belle

Phone scam from windows

I believe I have just had a call from a cybercriminal. Some people calling themselves windows operating tech support centre wanted me to check my system logs for errors and when I found a few errors they claimed that this was evidence for massive infection of my system. The then wanted me to type a url in to the run box. at his point I googled the url and came up with the PC Pro website below.
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/security/359233/the-unstoppable-tech-support-scam

The chap was still insistent that he was genuine and gave me his address (genuine microsoft) and phone number (not in agreement with the microsoft website). I phoned the microsoft help number on my mobile while keeping him on my landline. They said they do not make this kind of call and that iof I had such a call it was almost certainly spam. I thanked them and told the spammer what had happened. He continued to insist he was genuine and that the help line had been mistaken. Eventually he understood that I would not be signing on with him and giving him any access to my system. At his point he said that I should get my machine tested by someone I could trust because it was about to fail drastically and hung up. I 1471ed the call and was surprised to find that instead of number withheld he apparently phoned from 0000 0000

twenty minutes of entertainment and a warning for all. Unexpected calls are often not what they purport to be.

Microsoft have this page about phone scams 
http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx
fiji

(no subject)

On Tuesday I set off for the worldcon in Reno. I expect to have full internet access while over there. In addition I have obtained a sim from a company called holiday phone. For a fixed price I have an american number with unlimited US calls and a fair amount of data download but it also gives me call forwarding from my UK number to the phone while in the states and calls back to the UK included in the price. so I'll be able to call Frances without spending a fortune. If you need me (and you know my number) you can call my UK number. Texts to that number won't work .
I thought the deal looked good when I found it in a search but it gets better if you tell people about it. Hence this post and the link below

www.holidayphone.co.uk/
on Allotment

On the Allotment

After our burglary two weeks ago my replacement camera came on Monday. It is exactly the same make and model so no new learning to do but I have realised that leaving hundreds of photos on the camera memory leaves me open to irreplaceable loss. It is my intention to scatter pictures in various places as soon as possible, the computer at home, flickr and a selection on googleplus. The big loss for me was the sequence I had been taking at the allotment.

I have put up here some of the oldest allotment photos and some I took yesterday. They show some of the progress made over the past six months.

When we were offered an allotment about a year ago we went to the site and had a look. We had some difficulty finding it. When we did it was heavily overgrown with weeds and brambles. There is a picture of me wading through it. It did not seem suitable but the one next door was equally overgrown but with evidence of greater possibilities. We had some time to wait as the allotment office went through the process of finding the current tenant, sending him a notice to improve, failure to improve, warning of notice to quit and then final notice. The whole process took about five months. We final got on in November.

January to March involved slashing away the undergrowth on the top half of the site and having frequent fires. I have developed a new respect for slash and burn agriculture. It sounds easy until you try it yourself. I have a contact who can supply me with pallets. With these I repaired the roof of the building and walled off one end to make a shed.

March started planting. Many crops started as seeds in trays on windowsills. Others directly sown or planted in the ground. Now crops are starting to come in. New potatos, radishes. broad beans, peas, courgettes, shallotts and rhubarb have already cropped although not yet in large quantities. Beet, onions, tomatos, grapes, turnips and assorted brassicas are on the way.

I have attempted a three sisters planting. Sweetcorn, runner beans and squash. The idea is that the corn grows vertically and supplies a framework. The squash forms a ground cover and suppresses weed and the beans grow through the lot and fix nitrogen for the others.

All are growing well but the corn is not fast enough. If it were a race the beans are winning hands down.

The bottom half of the allotment is a blackthorn jungle (sloes). I am slowly hacking this back but black thorn fights back. I'll probably write more about the jungle later.
Collapse this post
belle

Is this sharp practice?

At the end of August I was made redundant from High Storrs school after 33 years. I was given my minimum legal redundancy payment and led to believe that the cost of living increase, due from April, would be paid in due course. I have been doing supply teaching and last week I was in a school as the pay slips were being given out. There was some joy as the backpay to April was in the November pay. I expected my money to be sent to me directly as I thought the HR person had said would happen. I checked my account for payment and the post for a payslip. Nothing. Yesterday I phoned Liberata who process payments for sheffield. A helpful young lady informed me that as people might change their bank accounts on leaving employment the back pay was only sent after the person who was owed it applied by letter for it including their bank details. If they did not apply no attempt was made to get the pay to them. She also said that today was the last day for payment in December and that if I sent it in by post I would probably be paid at the end of January.

I went in person to the offices and spoke to a very helpful person who informed me that the policy was as described and had been since Sheffield had been forced to pay this backpay, the former policy being to not pay pay rises if the consolidation date (this year November) fell after the employee had left employment. Once forced to pay it they implemented a system whereby the ex employee has to apply for it but is not told this. Anyone leaving after April and before November would miss out on the back pay unless they make an enquiry and apply. There could be hundreds of people in this position each losing a few hundred pounds for the lack of a reminder.

I spoke to a person at South Yorkshire pensions as this would also affect my LGPS pension and they were well aware of this behaviour by the authority.

My payments are now sorted but if anyone out there reading this has recently left employment in Sheffield or knows some one who has please make sure you get what is owed to you.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
paph

Natwest another way

The advertising for Natwest says that they do things differently. I've just experienced it. I am Treasurer of the local branch of my union. I inherited a Natwest account. Eighteen months ago we attempted to change the signatories on the account. Despite filling in the forms correctly and having the new signatory provide his details and methods of identification several times the change was not made. Eventually they said they had mislaid the documentation and we would have to start again.

I got a new set of papers and the new signatory took them in with his identification to make the change. It took several visits to the branch. We believed we had done it we had changed the signatories.

Last week I phoned the branch to check up on something. I got forwarded to a call centre. One of the security questions related to signatories. The new signatory was not an acceptable answer. I was able to answer other questions and get the information that I wanted plus the information that we had failed to change the signatories again.

I phoned today. I got through to someone at the branch rather than at a call centre. They told me that David had been on the account since the end of last September. It turns out that they have two systems that hold signatory information independently. One is used for, among other things, providing security checks for phone queries and is in our case at least 5 months out of date, and the other they say is the one used for checking the validity of signature on cheques and is correct. I asked for a letter confirming that cheques with David's signature on would be honoured. They don't want to send me one they just want to reassure me over the phone.

Natwest another way of irritating customers
  • Current Mood
    irritated irritated
paph

service over the phone

Today I have been mainly waiting for people to answer the phone. Number one for total lack of service is BT.

We have a small problem with the line that supplies our fax machine.

dialing 154

start
enter number of phone
choose option
receive warning number may need to be entered again for security purposes
choice rings
goto start

I did the above for 9 iterations once, 7 interations a second time and only 2 a third.

using the website I got this wonderful message
" Sorry , we are unable to accept faults on this line type at present. Please contact us on 154. "



Dialling support for our MIS this puts us in a queue on an 0870 number distorted music interrupted by a message telling me how valuable my phone call is every 45 seconds for up to 40 minutes before the call is answered. A colleague said he has fallen asleep waiting.
  • Current Mood
    frustrated frustrated
paph

Exam results update

I have just been told that our new whizbang MIS has just managed to import our geology results (about a dozen candidates). Well that's only two days late and most of the results short.