From then to now … gets a bit boring !


When I say ‘… a bit boring …’, I mean that nothing really eventful happened. YawnA few new residents zones installed, new staff, new equipment but nothing startling for about six years. The team and me just plodded along. So as I say, when I look back, it was just a bit boring. Still enjoyed the job and most of the staff were easy to work with and I had built up a bit of a reputation, but that was about it.

Then, towards then end of 2012 rumours started appearing about job/staff changes. We had two members of staff leave and they were not replaced and this started to worry a few people. We were told that they would be replaced in the new year, but that we would have to manage until then. Which of course we did.

Around about this time, the Council were beginning to look at reducing staff to cut costs. Central Poundsfunding was being cut and departmental budgets were being squeezed. The Council was promoting what the called ‘Early Leavers Initiative’ or ELI. Essentially what this was voluntary redundancy. Staff would leave, get the standard redundancy payment and gain access to their works pension. I thought about this a lot and K*** and me decided that it might be a good move. Leave the Council and get another job somewhere else with a nice lump sum of money in the bank. So in January 2013, I applied for this ‘ELI’. After a few weeks, I received a reply, explaining that I could not be considered as I was ‘too valuable to the service’.

Later in 2013 me and a colleague (one who I had a bit of an issue with) received an email, quite out of the blue which explained that service was being reviewed and that we were part of that review. I Astoundedqueried this ‘review’ with the Assistant Manager who dismissed it as ‘… just something the Head of Service had to do and that it would not affect us …’ His face was a picture when both me and my colleague, G*** forwarded him the email we had received. He still claimed that it would not be an issue and that he would get someone to explain it all to us.

A couple of weeks later someone from HR did come and explain. What was happening was that some Worriedof the posts throughout the department were being looked at, to try and centralise some of the functions. the example they gave was that G***, who was our Training Officer would probably serve the department better if she worked within the Training team, where there would be vacancies in the future. The same applied to me, and I would be of more use in the departments IT service area. We were assured that we would still have a job, but it was still a very worrying time and made a mockery of the reason I was rejected for ELI. Not so valuable now, I thought.

A little bit “miffed” …


More than a bit miffed really. (For those who don’t know the word click here) I do the National Lottery online. That is to say, I have an online account and I buy my tickets that way. So I never actually have a physical ticket as I find this way easier. If I win, then I get emailed and I log in to my account to see the prize. For some bizarre reason, I  had a go at the Euro-Millions draw (I usually do the Thunderball draw which is the cheapest!)

This morning, I got the email that announced “… got some news about your ticket …” which is their way of Winningssaying “You’ve won!!!” I quickly logged in to my account, to see that I had won a grand total of £2.60 on my ticket. Now when you consider, that the ticket actually cost me £2.50, I had actually won 10p. This was for predicting 2 correct numbers so you may be able to see why I was a “little bit miffed”.

Yet another breach …


This time it’s Twitter. it would seem that there has been a ‘Glitch’ (their words) that showed un-encrypteTwitterd passwords on their servers. Twitter claims that “We fixed the bug and have no indication of a breach or misuse by anyone…”. However, they also say that the passwords were exposed for several months. There seems to be voiceno end this kind of thing. As a follow Twitterite tweeted today, “I wonder when the tide will turn’. Luckily I have never knowingly had a problem, as my previous job made more aware than the everyday user. Saying that though, I’m often told that I’m far too cautious sometimes. I have been known to delete genuine emails simply because they ‘look’ odd. It’s the same with phone calls. If I don’t know the number, then I usually don’t answer on the basis that, if it is important then they will either leave a voice-mail or call again.

