* Posts by paulf

1092 posts • joined 25 Aug 2009

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Blighty's most trusted brand? Yeah, you wish, judge tells Post Office in Horizon IT system ruling

paulf Silver badge
Holmes

It's also worth noting that many Crown Post Offices (the ones owned and operated by POL) have been moved into branches of WH Smith (i.e. been privatised). That likely explains your problem with expensive stationery.

These shouldn't be confused with the smaller Post Offices (more like a corner shop with a PO counter in it) run by a Sub-Postmaster owning and operating his/her own store and providing Post Office services under contract to POL.

Apple bestows first hardware upgrades in years upon neglected iPad Mini and Air lines

paulf Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: APPLECARE

@AC "Authentication works two ways."

I've been bashing my head against that brick wall for years so I'm glad it's not just me. When a Bank or some such calls me they always want to verify my identity even though they've called me. I understand you need to make sure you're speaking to the right person but I need some way to check you are who you say you are before we get on to who I am.

I've had some more pragmatic responses when I've pointed out I have no means to verify their identity and usually get a name/reference so I can call back on the main number to make sure the call was genuine but I've also had plenty that think I've started speaking in Swahili when I point out I'm not giving personal information to an unverified caller who just calls up and asks for it.

UK banking was struck by one IT fail every day for most of 2018

paulf Silver badge

Similarly Lloyds and Halifax/Bank of Scotland share the same Lloyds platform but have reported separately, perhaps because they have separate banking licenses. Not sure I agree with this as it depends on how segregated things are on the platform in question. Is it a platform problem that only affects selected brands/licenses using that platform or does it affect all brands/licenses using that platform.

Click here to see the New Zealand livestream mass-murder vid! This is the internet Facebook, YouTube, Twitter built!

paulf Silver badge

Re: Responsibility

It seems not a week goes by now without another 20:20 view into the cesspit that is Facebook (also Google’s YouTube as the article explains). I just wonder at what point do users reach a point of sufficient revulsion that they say, “I cannot in all conscience continue using a creepy platform that enables evil people like this.”?

Perhaps we’ve seen so much filth from Facebook in terms of the habitual lying about privacy and the ever shifting sands that are their “privacy controls”; the way they “leak” personal details to outfits like Cambridge Analytica along with other, perhaps more traditional, advertisers; how they give a platform to hate content like this; that we’ve become used to it to the point of implicit acceptance? Now that would be deeply worrying.

I would have also wondered how nasty the platform would have to get for advertisers (the real customers) to start bailing wholesale. There was IIRC a brief advertiser boycott a few months ago(?) but I think that was just token and didn’t last long once they realised their adverts weren’t being seen by eyeballs. Maybe advertisers will finally realise the brand damage from being associated with toxic platforms that have no content control like Facebook and YouTube (plus the others), but I suspect the users will have to move first.

(In case anyone wonders I used to use Facebook occasionally to stay in touch with people but my use was very limited. I last logged in 18 months ago and won’t again. In contrast TOH has a science PhD yet shares all and sundry with Zuckerborg’s Facebook and WhatsApp etc so there’s more to it than blaming idiot lusers)

How many Reg columnists does it take to turn off a lightbulb?

paulf Silver badge
Coat

Re: Long way around the barn!

For some odd reason, that I've not quite got to the bottom of, I've got in the habit of taking my railway bardic with me when I go away. It means I can find the toilet in one of three authentic signalling colours (or white) without turning on lights and waking TOH. The red option might make it a bit hooker like though.

Mines the anorack with the Ian Allen stock list in it, and a flask of weak lemon drink.

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Long way around the barn!

Not sure if other places have authentication on the card used in the power slot (JHFC that would be truly evil!) but I've spent the last 10 days with a my Boots Advantage card in the power slot of my Hamburg apartment as I like to charge things when I'm not in the room. Also it's the most use that ruddy card has had since I got it about 20 years ago.

