Re: I'm sure they are trying
Bletchley Park was not set up by a Social
Media campaign, it has existed since the early 1990s.
325 posts • joined 9 Jul 2007
Well, according to MPs anyway. They described the parking industry as an "outrageous scam perpetrated on the motorist".
What to do if you get a charge notice (NB IT"S NOT A FINE):
Do not ignore it. The law changed in 2012 and keepers can be held liable.
Speak to the landowner/store manager first. Escalate to CEO if appropriate.
Wait for a Notice to Keeper through the post (unless car is hired or leased and you receive a charge notice on the windscreen)
Send a generic "appeal" to the parking company without identifying the driver. They can only chase the keeper in certain circumstances and often fail to comply with the law that allows them to transfer liability from keeper to driver. This applies even if keeper = driver because unless the keeper tells the operator who the driver was, they don't know and cannot assume.
The keeper is under no obligation to tell anyone who the driver was.
Use the POPLA appeal service if available to you (used by British Parking Association)
Do not use the "Independent Appeals Service" offered by members of the International Parking Community trade body as it's not Independent.
Ignore powerless debt collectors
Defend in court if necessary - not all companies do court, and those that do often lose a properly defended claim.
Eagerly await the new statutory parking code of practice that is on the way.
There's lots of help and assistance to be found online, but beware the idiots who tell you to ignore/bin.
In this case the site wasn't for the public, only affiliated organisations. It was the fact that they were neither "internal" or "Internet" that meant the licence was "required". Personally I would have told them where to go on that.
Add that to the fact that a Wiki server running on LAMP would have been a perfect alternative to the proprietary CMS, the whole thing cost a lot more than it could have.
The real problem is their entire licencing model:
Want to serve DHCP from a MS server? Every client needs an MS licence even if it's not running Windows.
Microsoft once charged an organisation I worked for a £12,000 licence fee because the clients connecting to IIS were neither company employees or members of the public. £12k for literally nothing.
Back when I was supporting software that searched bibliographic databases on CD (e.g. Medline), we often had tickets about specific searches. Researchers would write complicated queries to run against each database update and then complain when they didn't provide the expected results. Our standard response was to ask for the exact query and database edition so we could attempt to recreate the issue to see if it was a problem with the database or the query itself.
One customer refused to provide his search query because it was "secret", so we refused to help him wifh his issue.
I once accidentally left a personally owned video card in my work PC when I left the job. This would have been 1995.
The following Monday, I did my first day with the new company, then drove home via the old one. Walked straight past security, opened the IT room door with the PIN (unchanged), extracted my card and walked out again.
In "Relics" (Next Generation, Season 6, Episode 4) Captain Montgomery Scott passes on some words of wisdom:
SCOTT: Do you mind a little advice? Starfleet captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way, but the secret is to give them only what they need, not what they want.
LAFORGE: Yeah, well I told the Captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.
SCOTT: How long will it really take?
LAFORGE: An hour.
SCOTT: You didn't tell him how long it would really take, did you?
LAFORGE: Of course I did.
SCOTT: Oh, laddie, you've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker. Now listen
LAFORGE: Captain Scott. I've tried to be patient, I've tried to be polite. But I've got a job to do here, and quite frankly, you're in the way.
SCOTT: I was driving starships while your great-grandfather was still in diapers. I'd think you'd be a little grateful for a some help. I'll leave ye to work, Mister La Forge.
I recently left O2 after almost 10 years, in that time I always referred to them as the "least worst" provider.
Having switched to the Three budget brand SMARTY, I'm almost missing O2, but my monthly bill is more than halved (from a SIM only 12 month deal) and that's before the rebate for unused data.
The SMARTY model is simple - pay £5 per month for line/calls/texts and then £1.25 per GB for data. For non-inclusive numbers, you have to add call credit before calling, so it's impossible for me to call numbers that will incur a charge unless I choose to pay in advance. The only downside seems to be coverage isn't quite as good as O2.
