purplecat: The Tardis against the spiralling clock face effect of the Capaldi opening credits. (Doctor Who)
A few years ago I got given a set of Doctor Who postcards for my birthday and I've never really been sure what to do with them. However [personal profile] alatefeline suggested I could offer to send one to anyone interested. They are all photos from New Doctor Who and predominantly feature stills or publicity images from Matt Smith's first two seasons. The rest are mainly focused on monsters from NuWho rather than the Ninth or Tenth doctors and their companions. You can see a couple of examples here and here.

Anyway, if you'd like to be sent one leave a comment or send me a message with a number between 1 and 100 and an address where you'd like it to be sent. Comments on LJ and DW will be screened, but I don't think I can do that on Facebook. I'll try to get them sent out in time for the Christmas post.

NB. If the number you ask for has already gone, I'll simply pick the next postcard along in the pack.

NBB. Offer open to friends of friends, family, random hangers-on. Until they are all gone, I'm happy to send to anyone.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I recently had the experience of purchasing an external hard drive from a scam trader on Amazon. After the hard drive failed to appear, and the store didn't respond to my contact, I activated Amazon's refund guarantee thing and got my money back. So far, so good.

Then I filled in Amazon's feedback form giving the store 1/5 and noting that the item had not arrived and they had not responded to contact. Then, because I had mild guilt that maybe something had happened and I ought to give the store more time, I checked out the rest of their feedback to find 95 reviews all of which said "Item never arrived. Seller didn't respond to contact".

I was mildly surprised about the number of reviews that had final "waah! what about my money?" sentences since getting my money back had been as simple as clicking on a couple of buttons. But what really flummoxed me was the people who had left more than 1/5.

Someone had left the seller 3/5 stars, together with the "Item never arrived. Seller didn't respond to contact" message. I couldn't help wondering what, exactly, a seller would have to do to earn only 1/5 from this person - email back an abuse filled screed? come around to their house and burgle it?

I would say answers on a postcard, only I don't really want a letterbox full of suggestions. Comments are fine though.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Last year I helped judge one of the rounds of Google's Science Fair. Yay! For which they paid me. Frankly, not so Yay! Because HMRC. So in January I attempted to sign-up for Tax Self-Assessment. The website said it needed to send me registration code by mail, so I sighed, clicked the button and hoped it would reach me before the online self-assessment deadline. It didn't, though in the interim I was told that since I was paid in July 2015 I wouldn't actually need to fill in the online self-assessment until January 2017 - have no idea if this information was accurate or not.

About two weeks after the self-assessment deadline I get an email from HMRC saying they can't send me a code since they already sent me one in 2008 (when I also foolishly allowed someone to pay me a few hundred extra quid for something). Possibly fortunately I had kept records. About half-an-hour of going around in circles on the self-assessment website later I manage to create a new account (or possibly reactivate my old account or who knows?) only to be redirected to a self-assessment calculator thing which informed me that since I had earned under £2,500 and was otherwise in full-time employment paying tax via PAYE I shouldn't fill in a self-assessment but should instead phone the HMRC Tax Helpline and get them to reclaim the extra money by PAYE.

I did this, this morning. First I had to get through the voice recognition software that wanted me to explain my problem to it in simple terms. It would then tell me what it thought my problem was and I would disagree with it. In the end I told it I wanted to pay more tax, which seemed to get its attention. It read me a little information about what to do if I had been sent notification of an under-payment by HMRC, extracted my name, postcode and national insurance number, before eventually passing me on to someone who had as much difficulty understanding my accent as I did theirs. I explained I had earned extra money last year. They told me to fill in a self-assessment form. I told them that the self-assessment website had told me that the sum wasn't enough for self-assessment and should be included in my PAYE code. They asked me to repeat how much I had earned and then muttered for a bit, presumably inputting stuff into computers. Then they asked me what my annual salary was. Since Liverpool has just moved pay-slips online I then had to log into the Liverpool HR website and multiply my payslip by 12. They then checked the amount I had earned extra - which they had wrong, so I corrected them. Then they informed me that I owed an extra £90 in tax and that a new tax code would be sent to my employer.

