Paco Hope My Random Musings and Rants


TfL Oyster: Why I Pay in Person

I have a travel card for London's Underground. I renew it by going up to the machines in the station. Every time I finish my transaction, the machine asks "next time why not renew online?" There's a really good reason: time.

I can get that whole transaction done in 90 seconds at the machine. I tap my oyster, select renew, put in my credit card, enter my PIN, and tap my oyster a second time. Done. I can't even get logged in at the oyster site in that time, using high speed broadband and a fast laptop. And I'm buying a ticket for monthly travel: I'm in the station already.

I would like it so much better if the machine said "wow! You got that done in 75 seconds!" Rather than imply I did something wrong or suboptimal. Let's face it: online is not always better or faster.

Filed under: Rants, Travel, Web Stuff 1 Comment

I Pwned Your Server

If you haven't seen some of the great comedy videos made with "text-to-video" software Plotagon (or its predecessor Xtra Normal), you should. They basically involve deadpan, computer voices reading some fairly funny scripts.

Likewise, if you haven't seen the article about #ScumbagPenTester, it's worth a read. It inspired me to make this.

I Pwned Your Server

Wear headphones. The language is NSFW.



United and DirecTV: 1970s TV You Can PAY For

I fly United a fair bit, I'm up to like 500,000 lifetime miles. I used to fly a lot more when I lived near Dulles. Now it's mainly Heathrow to Dulles and the odd flight within the US. This weekend I had the first taste of DirectTV on a flight from Orlando to Dulles. It was bad in so many ways, breaking things that have worked well for so long. It also broke new ground in terms of in-your-face advertisements.


Avatar: What’s the Big Deal?

So years after its release, I finally saw the movie Avatar. It's gorgeous to look at, but it was a pretty weak film. The plot and story simply don't hang together at all. This is really long. I didn't realise how many things I had to say...


Using OpenDNS with BT Infinity for Business

I've got BT Infinity for Business as my home Internet connection. It comes with an incredibly annoying BT Business Hub 3.0. While there are a few things it does fairly well (e.g., granting me access to BTWifi throughout the UK), there are a number of things that irritate me. The main thing I'm going to write about here is overriding the DNS settings. Unlike every other telco-provided DSL/WiFi router that I have ever owned, the BT Business Hub (just like the BT Home Hub) does not allow you to specify which DNS servers you use. It assigns BT's DNS servers. Now, I haven't had any problems with BT's servers, but I really love OpenDNS's ability to screen out ads, malware, and undesirable content (e.g., porn, scams, etc.). BT doesn't offer that, but they don't let you change it, either. I finally figured out how to make it work.