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* Posts by James

27 posts • joined 29 Aug 2007

AOL axes another 2,000 jobs

James
Happy

Pay attention Orange

As an AOL customer for 3 years can't say I'm surprised. Their customer service ended up diabolical, the foriegn call centers refused point blank to contact supervisors when they could not resolve issue & the British side simply advised they MUST contact their supervisor upon request - call them again.

Good bye - its been a blast AOL (not)

I do feel for the staff though - no doubt the untrained staff which made life so difficult will now be compitent, at least they will hopefully get better jobs.

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After months of denial, Microsoft cops to IE vulnerability

James
Coat

Now Children . . .

Firstly, since I started using Firefox I have had no botnet infections.

While using IE they were common - my sites are pretty static so the 'dodgy' site routing doesn't cut it.

I do however believe that as Firefox takes off the same will happen unless they take ownership of issues unlike Microsoft who have a tendency to use stall tactics in these matters.

Back to the issue - I still don't get why these types of attack are allowed to continue, I do realise that authorities utilise them for investigations etc.... but you can't have it both ways. The sooner the onus gets formally past to the ISP the better.

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Security spending soars

James
IT Angle

Oh really?

"Nearly half of the survey respondents said they plan to increase spending on security-related technologies this year"

This has been the case as long as I can remember. Its more of a theoretical statement as compared to a practical. In one organisation where passive and active IDS was employed the management deemed it too time intensive to check the logs daily advising "the resource required for this task could be better utilised".

The bottom line - organisations don't understand the level of committment actually required to maintain such systems effectively. I completed my CompTIA certification and found myself in disbelief of just how open systems actually are - wasn't given the funding or resources to actually tackle the issue. CEO advised we would accomodate this in the next budget - oh sorry!, forgot about that we will get it next year - oh sorry, forgot again, we will get it next year.

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3,000 chickens paralyse central Scotland

James
Thumb Up

Made my day.....

Living and working next to this made my day.

Hourly updates on local radio describing police chasing chickens inspired thoughts of the Rocky movie only in a non-confined area - still brings a smile to my face when I think of it.

Yes it did grid lock the area but for something out of the norm - a little step out from all the run of the mill bad things.

The IT angle - it made this IT workers day (maybe even week)

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Plods-turned-gumshoes jailed for hacking operation

James

Common practice

I really find it hard to believe people are surprised by this. It has been common practice for years for ex-police to go into private investigation and their previous employer hire their services as a means of circumventing legal restraints on the police force. When caught it is not uncommon for the courts to effectively slap them on the wrist and fine them £250 in the uk - if it ever gets that far - normally an apology will suffice.

I think this highlights the problem society has with the police and legal authorities. It diminishes completely their position when they employ these types of practice - then take the prove we knew stance.

Welcome to the real world.

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MPs praise e-passport roll out

James
Joke

Bollocks

I've been watching this for some time now and these are my issues.

If the systems so secure why won't MP's and famous people be on it - simple, all our details will have to be provided to foriegn countries to allow them to validate us giving them full access to ... well ... everything.

As addressed, why purchase a 10 year passport which may only work for 2 years.

We should be supplied with all the companies involved & see who & at what level of government benifits directly from the project (inluding wife's and children).

Address all the above then we can move forward from that!

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Only Sky can save digital TV

James
Dead Vulture

Alternat universe

This does appear on the face of it to be a sponsored article.

As a glutton for disappointment I extended my Sky subscription to Sky+ then to Sky Hi-def.

1) There are very few actual hi-def programmes although many standard progs are displayed to fill the gaps.

2) Sky+ - nothing but broken boxes which stopped working for no apparent reason - Sky did however replace the boxes with no hassle (now on box 5)

3) Sky Anytime - all the crap under the sun supplied for this feature - check it regular - watch it never.

4) Sky Broadband (yes I know) Web site is unbearably slow, email won't accept HTML formats, engineers on helpdesk are limited to checking your details and advising it must be your pc. As I work in the industry I scheduled a call with BT who advised the problem - he contacted Sky direct from my house and 5 minutes later I had broadband again. (still charged for the 3 weeks it didn't work although they didn't charge for the 3 routers they sent out {yes 3 - guy reconned I was unlucky and had 2 faulty units sent out after I completely rebuild the pc to prove him wrong})

5) Sky Movies - anything decent is now on pay per view, the movie channels are nothing more than pathetic.

6) They advertise they have programmes 2 years before anyone else - bull, a lot of what they have now came from the Sci-Fi channel.

In short - Sky can't manage what they've got, their technical staff are laughable, their programmes as part of any subscription are poor - if they are good then they are at least a year old.

The only saving grace was their staff were polite and honest (no I don't work for them - my sister does ;0) )

To summarise, I left Sky with no regrets - they even had the cheek to offer me 5 box office movies for a reduced rate of £4\month saving me £6 although I would have to spen extra to get this saving.

