Ode to Joe

For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow
For he’s a jolly good fellow (pause), and so say all of us
And so say all of us, and so say all of us
For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow
For he’s a jolly good fellow (pause), and so say all of us
I have even changed my tagline to pay tributes to all those lovely Welsh people out there and my life would be a poorer place without them. Gwlad to y’all!
Mwah! x
P.S. Joe, thanks for pointing out the fault in my blog. Can I stop arse-licking now?

What is your excuse?

For as long as I can remember, I have tried to avoid utilities / bank / councils / whatever, which insists on using the telephone only as part of their customer service frontline. Sometimes, I find myself compromised or faced with no choice but embark into the myriad of irritating telephone systems, along with my inconsistent telecomm solution for the Deaf and HoH – the infamous Typetalk. I am aware that telephone systems are also a major gripe among hearing customers too but they haven’t experienced it through Typetalk, have they. My experiences usually are further compounded with technical problems and compatibility issues and I am sure this is also the case for many of the minicom users out there. The current systems of using Typetalk to access telephone systems and call centres are too inconsistent to make it an empowering experience. I usually get in a grump afterwards so it is affecting the quality of my life because I have to contend with 2 telecomms systems in one go and then pray….

Once I have a breakthrough, one thing I always ask: “Can I have your email address please?” I always get fobbed off because of security issues with using emails. On most occasions, I argue how can they guarantee that the person on the telephone is the actual person they claim to be so therefore isn’t that a security issue? For all we know, they could have the vital information at hand and pass them off as somebody else. Security issues revolving around using Typetalk operators have been brought up many times but, lately, there seemed to be less occurences of this. All Typetalk operators and calls are covered by Data Protection Act and Official Secrets Act.

Anyway, despite my efforts to get corporations to take my communication needs seriously, I never get very far as it is like talking to a robot – “It is company’s policy” – well, do something about it!!!! “It is company policy, I am sorry.” yes, I know but I am telling you I have a problem with this policy and accessing your services “Let me talk to my supervisor…” – …Note from Operator….[music in the background]…..huh, why do I want to know that……..”I am sorry, my supervisor said it is company policy…..”….arggghh!!

I can only deduce that eavesdropping a landline call must be more harder to achieve than hacking an email and vital data ending up with the wrong person – that is my impression. Although I have never seen my email ending up in the wrong hands in all my life, except through human error. Recently, I came across these articles recently – Computerworld | ZDnet – it is highlighting a real concern about the security of making phone calls over VOIP.

This is interesting because VOIP calls can be intercepted over the internet by determined hackers in tenfolds, as compared to eavesdropping on the traditional telephony. Yet, publicity, we are not seeing any waves regarding the withdrawal of telephone customer services in the face of potentially damaging security breaches, especially the ones where vital data are exchanged. Therefore, I cannot see any difference between accessing telephone services via VOIP and email-based customer services, which will, in turn, be an enormous plus for the Deaf and HoH customers. Companies need to wise up when making communication provisions for their customer service frontline. I really can’t see a convincing reason why failing to provide email-based customer services should prevail especially if they are allowing for VOIP calls, email encryption have improved and there are ways to establish secure communicatons online. I am able to communicate with my bank (First Direct) by using the web-based messaging system, which is hosted internally on the browser. I usually get a reply very rapidly. There can be no excuse in continuing with this discriminatory practice of providing only telephone-based customer services. By having this email communication outlet opening up, we can control and deal our own affairs independently and privately anywhere, without needing a minicom within the vicinity.

Does anybody have any thoughts or input to make here?

Ubuntu because u want to

Yesterday – 19th August 2007 – it was a landmark moment for me. I have always considered myself a long-time Microsoft puritan but I have broken the ranks because……..

 I have just installed Ubuntu (Feisty Fawn) on my machine!! I’ve completely wiped out my hard drive (after backing it all up obviously). I was feeling tense and had palpitations all day long because I am venturing into the great unknown and I have never reformatted my hard drive before. I felt I would be able to cope, digging into my long forgotten IT knowledge/experience for the best part of 90’s and late 80’s. At 3am this morning, Ubuntu is finally up and running. It was easier than I thought – except for a few niggles.

Fintan gave a good tip before diving in head first. You can create a Live CD with Ubuntu on it and run the OS from the DVD/CD drive to try out whether graphics card, printer, network et al are all functioning first. This can be done by booting up the PC with the Live CD in the drive. If you are happy with it, then click on Install icon showing on the desktop and it will do all the installation for you.

 My niggles were that the hard drive was playing silly beggars with me. “Install” would not work. So, I forced the main partition into FAT32 (using Gpart) – this is purely guestimation, on my part, cos it was trying to install on ext3 which contains pitiful disk space. I have no idea what that is used for but since I formalise my hard drive as a Linux drive with bootable sector (using Gpart), it did the tricks.

 As for the new OS itself, I need to spend a lot more time on it to see the benefits of it. So far, I like it and I have been drool over Gnome Art work available on the internet.

Don’t forget this is a complete change of my computing culture – not unlike trying to drive a left-hand drive car and having to flip your brains the otherways round i.e.  I always grab the window handle when I meant to aim for the gear stick.

Any tips and advice would be hugely welcomed here. I am about to add apps onto it in the coming week so if you got a favourite, please do drop a line.

Experimenting with my photos

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I am still playing about with WordPress and how I can piece things together. Crikey! Web 2.0 got massive potential……anyway, photos above are from my Google Photos webspace (when we renovated our new house – all our tradesmen are Deaf except for the plumber but he can sign as his daughter goes to Royal School for Deaf).

I wanted to use Flickr but, since I am using Picasa 2 at home, it is easier to upload plus Google Photos is less wieldy and a simpler interface. I only want to upload photos and leave it there instead of faffing about with tags and extra features.