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I think I’m becoming the wristwatch battery guru. It started a couple of years ago when I had a watch that needed a new battery. It wasn’t a quality watch by any means, but it was comfortable to wear and had a sensor batteriesthat lit-up the screen automatically if it was dark. It only cost me a couple of pounds when I bought it, so I was quite amazed when I was told that a replacement battery was going to be £4.95 fitted. I reluctantly paid but I was not happy about it. I then found a kit on the internet that had all the tools that I needed to replace batteries in any digital watch. I then found that I could get all the batteries I needed from one of the Pound Shops. So I was sorted! So now, when anyone needs a new battery in their watch, I’m the first ‘port-of-call’. Five replaced in the past three weeks.

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Looking for your advice …


Right from the first day, I have always allowed people or organisations to follow me without hindrance. I always thought that the point of a blog was to maximise the number of readers and subscribers. That was until recently. I don’t always follow back and don’t always look at their site either. Earlier this week, I noticed that I had a follower that appeared to be offering blogging advice and tips. Always on the lookout to improve, I thought I would take a look at their site. Clicking on the link at the top of one of their posts, opened up my browser with a warning message that the site was unsafe. Being the over-cautious one that I am, I quickly closed it down. I then removed subscriber from my reader list and breathed a sigh of relief. I also noticed that a couple of subscribers no longer had a ‘clickable’ by their name/site name and I removed these also.

So, the advice I’m looking for is: should I enable the Blog by Email option on my site? Does it deter the casual reader? Is it worth it for the number of subscribers that I get? Is it actually any safer?

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Twice in as many days …


It’s beginning to get a little annoying now. This morning I got the second spoof email purporting to come from PayPal. Yesterdays was quite convincing if it had not been for the two spelling mistakes. SpooferA casual reader may not have spotted ‘bellow’ instead of ‘below’ and ‘passwurd’ instead of password. Inviting me to click on the  link ‘bellow’ to cancel the payment and change my ‘passwurd as a precaution. They had managed to get my email right, but did not include the usual checks that PayPal have in place. Todays was just an obvious spoof. Easily spotted by the way it was addressed “Dear (insert username here)‘” at the beginning of the email text

Now after working in an IT scenario for a number of years, I’ve become quite adept at spotting when an email looks wrong, but many people would have believed the first one. I have heard of people clicking these types of links and getting their personal payment details stolen.

Of course I report these kind of phishing emails, but I’m not sure anything gets done. I usually get an email back, a day or so later thanking me for reporting them and advising me to check my account an change my password. I add the address to my blocked list but the next time it will come from a different address. K*** gets many emails that look like they have come from AT&T that are fake. Usually start with “ATTCustomerCare@”, but then the next part of the address is so obviously false. Again, I have reported these to AT&T, but they don’t even respond. All a little annoying.

Update – I have just had a reply about the second spoof email. Even though there was over 100 intended recipients and even though the email was addressed badly, PayPal have deemed it not the be fraudulent. I have asked them to take another look.

A little bit pear shaped …


Last week, K*** suddenly noticed that she could see ‘floaters’ out the side of one eye. She had just started a new prescription for her contact lenses and thought at first it was that. But it got worse and she was experiencing a bad headache. Called the optician on Friday, who told her to come straight away. They sent her to the eye-clinic at the hospital, and it seems that the gel that surrounds the eye had become damaged, causing a bleeds at the back of her eye. They told that it should just clear up in the next few days, but she has to go back in a fortnight for check. Now, it would have hard anyway, but we had invited K***’s parents for lunch that day and we couldn’t really put them off. So I was ‘entertainments officer’ for the day. K*** thought she would be home by half past one, but it was nearer five when she got back.

To top it all, whilst I was out on Monday, I think the wind got into my eye, as that has been sore since then. Feels swollen and is a little uncomfortable when I blink, but not to the same extent as K*** has suffered.