I've agreed to judge for Google again this summer. I'm half tempted to waive the fee because paying tax on this sort of money is just as tortuous as I recall from last time around and I'm not sure it's worth the time and effort involved.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I ask, not because I don't know how to log in to the place, post, read my dashboard and use tags but because I simply can't figure out what, for want of a better description, I'll call a sensible workflow.

So how do you use tumblr? if you do.

Do you log on and just refresh your dashboard regularly? Do you just read particular tags once a day? several times a day? What sort of things do you post? How do you decide whether to post to tumblr or to DreamWidth/LiveJournal or to twitter or to Facebook. I'm just interested, really, in how other people actually use the place in order to figure out whether I want to use it and, if so, how.

TBH, I find twitter a bit mysterious too beyond its uses for a kind of circular self-promotion in public understanding circles, but I feel I have more of a handle on it than tumblr.
purplecat: The Tardis against the spiralling clock face effect of the Capaldi opening credits. (Doctor Who)
The sharp of eye will have noticed I've not been writing much about Doctor Who lately. I think most people who regularly read this journal are aware of the situation so I'll just say I have a bad case of Real Life. I'm still watching Doctor Who, NLSS Child is somewhat voracious, or as much as she can be given I've been absent for a good deal of the past six weeks. I will write about it all in due course so expect a sudden splurge of stuff after Christmas.

tl;dr answering a critic )

So, after some thought, I'm not going to attempt to change the way I write these things, because I enjoy writing them the way I do and I get the amount of feedback I want.

I suppose all I can do is apologise to those people on Facebook who somehow feel compelled to read them even though they don't like them.

Though reading this back, I may delete it from my FB feed, it's gone on considerably longer than I think the original complaint actually justified.

And yes, in case you were wondering, I am stuck on a programming problem at work. How could you tell?
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Now if only that were actually true*.

I think they must actually mean they die before the age of X (for some age X) but they don't actually say that. Full article for those interested.

*Though I suppose it might be true if there were three times as many smokers as non-smokers.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
LinkedIn just sent me this headline as a link*. Now I assume that by "made up" they mean "does not appear in our authoritative dictionary of choice"**, but my immediate thought was to wonder how on Earth you could have a word (common or otherwise) that was not made up?

* I've no real idea why LinkedIn frequently emails me lists of apparently random links. I'm not even entirely sure why I have a LinkedIn account except that people kept sending me invites and in the end joining and making an account seemed like the path of least resistance.

** Article here - I've not read it so I've no idea if my supposition is correct.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
We live quite close to Platt Fields Park which is one of Manchester's major open air venues. It is also, mostly, a very nice park. We've always been supportive of the idea that the park should be used for events, seeing it as a way for Platt Fields to "pay its way", especially in these straightened times. The Parklife Festival is the largest regular event to use the park and involves much of the place being closed to the public for two weeks while the stages are set up and then taken down. There was a lot of controversy this year over the decision to allow the event a license to use the park given that the place clearly strained under the numbers last year. Among other things the local community received an assurance that a professional "Sports Ground Recovery" company would be used to restore the park after the event.

One month after the event the park looked like this )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Egg has been bought out by Barclaycard. As a result I am to receive a barclaycard. I'm taking steps to remedy this but in the interim I've been reading the wee booklet they sent me and am struck by its assurances about contactless payments

"you'll be able to make contactless payments up to £15.

...

it's really safe to use so you can shop with confidence knowing your account is secure.

....

Instead of inserting your card in the Chip and PIN reader and entering your PIN, to make a contactless payment you simply hold your card near the reader. And that's it - off you go."


No, it obviously isn't "really safe" otherwise you'd let me spend more than £15 at a time with it. In fact I can see no protection at all, under this system, which prevents someone with the right kind of reader wandering around a crowded shopping centre quietly nicking £15 from every customer in range. I had hoped that, like Chip and PIN, you might at least need to confirm your purchase with a PIN number (even though there are security issues with broadcasting PIN numbers wirelessly between devices) but it doesn't look like you do.

I'm also imagining the chaos that will be caused when the person behind you in the queue accidentally pays for your shopping because they were standing too close and holding their credit card while you were fussing around in your bag.

