* Posts by Gerry 3

146 posts • joined 24 Oct 2011


BBC to demand logins for iPlayer in early 2017

Gerry 3

Why Date of Birth?

What a good idea to tell the BBC your Date of Birth ! What could possibly go wrong?

DoB is something absolutely no-one else would know or could ever find out, and no bank or agency would ever ask for it as part of an ID check.

And the John Lewis Partnership Card account would never just ask for your DoB and the last four digits of your phone number...

Gerry 3

Re: Phone No. Too

No, it was ABBey 1234, then 01-222 1234 etc.

Ordinary punters will get squat from smart meters, reckons report

Gerry 3

Re: Smart meters...

"The real reason is to shift this demand and only smart meters which can charge by time of day can make it prohibitively expensive not to do so.

"I seriously doubt that consumers will change habits without a financial penalty. Money drives everything."


Gerry 3

Re: How do these things help me....

There won't be any manpower savings - they will still have to visit customers every two years for a 'Safety Inspection' - to make sure they haven't bypassed the meter.

Gerry 3

Re: The real reason for smart meters

@ c1ue: You're on the right lines, but only lukewarm so far...

1(a) When Nudge comes to Shove (instantaneous demand about to exceed available supply), expensive tariffs won't be enough. Time of Day (see below) will become Time of Darkness - it'll be the Kill Switch unless you've paid a whopping premium for an Uninterruptible Tariff*.

2(a) The "ever more blatant messaging from said utility companies to consumers to reduce consumption" won't be messaging, it'll be Time of Day tariffs. At times when you want to use electricity, it will be prohibitively expensive: the weekly wash, Sunday lunch, evening meals, breakfast time - GOTCHA !

2(b) Time of Day tariffs will work wonders for Confusion Marketing. You'll never be able to compare tariffs in a meaningful way because Big Energy 1 will take great care to make sure that their ToD parameters are very different to Big Energy 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc. Think RyanAir on steroids....

2(c) As 2(b), except that there will lots more lovely confusion when using more than, say 3kW, attracts a hefty surcharge. Only when almost everyone has been conned into having a Smart Meter will Big Energy activate all the tricks that can be used.

Smart People have Dumb Meters. Dumb People have Smart Meters.

*Excludes area power outages

Ofcom blesses Linux-powered, open source DIY radio ‘revolution’

Gerry 3

Re: Potato

The Sony XDR-P1DBP is sensitive on DAB/DAB+ (although a bit deaf on FM, and there's no LW) and will fit in a shirt pocket. It has a micro USB for charging its internal battery.

Sadly there's no Line Out socket and it goes a bit deaf on DAB/DAB+ when earphones are plugged in because the telescopic aerial is then disconnected.

There's a good review of portable DAB+ radios here and some blog posts here.

Hackers hijack Tesla Model S from afar, while the cars are moving

Gerry 3

Connected Cars? No, thank you !

I took a test drive in a Tesla, but the massive Google touchscreen was enough to deter me from buying one. It showed that they prefer style over substance. Ditto the analogue-only radio (unless you spent a whopping £2k extra for a DAB radio that didn't even work properly because it lacked an external aerial).

But all that almost pales into insignificance compared to the massive blunder of having internet connectivity and over-the-air upgrades. It's bad enough when dodgy M$ Windows software causes a PC crash once a day, but software causing a real car crash at any time is unacceptable.

You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

Gerry 3

Re: I like them

@ Wiltshire

>Perhaps you missed the point. if the batteries are flat, there's no data being transmitted = system failure.

No, I didn't. My Energy Monitor gives a low battery warning for at least a week or two. I don't think it's ever failed to display the correct usage, even when I've been slow to charge the batteries.

>Anyway, what's wrong with an induction coil being used to power the device?

Unfortunately you'd need a direct metallic connection to power the inductive loop charger, and if you had a direct connection available near the meter you wouldn't need inductive charging in the first place !

In any case, getting grannies to splice large Scotchlock connectors on to live cables doesn't seem a good idea...

