* Posts by Ray Merrall

26 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Feb 2013

Cambridge Analytica CEO suspended – and that's not even the worst news for them today

Ray Merrall

Missing something?

Steve Bannon (and Mercer) paid 15 million into getting CA started - who to? CA looks like a shell company set up by SCL, like the Aussie company, Down Under, which means that the companies are being run as arms length and deniable. SCL management, staff and administrators are seconded to the shell companies to perform on specific markets. Which begs the question, which part of SCL dealt with the UK political scene, and who paid?

Windows 10 to force you to use Edge, even if it isn't default browser

Ray Merrall

Just bought a new desktop with Windows 10, the good points, it was cheap and it was quick delivered. Now the bad, 10 is shit masquerading as an o/s. Most of my crucial programs work on Windows and I really do not have the time or inclination to learn Linux or play with all the different flavours. I have an aversion to Apple and mac o/s - see comment on crucial programs, and somebody once telling me that no one could hack mac o/s. (maybe true, but, I don't believe it)

I had to go through at least 3 pop-ups telling me edge is the best thing on the planet, more saying that Cortana is my fantasy female, that office is a good tool to use and goodness only knows what else. Everything seems geared to me paying a revenue flow to Redmond, which just makes me remember why I hate jumped up acc*ntants and bean counters trying to massage profits through areas of marketing they know little about, but can see $ and £ signs flashing in front of their eyes while potential bonuses flood into their respective bank accounts before they piss off somewhere else to wash and rinse the process, and the company collapses because nobody will now buy any product from them. .

Man who gave interviews about his crimes asks court to delete Google results

Ray Merrall

Re: Win for the Lawyers

Believe it or not, the alliteration is correct. The reason surgeons are referred to as Mr. (and Mrs) rather than Dr. is because surgery was originally done by Barbers. Doctors received training and passed exams. While barbers had sharp blades and razors, and were more used to spilling blood in attempting not to...

BOFH: Honourable misconduct

Ray Merrall

Re: who would play BOFH and PFY?

Plus numerous well known guests, who in acting the parts of various HR goons, finance ac*nts, management, sales guys, etc., demonstrate the practical uses of carpet, lime and a map of nearby forests, or how windows on second floors and above need proper locking mechanisms, or the use of over powered electric cattle prods on parts of the body.

You know guests like Piers Morgan, Simon Cowell, Nigel Farage, members of the Cabinet and government (How is she still PM TMay, BoJo the Clown, Precious JRM, Twinkletoes Fox, Hunt the C*nt, and many others) who wish to resurrect their political careers if, unfortunately, not in person.......

'WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?' Linus Torvalds explodes at Intel spinning Spectre fix as a security feature

Ray Merrall

Any one think that both architecture manufacturers have the same problem at the same time? Just when all the computer manufacturers need to have a new product to sell. Nope, that would be too cynical...

User dialled his PC into a permanent state of 'Brown Alert'

Ray Merrall

Screen brightness!

True story, just wished it wasn't. Went into the call centre part of a large administration department, and it was just like walking into a WW2 submarine movie, you know, reduced lighting, which as it was in the centre of a large open plan office was an achievement in itself. Yep, the section manager hadn't realised that some of the buttons under the monitor altered the brightness of the screens and nobody had the courage to tell them....

Indian call centre scammers are targeting BT customers

Ray Merrall

Not just BT - EE?

I very rarely use my home phone, except I keep it for distant friends and relatives who use the number to occasionally call. However, recently I have used the phone to call out, vet's, doctor etc.,, and without exception, I have had spam calls call back for a week or more afterwards. Yes, I am on TPS (which is totally useless anyway) but I also back it up with a Truecall gadget which means I can stop o'seas calls and find out who calls, supposedly local. (real o'sea callers have an extra code to get the phone to ring)

Information on smart meters? Yep. They're great. That works, right? – UK.gov

Ray Merrall

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

You can certainly phone up and demand a refund, you can even request a reduction in your payments. But whether you get them or not is another matter. If you can get someone at the company who actually gives a damn or is getting hassled about the number of calls they are not taking, or the time the calls they are on, and they can give you the time to try and sort your account out, you'll be extremely lucky.

