The Never Closing Support Ticket

Usually, support tickets are closed before you’ve had a chance to tell them that the “fix” they’ve applied hasn’t worked.

Currently, I have ticket open that they wont close, or more accurately, don’t realise it is still open.    Every once in a while I will add another comment to the ticket, to see if that will jiggle something loose.  so far it hasn’t and it is six months and counting.

Smart Meters will eat your Children!

Some guy named Jerry Day, has posted a bunch of youtube vidoes about Smart Meters.  They have been picked up such reputable sites such End of the American Dream and others.

The profess to teach everyone about the dangers of Smart Meters.

Here is some choice excertps:

“The meters are watching you.”

No, they are only monitoring the electricity consumption.

“They see how many watts your electric toothbrush uses”

No, they have no way of knowing what is consuming the power.

“They send information about [when you use your toothbrush] over wireless networks”

No, they send a continuous feed of the current amount of electricity consumed. They do not record when appliances are turned on or off.

“They send the information to the power company, where they keep record of all your power consumption, volumes and patterns, and store it forever on computers that you have no access to”

Utility companies already store this information, and have done for many years. It is how they bill you. Data cannot be stored forever, it will be archived, just like your credit card information and your driving record.

“The data shows when you were at home, when you were sleeping, when you’re on vacation, when you have visitors, when you turned on a lamp, a power tool, some extra computers, and if you look like you are running a business out of your home.”

Usage patterns can be used to infer alot of things. The meters will not record exactly when you go to bed or turn on a lamp, but the usage over time creates a pattern that can be recognised. Power companies already have illegal usage detection to prevent grow ops in your neighborhood.

“It even senses when you ‘bootleg’ energy off the grid”.

For shame! They should turn a blind eye to that!

“This is not electrical metering. This is personal surveillence. It is a search without a warrent every day.”

“The smart meters are radio transmitters which can easily be intercepted by a hacker to gain intimate personal knowledge of your life”.

No. The information is encrypted. Just like every time you use your debit card at the store, your banking information “shoots through the air to some institution somewhere.”

“Your power company can give or sell your personal information to whoever it wants.”

Then pick a better power company with a privacy policy you agree to.

“Any abnormal use is considered just cause … for a raid … to bust you for illegal activities in the privacy of your own home that they otherwise wouldn’t have known about.”

Getting away with a crime does not make it legal. It makes it hidden. If the power company used meter data to bust a grow-op in my neighbourhood that attracted dangerous criminals, I’m ok with that.

“Smart meters are no different than wire tapping devices.”

They are very different. Wire tapping devices intercept your communications and allow the attacker to know exactly what was said. Smart meters only watch electricity consumption.

Time for a Lotus Notes Whinge

It’s been too long.

Why do they bother putting a search button in the Recent Contacts view? Have you ever tried it? It never finds anything. Like, never.  In the normal Contacts view, it finds stuff according to some weird quantum mechanics algorithm.  In other words, it returns a random selection of contacts that have no relationship to the search term.

And then, to cap it off, Notes went completely unresponsive for 10 minutes, and pegged the disk at 100%.

On the bright side, it gave me the opportunity to complain about it here.

Google account disabled for any reason they like

Google Accounts: I’m getting a message that says ‘Sorry, your account has been disabled.’
If you’ve been redirected to this page from the sign in page, it means that access to your Google Account has been disabled.
In most cases, accounts are disabled because of a perceived violation of either the Google Terms of Service or product-specific Terms of Service.

Google reserves the right to:

  • Suspend a Google Account from using a particular product or the entire Google Accounts system if the Terms of Service or product-specific policies are violated.
  • Terminate your account at any time, for any reason, with or without notice.

Well that’s just wonderful. This all started when they thought they detected weird logins from multiple countries, and their SMS secret code method completely failed for my Spanish mobile.

And what’s up with that last clause? For any reason without notice? How do they expect to win business customers with that? I am now completely unable to use any google service, and all my data is locked away. Including YouTube, google docs, gmail, rss reader and chrome bookmarks.

Update: Got the account back, and it was pretty straight forward.  But four days is too long without your main email repository.  Luckily, I was able to redirect my main accounts to another service.

The IE zoom of death

While slowly beating my brains out with a SAP shaped hammer, the oh-so -helpfull IT support called, and asked why I was trying to use the native SAP client?  I asked what was wrong with that? To which he replied:

Well, no-one uses it, and its really bad.

Yeah, no shit Sherlock.

So I kindly informed him that I had previously reported that the SAP web application had stopped working, and had turned into a paint program.  He said, “By any chance do you have the zoom set to anything other than 100%?”

Stunned silence.

As my brain slowly started processing the idea that a client-side zoom setting had caused the ENTIRE application to hang, I realised that I was trying to apply Reason in the first place.  So I simply did what the IT guy said, and checked.

Oh. My. Fracking. God.

Behold – the IE zoom level of death:

IE zoom of death
IE zoom of death

I set this back to 100%, and wouldn’t you know it, it started working….

….until… <click>

<click>….wait….<click><click>

…. ah yes – we all knew this wasn’t actually going to solve all the problems.  In fact, it has joyfully created another problem.

The report which I had wasted my ENTIRE DAY on is inaccesable from the web client.  The IT guy on the phone said those dreaded words:

“Huh.  Never seen it do that before.”

I said that if I  have to delete my report, and start ALL OVER AGAIN, I would come through the phone and strangle him.  He laughed, but with that tinge of fear caused by the realisation that I might actually manage it, somehow.