jfs: (penalty)
Further to this cheery little post I received a chirpy answerphone message from some woman from nPower's Complaints department saying "We've checked our records and nothing is wrong, so we've closed your complaint".

Which is lovely, and I'm glad that she's so happy, but when my complaint is that their records are at fault, using them as the method of determining whether or not my complaint is valid or not, and therefore whether it needs to be actioned or not is a little stupid, no?

It will surprise no-one that I have been on hold for 20 minutes without talking to a human being yet. But it's okay, because "my call is important to us".

Do they not realise that the longer I'm on hold, the more shit they're going to get? Surely someone in the call centre business has worked out that simple equation?

I would consider going to the watchdogs about this, but frankly, they're EnergyWatch whose website is at http://www.energywatch.org.uk/

Anyone following that link will see why I'm not holding out great hopes for them to be my best advocate.
Read more... )
jfs: (Default)
Researchers at Princeton University have dissected one of the Diebold voting machines used in many polling booths across the US in the last two elections. Perhaps unsurprisingly to the cynics amongst us, they found that the machines are "vulnerable to extremely serious attacks. For example, an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities — a voting-machine virus."

And this isn't theoretical - they've written the code to do so.

Of course, in their FAQ on the site, they stress that they're not accusing anyone of actually doing this - just that the machines in question are far too vulnerable given how important they are to the maintenance of democracy in the most powerful country in the world.

Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] d_floorlandmine

Hmmmm ...

Jun. 16th, 2006 12:32 pm
jfs: (Default)
"Privacy and confidentiality is the founding stone of our relations with clients. Our company is perfectly aware that the majority of tutors manifest highly a negative attitude toward custom writing companies.Unfortunately, the contemporary academic environment often leaves them absolutely no choice but to apply for assistance to one of such companies. Thousands of students have to work in order to pay for their education, and they do not have time to fulfill all the assignments within the learning course. Others have set their mind on the learning priorities and do not want to loose much time studying secondary subjects. Some students may find themselves – for objective or subjective reasons – in a situation when the amount of pending assignments puts them at risks of being expelled while the time remaining is just not adecquate. We strongly believe that professional and legitimate custom writing is the only thing that really helps in such cases and has no negative impact on the academic growth of students. However, taking into consideration the fact that teaching staff usually has another opinion, our company never discloses any information provided by our clients, whether knowingly or unknowingly."

Leaving aside the dubious ethical stance taken by this "Custom Essay Writing Service", is it just me or is the text quoted above just plain gratingly ungrammatical? And my emphasis on the misspellings, but if you're going to sell a service about writing, surely as an absolute basic, you run the text through Word's spell checker first?

The going rate seems to be about £60 for 1000 words, by the way.
jfs: (Default)
Bear in mind two three things; firstly, this is based on conversations with people who've been, and on certain complaints that have been made on the Pagga boards. I've never been to Maelstrom, and am not likely to go, so if I'm factually wrong, feel free to correct me.

Secondly, this is about LRP - if you're not interested, move along.

Thirdly, having written the below and gone back and read it, it's deeply, deeply cynical. You have been warned.

My musings are about the nature of volunteers. My opinions of the use of volunteers in the Lorien Trust are probably well known; people get suckered in with the hope of making a difference, get offered status (either in the form of faction / guild position, or the more nebulous 'Andy's Mates' kind of deal), and even get some dubious benefits - the staff canteen and the staff showers, for example. But the Lorien Trust is vampiric, and quickly sucks any joy out of the lives of its volunteers, draining them dry and kicking them off the conveyor belt. The lucky few jump before they reach the trash can at the end.

Volunteers in the LT often defend their propping up of an egocentric empire by saying "I'm here to make the game better for the players" and "If it weren't for me, this wouldn't get done."

The first is a laudable aim; the second rank delusion. If there's anything that my years working with (and in spite of) the LT taught me (apart from the fact that nothing good ever comes out of Egypt) it's that everyone is replacable. Step down as faction leader and there will be a queue of people 'trying to make a difference' and ' only there for the players'.

Meh. If you're going to go to an LT event, ignore the LT. You'll have a better event for it.

What's this got to do with Maelstrom?

Well ... there's a debate going on at Pagga about the nature of banking; some people didn't read their instructions carefully enough, or some information wasn't passed to the right players by the organisers or whatever; the details are not really my concern because, as I've said, I haven't been, and aren't going.

The interesting thing that I can see is that the tenor of the conversation between the Riminci Capell players and Profound Decisions is incredibly similar to the tenor of conversations I remember from 5 years ago, and even 10 years ago. (There is one difference; Matt is willing to listen, and to back down, and even to admit making a mistake.) Its not so much what's being said as the shape of what's being said, if that makes any sense at all to anyone.

PD have gone one step further than the LT ever managed to do - they've managed to get the people upon whom a massive OOC function of the game depends to become paying customers. Instead of tempting people to be bankers with rank cards and free entry, they've got people signing up for the chance. The benefit of Player Led Plot? It seems like you get to minimise the number of NPCs carrying out administrative functions in favour of maximising the number of players doing the same thing. After all, what's the difference between a colony leader in Maelstrom and a Faction Leader in the LT? It looks like the faction leader gets free entry and better showers.

Finally, as an aside, would anyone care to back me in promoting Pagga's new motto?

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose

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