Gerry 3

Re: The question not asked....

Prices will rocket if your usage pattern remains unchanged, but there will be massive sleight of hand to make it almost impossible to compare competitors' tariffs. There will be all sorts of opportunities for price confusion and hidden 'Ryanair' charges.

Use energy at peak times? That'll cost you. Exceed a peak kW threshold? That'll cost you. Use more than so many kWh in a month? That'll cost you.

Don't want you own personal power cuts? Yes sir, peace of mind for you and your family is available with our uninterruptable tariff available for the nominal amount of just £50 per quarter and only 10p extra per unit. Then you'll never be in the dark again (unless there's a power cut across the whole area).

Dumb People have Smart Meters; Smart People have Dumb Meters.

Gerry 3

Re: I like them

@ Wiltshire

There's seldom a 13A outlet close to the meter, that's why. However, the displays are usually mains powered.

Battery operation isn't a drawback because it's easy to change or recharge them, and a charge lasts a long time.

Gerry 3

Re: I like them

You don't need a massively expensive smart meter (professionally installed when you take a day off work) to monitor your consumption. As the name suggests, an Energy Monitor will do exactly that. They are orders of magnitude cheaper; mine was given to me free of charge under some energy efficiency programme. So simple to fit that your grandmother could do it.

The problem is that unless you've always been a complete muppet that's left the windows wide open in winter with the lights and heating on 24/7, or you become nocturnal, the scope for savings will be relatively small.

The truth is what they don't tell you - smart metering is all about rationing, firstly by making it prohibitively expensive to run cookers, washing machines and dryers in daylight or to use lightbulbs after dark, and secondly by compulsory personal power cuts if you don't comply.

As the Remainians found out to their cost, you really can't fool all the people all the time !

Whoops - JimboSmith beat me to it. Must be telepathy... have an upvote !

Ofgem sets up database so energy companies can spam Brits

Gerry 3

Places for People Energy and Iresa give fake "quotations"

Unfortunately you can be seriously overcharged if you go directly to some energy company websites. If you have Economy 7, Places for People Energy and Iresa both fail to ask for separate Day and Night meter readings; you can only submit the total usage. This means that their so-called "accurate quotations" cannot be accurate.

Places for People Energy claims that it assumes 55% night usage, which is bad enough, but in my case it turned out to be an impossibly high 69%. Iresa are almost as bad, arbitrarily assuming 40% night usage.

Both companies gave false "quotations" that were far lower than the bills my meter readings would generate, and neither was the cheapest supplier. If I had switched, they would have obtained my business by FRAUD.

Amazingly, the Advertising Standards Authority is completely happy with this deliberate misrepresentation and refuses to act ! Well, perhaps not so amazing really - ALL the so-called watchdogs and regulators are all absolutely useless, so it's par for the course I suppose.

BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Gerry 3

Re: The Elephant In The Room

@ John Brown (no body)

No, Sky encrypt their UK transmissions so they don't have problems with rights in other countries (and to get revenue, of course). The BBC specifically chooses to transmit in the clear, desperately trying to pretend that passwords, paywalls, encryption, viewing cards etc don't exist. They know that any use of Conditional Access implies subscription, which would bring the archaic Licence Fee deck of cards crashing down.

We'd never allow Murdoch to demand payment if you read the Guardian or Telegraph rather than the Times or the Sun, so why is the BBC allowed to use anti-terrorist legislation to snoop on those who merely prefer to watch other providers' content rather than the BBC's?

Gerry 3

The Elephant In The Room

No one seems to have realised why the BBC is so desperately refusing to adopt the blindingly obvious solution of putting the iPlayer behind a paywall. It would end all the nonsense about making their output available to all and sundry and then dragging penniless single mums through the courts (even sending some to jail), so what's not to like?

Of course, the elephant in the room is that the BBC's fat cats and luvvies are terrified of losing their ability to force people to buy all their dross when they don't want it. It makes complete sense to put the iPlayer behind a paywall (that's just what the legislators were naïvely expecting) but the logic would then be unstoppable - do the same for the licence fee !