[Thankfully the fridge stays on regardless of the card being present which is good as warm beer may have made me snap, in the way that finding my phone/laptop/camera hadn't charged when I first encountered the abomination that is the hotel key card power slot idea last year in Iceland almost did]

All good, leave it with you...? Chap is roped into tech support role for clueless customer

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Mum Support

Mum and I have an agreement when it comes to tech support. If she wants my tech support then she uses my recommendations on software/hardware/ISP etc. As soon as she does her own thing she gets tech support elsewhere as I pick options that are generally easiest to use while also being easiest to support. It’s worked pretty well for the last 20 years when her first computer (for email and web browsing) was my old 486 laptop!

In fairness she’s reasonably good at figuring stuff out for herself and can even help her brother with simple problems. She’s also a (relative) pro at checking windows updates for Microsoft malware like GWX.

TalkTalk returns to the email hall of shame as Pipex accounts throw weekend-long wobbly

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Claranet Email

Hmm, I wonder if we experienced the same billing SNAFU? Back in ~1998 I was on Clara Call for dial up Internet - you prefixed the dial up number with their Indirect Access Number and they billed you for the phone call at a rate below what BT would have charged. This was paid for using (IIRC) a pre-pay method that debited fixed top ups at something like £10/time. I think the problem came around early November 1998 - this was likely the first hour change their ClaraCall billing system had encountered and calls were being charged at stupid amounts - I only realised when I spotted an unexpected debit on my CC when I thought I had plenty of credit left. It was fixed quickly and the charges corrected but I didn't get an MD call or compensation.

I moved on in 2003 to Eclipse (remember them?) who still run my FTTC and landline but I left my email domain at Clara as their alias management is pretty useful and their techies are always helpful when I have a reason to contact them.

When 2FA means sweet FA privacy: Facebook admits it slurps mobe numbers for more than just profile security

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: Google too

Be careful as some PAYG schemes have some really arcane requirements in the Ts+Cs.

I have an old O2 PAYG SIM which is my "burner phone". It has the usual requirement of a chargeable event once every 6 months (I play safe and make a call rather than risking just a text) BUT it also has to be topped up with at least £10 once every 999 days (no, really). I guess they don't want people topping up £10 and stringing it out over 5+ years.

As a burner phone you may not be bothered if it does burn because you don't meet some obscure T+C like this but just make sure you can switch accounts that use it to your new burner number without the old now burnt number!

Correction: Last month, we called Zuckerberg a moron. We apologize. In fact, he and Facebook are a fscking disgrace

paulf Silver badge
Devil

I think these are the two key points of that whole sorry affair.

1. The Lib Dems thought the Tories would play nicer with them if they were in coalition together - completely overlooking the point the Tories don't even play nice among themselves (cf what's going on with Brexit at the moment and the party within a party that is the ERG seemingly intent on bringing down a Government of their own party).

2. Putting aside the various and extensive criticisms of the Tories the one thing they do very well is politics - and that's how they managed to spin things the way they did, to the detriment of the Lib Dems. People used to moan about New Labour spin doctors like Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson but they're mere amateurs compared to the Tory machine when it gets in its stride.

'They took away our Cup-a-Soup!' Share your tales of bleak breakout areas with us

paulf Silver badge
Alert

I had a similar problem when we moved offices a few years ago and the person in charge of our newly built office decreed that everyone will ditch their nice comfy, but generic red+black, office chairs for new crappy chairs upholstered in the selected corporate hue. I had a very comfortable special posture chair in red+black that was specially purchased after an occupational health assessment confirmed it was necessary. I asked if I was also expected to replace my chair and told in no uncertain terms "yes". I then asked if I could have her cost code so I could charge it with the £1000 a new chair in the correct colour would cost. A special exemption was hurriedly offered to me (and several others who also had non-standard chairs for similar reasons).

With hindsight I'm surprised she buckled so quickly as she had a long history of pissing money up the wall, until a new CEO gave her a rapid and hard boot in a big cost cutting exercise.

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: From my cold, dead hands!

Normally I drink only strong filter coffee, but at home if I have tea iit's Yorkshire Tea only as I expect my tea to be Steam Loco Crew Strength (tm). That's three bags in the tea can, leave them in, just a splash of milk, let it stew on the shelf over the firebox hole during the next trip = normal strength.