I think all but removing Virgin & Cable has put the industry into a sorry state so would the offer please realise that any credability he one had has now gone.

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James
Dead Vulture

Digital joke......

One last point, the primary reason the Digital Handover is failling - the consumer has been forced to pay for the governments decision -

I maybe way off here but hasn't this been in the planning for about 10 years - if so why didn't the government not force manufacturers to incorporate the technology into their sets 6-7 years ago.

Jane Bloggs, 69 years, pension £90\week.

Increased council tax - £10

Increased Electricity - £10

Increased Gas - £10

Increased TV Lic - £8

Food - £25

Other - £10 (this is minimal and not real world)

Pension left - £17

Government Grant -£200

Cost of 32" tv for person with poor eyesight - £400

This does exclude single parents on benifit, postal workers, firefighters, council workers, ambulance drivers etc... who have similar financial problems with their below cost of inflation wage rises.

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Zep promoter piles into eBay

James
Thumb Up

Commerce

I don't see the problem - don't our mobile operators, phone providers, petrol companies, government tax scams etc... etc.... etc.... all do much worse?

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Apple sued over i-Bricks

James
Dead Vulture

Smell the cheese....

I think if Apple are to survive they will have to be more customer focused as Nokia has shown - no matter how good the product you only cause yourself problems when you try to force hardware and software on consumers in a package and remove any decision. The iPhone is failing spectacularly as providers have closed ranks.

Yes, Apple have stopped their pc's evolving through the same tacticts.

Yes, People who took on the phones new what they were getting into.

Yes, Phones are subsidised through the AT&T network.

But, breaking phones intentionally is not the way. This is nothing more than a display of arrogance and probably hurt the product as well as the brand. I was thinking of getting one but no more - not that it was my intention to have it unlocked but having the option would have been nice.

I wonder if Apple and Orange are related on some level as both organisations appear to hold the consumers in contempt?

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Orange offers extended network coverage

James
Thumb Down

Change provider then!!!

Having worked for an organisation who changed to Orange two years ago following a "Site Survey" for signal strength we were lets say - a little dissapointed to discover that depending on weather, time of day and the pollen count we could not connect from certain parts of the building.

We were a little bemused to be informed by Orange that the survey was not binding and the couldn't guarantee complete coverage at all time - on the surface of it this was a practical statement but interuptions to service persisted each day. Turned out we were right at the edge of their coverage, although their payments department managed to bill us for complete coverage each and every month. 200 phones on one site alone.

A year later with still the same problems we switched to Vodafone (700 phones in total). Orange sales staff did try the old "your area is scheduled to be upgraded" but too little too late.

And back to the point - Orange appear to be charging the customer (again) for failings in their own service. I hope anyone with an Orange contract just move provider as we did and discover not all are like Orange. I may just be on an Orange Sucks campaign but between personal issues with Orange service levels\billing and broadband the only success Orange has had with me is managing to fail in all areas.

The sooner Orange go into liquidation the better.

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Fraud abroad drives up card losses

James

Bullsh**t

This isn't something new the banks are simply formalising their position.

It appears very simple to me - if the banks don't have enough faith in their system to guarantee the transactions abroad then they shouldn't provide the facility. It reminds me of when the CD industry started making burners available to Joe Public then complained because music cd's were copied - Doh!!!!!!

They should force authorisation on the cards & block international transactions by default. This would add an additional hassle factor but ultimately would protect the consumer (that is what this is about - isn't it?)

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NSA writes more potent malware than hacker

James

The holistic approach !?!

Firstly, of course Microsoft works for the authorities - it would be irresponsible not to (even if the authorities did create the problem in the first place)

Secondly, ...................... on second thoughts.

The problem has been inherent in the architecture since day one although Microsoft wasn't too bothered until other countries picked up on this and used it against them.

With digital certificates now being more blatantly used to circumvent any type of user level monitoring of who has access to local data I think maybe we should more so be asking who Microsoft has granted access to on their behalf for reasons of 'National Security' or what ever.

To be quite honest I can wait for all this to byte Microsoft on the bum, it may be on the horizon and with China already doing this (allegedly) the US doesn't actually seem too bothered - maybe the Chinese got the idea from the U.S. in the first place.

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Google punts ads on the move

James

Opt outs

When will the powers that be legislate to allow users to opt out of advertising - especially when we are paying per bytes for connections on mobile devices?

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US mercenary outfit shoots 11 Iraqis - and self in foot

James

Another fine example

I find this hard to take in.

As someone who is not in the military I was of the impression that countries frowned on this type of practice due to the lack of accountability of operatives. Those who push forward the war efforts and incited it in the first place are using tactics they preach are illegal in the first place.