So the BBC's always strangled at birth anything that looks like subscription. Originally their satellite transmissions covered much of continental Europe, but they were encrypted and were only viewable with a Sky subscription. Then the licence payers who couldn't receive terrestrial signals complained that they didn't want to pay Murdoch a surcharge just to be able to watch BBC programmes, so the BBC sold them a Solus decrypting card for a nominal fee. However, alarm bells then rang because this was setting a precedent for general subscription. This was far too dangerous for the fat cats: the BBC switched to a satellite with only a UK footprint so that they could end encryption and keep the compulsory licence fee going.

It's high time that the BBC was told to switch to subscription. It wouldn't end Public Service Broadcasting: on the contrary, a properly thought through system would ring fence a generous amount for high quality PSB (and BBC Radio) and allow BBC to flourish by setting it free from government interference.

Paying a PoS*, USA? Your chip-and-PIN means your money's safer...

Gerry 3

No security at all with Contactless...

Here is the UK we have done away with both PINs and signatures for Contactless purchases of £30 or less.

We can do this because we simply don't have any thieves, dishonest family members, carers, office colleagues etc in this country.

What could possibly go wrong?

We will end misleading broadband adverts, thunders ASA...

Gerry 3

The ASA have lost the plot...

As usual, the ASA have totally lost the plot. Or perhaps it's the CMA or one of the other watchdogs, they're all utterly useless.

Everyone should be able to order ANY combination of line rental, phone calls, broadband and / or TV from ANY mix of companies, with absolutely no bundling or tie ins.

If I find cheaper line rental, why should I have to move my broadband to something which might be more expensive, less reliable and slower? If I move my broadband, why should I have to pay more for my phone calls and lose my access to 18185? If I only want a landline, why is my choice limited to only two companies or so?

The proposed new regime will still be opaque and totally uncompetitive. It's like buying a Ford and then finding that you can only insure it with Ford, you can only fill up at Shell and you can only go shopping at Sainbury's.

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

Gerry 3

Too little, too late

It's still too little, too late. The government has no will to tackle this massive problem because it's so profitable for their chums to sell expensive call blocking telephones and expensive network services instead.

It will be solved only by JAILING the CEOs of companies buying sales leads from third parties (often overseas) who call TPS numbers. Telephone directories already have fake 'honeypot' numbers to catch those who make pirate copies of the contents, so they should have similar TPS-listed fake numbers that route directly to the Information Commissioner. Make a sales call to one of those - and go straight to jail !

Similarly, phone companies should be obliged to provide network services such as Caller Display, Anonymous Call Rejection, Choose to Refuse and Automatic Call Trace (1477) free of charge to allow nuisance calls to be blocked and enforcement action taken. The telcos are effectively blackmailing subscribers into paying for these network services or be bombarded by nuisance calls around the clock.

Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

Gerry 3

Re: Will Wileyfox sales increase ...

Wileyfox is horrendous - DO NOT BUY ! Worst product I've ever bought. No instructions, so trial and error is the only way to stumble across what it does. It seems to come with 127 apps, most of which want to phone home at my expense, snoop on my contacts etc. It won't receive even texts, and it locks up my car radio if I make a phone call so I can't end an outgoing call, even by switching off the radio. It's just one big nightmare.

It's either hideously incompetent, a box full of spyware, probably both.

Win a free new car – just show Intel how you'd hack your existing one

Gerry 3

Bring on the Disconnected Car !

I just want a totally disconnected car: the only connection with the outside world being a traditional one-way car radio. No spyware, no malware, no inbuilt microphones / cameras, no OnStar, no E-Call, no phoning home to GCHQ/NSA.

We all know how software is inherently insecure. To prevent your PC crashing twice a day you need antivirus software, Windows Update, Windows Defender, umpteen other things... and then you cross your fingers. The only way to be sure your car won't have a real crash is not to have any connectivity in the first place.

Call me a Luddite, but there must be quite a big market waiting to be tapped.

