Ashdown Forest and "Drones"

Now, some might accuse me of droning on (sorry) but yes, I'm opinionated. I also fly light aircraft for fun, and also own a couple of SUAs or, as they tend to be known "drones" and fly legally and considerately. One thing that annoys me is people who band phrases like "because it's illegal" about (usually relating to Health and Safety) when it, invariably, isn't and self-important organisations that try to use "bye-laws" to limit the power of things they can't. Increasingly the legitimate use of SUAs is one of these. This was posted today by Ashdown Forest Centre…

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"Pure Spam" - Or, a lesson in shared hosting and DNS.

I maintain, or am associated with, a number of websites including some quite high profile and well respected ones. Imagine my shock when one of these disappeared from the Internet (well, Google anyway) entirely overnight. Logging into Google Webmaster Tools I could see this was the result of a "Manual Action" by Google's team, specifically that my website was considered to be "Pure Spam" The site appears to use aggressive spam techniques such as automatically generated gibberish, cloaking, scraping content from other websites, and/or other repeated or egregious violations o…

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SIP Rejection Testing

Every now and then I throw together quick little one-off scripts for testing things that might benefit a wider audience. Sometimes it's handy to test how particular devices or platforms handle specific rejection codes, so I threw together this little tool in node. Basically, it runs at the command line and listens on a non-standard port (8877) and replies to every SIP INVITE message it receives with the rejection code you enter on the command line. You can change the rejection code just by entering a new one at the prompt, thereafter any calls will be rejected with that new code. It's not perf…

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Argos (again)

The expression "too many cooks" comes to mind. Anywhere I've worked, people take ownership of a customer's case - irrespective of how it arrives. There's usually some sort of ticket which can be transferred between people, but it's not a rabble of individuals all chiming in their own $0.02 My recent experience with Argos just got worse when they tried to be helpful, largely because - it seems - no-one has a clue what anyone else is doing. I want to eMail someone at Argos about this, and try and get a sensible response, but they don't have an eMail address apparently, they only take c…

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Security Theatre and the Airport

I've previously ranted about "security theatre" that we all suffer every time we fly anywhere so imagine my surprise that I write this airside at a major airport holding a bag that's not been X-rayed... how did I get here? That this is even possible, even as an exception, would seem to support that the hassle we go through at the airport is largely pointless. How did I get here? At security I followed the usual requirements like a good sheep (remove my laptop, iPad, don’t have any liquids etc etc) and yet my bag still ends up in the queue to be searched manually. Due to understaffing…

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Argos...

Update 6th November Knew it was too good to be true. Seems Jack completely lied about what they'd done, because apparently the order has been cancelled (again) and I've been refunded (I haven't)... so I now need to phone and re-order the same products (apparently they'll honour the original price, but of course I now have to explain all this again) Update 4th November Doesn't bode well, the promised delivery date never happened :/ Update 2nd November Finally, common sense, Jack (thanks!) in their twitter customer service team offered to get these sent to me next week. Update 1st November Argos…

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HP Ink DRM

I am never buying an @HP product ever again. This “Ink DRM” is a joke, I don’t even want a colour print but I can’t use this paperweight! — Ross McKillop (@rsmck) October 7, 2017 HP X451dw I love this printer, when it works... It's a fraction of the cost of a laser, instantly ready (no warm-up time) and stupidly fast (I believe, at the time, it was the fastest available although I'm sure it's been surpassed by now) at almost a page per second. I also actually don't print much. I bought the printer in 2014 for £249 and, other than the black, it was still running on the original (reduced…

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aqva-usations

Ok, so that pun didn't really work. I've already posted a lengthy rant about aqva bathrooms and their complete lack of customer service after supplying me with defective goods. Well, today, after sending them the recording of the call in which they told me they were sending things out (lying about it) and lodging a chargeback with American Express and making a threat of legal action I got the following; As a goodwill gesture, we will be sending out a set of replacement legs. Now, whether something can be considered a goodwill gesture after weeks of arguing, threats of legal action, and a charg…

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aqva Bathrooms

Another day, another customer service (or lack thereof) rant this time it's the turn of aqva Bathrooms. Turns out this company has directors in common with QS Supplies, a company that I've not dealt with since 2012 for similar reasons and - had I know about the relationship - wouldn't have touched aqva with a bargepole. Seems they're also known as Tiles N Baths Ltd. How difficult is it to order a bath? I placed an order on their website for a product, and shortly received the following; Thank you for your order with AQVA Bathrooms. The products you have ordered is unfortunately not something w…

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SaaS... Access Control?

There's in increasing tend towards SaaS, and indeed at work we use it extensively with services like Zendesk, Xero, Statuspage.io etc.. I've done a lot (including custom development, and quick hacks like access control notifications in slack) with Paxton's Net2 access control and was recently looking at other options for a new application. What I basically want is Paxton Net2, but with an API (ideally HTTP/JSON) to receive notifications of events and to be able to perform basic control operations This doesn't exist. Doorkeys in the Cloud More frustratingly several companies pushed me towards t…

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