I recall once being asked to make a cafetiere of coffee at my grandparents house. I made it my strength (about 3x their normal strength). They were normally pretty active, even into their late 80s, but after mine they were bouncing off the walls (and no I wasn't asked to make coffee again!).

paulf Silver badge
Joke

Re: Full stop

<coughs> There's something quite dangerous about sober, thirsty, journalists. The El Reg manglement aren't that daft. </coughs>

paulf Silver badge
Pint

Re: TPBP

It also suggests

Friday alcohol craving causing finger trouble

and

A rushed comment lacks proof reading because the boss is fast approaching down the corridor after his meeting and will catch me goofing off!

paulf Silver badge
Meh

Re: Go on, join us by the watercooler: we could use a laugh

Our water dispensers (filtered mains - hot and cold) are being removed because, we're told, they're not used often enough and the cost of flushing them to keep the water fresh is higher than getting bottled water. They'll be replaced with the keg on a pillar type which I assume will go green as they'll be hardly used too...

paulf Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: From my cold, dead hands!

At the current "paulf & co" the most awful brouhaha has broken out about changes to the supply of free tea bags. We used to get a rotation of PG Tips, Typhoo, and Tetley*. Now TPBP have decreed we get something called "Country Range" which no one had heard of until it appeared. Reasons cited have been demolished by the now thirsty tea aficionados in the Engineering Corps: "It's cheaper" (it's not), "It simplifies ordering" (BS), "it's allergen free" (So were the others).

The rumblings I've heard suggest this has caused far more upset than it would ever have saved. If nothing else I've learned you don't piss off devoted tea drinkers (British or otherwise) if you want them to get on with their work rather than stand about bitching about the new tea bags.

We've never had free coffee (only Nescafé which is NOT coffee!) - and reception are under strict orders to rugby tackle anyone daring to help themselves to coffee from the filter machine brewed for visitors. OTOH we get free a food event once a month (usually cheese and biscuits - yum!)

*I'm sure those three brands alone will spark lively debate on the merits, or otherwise, of these brews, but they're better than what we ended up with.

Another way to look at Amazon's counterfeit-busting Project Zero: Making merchants cough up protection money

paulf Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Buyer Beware

Sorry for being a touch OT but your comment "there was no way to report it unless I had a sellers account." reminds me of my major bugbear with Amazon: Sellers paying to get negative reviews removed.

I ordered an item (car mount for a smartphone - about £10) and when it arrived it was a completely different design to the photos, although it worked just fine. I left a seller review noting this and the next day got a phone call from them offering me a 50% refund if I removed the review. I said I'd think about it (it didn't take long to conclude, "no") to get them off the phone realising they also had my home address. They were only able to call me because Amazon demands a phone number (thankfully my burner phone) which they share with the seller as part of the fulfilment address.

When I tried to report this I got standard replies offering help with a seller's account, completely missing the point. When I went to the seller's account help centre to try and report it there I was told I didn't have a seller's account and offering help to open one.

I've had various subsequent contacts from negative seller reviews. Some offer to rectify the problem and suggest I remove the review but sort out the problem anyway. Others offer me a bribe some kind of refund if I remove the review so this must be rife while Amazon turns a blind eye to it.

YouTube's pedo problem is so bad, it just switched off comments on millions of vids of small kids to stem the tide of vileness

paulf Silver badge
Terminator

Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

The talk of these confirmation algorithms is interesting, FTA: "Previously the Silicon Valley biz has been criticized for sending users down a conspiracy theory wormhole where watching one video about, say, the Earth being flat, leads to another and another"

Surely this is no different to the "You've just bought a toaster, hey look at these adverts for toasters!" advertising algorithms that are oft criticised in these esteemed forums. We're told these adverts are much more useful* to us as a result of the creepy tracking but in reality, no. This really is all they've got - there is no AI, the Machine Learning touted as "AI" is still really fucking dense and can't do anything other than feed an echo chamber.