3D printer blueprints for TSA luggage-unlocking master keys leak online

Gerry 3

Terrorists couldn't deter visitors as well as US officialdom has

In my experience, the TSA idiots can't be bothered to use their master keys.

They just cut off the TSA lock or the zip's thingy-with-the-hole, leave the case insecure and / or permanently damaged, seldom bothering even to leave a Damaged? Ha Ha, You Can't Claim Against Us ! note inside.

And don't get me going about the 'welcome' you get at immigration and the rip-off ESTA fee...

Ofcom coverage map: 7/10 – must try harder next time

Gerry 3

Just like everything they do, Ofcom's map is utterly hopeless.

I have a standard brick built house, and only Three works indoors. The other networks have next to no signal - I used to be with TescO2 and missed many incoming calls. I had to leave the phone on a sweet spot on the dining room table and dash upstairs to take a call. Calls would often drop out, even up in the study on the second floor.

Yet the map says that all four networks have a good indoor signal !

Carphone Warehouse coughs to MONSTER data breach – 2.4 MEELLION Brits at risk

Gerry 3

Always the same two passwords...

Why on earth does a mobile phone company need your Date of Birth? The first rule of security is never to share passwords, and the second is never to to use a password that can be easily found out or guessed.

Yet the standard security questions used by almost all organisations are Date of Birth and Mother's Maiden Name. Disclose those to one and you've effectively let them hack in to all your accounts everywhere.

Sick of politicians robo-calling you? Bin your landline, says the FCC

Gerry 3

Re: can I get a 900 number?

In the UK you can get a Flextel number starting 0701 that looks like a mobile (cellphone) number. Calling it costs 49p/minute so that deters most unwanted calls, but you can still be reached if genuinely necessary.

You can divert incoming calls to a mobile or many international destinations. Very handy when applying online for insurance etc and the webform insists on a phone number being entered. It doesn't accept SMSs, so you don't get bothered by spam texts.

Gerry 3

It's a New Zealand phone

There are four ways that rotary dials map the holes to the pulses.

The one shown is from New Zealand.


Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

Gerry 3

Re: The BBC helps keep programME standards up

>"As the BBC is free to watch..."

Expect a knock on the door soon from TV Licensing, unless you're watching everything online in catch-up mode !

>"... the US ones (40 minutes of advertising in a 60 minute programME)."

It's true that US programmes often contain large amounts of adverts, but I doubt very much that you'd find 40 minutes anywhere, and it's certainly not typical.

Barclaycard axes bonking payments bracelet

Gerry 3

Re: whats so good about bonking?

Governments like contactless because they can track your location and your spending. It's the first step to banning cash. Then they can control your whole life even more: if they don't like you, they can ration or stop ALL your spending. Bit like a ball and chain really.

Banksters like contactless. Unlike cash, they get a cut from all purchases. That's why many are arrogantly refusing to issue non-contactless cards.

Thieves like contactless. Unlike cash, it's re-usable several times: will this magic card be worth £30, £90, £90, £120, £150... ? It's the theft that keeps on giving !

Your new car will dob you in to the cops if you crash, decrees EU

Gerry 3

Don't fall for the EU's cover story !

I can't believe how many people have fallen for the EU's cover story that it's all about getting you an ambulance PDQ.

The odds that in SE England I'll have an accident in the middle of nowhere (but with mobile coverage and a nearby ambulance station), be seriously injured (but savable), in a wrecked car (but with e-Call miraculously undamaged), be incapable of dialling 999 and absolutely nobody noticing are close to zero. I'm happy to take my chances.

The real objective is to install a GPS tracking system and a remotely controlled microphone into all our cars to enable surveillance, eavesdropping and road charging. They'll probably add CCTV later ('just so we can see whether you're injured')... and then Orwell's TeleScreen will be with you wherever you go.

Digital killed the radio star: Norway names FM switchoff date

Gerry 3

Re: What transmission format do they use?

Norway uses a mixture of DAB and DAB+.


