelegged

"The PFY left a few days later." Did he really last that long after such a monumental cluster fuck? Did the CFO last that long too? I'm assuming CFO != Chief Accountant.

And it's interactions like this that you make sure you have in triplicate, including hard copy, ready for the inevitable search for someone to blame investigation: "I explained my concerns to the CFO, especially as most of what the PFY was planning could come from the accounting system. He over-rode me and ordered me to produce a copy for the PFY."

Is everything OK over there, Britain? Have you tried turning the UK off and on again? ISPs, financial orgs fall over in Freaky Friday of outages

paulf Silver badge
Pirate

Back in my Saturday job days (late 1990s) the small retail establishment, where I was gainfully employed, didn't get a proper credit card machine until around 1996. Up until then we had to phone up a meat-bag to get a 6-digit number code to authorise each credit card transaction. Debit cards were still reasonably unusual with people paying by cheque+guarantee card.

We kept the clack-click mechanical card imprinter as a back up in case the phone line went down or the machine went wrong.

So you locked your backups away for years, huh? Allow me to introduce my colleagues, Brute, Force and Ignorance

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Seen in the wild

@baldrickk Support walks around PC, tapping it etc. Unseen while they get your attention with the tapping, they push the plug home.

Thinking of all that tapping and mystique then using sleight of hand to distract the user while pushing the plug in reminded me of this quick sketch by Smith and Jones years ago. Shows the lengths you can go to, if you have the time and a suitably gullible user!

PC Support and Magic

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

I do all the IT for the parental units: computers, phones and a little bit of telly/DVR stuff. In return I get well fed on trips home and more cake than I can justify with my current exercise regime. It has worked well since they first started using my old 486 laptop 20+ years ago, and that is partly because it's on the basis of "If I don't approve it, you're on your own!".

UK data watchdog kicks £280m British Airways and Marriott GDPR fines into legal long grass

paulf Silver badge

I agree - the ICO should be kicking some serious arse and collecting every penny of the fines discussed in the story. Only when CEOs see massive holes in their company's P+L, and by extension their bonus, will information security be taken seriously (and hopefully by further extension IT budgets in general). It's quite reasonable that the proceeds of those fines help fund further enforcement. I'm not against that, but I am suggesting some caution regarding a direct link between enforcement and income that could lead to the system being gamed in some way that is detrimental to wider society.

It ought to be the aim of any regulator to do such a good job that it does itself out of a job. That's probably unlikely but we all know the stories of "If you don't spend it this year you won't get it next year" to realise that the budget won't be reduced, unless some Government minister decides it's in their interest to forcibly cut it.

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: What's the point?

I'd suggest some caution here. While I agree in principle that the ICO should benefit from the work it does enforcing the regulations, so that it can continue doing said work with decent funding, allocating them a percentage of fines levied does risk invoking the law of unintended consequences. Some examples:

1. Traffic enforcement officers incentivised to maximise revenue from fines will start issuing tickets for the smallest violations (e.g. right on a parking bay boundary) or exactly one minute after the penalty applies rather than allowing a short grace period.

2. A particularly egregious (and likely unusual one) involving a store detective that was incentivised to catch shop lifters. To increase their success rate they started slipping items into people's bags when they weren't looking, then "catching" them after the checkouts with said unpaid for items. The person involved was caught by the police but it goes to show incentives for desired behaviour risk undesirable consequences as the people involved work to maximise the incentive regardless of the wider cost.

The point here is the ICO is clearly underfunded compared to the work they need to do to enforce the regulations, and the potential revenue they can bring in from massive fines, but ensuring they are properly funded is a matter for HM Treasury to rectify. It's worth noting other enforcement agencies like the CPS, and HMCTS are also underfunded compared to the work they have to do so the ICO is not alone here. Giving them an incentive to directly benefit from the fines they levy risks them becoming over zealous which then risks the ICO, and the wider concept of data protection, losing popular public support; and that would be to everyone's disadvantage!

It's Becoming Messy: Judge says IBM's request to shut down age-discrimination lawsuit should be rejected

paulf Silver badge

Re: 281 cases settled

Unfortunately the story about the 281 cases doesn't say, but I bet the settlements were on the basis of "No admission of wrongdoing" or similar. That settlement may not be admissible evidence in court against IBM but it can only show them in a bad light. If you have done nothing wrong why settle so many claims, indeed any claims at all?

I think this, in the third paragraph from end, is instructive: ""I believe IBM is at significant risk," said Musell.". I can only hope the guy in question is swayed more by the potential $$$$$$$$$$ from punitive damages at trial, not to mention the pleasure at opening the floodgates to many more cases and claims, than the $$$$ IBM's Lawyer department will try to offer him to settle.

Cogent cut off from ARIN Whois after scraping net engineers' contact details and sliding them to sales staff

paulf Silver badge
Mushroom

It would be a lot more pleasing if El Reg connected the inevitable call from the Cogent sales droid to the BOFH hold music featured four years ago:

Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell. Ingenious IT boss banishes hapless callers to on-hold Hades with Extension 666

A Notepad nightmare leaves sysadmin with something totally unprintable

paulf Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: That triggered a memory...

