Dropbox

Dropbox
Dropbox

Dropbox is a funky new toy I’ve been playing with under Ubuntu but it also works on pretty much any Linux flavour, as well as Windows and Mac.

It’s a file synchronisation program, and one of the simplest I’ve found to use. The free package gives you 2Gb of on-line storage and the little program that runs in the background synchronising things uses very few resources.

Download, install and (in the case of Ubuntu anyway) log out/in to trigger the background process. Register an account and let the program know where your “dropbox” folder should be stored. That’s it.

Linux has one major advantage over Windows in that you don’t have to store all the files you wish to keep synced in a particular folder. Use any old folder for your Dropbox and drag/drop virtual links to other folders into it. These folders will then be read and their contents stored on Dropbox’s servers. Make any changes, add files, delete them… and very quickly these changes will be reflected on the main site.

Updates are logged and a full history is available on your profile page.

A Public Files folder is located in your Dropbox. Any files here are, obviously, publically browseable. In addition, a simple right-click and menu selection will put a URL into your clipboard. Paste this on an email or wherever and the recipient will be able to click on it to get a copy of the document from the Dropbox servers.

I’ve not made big use of programs like this in the past, but for offline storage, file sharing and synchronising between two or more machines it’s an excellent little tool.

If you do download it, pretty please do so via this link – that way I stand a chance of getting my 2Gb storage upgraded for referring you!

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Twitter spam

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Twitter

I just got four emails from Twitter telling me that Morgan, Kelly, Tasmine and Kate (or someone) were now following me. All of them had actual usernames along the lines of 4CVFD5T and a single post on their Twitter feed – telling me that they’d just got their free laptop from some dodgy website. With a link to the website.

OK, so far so “meh”. It’s obvious spam.

So why the hell did all four have over 250 followers? What wanker actually follows the feed from an obvious spam merchant? Really?

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It’s all change…

This is the final one of my blogs to be transferred from Blogger to WordPress. And the biggest headache as I needed to get all 4500 or so comments across from Haloscan. I think I’ve got everything. Posts and comments all seem to be intact, so I now have to start the donkey work.

Any broken links will be attended to as and when I can manage it. If you spot any, please do let me know. I’ll get a “contact me” page up shortly for those who don’t know my email address, or just post a comment on this page.

Also, I know the layout’s a bit poop but my main concern was getting all the data over. I’ll glitz things up, apply a better theme and replace all the gadgets soon. Ish. Work’s about to get very busy for a week or so, so it’ll be around that.

As ever, comments welcome!

Skype? Useless bunch of cunts, more like

Long story short:

Set up Skype account. Added credit using credit/debit card. Worked just fine and dandt. Great service.

Credit ran low. Went to top it up. Two attempts ended in seeming success… using Bank Transfer (credit card no longer allowed for some reason never adequately explained) but no conformation. Third attempt, payment is “pending” and a 30-minute dig through the FAQ tells me that I have to initiate payment from my bank – they will not take the payment themselves. This is not apparent from the web pages provided.

Next option: set up a PayPal link. Duly done. Then option not provided, so despite all the work done to get that up and going I still can’t use it.

Net result – it takes up to 2 weeks to add credit to my account every time it runs out. Which, frankly, is fucking useless. Especially when the credit’s run out as I’ve had to make several very urgent and very long calls and now need to make more. Waiting 2 weeks to make those called (up to 10 working day) is simply fucking useless.

Letter sent to Skype:

Merje,

I appreciate that Skype has limits as regards overuse of credit cards and so forth, but I find it hard to believe that the card I used to initially put credit on the account cannot be used to top it up after more than a month.

Also, why offer me the facility of PayPal payment if it is not available in the UK? As it stands, setting the account up is very easy leading me to think this will be the case from then on. I have discovered that getting credit onto my Skype account after I have created it is an absolute nightmate and could take up to two weeks. This simply is not good enough.

While I understand you are attempting to prevent fraud, you’re making it utterly useless for people who have a genuine use for the system and I think I’ll find myself ditching Skype as an option and using the Post Office to make long distance calls unless your company can actually figure out what it is trying to do. The whole “top up” system is a complicated mess, lacking instructions and information.

I attempted to set up a bank transfer option and the first *TWO* times I did this, I recieved no email notification of the details. On the third attempt, an email was received, but your bank details were not included, thus making it impossible to start a transfer from my end. In *all* cases, no indication was made that *I* had to initiate the transfer – that was buried in an FAQ somewhere. Completely and wholly inadequate. I waited two days before realising there was absolutely *nothing* happening.

I am in a situation in a foreing country where I *NEED* to get in contact with the UK. I have very quickly realised that I cannot rely on Skype to offer a useful and reliable service for my needs. When I have credit, it’s great. But you seem to be hell bent on making it as hard and tedious as possible to add credit to my account.

I am in a foreign country with no money. I need to phone home. I cannot as I am out of credit. The only option you will give me to add credit is Bank Transfer which takes up to 2 weeks. I don’t understand this as I loaded the account using a credit card within *minutes*. You tell me to set up a PayPal account, which I’ve done, and then don’t let me use it.

Seriously. Do you have *any* idea how utterly, mindbogglingly inept you look as an organisation at a result of this conflicting information and continual supply of dead ends?

Next time I go abroad, I’m investing in two tin cans and a very long length of string. I feel it would be of more use and certainly more reliable than your red-tape enshrouded organisation.

Thanks (ha ha ha – as if)

Mosh

(P.S. This message posted to my blog and several discussion groups to highlight exactly how useless your organisation is. Buck your ideas up and study the term “customer satisfaction” and I may repeal it)

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How could they?!

OK, this news came as a bit of a shock. So I wrote them a letter. And got a (pointless) reply.

I don’t get this – you’re removing the Cult website as it’s “too similar to the commercial sector” i.e. there are other websites with similar content. Perhaps… but none of them are as good, nor as comprehensive as the BBC’s. On top of that I’m *paying* for the BBC site out of my license fee.

If we’re going to get rid of things for being “too similar” to commercial offerings, can we also please scrap Eastenders as it’s just Coronation Street set in London? And Holby as it’s only a cheap version of E.R.? Getting rid of that dross would allow plenty of funding for excellent resources such as this.

How on earth you can scrap a site that gets almost 700,000 hits a month and comes second only to your news pages is beyond me. I thought the idea was to provide a public service? The two statistics there show that this site is doing this above and beyond all expectations, and your decision is one of utter stupidity.

Cult TV is going through a massive boom right now. I mean, come on – you’ve just sold Playschool in Maori! There are DVD releases coming out left/right/centre and this site is by far and away the most detailed and comprehensive *anywhere*. Killing it off is like scuppering the Ark Royal just because the US has a couple of aircraft carriers that can kind of do the same job.

If you do send me a reply, I’d appreciate a personal one – not the usual formulaic garbage such as the official statement which, frankly, contradicts everything I’ve ever believed the BBC to stand for.

Thanks (not),

(etc)

The reply:

Dear Mosh

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the closure of the Cult website.

I appreciate you have further concerns about the closure of the website. Rest assured that your complaint has been registered on the daily log. This will be made available throughout the BBC, including the senior management. Feedback of this nature helps us when making decisions about future BBC services and your comment will play a part in this process.

Thank you again for taking time to contact the BBC.

Regards

Katherine Tsang
BBC Information

I think the basic gist of this is “your feedback will be ignored at the highest level”. Fuck them and fuck their license fee. OK, OK, so the only decent stuff on TV these days is either on BBC or Channel 5, but I wonder if I could withhold 2p/month of my direct debit in protest?

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