So for all that data they slurp and activity they track (emails, messages, chats, searches, friends networks, page views around the web) all they've got is something that can do simple reactive regex matching. I can't see the promised automated moderation being any better so the usual perpetrators will be able to circumvent it with the usual tricks like spaces and substituting letters for numbers as they do on the Daily Heil message boards.

* = for no values of "useful"

Moneybags Buffett on ditching Oracle stake: I don't think I understand where the cloud is going

paulf Silver badge
Holmes

Perhaps, but buying them in the first place (especially IBM, considering stories passim, in El Reg and others) was one of his significantly less better calls. The research power of us lowly commentards doesn't even come close to the Sage of Omaha(tm) but even we can see IBM for the fantasy shit show it clearly is.

As said further up, respect that he admitted his mistake in thinking he understood something when he didn't; but considering his excellent calls in the past it's surprising he thought he understood it in the first place.

Need a 1TB microSD for your smartmobe? Come April, you can free up storage space in your wallet and buy one

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: or accidentally spend your cross border pr0n stash

Proper link to Micro SD Card Covert Spy Coin - Secret Compartment (U.S. Quarter) for anyone really keen. Temper your enthusiasm though - it's over seventy fucking quid. That's one valuable pr()n stash!

Just do IoT? We'd walk a mile in someone else's Nike smart sneakers, but they seem to be 'bricked'

paulf Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Eaiser to do as a group and in the USA

"...the in crowd kids are all wearing limited edition Yeezy Boosts that start at ~$250..."

Sweet waltzing Lord. £250 for a pair of white running shoes personally anointed by Kanye West? Christ on a Bike I'm in the wrong industry.

I'll admit to a well stocked shoe rack but nothing cost anywhere close to that.

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late

paulf Silver badge
Pint

Re: Remember Y2K?

I hope all those internal cost payments paid for a serious office party on expenses to make up for it?

(I'm assuming they were indeed paid and said drunken idiots were given the bollocking they deserve even though this is the Civil Service and they were likely knighted for their services to pissing off the plebs)

Apple hands keys for retail to HR boss amid flagging iPhone sales

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: I have no problem with Apple calling HR 'People'...

@AC, "the transition from 'Personnel' to 'Human Resources' as a backward step".

You're right. I've seen it said, by others of this parish, that "Personnel" comes from "Person" i.e. someone you work with; whereas "Human Resources" comes from "Resource" i.e. something you use.

Cops looking for mum marauding uni campus asking students if they fancy dating her son

paulf Silver badge

Re: Poor boy!

Yes, it was occasionally mentioned he was living with a man called Tarquin.

Not cool, man: Dixons spanked over discount on luxury 'smart' fridge with wildly fluctuating price

paulf Silver badge
Happy

Re: DFS

Re @steviebuk Oak furniture Land

Their prices are all over the place like a cheap suit with several different sales each month! I wanted some stuff from them so monitored their prices as a new "sale" came and went each week. Some items went back up - some went down. I guess overall the price movements averaged out so how good the sale was came down to what you were buying. I spotted a point at which one item I was after dropped heavily and the prices on the other items hadn't significantly risen to compensate so completed my order. After that sale ended, the next few "sales" my items were more expensive so that worked for me but could easily have gone the other way. Paying a reasonable price for something shouldn't be that much work. That said prices on Amazon can also waver about like a drunk walking home in a strong breeze - thank $DIETY for camelcamelcamel !

Texas lawyer suing Apple over FaceTime bug claims it was used to snoop on a meeting

paulf Silver badge
Alert

Re: Ambulance chasing at its best?

The article doesn't state the reason (and I've not read the PDF of the suit which I hope does give some kind of concrete evidence). My guess is he found out from his recent call history? Did the bug record the incoming but answered Facetime call? If so, did it record a missed call or an answered call (with a duration shown)? It's still a leap of faith from missed Facetime call to "Someone recorded my private client meeting" but it would at least add some substance to the claim as it would show an incoming call that could have taken advantage of the bug (even though it doesn't show any recording or listening took place).

