Friday, 24 June 2011

Domain Renewal Scam

I had one of those unsolicted scam invoices from the Domain Renewal Group. They send out official looking invoices hoping to trick people to sign up for their "services" at a greatly inflated cost of staying with your existing registrar. Buried in the test they'll say "this is not a bill" but that is just their lipservice to previous legal smacks on the wrist.

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

Reasons for dropping suppliers

We build trading floors and data centres at many international location. We also help design the physical security of those and similar places. Whilst we have a small company we have to deal with multiple suppliers. We usually undertake research before choosing a potential supplier except for the supply of trivial items. For larger purchases we negotiate hard, but try to also ensure a fair price for the supplier of any goods/services we purchase.

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.
Some vendors loose sight of the fact we act as a consultancy to our clients. We are small but exert high leverage on the negotiation process when we help our clients negotiate. It is not unusual for us to place an order for 500 PCs or multiple high end servers. We do not make profit on the deals we negotiate for our clients. We regard it as part of the consultancy process.  We are quite prepared to find alternative vendors for our clients if we become aware of bad business practices on the part of the vendor.

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

I'm going to win the Lottery this week!

Take a single fresh garden pea. Use a fine tipped marker pen to write your name on the pea. Take that pea and throw it into the back of a 32 ton truck. Fill the truck to capacity with 32 tons of peas.

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

Plus Net vs Demon Internet as Broadband providers

We now after some work have established a stable broadband internet service for PlusNet at our business. We use this as a back-up service to the Demon Internet business Broadband internet. Both have approximately the same monthly price and both are posted as unlimited business bandwidth. They are both delivered from the same exchange in Deptford London.

The PlusNet service delivers about 4 Meg of bandwidth incoming (ping time for sip.skype.com is 40 msec). The Demon service delivers about double the incoming bandwidth at just under 8 Mbs with a ping time of 30msec.  Internet browsing is noticeably quicker on the Demon Internet service.  Both services seem to be stable.

We had some jerky playback of video with the Plusnet feed. Following discussion on the support forum and their support staff we were able to track down the cause. We found some pirate wiring for an extension on the BT side of the phone master socket. It was about 20 metres long but not actually connected to anything. A couple of snips removed the connection and our problems were ended. So far as we can tell the old extension wiring was installed over 25 years ago by previous occupants of the building.

We are growing increasingly impressed with the PlusNet support staff. They are as a rule helpful, but we've encountered a couple who were not up to par.

In general Demon are more business like in their approach, but PlusNet seem to be getting there. The PlusNet approach to IPv6 trials is encouraging.

Update (March 2012 - 9 months later)
We found the cause of the speed difference; mostly it was due to PlusNet starting us on the basic ADSL service whereas Demon had gone to ADSL Max. Now fixed. One other cause of line errors (speed) was tracked done to an illegal extension wiring installed by the previous property owner some 25 years ago. They'd wired in an extension on the BT side of the phone socket - difficult to find. 

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.
 

Russia to get access to Skype encryption

Reports in the Russian media report that Microsoft is willing to give the Skype message/voice encryption algorithm to the FSB (Russian Security agency).

http://gazeta.ru/news/lastnews/2011/06/08/n_1875049.shtml

It is a Russian language article, so use the Google language tools to translate.

http://www.google.co.uk/language_tools?hl=en

Spam SMS text messages

It would be good if people at Ofcom could earn their bloated salaries and deal with the ambulance chasing parasites who send unsolicited text messages to my mobile phone.
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