No listings available…

My Sky+HD 2TB box constantly says no listings available when viewing the planner. The fix is to do a planner rebuild, but when it happens every dew days it gets annoying.

Sky are looking into it, and need the following information;

  • Version Number and Model Number.
    You can find this by pressing services 0,3 Number of Feeds (1 or 2) If 1 Feed – Is single feed more on? You can find this by pressing, Services 0, 0, 1, select and under setup
  • Can you set up future series links? Yes/No
  • Can you see listings for the next 7 days? Yes/No If No – What do you see? Is a specific Series Affected? When was the last episode recorded?
  • Remaining Planner Space (%)?
  • When was the box last on standby?

Send all that to @SkyHelpTeam on Twitter.

Download your Facebook ‘Look Back’ video.

To celebrate 10 years of Facebook you can look back on the 20 most significant moments on your account, to do this visit https://www.facebook.com/lookback

I’ve no idea if it will disappear overnight, or be there forever, but if you want to download the video to add to YouTube etc here’s the instructions.

Using Google Chrome, do the following.

  1. Go to https://www.facebook.com/lookback in Google Chrome
  2. With the video in the background press Ctrl+Shift+J to open the console.
  3. Copy the code from the following link and paste into console then press enter.
    http://kevatkinson.co.uk/blog/getvideo.txt
  4. Then in the console you’ll be given a link for your video.
  5. Click the link and Press Ctrl+S to download it.
  6. Upload it wherever you want to share it.

Enjoy!

 

Job Advertisements

What they really mean.

  • Competitive salary
    (We remain competitive by paying you less than our competition.)
  • Join our fast-paced company!
    (We have no time to train you.)
  • Casual work atmosphere
    (We don’t pay enough to expect that you will dress up; a couple of the real daring guys wear earrings.)
  • Some overtime required
    (Some every night and some every weekend.)
  • Duties will vary
    (Anyone in the office can boss you around.)
  • Must have an eye for detail
    (We have no quality assurance.)
  • Career-minded
    (Female applicants must be childless (and remain that way).)
  • Apply in person
    (If you’re old, fat or ugly you’ll be told that the position has been filled.)
  • Seeking candidates with a wide variety of experience
    (You’ll need it to replace the three people who just quit.)
  • Problem-solving skills a must
    (You’re walking into perpetual chaos.)
  • Requires team leadership skills
    (You’ll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.)
  • Good communication skills
    (Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want and do it.)

You know it’s all true!

I’ve Saved the World

Somehow, I saved the world this week. Yes that is all bollocks but in a roundabout way I’m claiming that. If you don’t make claims like that you’ll get nowhere.

The just of it? A virus was discovered at work this week and I had the wonderful job of looking into it and trying to get rid of it. I don’t rate Symantec at all, and as that’s what my workplace use it was no surprise to me that scanning the infected file showed no results at all. Despite online ‘upload to scan’ stuff detecting it.

So I got in touch with Symantec and told them I wanted to send them the file. Cue one of the longest ‘submit a virus’ processes known to the current world. Eventually though the file was submitted and the next day I was told it had been detected as an Infostealer and would be added to the latest definitions.

I’d saved the world. So I decided to make some egotistical tweet about it, and Symantec replied.

I felt like a superhero.

 

BYOD

Here is a very quick post on BYOD purely from my perspective, it’s meant to make you think – oh yea! He has a point.

BYOD is defined on Wikipedia (I know) as “Bring your own device (BYOD) (also called bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own phone (BYOP), and bring your own PC (BYOPC) means the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, hair straightners and smart phones) to their workplace, and use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.”

As an IT Technician I’ve always been concerned about BYOD from a support point of view. How far do you support someone’s private equipment? How far are we liable? Are we expected to fix an employees smashed iPad screen? Remove viruses from an employees laptop because they installed a toolbar? Reinstall Windows 7 on their home PC?

All because they dial in from home? Or bring their personal equipment to work?

Not to mention, if I’m trying to fix a problem on your PC and I personally end up breaking the Windows installation meaning you need a full re-installation of the OS – I’m going to get it in the neck because you’ve lost your iTunes library. If you had a simple work PC I’d swap it out, you’d have a new machine in 20 minutes. You’re looking at 3 hours+ for a reinstall before you even get to client software¬†re-installation.

