Thursday, 22 December 2011
Monday, 19 December 2011
Monday, 12 December 2011
Friday, 2 December 2011
Make sure that your organisation's travel plans take this into account. Improve your video conferencing capability and avoid those long distance trips which are not really necessary. Travel planners should have alternate routing available.
If your organisation who was courageous enough to use an Iceland Data Center to offshore your computer operations you'd best say a little prayer. In 1783 the Katla eruptions killed one in five icelanders. It can get really bad!
Friday, 25 November 2011
- It is unacceptable that I could not renew;
- It is unacceptable that I'll lose the online number;
- It is unacceptable that Skype support do not have the tools to fix it;
- It is unacceptable that the supervisor terminated the conversation without agreement on next actions.
Update 26th Nov: After a further support request Skype say they've cancelled my "European" package (I only asked them to refund the difference for extending the UK package). They've offered advice on how to extend the UK package. That advice doesn't work, I'm still faced with losing the phone number.
Update 29th Nov: I've found a solution without Skype's help. Apparently the cancellation was caused a few months ago when I disbarred PayPal from automatically paying Skype on demand. Note I've had 60 Euros credit in my account for months but Skype won't use that for the 33 Euro subscription renewal even when I've declared it as the preferred method of payment. Eventually after Skypews rejection of two valid and credit worthy Credit Cards being rejected by Skype's "security" system I managed to pay with a third card. I've managed to retain the phone number, but also have an additional one that I don't want as a side effect of the subscription renewal.
The point is why should the Skype Renewal system be so byzantine and obscure? Why didn't the experienced Skype Support Desk spot the problem? I had to waste time working it out by trial and error. It is definitely not a system that I'd recommend to business people.
Thursday, 10 November 2011
My 25 year old daughter has flown the nest of the family home. She has her own career and her own home some 15 miles away from Lewisham in South East London. When vandals struck at the local power supply sub-station they took out the power to 60,000 people. My daughter was without power in her home for 4 solid days. She was able to come and stay back in her old bedroom, so the power outage did not affect her too much. She had a standby arrangement.
I wondered how well the local businesses fared with the power outage? Network connectivity dubious, no power for servers for 4 days, even charging mobile phones was a problem if you were stuck in the the location of the outage. I wonder did any of the businesses what they would do in the event of a regional power outage.
Rehearsal and problem analysis is an essential part of the BCP process for those businesses. It is bad for customer relations if you don’t have effective BCP, but conversely your company will stand out if it continues its operations in the face of a regional outage.
I wonder how many businesses have followed up from this incident and arranged standby power for their businesses in the intervening two years?
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
The ice slurry can be stored in large insulated tanks to act as a store of thermal energy for cooling requirements. The ice slurry is approximately five times more efficient at cooling than chilled water, so the pipework involved in transporting pumpable ice can be more narrow than those used for an equivalent chilled water system.
Here's a related Youtube video.
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Since then Egg has been dismembered and the parts sold to different financial businesses. There's no consultation with the customers we are just transferred to another business as though we are some kind of inanimate object or chattel.
Excuse me but being a customer is a two way process! Just because another bank/financial company now owns that service there is no reason why I should continue to business with the new owners. My cash deposits have moved, so has the share trading and my credit card is rarely used.
Sunday, 30 October 2011
The scapegoats are being herded as I type. Are we surprised?
Friday, 28 October 2011
It is inevitable that social unrest will increase in this country as a direct result of this social disconnect. Protest marches will most likely increase and so will revenge attacks on company buildings. As part of our services Oaksys Tech have discovered that the majority of companies are ill prepared to withstand such attacks. Any riot near their premises or a sneak attack is likely to inflict substantial damage. The people who will suffer as a consequence of such attacks will be the normal employees and the shareholders (pension funds). Mostly likely public buildings will suffer damage too. As protestors beome much more organised and and informed it is highly likely that computer data centres will become a target of attack.
Organisations can take physical security measures to protect their premises from those types of attack. Obviously those precautions will have to be effected in advance.
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Worth a look.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Industry and business must be facing similar increases
Monday, 24 October 2011
Edit 25/10/11 And they wonder why we don't use their automatic renewal.
