Password theft

There’s some breaches going on. Email addresses and passwords are being stolen from websites in such numbers that it’s become more and mre necessary to consciously protect your personal information.

Two ways to do that are

1. Write down all your passwords in a Little Black Book and keep it in a drawer somewhere. Not recommended!

2. Use a password manager that generates passwords like “X{5TKu+1pweEymByPxCT” and keep them ultrasecure hidden behind one master password such as “LittleBlackBook” (no don’t use that one REALLY don’t use that!). This way you only have to remember one password to get access to all your secure passwords. Recommended.

If you’re worried about getting your details stolen, you can sign up to be notified with a website called where you’ll get an email notification if (when?) your details get taken by someone with evil intent.

I use and recommend 1Password by AgileBits, but LastPass is also good. Both are better than the little black book.

I’ve been pwned (had my details stolen) at least five times, in the Adobe (153m) DaniWeb (1.1m) Exploit.In (593m) River City Media Spam List (593m) tumblr (165m). The numbers of breaches are huge aren’t they? By the way, this is for only one of my email addresses. How many email addresses do you have that might be at risk? can tell you. The website’s notifications also include advice as to how to protect yourself from further damage (change password, disconnect apps, activate 2FA etc).

JCICT Web Splash for DB



iOS7.1.2 freezing on updating

iMore does a great summary of how the latest iOS update might trip up some folks. Have a read here

I’ve done two devices now – my iPhone5 froze two thirds of the way through, and needed to be hard reset; my iPad mini went fine, althought the screen went blank and the little progress bar also didn’t move, both for what appeared ages (hint – don’t watch – have a cuppa instead)


The article misses an important step that I’ve instituted as a regular practice for each and every update, after getting stung with an update that wiped my iPhone and I hadn’t backed up recently. Oops. Never again:-
1. Connect device to itunes – sync with backup – disconnect
2. Repeat (1). Thus there are now two backups on your computer as, well, backups.
3. Start the update process as normal (meanwhile I learnt something here – adding a new step zero – hard reset before starting everything)

And then finally, do a hard reset again once the device is fully updated. Job done. Back to work. Sigh. Check facebook instead.

So to summarize the update iOS process:- Hard Reset. Backup. Twice. Update. Hard Reset.


Don’t know how to do what I call a hard reset? Push home and power button until it turns off, KEEP HOLDING until Apple appears.

Check out this wiki, but be aware that what they call a “soft reset” is what I call a “hard reset” whilst what they call “hard reset” I call a “wipe and restore” which is higher up the Richter Scale of resets. Sorry if the phraseology is confusing, but knowing these procedures (call them what you like) is very useful.

It is recommended to carry out a soft reset when your phone starts presenting peculiar behaviour, as this clears the phone’s memory and can solve many minor problems. Some people recommend a soft reset regularly (Ed: I do, weekly 😉 Some poorly written apps or ones that crashed can leave things in the phone’s memory, and this action clears them out. Powering off the iPhone is similar to the soft reset but not quite as effective in clearing out the phone’s memory (yup, hard reset is better)

Emails and backups

A neighbour asked me if I could pop in and help sort out her emails as one had sat in her outbox for three days and wouldn’t go. Turns out her scanner was generating 19MB tiff files of her documents which exceeded her 15MB server limit so this was easily fixed by converting the overlarge file into a jpg and resending the email. Changed the default settings on the scanner and job done.

Then I asked the standard question – “Whats your backup?” and after a few questions and answers to and fro, I established that freshly imported photos got to the 3TB external hard drive, whilst scans and PC-generated piks go into My Documents/My Pictures as per normal.

There was no backup. 15GB of photos from 2002 to present. Not backed up.

“But they’re on my hard drive!” she opined. I explained that if the hard drive fails, there is no backup. Then I proceeded to copy all onto D: then set up Windows Backup and schedule (not my first choice, but the WD software for the HDD would not install and it was getting a bit late). I left knowing that in about one hours time, there will be a backup.

Proof that “having an external hard drive” does not equal “having a backup”. What’s your backup plan?