Kwik-Fit hit by MOT fail, that's Malware On Target

paulf Silver badge
Flame

Last work I had done at Kwik Fit (many years ago) was a replacement exhaust. About 18 months later the Catalytic converter failed its MOT. I returned to the centre as it was still under warranty. It was being run by a 17 year old as the manager had gone AWOL. One of the "mechanics" put some fuel treatment in my petrol tank saying that would sort the problem out (it didn't but I was naive). After another MOT fail I took it to another KF centre and they agreed the Catalytic converter was faulty and rectified it under warranty. Another time I went in to get my AC regassed - they did a high pressure sell on a new set of 4 tyres (a type I didn't normally buy but they were on "offer") even though every tyre had at least 5mm tread (Note: for anyone not familiar in the UK minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm and when new those tyres had 8mm of tread).

Scumbags every one of them - couldn't happen to a nicer more deserving company.

iPhone price cuts are coming, teases Apple CEO. *Bring-bring* Hello, Apple UK? It's El Reg. You free to chat?

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

I've had Kirsty MacColl - There's a guy works down the chip shop, swears he's Elvis for years if only because it makes a lot of noise pretty quickly. No point having a quiet intro as by the time I hear the phone it'll have gone to voicemail.

Only exception is the Mother in law has Star Wars- The Imperial March (it's totally justified).

Judge! snuffs! Yahoo!'s attempt! to! settle! 2013! megahack! class-action!

paulf Silver badge
Meh

I have to agree with AC on this. When I'm reading at work I can't send personal emails so a webform would be much more convenient. If you're worried about Spammers abusing the webform you could just insist on reports requiring an El Reg Commentard login. At least then you know a correction submission from someone with a Commentard badge ought to be relatively reliable.

Weak flash demand and disk sales leave Western Digital scrabbling to claw back $800m a year

paulf Silver badge
Go

Re: Repeat post

PS: No idea why earlier posts aren't appearing but mine above (posted 12.17 Mon 28 Jan) appeared immediately.

paulf Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Repeat post

That's sad to hear that WD reliability has dropped so far. I have about 14 WD spinning rust drives between 5 and 8 years old - a mix of Green/Red/Black mechanisms across NAS and workstation uses. In that time (touches wood) only one drive failed - WD provided a refurb replacement as it was 2.5 years old and thankfully it was caught in time so no data loss.

Look out, kids. Your Tinder account is about to be swamped by old people... probably

paulf Silver badge
Devil

Re: who are the vultures here :o)

One thing not clear from the story - does Kim just benefit from the $25 offer or does she also get a few million for the usual things like "Emotional Distress"?

Icon: Lawyers ->

Fake broadband ISP support scammers accidentally cough up IP address to Deadpool in card phish gone wrong

paulf Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Dirty Scammers

I had a quick read through the Fidus story mentioned in the article about this and it linked to a page (apparently from Paypal) listing invalid Credit card numbers for testing purposes. Worth having by the phone if you do like to wind up these scumbags and they start looking for payment before attempting to shovel malware on your computer.

Test Credit Card Account Numbers

Plug in your iPhone, iPad, iPod, fire up the App Store: You have new Apple patches to install

paulf Silver badge

Re: The Joy of updates

Yes, things do get activated during an iPhone update. Every update I've done (since at least iOS 10 I think) has enabled WiFi on my iPhone even though I always set this to off (proper off in Settings, not the fake off in the control centre). When I've very clearly turned this off I don't expect Apple to turn it back on without my agreement.

I think the OP was alluding towards things deep within settings but my example still counts as it is a setting modified during the update process. I think I did see one or two settings elsewhere in settings being changed during an update but I don't recall the exact details.

Western Digital deploys heatsink on remodelled M.2 to tempt gamers

paulf Silver badge
Mushroom

I can't believe you didn't go for the Disco Glitter Ball!

Icon: Disco Inferno ->

IBM to kill off Watson... Workspace from end of February

paulf Silver badge
Holmes

Re: "sunset the service"

"To Sunset" (verb): Management bullshit noun to verb conversion of the day number 94.

Do you feel 'lucky', well, do you, punk? Google faces down magic button patent claim

paulf Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Was that a good idea?