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Sadly the spell was broken when I returned to find a scam invoice from the Domain Renewal Group for renewing the domain name of my company, or when you look more closely for transferring the domain name registry to them. This was of course completely unsolicited and unwanted. Why do the domain name authorities allow these internet parasites stay in business? I've repeatedly told them to go away and that I never want to hear from them again yet the scam letters continue.
The Royal Mail could help deal with this by refusing to deliver their scam mail to the public, but I guess they are deperate for every penny and morals do not come into it.
Monday, 11 July 2011
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Friday, 24 June 2011
One common feature of this con trick is that in the UK they use the post mail box shop located at 56 Gloucester Road. DRG make out they have an office located there by including Suite 526 in the address. The owners of the mail box shop at 56 Gloucester road should hang their heads in shame at their continued support of the Domain Renewal Group scamsters.
What is more annoying is the Royal Mail appear to officially support the actions of DRG by providing bulk mail rates under licence HQ9321
Monday, 13 June 2011
We also drop suppliers who do not perform in a business like fashion. Here's a list of the primary reasons for dropping a supplier:
- An aggressive accounts/collection department; we try to pay bills on time, but when the Accounts Department tries to blame us for their own mistakes or poor procedures it will result in a rapid delisting of that supplier.
- If there is any sign of corruption/bribery from the employees or direct agents of the supplier. We don't use Dell computers for that reason.
- If their idea of customer relations is to treat us like a naive consumer with a basic entry on a poor customer relations management system. We don't expect to have to repeat information that we've provided before.
- Vendors who lie or blame others when they screw up an order. We'd much rather suppliers just say: "We got this wrong, this is what we are going to do to fix the problem."
- Vendors who fail to give us bad news in a timely fashion. If there is going to be a supply problem, the sooner we know the better we can handle it. If people work with us we will try to help them.
- Vendors who try to arbitrage currency differences to make money. We've seen cases where the same product costs 75% more in the UK than in the USA.
- Vendors who try to push high value time restricted purchases through a general Help Desk just because it is the way the Vendor's internal systems are organised.
Conversely if we think a vendor has a great product and good business practices we have no problem providing an introduction to our client if we feel it will help them.
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Next dump the load of peas onto the surface of a basketball court. Spread the peas evenly across the surface leaving a narrow trail to the centre of the court. Using that trail take yourself to the centre of the court. Blindfold yourself and then throw a single dart into the peas surrounding you.
If your dart pierces the pea you labelled earlier you will have then demonstrated your chance of winning the Euromillion Lottery jackpot prize with a single ticket.
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Update (April 2012)
One really annoying shortcoming of the PlusNet Business Option 3 service which is touted as unlimited is that they throttle video feeds in the evening. The service gives us a monthly tab of about £43 a month with enhanced help desk response service. It is a bit silly they choose to be niggardly with the video feed. We quite often work on in the evening, particularly with USA clients, having jerky video in the evening can be a right PITA. We've set Plus Net for use only as a back up service and rely on Demon for the main stream.
It is a Russian language article, so use the Google language tools to translate.
The latest message:
"You have still not claimed the compensation you are due for the accident you had."
The sender's CLI number is +447548060970
They have the cheek to say I can opt out by replying "STOP"; I didn't opt in in the first place so why should I have to pay for a return text message. The perpetrators of these schemes should spend a few months in prison. They are unwanted social parasites sending unwanted Spam.
ps: Also received the same spam from+447934208128
Monday, 30 May 2011
It is interesting that the Skype User Forum software prevented me from posting a link to the article about Skype/Digium and VOIP open source. Supporters of conspiracy theories might believe that Skype's new management wish to suppress the bad news as much as possible. It is the first time I've encountered such a restriction.
I know if my company had invested in the Digium/Skype interface as a telephony system I'd be extremely annoyed. I wonder how long it will be before the only interfaces will demand exclusively Microsoft software interfaces.
Monday, 16 May 2011
Sunday, 15 May 2011
What steps has your business taken to protect the security of its energy?