Next, the requested reduction, if the CSR does put the change into the system, the system will analyse it, if it meets the requirements (and it won't) your monthly charges will be reduced, what normally happens is that the system will increase your monthly charge and you will have to phone in again (don't bother writing or threatening to leave (the letters will be put at the bottom of a pile for another CSR to deal with) while the company is attracting plenty of other suckers in with "great" deals.)

The voice of experience at both ends.....

Lycamobile offices 'raided over fraud allegations' – report

Ray Merrall

Suggest you read the original article on Buzzfeed, makes interesting points that directly questions Cameron's integrity.

BT to splash £550m integrating EE. Firm shrugs: Cheap!

Ray Merrall

Why do people use other companies rather than BT?

Almost certainly because of an experience, personal or what happened to a friend or relative - and not a pleasant one at that.

Eg: It took government action to force cold callers to show their phone numbers, even though BT had the ability already, and was more than willing to sell another product to stop the calls. So not only were BT making money off the scammers calls, it was also making extra money of their own customers.

I wonder how many people are going to move from EE to avoid going back to BT?

A Brit cloud biz and an angry customer wanting a refund: A Love Story

Ray Merrall


Hmm! I got stung a few years back by a reseller company of LiveDrive.

The story as I remember it is, that the reseller found out that getting an unlimited cloud account himself, meant that he could offer an unlimited accounts to his own customers. He had his own branded software and it seemed to work quite well.

He confirmed what he was doing, and that he had an agreement with LiveDrive saying it was ok.

Of course, as you will have realised by now that things went pear shaped. LiveDrive seemingly changed its own rules and regulations, meaning that the enterprise wasn't allowed except at high cost.

Now I can make no judgement on this. The cost involved on my part was minimal and I was just dipping into it until it was seen to hold up, so I had no real problems when it went tits up.

What I think happened? One, or a variation of the following, an overkeen sales person at LiveDrive sold a product which the company was not aware of, took the commission and ran before they were found out; that the reseller set up an account through another reseller which was not allowed; that LiveDrive ran a promotion for 3 months after which the price of the service increased, in which if it was known about by the reseller does bring questions of honesty; that LiveDrive actually allowed the process to set up, either intentionally or not, then tried to get all the customers changed to them directly (by the way, I still have the emails from LiveDrive offering the service as a replacement, which I thought at the time was slightly unethical).

The result, whether rightly or wrongly, I will not use any product with LiveDrive involved, and there does seem to be quite a few around. Which does seem to offer another question.... The people who made money out of gold rushes, were the ones selling shovels. And if the shovels were made out of tin rather than iron, how many would be sold and at what price?

Watch out, er, 'oven cleaners': ICO plans nuisance call crackdown in 2016

Ray Merrall

Revenge of the Scammed!

Once, when I had some spare time, I managed to convince the guy at the other end that I was a police officer investigating a murder, that I needed to know his name, the name and address of the company so that an officer from his local force could visit and pick up the tapes to see if one of the other people had actually spoken to the murderer earlier. I was transferred to a team manager (hint: they are always with in 20 metres of the caller, no matter what else you are told when you ask to speak to one) and managed to waste her time, until I had to do something else. I just told her that the whole conversation was based on a fiction similar to the one about the original call being about a survey, but that I thanked her for the information, which along with the recording, I was going to pass on to the Trading Standards and police. I learnt some interesting phrases before the phone call was abruptly ended. Pity, I had no record of the call! It is, of course, illegal to impersonate a police officer in the course of their duty, and so my legal advisor has just told me to add that everything I have just written is fictional and not based on anyone living or dead....

What a difference a year makes: ICO tele-spam fines break £2m barrier

Ray Merrall

F E Park Heatcare not only still trading, still cold calling TPS registered phones. Method used, normally within 15 minutes or so: phone call from international number (automatically blocked), phone call from unknown number (automatically blocked), phone call from local number (changes each time and cannot be guaranteed to be blocked) leaving message on answer machine.

I have a TrueCall gadget on my phone, and I can access the details and have the records since installation of all calls. When first installed, there were on average 10 calls a day (maximum over 30), nowadays, less than 5 a week usually.

