* Posts by Phil S

14 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Oct 2011

No Wiggle room: Two weeks after angry bike shop customers report mystery orders on their accounts, firm confirms payment cards delinked

Phil S

Not Wiggle's fault?

I forgot I had a Wiggle account, but my bank sent me a message last night with an authorisation code for £111.73 (oddly specific price, but whatever) for some trainers from them.

I went to the site and saw the trainers in my basket, a new delivery address (I'm assuming DE in US is Delaware?), and new phone number registered. Changed password to boot them out, took some screenshots and checked all was ok. Luckily it was.

Going through a password check, for some reason I had Wiggle as the only site with card details using a burner password I use for sites I need to login to see something as a one-off (read a pdf, get a whitepaper etc).

I did know that list had been compromised thanks to the lovely chap at HaveIBeenPwned, but when I'd looked through the 80+ sites it was used for, I missed Wiggle (probably due to being in alphabetic order, and my own lack of concentration).

Totally my own fault, and wouldn't have blamed Wiggle at all if it got through, but, thankfully I've got the authentication for payments set up which caught it.

Most annoying thing was trying to report it to "someone" in case others had been as daft as me. Action Fraud site had categories that this didn't fit into, bank aren't answering phones (and they did their bit), and as far as I was concerned, Wiggle hadn't done anything wrong.

I got away with it, no thanks to my own laxness at some point, but thankfully it's not been as expensive reminder for me. As a self-punishment I'm making myself change the other non-card-linked passwords, so that'll be a fun weekend!

Hooray! It's IT Day! Let's hear it for the lukewarm mugs of dirty water that everyone seems to like so much

Phil S

I remember reading something a few (15+) years ago about tea being a driver for the expansion of cities, but they cited the tea, rather than just the boiling, as the factor.

Wish I could find the thing I read, but from memory it talked about towns/cities couldn't grow beyond a certain size because of disease, with the exception of Britain and Japan (logically, it might have said China too, but I don't remember that).

Other places also boiled water for drinks but didn't grow so much, so the article was linking it to the properties of tea.

They then linked that to the rise of industrialisation (larger workforces in smaller spaces) in Britain first as opposed to Japan because we liked using iron, whereas they'd settled on using other raw materials.

Vague recollections aside, I still like to think the tea was the initial lubricant of the industrial revolution.

Sophos was gearing up for a private life – then someone remembered the bike scheme

Phil S

Re: Well that's embarrassing

I felt I hadn't done too much (about 330 miles) but they disagreed. Also said it was for light off road use "such as towpaths" when I'd used bridleways (lack of canals unfortunately... so it was my own fault.

I should have known better buying a bike from a car parts shop - but to my mind at the time, £200 was a lot for a bike, but sadly experience has taught me that's cheap, and you get what you pay for.

Glad I learned the lesson with a bike rather than a car!

Phil S

Re: Well that's embarrassing

I'm of the North, but live in the South these days, and yeah can see why a grand seems a lot for a bike.

But, when I started trying to save money (and time) by riding the 11 miles to work (and 11 back!) I spent a couple of hundred quid on my first bike that literally fell apart after 3 weeks (lost my argument about fair wear and tear as description technically said leisure bike, not commute...).

I then used the bike to work scheme to get a mountain bike for £999 ("as the crow flies" was quicker than roads, and I luckily had a good chunk of legal off road route) which seemed excessive at the time, but it lasted me 8 years, got me out for some fun on the weekends, and I still managed to sell it for £250 in good condition.

Instead of paying £200 a month in train fare, I put aside £50 a month for repairs/maintenance - which was more than enough, and I was actually in decent shape!

Sadly, I've since moved to Kent and my new job is 37 miles away from home which is a tad far for me to ride. Oh, and the drivers around here are insane.

But I still remember the adage: cheap, light or strong - pick any two!

Xbox Series X: Gee thanks, Microsoft! Just what we wanted for Xmas 2020 – a Gateway tower PC

Phil S

Re: Everything will be downloaded from the network.

did that last year with an Xbox I got in the cyber Monday sales - glad I did as I had to hide the thing in loft room (kids are nosy) to install the updates over weak-ass wifi (Victorian walls/ceilings) and it took 4 days!

Then I put the games in and had to do the same to install them.

Took about a week in all, but was worth it so they could play the thing!

My Amiga 500 was much easier...

Portal to 'HELL' cracks open in street – oh sorry, it's just another pothole

Phil S

Re: Liability

tl;dr - just because someone says they're meant to do something, doesn't mean they've done it.

I had a similar response from Surrey CC when I had a banjoed mountain bike wheel from a hidden pothole during heavy rain - it wasn't a cheap bike (thank you bike to work scheme!) and the new wheel was c. £90.

As I was skint (hence riding a bike as couldn't afford a car for the 24 mile round trip) I put in a claim, but got short shrift. They said they inspect it every 6 months/180 days (can't remember exactly which now), so they weren't liable.

It wasn't so much the fact they dismissed it, that annoyed me, it was the 'be quiet pleb' way they did it - there are polite ways to tell people to p*** off.

Unfortunately, I worked at a neighbouring council so am more than used to bureaucracy and the byzantine workings of local government, so didn't let it go.

I politely emailed asking for the schedule of maintenance inspections for the last year, and after the auto-reply confirming they'd got it, didn't hear anything.

I gave it a month (21 working days to be precise) before I forwarded my request back to them saying I was giving them 48 hours to respond to my request for information or I was reporting them to the ICO for breach of FOIA. Cue a hasty reply, saying that as I hadn't said "FOI" in the request, they were now going to treat it as an FOI and start the 20 working day clock, and they'd cc'd the FOI officer to "save me having to send it to them again".

How sweet.