Does it have a UPS and load shedding policy that is routinely exercised? Has it considered local generation of power, possibly under a CHEAP scheme? If you do not preplan it is inevitable that at some time in the future your organisation will lose productivity due to regional power outages or brownouts.
Thursday, 12 May 2011
Industry and business must be facing similar increases so the pressure to save on operational electricity bills. There are plenty of technologies which can assist that process, including those which allow you to remotely control the power down of PCs. An important part of the planning process is to accurately meter the usage of power. Once you know the baseline it is the possible to consider risk assessed power usage reduction measures. Blindly switching off equipment without considering the overall impact can prove to be very expensive.
We usually take a power clamp meter with us when we first visit a data centre. We are no longer surprised when we find sites where the operations manager has no clear idea of power usage per equipment cabinet. They would become more focussed if the power bill was part of their budget.
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Update: 18th My 2012 We had another unexplained outage on the plusnet service this morning for a few hours. We've learned to leave it a few hours before attempting to fix the problem as usually they sort themselves out after a few hours without our intervention.
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Since then the university establishment have been awarding themselves substantial salary and pension increases causing the costs of university education to rise substantially above the rate of inflation. The government has said the central purse has to cut back a bit, but at the same time the universities want more money to feed their bloated salaries and administration costs. The solution adopted by the Government and the Universities is to raise money by charging annual tuition fees of £9000. This additional taxation will be deferred by offering loans to the students. In effect the tax burden is postponed to be paid in the future.
Universities in the UK are hopelessly inefficient and do not offer good value for money at the new prices. There is however a solution in a business method used by business and government in the provision of manufacturing and services. It is called offshoring. The work is shifted to another country where local wages and salaries are a lot lower. Many of the overseas universities in places like India have excellent academic standards. Given the modern capabilities of the Internet for voice and video conferencing there is no reason why UK based students should not take their degrees and exams through a process of distant learning with a suitably accredited offshore university. This would sensibly reduce the amount of money the public has to spend on providing university graduates for our country. The money saved by not utilizing the expensive UK universities could be used to regenerate the UK industrial base.
UK universities would then have the freedom to reshape their expenditure and slim down to meet the new challenge. In fact they could purchase offshored lecturer hours to reduce their own costs.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Meanwhile we are registering with Alertpay and MoneyBookers.
Sunday, 10 April 2011
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
ps .... at last resolution...
Thursday, 31 March 2011
ps. We spoke too soon. The saga continues.
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Hello! I'm the customer. I'm not thick. I can actually remember that far back! (a few days). C.Y.A. is not a solution to the business problem.
Here’s the nub of the problem. When I raised the order for the service I specifically requested a No-NAT router (I’ll explain later) and that was agreed on the phone at the time of the order. In fact the sales clerk specifically contacted technical people during the call to confirm this feature.
It turns out, after another call (part of the conversation 853K wav) by me to their support team, that in fact Plus.net “have never” supplied No-NAT routers for their service. The Router they supplied the Thompson 585 is in fact capable of providing No-NAT, but it would involve us having to perform Command Line Instruction (CLI) programming on their equipment and we’d end up with a non-standard configuration. Others have experience of this.
With my other two broadband suppliers we use Easynet and Demon Internet they supplied No-NAT ADSL routers without a quibble. Their equipment worked first time configured as requested without a problem on the day it was delivered. To put it mildly, I am surprised Plus.net does not provide this basic business network facility for their service advertised as “Business”.
With NAT routers the external IP addresses are translated to internal network addresses (Network Address Translation, geddit?) with a No-NAT configuration it is possible for external IP addressing to pass through the router direct to Servers and the like behind the router. We use that feature to create a DMZ for public facing servers while our business PCs are protected behind a firewall.
So what else don’t I like about the Plus.net service.
- They throttle traffic even on their unlimited business service.
- If you send an email addressed to their support team it will be bounced unread. You are forced to use their browser based ticket form. In short it is organised for their convenience and not the business customer.
- I was unable to use their browser support page to close tickets that had been left open.
