Nov 302009
 

I forgot to pay my Barclaycard bill this month. The amount I forgot to pay was massive. Absolutely huge.

Yes, the balance from my statement last month was a staggering £21.28.

Okay, that small amount of sarcasm aside (almost as small as the amount in question), at the end of the day the payment was due and I forgot to make it. It was my mistake, so let’s just get on to the point of this:

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Nov 272009
 

Okay, it’s not that interesting – in fact pretty boring – but when it happened, the absolutely amazing alliteration advanced itself into my mind and I just wanted to use it.

Basically, the  complete non-story is that when I gave my nephew a lift somewhere yesterday, he commented that he’d been to the cinema the night before and seen a trailer for a film that was about some kind of virus, but it made him think of zombies due to the what happens to the infected, the way they behaved. He couldn’t remember, at first, what it was called, only that it began with a C.

Knowing that a remake of George A. Romero‘s The Crazies was at some stage in its production (I haven’t kept up, so I don’t know what stage it’s at) I asked if that’s what it was. He said no, then remembered that it was called Carriers – which I hadn’t heard of.

I went to see Law Abiding Citizen today (it’s reasonable; a bit of a stretch and definitely requiring some suspension of disbelief, but it’s reasonable; okay; not too bad.)

One of the previews was for Carriers.

And the next trailer was for The Crazies.

There you go. I said it was crap non-story. I just needed to tell it as an excuse to use the alliterative title.

Nov 202009
 

It was only a really, really trivial thing – but that’s what it looks like: My local paper have removed a comment I made on their website, and I can only imagine that it was removed because I shamed them.

The news report I commented on is this story about the son of a recent lottery winner. When I read it I noticed the comment that the chap in question wasn’t happy that his “personal life had come out” – the fifth paragraph in the article, which reveals where he lives, and his wife and son’s names and ages. The paragraph before gives his age and what he does. Indeed, later in the article, it points out that he originally claimed to do something else, in order to keep his real job a secret – I imagine most, if not all of the rest of the details I’ve mentioned were also included in what he didn’t want revealed.

The Bristol Evening Post published that information on their website in the very story in which they quote the man as saying he was unhappy about those details being published. Ironic, I thought.

And that’s pretty much what my comment said. I quote from memory, but it was something like:

‘[He] said he was “not happy” that his personal life had come out’ – quotes the Evening Post, while publishing those very details. How ironic.

Today, that comment is gone.

Removed.

Deleted.

Censored.

Nov 172009
 

Note: This post is actually an article I’ve had on a couple of websites for a number of years, originally written shortly after softrock.co.uk became the victim of a very deliberate use of email addresses at that domain in the headers of UCE (aka a “Joe Job”). Now that this blog is up and running, it’s the ideal place for such material – so one quick re-read, check and update later, here it is.

Introduction

Right at the start I should state that I am very strongly opposed to the use of munged email addresses, due to softrock.co.uk having been inundated with non-delivery reports and other annoyances since spammers used softrock.co.uk addresses in the From: line of their junk several years ago. I make no denial of that and do not try to defend the fact that my position is biased against munged addresses as a result of this.

However, please do not let that put you off reading this if you are a user of a munged address, or if you are considering using one. If anything, you should read on because there are some alternative suggestions towards the end of this article, just for you. Please consider using them, instead of your current or intended approach.

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  •  November 17, 2009
  •  Posted by at 9:18 pm
  •   Comments Off on Some thoughts on munged email addresses
  •   Netiquette
  •  Tagged with: ,
Nov 122009
 

Firstly, what actually is a spoiler? It’s where a plot detail in a film, book, TV show or whatever, is revealed to people before they are able to see the film/show, read the book, etc for themselves. Sometimes a spoiler can be fairly mild, revealing nothing more than the name of a new character, but they can also be very severe, revealing a significant plot point, and spoiling the viewer’s enjoyment if they know what’s coming (hence “spoiler”).

So, then, what’s spoiler space? Well, a long standing convention on Usenet is to employ “spoiler space” when revealing plot details. This is a mutually acceptable approach between those who wish to discuss what they’ve seen (for whom such a discussion isn’t spoiling anything), and those who don’t wish to discuss what they haven’t seen (for whom such a discussion is spoiling things). Spoiler space is simply a couple of dozen blank lines inserted before any comments that include spoilers (with a note above those lines to say what film, TV show, etc is being spoiled). The idea is that people see that bit above the blank lines telling them what is potentially being spoiled below, and decide for themselves whether they want to scroll down and read/participate in that discussion. (The point of the blank lines is to force the actual spoilers down the screen, hopefully off the bottom, so that they aren’t read by accident – good peripheral vision can be a dangerous thing!)

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Nov 052009
 

Yesterday morning I received a telephone call from a company acting on behalf of my bank, asking if I would take part in a customer survey – i.e., would I be willing to answer a few questions over the ‘phone? Normally, I’d say “no” to such things, but for various reasons which I won’t go into here, I chose to say “yes” on this occasion.

So the girl at the company undertaking the survey, who was a very polite, friendly young lady, started asking questions – but there was a problem. The line kept cutting out, mid-question, making it difficult for me to understand what she was asking. By cutting out, I mean the line would go completely silent – no background noise at all – the way some of these call centre systems do when the person at the other end isn’t talking; their end tends to completely mute. That’s perfectly normal, but not in the middle of something being said by that person.

I pointed this out to her, and she switched to another line and we tried again. For the first question, things seemed fine, but then it started happening again, so I pointed it out again, and again she switched lines. The result seemed the same, things were fine at first, but the cutting out soon ensued. This time, though, I decided to just carry on – it seemed likely that if I pointed it out again, it might only resolve the problem for a moment, and it would be back.

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