Most digital radios in the UK are DAB only: some have DAB+ which has been crippled to save a few pennies, and some really do have DAB+ (typically newer car radios and internet radios). Radios with a Digital Tick will have DAB+, but who has ever seen this scheme being promoted?

So British radios would work in Norway but you'd probably have only a restricted choice.

The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

Gerry 3

Re: When's DAB going to get the equivalent of RDS traffic news?

It's called TPEG. Broadcast by INRIX on Digital 1, been around for quite a while.


Works a treat on my satnav.

Gerry 3

Ever seen a Digital Tick?

Has anyone ever seen a radio boasting the fabled Digital Tick?

This scheme dates back several years, but it already seems to be Dead And Buried...

Gerry 3

Multipath on DAB is A Good Thing

I'm no fan of DAB in its present '405-Line Radio' incarnation, but it's designed for multipath reception. Unlike FM, multipath actually improves DAB reception because the signals all add up and are usable.

Apple's Tim Cook and Salesforce's Marc Benioff DECLARE WAR on anti-gay Indiana

Gerry 3

It's just the hallmark of a Good Employer

The issue is quite simple: if Apple required any of their GLBT employees to travel to such an officially backward, bigoted dump as Indiana, Apple would be condoning discrimination against them.

Apple believes in treating all its employees fairly, so it had no choice but to delete Indiana from its list of acceptable destinations.

All good employers should follow Apple's lead. As well as being the right thing to do, treating all employees fairly is VERY good for business.

Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

Gerry 3

Could be interesting on this 50mph road ! http://goo.gl/maps/LesJw

But at least you wouldn't get flashed by the hidden cash machine a bit further on...


UK call centre linked to ‘millions’ of nuisance robo-calls raided by ICO

Gerry 3

Make your number appear invalid to autodiallers !

A little while ago I added a Special Information Tone to the start of my answering machine message.


It tells automated dialling equipment that my number has been changed or disconnected, so they'll delete it from their list of numbers to pester.

It may be coincidence, but following a holiday I've noticed a large reduction in nuisance calls in the last fortnight or so. I always used to receive four or five calls each weekday, but I've had over a week without any, which hasn't been the case for several years.

So give it a try and see whether it works for you !

Gerry 3

Use 1477, Automatic Call Trace

The code to report nuisance calls from withheld numbers is 1477, Automatic Call Trace. You can press Recall and use it during the offending call, or for up to 10 minutes afterwards.

Unfortunately many telcos (e.g. Fuel Broadband) claim not to have heard of it and refuse to activate the service, so you may have to refer them to the relevant Ombudsman or whatever.

If Ofcom and the ICO weren't both utterly and totally useless, they'd insist that 1477, Caller Display and Anonymous Call Reject were provided free of charge on all lines. They're all existing exchange facilities that cost the telcos nothing to implement. ACR should also offer an option to block incoming calls where the CLI is Unavailable.

Similarly, the networks should block calls with invalid CLIs. It's interesting to note that when a call has an obviously spoofed CLI, 1471 does not offer the option to return the call. If the called party's exchange can recognise an invalid CLI, why does it not just block the call?

Gerry 3

Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

By pressing a button you're confirming that...

1. Your number is a working voice line, not a fax machine, burglar alarm etc.

2. You understand English.

3. You listen to the whole message.

4. You do as you are instructed.

5. You were at home at the time they called.

Result: Your number will be added to the Verified Suckers List and you'll get far more nuisance calls...

Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

Gerry 3

More tricks than Ryanair, and a rubbish radio...

The Tesla misses out so many things taken granted even in an unpretentious hatchback, so it ends up like Ryanair, the so-called extras bumping up the 'come on' headline price astronomically. Not even a spare wheel, despite all that space ! No rear wiper, either.

It's also arrogantly and stupidly American; they think you should be eternally grateful that the UK model has the steering wheel on the right. Yes, it has a massive Home Cinema screen as a stupid distraction, but there's no digital radio, not even Long Wave. A proper DAB+/FM/MW/LW radio comes as standard even on a Ford Focus but with a Tesla you get only FM/MW with just a handful of stations and no Test Match Special or Radio 4 when you drive off the ferry. Yes, you can have DAB, for a mere £2000, yes TWO GRAND !