Now, I'd also worked at the Cabinet Office when FOIA was born, so I replied straight away (keeping the officer cc'd) saying nowhere in the act does it say you need to say it's an FOI - it's any written request for information, to anyone who works in the authority. Weirdly, the FOI officer tried to argue this, so I sent them a link to the legislation,whilst secretly loathing the person they'd turned me into.

A couple of hours later, I got the schedule, and 'several' pages of explanatory text about the things they measure, what constitutes a defect etc.

Now, being in full on bureaucrat mode (I'm hating myself again, writing this...) I of course read this with interest and was delighted to write them a reply pointing out that their inspection of my bit of road had last happened six months and four days/184 days (still can't remember the deadline, but remember exactly how far over it they were!) before my encounter.

This led to some more back and forth about the maths involved in working out how much time there was between two dates (I was truly committed now, so wasn't letting it go) until they finally went quiet, and a couple of days later a cheque arrived in the post.

As a long-serving/suffering public sector worker, I don't like to be on the other end of this kind of childishness, but equally, I like to think I wouldn't have created the situation in the first place.

The people dealing with the claims are essentially trying to preserve the council's insurance bill - which is fine. But I think they could be less officious about it, and might do better applying pressure to their colleagues over in the highways team to at least stick to their schedules, even if they can't afford to do the full resurfacing most of the roads need.

A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right

Phil S

I've got the original Swift (emergency, cheap replacement for dead HTC One M8) and really rate it - reliable, comfortable, and am loving Cyanogen (first time I've used non-stock Android on a phone). Also, my track record of cracking screens made the cheap replacement option appealing, though weirdly (for me) I've yet to use it as it's a tough little bugger.

Only minor gripe is the camera doesn't perform too well if light isn't spot on, but it cost me just over £100 (when they had the cashback offer) and has been otherwise faultless - it just works.

Contract with Voda about to come to an end, so heading SIM only and planning on putting some of the (significant!) savings away for eventual replacement - this looks a strong contender.

Kent Police handed domestic abuse victim's data to alleged abuser – a Kent cop

Phil S

The shyster?

I can't help wonder if the solicitor involved should be looked at for some form of misconduct too?

As I understand it, they'd only asked for/been offered one file (a video) from the phone, to prepare his client. Why, upon receiving everything on the phone, would they then think "I know, I'll show my client the lot"?

I'd have thought (possibly naively) that they'd have been familiar with data protection law.

Hollywood star Robin Williams dies of 'suspected suicide' at 63

Phil S

Legacy beyond laughs

Great man, and like others, surprised at how genuinely upset I was to hear the news.

Solace from so many of comments above talking about their suffering with depression - hopefully someone who needs to see them, reads them, and it helps them find a way through that Robin couldn't.

Crack Army pilot to be first PROPER British astronaut IN SPAAAACE

Phil S

Re: why

As it was Mir, she was a cosmonaut wasn't she?

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7in Android tablet review

Phil S

Re: Have to agree

Ditto here - wife got one as a gift, and had (not irrationally for an average punter) assumed that since I could get the apps shes uses on her iPhone on my androids, she's be able to get them on this, as well as read ebooks.

After weeks of waiting it arrived, was opened with joyous smiles, which quickly turned to a frown.

After letting her get frustrated with it for an hour or so I stepped in as the voice of reassuring experience "pass it here dear, I'll sort it".

Boy did I look a tit.

Hadn't realised it was THAT tightly locked to Amazon.

Crap selection of apps, couldn't (wasn't allowed to) download anything to get rid of that god awful carousel, and couldn't open most of her books.

What turned out to be the real deal breaker for her was not being able to put pictures in the background.

I'll be honest, I didn't try hard to sort this as it's not the most important thing in my world, but to her it was something she expected to be able to do, which isn't unreasonable I suppose. But, on top of everything else, it was the straw that broke the camels back.

I suggested jailbreaking to get proper android on there (which I'd have been happy with, and was quite looking forward to doing) but she, probably wisely, decided to send it back.

Nexus 7 seems to me to be the best replacement (for what she'll use it for/price), but she's now a bit reluctant to go with android and has fallen back into the "must get Apple" mindset and is eyeing up an iPad mini.

What could have been a brilliant device for helping getting average punters to think of looking beyond the fruity shop window has probably shoved a few back in there, too scared to dip a toe outside again.

Amazon isn't Apple - they don't have the same kind of eco-system built up as a familiar place for users to do what they're used to doing (even if there are other, possibly better ways to do it out there).

A bit more time spent thinking about why people want a tablet, instead of thinking about how to stop them doing anything you don't want them to, could have made this a brilliant device.

Opportunity missed methinks.

'Nervous' London bankers run mock cyberattack exercise

Phil S

I've taken part in a few of these kinds of exercises (public sector - sorry...) and the value you get from them isn't necessarily "successfully" completing the exercise.

You get to see who is good under pressure, who/what will be throwing obstacles in your way when you're trying to sort it out (usually process-driven) and helps build the relationships within an organisation (and between organisations) that will help it through a real emergency.

It's not so much about preventing systems going down (though obviously that's preferable), it's about finding who are the right people to sort it out when it does happen.

If it does nothing more than make a few managers think about who is/isn't reliable, its worth it.

Too rude for the road: DVLA hot list of banned numberplates

Phil S

I always fancied getting the old style ones reading P155 OFF or P15 SED.

Guess they're out too?

Get your numbers right, NBN Co tells Economist

Phil S


"The authors … claim the NBN will cover 7.45 million Australian households; in fact, it will cover 13 million premises by the time it is complete"

Households aren't the same as premises, so I wonder how many non-household premises (commercial and public sector) there are as part of the scheme?

if there's 5.55 million, it all adds up. Though I will confess to having no godly idea whether there are that many - still seems high, but you never know.