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Replacing a BT Homehub 5

In 2013 it took BT nearly four months in to connect up the phone line and get internet access enabled at the cabinet, blaming it on “one of those things” that happens when you buy a new build house (despite the rest of the road being connected just fine).  When it was finally up and running I hoped that their newest revision of the HomeHub router, version 5 now with the VDSL modem built in instead of a separate BT Openreach device, would be better than the awfully unreliable HH3.  It really wasn’t much better.  Same poor UI, same poor UX, marginally better reliability.  It’s unusual for it to keep the WiFi up and running for longer than a week without needing to reboot it.

Over the last few months it has been dropping connections, rebooting seemingly at random, refusing to respond to DHCP requests, and generally getting in the bloody way.  Yesterday was the final straw when it rebooted no fewer than 8 times between 8:30am and 10am, and my itchy Amazon Prime trigger finger ordered an ASUS DSL-AC68U.  If I had a little more patience, or if I could find the old BT Openreach VDSL modem I would have moved away from the all-in-one type router/WiFi/modem units and picked up something like the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter but I’ll save that for a bit more research. (more…)

Finally found my name

Back at the beginning of time, internet wise, anonymity was the preferred medium.  These days, I’d rather use my own name as opposed to a pseudonym.  For example you can find me on Twitter @ianmcshane.

Unfortunately, I’m cursed with the same name as a fairly famous actor so, aside from a domain lost due to a massive fail by a UK based DNS host, I’ve not been able to get a name based domain.  Until now.

My existing and rather poorly updated blog domain (http://blog.maccarocks.com) is going to be retired.  I have quite a few fairly popular posts on there so I’ve done my best to migrate them here and hopefully Dreamhost will mirror correctly to keep the old URLs all working.

Rage against the ma.. oh, wait…

This started as a comment on <insert blog link> but escalated to a full on post of my own.
Firstly, I don’t watch usually watch X-Factor.  Of course, I’ve been at friends houses when it’s on but I don’t watch it of my own accord.
Secondly, I don’t listen to the radio in the UK (other than the occasional Planet Rock and Kerrang) and thus have little interest in what track is number one and even smaller awareness of what is being played all the time.
Thirdyly, Christmas number ones, as far back as I can remember (with the exception of Cliff Richard), have been these so called ‘novelty’ records.  I can’t remember specific examples but I’m sure there was a Mr Blobby one or some form of celebrity rehashed Christmas carol.
I do tire of hearing about X-Factor all the live long day but it’s easy to tune out/block Facebook friends/stop following tweeters.
So, why am I so interested in getting RATM to number one?
Is it the ‘F you I won’t do what you tell me’ element?  I’m not sticking anything to The Man with this, really.  No-one is – except for RATM swearing on Radio 5. 🙂  I see a lot of people putting that line to mean everyone saying “hey, F you Cowell”.  I don’t think that’s true at all.  If that were the case, there some more relevant tracks in RATMs back catalogue – infect I think Take The Power Back would have given a more obvious call to action.
Is it the ‘F Simon Cowell, he’s a C..’ element?  Nope.  Does anyone really think this is going to stop X-Factor next year or mean that Mr C will have to sell one of his myriad houses?  Of course not.
The whole thing is interesting to me from a social and technological view point.
Virul campaigns have been around for years but this is different.
This was started by one ordinary guy.  Some chap who created a Facebook group most likely for a laugh.  I’ll bet he didn’t think “I’m really gonna go out on a limb to stop this X-Factor guy”.
Of course, it’s not the first time this kind of thing has happened.  Crowd-sourcing is really taking off in a huge way.
Crowd-sourcing news at Reddit and Digg, Software companies using it to aid their development roadmaps, even using Twitter to track breaking news instantly.
That’s why it’s interesting.  However, ordinarily, I wouldn’t have bothered getting involved with this but the fact that this kind of unimportant ‘battle’ can also be used to motivate people to donate to charity made me change my mind.
Last Friday, they’d raised almost £2k.  Today, the current total is over £50k with gift aid.
Am I going to listen to the chart show this weekend?  No way.
Am I really going to be annoyed/interested if X-Factor kid is number one?  Not at all.
However, I spent £0.99 and a donation to charity to be part of something both interesting, useful and certainly something that will be a kind of folklore in geek history.
Either that or someone will stumble across it on wikipedia.. 😛

This started as a comment on Pauls post at Blog On The Motorway but escalated to a full on post of my own.