FTA: "The patent was originally filed in 1999, and the company won a continuation of it in 2014"

Talk about beating heads against brick walls... Hard disk drive unit shipments slowly spinning down

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Steep drop in prices for SSD

+1 for Crucial SSDs. I got a 1TB MX200 to replace the 500GB spinning rust in my MacBook Pro which is from the long gone age of 2010 when you could just replace the standard SATA HDD/SSD with another standard SATA storage device.

That was just over three years ago and it's not missed a beat in that time - I'm relieved to say - despite regular use. I just hope Crucial is still good on quality as they're my preferred upgrade path for the 9 year old WD spinning rust in my Windows box.

Peak Apple: This time it's SERIOUS, Tim

paulf Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

I love my old iPhone 4S. It's like that IBM Model M keyboard, you could beat someone to death with it then use it to write blog their obituary. Mine has had several drops and is still in good condition (YMMV). That was very much the high water mark though, iPhone build quality went down after that as evidenced by Bendgate

Just updated Windows 7? Can't access network shares? It isn't just you

paulf Silver badge
Windows

Re: (KB4480970) Also hoses Windows 7 32 bit on Tosh Lappy

My mum is on Win 7 x64. The GWX shitshow saw her go from technophobe to a "pro" (in the parental sense of the word) in terms of reviewing the offered updates and excluding the ones I tell her to skip or permanently bar.

There's limited positivity for MS right now, but educating the parental units on the merits of checking updates is one of them, even if it wasn't intended by MS!

Reg Standards Bureau introduces the Devon fatberg as coastal town menaced by oily blob

paulf Silver badge
Joke

Cost to water bills

"South West Water pointed out that tackling one new sewer blockages every hour added £4.5m to people's bills each year."

My mum won't be best pleased to hear that as her bill is already £87m/year!

Before dipping a toe in the new ThinkPad high-end, make sure your desk is compatible

paulf Silver badge
Coat

I subscribe to the Sir Terry P school of monitor provision. "The reason I have four monitors is I don't have space for six"

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...

paulf Silver badge
Gimp

Old desktop front page design

FTA: "For those clinging to the previous layout, we allowed you to opt in to continue receiving the old homepage. ... According to our stats, about 4,000 people a month were still opting in for the old homepage in December, so we figured it wasn't too popular."

IME, every time I selected the old desktop format it got reverted automagically within a week even though I allowed/kept the cookie that must have stored the preference. I'd wonder how that statistic was swayed by others who also preferred the old desktop site layout but got frustrated at having to keep selecting the optout they just admitted defeat. It was a bit Mrs Doyle in the end - You'll use the new format won't you? Oh you will, you will, you will, you will..." Looks like I'd better try the lite mode. For me it made much more sense to look at the front page 1-2 times a day and check the new stories added since I last looked than go hunting for them on the new design.

Thumbs up at least for the threaded comments - spotted over Christmas. Good work guys!

Um, I'm not that Gary, American man tells Ryanair after being sent other Gary's flight itinerary

paulf Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: EE Shenanigans

Quite odd wazzocks at that, IME. Once I called them about an account problem, explained what it was to the agent that picked up (in the UK - it was about 2002) and got the response, "I've been a very naughty boy." I gave a perplexed response as I wasn't expecting that and got the same again and he hung up. To this day, what he did, and why, remains a mystery!

paulf Silver badge
Pirate

Scottish Power really are the most monstrous bunch of cockwombles (YMMV and I'm sure there are others just as bad).

I moved house about 6 years ago; we bought a house from the Smiths who moved to a house sold to them by the Jones. The Smiths were with SP so had to connect to them initially until I could sort out the move to a decent energy supplier. SP were completely unable to set up my account because they thought the new occupiers of my house were the Jones (exactly how this happened was never explained - a possible mess up by the Smiths? - but once notified of it they should have been able to rectify it quickly). It took multiple phone calls over several weeks to get this sorted (eventually my call was picked up by someone who knew what they were doing and was able to sort it) and once connected I was able to shift to another supplier.