- I could have no more than three support tickets open at any time. At that limit you are forced to contact them by phone because you cannot close other tickets and emails are rejected. Again their convenience and not the customer’s. I did not have this limitation with my existing suppliers.
- They use 0845 numbers for support calls, though there is a geographic number for business support.
N.B. There have been developments since this blog entry.
No amount of theoretical training can get the putative project manager to realise just how much circumstance and people will act and conspire to thwart project deadlines and budgets. Detailed documentation of project activity will merely act as an aide memoir as you sift through the ashes of a failed project.
A project manager should serve as an "apprentice" under the tutelage of a master project manager. In that way the novice can learn, aided by supplemental formal training, how to manage, and react to, people, resources and events whilst under the protective guidance of the master. A lot of the gain is learning how to react when things go wrong. The other important challenge is learning how to really communicate with people involved in or affected by the Project.
Sunday, 27 March 2011
- they've swapped out the ADSL modem/router in our building;
- they've had a new BT line installed;
- they've rerouted the service to another card within the Deptford exchange.
Monday, 21 March 2011
Friday, 18 March 2011
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Thursday, 17 February 2011
This scheme works on the basis of pre-payment for email to registered clients. The internet postage fee amount would be tiny, but would be sufficiently significant to deter the high volume SPAM generators.
For the sake of argument we propose $0.01 per addressee (or cc). Any funds raised would be used to help fund the United Nations after deduction of operational costs.
The pre-payment idea is not new, but opponents to the scheme argue it would be too difficult to have central servers tracking the “Internet Tax.” I’ve personally had that debate in public with the gentleman who is one of the driving forces behind Spamhaus.org. It is deeply ironic that the spamhaus.org servers and data are used by many email servers to validate the IP address of individual messages.
Concept No: 1 – Client registration
Individual users, or support personnel on their behalf, send an electronic message to a central registry to request a public key identity associated with their full internet email address. That public key is then registered as part of the email details on the software email client or on the ISP mail servers or on the public email provider such as hotmail.
Concept No: 2 – Pre-purchase of Internet Stamp
Any person validly wishing to send an email to an individual buys an email stamp for one cent, from a Registrar service, in advance of sending the email. The “stamp” will be encrypted on the basis of the Registrar key and the public key of that email address.
The one cent cost of the stamp will be deducted from the account of the sender at the time of purchase. The stamp will be valid for 24 hours. Users will be able to purchase credit for their directly from the registrar.
The encrypted Internet Stamp will also contain the identity key of the person/organisation purchasing the stamp.
Concept No: 3 – Transmitting Email Server embeds Internet Stamp in message.
When the message is transmitted either the client email software or the ISP server will embed the encrypted Internet Stamp in the headers of the email message to the selected user.
Concept No: 4 – Destination Email Server decrypts Internet Stamp.
When the email message is received by the destination email server the embedded Internet Stamp is decrypted on the basis of the email addressee and their pre-stored public identity key. If the stamp is valid the email can be accepted and forwarded to the target client.
Of course there is nothing to stop the server accepting other messages if the registered user has no objections, but no doubt having taken the opportunity to register the majority of users will choose to block mail from unknown or unfunded originators.
If organisations sending unsolicited email choose to send funded email bearing a genuine Internet Stamp it will greatly increase their costs. The public will also have the opportunity to report unwanted unsolicited emails by virtue of the originator key embedded in the Internet Stamp. The central registry will be able to apply sanctions against that account in the event of a significant level of complaints.
Saturday, 5 February 2011
Friday, 21 January 2011
Thursday, 20 January 2011
I may sound a bit cynical in the above text, but I've been warned in a letter from the UK Financial Services Authority that my name and address was on a list circulated and used by "boiler room" investment fraudsters. It warned me that unsolicited calls may not be from genuine organisations.
Update: 15th April 2011 - The data on their website is now so exclusive it is protected by a crude login process requesting a user Id and password.
Edit 24thOct 2011 - the company is listed as "proposal to strike off" on the Companies House database.