If the foot were on the other shoe the US would no doubt call these individuals terrorists and tell the world they are saving us from them.

I think the accountability is very simple - the individual(s) in the governing body who authorized the use of such people are ultimately responsible for their actions - did Saddam not ultimately get held accountable for the actions of his soldiers?

It is now beginning to make sense why there is so much hostility towards the US if this is the type of tactics they employ - surely they must see that maybe they are protected legally to a degree but the people of the country won't care if there friend gets shot for no reason.

As for the American Embassy protecting the soldier - the official in the Embassy who made the decision to protect the individual is guilty of murder by association - diplomatic immunity or not. Does the US not preach that moral obligations must be met to maintain integrity? They should operate how the preach to others to operate - I wonder what would happen in the US if someone shot a bodyguard then walked into a local embassy - in fact I don't have to wonder!

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Microsoft dispels rumors of stealth Windows updates

James

Surprise surprise.....

I think the sooner vendors go to open source the better - I also wish Apple would relax a little to allow users to adopt their OS as there are a lot of clause all aimed at invalidating the warranty which to be quite frank put me off it.

For the past few years Microsoft have blatantly been marketing orientated and for some strange reason the powers that be overlook Microsofts data collection policies.

I installed Veritas onto a server once in which part of the server install was the .Net 2.0 framework - the router crashed during the install (which I didn't think was required anyway for a local install) - an error message flagged advising the connection to a URL had been dropped (something like - http://s.microsoft.com/register)

On querying this with Symantec (Who were seemingly as shocked as myself) it turned out Microsoft had taken the liberty of allowing each install to register itself. I did query the contents of data which was logged but alas I am still awaiting the information Microsoft said they would supply.

I must how ever point out another 'Big Guy' for who this is common practice is Sky TV - they also routinely collect personal data on viewing - although they advise they do not track where they get viewing stats from which to me defeats the purpose if you don't track where it comes from to allow corelation.

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Ofcom fails to prevent release of cell locations

James

Re: @Sarev

This misconception by the public that OfCom are there for the public is probably one of the best kept secrets in the country - they have simply taken on the public role by default (everyone else could justify not taking on the publics 'concerns').

Why is it a public body (OfCom) has no lines of complaint open in relation to their self other than going through a member of parliament?

I tried to complain against them once only to be advised I must direct my complaint through a member of parliament who must schedule floor time to actually formalise the complaint!!!! Now I may not be the brightest bulb in a an OfCom executive pack of bulbs but isn't this discouraging complaints and defeating the purpose?

My complaint was after Orange shafted me & OfCom simply said "But they shouldn't do that!" - 9 months on Orange had still shafted me & OfCom were still saying "But they shouldn't do that". Outstanding show of ignorance on the part of OfCom.

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Google-hating Aussie watchdog smacked by confused judge

James

Bout time

Having been involved in marketing at all levels it has for some time it has amused me how Google have managed to get away with this for some time now. Over the last couple of years the relevance of searches have seriously went down hill, I think if they renamed it the Google Corporate Search Engine it would be more accurate.

I still use it on occassion but like a few friends have found alternatives (find your own this isn't a free advert attempt). I consider the primary purpose of legislation to protect those who 'are not in the know'. Marketing does provide the means to sustaining organisations but ethical standards have been nothing more than a buzzword for some time now. I think its about time standards were set - if google wants to use an organisations brand then they are entitled to a share of that profit - very simple.

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AOL restricts free security software to friends and members

James

RE: Seems free to me

"Being no great fan of either McAfee or AOL I have to say the product appears to be free, the only requirement is an AOL e-mail address which is free to sign up for."

AOL email addresses are free, but only for 1 month then you have to pay for them).

I had 3 addresses when I jumped ship due to really pathetic customer service - they agreed to leave me with one for free then sent me a direct debit mandate. When I queried this I was informed that AOL email addresses are kept active for 28days then would be terminated unless I pay £4\month for the email address.

This constant miscommunication through their services desk combined with lengthy phone calls to queues combined with crap products which don't work like McAfee led to my leaving AOL.

To top things off - after I had completely left AOL for about 6 months I was called from their sales dept to advise I qualified for certain benefits as my subscription was almost up. (McAfee being the 'certain benefit')

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Orange to turn pink at Xmas to favour young women

James

The new Orange is Pink!

Another fine example of just how desperate Orange are getting. I think they need to change their directorate - not their colour.

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Orange strong-arming ex-customers for imagined debts

James

De Ja Vu

Just for amusement what have I experienced which others have with Orange:

1) Given a contract I did not know about

2) PAC expired as Orange took too long

3) I was charged by Orange for PAC expiring

4) Phantom billing

5) Constant loss of coverage

6) Sent second hand phone which Orange denied

7) Charged £5 for returning second hand phone

8) Sent to debt agency by accident

9) Promised a refund I never got

Oh the list is endless - I think we are seeing the benifits of governments ill equiped to manage our global commerce although they do somehow manage to manage their tax on such services.