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My laptop has started to play-up a little. It’s seems to have been happening since the last major update to Windows, but I think it is just a coincidence. What is happening is that my Wi-Fi connection dropping out. Does not happen to any of the other devices we have connected though which kind of proves it is not the router. My other Windows 10 machine does not have the issue (although I don’t had it powered up as much) which may be another pointer away from the issue being down to Windows update. I did Google the issue, which led to a lot of possible reasons. The main reason seemed to point to an issue with the network card in the laptop. I’m awaiting a reply from the manufacturer as to what can be done, but I’m of the opinion, that I may have to live with it. I can connect directly with an ethernet cable and it’s not too inconvenient, but I will see what happens.

The issues with K***s emails reoccurred again yesterday, just over a month since the last time. The mail app on her iPad stopped  delivering any emails. They could be viewed on the website but were not being ‘pushed’ the the mail app. I could not get them on my laptop, which was the same as the last time. Turns out, that it was an issue with Yahoo (Sky email provider) which was exactly the same as last time. No-one at Sky or Yahoo seems to care about it. Both say they are sorry and are working on a fix. Maybe it’s time for Sky to have a rethink!

(Update: emails on her tablet are now coming through. some 24 hours after the issue started. Not good)

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Well both K*** and R*** are still in bed, and I think I’ll let them sleep longer. R*** has been a star over the past two days. I don’t know, but he seems to kind of know when K*** is not well and it tempers his behaviour for want of a better word. We have has no issues with him at all, not even when my laptop dropped the Wi-Fi.

I’m just going to start on the ironing , which shouldn’t take too long. I actually love ironing and have sort of ‘adopted’ the job as my own, which suits us both. Someone once told me that we all have some minor Autistic tendencies, and I think ironing must be one of mine.

 

It’s been a while …


It’s been a few weeks since my last post. No particular reason except laziness really! I tend to post when I have something I want to get off my chest and usually wait until there are a couple of things that rile me. Well there has been some things that have ‘annoyed’ me somewhat, but I’m wanting to break away from the rant style post which may account for the ‘laziness’ I just mentioned. But until then …

I just about survived Christmas, as usual. Saying that, I wasn’t well from Boxing Day to the 29th. I had what I thought was a variation of the Norovirus. I did not have the sickness, but had all the rest. The one thing that seemed to floor me was the lack of energy. On the Friday, I spent the whole day in bed, most of it asleep, which is unusual for me. Lost about 8 pound in weight (sadly not permanent), but by New Years Eve I seemed to be a lot better and by the 2nd I was nearly up to my pre-Christmas weight again!

K*** and me had a trip out to the Designer Outlet at York on Friday. R*** was on respite and was due home that day, so K*** wanted to get out whilst we could. The weather was terrible. One minute it was raining, and the next it was foggy. K*** was driving as I had driven to Harrogate on Wednesday and wanted a rest from it. You know I lost count of the number of cars/vans/lorries that did not have any lights on. Many didn’t even have sidelights switched on. It’s no exaggeration to say that most of them were grey vehicles. So that’s a grey vehicle on a grey road on a grey day! I was told by my driving instructor that those types of day need headlights. I saw one police-car on the whole 25 minute journey and he was at the side of the road eating some food. What cay I say to that?

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K*** (or more accurately, me) has been having issues with her email. She does all her stuff on her iPad which suits her as she has not been much of a fan of my laptops. So ever since the latest update the iPad Mail App has been playing up. Emails have not been showing up when they arrive (as they did before) and I have tried to get it sorted. The problem is that I’m not an Apple expert so I have had to hit Google a lot. The problem was exasperated by the fact that her email client is Sky.com or the be more precise Yahoo! It did used to be Gmail until a couple of years ago and it’s not been the same since. Don’t get me wrong, when Yahoo works, it is very good, but when it doesn’t work there is noting worse. It seems to be a little better now, but she now has to refresh the app and wait until the emails appear now instead of them being there when she opened the app. It also does not help that she never deletes any emails. Still, Yahoo tells us that she space for another 54 million emails, so ‘she’ is not too worried. I may have to do a clear out for her at some point.

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So, in the spirit of blog posts to come (hopefully). Happy New Year