Edit 31st Jan 2012: - the company registered a new address on 29th Nov 2011 as Office 46 of 22 Notting Hill Gate London W11 3JE. A quick look on Google Maps streetview reveals this to be a branch of "Mail Boxes Etc". I've used Mail Boxes Etc myself and I don't criticise them and they are fine for purpose. They offer a no fuss mail box and forwarding service. When you set up an account, after producing identity documents such as a passport, they give you an "office" or "suite" number which corresponds with the mail box number. There's nothing wrong in that, just don't turn up expecting to find a serviced office. It is however an address that has attracted some interesting characters in the past such as this one; a google search will enlighten you. If Nemesis Commodities had asked me for a suitable business address for diamond trading I might have suggested somewhere more prestige to reassure investors.
Edit: 13th April 2012 I was fascinated to see other companies using the same 145-147 St John's [sic] Street offices for trading natural colour diamonds. It must be a growing centre for such activities. For example, Clarion Capital (www.clarioncapital.net - be careful visiting I've seen a warning on Google Search saying the site "may be compromised") also appears to be willing to assist people in trading natural colour diamonds. I've no idea whether there is any business connection between Clarion and Nemesis but they do seem to share the same brochure designer who has inadvertently left a reference to Nemesis in the Clarion brochure and some of the same spelling mistakes. I give no opinion pro/con Clarion Capital as I've not been contacted by them with any business proposal. There are other recently formed diamond trading organisations (offering circa 15% annual return on diamonds) using this location as a working address, these can be found via google. A visit to Companies House to search on the company name can sometimes help you check how long they've been in business.
A 15% annual return such as the one marketed here would indeed be remarkable if achieved and would line up 145-157 St John's Street as a place of great interest to the financial pages of the national newspapers in the future. I've no doubt such business accommodation locations offer a valuable service to respectable businesses, but I'm always doubly cautious when a business based in such a location offers me an unsolicited investment proposal. Here's some useful tips for checking potential suppliers.
Edit: 7th Sept 2012 The company Nemesis Commodities is now marked "Dissolved" at Companies House (the UK Government registry of companies). A couple of months ago I took part in a BBC Radio 4 investigation for the You and Yours Programme into companies such as Nemesis Commodities. The journalist had discovered my post in this Blog.
The final word. The Russians have a "secret" deposit containing trillions of carats of diamonds.
Edit: 19th Oct 2012
I'd thought this topic had gone dead only to receive an unsolicited call/letter purporting to be from Marc Phillips of Hudson Forbes Ltd of 150 Minories London EC3N 1LS. (Serviced offices). They too are offering opportunities in Coloured Diamonds. with rise rises of between 14% - 87% mentioned. According to their website Hudson Forbes are primarily involved in Carbon Credit trading, which I suppose is linked to diamonds in a way! Like Nemesis Commodities, Hudson Forbes was recently registered as a company in August 2012 and they seem to be a bit adrift with their records. In their brochure they list 150 Minories as their registered offices, yet the Companies House record shows a registered address of WALTHAM FOREST BUSINESS CENTRE, 5 BLACKHORSE LANE, LONDON UNITED KINGDOM E17 6DS for Company Number 08188736. I wonder how this new organisation obtained my home address details?
Edit 21st Nov 2012
I had another "visit" from Clarion Capital by phone today. According to their website they've moved down the road to 89-90 Hatton Garden in the main jewellery district of London. Fans of Hatton Garden will recognise this building as the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd which be around for a long time. A Google search reveals many companies sharing that address for business purposes, including Gems, Furniture rental, Footballer agents, Technology, Teaching etc etc. Sadly despite commissioning a new company brochure (with residual errors from the old brochure) it shows Clarion Capital's business address as my old favourite 145-157 St John Street which matches their registered address at Companies House. They must have been busy because they've not had time to file company accounts since the company formation in Aug 2011.
Edit: 28th Feb 2013
I received a phone call from an anonymous lady who said she'd seen my blog and asked if I had any more information about Clarion. She reported that her 77 year old father had some dealings and had bought a diamond via them She said problems with recovering funds from them. Whether this is the same Clarion as described above I'm not sure, it could be a different organisation. At the moment I've not verified this information.
Edit 28th Feb 2014
A recent BBC Report http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25761528