And then after splurging out a fortune for a DAB radio, it's still missing LW and doesn't even work properly because the Californians haven't realised that DAB needs an external aerial...

NHS refused to pull 'unfit for purpose' Care.data leaflet

Gerry 3

The NHS notified only those who hadn't bothered to opt out of receiving junk mail. They knew full well that millions would never receive the mailshot, and that millions more wouldn't have fished it out of the rest of the junk mail mountain before binning it.

The Care.data scheme must not be allowed to proceed until patients have received individual unbiased notification and given their full and explicit consent.


Gerry 3

Re: Not electronic but

Just formally withdraw their Implied Right Of Access to your property. You don't have to give your name, you can sign it as 'The Occupier'. Nor do you have to state whether you have a TV set or watch TV as it is broadcast.

For good measure you can add that any further threatening letters (e.g. to send the boys round 'just to confirm that you don't need a licence') will contravene the Malicious Communications Act 1988 because (1) you've withdrawn their Implied Right Of Access and (2) you are completely familiar with the law so there's no need for them to keep telling you.

You'll never be harassed again.

Gerry 3

Yes, order all UK telcos to offer a memorable free code (e.g. 1-7726, 1-SPAM) which can be dialled immediately after receipt of a nuisance call, automatically reporting it to the ICO and adding it to the victim's 'Choose to Refuse' list. Much quicker and easier than having to go online and report it to the ICO, especially when the number is withheld and/or the organisation name is obviously fake, e.g. 'UK Consumer Centre' or whatever.

However, individuals must have the right to withhold their number. Otherwise dodgy companies could refuse to answer your complaint call, or they could recognise you as an existing customer and not give you any special offers. That already happens online if you don't clear your cookies !

Gerry 3

Just forward all your junk calls to Sajid !

Whenever I receive a junk call, I just say the the person they asked for has moved, and that their new number is 020 7219 7027 !

UK.gov pushes for SWIFT ACTION against nuisance calls, threatens £500k fines

Gerry 3

The TPS is ineffective

Ofcom reports that two thirds of unwanted calls still get through.


Gerry 3

The Regulators Are All Useless !

The problem is that Ofcom, the TPS, the ICO and all the other so-called regulators in the UK are all totally and utterly useless.

Nuisance calls can be eliminated if the will is there: the Do Not Call list in the USA works very well. When my Florida landline went live I received four 'courtesy calls' from home security companies in the first hour, no doubt because Verizon had sold my number to spammers' lists. But the Do Not Call list soon kicked in and all the nuisance calls stopped forever.

If the DCMS were really intent on solving the problem, this is what they would have done years ago:-

1. JAIL the CEO of any UK company that uses sales leads obtained from companies that call numbers on the TPS list. That would catch all the Indian call centres except the 'Microsoft Helpdesk' fraudsters.

2. Prevent spoofing of CLIs and block transmission of calls with invalid CLI number ranges.

3. Order UK all telcos to offer Anonymous Call Rejection free of charge, and to include the option of blocking 'Number Unavailable' calls as well as just 'Number Withheld'.

4. Order all UK telcos to offer 'Choose to Refuse' free of charge, and to allow country codes (e.g. India) to be blocked, not just individual subscriber numbers.

5. Order all UK telcos to offer a memorable free code (e.g. 1-7726, 1-SPAM) which can be dialled immediately after receipt of a nuisance call, automatically reporting it to the ICO and adding it to the victim's 'Choose to Refuse' list.

Gov: DAB must battle on, despite being old and rubbish

Gerry 3

Not so easy to change a car radio...

Actually, it's quite had to change car radios these days because they're often embedded in the dashboard, and you'd probably lose the display and steering wheel controls.

I'd prefer that cars weren't sold with radios and you could fit whatever you wanted rather than have to put up with the FM/MW-only rubbish that far too many manufacturers install.


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