BT misleading envelope ‘£16 a month gets you Totally Unlimited Broadband, TV and calls. Wow’

On the doorstep is, on first inspection, a pretty fine offer……..


That is until you open the mail and read the actual offer. The calls are weekend only, and line rental is additional. The fee changes to £21 per month from month 19. There are a total of eight Small Print items to wade through to fuly interpret the offer. Which is NOT a wow offer by the time you’ve read all that.

Misleading? Yes, I would agree. Certainly it pays to read the small print. Thanks BT, but I’m out.


BBC iPlayer difficulties on PC

A few weeks ago I contacted BBC iPlayer with a comprehensive report of the shortfalls of the software on my PC. Program downloads were disappearing after every reboot, and the only workaround was to empty the Repository in the iPlayer folder, then allow re-downloads. Deinstall and reinstall is not a consistent workaround. This in-depth reply was received today, and judged as worthy of blogging as a FYI


Dear Mr Stephano,
Case Number: CAS-******-******

Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC iPlayer Desktop.
Firstly, please accept our apologies at BBC iPlayer Support, as we are aware you have had to wait for a response while these reported issues with BBC iPlayer Desktop were fully investigated. 
David Price, the Head of TV and iPlayer has provided the following response:
“Hi, Please accept my apologies for the problems you have been experiencing with the BBC iPlayer Desktop download application.  Just to confirm, we are experiencing two key problems:
1. Upgrades to Adobe Air are corrupting or ‘removing’ the directory where programmes are stored, resulting in previously downloaded programmes not playing, and future downloads often failing to play.
2. Compatibility problems with Adobe Air and recent releases of Google Chrome result in some users being unable to install iPlayer Desktop or download new programmes.
My team are working hard on a complete overhaul of BBC iPlayer Desktop.  However, it is some months away before we release this dramatically simplified service, which will provide more reliable downloads and playback. We’ll update the iPlayer help site when we have more information to share.
We have also made a number of revisions to our FAQs and support pages.  In particular, the following may be useful:
1. If you are having a problem downloading and playing more than one programme it’s worth uninstalling and re-installing Adobe Air. For more information on how to do this please read the Adobe Air – How do I reinstall Adobe Air? FAQ.
2. Why am I having an issue installing iPlayer Desktop on my Mac?
Some Mac users have experienced issues trying to install iPlayer Desktop on their machine.  When going through the installation or version upgrade process when prompted ensure you click Allow Keychain Access.  This confirms that you allow the application to be installed and download BBC programmes.
3. Why am I unable to download programmes when using Google Chrome?
Further information on the problem and compatible browsers can be found in the iPlayer FAQs.
Finally, while this may not be a solution for everyone, we do now offer downloads via our mobile application (for Apple devices, Android is in development).  Furthermore, for compatible devices, if you are experiencing problems, I’d also encourage you in the interim to try downloading the WMV files and play through a compatible player (e.g. Windows Media Player).  These downloadable files can be seen under the ‘Download Options’ button.
Apologies for the prolonged problems you are experiencing.  We are working hard to mitigate the issues and provide a more robust download solution on desktop and I hope you are able to continue watching and enjoying programme via BBC iPlayer in other ways in the meantime.
Kind regards,
Dave Price
Head of TV & iPlayer”

Once again, thanks for taking the time to contacting BBC iPlayer Support.
Kind Regards,
BBC Audience Services


Improving customer service by @VirginMedia

12 months ago I was really let down by a long internet outage at my home/office. The inconvenience was multiplied by failure of my ISP to notify the completion of the repair work.

Power ISP wifi

Today the internet was on the blink again, but Vonage Visual Voicemail emailed me this afternoon with the transcript of a phonecall from Virgin Media saying “……your services should be back up and running because of if you had an engineer visit booked we’ve cancelled it for you. However if you’re still experiencing problems please give our team a call feel free. 0 1 5 0 from your Virgin Media home phone 08454541111 from any other phone and select option 2. Thanks and goodbye.” This was after I’d called in to CS to get the outtage sorted.

Nice to see that they take on board suggestions. Kudos @VirginMedia