BYOD is a dangerous area for support and needs strict definition on what will and will not be supported. 

Today showed me how far we go fixing BYODs. I had to fix a pair of GHD Hair Straightners. That’s true. Yes it was a favour, yes it took me 5 minutes, and yes it was a BYOD.

Converting FAT32 to NTFS

I needed to convert a FAT32 drive to NTFS today and as it was 500GB I wasn’t sure how easy it might be. I contemplated backing it all up then formatting it, but then I found out you can do it on a live drive.

Backups are always recommended – I made an educated decision not to on this occasion but if it had of gone wrong I would have lost over 400GB of files.

Below is the output from command prompt. In Windows 7 I searched for CMD and ran it as an admin to do the below. E was the drive I was working on and the command is;
convert e: /fs:ntfs

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
 Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
C:\Users\Kev>convert e: /fs:ntfs
 The type of the file system is FAT32.
 Enter current volume label for drive E: LOCAL STORE
 Volume LOCAL STORE created 01/05/2011 19:16
 Volume Serial Number is 8BA5-BE5E
 Windows is verifying files and folders...
 File and folder verification is complete.
 Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.
 488,256,704 KB total disk space.
 1,085,472 KB in 534 hidden files.
 181,248 KB in 5,590 folders.
 415,408,448 KB in 102,391 files.
 71,581,504 KB are available.
32,768 bytes in each allocation unit.
 15,258,022 total allocation units on disk.
 2,236,922 allocation units available on disk.
Determining disk space required for file system conversion...
 Total disk space: 488375968 KB
 Free space on volume: 71581504 KB
 Space required for conversion: 808979 KB
 Converting file system
 Conversion complete
C:\Users\Kev>

Fibre Optic Broadband

I just thought I’d write a quick post about fibre optic broadband. I’ve finally got it. This is a good thing.

I’ve wanted to upgrade to FTTC for a while now as I do a lot of work online and commonly have a need to download 300/400/500 mb from one place, and upload them to the other. As such doing that on a 13MB ADSL connection with a 1MB upload was a little painful. I’d often queue the work up till late on an evening when I didn’t need to use the connection, or do it through the day when the house was empty.

I looked at Virgin Media. They do a 100 (possibly 120) MB connection but with a limited upload. It’s ¬£30 a month. They also traffic shape badly, and have bad reviews for doing so. Peak times slow you right down and they block certain features. I decided in 2011 that I wouldn’t entertain Virgin anyway as they are awful (see previous posts on my bad customer service).

So I waited for fibre optic broadband to come along. I started looking in January 2012 and it had by exchange down to be done in the summer. So I waited, and the summer passed. Then Autumn came and the date for enabling my exchange came and passed. The date was changed on the BT Openreach page and I slowly started to give up hope.

These are the steps I took to keep check on FTTC enabling in my area;

  1. You can see when your exchange will be enabled by visiting http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/where-and-when.
  2. Once you have a date – follow¬†@Openreach_news on Twitter. That service tweets when exchanges are active. If you’re really sad subscribe and you’ll be alerted everytime they tweet.
  3. Wait around 4-6 weeks following your exchange activation date. This is how long it took for BT Openreach to replace the cabinet near my house with a new fibre cabinet.
    Click here to see a fibre cabinet. 
  4. Place your order with an ISP. I opted to stay with Sky. Sky charge £50 for the activation and installation whilst BT Infinity is free. However BT Infinity have caps and also traffic shape so I opted to remain with Sky. It took a week from order to installation.

So I now have Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro. I opted to pay £10 a month more to have a 20MB upload. This means I can do my work a lot quicker, and not bother the partner when she is playing on Xbox live.

Check before you buy!

I’ve been buying products & services online for probably close to 10 years, and one thing I always do before I buy is to shop around to compare pricing, to find out if the price is fair, or to see if I’m being ripped off. Now I don’t do this for every single thing – but if I’m buying electrical items or services online I’ll always look around for reviews and pricing.

I recently received some unsolicited email from a hosting company which was a little odd because their website domain was nothing like their company name. They were offering web hosting and had emailed me most likely via my listing on MediaUK.