BBC telly tax drops onto telly-free households. Cough up, iPlayer fans

Ray Merrall

History, dear boy, history! I would expect nearly every one who visits this site is unaware that at one time there was such a thing as, wait for it, let me build up the anticipation, drum roll - Radio Licences! Yes, when radios were big boxes, which every body in the household gathered around every night, just like we used to do with TVs, for news and entertainment, householders were expected to pay 7 shilling and 6 pence per year for a license per radio with the money going to the BBC.

What happened? Er! Transistor Radios, battery operated, and yes when they first went on sale large and clunky and short power life, but within a few years, the size of some models were smaller than a match box, a reasonable battery life but having to use small earphones (and, yes, I had one).

The then government recognised the futility of trying to tax a product and service at such a level of non compliance, so raised the price of the TV licence, which in those days, were large boxes built around massive cathode ray tubes, used a lot of electricity, and, this is really hard for people to believe, I can understand this, there were only 2 channels (1 before 1955), the picture was in black and white, and the service was only available about 8 hours a day. Heck, I can even remember the fuss when morning TV shows first came on.

So, really my thoughts on this, the government and the beeb are on a hiding to nothing, it is going to cost a lot of money to enforce a law when non-compliance will become the norm. The only conceivable way for the BBC to go is to become a pay to view and/or subscription channel or both, and not restricted to the UK but really going global. Of course that will annoy the Murdoch's and their media empire so I can't see the present administration even allowing it to be discussed.

And as for actual WordPress pingbacks .... you should probably switch 'em off

Ray Merrall

Er! There is a way to get https:// on a WP site for free through Cloudflare. A few drawbacks if you use media drawn from other sources, but nothing you can't work around. It's not all the bells and whistles, those cost, but it works.

BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

Ray Merrall

And I had a boss who bought a red porsche before making 2000 redundant

Hiya Sir Sandy!

Snooping Scottish plod to be taken to tribunal by spied-on detective

Ray Merrall

Bingo! No, House

Er! There's actually 2 cases being investigated by IOOCA, of which Police Scotland is one. There is another case in England, which seemingly is causing sleepless nights at the Home Office.

Police Scotland managed to piss off the local press (and a lot of people by other means) by the illegal use of their powers. Incidentally, the Top Cop, Sir Stephen House, has left PS 9 months before his 4 year contract ended.

The eulogies from the SNPHQ would have brought tears from a glass eye.

The Raspberry Pi is succeeding in ways its makers almost imagined

Ray Merrall

Anyone remember the ZX81

Back in time when the ZX fad was in full swing, (yes, I still have mine and I can remember being in the queue to buy it) I ended up at the ZX club which an enterprising hotel had set up. The point being, I was standing behind two 10 year olds busy "typing" in machine code free hand into the 16k rampak, no notes, just discussing between themselves what to do next. As I was watching to see what would appear on the screen of the portable black and white TV, another man came and stood beside me. After a while, he asked me what they were doing, I replied that I hadn't a clue but I was curious. After a while, one of the kids pressed the button and a pretty impressive variation of a pong game appeared. The other man's jaw and mine, I must admit, dropped. I later found out that he was a senior professor in Applied Computer at the local university, and that none of his students could have done (at that time) what these 2 had just completed.

Kids will always be kids, who with no fear of the future, will do anything if it's fun. Give them the tools to play with or they will make their own.

Bacon can kill: Official

Ray Merrall

Death is inevitable to everyone

Being born leads inevitably to death, unfortunately, there are those who try to artificially extend the journey from the vagina to the grave by removing all joy, pleasure and happiness.

TalkTalk: Hackers may have nicked personal, banking info on 4 million Brits

Ray Merrall

If there is the possibility of a class action, will Talk talk be walk walk the plank plank?

Canadians taking to spying on their spies

Ray Merrall

Re: Meanwhile in the US, voters are getting stupider all the time

Er! Trump being likened to Corbyn, Nope. Try Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, both are getting bigger crowds than the rest of their respective competitors put together.

ICO fines anti nuisance call company for making nuisance calls

Ray Merrall

Fight back?