That reminds me of a similar story I heard back in the mid-1990s. Someone, due to sudden urge to tidy up the C: drive, decided to place c:\dos and c:\windows (it was that long ago!) into a single directory called something like c:\op_sys. The friend who told me the story was the one charged with helping sort out the resulting mess.

EA boots Linux gamers out of multiplayer Battlefield V, Penguinistas respond by demanding crippling boycott

paulf Silver badge
Go

Re: Computer Games?

Exactly. Some people spend their spare time playing computer games, get over it. Hobbies can take all sorts of forms. Some people choose to spend most Saturdays travelling the length and breadth of the country to see their chosen football team loose another game. I'm sure there are plenty of people who wonder, with baffled amusement, at why I get up at stupid o'clock on Sunday mornings to go and play with a big trainset (scale: 12 inches to the foot).

Whatever hobby you do just remember your weak lemon drink!

Train-knackering software design blunder discovered after lightning sparked Thameslink megadelay

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: Progress

I seem to recall my steam traction inspector telling me of a more pragmatic solution to steam crews that allowed their loco to blow off (allowing the pressure to get too high so that the safety valve vents excess pressure). In the BR days they, as firemen, were fined if they blew off in a station. Same if they produced black smoke.

When I was learning to fire I was taught that every minute the safety valve is blowing off costs 10 lb of coal and 10 gallons (imp) of water (~5kg and 46L). That helps focus the mind!

paulf Silver badge
Flame

Re: Progress

@Graham Dawson, "old locomotives [...] tended to wear down the rail head more rapidly than modern locos"

This might be great for preventing rail cracks but also suggests the rail wears out much quicker than now so requires much more infrastructure works to maintain the railhead in a usable condition. This will be a lot more expensive than paying for the Flying Banana New Measurement Train to scan the rails on a regular basis plus any required grinding. Those infrastructure works usually require possessions (complete line closures) at night or at weekends (big works tend to require closure for several weeks) so, yes, in some respects heavier trains are very much a bad thing. Infrastructure is usually more costly to replace than the bits on the train that make contact with it - this is why wheel sets are made from softer steel than the rail (so the wheel wears out quicker than the rail) and pantographs connect to the contact wire of the OLE with a graphite block (which again wears out quicker than the contact wire).

Weight is important - Regional Railways introduced lighter stock in the 1980s/90s for two clear reasons: lighter trains introduce less wear overall on the infrastructure, even when you include extra monitoring (with the added benefit of lower fuel consumption), and they also have faster acceleration with the same size engine which makes means stopping at a station doesn't take as long to complete (which improves line capacity).

Steam may have a nice romantic feel but when I go to get a steam loco ready for service it usually takes at least 2 people 2-3 hours from the point you start putting in the fire to it being ready to go off shed (plus an hour before that removing the previous fire, and cleaning the smokebox+ashpan). On a diesel loco or DMU it takes one person just over half an hour to check the engine levels, then do a visual check after starting while getting air up for the brakes. It can then be driven by one person. It's easy to forget quite how filthy and labour intensive steam traction was!

Unfortunately modern traction is suffering the same problem as cars - they no longer mechanical machines and are now computers on wheels!

Greetings from the future where it's all pole-dancing robots and Pokemon passports

paulf Silver badge
Terminator

Re: Robot Cafe/Restaurant/Bar

We already have vacuuming robots - and they're helping monetise the layout of your home:

iRobot just banked a fat profit. And it knows how to make more: Sharing maps of your homes

Valuable personal info leaks from Facebook – not Zuck selling it, unencrypted hard drives of staff data stolen

paulf Silver badge
Alien

Re: If there's a guarantee for Silicon Valley residents,

I recall being at university about 20 years ago and a story told by a friend of mine. His car was broken into, I think it was a crappy Maestro or Montego. All they pinched was the two front seat headrests and a 5 year old road atlas.

He suspected some kind of steal to order operation, which is as baffling as your wonky wing mirror black market operation.

Americans should have strong privacy-protecting encryption ...that the Feds and cops can break, say senators

paulf Silver badge
Gimp

Re: Reg we need a drooling idiot ICON especially for politicians.

@hplasm, "May I suggest a Tangerine?"

That would certainly be a risky prospect for politicians!

Co-op Bank online and mobile banking goes TITSUP*

paulf Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: The UK really is a marvellous country

There is also the problem when setting the nozzle locked into dispense mode punters tend to go back and sit in the car. When they return to the nozzle they have gained a static electricity charge which then discharges and ignites the fumes from the tank when they touch the nozzle handle. This was the first story I could find that discusses the problem - it seems to be a bigger problem in the US than GB. I'd also suggest that if you're pumping highly explosive liquid, that boils around 23C in the case of Petrol/Gas, at high pressure you really should be 100% focused on that!