Firstly, I don’t watch usually watch X-Factor.  Of course, I’ve been at friends houses when it’s on but I don’t watch it of my own accord.
Secondly, I don’t listen to the radio in the UK (other than the occasional Planet Rock and Kerrang) and thus have little interest in what track is number one and even smaller awareness of what is being played all the time.
Thirdly, Christmas number ones, as far back as I can remember (with the exception of Cliff Richard), have been these so called ‘novelty’ records.  I can’t remember specific examples but I’m sure there was a Mr Blobby one or some form of celebrity rehashed Christmas carol.

I do tire of hearing about X-Factor all the live long day but it’s easy to tune out/block Facebook friends/stop following tweeters/ignore people.

So, why am I so interested in getting stopping some most-likely-to-be-a-one-hit-wonder kid getting to number one?

(more…)

Renaming folders/tags in Google Reader

I can’t believe that there isn’t a built in way to rename tags within the Google Reader UI!  Shocking.

Quickest way I’ve found is to export your feeds (Settings | Import / Export), edit the XML by hand (fortunately my 100 or so feeds are organised within ~12 folders), delete all of your subs from GReader and reimport your edited XML list.

I wonder if the GReader UX guys are having trouble deciding between Folder and Tag for classification.

Free Trac and SVN hosting

I’ve been getting really pissed off trying to install Trac to my Dreamhost shared server, to the extent that i’m contemplating moving hosts.

In the interim, DevJaVu have just started to offer free Personal accounts that include integrate Trac and SVN.
All you need to do is sign up using the referal code johnny5. I don’t know how long that code is valid for so get on it.

I REALLY HATE TICKETMASTER

1. Over charging. I accept that a service charge of somekind is due when buying event tickets however charging a further £8 per ticket ON TOP of the £65 (Dolphins vs Giants @ Wembley) I have already paid is unacceptable. Especially considering they then charge another £5 ON TOP for postage.
2. Unable to run their website with any degree of reliability. Server unavailable? Amateurs.

I’m angry. The problem is that they have the monoploy and you can’t get tickets anywhere else.
I don’t know who is worse, Ticketmaster or the touts that buy up the tickets with no intention of going and sell them on.

Off to The Valley

Heading out to San Francisco tomorrow courtesy of work for some post-project review stuff. I get Friday and also Saturday before my flight home to do the tourist thing, I’ve been before but never got to Alcatraz so that’s on my list. All suggestions welcome.

Before I go:

I’ve been using Ebay for a good 5 or 6 years and never had a *real* problem at all, until January this year. I took a BiN auction and paid the (fortunately) reletively low price via PayPal. Ebay has this to say about PayPal:

When a buyer pays with PayPal for a qualifying listing, s/he is protected up to £500 at no additional cost if that item is not as described or is simply not received at all.

A week passed with no correspondance from the seller, which isn’t unusual. That became two weeks and 7 days later three. No response at all to emails so, out of principal more than anything I logged the claim case with paypal. I just got this response from them:

After careful review, we have concluded our investigation of the Buyer
Complaint described below.

We have decided in your favour, however, we were unable to recover any
funds from the seller’s account. As stated in the PayPal User Agreement,
recovery of funds associated with a Buyer Complaint cannot be guaranteed.

Brilliant.

Judging by the number of negavative feedbacks against the sellers paypal account, it wasn’t a one off. Now, I know about people getting their accounts hacked and everything but in most cases i’ve heard of the person on the wrong end of the hacking usually has the decency to reply to the emails sent – even if it is just to say WTF. Besides, in this day and age when EVERYONE should know about phishing and the importance of strong passwords I have zero sympathy for people who cannot protect themselves online, especially when other people lose out because of it.

Thanks Ebay, Thanks PayPal and thanks [email address redacted]