Maybe I'm being overly pessimistic, but I can't see anything which suggests that contactless credit cards aren't the plastic equivalent of wandering around with your purse open and a sign on it saying "help yourself". Well, OK, you do need the right kind of card reader and then a way to quickly launder your ill-gotten gains but I have rather more confidence in the ingenuity of the criminal fraternity than I do in the forethought that has gone into preventing abuse of these things.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/55919.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Egg has been bought out by Barclaycard. As a result I am to receive a barclaycard. I'm taking steps to remedy this but in the interim I've been reading the wee booklet they sent me and am struck by its assurances about contactless payments

"you'll be able to make contactless payments up to £15.

...

it's really safe to use so you can shop with confidence knowing your account is secure.

....

Instead of inserting your card in the Chip and PIN reader and entering your PIN, to make a contactless payment you simply hold your card near the reader. And that's it - off you go."


No, it obviously isn't "really safe" otherwise you'd let me spend more than £15 at a time with it. In fact I can see no protection at all, under this system, which prevents someone with the right kind of reader wandering around a crowded shopping centre quietly nicking £15 from every customer in range. I had hoped that, like Chip and PIN, you might at least need to confirm your purchase with a PIN number (even though there are security issues with broadcasting PIN numbers wirelessly between devices) but it doesn't look like you do.

I'm also imagining the chaos that will be caused when the person behind you in the queue accidentally pays for your shopping because they were standing too close and holding their credit card while you were fussing around in your bag.

Maybe I'm being overly pessimistic, but I can't see anything which suggests that contactless credit cards aren't the plastic equivalent of wandering around with your purse open and a sign on it saying "help yourself". Well, OK, you do need the right kind of card reader and then a way to quickly launder your ill-gotten gains but I have rather more confidence in the ingenuity of the criminal fraternity than I do in the forethought that has gone into preventing abuse of these things.

German Spam

Mar. 4th, 2011 12:22 pm
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Which amuses me for no good reason except that the words "Chief Drogba Freed" appearing in the middle of a whole bunch of German seem even funnier* than they might otherwise.

Spam preserved for posterity under the cut )

*Yes, OK, I shouldn't make fun of non-British names but you're a spammer. I feel entitled to take my laughs where I can get them.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/37080.html.

German Spam

Mar. 4th, 2011 12:22 pm
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Which amuses me for no good reason except that the words "Chief Drogba Freed" appearing in the middle of a whole bunch of German seem even funnier* than they might otherwise.

Spam preserved for posterity under the cut )

*Yes, OK, I shouldn't make fun of non-British names but you're a spammer. I feel entitled to take my laughs where I can get them.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I'm flabbergasted. I had honestly thought that ticket inspectors were a myth, having never encountered one before.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/29274.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I'm flabbergasted. I had honestly thought that ticket inspectors were a myth, having never encountered one before.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
One of my "zombie hunter" friends discusses bullying:


This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/21346.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
One of my "zombie hunter" friends discusses bullying:
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I have just been phoned by the "Accident Investigation Bureau" claiming to be a government agency that had been alerted to an accident at my phone number by the Accident Survey Department. They didn't have a name for the victim, which rang all my alarm bells. So after getting as much information as possible from them about who they were (not much). I said there had been no accident at our phone number in last 2 years and they hung up.

A little googling reveals this is a scam of some sort. Advice seems to be to alert the TPS (which we are on), but I don't honestly see the point. I mean, if they are scammers, they are hardly going to worried about a slap on the wrist from the TPS!

However, boosting the signal.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/11549.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I have just been phoned by the "Accident Investigation Bureau" claiming to be a government agency that had been alerted to an accident at my phone number by the Accident Survey Department. They didn't have a name for the victim, which rang all my alarm bells. So after getting as much information as possible from them about who they were (not much). I said there had been no accident at our phone number in last 2 years and they hung up.

A little googling reveals this is a scam of some sort. Advice seems to be to alert the TPS (which we are on), but I don't honestly see the point. I mean, if they are scammers, they are hardly going to worried about a slap on the wrist from the TPS!

However, boosting the signal.

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