Interesting conversation I had with a "cold caller". An old mobile that I keep live for personal reasons starts getting the junk international calls saying press 2 to have some one contact you. Sure enough, a day later got a call from someone in the UK wanting to get what ever. I had the greatest pleasure in informing them that not only did I have his name, his business name and phone number, the phone number of the original autodialler in South Africa confirming a business relationship, I would start invoicing his employers £100 every time I got any spam calls. Further, as I was recording this call, I would use it as evidence in the small claims court to obtain payment and damages against his company. After huffing and puffing, threatening to flood my phone number with calls, I ended the call.

Funnily enough, there have been no spam calls to that phone in over 3 weeks, whereas before, there had been up to 2 a day.

BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

Ray Merrall

Magnesium chairs

From many years ago, in a school science lab with very different risk rules to the present regimes, trying to ignite magnesium with a match was difficult, on the other hand, in a flash bulb moment, supplying electricity should have the desired effect. A quick rewire of the cattle prods and you've got a 2 in 1 solution.

Punter strikes back at cold callers - by charging THEM to call HIM

Ray Merrall

I, finally, was able to find something that stopped these b*******s, a British gadget called Truecall. Just checked the record, and of the 25 calls received last month, 19 were zapped and blocked or sent to voice mail (no message left, funny that), the other 6 were starred calls.

When I first fitted the device, 2 years ago, it was blocking up to 10 pest calls a day.

Ok, it costs about £100 and £15/year but has more than paid for itself in cutting time wasted. For the record, I don't sell it, make commission or work for the company.

Oh! I have a call blocker app on my mobile and use the blocker on my Skype number, unfortunately can only really use against numbers that have already called though.

Until the politco's start kicking BT's backside, nothing is really going to change.

Murdoch hate sparks mass bitchin', rapid evacuation from O2, BE

Ray Merrall

Re: O2, great service but terrible speed. BT actually not that bad!

Slightly OT, moved out of ING when Barclays took them over. Are people getting more rebellious of the Great Businesses "wot we should all be proud of" (duffing the cap, tugging the forelock, nose up the a**e, gratefully eating the s**t which is shoveled in our direction) taking over companies that actually do a good job?

PS, Don't have Sky, will not knowingly ever buy any Murdoch Product as per previous paragraph.

Psst, wanna block nuisance calls? BT'll do it... for a price

Ray Merrall

Nuisance Phone Calls

As I understand it,the BT phones will block certain calls, international, no access to phone number etc. and up to 10 pest call numbers.

Sorry, doesn't make the grade even at half the price of Truecall.

Ok, I am biased to Truecall, but then I have had one one working for over a year and I have the data results to prove it already works one heck of a lot better than BT's guilt attempt.

When first fitted the Truecall unit was blocking over 10 nuisance calls per day, it is now down to around 2 per day. (Don't tell me that the spammers don't keep live lists of active numbers to annoy.)

The unit now has nearly 100 supposed UK phone numbers blocked with over 30 with access, Just checked up to 1000 numbers can be kept. You can check on the phone numbers, just in case, every week or so, check on unknown numbers easily to confirm spam or not, (Zap or Star for future calls) take voice mail, record calls in and out (so long as it is for your own use (as in your evidence in a legal dispute) you do not have to inform the other end), and lastly, block all calls at night unless the caller has a code or is recognised.

And as to £69 for a second phone, Truecall has all the line phones in the house covered included in the price.

As for mobile phones, there are a number of call blockers with similar to Truecall tools available for android (can't say about IOS, but suspect similar) which work brilliantly, while Skype, (yep, have had a couple of spammers calling) can block calls as well.

Now why doesn't BT and the politicians do something about this problem? Heaven forfend that money should be involved. But, I suspect that whoever owns the lines gets paid for what goes though them some how and with the number of junk calls going through the lines, some one is making a lot of money out of allowing their own customers to get very annoyed.

PS: Recently, had to take the unit off line to be able to allow a lot of calls through for family reasons, and I have had fun with the spammers by telling them were calling a crime scene and I wanted their names, company names and addresses to allow a police officer to visit and confirm their innocence or otherwise in calling. Most just quietly put the phone down while a couple gave all, plus some that I couldn't resist asking for, information requested. Er! I may have implied that I was a Police officer, but I didn't say I was, in case anyone is worried and since they were already breaking the "law" by calling a TPS number, I felt no guilt in returning the favour of their call.