To cut a long story short, they were selling a variety of ‘unlimited’ hosting packages, very very underpriced streaming packages, and to top it off, they were even selling stuff I could get for free if I spent 2.36548 seconds Googling what they were selling.

The point of this small blog is to point a few things out.

  1. If a company promises ‘unlimited’ – they can’t deliver it, so what else are they lying about?
  2. They haven’t invented the unlimited hard-drive yet.
  3. Google what you want, you might be able to get it for free.
  4. They still haven’t invented the unlimited hard-drive yet.

 

Synergy+ Mouse/Keyboard Sharing Software

I just thought I’d share a piece of software I use daily now, which I’d be lost without.

At home, I have my email/internet/messing around PC on the left (PC1) and my music/production/radio PC on the right (PC2) – as it’s two seperate keyboards I used to have 2x mice and 2x keyboards taking up deskspace. This wasn’t ideal so I wanted a solution where I could use the one keyboard and mouse on both machines – but I didn’t want a KVM.

A bit of searching let me to Synergy+ a free, open source programme that ‘shares’ your mouse and keyboard from one PC and the others can pick up on it.

You can then setup the application with hotkeys. So for example if you’re on PC1 and want your mouse and keyboard to work on PC2 you can press 2, to go back to PC1 you’d press 1. So it switches immediately. You can also set it so it works like an¬†extended¬†desktop. So moving your mouse to the far right of PC1 immediately moves it to the far left of PC2 with keyboard inputs moving with whatever screen the mouse is on. You should use obscure keys you never use, as you can’t type them once the application is running.

It still has some progress to be made, they openly admit the sharing methods are less then secure but if you’re on a firewalled home LAN you’re OK. It also works on Mac/Linux etc… so you can move between Windows/Mac if needbe!

Let me know if you use it!

Complain Complain Complain

Apparently British people don’t complain enough, it’s written down somewhere, probably on the internet.

I like to complain though, and Virgin Media have been the company who have bore the front of my complaints the most in the past 12/14 months.

November/December 2009
Back then, we had the difficult task of moving NE1fm 102.5 to new studios. This was a massive undertaking, and took 4 weeks to move. We were advised 7 days for Virgin Media to move the services. However 4-6 weeks was the actual amount of time Virgin Media required to transfer services and install. Their staff suprisingly did everything required to gain their bonuses, but nothing to actually make anything happen.

Fast forward a bit, 15+ telephone calls resulted in a threat of me going to their London office. It was ‘laughed’ off. That evening their Chief Exec got an email, I got a phonecall back within 5 minutes and within 3 days we were magically sorted and compensated generously.

December 2010
Our cable connection went down. That’s fine, things break. But the first realisation I was going to struggle to get any sort of anything out of them occured when the ‘technical support adviser’ told me Virgin Media Cable Modems will not turn off if you turn off electricity. They magically will not turn off, somehow.

So, annoyed I was told an engineer would call on Thursday. That didn’t happen. I called them, he’ll call on Friday. You guessed it, no call Friday. I reminded them their Service Level Agreement was closing in and they wern’t interested – so I decided to threaten them with the Newspaper. They didn’t seem too bothered. So I called the paper and a story appeared Saturday morning.

Pleased with the first level of action, I called Virgin Media on the Monday. An engineer will be out this afternoon. 4pm Monday, I call – no engineer. I gently remind the guy on the phone that a newspaper has already ran a story on it, that they’ve failed their agreement, and the paper will run another story if it isn’t fixed on Monday. The drone advises he will ‘inform management’.

Fast forward. 16:55 Monday, newspaper has been notified. The story runs on Tuesday. Just before 5pm another phone call. Oh, Virgin Media and their first callback that week. An engineer will attend 9am Tuesday morning.

They attended 9am Tuesday (2x engineers/ 2x vans) and fixed the problem. But they were too late. The story ran anyway. If it hadn’t of been fixed today their Chief Exec would have got this instead of my blog. But hey-ho.

Apart from this being a small insight into something not very exciting. The moral of the story is to complain, and complain. They laugh it off until the big guns get involved – then they give you the service you should get anyway.