Then out of the blue three years later I got two sets of new final bills. One set claimed they owed me £45. The other set claimed I owed them 2p. Both completely overlooked I had already settled all the final bills in full long ago. Not wanting to get involved with them again (even for £45 which I knew they likely didn't owe me and would likely want back if they realised) I opted to pay the 2p bill at the post office in cash thinking that would cost them the most in processing charges.

Thank ${DIETY} I never heard from them again. From @AC's post it sounds like not much has changed since.

Oz cops investigating screams of 'why don't you die?' find bloke in battle with spider

paulf Silver badge
Holmes

"in Australia, where the majority of fauna seem set on cleansing humans from the continent"

Just the Fauna?

Little shop of horrors: the Australian plants that can kill you

Also worth noting the Adder is a somewhat dangerous creature in GB - at least if you catch one by surprise by stepping on it in the long grass!

Dutch boyband hopes to reverse Brexit through the power of music

paulf Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Brussels is evil I tell you!

Slightly off topic (if only because Iceland is EEA/EFTA and not EU proper).

TOH and I went to Iceland on holiday in Jan 2018 (watching snow storms from the sofa by the wood stove in the hotel bar - perfect!). While in Reykjavik I turned my portable radio to the only FM music station I could find (IIRC it was Atan FM). It was a bit gangsta-rap like, which isn't my usual cup of tea, but enough to wake me up early enough for a good run at the AYCE breakfast bar. One morning the radio alarm came on and I was dozing in bed thinking about getting up when this song came on, dropped the N-word a few times then the Mother-F bomb (see icon). I was certainly unaccustomed to that kind of thing before the watershed but it certainly woke me up!

All the Icelandic people were friendly and welcoming, with excellent English, but I'm not sure they quite realise the subtleties of profanity. This is perhaps best demonstrated when we went to a wool shop out in the sticks (wool is perhaps the only thing that is *cheaper* in Iceland). We were chatting to the shop keeper and noted how impressed we were at the storm a few days earlier. She responded, noting "Yes, the Fucking weather, eh(?)". We were both taken aback - its not the normal language one is accustomed to in a wool shop but it did make us laugh also.

Scumbag hackers lift $1m from children's charity

paulf Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Who are the criminals here?

It's interesting you (OP) mention the RNLI. When my old man turned 60 (about 10 years ago so pre GDPR) he asked people to send donations to the RNLI (among some other charities) in lieu of presents. I sent off some cash to the RNLI and made sure I got the boxes right to not opt in and opt out (!) of future contact and mailings.

I was then helpfully added to their supporters email news letter list anyway, and started getting begging letters in the post too. I unsubscribed from the emails which then started up again a few months later, leading to a phone call asking them to make it all stop. It didn't and in the end the only way I got it to stop was calling their HO and tearing someone off a strip about it.

I now only support small local charities that I know well, know where they're spending the money, and that rely mostly on volunteers with few if any paid staff. If I support a big charity (I make one exception with a big animal charity) I take in food for the animals at the rescue centre as that should stop them using it to fund their CEO's six figure pay and benefits package (unless he likes eating Winalot!).

Dixons Carphone smarting from £440m loss as it writes down goodwill on mobile biz

paulf Silver badge
Meh

@AC Sorry I disagree on this. I appreciate this is your job and not mine but my experience differs. I bought an iPhone from Apple direct; they offer AppleCare+ (clearly an insurance product) and I wasn't asked to complete/sign any form stating I'd been offered insurance nor that I'd declined that offer (I didn't buy AppleCare+). I also bought an iPhone from John Lewis*. They didn't get me signing forms for any reason (insurance or otherwise) they reserved it over the phone (with only my phone number, no account or payment required) and when I went to the store they took my money and gave me the sealed iPhone box like the OP expected CPW to do.

Frankly, this smacks of the overzealous implementation of a simple regulation into overly complicated store policy. If the FCA requires this a citation of the regulation would be useful. Really, this form screams data harvesting operation to me.

*I bought an iPhone SE shortly after Apple discontinued them back in September. I called my local Church of Jobs asking if they still had stock left. They did but the guy I spoke to told me to try JL first as they were selling off their stock for £100 cheaper which he couldn't match. Apple get a lot of criticism (plenty of it justified) but I can't fault that kind of service!

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