As for pumping a certain amount of fuel - I've seen quite a few Sainsbury's (a UK Supermarket Chain) fuel pumps have buttons to cut off at popular amounts like £10, £20, £50 etc. Not fully custom but it is an easy single button push if that's your thing.

UK parcel firm Yodel plugs tracking app's random yaps about where on map to snap up strangers' tat

paulf Silver badge
WTF?

Odd quirk between Parcel Force and Royal Mail is they don't always deliver to the same Post Office.

For us Parcel Force deliver to the local Post Office in the village about 10 minutes walk away.

Royal Mail deliver to the Post Office in the next village, which is a 90 minute round walk to get to (or 15 minutes each way in the car).

I suspect RM deliver to the other village because it's where the old (now closed) sorting office was but you'd think they'd do as PF and deliver to the nearest Post Office, rather than the next village on principle!

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: A moral obligation

Wollacotts? +1 for them!

paulf Silver badge
Meh

Re: A moral obligation

I'll raise you my experience with Jessops. I bought a Canon dSLR in 2008 (I think). Even bought the extras from them (memory card, bag etc) as they'd spent an hour or more letting me try different makes/models then put together a package price for the lot. Total cost was about £1300 including their 3 year extended warranty. I went for their deal after going to get a coffee to think about it (and making sure I wasn't being completely stiffed against the online prices). I even went back to the same store variously to get photos printed.

Fast forward 3 years and the kit lens failed about a month after the extended warranty ended. It was a known fault with a weak flexible cable inside. I contacted them in the hope they could still help and perhaps offer a reduced price repair as it was so close to the end of my warranty. No. They refused to deal with me unless I first sent it off for their paid for fault finding service (£50) and I was then expected to pay a further £100 to complete the repair or get my faulty lens back, lose the £50 and take my chance complaining to them to get a reduced price repair.

At first Canon also weren't that interested until I contacted the head of Canon Europe. Very quickly the lens was repaired for free, along with any other faults on my camera, and they, coughs, encouraged Jessops to refund my repair fee. Jessops declined but did give me a £200 gift card instead.

By the time I bought my next Camera Jessops had gone bust (again) and were under new owners. Regardless I wouldn't have bought from them again anyway after that experience. My next camera (£5000) was bought from a specialist online photographic retailer who were excellent.

I completely agree with commentards above - if you try before you buy in a high street shop at least give them the chance to compete with the online price and factor in that they've spent time helping with your purchasing decision in a way an online retailer wouldn't. I did it when I bought a new set of speakers in 2001 - the local trader (who let me clutter up their demo room for an hour one Saturday) even delivered them to my house at a time convenient to me for free. The speakers are still serving me well today!

A little product renaming here, a little RISC-V magic there, some extra performance, and voila – Imagination's 10th-gen PowerVR is born

paulf Silver badge

Re: And driver support?

I seem to recall I had an STB graphics card in my Gateway 2000 Pentium 2 computer about 20 odd years ago, and that had an S3 Virge chipset. The STB drivers for the card were utterly awful - seconds per frame performance. I managed to track down the reference chipset drivers from S3 and they were superb with decent 3D performance. I can still remember playing Touring Car on that machine, to the envy of my friends at University!

Buy Amazon's tiny $99 keyboard so you can make terrible AI music for all your friends

paulf Silver badge
Gimp

Re: Oh well

@doublelayer "will wreck the muscle memory that can be key to advanced fingering techniques"

Upvoted primarily because my mind seems to be in the gutter this morning.

We've found it... the last shred of human decency in an IT director – all for a poxy Unix engineer

paulf Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: The senior manager wearing a mob cap and apron

Friday afternoon biscuit sounds like an euphemism!

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: The senior manager wearing a mob cap and apron

It's an interesting one - time and motion study with respect to total overall cost, or saving £1 in one go but costing £50 in a thousand instalments.

At "paulf&co" we used to have our mugs collected from our desks in the evenings by the cleaners. They'd be put through the dishwasher in the evening with a cupboard full of clean mugs ready for use the next morning.

Then the property management department decided to cut this to reduce the cleaning bill. Now everyone has to take their own mug back to the kitchen at the end of the day. Those leaving in a rush either don't bother or leave their desk 5 minutes to leave via the kitchen because the kitchens are at the other end of the building to the only exit. As a result many mugs don't return to the kitchen until the following day resulting in shortages. This means even more people hang on to their mugs each night to avoid spending ages trying to find one the next morning (another cost!), perpetuating the problem.

So having saved the equivalent of one slave wage cleaning contractor for the evening, it costs the company at least 5 mins * 400 people each day in lost productivity. As hard as the cleaners do work, they don't put in 5*400 minutes each night.

I tried to explain this to HR in an Employee Council meeting and just got blank looks as their limited brain power struggled with the concept that the saving now may not be an actual saving....

Where's the rocking back and forward quietly weeping icon.

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