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James

The world we live in

I think the bottom line for any provider is what they can get away with - the old car industry horror stories about the price of potential claims for defect fatalities Vs the cost to put things right. What can be dont to these organisations realistically - not much - they get fined and this is simply passed to the customer.

I think holistically this is more of a problem accross organisations of all types as compared to only phone companies although I was shafted by Orange myself.

Vodafone also changed my plan from a monthly (12 payments a year) to 4 weekly (13 payments a year) and I didn't find this out until the direct debit date started to change although I think they did notify customers by putting a notice up in some post office in the south of France to advise of this.

Anyway - perfect example of oversight in companies "The Register" (yes this page) - you need to supply login credentials to submit a comment - the page is unsecured - will this be addressed by The Register (Who knows?)

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Orange mounts sneaky Freeserve accounts purge

James

The futures not bright - its bitter!

As a disgruntled ex-orange customer I have danced to this merry song before with them through various types of ill informed endeavours - a lot of the time their front line staff had no idea Orange had even made changes to the service plans. I fondly remember one member of staff advising "I know we aren't charging you for GPS access on the web as we are only trialing the service at the moment" to have the decency and call back later to advise "Oh I am sorry - there seems to have been a change of policy and the memo has been misplaced!"

This does however highlight just how useless OfCom are :0)

Orange Customer Service Example:

1) Complaint about wrongful charging

2) Escalate as service desk cannot deal with payment disputes > Manager

3) Escalated to manager as per escalation procedure - referred to 3rd party

4) 'Third party' - no access to Orange customer details

5) 'Orange' - third party DOES have access

6) 'Third party' - require Deadlock ref from Orange for access

7) 'Orange' - you must follow our escalation procedure to gain a deadlock ref

8) 'Ofcom' - they cant do this - ask again

9) 'Orange' - referred me to third party

10) 'Third party' - we need the deadlock reference

11) 'Orange' - you must follow our escalation procedure

12) 'Ofcom' - they cant do this - ask again

and on... and on... and on... and on...

.......You get the picture & this is every area of Orange I have had the displeasure of having to contact. Needless to say I went to Vodafone (Outstanding customer service) and 8 months into contract was contacted by an Orange rep and advised I was entitled to a free upgrad of my phone (brilliant)

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Yahoo! seeks dismissal of China human rights lawsuit

James

RE David

As far as I understand it one of the problems with key phrase logging was you could only monitor what you knew about - new legislation in the UK is forcing data including access details and searches to be available for two years - to allow investigations to proceed after the event thus, all searches are logged from word to phrase etc..

To be honest, I do think this a realistic approach and although it is open to abuse by the authorities there doesn't seem to be any alternatives.

Getting back onto to China - their country their rules, at least they are open about how things are handled - can't remember the last time the Pakistan problems were highlighted on any national news!!!

I do believe the 'stealth' strategies of the US & UK defeat the purpose. Detterants are more effective than entrapment - Australia appears to have figured this one out

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James

USofA = Necessary GWOT

I think what would really clear matters up is for the USofA to provide us with a definition of 'Global' so we can understand how some countries apparently don't live on the same planet!

It will be interesting to watch the newly formed (SCO) Shanghai Cooperation Organization which contains Russia and China. I wonder what classification they will give to the US or if they will completely ignore cultural differences.

I wonder if the US will have google and yahoo sensor our searches (for our own good) to allow us to understand their efforts more effectively.

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James

Outstanding

I think it brilliant the US taking the moral high ground here! This is as simple as "look - we're not the only ones that do this" although the US would have the decency to ship you to another un-legislated country before violating your human rights.

The root of the problem may be that the Chinese have not agreed with the US do carry out these activities "discreetly" in conjunction with US guidelines! (which may or may not exist).

I think we may have just witnessed a government being up front and honest about how it does things although Im not sure as I've nothing to compare against!

I think this open approach is more of effective at reducing crime than an invisible approach which prides itself more on catching than detering.

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Orange sulks at Nokia

James

Orange Audacity

I think for some time now Orange have been been trying to tighten their grip on the industry & hope this blows back on them.

Having parted company with Orange two years back I am not surprised they are looking into other areas to try and cash in on with little or no thought to the realities of the industry.

There is a symbiotic relationship between both providers and respect is required on both sides - including Orange.

I would be interested to find out the details of their quoted customer figures also as a lot of companies in the UK have opted for Vodafone on contract renewals over the last 6 months. I think what we may be witnessing here is a top level panic by the Orange board to find ways of managing their profit margin as it deteriates!

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