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1154 posts • joined 9 Jul 2014
got the T shirt. A family member presented me with an old laptop he wanted me to install Linux on. No problem I foolishly said. I'd recently updated the Mrs Windows 10 laptop to the latest version of Mint so had an installation stick ready to use. It just wouldn't have it though. Kept failing to install with an unreadable error message flashing past the screen lasting a millisecond. I turned the laptop over and noticed it had a sticker for Windows XP. Ah! the penny dropped, it was so old it needed the 32 bit version. Dug a 32 bit version of Mint out of the archives and that installed great, except no WiFi. Connected the Ethernet cable and got it fully up to date with all the patches but still the WiFi wouldn't work. Tried a plug in USB WiFi adaptor, nope didn't work. Eventually after much gnashing of teeth, I waded through the BIOS settings and noticed one to "Disable WiFi" which was ticked. Bugger. Turned the setting off and the WiFi worked. It never occurred to me that there would be such a setting.
I changed to a new email address for dealing with such entities and had no problem updating most websites as they have a feature for that purpose. Not Shell energy. I clicked the link that would allow you to update your details, except it didn't include email address. Tried their AI bot, which directed me to the part of the website that didn't include any means of updating my email address. Phoned their customer services number where I joined a queue at position 98. An hour later after being lobotomised by inane muzak and "your call is important to us" crap I'd got down to 7 in the queue at which point the line dropped. No contact form or email address on their website. Had to google search to find one. Sent them an email and they replied suggesting I update my email address via their website, which I'd already discovered didn't have such a feature anyway. Grrr. Sent them a snotty email back and they updated the email address for me at their end. So much faffing about to do a trivial thing.
The wife's 5 year old Windows 10 laptop had been getting slower and slower over recent months. A cynic may put that down to Microsoft deliberately providing bloated updates with exactly that result in mind. However, having now got rid of Windows 10 and installing Linux Mint on it, the laptop now runs like greased lightening. No Windows 11 for us thank you.
We've got a DAB radio in the bedroom and due to the same problem I've stuck black tape over the display so it doesn't act as a sodding night-light.
DAB reception is good where we live; I like the fact the radio in the kitchen displays the composer and title of the track currently being played (Classic FM).
The car radio uses FM, so don't have many reception problems when driving around.
Best of both worlds.
I've had that message a couple of times from Amazon. Er, no it hasn't, we've been in all day and nobody has knocked on the door or rung the door bell. End up chasing Amazon customer services who reassure me the parcel will be delivered within 48 hours. The following day a note through the letterbox from an Amazon delivery driver saying we were out, except we were in again all day. Sigh.
I get that all the time too. Whenever I log into Amazon I get a warning text message querying that I've just logged in from London, Newcastle, Cornwall etc and I'm still in the same room on the same computer in Nottingham.
Google News is funny like that too, If I'm logged in to Google, it shows a section of news from my "Local Area" which is anywhere in the country, often from small towns I've never even heard of.
The average user will just tick boxes asking "Share all data" and "Don't ask again" to be rid of the pop up.
At the moment I share as little as possible with websites and when they do require specific information such as date of birth I put in fake details. If forced to use some sort of data sharing box, I'll just put fake data into that too.
The current system is broken, but I can't see how the proposed change will offer any real world benefits for the average user.
So we store all our personal data on our phone or other device then somehow select what companies can dip in and take in exchange for using their website? You decide how far you are prepared to bend over to use their services?
This sounds very cumbersome and disconcerting to me. It also sounds like your personal data store would be a fantastic target for data / identity thieves to target.
What happens if you lose your phone or other device with the data on it, or if it is stolen?
What is to stop third parties keeping or selling on any data you have gifted them anyway?
I remember that one. I did my college programming placement at TRRL (Transport and road research laboratories) which were within earshot. If you also heard any loud bangs it would be when they (TRRL) were testing crashing cars and lorries into a massive concrete block outside the building. Something of a distraction when you were mid line in coding and BANG, windows rattling!
