D4D

Last up against the wall when the revolution comes

Archive for the category “1BEM”

Sporting Chronoclasm

Every year it boggles my mind that this weekend seems to be All The Sport – due to some epic scheduling, we always end up having the finals of Wimbledon on the same day as the British Grand Prix.

This year, we’ve also got the finals of Euro 2016, just in case we didn’t have enough bloody sport to contend with already.

Not that I care (in case you hadn’t guessed) as I won’t be watching any of it.

But seriously, how much organisation and planning does it take, to get three major sporting events to all climax/happen on the same damn day?

Slack Data

In the car I hired last weekend, it had a load of built-in tech – Ford’s Sync system – that was quite interesting, not least for the fact that it worked really nicely and easily. Connecting my phone to the car was a doddle, the satnav worked well (and better than my usual stand-alone device in several ways) and it all just seemed pretty easy.

However. It’s obvious that it was designed for a standard “family car” scenario, rather than a vehicle that would be hired to many different users. Which makes sense, but leads to an interesting longer-term problem…

Basically, people are lazy – and don’t think about their data. So the convenience of connecting one’s phone to the car system for hands-free calls etc is great, as is the simple download of the phone’s address book to the system. But if you then don’t delete it when you take the car back to the hire place, it’s all available to the next user. The same applies to the satnav system – ‘recent destinations’ is a goldmine of activity, right down to house number and location. (And I suspect, with a bit of work, one could connect the destination to a phone number in that downloaded phonebook)

It just interests me, how little people care (or understand) about their information. I cleared down the whole car system before I returned it, which took less than five minutes all told. So it’s not much work, but it’s still work, which most people don’t seem willing to undertake.

I’ve suggested to the hire company that it should perhaps be part of the car sanitising process when it’s returned (or before it’s hired back out, whichever) although I realise that makes it more hassle for them, and there’s a lot of different setups in the various cars.

Of course, it’d be better if people cleaned up after themselves – or the car tech had a “forget everything” button/process (although that would still be too much effort for most people) that did the job. But that won’t happen until people realise how important this shit can be, and sadly that tends to only happen by negative paths/occurrences/events, and will always be learned too late.

Second Thoughts

As I wrote a while back, I’ve signed up to the NSPCC’s “Climb the Gherkin” challenge in about eight weeks’ time. It involves walking (or, if you’re a lunatic, running) up the 38 flights of stairs inside the Gherkin in London to get to the top.

It’s fair to say, I’m having some doubts and second thoughts about the wisdom of it. It’s a lot of steps…

I’ve looked it up – because I’m an idiot – and now know that it’s over 1,000 steps to the top, and that’s making it all a bit real. There’s a lot of me to lift up that many steps, and really not many places where you can get to train or prepare for something like that.

I’ll still go, and I’m sure I’ll complete the challenge. It’s just that it might destroy me along the way…

Security Stupidity

Every so often, I’ll see a scenario that just leaves me utterly gobsmacked. Sadly, they’re usually based around security of some sort – for whatever reason, it’s something I’m generally pretty tuned in to, and aware of.

Yesterday’s one was an absolute blinder – and caused by a complete lack of thought/awareness.

While I was walking at lunchtime, the person in front of me was paying a bill over the phone. Using hands-free, so it was all done out loud.  (I don’t quite get why some people use hands-free for conversations on mobiles while walking – particularly when they’re still holding the mouthpiece to their mouths anyway. People be weird)

That wasn’t so bad – he was entering the card details using the keypad, so in that aspect it was fairly secure. Not how I’d have chosen to do it, but hey, I’m not one to judge.

The bit where it all went tits up, though, was that the payment line then reads the numbers back to the user, as a confirmation. “If this is correct, press 1“.

It’s a scenario where the developers etc. have thought about how to confirm the card data, and it makes sense to read it back. They’ve just not seen the real-world situations where people then do these things in public, on hands-free speakers. But it meant that – were I a bad person – I’d have all of that guy’s card information (it even read back the CV2 validation number) which I could have made use of.

 

And in case anyone’s wondering, I did tap him on the shoulder when he’d finished the call, and explained that he really should get that card changed ASAP. If I could hear it, or if he does that on a regular basis, then the card is compromised, and it’s only fair to make him aware of it.

It’s up to him, of course – but the fact I told him his card number, expiry date, and CV2 (correctly – I really do need to get out more) certainly seemed to focus his mind somewhat…

Leap Day

It’s February 29th, Leap Day

Only four years ’til the next one…

Desperate and Gullible

It was interesting yesterday to see the BBC’s piece about the growing prevalence of ‘online rental fraud’ – basically, where a fraudster/criminal advertises a rental property for a great price, and people then pay a deposit for it without ever seeing the property – because it’s a great price in a sought-after area.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Yep – the fraudster doesn’t own the property, doesn’t represent the agents, and has no real connection to it at all. They’ve just grabbed photos, submitted the ad, and then people pay the ‘deposit’ into an account named by the fraudster.

Now, while I think it’s pretty scummy, I can’t help but also see it as more of an idiot tax. You’ve got to be pretty desperate – and pretty fucking dim – to put down money without seeing the place you’re renting, particularly without ever meeting an agent/agency/landlord etc.  I know that these people are good at getting people to believe they’re valid, and that there’s this urgency – but really, it’s still taking advantage of people too dumb to look at a deal and think “what’s wrong with this picture?”

Maybe that’s harsh. Maybe not.  For me, it’s hard to feel real sympathy for someone who just leaves themselves open to this sort of shit. Take a look at what one victim says in the article…

[He] said: “I was willing to take the flat without a viewing based on the location, just on the price of it.

[I felt] anger, disgust, I was really disappointed. I was thinking, ‘Wow I’ve spent money I couldn’t afford and what’s happening to me right now? I’m in a nightmare and I can’t wake up’.'”

I think the worst part, probably, is that now it’s been mentioned by BBC and on TV, it’s something that other scammers will look at and thing “Oooh, that’s a good idea”, so it’ll become even more prevalent…

A Remembrance of Shitbags Past

Yesterday, I got a call from an agency about a new job role – ‘Lead Developer’, great salary and good upcoming projects. It sounds like a fantastic role, and the company in question certainly know the value of buzzwords and marketing when it comes to this kind of thing.

Sadly – well, amusingly – it was for the same job/company as I worked for in Summer 2014.  I didn’t write much about it at the time, because it ended up going down the route of taking legal advice etc., so wasn’t worth causing extra hassles by writing here and naming/shaming.  (Not least because the owner of the company, known around here as ShitCo, wouldn’t feel any shame whatsoever)

It was not a good job – and was probably one of my worst jobs in the last decade. Not least among the issues was having taken the job on a salary offer of £x (and that was the salary on the contract , when it eventually appeared) but then the company deciding to pay me £10,000 less.

Coupled with working idiot hours and so on, yeah, it wasn’t a good role or time at all.

I ended up leaving after three months, with no notice (although my contract did say that was OK within the initial trial period) and nothing lined up to go to. Not that that’s ever stressed me out, as regular readers will know – and indeed, I was working two weeks later, at the contract I’m still working on now.

So yes, speaking to another agency about why I wouldn’t be interested in that role was entertaining – the agency couldn’t understand why they were looking for a fourth ‘lead developer’ in less than a year, but our conversation made things somewhat clearer for them, it’s fair to say.  And the words “lying” , “scheming”, “disorganised”, “manipulative” and “unholy motherfucker of the first order” never even passed my lips.

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