Why was O2 the "least worst"? One reason is that Vodafone and EE both fail to offer a 14 day return policy on contracts (unless purchasing in the Apple Store), they will even refuse to replace a faulty handset that is DOA, instead referring you to the Genius Bar or return for "repair".
I had a similar doorstop in the early 90s, not gold but one of the first CD-ROM burners to be released. It was the size of a modern standard desktop PC and wrote at single speed. It became obsolete almost instantly but my boss wouldn't let me throw it out because "it cost 3 grand". So it was relegated to holding the workshop door open.
"One iMac we needed a hard drive upgrade in. Apple wouldn't do it - they had no option or facility to do so. The only third-party who could do it told us why - he has to smash the screen to pieces, remove all traces of the glass, replace the drive while the computer is open, then re-fit a new screen with special glue and pressure-equipment."
Which model was that? I'm trained to repair Macs and I don't recall any model that required the screen to be damaged to replace the hard drive. The current iMacs require cutting of the special tape that holds the display to the rear housing and the tape needs to be replaced to stick the screen back on again, but there's no need to break anything.
Brings back some fond memories of exploiting issues for fun and then reporting them before getting into trouble.
Discovering the lpr flag that (incorrectly) didn't check file permissions so you could print anything that you knew the path to without read access.
Discovering that the brand new Sun workstations and existing unix systems had overlapping userID numbers.
Escalating email auto-reply wars that filled the system storage.
Swapping around the serial cable connectors that were all jumbled up in the corner of the room and making people's sessions jump to a different terminal.
Same for me, an ex Genius. The interior cleanliness of the machines I repaired entirely depended on the environment they had been used in. The range was wide and we could and did refuse service on more than one machine including one that had some insects living inside it.
As for removing the glass to clean it - 2012+ iMacs have the glass bonded to the LCD to allow the machines to be thinner, so the whole assembly needs to be replaced.
Back in the distant past when I worked for a year at Thames Water, we would regularly get duplicated orders from RS. The issue was that the accounts department would insist on sending an order in even if it had been made by telephone and despite us writing "telephoned order" all over the form that went to accounts, they'd invariably process it as a standard order. This was the same accounts department that wouldn't let us buy computers because the computer budget had been used up.
We instead purchased a number of "electronic logging machines".
Back in the early 80s, we went on a family holiday to the Channel Islands.
One day, on a beach on Herm island, we met another family with a little girl called Emily.
Important plot point: Emily had cerebral palsy. Now, being the early 80s and my parents being the type of people who would make friends with random strangers, we stayed in touch.
Back home, my father was thinking about Emily and (I think) her problems operating switches and came up with an idea - he would design a torch that could be switched on without having to operate the switch.
The solution was simple - take 1 classic Ever Ready torch, glue a base to the bottom that would allow it to stand upright and fit a mercury switch - the result being a torch that could sit on a bedside table in the off position and be turned on simply by turning it to point downwards. Perfect for reading in bed and perfect for Emily to operate
Having perfected his design, my father packed the torch up to send to Emily's family. To prevent the torch from coming on whilst in the post, he removed the 2 C size batteries from the torch and taped them to the outside.
He then posted the torch with an explanatory letter, but crucially didn't give them any advance warning.
Emily's mother wasn't expecting a parcel. Emily's mother wasn't expecting to see batteries taped to an unknown object, so Emily's mother called the police.
Police turned up, one of them noticed the letter sticking out of the parcel, so bravely pulled it out as carefully as he could. Luckily for Emily, the package wasn't blown to pieces and she reportedly loved the torch.
I grew up in the west of Reading, directly under the flight path and my lessons were regularly interrupted by the sound of Concorde passing over my school in Theale.
As a computing student at Bristol Polytechnic (now UWE), I was extremely fortunate to get the chance to pilot the simulator at Filton. So technically I have "flown" Concorde (although I needed some "help" with the landing*). The simulator sans hydraulics is now at Brooklands where you can pay £199+ to have a go yourself.
*crashes, even in simulators are generally discouraged (but remember that a good landing is one you can walk away from, a great landing is one where the plane can be used again).
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