Still got my palm pilot in a draw upstairs. Got it free in 1998/9 during a government initiative to coax software businesses to get involved in fixing millennium bugs. It was fun writing on it using the stylus in that glyph alphabet. Nice bit of kit, never had the heart to throw it away.
The wife's old Windows 10 laptop is getting slower and slower after every update. It will only be a matter of time until I upgrade it to Linux Mint. It will still do everything she wants to do, but much faster boot up and program launches. Windows 11? Don't want it don't need it.
Software is only getting more and more complex with more lines of code and third party components and contributors. Short of having an in house trusted group of programmers to wade through hundreds of thousands of lines of source code, I can't see this problem going away. What company is realistically going to employ such a team anyway? The problems are not just malicious code sneaking in but the endless bugs resulting in zero day exploits.
Miscreants only need to find one exploitable bug in software but those trying to make the software safe and secure need to find and fix every exploitable bug. It just isn't going to happen.
One flaw with the French system. When we lived there our postal address was identical to that of several of our nearest rural neighbours (up to a mile apart). The only differentiating factor was the names of the residents. When the local health authority (CPAM) sent my wife a letter (addressed to her maiden name) it left the postman scratching his head and the mail returned to sender, as we subsequently discovered.
Ditto that. I dumped HP inkjet printers years ago due to the extortionate price of ink and their blocking use of third party inks. I happily use a Brother laser printer now. Its only black and white but don't really miss colour for my needs. It is vastly cheaper than HP ink. No more blocked nozzles either and similar problems.
I had a strange one the other day. All I could make out in his opening pitch was the word "broadband" due to his fast speech and very heavy Indian accent. He then asked me how I was today, to which I replied "fine" and he hung up on me straight away, which seemed bizarre and a little extreme. I hadn't even started to bait him.
Ditto that, my record is keeping a scammer on the line for 45 minutes and getting him to phone me back twice more.
Depends on what mood I'm in and if I'm at a loose end for a while, but it is certainly fun baiting them. I take the view that while they are talking to me they aren't conning someone more vulnerable.
I get far less of the "Microsoft Support" calls nowadays. The most common one is "We've renewed your Amazon prime". I'm surprised people still fall for that one, it is becoming old and repetitive now.
As for calls about my "recent accident" I lead them down a long winded story culminating in the fact I was hit from behind by a flying elephant.
Linux Mint does all I need, used it for nearly a decade now. The one Windows 10 computer left in the household belonging to the Mrs will likely be upgraded to Mint too before long the way Windows is going. She's always moaning about how slow it is to start and the amount of time it takes installing updates.
Not an electric shock, but at my college's open day, the electrical engineering section had an experiment running with a large washer levitating around a bolt. Fascinated, I wondered how much force it would take to move the washer and grasped it firmly to find out... and branded my fingers. It was BLOODY HOT!
Many years ago we kept a spider plant in a hanging basket above the (CRT) television set in the front room. One day the inevitable happened while I watered the plant and water ran out of the bottom of the pot and straight inside the TV set. There was a little cracking sound and the TV died. I face palmed at my own stupidity.
There may be higher standards with new builds in France, but this was an old stone and cob farmhouse in rural Normandy. It had electrical wiring that looked like Napoleon had installed it and an illegal fosse septique (spelling?) that just consisted of a large tank that a local farmer came around and emptied occasionally, spraying the contents onto his fields, overflow from the tank ran into a nearby stream. There was no gas supply to the property, that is quite common though, and we had to buy gas cylinders from the local garage. There was no broadband and the phone line hung off a couple of the poles into a field for the cows to play skipping with. French telecom/Orange wouldn't fix the line as they said "it still works". My internet consisted of 22k dial up. So much for the services. Despite that we did enjoy our ten years living in France. :-)
When we moved to France I was asked to give the local water company the meter reading. I couldn't find the meter anywhere. Eventually they sent someone around to get the reading themselves. It turned out the water meter was deep under a concrete manhole cover submerged under two feet of dirty water. The guy had to bail all of the water out to get to the meter to read it.
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